Friday, 28 May 2010

Nightjars perform well

Another visit to yesterdays Nightjar site this evening was rewarded with good flight views of a couple of birds, occasionally right overhead, and we could also just make out the male churring from atop a post on a couple of occasions although by this time it was virtually pitch black. With such a good showing, I'll hopefully visit the site regularly in the future, and naturally keep an eye on their progress too.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Common Tern and Nightjar

The morning was spent at Trimingham looking to no avail for the Icterine Warbler that had been seen there earlier, although a very quick snatch of song heard may have been it. Whilst looking a Cuckoo was seen flying east, calling as it went, and the other notable record was of a mole which spent a lot of time foraging out in the open right in front of the assembled birders.

A walk round East Runton and along to Beeston Bump produced no new migrants, but my first Common Tern of the year seen fishing just offshore from West Runton was a welcome sight.
Felbrigg produced stunning views of a Broad-bodied Chaser in the meadow, and I finally managed a decent pic of a Small Copper there too.

With a fairly still and moonlit evening, I decided to check out a site on the Cromer - Sheringham ridge for the presence of Nightjars, and was duely rewarded with one churring virtually constantly for half an hour. Unfortunately no flight views were had as it kept low below the tree-line each time it moved, but a further visit is definitely in order to enjoy what is always a magical encounter with these birds, so hopefully I'll see it/them next time.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Butterflies from Felbrigg

With the warm weather continuing, the meadow at Felbrigg still held good numbers of butterflies, with Orange-tips predominating amongst small numbers of Common Blues and Small Coppers.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Little Terns and Grey Seal

A look at the sea today off West Runton produced my first Little Terns of the year with around 30+ birds fishing and moving offshore.
I then noticed that there was a seal hauled up on the rocky foreshore just to the west, so I made my way along to it to see if it was ok. After finding no apparent signs of injury, I took a few photos of it and then continued to watch it from a distance just to ensure it was indeed healthy. As the tide was on the way in, the beach soon started to become covered, and thankfully the seal pushed its way out to the edge of the deeper water and then happily swam out to sea and was then seen occasionally coming to the surface as it moved further out.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Local reedbed finally attracts a Reed Warbler

A walk around Sidestrand today produced my first Azure Damselfly of the year, but my main target was the Reed Warbler that had been discovered the day before in the small reedbed there. I was naturally pleased when it popped up singing away, as although the reed bed, which was planted as part of an effluent treatment system, has been there for a good number of years now, it was the first one that to my knowledge had ever been recorded in there, so was a very notable local record.

Coming back along the front at Overstrand showed that there were good numbers of Common Blues present on the grassy slope above the east end of the prom feeding on the various patches of buttercups on there.
As I was heading over to Holt in the afternoon, I called in at Walsey Hills on the way where I had a few fleeting glimpses of my first ever Hairy Dragonflies, but unfortunately they never settled in sight. Also there I saw a few Four-spot Chasers and Wall Butterflies, plus Azure and Blue-tailed Damselflies.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Warm weather continues to brings out more life

With increasing temperatures the meadows aroung Felbrigg Lake were alive with Butterflies, with my first Common Blues of the year, good numbers of Orange-tips, and a few more Small Coppers all noted.

A few more Large Red and Common Blue Damsels were also evident, and I recorded my first Blue-tailed Damselflies of the year and on the bird front, the Cuckoo was again noted, and a few Mandarins continued to grace the lake.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Cuckoo brings up the 150

Another visit to Felbrigg today in search of more Dragons and Damsels, produced my first Small Copper Butterfly of the year along the northern side of the lake.
Yesterdays Broad-bodied Chaser was seen again over the small pool to the east of the lake, with it eventually landing on a bramble enabling me to confirm its id, but unfortunately a bit too far away to get a decent picture of it without the aid of my scope which I had left in the car.
The Red-eyed Damsel was seen briefly again, along with a Large Red Damselfly in the same bush.

