Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Holiday Day 4, Pallas's Warbler, Two-barred Crossbill, Pallid Swift and Parrot Crossbill

There was a small part before Day 4, on the 22nd October during a walk with my daughters I found a Pallas's Warbler on the patch in  a huge tit flock, I also nipped into Winterton and saw the Velvet Scoter (could they be the same five that I saw fly past at Cley only the week before). Also got to see one of the three Shorelark that were around.

But here goes Day 4, 23th October.

I decided that it would be a good idea to head out a little later, winds from the west so nothing looked promising. With this in mind we headed for Lynford.

We arrived and kept ourselves entertained by looking at moths (Spruce Carpet Below) and Plants whilst waiting for the Crossbill flock to return.

Found some pretty trees also.

Eventually the flock returned and it wasn't long until I picked out the Two-Barred Crossbill, the picture is awful but never mind.

The flock got spooked by some nearby helicopter training and even though we waited in the area another hour they did not return.
After this we decided to head to Titchwell, but before getting to Docking news of a Pallid Swift at Cley had us headed in the other direction.
Last reports on route of the bird flying West made me stop at Blakeney Freshmarsh, no sign of it here. Another message on the pager has the bird viewable back over the Cley reserve. A quick drive through the village and we were watching a distant Swift.
We parked up at the beach car park, and slowly but surely we got some good scope views of the bird and I was able to please myself that it was indeed a Pallid Swift.
After 45mins or so the bird drifted east, we shot down to Salthouse so I could try and get a picture. The bird did arrive at Salthouse but before coming overhead it drifted out to sea and was lost to view.
During this time we'd received word of some Parrot Crossbills in Bacton Woods (my patch) so I couldn't resist but to look. We got some gen and headed out into the woods.
Bacton Woods are by no means small and a few Crossbill could go any where, we had been told of a flock of 25 Common and a smaller flock of 7 Birds that held 3 Parrot Crossbill.
After 3 hours searching going round in circles we finally heard a Crossbill(s) over the tree tops. We gave chase and found a group of 7 birds. They flew off over the trees and whilst out of sight one of the birds gave a Parrot call. They flew over the path again and landed in the top of a pine briefly before hopping down to another pine out of sight.
We walked down to see the tree we thought they were in...and nothing, not a sign or whisper of the Crossbills.
I continued to watch the trees for 10mins with no sign of any birds, they must of snuck off further than we thought, then a helicopter then flew over and would you believe it the Crossbill flock flew out from the very tree I was looking at.
It was getting late by now so we gave up and headed home, slightly disheartened by the fact that we technically had seen a Parrot Crossbill although it was as least one of 7.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Holiday Day 3, Twitching Mega and Twitching Rare, Two Lifer's

Adam and I set of early on 20th October and headed for Hayling Island, we eventually arrived at around 8.30 after some of the worse driving conditions I have ever witnessed. Around the M25 lighting struck beside the road, the rain was so hard we were forced to do 30mph (which was still probably to fast but that was the flow).

The A3 was even worse heavier rain and I was battling to keep the car in a straight line. But like I said we arrived at 8.30am and I will now skip to the end of the day because upon arriving home I looked at the BBC news channel and found this http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-24601190. Unbelievable we missed this by around 30mins but this explains the terrible conditions on the A3.

Back to the birds, we were hoping to see the Semipalmated Plover which in all sounded easy, wait for the tide, scan the waders and jobs a good'n.

After 3 hours waiting the tide was in.

The twitchers were assembled.

 But the birds had other ideas, I am sure that every bird had been scanned that was in the plover flock, but more were joining them until a Carrion Crow flew over and the birds were spooked and flew off.

We followed others to check 'the beach' by the car park - having no idea where this was we followed others.

Had time to photograph this calm scene on what was actually a rough day.

At the beach it was clear that the bird was there, an excited buzz was in the air, it wasn't long until we were put onto the bird. It was obviously different once you'd seen it.


Before we left a high number of Twitchers had assembled.

We left an head for Cranbrook in Kent, we wanted to see the Parrot Crossbill(s). Upon arrival it was spitting with rain, I was clever enough to take my umbrella. This turned out to be a great idea as it rained like the picture below for 45mins solid.

Eventually the rain cleared, and within seconds the Crossbill flock was back.

It was brief and distant but sure enough a Male Parrot Crossbill could be seen with its Bullish Head and huge beak it was great to compare against the Commons.

