Monday, 24 October 2011

Isabelline Shrike at Horsey and general migrants

15 Years after my first Isabelline Shrike another (my second for Norfolk) turns up at the same spot.

A real cracking bird that after a hour or so of watching I decided to leave and on the walk back saw it again, and was one of the lucky few that got to watch it catch a Wren. The rest of the birders then got to watch the poor Wren get be-headed, it was awesome!

Yesterday my patch total at Trimingham/Gimingham passed 100 for the year with three new birds being seen a Peregrine and Hen Harrier that came in off the sea (not together) and an Arctic Tern that I spotted miles out to sea and watched it fly all the way in before landing on the beach.

Clearly still plenty of migration happening with all of the below as well as the bits above coming in off the sea. Mistle Thrush 2, Fieldfare 20, Redwing 4, Blackbird 7, Meadow Pipit 8, Pink-footed Goose 300, Redpoll 20, Skylark 35, Starling 110, Pied Wagtail 1, Siskin 15 and Crossbill 4. This was all between 8.00 and 10.30 before I then headed home.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Back to Norfolk

Went out and about yesterday to hopefully find something plus see the Cattle Egret at Blakeney.

Adam and I arrived at Friary Hills and spoke to Stuart White who had told me that the bird had flown into a tree towards Cley but was viewable still. So we left the car and started to walk to the far end of the hills.

Whilst walking along 3 Crossbill flew over head heading west which was nice to see. We got to the end of the hills and scanned but no sign of the Egret, so I suggested the sluice track to Adam and we headed up there. During the walk back a mini Thrush influx had occurred with at least 5 Song Thrush and a small flock of Redwing around the bushes.

We got to the sluice and walked some way out but still no sign, I then got a glimpse of what I was sure was the Cattle Egret flying behind the hedgerow and landing in the cattle field out of view so this time Adam suggested the Wiveton Hall Farm Shop/Cafe and indeed from here the bird was showing well from the field directly opposite.

After this we headed to Salthouse and did a stint of sea watching, with the highlight being the unmistakable grey hood of a Puffin flying west. Many Razorbills and Guillemots were also flying past as well as many settled on the sea.

From here were walked to the West hill and down the middle track seeing nothing of note. A quick lunch at the Dun Cow I added Grey Wagtail to the pubs list. Then just before leaving I spotted a large Thrush that had come in off the sea and fly behind the hedges to the west of the pub, in what was a brief appearance it had a nice super and its back looked a dark navy in colour, the body of the bird itself looked a mottled mess with no distinctive markings. We then spent over an hour looking for this mystery bird but had no luck in finding what was probably a manky Blackbird.

From here we took the footpath the lead us to the Iron Road, a few Redpoll's flew over and two Siskin flew in off the sea as we walked along the single ridge back to the car. A Swallow also flew through.

After this we spent our last time of the afternoon scanning through the hundreds of birds at Cley from Bishop Hide and below are some pics.

Here is a really good video of a Common Snipe.

This Teal was so close you can actually see the refecltion of the hide in its eye!

This morning I had four Crossbill over Bacton.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Sometimes its worth it?

We left early Tuesday morning to go to Scilly, arriving in Penzance at 8.30 and then flying to Tresco (this was the only way to the islands that early). Saw a Bonxie from the Helicopter as well as many Gannets.

On the boat from Tresco to St Mary's we had Little Egret and two Spoonbill.

We got to St Mary's and out of the guesthouse by around 11am and then headed straight to Lower Moors for our first target bird. We got to the board walk and saw a small flock of Swallows passing through.

At the hide we didn't have to wait long before my first lifer the Wilson's Snipe walked into view.

Some Common Snipe then joined the Wilson's and it was great to get the comparison here you can clearly see how much greyer the Wilson's is next to the Common.

We left the hide and Philip and Adam had gone ahead when a House Martin flew over and a few Chiffchaff were in the bushes with a couple of Goldcrest.

