Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Holiday fit for a King

Not a bad way to start the summer break. King Eider is a rare bird in Norfolk, just 6 previous records so when news broke this morning that the first summer bird from Yorkshire was now being seen off Sheringham (followed by West Runton) I headed off for the latter venue. The bird showed well but a little distantly. Despite the distance, the structure appeared to be smaller and more compact compared to the Eider usually seen in these waters, and the bill was obviously smaller. A white-wash colouring could be seen on the underwings. At time of writing, the bird is now being seen again from Sheringham and will hopefully stick around.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

This River Warbler is bought to you by......

A call from a birding friend and mentor had me up at 4am saturday morning, helping out at the River Warbler twitch. Thoroughly enjoyable experience, and nice to put something back into the scene after last sunday. The bird itself showed well in the wee hours, singing atop of a thistle and elsewhere between 4.45am and 8am. As the heat set in, the bird became more difficult to see, but whilst on car park duty I did manage some good views. The marsh itself offered some great birding after hours, including Barn Owl, Hobby, Marsh Harrier, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Comma Butterflies also observed.
Back at the family home in Suffolk, the pair of Turtle Doves appear to have settled down to the point where I can't find them, and 2 young Tawny Owls greeted us on returning from the pub late last night.
The moth trap this morning was brimming, and whilst I have plenty to still to ID, 5 Elephant Hawkmoths, 4 Swallowtails, 1 Magpie, 1 Privet Hawk, 1 Ghost and 1 Mother of Pearl were trapped. Plenty more photos to trawl through, when I get the chance.
A Lapwing woke us up on friday night, calling loudly from our roof in Norwich. Obviously an under-recorded phenomenon.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

River Warbler a nice suprise

As mid summer approaches, a look through the birding archives will reveal a lull in activity, and to be honest the last few weeks have been a little slow. Nothing to write home about, so I haven't! Few trips to Strumpshaw, enjoying the summer evenings followed by a cider back in the city, you know how it is. Door-step birding.
When news broke on sunday that a River Warbler had been singing at a site SE of Norwich for the past few days, I was very much on alert again. Did not get much done all day. Waiting. Haddiscoe was eventually revealed as the place to be, so after a quick snack I headed over and was welcomed by 'River Warbler >' signs. There really should be more of these, eastern Europe presumably the place for them. I was waved in, put my money in the collection pot, and car-parking attendants beckoned me into a spot. Bit like Glastonbury! The crowd was slowly building so I took up my place near the front of the viewing point. A Barn Owl, Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Tree Creeper and Stock Dove kept the awaiting group occupied.
The Warbler itself sang on and off between 6 and 9pm, a silence of varying length settling over the group when the bird began again. And what a noise! It reminded me of a sewing machine. At around 9pm, true to form, the song really kicked in and became more regular. Many of those waiting had now flocked back to the car park in hope of a glimpse, and in light of this charge I stayed where I was. Around 9.20 I was rewarded with good views of the bird moreorless in the open, singing, in Norfolk! Rather smugly, I left soon after, realising that was a moment to savour and was as good as it would get. I fear a few may have 'ticked' a brown blob, but each to their own. Many thanks to the finders for allowing us onto their land, you have proved what can be done! I may head back for a second helping should the bird stick. A Little Owl was seen on a post driving home, not far from the site.