Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye 2007!

Well, there it goes, another year another year list. So as 2007 slowly dissolves over time in the memory and gets mixed up with all those that went before it, how was it for you?
In Aylmerton I ended up with a parish list of 113 species of bird - a bench mark for 2008. The garden list increased by two (Spoonbill and Little Gull) to a respectable inland total of 128. But its not all about lists and totals. Although not great for moths, Felbrigg Lake was great for Dragonflies, with the highlight being the second breeding record for Norfolk of Lesser Emperor. Birding highlights consisted of the two, yes two! Black Kites, four Red Kites, the gorgeous Spoonbills, Scaup and the latest of sightings, Barnacle Geese. The 'missed' opportunities included Ring Ouzel during the heaviest spring passage for years, Firecrest (inexplicably!) and a list of others which will make me sound like the glass is always half empty!!
But for all the good and not so good the saving grace is that come tomorrow, it can all start over again, with the beauty being, you just don't know what you're gonna see next!

So remember, life is short, break the rules! Forgive quickly, love truely, laugh uncontrollably, but never regret anything that you do!!


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Blankety Blank

Spent the morning on the Aylmerton side of Felbrigg Park, thoroughly grilling the woodland here, with three species in mind: Lesser-spotted Woodpecker, Firecrest and Hawfinch, but nothing, zilch, nada! I know they were all slim chances but I thought one of them may have materialized, in particular the woodpecker because this used to be a regular site for them here, but I must say I've not seen one here for yonks. The birding lowlites were Goldcrest, a bunker full of Coal Tits, and a flock of about fifty Siskin with not a Redpoll in sight.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Felbrigg Lake

Barnacle Geese still present this morning, at the first sight of me they skidaddled straight off the lake and onto the fields. Tufted Duck numbers back up to a respectable 17, along with single Pochard, half a dozen Gadwall, couple of Teal and some hide-away Mandarin

Barnacle Geese. Notice contrasting white edges to coverts on adult compared to the two presumed first years


Friday, December 28, 2007

Parish Tick!

With the sun a little brighter this morning I thought I'ld try and see if I could get some piccies of yesterdays Water Rail. Scanning the Lake, it was obvious there was nothing 'new' in although a few of the Tufties and Gadwall seemed to have return. It was then that the Grey-lags decided to drop in from off the park fields, where something caught my eye, a Barnacle Goose! Mindful of the odd presumed escape that I've seen over here, I unhurriedly scoped 'the' bird, to see not one, but three Barnacle Geese! Looking nervous, they didn't remain on the lake long, and I assumed that when they took flight they'ld be away, but fortunately they'd noticed the perfect grazing field just south of the lake and settled there, remaining when I eventually left. No sign of the Rail, but once again it goes to prove that the more you go out ,the more you're gonna see, I love patch birding when its like this!

Barnacle geese with Grey-lags

presumed adult in fore ground, young'uns behind (latter showing brown fringed upperparts and less defined flanks)

At home, it was nice to see 3 Common Buzzaed in the air together from the bottom of the garden.

PYL 113 Barnacle Goose

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Felbrigg Lake

Took a trip around the lake this afternoon as the sky brightened very slightly. Much reduced wildfowl numbers with just a pair of Gadwall, 3 Tufted Duck and the usual Mallards noted. This maybe linked with the amount of disturbance this place gets over the Christmas period, rather than some migrant/weather link. The pair of Mute Swan are still present with a particularly aggressive cob. During the summer I watched this bird drive a Canada Goose deep into the reedbed here, following it all the way. The racket the goose was making followed by an erie silence, I was sure it had been killed, but it skulked out about half hour after the swan! Today it was the Grey-lags turn, although curiously he had a distain resentment for individuals rather than the birds in general, males maybe?

"Oi! get orf my land"

The Water Rail is (are) still screaming from the undergrowth but this time I was right next to one of them. Too dark for pics but some video footage was an improvement on the last one postede of this species!
The pair of Stonechat are still in attendance, no doubt waiting to skit of New Years Eve!

Water Rail

Monday, December 24, 2007

Chrimble Eve

With a 'big cook' going on in the kitchen in preparation for the big day tomorrow, I was under no illusion that I would be more helpful OUT of the house than in it, so I decided on a walk around Felbrigg Park on the off chance for anything new for the year list. Another blank on this front, but the walk did me good ahead of no doubt a prolonged period of eating and drinking!


