Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Worth a Post

Been wanting to start writing my blog again for a while, but really was unsure where to start.

So finding a great rare is a great opportunity.

On Saturday strong northerly winds were forecast so Alysia and I headed out on the hope of finding some migrants, knowing that nearly 95% of all other birders will be squished in a shelter somewhere I felt Burnham Overy Dunes would be a great spot to start at dawn. 

We arrived in twilight and started to walk out, a few Redwings, Fieldfares and a Ring Ouzel flew over us. Meadow Pipits and Starlings were also on the move.

To be honest it was actually a really quiet on the walk out, the wind was very strong and cold and I think most birds were being grounded by the constant rain showers. We did get to count 185 Little Egrets coming out of roost though. We occasionally flushed the odd Reed Bunting, Redwing and Song Thrush that was taking shelter next to the path and just before reaching the dunes a flyby Woodcock was great to see.

We got to the dunes and rain was then easing and the southern edge was relatively sheltered from the wind, we walked west towards gun hill.

I then heard three Fieldfare that were overhead and then heard an unusual call from just behind me it wasn't a call I had heard before. 

I turned to try and view the bird this mystery call had come from, straight away I was onto a Fieldfare sized and shaped bird at eye height around 10m away flying in front of the saltmarsh Suaeda the most striking feature at this point was the large solid black throat. The next thing I noticed was the uniform grey back with the wings, back and rump. It was only brief but the bird was flying slowly into the wind allowing 4-5 seconds of decent close views. Still managed to shout out BLACK-THROATED THRUSH within a split second of seeing it so that Lis could also get on to it.

The Thrush kept flying and landed in the "Spectacled Warbler" bushes, we walked on in hope to get a view of the Thrush as re approach we could see the Thrush hopping up the bush it was in, views still distant and before I could get the scope set up, the three Fieldfare took off and the Thrush followed, it appeared to go down over Gun Hill. 

We walked slowly up to the top of the hill and scanned around but had no joy in relocating, we walked around a little and while we were then discussing what way to walk around the dunes the Thrush called and was flying above us. It circled closely above us twice before it then flew directly south inland.

Although all views were brief we manged to note all of the id features on this cracking bird.

Lis done this wonderful drawing.

After this we carried on looking around the dunes and walked up to Holkham Pines and the Joe Jordan Hide. We saw 3 more Woodcock, Snow Bunting (which seemly went down a rabbit hole), 2 Crossbill, 3 Sparrowhawk, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Redpoll and a Brambling. I do feel that more migrants could of been out there, but they were to wet and tired they had to be nearly stood on before seeing them.

We did manage a 30min stint looking at the sea off Burnham and saw some nice Pomarine Skua's, Eider and Scoter.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Whitlingham in January

Whitlingham Lane and Thorpe Marshes and all the bits in-between are my new patch and I made 5 visits during January and started a year list.

As part of my effort to catch up on my blog posts here's each species seen throughout January

Mute Swan - Seen on each visit the highest count 24
Greylag Goose - Seen 4 out of 5 visits highest count 42
Canada Goose - Seen each visit
Egyptian Goose - Seen each visit
Wigeon - 1 drake seen on the 29th January

Gadwall - Seen each visit highest count 125

Teal - Seen 4 out of 5 times highest count 19
Mallard - seen each visit highest count 62
Shoveler - only seen once
Pochard - Seen each time highest count 36

Tufted Duck - Seen each visit highest count 229

Scaup - Seen twice at the start of the month highest count 3

Goldeneye - Female seen twice
Pheasant - seen once
Cormorant - seen each time highest count 46
Grey Heron - seen each time
Little Grebe - seen four out of 5 times highest count 9
Great Crested Grebe - Seen each time highest count 7

Water Rail - Seen (heard) each time, highest count was 9, saw 4 together on the south shore one morning they were really close and chased each other across a ditch, it was very cool.
Moorhen - Seen on every visit
Coot - seen on every visit with a huge count of 256 on the 22nd

