I am finding with the day length shortening I am often walking the patch in near darkness on a weekday after work. The movements of Finches and crests on the coast do not seem to have filtered inland, at least not down into the Yare Valley. Signs of change have been heralded by the arrival of Pink-footed Geese though, a couple of skeins have gone over the house in the past week. Perhaps there are more Blackbirds around, but with temperatures slowly dropping the residents could just be more obvious as they stock up on food. Very little to report from Church Marsh and Rockland, although it will not be long until the Winter Thrushes arrive and hopefully the Redpoll stick around in greater number this period.
On Sunday, with the wind from the east I had an afternoon on the coast planned. I began at Caister, encountering plenty of Goldcrest in the dunes and scrub but nothing much else. As news filtered through of a few rares on the north coast, I continued onto Hemsby hoping for the big one. Kings Loke wood held around 11 Redwing, similar numbers of Song Thrush and maybe as many as 50 Goldcrest. A further bash of some habo in the area revealed smaller numbers of the same species. By now, it was looking like the fall of rares was limited to the north coast, with Dusky, RFB and Izzy Shrike all making landfall. Still, it was a beautiful clear day and birds were clearly still arriving. I tried Winterton south dunes. and again fell over a few Goldcrest and nailed a single Brambling calling but nothing remotely scarce unfortunately. It was getting late in the day, real life beckoned, and I returned home. Looking at the east coast reports, minus a Yellow-browed Warbler my session had been as expected. Sometimes, birds arrive on an easterly and filter south along the east coast of the UK until they hit the rump, the north Norfolk coast. Having said that, there was a Pallas's Warbler in Essex and today a Radde's in Great Yarmouth, so it wasn't like nothing got through- I just couldn't find it! Still, I am not a coastal patcher by trade and I enjoy any day out on the coast. I saw 1 birder- imagine the number on the north coast!
On the saturday, Debs and I took a walk to Happisburgh coast watch starting from the bowling green. Debs saw a Snow Bunting and I had a Wheatear. There were a few Goldcrest, but the main arrival clearly took place on Sunday. We enjoyed fish and chips at Walcott and finished the day watching the local Turnstone as the sky changed shape and mood as we sat on the sea wall.
In other news, I am thrilled to report that my future on the patch has been secured with a move to Claxton. I am both optimistic and excited about a move into the heart of Crow Country, and a quick glance at my records shows that so many of my best patch birds are from Claxton and the surrounding marshes. We move at the end of the month, and I look forward to my first walk from the front door down to the river. A hunting Hen Harrier or Short-eared Owl would be just lovely.