Monday, 30 September 2013

Elusive 100

Monday September 30

Couldn't leave my September Norfolk list at 99. 
Maybe Barton Broad would produce a Cetti's for me, it normally does. Not to-day it didn't. Plenty of activity in the carr along the boardwalk, Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker, elusive warblers and dozens of Common Red Dragonflies. 

Whilst in the wooded area, I heard an unfamiliar warbler call which I'm pretty sure was Yellow-browed, there are several around at the moment. Until recently, I've never had the call on tape. My IPhone app has it at last. I haven't heard one since Scilly three years ago,  so that will not be countable !

The Broad had the last of the boat trippers, about ten Great Crested Grebes, Teal, 20+ Cormorants and a distant float of Black-headed and Black-backed Gulls. Sitting on the end of the boardwalk in the sun was very pleasant, mostly sheltered from the south easterly wind.

Later, at home, whilst continuing with the cleaning and trimming of a huge harvest of onions drying in the greenhouse, I heard Long-tailed Tits !! 100 done.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Despite the Wind

Sunday September 29

Pam has an aversion to wind, especially the blustery easterly blowing hard to-day - but the sun was shining.
We parked at the triangle and walked out to the three hides - still don't remember their names in the right order. I believe that we started off in Simmonds, the central one, huddled up in the westerly corner to avoid the worst of the wind. A photographer (no bins) was hogging two flaps in the most sheltered places. Hundreds of mostly eclipse Wigeon, a few Lapwing, Teal, Canada Geese and Mallard. I braved looking at Pat's Pool where there were Avocets, a Curlew Sandpiper and five hunched, feather ruffled Grey Herons.
The light was lovely, I wasn't going to carry my camera out without taking some photographs. I thought I'd practice some flight shots......

Pintail - I didn't know what they were until after I'd taken them !


Wigeon coming into breeding plumage


A distant fly through of five Brent Geese were our first of the winter. 
We were home mid afternoon after a very enjoyable morning.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Long Time No See

Tuesday September 17th

Grandson Harry is 15 to-day. Happy Birthday.
The only day available for birding this week, we planned a morning at Cley before the forecast rain arrived. I looked at my pager for the first time in three days... I hate my replacement 'old style' pager, sent when my X3 died. I can't set individual file alerts, e.g for Norfolk and new rares, and the available alerts are extremely annoying, so, I turn them off. Vibrate makes the pager jump about like a demented flea and it jumps off the shelf! 
A real surprise to find that there was a Wilson's Phalarope on Pat's Pool, we haven't seen one for years. Our first - and last - was at Holme last century. Both the upper and lower car parks at Cley Centre were full so we went round again and found a vacated slot.
Only three birders walking towards us as we walked to the hide - very full was the verdict. We squeezed in and I immediately saw the Wilson's feeding, standing  thigh deep, pecking at the surface with its long, black, needle -sharp bill. Not swimming and /or spinning as I've seen them before. Unforgettably, I once saw 100+ on a sewage pool in California, all spinning.
It was a considerable distance away but I took a few shots with my 300 lens...

Wilson's Phalarope and ruff - much cropped

Heavily cropped Wilson's

Pam ordered our food and returned to our window bench in time to see a flock of 50+ Pinkfeet fly through. I'd idly watched them approach highish in the sky before calling 'geese', without registering that they were the first of the winter. After brunch at the cafe, We had a quick look at Coastguards and then parked at Salthouse duckpond, where I decided that I neglected the common birds and took some photos from the car.

female mallard



Ist winter Black-headed Gull

Adult winter Black-headed Gull

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Another Try

Wednesday September 11

Seawatching reports from yesterday, Cromer, Sheringham and Cley, did not mention any rarities, a regular passage of Skuas, mainly Arctic, Manx and Sooty Shearwaters, no Sabine's nor Petrels. We thought we'd try our luck at Walcott again.
Parking on the cement where the ice-cream van is  normally found, we found a splendid foaming, crashing, high spraying sea coming up to high tide. I got out to try and do the scene justice - I couldn't - and became aware that I was being sprayed. Not good for car nor optics. 

Mundesley in the distance

Towards the shops - I caught a bird in this - didn't know.

No birds at sea either, just a few Turnstones huddled on the road. We retreated to the warmth of home, me to the joys of shucking, blanching, cooling, scraping and freezing of all the remaining sweetcorn which Kevin dug for me this morning.. 

North Westerlies

Tuesday September 10

Norfolk birders were really excited by the weather forecast for to-day, strong north westerlies and rain. I had a hygienist appointment and then a lunch date with friends ...! 
Early for lunch, we called in to Wroxham Broad. Almost as soon as we stopped, Pam called a Kingfisher which had disappeared up a nearby side cutting. We walked over - avoiding the goose droppings - and saw it perched in a bush. Ann later told us that she and a friend eat their fish and chips there every Friday and always see the bird in tyhe same area. Useful.
After lunch, we drove home via Walcott where the sea had obviously been over the wall onto the road. At first, the only birds in view were a few gulls. Suddenly, a distant flurry of Fulmar and kittiwakes flew through, amongst them a wheeling, gliding Sooty Shearwater. Excellent.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

A Winterton Quickie

September 2

Pager messages re a Velvet Scoter at Winterton were too attractive to ignore. Mid afternoon, we paid our £1 parking fee and almost immediately found three Scoter, one of which was an adult male Velvet, it's canary yellow bill gleaming in the sunshine. In total, about 20 Scoter appeared, they stay under for an age. 
Two Arctic Skuas chased Common Terns offshore. One has to admire their aerial acrobatics if not their predatory behaviour.
Not a long visit, time to go home and see Kevin who was clearing up the debris left by Pam's flower de-heading etc,  and my fruit tree pruning (again). Those small trees cause endless work. I've threatened to have them out next year if they don't produce a good crop .

September the First

Sunday Sep 1
Where has the month gone? At last, I'm virtually over my bad infection and able to contemplate - and carry out - a day's birding.
Not out until 6.15, not long after sunrise, a virtually bird -song and sight free drive to Abbey farm. We could see well to-day, no birds to see though. We'd picked up two Buzzards en route and a covey of four young and an adult Grey Partridge hopped onto the top of a farm wall as we approached. I managed a couple of pics  of these very wary birds before they departed.

As is usual in September, Jays were very obvious to-day.
The Buckthorn bushes on the Holme entry road looked amazing, thickly festooned with trusses of bright orange berries.

Low tide, we gave Snettisham a miss, hoping to see  waders at Titchwell. As we walked the path out, a Hobby sped on its way towards Thornham. The couple in front of us alerted us to it by lifting their bins skywards. Fortunately another couple moved on so that we could sit on a bench to scan the freshwater pool, which was very waterless. All the birds were on the small area of water towards the back of the pool. A good number of juvenile Curlew Sandpipers and Dunlin, a couple of Little Stints, both Godwits and 30+ Avocets were the highlight. There were no Avocets at Cley on Friday, they'd already moved  to Breydon on their way to their wintering grounds on the Exe estuary. We'd had Spotted Redshank and Greenshank on the walk out.
Passing my scope over for Pam to have a scan, she found a lone Snipe feeding under Parrinder Hide. 

The Hopkins' stopped for a chat about a  mutual Colombia experience, they've been twice. John thinks that he's getting past the difficult stuff too and may well give Irian Jaya a miss. Two Spoonbills flew in whilst we were chatting.
Driving past Burnham Norton, an Osprey flew over the car. What a lucky sighting, we often miss Norfolk Ospreys.
A quick call in to Cley Beach for a Sandwich Tern and home. Some good birds to-day but only 76 in total.