Lapwing - a flock of 28 flew and circled for a while over the Great Broad on the 5th
Black-headed Gull - seen each visit with a high count of 238
Common Gull - seen four out of the five visits with a high count of 36
Lesser Black-backed Gull - seen four out of five times with only 1 bird each time
Herring Gull - Seen every visit highest count was 13
Stock Dove - two birds seen once
Woodpigeon - seen each visit
Tawny Owl - heard once mid afternoon in the woods
Kingfisher - seen three out of five visits 
Green Woodpecker - Recorded three out of five visits 
Great Spotted Woodpecker - Recorded three out of five visits 
Magpie - Seen four out of five visits
Jay - seen twice
Jackdaw - seen every visit with a high count of 65.
Carrion Crow - Seen every visit with a high count of 25
Goldcrest - Seen three out of five visits
Blue Tit - seen each visit with 24 recorded on the 29th
Great Tit - seen four out of five visits
Coal Tit - seen once
Cetti's Warbler - recorded on two visits
Long-tailed Tit - seen four out of five times with the highest number counted 26
Nuthatch - seen twice with three counted on the 15th
Treecreeper - Recorded twice
Blackbird -  seen on three out of five visits
Wren - seen on three out of five visits
Song Thrush - seen four out of five visits with a high count of 9
Redwing - seen only twice with a high of 3 birds only
Mistle Thrush - seen one with 3 birds flying over the Great Broad on the 22nd
Robin - seen on each visit with a high count of 8
Dunnock - seen on each visit with a high count of 9
Chaffinch - seen three time with a high count of 10 birds
Brambling - 2 birds seen on the 29th
Greenfinch - seen three out of the five visits with a high count of 12
Grey Wagtail - 2 birds seen on the 29th
Pied Wagtail - seen on three out of the five visits
Goldfinch - seen four out of the five visits
Siskin - seen on each visit with a high count of 36

Lesser Redpoll - seen twice high count of only 2 birds
Bullfinch - a single bird seen on the 29th
Reed Bunting - a single bird seen on the 29th

During the visit on the 22nd most of the Great Broad was frozen which lead to some great views of the ducks on the remaining open parts. Below are some additional photos from those above.

So all in all a good start to the year with 62 species seen and great views of some.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Back Blogging - lets start with the January Bird Race

I know this is a little in the past but I said I would try and blog most birding trips for this year, so this is where it all begins on 1st January, and with every January 1st I head out on a super listing day a winters bird race, my 20th year of doing so.

On route to pick up Adam the first few birds of the day where seen Robin, Barn Owl and Feral Pigeon.

We then head to Titchwell and on the way the rain came which then lasted for the entire day, this bird race was the wettest I had ever experienced.

In the car park we added Woodpigeon, the problem with the rain meant that the daylight took a long time to come, so rather than heading to the beach and awaiting dawn like normal we went to the Parrinder hide to shelter and wait for it to get light enough to see the sea. In the hide we quickly added birds Curlew, Greylag, Brent Goose, Moorhen, Lapwing, Snipe, Shelduck, Shoveler, Teal, Redshank, Ringed plover, Ruff, Pintail, Black-headed Gull, Cormorant, Dunlin, Mallard, Pochard, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Avocet, Herring gull, Carrion Crow, Turnstone, Cetti's Warbler (heard only at this point but seen later) and Gadwall. So we left the hide on 29 species and headed to the beach.

On the way the Tidal Marsh had Little grebe, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Meadow Pipit, Knot, Spotted Redshank, Little Egret and a Wren.

We got to the beach and the tide was in, straight away a close flock of Scoter took off from the sea Common and Velvet Scoter were in the flock, Goldeneye and Long-tailed Duck were also on the sea. Oystercatcher, Great Crested Grebe, Eider and Sanderling were also added before we got good views of a Great Northern Diver. Red-throated Diver and Red-breasted Merganser flew in and a Merlin flew over our heads before we walked back leaving the beach on 50 for the day.

