Monday, 11 May 2015

Moltoni's Subalpine Warbler

An extended lunch (well extended to the end of the day) allowed me to go see the Moltoni's Subalpine Warbler.

I had no suitable shoes so wellies were the best choice, done the 3.25 miles in around 50mins but at a cost getting a massive blister, but never mind, all worth it.





Also the female has apparently been heard and sounds like Moltoni's also, it wouldn't surprise me if we hear of best building messages soon. I think any weekend birders might be safe if they can with stand the next cold snap.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Citril Finch

I got there in the end after a day of agonising waits. Here are my pics and video.






Monday, 20 April 2015

Patch Birding once again

Been blasting the patch again and a first for me...another birder. I am not alone on my wooded waterway.

A fairly quiet day otherwise with most birds seemingly put off by the chilly easterly. Although a few year ticks, with a very early Reed Warbler, a fly over Tree Pipit and a surprisingly long time coming Coot.

Here are the best pics of the day.





This was today thought it looked cool


Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Migrants on the Patch

On Monday I got out for the first time in ages, I checked out the moth trap at dawn and the clear skies gave me hope that a few migrants would be about along the coast.

I quickly counted up the four moths (Wow wee) and headed for Trimingham.

A quick stop at Gimingham and I added two Patch year ticks Chiffchaff and Pochard with the later actually being a Patch Work Challenge first in the three years of doing it.

I left for Trimingham and upon arrival I almost turned around as thick fog graced the coast with nearly zero visibility. I got out of the car and a eerie silence was around with no birds singing in the cold dank weather.

I headed for the cliff top and once arrived a showy Skylark sat in the field next to me.


A Meadow Pipit sat singing on the cliff top then flew west when others called overhead.


As did another tick for the PWC but the Lapland Bunting that was spotted further up the path was also spotted by the on coming Dog and was flushed west.

I carried on walking through the gloom and reached the Cliff Top wood and in here the familiar sound of a singing Firecrest was coming from the tree tops another year tick and 1 week earlier than the bird I recorded last year.

Below this years bird was to high and mobile to photograph.


Last years view was better.


Same goes for the view of the next bird I found, this time a year to the day since I found a Long-eared Owl on the Patch. Similar circumstances with flushing the bird out of scrub but this time losing it flying into the fog rather then into a nearby bush like last year.


After this surprising morning I headed for Pigney's Wood hoping my good luck would continue. Nothing rare but 18 Chiffchaff, a pair of Gadwall, a pair Teal, Kingfisher, Green Sandpiper and singing Lesser Redpoll and Blackcap were all of note.

I also got these pictures, I particually like the Reed Bunting below, as my four year old said when I showed her the picture "a beautiful bird in a beautiful bush"



I did go to Felbrigg with the family later in the afternoon where the Mandarin Ducks showed well, and a huge number of Toads were making there way to the lake.







Saturday, 7 February 2015

Harlequin and other Scottish Wildlife

Adam and I spent the day in Scotland yesterday (6th Feb).

The aim was to see the long staying Harlequin Duck in Aberdeen.

We left at midnight and on a positive note we did see around 15 Barn Owls driving through Norfolk and the Early part of Lincolnshire.

We arrived at Seaton Park at around 9.15 and then we walked upstream along the river, Goldeneye and Goosander were showing well.


Then we came to the Harlequin Duck, at first it was preening but not long after it started to feed, diving into the fast flowing water.








We watched the bird for about an hour before heading home via the southern part of the Cairngorms.

We looked for Grouse around the Braemar Area, got really lucky finding a Black Grouse lek down one of the Glenss, two Ravens flew over also.

Also found two Dipper in the river.


The lek was a long way up a side of a mountain and I could only get a picture of two of the females


The view wasn't bad though


Also got some distant views of Mountain Hare which was great.


and some even further views of Red Deer.


As we left this Glen a hooded Crow flew in and a Buzzard spooked two Red Grouse


We moved on and on a brief stop to photograph some closer Red Deer


We saw a much closer Red Grouse 


And a much closer Mountain Hare



can you spot the Hare? see the video at the end for the answer.


One more stop on the along the way and viewing 40+ Red Grouse in a single flock Adam found 4 Ptarmigan three of which were in their pure white plumage, a great end to a great days twitching



Tuesday, 3 February 2015

New Years Day Bird Race - late but worth the read

Been really busy of late doing the house up. Didn't really get chance to do any birding during November and December.

Still doing plenty of DIY during January I didn't expect to get much birding done but I did manage a few days here and there.

1st of January was the annual bird race day, no records broken on a very trying day where the wind played havoc and the darkness of the night never really seemed to disappear.

I normally do a full write up but as its February it hardly now seems worth it, so here is a summary of the day.

Leave at 5.30 pick up Dad and Adam see Blackbird at Adams and Tawny Owl at Wells.

