Sunday, November 19, 2006

'Black-eared' Black Kite

My threshhold resistance to birds of prey (especially rare ones!) is pretty low and , after breifly turning down the chance to go and see one, I rapidly backpeddled and found myself on the fens of East Lincolnshire this morning looking for one! A Black kite (a rare and difficult to 'catch up with' species at the best of times) had taken temporary residence here over the past couple of weeks. However earlier this week the bird had been re-identified as a sub species of the east asian race generally known as Black-eared Kite, of which there is no positive previous sighting in Britain (though at least one is pending). Anyhow, after a chilly 2 mile walk across level flat fields via high access banks (and they say Norfolk is Flat!) the Black-eared Kite was seen excellently initially on the ground and then giving prolonged flight veiws. The major down side was as soon as I turned my camera on after charging it up all yesterday, the battery went flat! Not a happy bunny!! I had to make do with grainy video!

Apparent Black-eared Kite the spotted upperparts are typical of juvenile Black Kites

Apparent Black-eared Kite- showing the crucial solid white primary bases to at least the first four primaries (9-5) and a strong demarcation with the black primary tips. (similar to photos of nominate race in Forsman?)

Apparent Black-eared Kite in flight, you could be forgiven for initially thinking that this was a Red Kite at a quick glance, look at that white panel!

Also noted here were 9 Whooper Swan overhead and single Hen Harrier and Peregrine.

Back home in Aylmerton and the last of the spuds were being lifted, which brought in more gulls, which happened to bring in a Mediterranean Gull ... when I was watching the Kite! Typical! Anyway no sign of it this afternoon but managed to time my walk to coincide with a couple of flocks of Pink- feet overhead.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


A cold but bright day with a keen SW wind ensured that nothing too exciting happened today. The track is currently in a quagmire condition due to farm machinery use as the sugar beet is finally starting to be lifted, although a nusiance now, come spring time the bare ground may well pull a few birds in. There's still a staggering amount of 'fruit' on the trees, with both Hawthorn and Blackthorn bowing under the weight of berries, by now usually the thrushes would have stripped them clean- where are they this year? The gull flock on the field behind our house has been a constant feature over the pass few weeks, I checked no less than five times today, hoping for a Mediterranean Gull but with no luck, though a 'black' headed Gull noted to be coming IN to summer plumage rather than moulting out of it! Also on the field up to 300 Golden Plover and 18 Stock Dove.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Year Tick

Done some parish birding today. A visit mid morning to Felbrigg lake produced little in the way of wildfowl with just half a dozen Tufties and a few Mallard. A walk along the southern boundry faired a little better with two hunting Common Buzzard (hopefully these will be over-wintering), Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestral, 5 Brambling briefly and 150 Golden Plover. Also here more evidence of the mild weather with a Honeysuckle still in flower.

Had some tidying up in the garden to get on with this afternoon which was a drag at first but I was well rewarded as I was clearing up with a single Snow Bunting flying west directly over the garden calling, not a garden tick but new for the year GYL 84

A Barn Owl has been noted back hunting over the Meadows, I tried to get a flight shot during the week and this was the unintended result I'm calling it...

Going Home..

Saturday, November 04, 2006

After the Lord Mayor's Parade

After hundreds of Little Auks passing the Norfolk coast over the past few days it was a return to as you were on this bright and crisp Saturday morning. At my coastal patch near Sheringham the only species moving in any real numbers were Starling (7,500 by midday), and just a handful of Brent geese and Common Scoter. Two seperate Little Egret did move west mid morning and a single Little Auk was floating in the surf before flying down the beach. As usual the ever present Stonechats were in residence.

Little Egrets off-shore

Little Auk


Back in Aylmerton the Winter Barley behind our garden currently holds good numbers of Lapwing (125) and Golden Plover (c 200).

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A blow at last

True to form, after months of waiting for a descent weather system to hit the coast one does so, not only late in the year but also mid week when I'm at work! With Little Auks being reported all along the coast this morning , my first appointment was fortuetously at Eccles on Sea where I managed a twenty minute seawatch.

Little Auk 10N 3S
Sanderling 2N
Brent Goose 20N
Common Scoter 30N
Also here an obviously newly arrived Short-eared Owl was battling its way over the fields

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Parish Tick

Ever faithfully walked the track this morning, with the strong NNW wind whiping cross the fields and a heavy grey sky pressing down, I half expected a Little Auk to come flapping over the field. Well I wasn't too far off the money because two minutes latter a murderous looking BONXIE! powered its way against the wind heading north and back to the sea presumably. Flying over the fields, it passed low directly overhead and struggled onward, scattering all bird life in its path. These birds whose common name is Great Skua are ruthless predators and pirates of the seabird world, capable of picking Puffins and Kittiwakes of their breeding cliffs or harrassing Gannets over the sea to make them throw up their latest catch! Charmers! A little later 2 Common Buzzard drifted south and may have been immigrants

Bonxie over Aylmerton interpretation-ish thing!