Sunday, 23 October 2016

This and That

Sunday October 23

On Sunday, October 9th, an Email from Greg alerted us to a Norfolk first moth at Judy and Giles Dunmore's in Beeston.  We waited until the afternoon - after yesterday's long day for the Sibe Accentor - and eventually found their house on Beeston Bump. Worth it for the lovely Cypress Carpet. I had to take it in the pot as others had yet to see it, a poor excuse for a less than good photo.

First found on the south coast in 1984, it's gradually making its way north. 
Dot and Steve arrived, having been alerted by Dave H and Christine who had been told by Dave N !!  D and C get everywhere.......often uninvited.

After Moths

We always go home via Cley. 
Beach Road where we've seen a Wheatear and a Stonechat 
Iron Road for a few Eurasian Whitefronted Geese.

We've had flocks of Grey Geese flying over our house for a couple of weeks, I love their flight contact calls, we always go out to watch them.  

Last Wednesday, the 19th, Pam found the flock a quarter of a mile away  in fields either side of the church loke, off the North Walsham Road. We drove part of the way down the loke, without disturbing the birds, so that I could scope the flock. At least 800 Pink-feet fed my side. Amongst them,  I identified two definite Greenland White-fronts in the nearest group, the others were too well hidden to be sure. Their orange beaks and dark breasts gave them away. Pam found one definite Eurasian Whitefront in the smaller flock on her side 

Friday October 22

The Winterton run yielded very little. We drove via Happisburgh, Eccles, the back road to Sea Palling, Somerton and Winterton Beach. No flocks of geese and an empty sea apart from one Shag
The return journey, north of Somerton, we stopped to search and I found a Peregrine sat on the ground, preening.

Saturday October 23

Another pretty birdless outing. Ludham Marshes this time. A small flock of Fieldfare with a few Redwing were the only birds seen. 

Time to watch Man U play Chelsea, fingers crossed tightly. 

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Siberian Accentor - So Far - Plus 2 More For the UK

Dutch Birding article


Update: Unprecedented influx of Siberian Accentors in Europe

17 oktober 2016  ·  Łukasz Ławicki  ·  5567 × bekeken
Unbelievable! 59 Siberian Accentors Prunella montanella have been recorded in northern Europe (outside Russia) within 13 days (4-16 October 2016)! No doubt this is not yet the end of this amazing influx and I am certain that in the next days other individuals will turn up. An astonishing amount of 12 more birds were discovered on Friday 14 October!
October is a great time for rarities in the WP. In recent years, we looked at the Azores for the most extraordinary vagrants, coming from North America. But in this autumn, our attention focused mainly on rarities from Siberia. Large numbers of rare warblers, thrushes and buntings daily enthused many observers. However, probably no one expected an influx of Siberian Accentors, as the previous one was found... five years ago!
Siberian Accentor Prunella montanella, Scousburgh, Shetland, Scotland, 10 October 2016 (Rebecca Nason)
The first turned up on 4 October and stayed also the next day at Peijonnsuo in Finland (the country's 12th record, and the first since 12 years!). After two days, another individual was reported from Rödkallen in Sweden (the seventh, and the first since 16 years!). On 9 October, the next two birds were found - another one in Finland and, in Shetland, the first for Scotland and Britain! Amazing but that was not yet the end of it! In the following four days as many as 20 individuals were seen: two on 10 October (both in Sweden), two on 11 October (Sweden and Finland), seven on 12 October (four in Sweden, two in Finland and the first for Germany on Greifswalder Oie, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) and nine new ones on 13 October (three in Sweden, three (including two new birds) on Greifswalder Oie, Germany, one in Finland, one at Easington, North Yorkshire (the first for England!), one at Hel, Poland (the country's second) and one trapped on Christiansø (the second ever for Denmark). 
Today an astonishing amount of 12 new birds were found. Including the first for Estonia, the second and third record for Lithuania , the third for Poland, a new bird in Finland and an amazing seven new birds in Sweden. Of this total of 36 Siberian Accentors in 11 days, eight were trapped (and ringed); as of 14 October, the totals of this 2016 influx stand on 18 for Sweden, seven for Finland, three for Germany, two for Britain, Poland and Lithuania and with singles in Denmark and Estonia. Wow!

Siberian Accentor Prunella montanella, Hel, Poland, 13 October 2016 (Marcin Sołowiej). The second for Poland!
Siberian Accentor breeds on both sides of the Ural mountains and in Siberia, mostly north of the Arctic Circle. Its winter grounds are in south-eastern Asia: from southern Manchuria, Korea and Japan to central China. In autumn, it is also frequently recorded as a straggler in Alaska, USA. In Europe, there were c 32 records up to 2015, of which more than half in Finland and Sweden. The species has also been recorded in Austria (19th century), Italy (1863, 1884, 1901), Czechia (1943), Greece (1965), Poland (1988), Denmark (1992), Slovakia (1994), Belarus (1997), Lithuania (1998), Luxembourg (2005), Turkey (2006, 2007) and Norway (2011).The vast majority of these records are from October.
So, this year's influx doubled the total number of records in the previous 100 years! And, maybe, there will be a FIRST for the Netherlands as well...

