Sunday, November 23, 2008


West Runton
v.cold, snow S.W 3-4 0730-0900

Keen as mustard this morning and focused on hauling in a large white-winged gull or even a slightly pinkish one! It was certainly the weather for it! It was bloody freezing on the beach this morning, as I watched a succession of Gbbs and Herring Gull coast west along the tideline without so much as a sniff of anything Arctic-esque, the nearest being an argentatus Herring Gull. Other birds of note duck Goosander W, Shelduck 6W, Common Scoter 7W, Song Thrush (1 on beach) and notable 'in off the sea' fodder were single Blackbird, Common Snipe and Woodcock. By 0900 the snow was blizzard like and I couldn't feel me fingers so I thought **** this for a game of soldiers and went home!
A walk up the track this afternoon produced nothing of note, though the local Barn Owl and Kestrel were having a bit of a fall out!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Winter has arrived!

Last weekend, for me, was the last days of autumn. Generally in birding terms, this is usually the last dates for some major rare birds to turn out before the quieter winter period, and by the looks of the weather forecast the winter is going to start with a bang! With cold howling North-westerlies I managed to get to the coast during the last 3/4 hours of day light. West Runton looked out on to an angry looking North Sea and sky, and though hundreds of Black-headed Gulls were off-shore, no hoped for 'white-winged' gulls were up for grabs with birds of note being a brace of Pintail west with a Mallard and a fine immature Pomarine Skua scaring the crap out of the gulls as it passed just off shore.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Craning to see!

Waxwings! Thats what I'm looking out for around the county whilst driving around for work, Waxwings. So imagine my surprise as I sat sitting at the traffic lights at Norwich Aiport, to glance across and see a pair of Common Crane leisurely drift over the runway then directly over the road and me! I pulled over and watched them through bins' as they headed west over Hellesdon, drifting slightly north over towards Taverham. Birds, I love 'em!

Saturday, November 15, 2008


With pretty much the day to myself, and with a prevailing westerly wind, I toyed with the idea of taking a trip up to Lincolnshire to see the Steppe Grey Shrike, but ultimately couldn't be arsed to drive up there, which would have meant spending most of the day in the car! The geese moved off early this morning as the ploughs got on the field, it was good while it lasted.
Took a walk along the cliffs at West Runton, it was considerably breezier down here. Nothing unexpected seen, but pleasent enough though, birds of note being the 2 resident adult Mediterranean Gulls, a brace of mobile Lapland Buntings, commoner waders and a pair of Stonechat.


Grey Plover with Redshank

Ringed Plover

Grey Plover in flight

A quick look in at Felbrigg Lake produced single Tufted and Pochard, a Dabchick, 2 Coot and at least one pair of Mandarin.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Parish Tick!

Scanning the geese whenever possible had so far proved fruitless, until this morning as I crept up the Track, raising my bins' there was a smart BARNACLE GOOSE in the midst of the Pink-feet. Simultaniously as I turned to head back and get it on the garden list, the flock spooked (think I pushed my luck too far!) and they all lifted and buggered off! Anyway it was nice to get a 'real' Barnacle after the imposters of last winter!!!

104. Barnacle Goose PYL

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Another Work 'Jam-in'!

My current run of luck with working near rare birds continued today, having to be in Norwich this morning and sufficiently close enough to Whitlingham Country Park to go and see the Ring-necked Duck that was seen here yesterday. This was a new bird in Norfolk for me and the first I've seen since 1984!!! It was nice to get to grips with one again, ready for my first find of one on Felbrigg Lake!
Ring-necked Duck

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


With the sugar beet being lifted from the field behind our house it was inevitable that the Pink-feet that fly over most days would find the shredded beet tops (their favorite tucker!) In the early morning light I quickly scanned through all those visable, but no sign of any lurking Bean Geese or anything else, although a distinct coffee coloured luestic bird and one bearing a neck ring 'FIA' were noted.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Working Saturday's is one of my least favorite past times and initially today was no exception, after working all week without getting out to do some birding! However as I drove along towards my first days appointment at Stiffkey at last this week I manage to jam in on 3 Waxwing, feeding beside the road between Cley and Blakeney near the Glaven River. There's been loads coming in this week and I was hoping to get one going through in the mornings on pooch patrol. Being a tad early I went down to Stiffkey Greens to park next to the saltmarsh, literally for ten minutes. The marsh was bespeckled with Little Egrets glowing white, along with Brent Geese and Curlew. A flock of birds flying west along the edge of the saltmarsh and fields looked suspciously compact for Starlings and, as they approached, sure enough another 25 Waxwings flew west and onwards.


Brent Goose

Little Egret

Monday, November 03, 2008

Red-flanked Bluetail

With a quack's appointment in Sheringham mid morning, and having to wait for the dispensary to deal my goods, the temptation to trosh of up to Muckleborough Hill was to great! In the murky understorey the Red-flanked Bluetail showed well in the poor light conditions (its been like perpetual twilight here past couple of days!) Didn't get no piccies but a couple scrawls attached to give some idea of this Robin- like bird, all the way from Siberia.

Red-flanked Bluetail

Sunday, November 02, 2008


The Black Redstart has moved to the south of the village, seen feeding around Church Farm Barns this morning. Still plenty of Thrushes around and Goldcrest noted in several gardens, including ours.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


Due to previous commitments, coupled with the pure dread of having to stand with a load of prattling t**** talking s**** whilst waiting for a Red-flanked Bluetail, I resisted the temptation to join the undoubted throngs that would have been present at Weybourne's Muckleborough Hill. Instead I walked the dog up the Church track where it soon became evident that Thrushes (linean family name, Turdus) were arriving in numbers with at least 50 Blackbirds noted and 200 Redwing with much smaller numbers of Mistle Thrush and Fieldfare. The Yew trees, laiden with berries in the church yard seemed to be the place of choice, the birds dropping into the heart of these trees and out of sight. Try as I might I couldn't pick up a Ring Ouzel or jam in on any Siberian warblers!


Mistle Thrush


Redwing... showing why its called a Redwing!

At lunch time the dog had to go to the pooch parlour, and on my return, as I drove down the road I noticed and distinctive little shape sitting on the chimney stack, and sure enough there was a Black Redstart, the second garden record and like the first, it soon disappeared.

Black Redstart

A late afternoon jaunt down to West Runton, and it was blowing a hooley from the north-east. Off shore there was a constant flow of Kiitiwakes and Gannets heading east a handful of Brent Geese heading west and a single Bonxie.