Sunday, October 29, 2006

Back in time

Clocks went back this morning so the dreaded short days and long nights are upon us! A glorious morning weatherwise though the wind (fairly breezy) was still in the western quarter. down the coastal patch near Sheringham again today, not as good as the past couple of days, though mustn't grumble at c 475 Little Gull, 4 Arctic and 2-3 Great Skua, single Little Auk and two Lapland Bunting flying west. Called in at Sheringham prom on the way home for hoped for Purple Sandpiper. No luck with that so I took a few common bird pics.

Cormorants on the verge of being issued an ASBO

'Calm Down Calm Down' (add scouse accent for effect!)


Shortly after arriving back home I got a tip off from a neighbour that saw me tearing down the front drive just in time to see an ever fantastic Red Kite drift high south-eastwards over the village. Not a bad way to end a fruitful couple of days!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Still here!

What with a somewhat damp weekend last week and a tense period mid week as we took a second (and this time successful) attempt at connecting to broadband (hooray!) there had been little to report with little wildlife seen. In Aylmerton, Saturday night provided the most recent moth session, with these November Moth types still causing a bit of a headache as regards to identification- they could all be different or all be the same!

November-ish Moths!

All but the Sugar Beet has been harvested from the fields, and the depressing sight of a sea of Winter Barley already shoots skyward, ok for the very short term but generally lifeless come spring. All's not completely lost yet, only half of the old potato field is Winter Barley so far, and the beet field may be the saving grace.

Winter Barley= Wildlife desert

In the short term the fields are being used by the usual gulls(a few in the pic above) some Lapwing and about 180 rather skittish Golden Plover.

Golden Plover coming in to land

The last two mornings have seen me down at my coastal patch near Sheringham, and despite the constant SW wind the birding has improved at last. No pics, but yesterday moring the highlights of a busy period included a smart, schreeping Richard's Pipit, single Shore Lark flying west, Lapland Bunting, Merlin, Marsh Harrier and a chacking Ring Ouzel. This morning the sea was very lively here with literally hundreds of Little Gulls offshore(probably over a thousand!), presumably the same Black Guillimot flew east, and shortly afterwards two seperate Little Auks whizzed east among many Razorbills, all in all a good couple of days!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Whiskered Tern

Work today took me fortuitously close(ish) to Titchwell RSPB reserve where a Whiskered Tern (a rare bird from Europe) has taken up temporary residence over the past few days. Believe it or not, I'm gonna moan because the bird was too CLOSE! It was patrolling a brackish lagoon probably down to 15ft and proved virtually impossible to digi-scope, of course I didn't have the foresight to bring my other camera which would have done the trick- DOH! This bird was a juvenile coming into its first winter, the adults are smart grey and white birds with a white blaze on the side of the face, hence the name.

Whiskered Tern jigsaw (just put the bits together!)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Maths- Never was any good at 'em!

Having re-counted the Macro Moth Garden year list three times I have now sorted out the true figure - a credible 216 ! I think I lost it somewhere around July when day figures and GYL may have gotten switched! So that handful I was hoping for were technically already in the bag! There's still a couple more to emerge before the years out so fingers crossed.

Finally felt the chill breeze of an easterly on the face today, although the constant greyness of the day was somewhat replicated by the birding down on the coastal patch this morning, apart from the obvious highlight being a clockwork Black Guillimot, winding its way eastwards just offshore first thing before 'pitching in' in the distance. Summer migrants left only in the form of Sandwich and Common Terns plus a single Wheatear at Salthouse.

Ran the trap all night last night, with a mild 12 degees and complete overcast I thought it was worth a go, and so it proved : Mervielle du Jour 2, Large Wainscot 1, Beaded Chestnut 3, Gem* 1, Feathered Thorn 2, Green-brindled Crescent 2, Rosy Rustic 4, November Moth* 1, Spruce Carpet 1, Red-line Quaker 2, Yellow-line Quaker* 1, Chestnut 1 GYL 219 ...definately!

Gem...sparkly name, dull looking moth! This is another immigrant that is by no means common.

November Moth... one of a small group of moths which are really tricky to ID

Feathered Thorn

Yellow-line Quaker...I think!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Now milder!

A series of mild nights have seen the moth trap on every night so far this week. Scattered amongst the odd Merville du jour and Beaded Chestnut, new sightings included Spruce Carpet, Pink-barred Sallow, Mallow and a brief visit by the seasons first Feathered Thorn. GYL 186 (which I need to reveiw 'coz I'm sure theres been more than that!)

Pink-barred Sallow

Spruce Carpet

I've mentioned before how in Norfolk we are blessed with 'Big' skies, and the veiw from the bottom of our garden often enhances this, but Monday evenings dusk was a bit special, almost spiritual, enjoy!

Another excellent piece of work by Mother Nature...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Still blows from the West

Here on the east coast we obviously pray for weather systems that have any hint of an easterly ( or even northerly) origin. So far this autumn I think we have had about two days (which happened to be the two days AFTER the three day break I took in September!). So with continuing westerly elements for the foreseeable future I was glad of the chance yesterday morning to see a little sprite from the east in the form of a Yellow -browed Warbler in the adjacent parish of West Runton. Ian scores yet again following on from his Yellow-breasted Bunting in August. The warbler, all the way from Siberia, showed well but briefly in the buffeting wind, so I didn't manage to get any shots.

This morning saw me down my coastal patch near Sheringham. A beautiful morning with a light southerly breeze, the birding by 'North Norfolk coast in October' standards, was somewhat uneventful. The highlights included Great Northern Diver E, Little Egret W, over 200 Gannets east and west and over 300 large auks with 99% of those identified being Razorbills some of which were not too far out on the sea. Also of note were Marsh Harrier 1E and 1W, a Little Gull over the fields and summer migrants still evident in the shape of Sandwich and Common Terns, Swallow 1W and a Chiffchaff.

A Gillette of Razorbills


Although the moon was as bright as it could get last night I still stuck the moth trap out had a grand total of 11! :
Merville du Jour 2, Beaded Chestnut1, Lunar Underwing 2, Green-brindled Crescent 2, Red-lined Quaker* , Red Green Carpet, Chestnut 1, and Rosy Rustic 2 GYL 182

Red-lined Quaker

Another Merville du Jour (coz I love 'em!)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Certainly becoming distinctly cooler here in Norfolk, which is a pity with it nearly being dark by 1900 hrs, more time for catching moths! Had the trap on for a few hours last night, the expected bits and bobs, but also two new ones, a Red-green Carpet* and a nice Large Ranunculus*. Along the Track this morning an impressive 70 Red-legged Partridge (shhh don't tell the game keeper!) and a skein of 58 Pink feet flew east. Macro moth GYL 181

Red-green Carpet

Large Ranunculus

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Very few moths in the trap Saturday morning, my target of 200 in the garden is unattainable I think, with only a handfull of new species left to take to the wing til the years end. Faired a little better on the bird front with upto 4 Common Buzzard, a Marsh Harrier east and a Hobby still present. Additionally Siskin (2) and a Grey Wagtail were the first of the autumn.

This morning the trap was a little bit more interesting, full catch: Large Yellow Underwing 3, Common Wainscot 2, Merville du Jour 2, SHC 1, Green-brindled Crescent 3, Shuttle-shaped Dart 1, Blair's Shoulder-knot 1, Lunar Underwing 3, Beaded Chestnut 2 and, best of all, another immigrant in the shape of a Vestal* GYL 179