Sunday, September 28, 2008

More Shrikes!

0800-1430 gloomy, rain mid-day, clearing becoming bright. WNW 1-2

A protracted visit to Sheringham Obs today was fairly quiet compared to recent days, with seemingly no new migrants 'in' passerine wise. However there were birds to be seen some certainly more interesting than others!
Lesser Grey Shrike - still present and drawing the crowds.
Velvet Scoter - single then three west
Common Tern - 1E
Sandwich Tern - 6 present
Red-throated-Diver - 10E
Arctic Skua - 1 off shore (conspiring with a Gbb Gull to take an incoming, unidentified wader!)
Teal - 7 west
Pink-footed Goose - 40 west
Grey Heron - 1 west
Egyptian Goose - 2
Wheatear - 5
Willow Warbler - 1
Whinchat -1
Hen Harrier - 1st wtr, first seen yesterday flew off west early afternoon.

Whilst watching the shrike a lone goose flew over the fields along the cliff top low and fairly close. Intially thinking it was a Pink-foot, I took a couple of shots, as I did so it gave a single un-Pink-foot type honk! Later meeting up with Steve Joyner he too mentioned the bird and thought it may have been a Bean Goose! The photos below are not great but there does appear to be rather restricted white border to the outer tail, rather brown upperwing coverts and something I've noticed on alot of photos on in flight Bean Goose, the more pointed flank patch rather than Pink-footed Goose's seemingly rounder one making the latter appear more white ended. Interesting. Unfortunately the clarity isn't good enough to confirm the presence of a 'grinning' line on the bill.

Hen Harrier

Lesser Grey Shrike

After getting home for little more than an hour, Dad phoned to say there was a Woodchat (another species of shrike!) on Beeston Bump. About ten minutes later I was watching the bird, a pale 1st winter type as it hopped about on the tall scrub behind the gardens here. Those of a certain inclination may have been able to see four species of Shrike in a day here in North Norfolk with Great Grey and Red-backed both being reported further along the coast.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Blyth's S**te Warbler

A victim of its own success, West Runton scored again today with Blyth's Reed Warbler. A call from Dad just before leaving work " that it was showing well" filled with me with confidence that maybe I'll finally get a decent view of one of these drab birds. My confidence was clearly misplaced as the bird became very elusive, and when it did show it decided to do so behind a bonfire stack that obscured my view! Bored and hungry I went home. At just after seven when it was nigh-on dark a pager message came through that bird showed at seven o'clock! Wow! there must be some keen eyes there to nail a Blyth's Reed in the dark!!
my standard view of Blyth's Reed Warbler!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Lesser Grey Shrike

As I was finding the Sibe 'Chat yesterday further along the coast at Sheringham Bird Observatory, Kevin Shepherd, a stalwart of the set up there during the nineties was finding a smart Lesser Grey Shrike (his second find of this species at the patch!). Unable to get there in time last night, I sat it out and had a look this morning at this smart bird as it fed along a scant hedgerow down the side of East Field and Twenty Acres. The bird appeared to be an adult with a hint of a pinkish wash on the upperbreast and flanks and a full black 'Dick Turpin' mask. I fear Dave A's conspiracy theories will be re-ignited on his return from Malawi!!!!! A Great Grey Shrike was also present albeit briefly this morning seen distantly by Dad
Lesser Grey Shrike

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

'Siberian' Stonechat

My last appointment today took me into the next village to us, West Runton. With the days work done and a few minutes before having to rendezvous for a hospital appointment, I took a look in at the rough ground next to the coast road. After watching the local Med Gull I saw a couple of Goldcrest come flitting across the fields and decided to look over the top bank onto the enclosed private area. Immediately, a Stonechat flitted up, pale, peachy washed with a broad pale rump joining the underparts! I instantly shouted 'Siberian Stonechat' to absolutely no one present! I was just going 'in' when I was unceremoniously 'thrown off' this private land.

