Wednesday, 30 December 2015

CATTLE EGRET and Classic Birds of the Norfolk Broads

On Monday, we headed up to the Norfolk Broads, as I was very keen on seeing the Cattle Egret that has been present up there for a couple of weeks. We started off at Buckenham Marshes, to look for Geese. We got round to the viewpoint, and we picked out 2 distant Taiga Bean Geese amongst the pink-feet alongside 2 other birders. There were also 6 Eurasian White-fronted Geese present amongst the other geese. A Dunlin flew over as did a Brambling, and there were some distant Cranes calling on the other side of the river. A male Peregrine was causing a lot of havoc amongst the ducks, but it didn't stop the Wigeon from showing very well by the path...

We then made our way up to Sea Palling, and onto the Hickling Road that connects Sea Palling and Hickling together. We found the cow field with with the white cows in, and Dad soon clocked on to the Cattle Egret, a lifer for me, and we got very lucky as it showed very well...

We then headed to Stubb Mill, at the Hickling Broad Raptor Roost. We got their quite early, and we picked out 2 Cranes in the field. We went on to see 5 in total. The pictures below show a juvenile in with this flock...

The totals of the roost were as follows:

2 Hen Harrier, 5 Crane, 34 Marsh Harriers, Goosander (flyover), Sparrowhawk, 6 Red Deer, 3 Chinese Water Deer (we left a bit early hence the short list)

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Sheringham Sea-watch and more patch ticks!

On November 22nd (seems ages ago), Dad and I went to do a sea watch at Sheringham, as the conditions were in favour of a good variety of birds being on offer, and we weren't disappointed.

The previous day had produced Leach's Petrel, Long-tailed, Pomarine and Great Skuas, Grey Phalaropes, Little Auks, all 3 diver species and much more! Unfortunately, I didn't manage to get any pictures of the birds we saw during the sea watch, but I got 7 year ticks from a 5 hour sea-watch. These were 3 Grey Phalarope, 13 Little Auk, Great Northern Diver, Slavonian Grebe, 12 Great Skua, Iceland Gull, 3 Purple Sandpiper and 2 Velvet Scoter. We got several other birds that we nice to see, like Eider, Guilemots, a Razorbill, Gannets, Common Scoters and several other common wildfowl.

Later in the day, we headed west, where we missed a Little Auk on the duck pond at Salthouse by 5 minutes! AARGH! That would have been amazing to see one that close! Oh well....

We finished the day at Warham Greens where we had 4 Hen Harriers (2 males), 1 Short-eared Owl, 2 Merlin, 1 Peregrine and 5 Marsh Harrier.


Stowupland has been a very good addition to my patch area this year, where I've seen 69% of all the birds on my patch this year. I managed another patch year tick on Thursday with a Curlew over the house, making it 119 species seen between Stowupland and various sights in Needham Market.

Pipps Ford is under a lot of disturbance at the moment due to a lot of habitat works going on, but weekends are your best chance of getting some birds on the scrape, even if it's just a couple of Swans and a Coot! I did have a nice Green Sand Thursday however...

Hoping to get out to North Norfolk tomorrow, with Cattle Egret (present at Sea Palling for c. 1 week), Red-rumped Swallow (at Cley - extremely late record and present for 2 days), and Lapland Bunting (small flock at Blakeney Freshmarsh with some Twite).

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Siberian Stonechat, Great Grey Shrike and Holland Haven

Last weekend we met up with David to go to Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk, where a male Siberian Stonechat had been showing by the edge of the golf course. We arrived in good time, but had a tense 30 minute wait before the call 'there it is' was shouted out, and we got great views of the Siberian Stonechat.

We were able to pick out the key differences between this bird and a nearby male Common Stonechat, so was a great educational twitch!

We then carried on north up the coast, our next destination being Horsey. Our target here was Great Grey Shrike, and if we were lucky, a Rough-legged Buzzard. The latter remained hidden, but David managed to pick out the Shrike, and we got quite close to it in the end!

News then came through of a Bluethroat at Happisburgh, but all it said was 'in beet field.' There are quite a few beet fields around Happisburgh, and we managed to find the right one through a local birder, but sadly, the Bluethroat didn't play ball.

The final action of that day was when news came in of an American Golden Plover at Breydon Water, so we dashed there on the way back, only to find that we had missed it by 10 minutes! Gutted! It was still a good day with a Lifer taking my Life list to 272.

Holland Haven - 27-10-15

On Tuesday, we went down to Essex - a place we rarely visit to go birding - but we went for a good reason. There has been a vary tame Rough-legged Buzzard down at Holland Haven for the past couple of weeks, so we thought we'd better go and see it. 

We walked up from Frinton, past the Golf Course, and towards the crowd of birders. We still had quite a way to go before we reached them, when I spotted the bird flying straight towards us. We got set up, with the camera ready, and it came and hovered about 20 metres away from us! INCREDIBLE! I think it had to be one of the best birding experiences yet!

The bird showed amazing well for about 5 minutes, then flew all the way over to the other side of the reserve. We then had a scan around the golf course, when Dad spotted a Short-eared Owl flying in off the sea, and landed on a post right in front of us! We got the best ever views of a SEO here, and I was quite pleased with the pictures...

We then left here as the Rough-legged Buzzard didn't look like it was going to come back, so we went to look for a Pallas' Warbler that had been reported at Frinton, but after a thorough search through the Goldcrests, there was no sign.

Finally, a brief look for the Pallas' Warbler at Landguard in the failing light also didn't show for us, but it was a brilliant day all in all!

Friday, 9 October 2015

A lifer, lots of year ticks and the stuff in between....

The last couple of months have been hectic at school as it's my GCSE year, so lots of school work as got in the way of doing a blog. When I have managed to get out, we have been very productive, with 11 year ticks and a LIFER since the last post. So here we go...

We managed to get some Little Stints at Hollesley and Minsmere (pics from Hollesley), showing very well at the former. At Hollesley, there were 4 birds present, 1 bird causing some discussion due to its very grey scapulars, but it has turned out just to be an odd Little Stint, thanks to Martin Garner from Birding Frontiers.

Wheatear, Whinchat were also present here, with a Lesser Whitethroat at Single Street.

After the highs of BirdFair (Black Tern and Wood Sand seen there), we then had our first trip to Winterton of the autumn, adding Pied Flycatcher (pic from last year)

Red-backed Shrike was the next bird with this juvenile at Minsmere...

This cracking Redstart was present too, along with a couple of Whinchat...

The following day with got this Long-eared Owl at Landguard in the evening after school...

We also got a White-winged Black Tern at Filby Broad, Norfolk, but it was very distant and th weather conditions were awful so no photos were obtained. 

On the 27th September, we went on an organised trip to Orfordness with the SOG (Suffolk Ornithologists Group) in search of migrants. Highlights from the trip were Short-eared Owl, Redstart, Spoonbill, Osprey, Little Stint, and the LIFER, a cracking RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER! It was trapped and ringed late afternoon, so everyone got brilliant views!

(pic by David Walsh)

The following evening we were on our own to relocate one of the Yellow-browed Warblers at Landguard. We went to the firs around the Old Mining Station, and one was flitting about! Managed these pictures, and by 5:30, we believed there were 2 in there. The pictured bird was ringed, but presumably by the Obs...

 showing ring here

Happy Birding!