Saturday, 17 November 2012


Just when it looked like autumn migration was over, today produced the very welcome surprise of a Rose-coloured Starling in Northrepps. With it regularly visiting some garden feeders, the owners of the property to their credit realised it was something unusual and after reference to a field guide quickly worked out what it was. Thankfully they then informed a birder who lives in the village who was able to confirm the identification enabling a number of us to enjoy this new bird for the patch, which was the 261st species I've recorded here to date.
It was fairly mobile and elusive at times, but eventually gave good views around various parts of the village where the following selection of shots were taken.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

A few late Butterflies and Dragonflies

A bit of autumn sunshine produced a few surprise insect sightings this past week with a Red Admiral in the garden on the 7th, followed by a Peacock Butterfly flying high over Overstrand prom on the 8th which gave the impression that it had just come in-off the sea.
A visit to Felbrigg produced a couple of Common Darters in the meadow to the NW of the lake on the 13th, and another Red Admiral was seen in the Co-op car park in Cromer on the 15th.
Birdwise a drake Goosander was seen on the sea off West Runton on the 10th before it flew off inland, and then the same or another was present on Felbrigg Lake later that afternoon.
Also at West Runton a Snow Bunting was in the car park and this Shag was on one of the groynes.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Black Guillemot and Great Northern Diver

Did a bit of seawatching this morning off Overstrand which proved very productive with a good tally of birds recorded. The large Common Scoter flock was still offshore and amongst them were a couple of drake Eiders. A Red-breasted Merganser, Goldeneye and a Great-crested Grebe were all noted heading west along with a good number of Razorbills and Guillemots and a single Little Auk.
Then as I was continuing to search through the scoter flock for something good I noticed an auk flying along the back edge of the flock, with the obvious white wing patches making me immediately realise that it was the Black Guillemot that I first saw on Saturday. I watched it fly for a few hundred yards before it pitched down on the sea but it was frustratingly lost to view as it dived, but nevertheless it was a relief to have finally nailed it.
A few birds were noted coming in-off including 3 Snow Buntings, and a few Starlings, Skylarks and Blackbirds, with one of the latter seen to pitch down in the sea twice, and although I feared the worse for it, happily with one last effort it lifted itself off the water and safely made it to land much to my relief. However the best bird recorded coming in was a single Waxwing.
I then changed position to slightly further west to try to relocate the Black Guilemot, but by this time the rain had set in making visibility very poor, but despite this I was delighted to pick up a Great Northern Diver on the sea which was still mostly in summer plumage and was a really smart bird.
The rain and poor light made photography pretty much a non-starter however I did manage this one shot of the diver just to record its occurrence.

Monday, 5 November 2012


A visit to Sidestrand today to look for some Waxwings that had been seen there earlier initially drew a blank, but just as I was about to get into the car, I heard a familiar trilling call above me and as I quickly glanced up 3 Waxwings flew over heading west and were quickly joined by another two which had obviously been in the vicinty unseen, and all 5 then carried on westwards towards Cromer.
I then headed to West Runton and did a bit of seawatching recording a Pale-bellied Brent Goose and a couple of Bonxies, along with a few auks, Kittiwakes and Gannets.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

More Seawatching

With the Common Scoter flock still offshore I had another look at the sea today, with a Gadwall and 3 Eider present within the flock. A couple of Velvet Scoters flew west without stopping, a fair number of Razorbills were also noted along with a couple of Guillemots, a few Shags were offshore and an adult Med Gull flew west.
However most frustrating was a very brief glimpse of what was undoubtedly a Black Guillemot on the sea, but after it dived I failed to relocate it despite extensive searching as far west as the pier, but hopefuly it may reappear in the coming days.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Black-throated Diver and even more Shags

During the morning I did a bit of seawatching off Overstrand where a flock of c500 Common Scoter were feeding offshore which is a very notable tally for this part of the coast. I was hoping they would drag something good in, but all I could manage was a drake Pochard amongst them.
A female Pintail, my first of the year on the patch was noted amongst a small flock of Wigeon, and the other highlight was a Black-throated Diver, probably first seen briefly yesterday, which again was new for the year.
In the afternoon I again went to the pier to count the Shags, seeing 5 Swallows along the seafront on the way. By dusk again large numbers came into roost with a total of 75 being noted, which I believe is a new record high for the county. I suspect there is probably even more than that present but viewing the whole area, including those on the sea, at the same time to get an accurate account is pretty impossible but I was more than happy with the tally counted.
Below is a record shot, taken through a window in the lifeboat station, hence the poor quality, but it shows the main bulk of the roosting flock with a minimum of 66 birds present in the picture.

Thursday, 1 November 2012


Today I headed to the pier to have a look at the Shags which continue to roost on the lifeboat ramp and to hopefully get some photos. Also as some of them were colour ringed, I was hoping to be able to read the rings to trace their origins.

As the afternoon progressed more and more birds came into roost and in the process I was able to record 15 ringed birds so hopefully we'll get a good idea of their breeding grounds.
Whilst watching and photographing them I suddenly became aware that the size of the flock had rapidly increased as more birds were coming into roost with at least 50 birds now present on the ramp, and as dusk approached there was an amazing total of 71 birds present either on the ramp or on the sea in the near vicinity, so totally unprecedented numbers for the area and the county as a whole.