Sunday, 18 September 2016

From Caister to Corton

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!

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