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Showing posts from October, 2011

Patch list creeps up, and a trip to the G Y.

Thursday morning, I snuck in a couple of hours on the patch before marking books loomed large. Good bit of vis-mig taking place, including Greenfinch, Skylark and Pied Wagtail. On rounding the first bend, I heard the familiar mournful call of a Bullfinch- 2 birds flew from view. Siskin were here too, but then a less familiar call. Convinced this was not an odd Great Tit, I waited around and backed off a little. Sure enough, a Marsh Tit flew into view. Surprisingly, this is a new bird for my patch list, despite seemingly good habitat. Certainly never heard singing during the breeding season, so I wonder where this little chap has come from. My favourite tit on the patch!
Moving on, the ground muddy beneath my boots now, Geese and Corvids were busy overhead communicating in scattered groups. On the lagoon, another first: the only Duck species present were Teal, and 122 was a record count for the patch. Quite a day, then!
Yesterday (28th) I set off for Great Yarmouth cemetery for some sp…

Phalarope Day!

Debs and I met up with family today, both of whom were keen to see the confiding Daurian Shrike at Horsey. Excellent views were again obtained of this confident individual, which today was building up a small larder of bees and wasps. Shrikes can only 'show well', so why the photographers present needed to shove their massive lenses in the face of the bird I don't know, ridiculous.

A quick seawatch from here proved productive, a Common Scoter flock of c100 birds were loafing offshore, and closer in a few Red-throated Divers were fishing. Gannets fished distantly and one or two Auk species could be seen but not assigned to a species. A probable Grey Phalarope flew North, the first of a few today.

We had planned on giving the bushes a look around Shangri-La at Waxham, and on finding nothing of note we headed down to the beach. As luck would have it a couple of birders were watching two Grey Phalarope close in, gripping photos below!! The birds (possibly one adult and one juv…

Patch update, and the only way to start half-term.

With a (nearly) blank week stretching ahead of me I began by taking in Surlingham Church Marsh this morning. A Wigeon was new in on the lagoon, and both Little Grebe and Cormorant on the river heralded the arrival ofWinter. 2 Great Crested Grebe were probably a breeding pair, and a Sparrowhawk overhead was probably local too. Large numbers of Starlings moving overhead, a flock of 5 Pied Wagtail, 6 Stock Doves and finally 40 Lapwing at Wood's End. Fieldfare and Redwing heard, but not yet pinned down this winter period. Bullfinch and Siskin also vocal from the scrub.
Returning home after the weekly shop, news had broken of an Isabelline Shrike at Horsey. Shrikes are a real favourite of mine, and I couldn't miss this! I read up on the Izzy Shrike complex whilst having lunch, and felt prepared to ID whatever was there.
Once I had enjoyed good views, I set about pinning the bird down to subspecies level. One or two on site thought it to be a Turkestan (Red-tailed) Shrike, but I cou…

Dipping and Patching

With a change in the winds and a quite unprecedented influx of Short-eared Owls into Norfolk, I had a feeling the weekend might hold something special. A Rufous-tailed Robin, though, was not even on my radar! Mixed messages were coming through regarding the whereabouts of this Siberian mega, and I decided on the Friday night there was no way I could get to Wells, let alone East Hills, before darkness. Photos appeared, and there was only one place I wanted to be the following morning.
Myself and Ricky arrived at Wareham Greens for first light and joined the masses, shuffling to keep warm in the dark. If the bird was still around, only chaos could ensue. Perhaps anticipating a ruck, the Robin had either copped it or left on the clear skies of the night before. Yes, we were disappointed, but October in Norfolk is great on a bad day. Waiting for the Robin, we had seen Brambling, Marsh Harriers, Yellowhammers, Skylarks, Brent Geese and Curlew, all on their own morning commute.
Both of us had…

Timely Mega arrives in Suffolk

Having struggled to get out birding of late (weddings, stags, birthdays) I was chomping at the bit to be back in the field. On Sunday I literally found myself in a field late afternoon, watching a North American Sandhill Crane, probably the rarest bird on my personal list in terms of previous records. This, the first mainland record, is certainly a bird that commands the wow factor. Watching from a distance of about 100m, the bird occasionally raised its head in our direction, threatened to fly, but then just carried on grazing. The grey plumage with rusty overtones looked beautiful in the fading sun. Back on the lane in Boyton village, people were parking up and sprinting towards the target- scenes I have not witnessed since the Winterton Black Lark.I only just made it to see the Crane, since I had been away in London for a friend's wedding. Whilst Slough is not somewhere I would like to be stuck, a passing Red Kite certainly lifted my mood as I ate lunch in a graveyard! A Ring-n…