The Sun had then gone down so we headed home.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Holiday Day 2, Stifkey Marshes, Glossy Ibis, Dusky Warbler and Black Redstart

Headed for Stifkey on the 18th October, we arrived at the campsite at around dawn.
Migrants were clearly down on from earlier in the week although Redpoll were clearly on the move, the first birds seen flying over head were Redpoll and a total of 73 in the morning were counted flying west.
We walked west as far as the Warham Greens track seeing many Thrush's and Finch's.  Here are our totals in no particular order from the walk there and back, Fieldfare 14, Brambling 6, Crossbill 15, Redwing 130. Mistle Thrush 5, Chaffinch 64, Song Thrush 23, Robin 9, Blackbird 62, Blackcap 23, Skylark 25, Reed Bunting 19, Yellowhammer 13, Siskin 3 and Ring Ouzel 2.
Special note was a flock of 13 Blackcap moving through the hedgerow like a tit flock, we also got lucky with the 4 Glossy Ibis that flew past after we'd though we had missed them.

We got backed to the car got a drink and headed out into the marshes to check the gorse and few lone pines.  The walk out was good seeing Rock Pipit and Water Pipit but the bushes on the edge of the marsh weren't all that exciting, a handful of Redwing more of them dead than alive was all we saw, we believe the culprit to be the Peregrine that we saw eyeing up the wildfowl on the river.

On the walk back I captured this seen with a Little Egret, Greenshank and Redshank.

We then got back to that car when news of a Dusky Warbler at Weybourne had us heading that way, we arrived at Denmark House in time to see the release.

After this we went home via Glanford to see this wonderful male Black Redstart.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Holiday Birding day 1, Pallas's Warbler, Great Grey Shirke and a Siberian Stonechat

Computer has been playing up so I haven't been able to do an update. So the next few days I shall catch up.

14th October Adam and I headed for Burnham Overy Dunes we arrived at first light and the first bird of the day was a Woodcock.

Along the track a Crossbill flew over sounded good for Parrot but being unfamiliar with the call at the time it would have to go down as a possible.

A few small groups of Redwing flew over which became a theme for the morning.

Upon arrival at the bushes a female Whitethroat sat up, and after a good look through the bushes we found a Lesser Whitethroat also. Goldcrests, Robins, Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and a Ring Ouzel were also around.

We then continued towards the sea and the west completing a circle back to the bushes.

Around here we added many Reed Bunting, Blackcap, Meadow Pipit and Chiffchaff, as well as more Thrushes.

As we walked back towards the bushes we found a few Brambling amongst the sueda.

Adam and I then split up and took different roots across the dunes. I then spotted a flock of Meadow Pipits flying and notice they were chasing something, it was a Great Grey Shrike!


I sat near us for 3mins before flying off inland.

We continued seeing more common migrants just before we got to the pines at Holkham another rain shower passed, this stopped once we were in the edge of the pines. Two Fieldfare were flying around (our only two of the day) and 2 Swallow were also around.

This shower clearly brought more migrants as a flock of 30 Chiffchaff were in a single Sycamore. As well as more Thrush's and Goldcrests, 4 Mistle Thrush's and a group of 12 Blackcap.

This Chiffchaff gives a rare look as a Green leaf discolours it.

Then the sun came out and the migrant movement appeared to stop (we at least slow down)

So we headed for the X-tracks to look for the Pallas's Warbler that had been seen but as luck would have it before we got there we found it.

Shame the picture wasn't focused.
This Blackcap was also here.
After watching the Pallas's Warbler we walked up to the x-tracked then headed to the beach to look around the edge of the pines there. We added nothing new despite and extensive search. This tired Chaffinch clear a new arrival.
From here we walked back towards the car we were nearly at the sea wall when a message about 2 possible Parrot Crossbills came on the pager, we had to go back to look. We arrived to find the birder that had seen the birds but the birds had gone.
We searched the immediate area but had not luck but 6 Buzzards did fly overhead here is four of them.

We walked back again and before reaching the sea wall a message about a Siberian Stonechat got me putting on an extra fast walk. Although I stopped to get this picture.

We got back to the car and head for Wells, upon arrival there was no sign of the bird, we search for 30mins before I wondered back to get the car. I told Adam to keep looking in the hope he would find it.

I got back to Adam to discover he had relocated the bird. A fantastic Siberian Stonechat in Norfolk only Two weeks after I'd been to Suffolk to see the bird as a Lifer.

After this we headed home.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

A very hard day. With a great end.

Promised to take my little girl swimming first thing so I didn't get out birding till late morning.

I went to Stifkey and firstly walked to the Whirly Gig, the wind was awful make seeing any birds very difficult. if you could find a sheltered spot then the birds would find it to, only problem was no sooner had a few Blackcaps come into view a walker would flush them back into cover.

Spent 1.5hrs near the Whirly Gig and only saw Goldcrest, Blackcap, Robin, Song Thrush and Redwing.

Did try the Woods but gave up as it was just to windy.