Reed Bunting, Blue Tit, Magpie and Marsh Harrier were all seen before we reached the drained grazing marsh where a Water Pipit was showing well. We headed to Patsy's pool Skylark, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Long-tailed Tit, Dunnock, Coot, Tufted Duck and Pheasant were seen on and around the pool. We then had a look around the feeders and saw Chaffinch, Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, Goldfinch, Water Rail, Brambling, Jay, Bullfinch, Great Tit and Goldcrest so we left Titchwell on 73 species and it was still raining.

Next stop was Thornham where a Rock Pipit showed well on top of the coal barn.

Down by the car park the Twite flock was also showing well so neither birds made us get out of the car and get wetter.

A Curlew also showed well in the rain and this Brent Goose seemed surprised to be on the road.

Jackdaw as also seen as we left and headed to Choseley

At Choseley the drying barns were devoid of any birds but the surrounding fields and hedge rows allowed us to add Buzzard, Kestrel, Red-legged Partridge, Common Gull, Stock Dove, Grey Partridge and Starling.

Now Grey Partridge was a very important bird, it was my 82nd bird of the day, and as a keeper of stats this was my 2000th bird species recorded on 1st January. Obviously this is not 2000 different species, this is made from the combined totals of each year all added up. Still a very cool bird to have for my 2000th.

Back to the race..... we headed to Docking in hope for the Red-breasted Goose but after struggling to find the small flock of geese that were in the area, the Red-breasted Goose was not amongst them. We did however see Mistle Thrush, Egyptian Goose, Pink-footed Goose and Golden Plover in with the Pink-footed Flock.

After this we went to Flitcham in the village House Sparrow was seen and at the reserve a few Tree Sparrow were with the large flock of Chaffinch and Brambling.

We then made a decision to not head back to the coast and head inland instead, Flitcham was just as wet as the coast but was lacking the force 9 Gale with a super cool wind chill. So with this in mind we went to Tottenhill and on route we saw Rook at Blackborough End.

At Tottenhill a look on the gravel pits and straight away we saw Canada Goose, and shortly after Wigeon and we then saw Scaup which was only the 2nd time in 20 years I had seen Scaup on the 1st, with the last time being in 2005 this was our 93rd bird of the day.

Next stop was Lynford arboretum we were hoping a few Hawfinch's would be about so headed for the paddock. Walking through we saw Coal tit, Redwing and Song Thrush. No sign of any Hawfinch's so we walked back adding Treecreeper, Marsh Tit, Fieldfare and Nuthatch. Nuthatch meant we reached 100 for the day which I was please with in the pouring rain. 

We then walked over to the gravel pits, Goosander was the first bird we saw this was a new 1st January species for me the 176th species I have seen. We then saw Mute Swan, Linnet and a Great White Egret flew from the reeds to the furthest shore. The Great White Egret sighting was only the second time I had see this species on the 1st after seeing 2 birds at Stifkey in 1998.

We left for Halvergate stopping in at Santon Downham adding Greenfinch scarily our 105th bird of the day.

We arrived at Halvergate and not being 100% on where the Egrets (Cattle) had been seen I went down the car park track, we saw a Grey Heron down there and on the way back out we saw 3 white shapes in with the Cattle and these were indeed the Cattle Egret, we also saw the forth bird as we got closer. Cattle Egret was another 1st January lifer my 177th.

Light was fading fast we tried to head to Hickling for the roost, we stopped at Ludham seeing Bewick's Swan and Whooper Swan and then decided it would be too dark by the time we walked to the roost from the car park so went to Horsey in the hope of seeing something from there.

We were in luck as in the fading light four Cranes flew along in front of us. 

We made on last stop on the way home at Bacton Woods and saw Tawny Owl our 112th bird of the day. 

Personally I think 112 was astonishing I didn't think we would get much past 90 with the conditions, all in all a good day out.

As for the rest of January...I will post them up as fast as I can.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

An amazing pair of bitterns and picture catch up

Its been a while but I have been busy birding and other stuff to write up the blog.