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Easy Easington

Saturday October 15

The news came through on Thursday afternoon, too late to go there and then. Otherwise we could have taken P and made sure not to miss a world lifer. Should we go on Friday the 14th ? I left the decision to Pam as it was her birthday. Her decision was to go to Snettisham late morning, where we saw not a lot. We'd hoped that the tide would be on its way back in from the far distance. We did see an always delightful and, very bright, Grey Wagtail at Sculthorpe Mill and a flock of wildly flying Redwing and Fieldfare along the hedge approaches to Abbey Farm.
On the way home, the decision was made to go to Easington, a small village in East Yorkshire, on Saturday if the wanted bird roosted to-night. I was wary of Saturday traffic and the undoubted crowds of birders. 1200 yesterday and a queue system in place, 40 birders at a time to view the bird from a restricted area for about 5-10 minutes before the next were shown in. Hm. Dodgy. Surely there would be even more to-day, not all birders took the day off work yesterday.......?
We left home at 6.15 a.m., neither of us got much sleep last night, I don't think I managed 2 hours. My hope was that the initial flush of birders would have left by the time we got there. The SatNav took us on a route which did not have any motorway cafes and we had to stop at a garage in order to use a loo before arriving at Easington.
The advice, via the pager, was to park in a designated field east of the village and NOT IN THE VILLAGE. We drove to the field entrance, finding it to be quite a walk from the village, turned round and parked very tactfully and safely in the village Very near to Vicars Lane, which was blocked by bollards and attended by members and staff of Spurn Bird Club.
As we left the car, Paul N and Fizzy from Yarmouth Bird Club crossed the road to speak saying that the crowd was quite small now, they'd been back for a second visit.
It was a 400 metre walk up Vicars Lane, a 'nice' residential area, the lane lined on one side by deciduous trees full of migrant passerines. Dripping eith Goldcrests and the occasional Firecrest and Lesser Whitethroat. Greg B from our moth group passed us - most people do - as we trudged along the road. A left turn at the top took us past a Gasworks enclosure, the donation bucket and more helpers who directed us straight to the viewing area. The latter was a small area of trees and grass overlooking the old school car park. An anxious first scan saw the Siberian Accentor feeding busily on the patches of lichen which covered most of the old concrete surface. Waw. The first for the UK was found in Shetland last week, this is the second ......and a third turned up in Cleveland to-day. An unprecedented movement of this bird into western Europe, several in Scandinavia.
A pretty bird, very like Dunnock in its movements, never still for a second, constantly looking for food, flicking leaves over like a Turnstone does with stones. The distance away, its constant short-hopping movement, taking photos against what little light there was, meant that I was very disappointed with my results. The sun did come out later but that made the back-lighting worse. These are the least bad of my results  - just imagine how bad the others were. .

Its head markings looked mask-like, bandit bird.
I was lucky too in that the two men in front of me left soon after we'd arrived so that I could set up my seat with unrestricted viewing - apart from the wire fence. Greg beckoned us to look through his scope, thank you. I hadn't carried mine as I was lumbered with the seat and my camera.
We stayed for 45 minutes, enjoying the bird, before returning to the car. Carl reckons that its in a bad way, having a tick below each eye, I couldn't see that, but his excellent photo seems to show them. I applaud all those who managed good shots.
Someone took our picture walking down the road and posted it on Facebook !!  Not one of my 'friends' , Jacquie B phoned from Shetland to tell us. I didn't see anyone I knew...
We breakfasted/lunched in a layby bordering a field full of migrant thrushes. Lovely. So many birds in the area. We didn't have the stamina to go on and add Pallas's, Dusky, Radde's, Red-flanked Bluetail etc  that were nearby at Spurn and area.
After having a hot meal at a Little Chef west of Kings Lynn, we got home at 6.15, 12 hours after leaving. No crowds, no queues, no hassle. Great.
One of the Spurn men stood beside me so I told him that I hoped birders had been generous and thanking him for the services provided. They'd raised  £1200 from a similar number of birders, donations ranging from 10p to £10. There are some parsimonious people about.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Autumn Car Birding

Monday October 3

Still nursing sore knees, even less walking than usual. A later sunrise is good for rest but not for a bird list, it was 7.22 before we left the house. 
I love September in its fading summer glory. Plenty of sunshine and  burgeoning fruits with the anticipation of migration and sea-watching storms. October is either a faded gentlewoman of soft yellows, warm oranges and morning mists, or, a raging  maelstrom of whirling leaves, roaring winds and sudden rainstorms. Both bring their own flavours. One of nostalgia for the year passing, the other a preparation for the winter months ahead.
This was a lovely September like morning, mists rising from the fields around Sculthorpe a pointer towards October. A mist enshrouded Sculthorpe Mill pond, with its overhanging trees framing the Swan family swimming in sunshine at the far end. Pam took a photograph which captures the scene.

