Friday, 31 August 2012


With a fairly decent northerly blow taking place, I put in a couple of stints of seawatching yesterday afternoon and this morning, with the main highlights being a Long-tailed Skua, Sooty Shearwater, Puffin and Arctic Tern which were all new for the year.
Good numbers of Arctic and Great Skuas were also noted, along with a few Manx Shearwaters. Kittiwakes, Fulmars and Gannets were also on the move along with a few Common Scoter, Wigeon and Teal. Good numbers of mainly Sandwich Terns were also passing by along with a few common wader species.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012


Another trip into Felbrigg today produced the surprise of a Shoveler on the lake, the first on the patch this year. Also new in were a Teal, a Tufted Duck and a drake Gadwall had joined the female. I must admit I'm getting a bit paranoid as to the origins of wildfowl on the lake given the situation with the Swans there, with the Mutes now up to 21, but I guess I'll give the ducks the benefit of the doubt for now.
Another search around for the Red-veined Darters again drew a blank, but this red-veined Common Darter was a potential trap for the unwary.
At least a dozen Migrant Hawkers were regulary hanging up in their favourite oaks, sadly mostly up too high to get a really nice pic but the odd one did land a bit lower down.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Small Red-eyed Damselflies at Felbrigg

Made a couple of further visits in the last few days to Felbrigg to see if I could find some more Red-veined Darters, and although unsuccessful so far I was delighted to find several Small Red-eyed Damselflies whilst I was searching. I hadn't seen any here last year and was fearing they had died out so I was very pleased to see they were still present.

Another welcome surprise was finding an Emerald Damselfly, the first one I've ever seen at Felbrigg, and only the second one I've ever seen on the patch. It stayed a bit distant along the reed edge but allowed a record shot to be taken to document the occurrence.

A Banded Demoiselle was also present which is also a very scarce species in the park, and during the course of checking all the Darters seen I found my first Ruddy Darter of the year too. Emperors, Black-tailed Skimmers, Brown Hawkers and Southern Hawkers were all also seen, along with numerous Common Darters.

Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies were also present around the lake, and then a check of the trees where Migrant Hawkers like to hang-out produced about half a dozen including the one below.

On the lake the Mute Swans had been 're-stocked' back up to 19, and the Whooper Swan had returned to the lake to join them. A Gadwall was present in amongst the Mallard flock and several Reed Warblers were still in the reedbed. A (family?) flock of 6 Common Buzzards were circling high up over the park, and Crossbills were heard flying over.

Elsewhere a couple of Bonxies were seen passing by, and up to 5 Swifts were feeding over the village and seafront.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Red-veined Darters emerge at Felbrigg

Having neglected Felbrigg for a while I decided to head over there today to see what was about in the park.
What appeared was going to be a pretty uneventful visit, aside from a Little Grebe on the lake, improved as I got to the south-east corner of the lake and flushed a few teneral Darters out of the grass. Fortunately one of them landed a little way ahead so I slowly approached it and upon getting near was immediately struck by the pale blue-grey lower half to its eyes, a feature that I was aware was indicative of Red-veined Darter.
As I was however unsure as to the eye colour of freshly emerged Common Darters, I thought that it maybe only wishful thinking, especially as I noted another nearby which again had the same coloured eyes. Anyway I thought the best course of action was to get a few snaps and then check the literature later.
A quick look at the books didn't imediately help and I nearly just let them go as just Common Darters, however logging on to the Dragonfly forum the next day I was greeted by photos of a freshly emerged Red-veined Darter from Hampshire which was a dead ringer for my own! So I quickly uploaded my own photos and had it confirmed that indeed they were Red-veined Darters too.
I guess in a way it was a bit annoying that I'd failed to find any here during the influx earlier this year given that they were obviously present, but it was nice to know that they had successfully bred, and it was of course very satisfying to have confirmed this. One can only speculate as to how many have emerged here during the last few days, especially with the blisteringly hot weather over the weekend, but naturally I'll be checking every darter very carefully during my next few visits to the park.
Aside from the eye colour, the photos below (of an immature male) show the yellow veins along the leading edge of the wing, and the black on the face extending down the sides of the frons like a drooping moustache, which is a feature not present in Common Darter.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Pied Flycatcher

Migration through the patch has been pretty slow so far, with a single Wheatear on the Golf Course in the week the only notable occurrence. However things took a turn for the better this evening with a Pied Flycatcher at Sidestrand.
Butterflies have become a bit more evident in the recent warmer weather, with notable sightings including Wall on the cliffs at Trimingham, a single Common Blue by the Lighthouse which is a species which unusually has been ultra scarce on the patch this year, and there's also been a nice influx of Peacocks too.

Common Darters are also becoming widespread in recent days, including this pair in copulation.

Thursday, 9 August 2012


With news of a Quail at Northrepps emerging, although disappointingly 6 days into its stay, I headed up to Hungry Hill this evening to try to locate it. Although there were numerous cereal fields in the area, an educated guess at its likely field quickly paid off as when whilst walking along the roadside it was heard singing only a short way into the barley. Over the course of the next half hour it gave a couple more bursts of song, and although as usual it offered no prospect of a glimpse, it was still a welcome new bird for the year.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Alpine Swift

The month got off to an excellent start with an Alpine Swift gracing the patch yesterday. Initially very mobile, I first caught up with it over Sheringham, before it finally settled down over Beeston Bump in the evening. Remarkably its now the sixth one that I've seen over the Bump, and the seventh in total for the patch, but was also notable for being the first outside of the spring period.

As it continued to linger, I popped back for a couple of hours today during which time it put in a few brief appearances viewable from the top of the Bump, allowing for a few record shots to be obtained, a montage of which are included below.