Get to Titchwell clock up 68 species total to 70, highlights had to be Peregrine flying along the beach and a male Hen Harrier.


Same picture taken each year but it has never been this dark - Brackish Marsh Titchwell


Only blue sky seen all day - Titchwll

Next Choseley clock up a whopping 1 species total to 71, highlights had to be the Red-legged Partridge as it was the only bird we saw.

Then Thornham and here only 1 species added, total to 72, but at least Twite is a worthy highlight.

Next Holme added 9 species total to 81, Highlights Snow Bunting and Stonechat


Above - Hunstanton from Holme and below Dad and Adam after seeing the Snow Buntings



After this Snettisham added 8 species total to 89, highlights Black-necked Grebe and Glaucous Gull


Glaucous Gull

A quick stop at Roydon added 3 species total to 92, highlights Green Woodpecker

Then Flitcham added 6 species total to 98, highlights Brambling and Tree Sparrow

At this point we had given up hope on the usual route of ending at Hickling to headed for Brancaster here we saw Tundra Bean Goose total to 99

After that Gun Hill where only Barn Owl was seen bird 100.

Holkham - White-fronted Goose 101

Stifkey - Sparrowhawk and Short-eared Owl 103

Last stop was Salthouse but by this point we were hoping to see a Canada Goose in the car headlights so added nothing in the pitch black ending the day on 103. We did miss some really 'easy' birds, like Canada Goose, Pied Wagtail, Egyptian Goose, Siskin, Bullfinch and Treecreeper just to name a few.

Now For the Serious Stuff......

For you statisticians out there Black-necked Grebe was a 1st January Lifer for me bringing my 1st January Norfolk life list to 172! after 18 years of completing a 1st list

The last 13 years I have had a list over 100.

Out of the 172 on 37 have been seen every year, Pied Wagtail has now not been seen twice (2006,2015)

On the other end of the spectrum 26 have only ever been seen once.

Bean Goose (Tundra) and Short-eared Owl were recorded only for the second time in 2015.

Biggest bogie birds still never seen on the first Grey Wagtail, Goosander, Bittern and Crossbill.

And finally the saddest stat of them all the Sparrowhawk at Stifkey was the 1800th 1st January bird logged by me (my 18 years of totals is now to 1801 which is 100.05 average per year)


Thursday, 6 November 2014

One of those days....(of the good version)

Sometimes you head out birding and everything just falls into place, Saturday was one of them days.

I headed to Breydon Water in the hope of seeing a Rough-legged Buzzard well as I had heard that they were showing well down there.

After sorting the kid out I headed off and got to Breydon at about 9.45.

Instantly I could see a huge flock of Golden Plover, I spent some time scanning through for a slightly smaller grey version but could pick anything of note out.

I carried on and could hear the Golden Plover calling I turned around to see them all in the air.

Many Little Egrets were along the dyke next to the sea wall.


I had a practice at trying to get some flight shots, something I struggle with on my camera.


Unless the flight is stationary, like this Kestrel.




Two Brent geese were feeding next to the bank showing well.


I continued walking through the wind and rain and wondered why? I eventually spotted a Rough-legged Buzzard flying around and being mobbed by a Marsh Harrier. I watched it in the distance and carried on walking watching it fly around as I went on my way.

I saw it land so carried on walking to get a closer look. I eventually got to a spot were I could see the Rough-legged Buzzard on a distant post.


It took off from the post and started hunting over the field, at this point 12 Twite flew over my head and disappeared.





I continued to watch the Rough-legged Buzzard as it got mobbed my Crow's, Lapwings, Marsh Harrier and Peregrine. It really was nice being out there all by myself.

I picked up the other two Rough-legged Buzzards also flying behind the mill.

I wondered back and then came across the Twite again, but this time they were showing very well right next to the path. Once again it was lovely to have these birds all to myself.







I walked on an a bird in the sky caught my eye, I initially thought it was a Peregrine but upon getting the bins on it it appeared to have a dark breast, it was the briefest of views but it certainly looked different as it flew off strong down Breydon Water.

Walking some more I could see a Kestrel mobbing a Short-eared Owl, It was then joined by a second Short-eared Owl flying over the fields. I then walked up to the field and got fantastic view of the two Short-eared Owls hunting over the field.




I walked on and flushed a third Short-eared Owl from right next to the path it flew further along and landed on the shore and did it best effort to look like a Long-eared.




I had to carry on walking and the Owl flew back towards it original spot on the bank.



(the video shows the Short-eared Owls and the Golden Plover from earlier and Brent Geese)


I left Breydon with the weather improving and the rain moving out leaving this wonderful scene.


I then popped into Suffolk to see the Hoopoe.





Luckily I was the last person to see it as it flew off and did not return. I did get a chance to see this Jackdaw on the moon whilst searching for the Hoopoe.