Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Whooper Swans over Trimingham

A planned walk along the clifftop between Sidestrand and Trimingham today to see if the Twite were still present had to be aborted as a major chunk of the cliffs, along with some of the clifftop sugar beet field, had recently collapsed and there was no longer a pathway along there.

I therefore decided to walk in from the Trimingham end but as I arrived at the layby I noticed a huge snow storm approaching from out to see so I decided to sit in the car for a while to wait for it to pass through, which as it transpired was a fortuitous decision as after a couple of minutes a flock of 10 Whooper Swans flew in off the sea just on the front edge of the storm and passed right over the road in front of my car.

Hoping that the snow may have grounded them I drove round the fields inland but there was no sign of them but still I was delighted with another new patch year tick bringing me to 198 as the month came to a close.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Goldeneye on Felbrigg Lake

A visit to Felbrigg Park today produced a fine drake Goldeneye on the lake, but unfortunately the Goosanders which had also been on there had been flushed by gun-shots in the adjacent wood shortly before my arrival.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Bittern at Titchwell

Another visit to Titchwell this afternoon produced a nice flight view of a Bittern over the reedbed, a redhead Goosander on the freshmarsh and a ringtail Hen Harrier over Thornham Marsh, along with a couple of Chinese Water Deer including the one photo'd yesterday with the split ear.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Raptors Galore

A visit to Titchwell today produced a plethora of raptors over Thornham Marsh with 2 Hen Harriers, 2+ Peregrines, Common Buzzard, Merlin, Marsh Harriers, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel, plus a Barn Owl too.
The bird being touted as a Northern Harrier was also seen distantly around Thornham Point but having seen the Tacumshin bird I must admit I was underwhelmed by this bird and think there is still alot to learn about the variation that Hen Harriers can show.
Other highlights whilst we were there included a couple of Lapland Buntings flying over and a Chinese Water Deer.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

More Waxwings

More Waxwings were the highlight of the day today with a flock of 80+ on roadside wires near the Cawston roundabout which may well have been the birds from Aylsham, plus on the way home another 6 were seen on the roadside near Colby.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Rough-legged Buzzards at Holkham NNR

An early morning seawatch off East Runton produced a presumed Short-eared Owl in off the sea, and whilst a check of the clifftop bushes in which it appeared to go down in drew a blank, a Waxwing flew over.
A trip along the coast to Burnham Norton produced the desired result with a couple of Rough-legged Buzzards seen hunting over the saltmarsh and then on the way back a third flew over the coast road, briefly landing in a tree before heading off over the pines.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Waxwings at Aylsham

With a big flock of Waxwings still being present at Aylsham today, the short trip over was too hard to resist, and I was soon enjoying the thrilling (or should that be trilling) spectacle of them commuting between overhead wires and a berry-laden hedge, with c99 birds present.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Fairly quiet around the patch

Despite my best efforts in trying to turn up something new for the year, the last ten days have been pretty quiet round the patch, with the only noteworthy sightings being a few Pochard and Gadwall returning to Felbrigg Lake for the winter, a Little Egret flying along the tideline past Cromer Pier, and at West Runton the usual Med Gull.


Wednesday, 10 November 2010

More Seawatching

Highlights of another bout of seawatching from the patch this morning were a single Little Auk, a few Pom Skuas and some Little Gulls. Goldeneye, Red-breasted Mergansers, Eider, Kittiwakes and Common Scoter were amongst the other species noted passing by too.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Scaup and Long-tailed Duck

With strong onshore winds a brief seawatch off West Runton late afternoon produced the desired results with a pair of Scaup and a Long-tailed Duck seen, both of which were new for the year bringing the total for the patch this year to a tantalising 197. Two Sooty Shearwaters passing by were also very noteworthy.

Monday, 8 November 2010


A walk along the golf course today was pretty quiet but a nice surprise was had when checking Happy Valley as I found a Firecrest in Warren Woods which as always was a stunning looking bird.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

MARSH HAWK at Tacumshin

Following the finding of a Marsh Hawk, the North American counterpart of our Hen Harrier, last weekend at Tacumshin, its continued presence meant a trip over to County Wexford was the order of the day.
After a couple of brief distant views, it eventually gave itself up as it hunted the fields to the north of the east end car park, and was later watched over the forgotten corner and then finally again as it came into roost in the reedbed to the west of the lake.

As ever Tacumshin held a host of other birds, with the most notable being a few flocks of Greenland White-fronted Geese passing over, good numbers of Whooper Swans on the lake (along with a single Black Swan!), a Peregrine chasing the wader flocks, 1+ Short-eared Owls hunting along the fringes of the lake and a few European Hen Harriers including a nice male at the roost site.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Twite revisited

Today I again visited Sidestrand with the hope of getting some decent pics of the Twite that I had found yesterday and although they continued to be very mobile and elusive I managed to get a few. As usual many of the birds in the flock were colour-ringed allowing them to be traced back to their breeding grounds in northern England.

A flock of c90 Golden Plovers were present in the clifftop field and four Lapland Buntings flew over heading west.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Richards Pipit and Twite

First port of call today was Sidestrand to check out the flock of small birds that I had seen late yesterday afternoon.
As I was walking along the clifftop towards where I had seen the flock I suddenly noticed a large pipit hovering over the clifftop vegetation before landing out of sight. Despite the brief views the prospect of this being a Richards Pipit was very high so I carefully tried to position myself where I might be able to see it if it moved to a shorter area of grass, but unfortunately it wasn't on the ground for long but fortuitously flew right past me calling as it bounded strongly off west and I was able to confirm its id. Apart from one that was at West Runton last autumn, this was my only other patch record of the species and the first that I have found myself so I was naturally elated with the record.
On a high, I carried on along the clifftop and quickly located the flock of birds seen yesterday as they flew along the cliffs towards me. From their flight calls, I was delighted to immediately recognise them as Twite, and after quickly changing position I was able to see them land on the cliff-face and then watch them feeding on the seed-heads of the sparse undercliff vegetation.
They were very mobile and often disappeared from view in various crevices, so it was very difficult to count them, so I took a couple of quick snaps on one of the occasions that they flew round for perusal later, with one showing that there were 21 birds present in the flock, and as I hadn't seen any other species with them, presumably they were all Twite, and a very excellent record for the patch.

A couple of Lapland Buntings flew over calling, and there was a nice passage of Lapwings also moving west.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Lapland Bunting and Waxwing

A walk around Trimingham today revealed that there was still at least one Lapland Bunting in the clifftop stubble, and a Waxwing flew over calling but out of sight from my position.

Just as I was leaving I scanned towards Sidestrand and picked up a flock of small birds flying around the clifftop and then they appeared to disappear off across the clifftop field. Knowing that this was unusual for the location and that the same area had previously attracted both Snow Buntings and Twite, they were naturally worthy of further investigation, but as the light was fading fast I decided to leave them for tomorrow.....