Whilst watching the Damsels my attention was suddenly drawn to the alarm calls of the local Pied Wagtails coming from behind me. A quick scan across the lake revealed that they were mobbing a Cuckoo as it flew along the edge of the lake, which was a very pleasing sighting as in recent years they have become very scare locally. As I had spent a lot of time searching suitable areas for one this year, it was a very welcome record indeed and as a bonus brought up the 150 for the patch this year, a total which I took until early September last year to reach.
On the way back I scanned the area where the Cuckoo had flown towards and was pleased to relocate it sitting on top of a fence post. I watched it for a while as it dropped down onto the ground a couple of times before returning to the fence posts, and then eventually flew off across the meadow and disappeared into the trees behind the reedbed, but was notably silent the whole time.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

First Dragon and Damsels emerge at Felbrigg

A walk down to Felbrigg Lake brought the first Dragonfly of the year when a presumed Broad-bodied Chaser whizzed past me but unfortunately quicked disappeared from view before a positive id could be made.
However whilst searching for it I was really pleased to discover my first ever Red-eyed Damselfly. It was always keeping fairly high up in a bush, but I managed to digiscope it.

I also found the Common Blue Damselfly in the grass below the same bush, along with a few brief views of a few more damsels which quickly disappeared off, indicating the welcome fact that they had finally started to emerge now that the weather was warming up.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Small Heaths

A walk round yesterday produced the very notable tally of 5 Common Sandpipers on the lagoon at Sidestrand, which I think is the most that I have ever recorded on there.
With an evening family get-together at the Dun Cow in Salthouse today, I took the opportunity to walk along to Gramborough Hill where a number of Small Heaths were found on the sunny southern slope and gave me my best views ever of the species.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

More Butterflies and Birds

A walk round the patch yesterday revealed the southerlies had brought in a few more birds with a couple of Sedge Warblers and a Garden Warbler being the most notable.
Today I paid another visit to Trimingham to see the Green Hairstreaks which continued to give excellent views whilst sunning themselves, and whilst I was watching them a Holly Blue also joined them.

A evening visit to Felbrigg Lake revealed a couple of Common Sands on the shoreline, plus a Green Woodpecker and Wheatear on the grassland to the north.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Wood Warbler at Felbrigg

News that a Wood Warbler had been seen by the western entrance to Felbrigg Park early this morning had me hastening over there, and after a quick search of the area I heard it sing very briefly and eventually located it high up in the trees.
Over the next couple of hours it continued to sing and show occasionally although it always kept high up in the trees, but luckily I manged to obtain a few shots of it, the best of which are included below. Whilst one time fairly numerous, in recent years Wood Warblers have become very scarce visitors to the county, and it was certainly a very good record for the patch, being only my second, so I was very pleased that it hung around long enough for myself and others to catch up with it.

A family of Siskins were seen in the same area, and then a quick walk down to the lake revealed 3 Common Sandpipers and 3+ Mandarins, and on the way back a Common Buzzard was seen flying over the trees near the hall.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Green Hairstreaks

Having only really developed a major interest in Butterflies last year, there are still a number of species that I haven't yet seen , so when I received a text to say that there were some Green Hairstreaks at Trimingham, I quickly made my way there and was soon watching my first ever one, and then quickly found a second.
Fortunately one came down from the trees onto the lower level vegetation where I was able to get some excellent views and some reasonable photos of it too.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Spotted Flycatcher at Felbrigg

Whilst down at Felbrigg Lake today photographing the Mandarins, my attention was drawn to a very quiet call as a bird flew onto a bare tree only a few feet in front of me, and to my surprise and delight it was a Spotted Flycatcher, a bird that has become very scarce in recent years and which I rarely encounter in spring around the patch. It then spent the next hour or so feeding from the tops of the trees along the south side of the lake, singing on occasions.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Recent highlights

Some recent photos below of the Winterton Woodchat Shrike and the Red-necked Grebe down Gypsy Lane, Titchwell, which looked most odd sitting and standing in the field on the far side of the ditch!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Garden Warbler the highlight of a quiet few days

With the winds predominating from the north, this week has been fairly quiet with the only new bird recorded being a Garden Warbler today on Beeston Common.
A few Gannets and Kittiwakes have been noted offshore, the number of hirundines and Swifts have greatly increased, a few Yellow Wagtails have continued to move through, and at least 4 drake Mandarins continue to visit Felbrigg lake.
The first Holly Blue butterfly of the year was seen at East Runton on Wednesday, where Speckled Wood and Orange Tips were also present.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Northerlies produce Manx Shearwaters

With the brisk northerly wind, attention today turned from the land to the sea with a morning seawatch from Overstrand producing the hoped for Manx Shearwater with a group of 4 heading east. Other birds passing by included a steady passage of Gannets, c50 distant Auk sp's, Fulmar and half a dozen Common Scoter.