A lone Grey Wagtail fed on the lichen encrusted rocks still in the shade - when my eyes adjusted to the two light extremes.

The industry of spiders is made obvious by the over-night  misting of grass, dead plant remains and the webs themselves. 

One example near Abbey Farm showed the muted full rainbow hues glistening, when viewed from the appropriate angle. I don't think that my camera does it full justice.

One male Stonechat along Valley farm Lane was a surprise, a few Tree Sparrows remained in the hedgerow - and I picked some Walnuts ! Well, they hang over the lane, country rule.

We were an hour and a half past high tide at Snettisham. Time to witness the departure of the early birders and the last of the enormous wader flocks, leaving the mud islands at the southern end for the shoreline of the fast receding tide. Several hundreds of thousands Knot smoke-clouding drifts on their purposeful food hunt. All the waders we expect to find here. Huge flocks of Black-tailed Godwits and Oystercatchers, even more Grey and Golden Plovers than last month, wintering flocks of Wigeon on the pits and...... two Black-necked Grebes in front of Shore Hide. 
The several hundred brash and noisy Greylag are not as welcome.
A group of fresh young Meadow Pipits feeding amongst the vegetation outside the Snettisham Yacht Clubhouse were a delight.

My sandwich lunch, eaten at Hunstanton cliff top was overseen by a patient, cold-grey-eyed winter Herring Gull. It was eventually rewarded with a small crust.

 Holme Reserve was inordinately busy, the full car parks indicating that there were 'good' birds present. We eschewed the opportunity to hunt for mobile and elusive (one of the worst birding phrases),  Yellow-browed Warblers and, the equally challenging Richards Pipit in the southern fields. Seven Swallows fed along the Broadwater. We later saw a single House Martin at Cley.
We meant to stop at Holkham to look for the Great White Egret but, Pam shot past, stopping in a very rough lay-by beyond. What turned out to be a very pale-headed Buzzard perched beyond one of the marsh gates. I initially thought it was an Osprey.

Our first Autumn Brent Geese didn't appear until Stiffkey Marsh, a few small groups grazing peacefully along the marsh.
I love chickens, the pretty ones anyway. These are two of the motley collection along the track to Stiffkey Marsh.

No sign of the Shag at Wells. Again, plenty of people to buy and eat fish and chips along the front. We see mainly the white-hair brigade on Mondays, avoiding the weekend crowds -  forming one of our own.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

It is The first

Saturday October 1


We're moth trapping most days at the moment. This morning's highlights were:

Red-green Carpet

Brown-spot Pinion

Merveill du Jour

Pink-barred Sallow

Satellite - the brown spotted sub species

Navy blue sky in parts, rain spattering the front north facing windows, as we set off mid afternoon. The Horsey run is  pretty barren in the summer, maybe it was time for a change.
South of Sea Palling, two Swallows raised our hopes - not for long. Pam drove all the byroads as far as Horsey Corner, where we saw a field full of Pinkfeet, about 300,  all heads up , we didn't linger in order not to spook them more.
The rain and  blustery wind should mean that all but the hardiest of dog walkers would give Winterton a miss, despite some sunny spells. The car park was closed, three cars filling the 'turning only' space. We scanned what we could see of the sea adding, Cormorant and Black-headed Gulls !! 
A partial rainbow starting on the sea attracted a lone photographer.
North of Somerton, there is a large and very rough field entrance/lay-by where we scan the surface water puddles for waders and the distant windmill and tree-line for raptors. No water at all, an undulating freshly ploughed field was barren. 
I called Marsh Harrier, we both saw two, making their idle and meandering flight above the trees.
Ready to leave, Pam scanned the eastern field and found two Common Cranes. They always make a trip worthwhile. Far too distant for photography..........

As we approached the geese flock area, we saw a stream of them flying in to join others already ensconced in a wheat stubble field. Not a clear view, we drove on to find the remaining birds in the original field. Not happily feeding, all their heads were raised again. Was it us? Or just time to join the others? The latter I think as,in groups of 40 or so,  they took off into the rising wind, flying towards the dunes before turning inland to join the rest of the flock. 

Not many species, the joy came from the winter flock of Pinkfeet with their soft, almost purring contact calls as they flew  - and the two Cranes.
We intend doing a full birding day to-morrow, Monday as the rest of the week is busy. Should be fewer people around too.