Its going to be brief but this is a snippet catch up, Mostly in pictures.

13th May, Went on a pre-work visit to Whitlingham with Lys, a lovely morning with birds singing and some showing well. 

42 Species seen.

Goldfinch, Wren, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Song thrush, Swallow, Mute swan, Lesser black-backed Gull, Oystercatcher, Greylag, Jackdaw, Egyptian Goose, Wood Pigeon,  Mallard, Reed Warbler, Blue Tit, Blackbird, Magpie, Moorhen, Canada Goose, Coot, Carrion Crow, Robin, Whitethroat, Treecreeper, Common tern, Great Crested Grebe, Blackcap, Pied Wagtail, Tufted Duck, Cormorant,  Herring Gull, Garden Warbler, Great Tit, Cetti's Warbler, Jay, Long-tailed tit, Kestrel, Linnet, Willow warbler, Dunnock and House Martin

Then on the evening of the 14th May I re-visted and took Lys along to see the Bee-eater at Winterton. Birds like this cant be missed so wanted to give her the opportunity to see it.

We then walked up to see the seals.

On the evening of the 16th a friend found this Snow Bunting locally which was nice to see in the middle of May.

The 17th May a walk to work via the Cathedral allowed me to see the Peregrines.

26th May another pre work visit to Whitlingam.

42 Species seen on another good walk around.

Blackbird, Herring Gull, Mallard, Robin, Common Tern, Heron, Crow, Blue Tit, Wood Pigeon, Reed Warbler, Egyptian Goose, Greylag Goose, Mute Swan, Sedge Warbler, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Jackdaw, Magpie, Swift, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Swallow, Treecreeper, Dunnock, Song Thrush, Starling, Willow Warbler, Wren, Tufted Duck, Canada Goose, Great Crested Grebe, Great Tit, Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff, Pied Wagtail, Cetti's Warbler (HO), Bullfinch (HO), Coot, Long-tailed Tit, Stock Dove, Cormorant,  Moorhen and Goldfinch

28th May, I went for the Black-eared Wheatear took the kids, no sign of it, But they loved seeing a Blackbird and Whitethroat and the beach of course.

In the evening of the 28th I went to the patch, I do need do a proper patch write up at some point as have been on it a lot. But here are a few pictures from then anyway.

Then on Sunday 29th May I went to Dunwich and Minsmere.  A fantstic days birding.

These Rabbits were being cutesy in the car park at Dunwich.

Chaffinch a Cetti's Warbler were also around the car park.

A few Dartford Warblers were about even though the wind was fairly strong.

A Stonechat was also present.

At Minsmere I headed for the Bittern Hide first seeing this Common Tern.

And this Marsh Harrier.

Also saw Bittern before heading to the Island Mere hide.

From here I saw another Bittern this Cormorant.

And a Otter!

This Green Woodpecker was on Whin Hill

Then I walked to the East Scrape, where this Redshank was just outside the hide.

This Long-tailed Duck was a bit distant.

Also saw Oystercather

Nesting Terns

Nesting Barnacle Geese



More Terns

And a Sanderling

I then headed back to the Bittern Hide in the hope of see the Purple Heron, These Gulls seemed to be picking off Caddisfly from the reeds.

Then the wait for the Heron became great!! as a pair of Bitterns flew into the reeds in-front of the hide.

After ten minutes I spotted one in the reeds, and after about twenty minutes I managed to get another person on it. Slowly it came more into view.

Then both birds were visible.

They then done another fly past, (at which point the Purple Heron was seen again from the West Hide but missed by all in the Bittern hide as we were watching the Bitterns)

This time the landed again in-front off the hide but in a better view.

They eventually both flew off.

This Hobby was also about when all the Bittern action was happening.

I left for home with no Purple Heron but with view like that of two Bitterns I didnt really care. A great day at Minsmere. 85 Species seen on the day.

Then Yesterday I went to the patch and this is the results !!