Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Red Kite

With the month coming to a close the final highlight of October was a Red Kite which, whilst at West Runton, I picked up coming along the ridge near Incleborough Hill, before it suddenly turned towards the coast and headed right over the beach car park and off over West Runton village.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012


Today saw me as usual checking the area around the lighthouse for migrants and just as it appeared it was going to be an uneventful search I spotted an egret coming along the sea about 100 yards offshore. Naturally I assumed it was going to be a little but raising my bins I was stunned and excited to see that it was actually a Great White Egret, my first one ever for the patch, and the 260th species that I have recorded here.
As it passed by I took a few record shots, but sadly it was just too far away for anything really decent, but still they were a nice record of the occurrence.

Having got the news out quickly it was subsequently tracked along the coast, briefly pausing at Salthouse before carrying on west, so I was pleased that others had caught up with it, and thus hopefully would prevent the rather sad and ill-informed comments which were made behind my back after the one that I saw at Glandford last year.
I then decided to head to West Runton to look for the Richards Pipit that had been reported early morning. I made my way along the clifftop to the rough strip behind the barns, the favourite haunt of the one I found there last month, and immediately had it in flight as it headed over to the clifftop path where it gave good views.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Black Redstart and Little Auk

Highlight today was undoubtedly this ultra stunning male Black Redstart, which along with a couple of females, was feeding around the rock piles on the beach at East Runton.

Nine Snow Buntings were also noted coming in-off, and a Lapland Bunting also flew over.
Whilst at East Runton I had noticed a scoter flock on the sea beyond the pier so on my way home I made a quick stop just to check through them. They all proved to be Common Scoter but whilst there I glanced across at the pier to check out the ever increasing number of Shags which were roosting on the lifeboat ramp, and immediately spotted a Little Auk on the sea under the pier.
I quickly made my way along the prom during which time it rapidly swam towards the surf line and then took flight and landed on the beach up against the prom wall. As I approached it again took flight and after circling the pier it again took shelter underneath it where it then gave good views on the sea.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Little Auks and Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll

With the strengthening northerly wind continuing overnight, seawatching was again the order of the day with the highlight being c6 Little Auks heading east although views were ultra brief as they momentarily rose above the huge troughs before vanishing again.
Good numbers of Kittiwakes plus a few Little Gulls were also noted passing by, along with a number of Bonxies plus 3 Arctic/Pom Skuas which went through too quickly to get a decent look at.
During the afternoon I received a phone call to alert me to the fact that the Arctic Redpoll that was present at Holkham was being strongly muted as a Hornemann's so I quickly headed along the coast and joined the small appreciative crowd enjoying superb close views of what by now had indeed been confirmed as a Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll as it fed on the leeward side of the dunes.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Shags and Velvet Scoter

With the wind picking up from a northerly direction, after a fruitless look around the bushes in the lighthouse area, I embarked on a bit of seawatching and in the process of setting up I noticed a number of birds perched on the lifeboat ramp at the end of the pier.
Upon getting my scope on them I was delighted to see that they were as I had hoped Shags, the first of the year. Initially there was about half a dozen but as time went on more birds flew in to roost on the ramp, and there was probably up to twenty birds present in all.

Other highlight of the seawatch were a couple of Velvet Scoter which headed west, and it was also good to see large numbers of Kittiwakes on the move too.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Snow Bunting

Another day of battling with the foggy conditions although it did improve as the day went on.
A walk along the clifftop between Sidestrand and Trimingham was the most productive part of the day with the highlight being the first Snow Bunting of the year heading west long the cliffs.
What was undoubtedly a Waxwing flew in-off the sea but too high and distant to be 100% sure, half a dozen Ring Ouzels were in the clifftop bushes and on the cliffs themselves, a Blackcap and Chiffchaff were also noted in the clifftop vegetation, where the first Woodcock of the autumn was also flushed up from.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012


With yesterdays dense fog continuing throughout today, it was again a struggle to find birds with the visibility so poor, and whilst numerous thrushes were still coming in-off their numbers were greatly reduced today.
Birds which were seen however included a couple of Black Redstarts on the lighthouse, a single Willow Warbler, plus a few more Bramblings, Reed Buntings and Chiffchaffs.
Highlight of the day though was a Woodlark which took up temporary residence in the car park at West Runton before eventually flying off high to the south. The gloom was far from conducive for photography but I still managed a couple of shots to record what was only the second Woodlark that I've seen on the patch following the one at Sidestrand last December.


Monday, 22 October 2012

Massive fall of Thrushes

Dense fog and a north-easterly airflow combined to produce a huge fall of Redwings, Fieldfares, Blackbirds and Song Thrushes on the patch today in numbers that I have never witnessed before. Everywhere I walked large numbers of thrushes were being flushed up from the undergrowth, woods and fields, with many many more continually dropping out of the sky at first sight of land.
A few Ring Ouzels were also mixed in with the incoming flocks, with other species noted around the patch including good numbers of Robins plus a few Bramblings, along with Chiffchaffs, Reed Buntings, and single Grey Wagtail, Common Snipe and Reed Warbler. However due to the dense fog which persisted throughout the day reducing visibility down to a few feet, the task of locating anything decent was severely hampered with most birds having to be identified on call or silhouette in the gloom.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Recent news

Its been fairly quiet round the patch over the last few weeks aside from finally finding the first Razorbill of the year offshore from Overstrand, and a couple of Yellow-browed Warblers in the Cromer area were as ever nice birds to find.
Off patch, news of an Egyptian Vulture heading west along the north coast on Wednesday set the pulses racing, and although it was relegated to an escapee whilst enroute, it was still an excellent bird to see as we caught up with it over Holkham where I grabbed a couple of record shots.