Saturday, December 22, 2007

"Sunrise Sunrise"

Managed to get over to Felbrigg Lake pre-dawn, and therefore pre-doggywalkers! (The dogs are OK, its the racket their owners make which is the problem!) I was really hopnig to squeeze in maybe a Goosander or Goldeneye before the years end but another blank on that front. Wildfowl were in attendance, and in particular good numbers of Gadwall.

Mallard 40
Tufted Duck 18
Gadwall 16
Teal 4
Shelduck 2
Mandarin 10 (6 males)
Mute Swan 2
Coot 2
Greylag Goose 30
Canada Goose 12
Egyptian Goose 2
Grey Heron 5 (off roost)

A combination of murky conditions and the early(er) start rendered digiscoping useless, so for a change I just enjoyed the birds and the views (oh and a little bit of video!)

Overlooking Felbrigg

Egyptian Goose, lord of all he surveys?

Sunrise over Felbrigg

"Jack Frost nipping at your nose..."


Monday, December 17, 2007


A later than usual start this morning saw not one, but two Barn Owls huning around the vacinity of our house. The newer addition was distinctively grey backed, and seemingly hit the jackpot just beyond the kitchen window as it caught something (rat?) that was not a one gulp wonder, more of a butcher job!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

These are not just gulls...these are the finest adult, and first winter, Mediterranean Gulls!

An enforced visit to 'Wonderful' Great Yarmouth wasn't all bad news as I chucked my digiscoping gear in the car and wangled a photo shoot on a cold, breezy beach with up to twenty class models, in the form of Mediterranean Gulls.


1st winter

Darvic type ring

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Felbrigg Lake

A damp, grey day here, so typical of the British winter in recent years. Managed to get over to a gloomy Felbrigg lake this afternoon:
Mallard 40
Coot 3
Tufted Duck 17
Pochard 4
Wigeon 1
Teal 1
Mute Swan 2
Moorhen 15
Grey-lag Goose 1
Egyptian Goose 2
Water Rail 1 (my first sight, rather than sound of these here!)

Stonechat (from last weekend)

Mute Swan

Herring Gull

Water Rail (it was too dark for piccies so I managed a dodgey grab!)

My birding becomes pretty benign this time of year, what with the onset of the festive season and being the busiest time of year workwise. I tend to look back up til Christmas, then start looking forward between Christmas and the new year. As for looking back recently, I have finally started putting together a trip report of sorts for last years holiday Down Under! The start of which can be found here

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Blessed be the Barn Owl

A Barn Owl graced the meadow infront of our house for most of the day today, taking shelter from the gusting north-westerly during the middle part of the day. For me, Barn Owl is one of those birds that I'm just compelled to stop and watch no matter how many times I see them.

A good long walk around Felbrigg park produced a single Green Sandpiper but very little else, unsurprisingly with the wind gathering pace all the time, the lake holding an additional Teal and a pair of Gadwall, from last weeks birds.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Arriving back home from pooch duties, had the thrilling sight of an adult Peregrine taking several 'stoops' at the hundreds of Woodies in the field, just beyond the garden . Being unsuccessful it drifted off west over the rise.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Made an extended afternoon visit to Felbrigg Lake today, mainly to see if there was anything of note going to roost in the small reed bed here. I stayed on until 1600hrs, when it was getting pretty dark and chilly, and for my efforts I amassed a grand total of 8 Reed Buntings! Not a total waist of time though because the pair of Stonechat from a couple of weeks ago were relocated north of the lake and within the Parish boundary! Also here just before dusk the Mandarin flock revealed itself in its entirety by swimming out to the middle, seven males and three females.

Mandrin 10
Mallard 40
Dabchick 2
Coot 2
Tufted Duck 5
Mute Swan 2
Grey Heron 3
Water Rail 1-2 calling
Siskin 8
Stonechat pr
Reed Bunting 8

Grey Heron


Little clip in the fading light

PYL 112 Stonechat

Sunday, November 11, 2007

West Runton

Had a spare hour this afternoon so I took the shortest route possible to the coast and visited the neighbouring parish. Still a few Little Auks offshore but more waders moving with small parties of Dunlin and singles of Curlew, Ringed Plover and Sanderling. Great sightings when out birding do not always have to be of rare birds, indeed some of the commonest birds can make a day seem special ,so here it was great to see at least 100 Shelduck in various sized flocks coming in off the continent, battling against the wind over a choppy sea-not a mudflat in sight! On the cliff top an adult and a second winter Mediterranean Gull were floating around giving good veiws

Shelduck on vis-mig... visable migration

Mediterranean Gull-adult notice pure white wing tips

Mediterranean Gull-2nd winter bird (last years chick) See the black in the primary tips

Kes ("Craig-David")