We took a track that had been opened up for birders called Sunnyside Farm Trail, up here we had fly over Siskin but the bushes were alive with Blackbirds, Dunnocks, Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and a new Scilly bird for me a Brambling.

We continued heading for Borough Farm seeing a Sparrowhawk along the way. Upon arrival at Borough Farm we were told that there had been no sign of the Upland Sandpiper so we started searching all the nearby fields. After 20mins or so, news of possibly two Olive-backed Pipits just down the road had us heading in that direction.

I stopped at the top the hill looking down onto other birders whom were looking along the road below, it wasn't long before I spotted one up a tree and watched as it dropped down into the field next to the second Olive-backed Pipit.

Both Pipits flew over the hedge into the next field where we then went around for a better look.

The masses soon gathered as with all new rarities on Scilly.

We then got very wet in a terrible down poor and walked back up to try to relocate the Upland Sandpiper and with luck as Adam possibly flushed it out from a roadside bush. My second lifer of the day then showed well as it darted between the bulb rows, but it never sat still which proved ark ward for getting many pictures of it.

After this we had only one target bird left and this was to be looked for in the evening so had a little time to kill on the way. We popped into Carreg Dhu gardens where we had great views of a couple of Firecrests and just as we left the gardens news of a Red-throated Pipit at Longstones had us going back up the track.

We arrived to find that the Pipit was in a field that had limited viewing but eventually we were able to see the Red-throated Pipit in amongst the Meadow Pipits.

After this we headed for the dump and on the way at Lower Moors came across a mixed flock of Warblers which had Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, a single Willow Warbler and a Yellow-browed Warbler.

We then got to the dump and follow the instructions to the pool behind it and waited for the Northern Waterthrush to appear. We had a brief moment of excitement as a Grey Wagtail flew onto the pool, and this was our only moment of excitement during the 2.5 hours that we waited.

The not seeing of the Waterthrush left us only one option and this was get up early, so the next morning we walked back to the pool in moonlight and got into position. 50mins passed and only glimpsing a Kingfisher behind me I had given up hope that we would see the Waterthrush and was now looking forward to breakfast when all of a sudden a bird called that I didn't recognise it was the Northern Waterthrush.

It the slowly came onto the pool and showed really well for ten minutes before flying off.

We then went back for breakfast and packed our things and headed out again taking the 'long way' to the airport.

We walked through the town and I found a Black Redstart on Porth Mellon beach. We then walked through past the dump and into Old Town where a Rock Pipit sat on the beach. We then headed out past the Tolman Cafe and to the back of the Airfield along here we had our second Black Redstart and two Wheatear, Philip and I had a brief Stonechat.

We then had a quick look for a Wryneck with no joy so went and watched a Bluethroat at Porth Hellick.

After this we saw 7 Greenshank and a flyover Redshank before flying back to Lands End. So in just over 24hrs I saw a total of 69 species, three of which were lifers.

Old News

Heres a video of the Rufous-tailed Robin Twitch (dip).

Also popped out to Trimingham on Sunday where Crossbills, Siskins and Yellow-browed Warbler were had.

Just back from Scilly will post up later

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Great Day Out

Friday was the start of my week and a bit off, for birding.

Adam and I started Friday morning heading to Lowestoft as I fancied seeing the Woodchat Shrike. We arrived at Links Road at around 9am and were straight onto the very obliging bird. It was showing really well when I spotted a bird flying in beside us, at first it looked Crakey, so we walked around to try and find it, no sign where it landed and just as I turned to walk away a Quail flies up and nearly hit me in the face.

We left here and headed for Corton where it wasn't long before a Yellow-browed Warbler called and we got to watch it fly about the tree tops before it flew into the church yard.

We soon left Corton as I was getting a Norfolk itch I really felt that with Thurday's winds something was just waiting to be found. With this we went to Horsey Gap and Walked to Waxham Holiday Camp.

