Monday, 27 September 2010

Empid effort and a shedload of Robins.

It was just about worth it, one of those 'I was there moments'. After a gruelling walk, I managed good views of an Empidonax Flycatcher in the plantation. Eye ring, olive tones, tail flicking, yes- this one was from The States! Quite which one it is, the experts will decide but from what I have read ID will be tricky and may take some time. Some good bits on LGRE's blog. The walk back was reminiscent of a scene from Dawn of The Dead, but a Grey Phalarope was a good self-find on the beach. Now one of these and 2 Red Necked at Kelling, amazing!
Feeling like the time to strike was now, I left early from school today and trawled Waxham until dark. Huge numbers of continental Robins had made landfall, a 'tick' from moreorless every bush. Good few Blackbirds, handful of Goldcrest, 30 Siskin, 7 Redwing, and Chiffchaff were all in the bushes around Shangri La and the trail to the beach. The first Pink Footed Geese had arrived, and they shared a field with a mixed flock of Lapwing, Golden Plover and Ruff. Great feel about the evening, a real intensity in the air. A female Pied Flycatcher was probably the best of the bunch, but surely more to come?

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Just another day

Late twenties really is not significant, but I still felt the need to treat myself a little and get out birding this evening.
Debs had not yet been to Buckenham Marshes, and we were the right side of the city for a meal at the re-opened Rushcutters. On arrival in the carpark, Rooks and Jackdaws were perched on the wires like harbingers of old age. Looking forward to the winter roost here. On the track to the scrape, a few Linnets nipped in and out of the scrub. Quite a Gull roost had built up, mainly Black Headed but a few juvenile Herring. Lapwing were sparingly interspersed. The main attractions were again the raptors. A hunting Marsh Harrier was the first to show itself in the fading light, then of more interest was a possible female Hen Harrier. Difficult to id at a distance, but the general jizz felt right. The keen eye of my better half picked up a falcon on a post, which turned out to be a cracking Peregrine! What with the small arrival of Wigeon, signs of winter are afoot.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Football means keeping it local

.....and Berbatov finally repaid my commitment. What a hat-trick.
Surlingham on saturday evening allowed me to add yet more species to the site list. Not the hoped for Pec Sand, but Great Spotted Woodpecker and Reed Bunting. Also of note, a single Marsh Harrier powered through at dusk and a juvenile Green Woodpecker was seen on the grazing hill. Another noisy evening on the reserve, the chorus again led by Cettis and Water Rail. Thanks to the RSPB staff who have been busy clearing nettles and scrub; sitting in the hide is now a worthwhile experience! Teal, Shovelor, Mallard and the odd Gadwall are still the expected duck species on the lagoon.
This evening (Sunday) was spent at Rockland Marshes. A tatty looking Barn Owl was seen, and the Corvid roost was even bigger than last time, and is quite a spectacle. Bought back memories of Mark Cocker's excellent 'Crow Country'. Plenty of bats between here and Claxton, reminding me that a detector is necessary for next summer. These ones were not Pipistrelles; a little bigger, less fluttery. I was standing near water, so most likely Daubentens, enjoying the relatively warm evening under cloud cover.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Yare birding

One could argue favouring Buckenham over Cantley was a mistake, considering the wader count on RBA from the latter site. A few Snipe were in evidence at Buckenham though, along with Egyptian Geese and some nice looking Lapwing. When aren't they?
Good day for raptors, Common Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel and Hobby all seen well.
A trip to Rockland Broad allowed me to connect with the Black Tern that has been present over a week, great little bird to watch as it hawked for insects up, down and over the broad. Debs was gutted to have missed this one, she has a bit of a thing for Terns it would seem.
Surlingham Marsh on a Sunday appeared a bit dodgy on paper, the firing range nearby surely not conducive to a Shrike looking for a rest. However, I did manage a few patch ticks including Coal Tit, Goldcrest, Rook, Meadow Pipit and a Mistle Thrush. This was seen from the ruins, feeding on the hilly grazing land.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

News from the patch and further afield

A sodden thursday evening at Waxham proved my worst fears: I had missed the best of it. A glimpse of a lovely male Redstart and a Chiffchaff with a roving tit flock (its 21st century winter time) were the best bits. Of interest, a field full of various brutes, including Lesser BBs and Herrings, and as if to rub it in a Yellow Legged was seen on the beach that day. I told myself it was in a difficult 2cy plumage, and I wouldn't have been able to id it for definate anyway.



An afternoon walk round Surlingham Marsh was terribly uneventful but pleasant. A number of dog walkers doing the circuit along with the odd family group. A Marsh Harrier caused a fuss over the river and was mobbed by a crow. The lagoon had 50+ Teal on it, most of them resting on the now muddy banks- where were the Snipe? A late brood of Greenfinch were still on the nest next to a public footpath, and a Stock Dove called. Hardly typical of a September day.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Surlingham then migrant hunting

The highlight of the past couple of days is a bird I haven't even seen, and it remains unconfirmed! A singing Savis Warbler at Strumpshaw Fen would be a cracker, lets hope it is genuine.
Surlingham Marsh last night produced a Hobby hunting at dusk and at least 3 Chinese Water Deer. It was actually quite noisy on the reserve as the sun went down; squealing Water Rail, at least 3 Cettis going at it, bark of the deer and of course the omnipresent geese. 35 Egyptian Geese were counted over the river, wonder what the record is? 2 Bats were seen hunting in and out of the ruins, Pipistrelle sp. I would guess, perhaps roosting in the ruins themselves. A Jay that flew from the other side of the river made it onto the patch, and represents the latest patch tick.

Winterton Dunes this afternoon was hard work, bashed by ESEs but very few birds to show for it. Female Redstart, 2 Whinchat and 4 Wheatear were the migrants, and locals included a Kestrel, Marsh Harrier and Buzzard. Glad we put the time in, but can't help but feel we were hard done by when you consider what has turned up elsewhere. Did bump into another birder, who agreed that the hoped for birds just weren't present. Weather too nice. Tuesday looks really good, bit of rain to ground some birds, which at present are surely just passing through.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

East Norfolk, 31/08/10

Something snapped yesterday, the terrible realisation that a return to work was once again inevitable. My response: bird. And bird hard.
Happisburgh was first stop on the agenda, a favourite site of mine but under watched of late, no doubt due to the acceptance of a patch. The coast watch was quiet, but glorious. The clifftop walk produced a Wall Brown Butterfly, my third ever and second in this spot! At sea, 10 Eider flew north along with 3 Curlew. 2 Sand Martin were clearly reluctant to leave, and Sandwich Terns were seemingly on the move. Managed to turn up a total of zero migrants despite some serious pishing down Doggetts Lane, but field inland of the cliffs interestingly held a number of large juvenile Gulls, Lesser Black Backed and Herring, which appeared to be sheltering 7 Sandwich Tern! An odd sight.
Surlingham was equally stunning in the late summer sun, and here a new bird was added to the fledgling patch list: a Hobby, which at first I thought was just showing off, but infact was being mobbed by Swallows, so this individual did not hang around. A drink in the Ferry House was much needed; this should be more of a regular stop I decided.
Picked Debs up from work and drove out to Waxham. We managed to locate the Red Backed Shrike, and watched this great little bird from the dunes in the fading light. Despite a trundle through the dunes, no Wryneck, but another birder told us it had been seen, showing well. A Lesser Whitethroat and Wheatear were the other birds of note.
As with last year, the last few days of the school holidays proved some of the most productive of the lot. Back to it for me, but with the decent weather set to continue until at least the weekend, one or two evening trips are in the pipeline.