Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Felbrigg Lake

An absolutely gorgeous morning here, so with a late first appointment I decided to nip down Felbrigg for an hour. No sign of the Scaup (they were still here Sunday afternoon) but about 40 Mallard, 6 Tufties and a lone Pochard. Frustratingly a pair of Stonechat on the marshy ground to the south of the lake were just outside the parish boundary by a quarter of a field (I watched closely for a straying feeding sallie, but with no luck!)

Male Pochard


Sunday, October 28, 2007


Managed a walk up the track this morning which coincided with absolute panic by all bird life within the vicinity of the Ridge. I was fairly sure that a Kestrel that I soon noticed was not responsible, but soon after the true culprit showed itself, a fine adult (presumably male) Peregrine took a stooping strike for the Wood Pigeon flock! Unsuccessful it drifted off west and out of view.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Parish Tick

Ran the moth trap all night last night. Nothing out of the ordinary, but a nice selection of late autumn moths that are always nice to see.
Merville du Jour 3
Rosy Rustic 1
Yellow-lined Quaker 1
Blair's Shoulder-knot 3
Grey Shoulder-knot 1
Mallow 1
November Moth 2
Sallow 1

Blair's Shoulder-knot


November Moth


Merville du Jour

Yellow-lined Quaker

During the day whilst working in the garden several groups of Pinkies flew west, along with a trickle of Fieldfares, Blackbirds and 2 Redpoll sp. Late afternoon decided to have a look over Felbrigg, hoping for the likes of Great-crested Grebe for the Parish list (G-C Grebe has n't been seen over here for a number of years) No grebe, but a major surprise were a pair of, presumably first year, SCAUP! The male was fairly distinct but the female did warrant a closer look as I couldn't see a great deal of black around the tip of the bill (Lesser Scaup ish!) but the size of the bird and rather rounded head with no sign of any peak lead me to believe it was a Common Scaup, as apposed to its rarer North American cousin. All the same an excellent record and another boost for local patch birding. Also present a drake Mandrin.

Scaup, male

male with female sleeping to the left

male showing distinctly white primaries (grey in Lesser sp.)

female, size and head shape as male.

PYL Scaup 110

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Wild Geese on a Sunday

No, not a boring afternoon in front of the telly (cue Roger Moore curious eyebrow lifting manover!) but the sight of c120 Pink-footed Geese first thing this morning. Not normally a sighting that affords more than a cursory mention but what was special about these ones were that they were actually on the deck, just over the field from our back garden! They fed and rested in the stubble field until 1420 (I checked them over and again for a Bean Goose but no luck) when they decided to move off en mass eastwards with a cresendo of gaggling and honking filling the garden, it was great!

Pinkies chilling before scarpering

A walk up the track mid-morning produced 38 Golden Plover, 2 Kestrel, 1 Siskin west, several Fieldfare and Redwing back and forth and, for the second weekend on the trot, the adult Little Gull was still present showing well in flight and distantly on the deck.

Little Gull still present

Later on from the garden a Sparrowhawk teased somewhat by keeping its distance circling over the west fields and a Common Buzzard which looked suspiciously like our pale bird from the spring flew from the Ridge westwards. A Tawny Owl was noted near the boundary at Aylmerton Field Study centre early evening.


Common Buzzard

Friday, October 19, 2007


An after dawn walk up the track this morning saw a Common Buzzard perched up, the first such siting since the spring. Also noticable were several Fieldfare flying over high going south with smaller numbers of Redwing.
At work I stopped in the layby just west of Melton Constable for lunch. This spot affords some terrific veiws over North Norfolk and is great for looking for raptors. Sure enough there were no fewer than six Common Buzzards in the air at once, they could even be heard mewing to one another. One of the birds had a noticably warm russet tail prompting me to briefly consider an escaped Red-tailerd Hawk, but apart from the tail in all other respects it was exactly like its other five associates. Also here a probable Marsh Harrier flew high south.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


A rather late morning jaunt down to Sheringham saw an almost continuous stream of Starling's moving west, with up to 20,000 noted by 1030am. Also down here of note were a Lapland Bunting flushed then flew west, 2 Great-spotted Woodpeckers together flying high west, an immature Merlin and the long staying ad Mediterranean Gull and Northern Wheatear.
Mediterranean Gull- adult winter
After lunch, a walk up the track, with the temperature palpably balmy, I was on the look out for the odd raptor (hot on the heels of a Buzzard and a Marsh Harrier yesterday morning, hopefully!) No such luck, but the Starlings were still streaming west and a flock of 20 Golden Plover were present. I was already chuffed at seeing 4 Grey Partridge sticking close to one of the hedgerows but the sight of an adult LITTLE GULL feeding over the ploughed field was even better! With one seen in the parish a couple of weeks back when we were out of the county I thought I'd dipped out on this one! A little later in the afternoon i managed to secure it from the garden, resulting in a double tick!
Starlings on the move
Little Gull adult winter showing distinct dark underwing
Little Gull adult winter with unmarked upperwing

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Year Tick

A post-dawn dog walk this morning along the Church track saw several migrants in the poplars, presumably just in. These included several Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Fieldfare, Chaffinch and a single Brambling. Pink-footed Goose (26) also went over east. Best of all though, whilst hanging out the washing a Grey Wagtail flew over the garden calling-who say's domestic duties never pay?!

PYL 108 Grey Wagtail

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sheringham Bird Observatory

Cool at first, Wind East 1-2, 5/10ths cloud cover, becoming warm
Some definite movement noted this morning from dawn:
Chaffinch 200w 35e
Greenfinch 61w
Starling 2850w
Meadow Pipit 79w
Pink-footed Goose 220e
Rock Pipit 1w
Redpoll sp (with white rump) 1w with Linnets
Turnstone 1w
Egyptian Goose 2w 1e
Reed Bunting 1w
Sandwich Tern 1e
Merlin 1e
Also a Goldcrest fresh in along the cliffs, and 20+ Redwing, 3 Fieldfare in the hedgerows.

Birds hanging about included 5 Stonechat, ad Med Gull and a Northern Wheatear.

The Yellow -browed Warblers continue to arrive with two 'new 'birds at the pool this morning seen and heard well- a chicken chick-like 'sveeeet'. Also at the pool a fine flock of 9 Tree Sparrows, somewhat of a rarity down here being just about annual.

A newly arrived Redwing, tired and hungry.

Stonechat on sea-watching hide roof, awaiting cup-a soup cast offs maybe?
Dark Bush Cricket, female found by Rob
Back home a Spotted Flycatcher was seen from the church track.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Sheringham Bird Observatory

Keen as mustard, the coastal patch at Sheringham was well and truely flogged by observers with the presence of a dedicated ringer in the wood. The return was fairly limited, but there's usually something to brighten the day, and today was no exception. After checking out an interesting looking Dunnock (yep even Dunnocks can be interesting!) The cream of the crop today were three Yellow-browed Warblers in the wood (one of which was trapped during the week) These tiny birds breed in the Siberian taiga and spend the winter in South-east Asia but they occur regularly in varying numbers during September and October, usually associated with on -shore winds. The two new birds were as different from each other as much as being different from another species, but they were both still Yellow-broweds!

Yellow-browed Warblers

After lunch and a walk through Aylmerton (very little doing here at the moment!) I took a ride down to Kelling were two Barred Warblers showed at close quarters though rather briefly, I did manage to get a shot but it literally was just of an eye so I don't think its worth waisting the hard drive space! Also here a couple of Migrant Hawkers were enjoying the mild, calm conditions (which are set to continue)