Siberian Stonechat

showing blackish underwing coverts

wrap around unstreaked rump enhancing black tail

overall warm gingery tones to plumage
After necessities completed, I returned to West Runton just before dusk to see if the 'chat was still showing. It was, and with other birders now viewing it (and kicking about where I had been ejected!) I left them to it. A Short-eared Owl was a nice sight as it came in off the sea and half a dozen Wheatear had appeared from no where on the clifftop fields.

Med Gull

Short-eared Owl

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sheringham Bird Observatory

0800-1300 Fine hazy sunshine, warm ESE 1-2

Conditions indicated it may well be a quiet day and it pretty much was. Nothing major to write home about but enough supporting cast should something big decided to put in an appearance, but it didn't! Though I did see more Small Tortoiseshell butterflies today than all year.
Siskin - 52W
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Redstart - 2
Spotted Flycatcher - 1W
Willow Warbler - 7
Arctic Skua - 1E
Northern Wheatear- 3
Whitethroat - 2
Grey Heron - 1E
R-t-Diver - 1E
Whinchat - 2
Stonechat - 3

Meadow Pipit

Great Black-backed Gull's

Lesser Whitethroat

Small Tort.

Willow Warbler

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Summer's Over, Pinkies In!

Walked dog before work this morning to sight 153 Pink-footed Geese moving east, south of village. Bang on cue date wise and a real omen that summer is in its demise! Also a Hobby still present to the west.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bits and Bobs

Friday saw me taking a trip down to Great Yarmouth with work, so lunch time I decided to have a mooch around Great Yarmouth Cemetary. Doesn't sound to nice I know, but this cemetary must have the best rare bird list of any cemetary in the country! Today of course it was fairly quiet with just a hand full of Willow Warblers and two Pied Flycatchers. On the way back to the office an adult Mediterranean Gull was seen hawking over the road at Rollesby Broad.
Willow Warbler

Med Gull

Over the course of this week, whilst travelling around Norfolk, I must have seen up to a dozen Buzzards in total. All have been Common's!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Track Walking

Haven't managed to connect with any drift migrants on the morning dog walks this week. Monday (15th) saw an increased number of Blackbirds and Song Thrushes and a flock of 17 Teal go speeding over the village. The House Martins seemed to have all but disappeared with none noted this morning, just a large flock of Long-tailed Tits moving across the fields which included Coal Tit and Goldcrest.

Long-tailed Tit

Coal Tit

Goldfinches, a permanent feature of the south end of the village.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Honey Monsters!

Yesterdays feeling of hard done-by bitterness disolved instantly as I opened the back door this morning to go walk the dog and was confronted by a 1st year HONEY BUZZARD as it was being pursued by a Rook going over the garden! A long, long awaited addition to the garden list, this one was thoroughly enjoyed! What I didn't realise was that this was the first of SEVEN birds seen from Aylmerton this morning! The track afforded great veiws of birds moving along the ridge, drifting inland and one rising up out of Felbrigg Park with a Common Buzzard. One of those birding experiences that will linger in the memory for along time, a respectable supporting cast included another 2 Common Buzzard, 2 Hobby and another Osprey at about 1100 that moved quickly inland. Great Stuff!!
Honey Buzzard over the garden!
another individual.....
and another!
Osprey from the garden
Garden List 129. Honey Buzzard

Sheringham Bird Observatory

After spending the morning watching those bow-winged beauties over the parish, a brisk easterly breeze drew my attention to the coast so I decided to have an afternoon down here with Dad. Sure enough the easterly was starting to work its magic, and a nice mix of drift migrants were seen.

Pied Flycatchter

Whinchat (c14)

Spotted Flycatcher (2)

Tree Pipit landed briefly at pool then away.

Redstart, a male. (7)

Sparrowhawk (2) moving west along clifftop

Additional to above were Wheatear (4), Garden Warbler (3), Willow Warbler (2) Whitethroat and an elusive Wryneck (so elusive, we didn't see it!)