With a northerly blow forecast, I was keen to get out on Saturday and do some seawatching. I was busy Saturday morning, but soon regretted not being busy Saturday afternoon instead as 2 hours from Scratby were not very productive, although it was good to finally meet Stratton Birder Steve. We gave it a couple of hours, the best bird was probably a Grey Plover going north. Brents, Gannets and Wigeon were the most numerous migrants of 8 species not including the resident Med Gulls. Steve and I then went separate ways to hunt some Passerines, although Steve did return later and score a juvenile Long-tailed Skua! I went to Caister and did the usual loop, saw absolutely zilch. With still an hour to spare I went to Yarmouth Cemetery, and bar a Chiffchaff there was nothing in here either (I'll refrain from saying it was 'dead') although 2 Firecrest had been reported earlier in the day. Unusually I didn't see any other birders, although it was by now around dinner time and I too was getting hungry so called it a day.
Reading the bird news from the day, I felt like I had missed out on some good seabirds. The north coast was always going to score, but there had been a few Shearwaters and a couple of Leaches out east in the afternoon. Not to be defeated, I was keen to try again Sunday morning and James Brown suggested North Suffolk might be decent. I has birded Gunton in the past but never Corton, and having been committed to the East Norfolk coast up until now I had never really given this area much thought. A quick look at Google maps revealed from where I live now, Corton is just 30 minutes away compared with 45 minutes to Caister. Gunton was basically the same, and with time as always at a premium I was already looking at a change.
I met James at 7.45 this morning, and he had already put in over an hour and seen a Puffin, a good record. In the hour and a half I watched, we had a Balearic type come through north (rarely banked or cruised, appeared in a rush with lots of flapping) and a Sooty Shearwater (much longer winged and spent time cruising over the surf). I haven't seen a Sooty for a couple of years so this was already 200% better than yesterday! Brents, Gannets, Wigeon and Teal were numerous, and we also had a few Auk Sp and a Grey Wagtail over.
I then went to have a look for yesterday's Wryneck at the old sewage works. What a smashing area this is. There was lots of activity in the surrounding hedges with Chiffchaff flycatching and getting bother from the local Finches. There was no Wryneck, but a female-type Redstart showed briefly on the sewage works fence. Slightly further inland, a boggy area held another Chiffchaff. I had a quick walk round the old railway site, Siskin and Grey Wagtail overhead making the occasion seem that bit more Autumnal. More Chiffchaff were here, and again I was taken aback at the quality of habitat here within easy reach. Without even checking the well known Radar Lodge area or Corton Woods, I was sold. If the locals don't mind, my Autumn birding is sorted!
Sunday, 11 September 2016
With summer continuing to outstay her welcome, birding has been slow of late. Having been over at Strumpshaw Fen to look through some Moths with Ben on the 31st, and feeling like I hadn't seen anything 'good' for ages, I strung out the morning with a walk round to Tower Hide. The immature Glossy Ibis was showing well in front of the hide, and continues to be present at time of typing. This bird constitutes my 5th Yare Valley record after 4 birds at Reedham/Cantley Marshes in 2012. A target bird south of the river for sure.
Frosted Orange, my first, from Strumpshaw Fen
The Glossy Ibis, a mid-stayer
Having been round Church Marsh and Rockland Broad this weekend, along with regular walks down to the river, I can safely say there is not much around at the moment. Still, the weather is glorious and I never tire of getting out and exploring the valley. Church Marsh had a juvenile male Marsh Harrier, a pinging Bearded Tit and a few returning Teal and Shovelor. Chiffchaff are everywhere, their 'hweet' call giving them away. I wonder how many will stay for the Winter. Rockland was dead this afternoon, although a Small Copper was a new one for the site.
On Butterflies, my garden has really delivered this Summer. Along with the expected common species, we have had Small Copper, Painted Lady, Wall Brown, Speckled Wood and Brown Argus! The beds we have been digging and tending to already paying off.
Being back at work means the Moth trap only gets set at the weekend, which is hurting. A few new ones of note: Engrailed, Marbled Beauty, Pale Water Veneer, Common Purple and Gold, Rush Veneer and Rusty Dot Pearl. I am still letting many micros go without ID, but hopefully The book will turn up on my birthday later this month.