The walk down the track had a tit flock this had a single Chiffchaff within it. We walked along the lower track through the bushes watching mixed flocks of Siskin and Redpoll flying over.

We arrived at the back of the camp and scanned over the bushes towards the pipedump and right in the distance I found a Great Grey Shrike perched near to the 'bend in the road' it was very distant and we did stop for another look at it on the way through.

After the scan round we popped down to see how some ringers were getting on, lots of Meadow Pipits and Redpolls had been trapped during the morning including this one.

With this we walked back but this time taking to the top off the dunes next to the beach. Straight off we spotted a small bird land on the beach up ahead as it flew in off the sea.

We continued walking to get a better look but before arriving a much larger bird flew in off the sea being mobbed by Gulls, this was a Short-eared Owl. It almost crashed into the dunes before spotting us and then it continued inland.

So looking back at the beach we were much closer to our original bird this was in fact a Snow Bunting.

More Siskins, Redpolls, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks flew over head as we walked back to the car.

Our next stop was lunch and this was had at our favourite sea watching pub the Poachers Pocket. At first all seemed quiet but slowly birds started to appear, Gannets flew through then Ducks and Geese flew though Teal, Wigeon and Brents.

Then a new pub tick as two Common Scoter flew through. A brilliant summer plumage Red-throated Diver appear on the sea in front of us and another pub tick flew in off the sea and this was our second Short-eared Owl of the day.

From here we then headed for Trimingham and the cliff top wood which as always was quiet apart from a few Goldcrests, we then bumped into Connor and as we were speaking I spotted our third Short-eared Owl as it flew up the cliff and perched on the cliff top.

The rest of the afternoon was spent searching the woods and seeing Brambling, Redwing and Fieldfare.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

A day in searching

Today I decided on heading out in search for migrants I the hope of finding a really gooden.

This was based on yesterday whislt doing the garden fence, seeing in the region of 500 Redwing fly over and 1 Fieldfare during the morning. Although the highlight was hearing this odd Sparrow like call from behind my hedge and then realising that it was a Richard's Pipit as it then flew off over the garden.

I started today with a brief stop at Cley I thought about going here first to shelter from the rain, but after a quick scan from the car park a seeing a lack of birds I thought I would head straight to my main plan which was Stifkey.

I parked at the Campsite and walked towards the wood, here I saw my first migrants of the day whilst watching the tit flock a few Brambling sat up in the tree tops.

I continued further scaning through the Long-tailed tits but finding nothing extra, at a clearing in the trees I scanned across the marshes at a Golden Plover flock which took off and at the same time a Great Tit gave a warning call and as I looked up a Peregrine flew along close to the trees.

I continued walking and searched through four different tit flocks but finding only a Blackcap. I watched a small bush that held two Reed Bunting, three Linnets and a Yellowhammer.

Before I knew it I was at Stifkey Fen and here things get a little more interesting a scanned through the many Teal and found two Curlew Sandpiper and a Little Stint. At the time I questioned the Stint but put it down to the arkward light and my hopes and headed back.

But here are some images of the Stint below I am sure it is just funny plumaged Little but what do you think?

The way back was quiet a few more Brambling flew over and a Kingfisher was down a channel. A small flock of Redwing headed inland and a Song Thrush was now in the wood.

From here I went to Cley and spent 50mins Sea Watching and here are the results,

Golden Plover 1

Gannet 17

Brent Goose 192

Wigeon 22

Red-throated Diver 1

Guillemot 4

Meadow Pipit 1

Teal 1

Dunlin 4

Cormorant 6

Skylark 18

Pintail 6

Shelduck 2

After that I went home.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Monday, 3 October 2011

Mega and mega?

Well yesterday got a Mega garden tick early morning yesterday as the local Blackbirds become rather alert I looked up and saw a Short-eared Owl fly over the house and continue south from the garden.

Also news on the meowing bird - additional people have heard the bird and reported seeing a large blackcap although it still allueds us was last heard on saturday and not since.