Windy enough for a seawatch though so next stop was Cley, the Shelter was sheltered and amazingly empty. Spent 2hrs see watching. We had 1 Sooty Shearwater, 2 Great Skua, 1 Arctic Skua, around 15 Little Gull, 5 Velvet Scoter, Some Kittiwake, 1 Med Gull, 1 Guillemot and loads of Gannets.

The Sea was so choppy you can clearly see waves bigger than Sheringham Cliffs

I was then headed homeward when I got the message about the Red-flanked Bluetail at Happisburgh. A great bird so close to home could not be turned down. It was a beaut. I love Red-flanked Bluetails they can do nothing wrong in my book. And a well done to Jim for the find and getting the news out.

The picture an video weren't that great but the rain that was then coming was enough to make be start building an ark.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Mind Blowing

What and amazing few days, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Yellow Browed Warbler, Pallas's Warbler, Richard Pipit(s), Great Grey Shrike and many more and this is how it happened.

Yesterday I had some bits to do at work so had to go into the office, the office has recently been relocated near to Great Yarmouth Cemetery so when I had done my bits that was the plan to head there.

I got there about midday found the Firecrest and Yellow-browed Warbler that have been around for a few days. There had clearly been an arrival of birds with Robins, Redwings and Brambling all present but hadn't been early in the week. The only problem was the wind, any bird you came across flew straight into deep cover and could not be seen.

I was just watching a Firecrest when I get a whistle from another birder, he'd just had a Red-breasted Flycatcher. It took some effort but I did manage to get some views.

I then had to head back to the office and after an hour or so I was back in the cemetery more Redwings flying over, more Brambling also. I then had a call that we were having problems so I had to leave again. I managed to get back at about 4.20pm where I got one more glimpse of the Red-breasted Flycatcher.

No bird pics as to wet, windy and dark but this squirrel looks as good as it can without becoming a Red.

That takes me to today, Started at Horsey, did the entrance track first, seeing Chiffchaff on the way down. I then walked down toward the Nelson Head Track. Along the way Redwings, Brambling, Redpoll, Meadow Pipits streamed overhead, masses of Reed bunting

This Stonechat sat up nearby for a picture.

I walked further along and flushed a group of around 50 Meadow Pipits, they were bathing and drinking in the puddles along the track. I then heard a familiar yet unusual call, and straight away I was looking at a Richards Pipit in the dunes, it then flew south with the other 50 or so Meadow Pipits these landed just over the ridge I tried but could not relocate the bird.

I then walked back slowly noticing the slow down in birds coming in again and the most birds that were around seemed to of headed inland. Up the track I spotted another Chiffchaff I say another because this bird was very yellowy almost like a Willow Warbler but was defiantly a Chiffchaff.

I just got to the car when the Pallas’s at Winterton came on the pager. I wanted to see this as I do not have a photograph of a Pallas’s and would like to try.

Well this was my best effort which I didn’t mind as I also got the amazing little video.


I didn’t watch the bird long as I then heard my second Richards Pipit of the day, I saw it land around 30m away. I told the birder next to me and we went in pursuit. We flushed it again and it gave another quick all before disappearing from our site.

 We continued to look finding Woodcock and Snow Bunting during the process.

 A Reed Warbler was around the toad pool and on the walk back from there I had more Chiffchaff and a Great Grey Shrike flew over my head.

I had another look at Pallas’s before I then headed to Trimingham.

At Trimingham there was more of the same, big Thrush flocks, big Finch flock and Reed Bunting. The only extra thing as a rather cool flock of 10 Blackcap.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Catch Up before the rush?

A brief catch up before all hell is let loose with migrants in the coming few days. Start with this super red moon I saw a couple of weeks ago. Some patch work the weekend of the Robin-tailed Rufous (mix up intended to reflect the mix up of the day, but good on the potential finder I think he done it the best way shame the really positive news got out) allowed me to see Firecrest and get stuck in quicksand up a cliff after trying to re-locate a large Thrush which turned out to be Ring Ouzel.

Now up to last weekend, I nipped to Trimley to see the Siberian Stonechat

Not many people done the long trek down to the bird.

On the way home I popped into Lynford saw lots of Crossbill a Hawfinch but no Two-Barred but never mind.

On the Sunday of last weekend, went on my first birding trip with my little girl we went to Titchwell and got to see this Migrant Hawker

We saw "lots of Ducks" quoted by Lauren aged 2.5

Curlew Sandpiper and the Little Stint were a bit much for her to pick out

 She liked the "big nose" on this Curlew

The Black-tailed Godwit was a "very hungry bird"

and here she is enjoying the Greenshank

Spotted Redshank also showed well.

Got a good video of all the Shanks and the Black-tailed Godwit

We had fun on the beach where Two Lapland Bunting and Four Snow Bunting flew over, These Pink-Footed Geese came in off showing that Winter isn't far away.

An this tree shows that Autumn is here.