Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Christmas Break Birding

With a few days off and some good weather, a couple of days birding were long overdue. Stephen was free, so yesterday (29th) we headed to Norfolk for some general birding taking in the PALLID HARRIER at Flitcham, which showed very well and was a great start to the day, here we also saw BARN OWL, GREY PARTRIDGE and a fair number of PINK FOOTED GEESE flying over. While here a couple BRAMBLING buzzed as they also flew over, add to that several HARES, ROE DEER and an earlier MUNTJAC completing the scene it was a very productive first stop.
A short drive to Choseley via a shop to pick-up my missing traditional Scotch Egg, we were soon looking for ROUGH LEGGED BUZZARDS. These proved more difficult and a couple of distant short views in an hour or more was all we could muster, still the light was good so weren't disappointed. Where to go next was the question, after a quick stop at Burnham Overy and a quicker drive round the fully rammed car park at Titchwell we headed for a quieter walk at Burnham Norton where we had 5 Goose species plus a few LITTLE EGRETS as well as nice fly-by MARSH HARRIER. Holkham was next and a small lay-by looking north provided a great vantage point to watch the thousands of PINK FEET, several COMMON BUZZARDS (including one particularly light individual), MARSH HARRIERS and a  BARN OWL, no. 2 of the day. There was no sign the Red Rumped Swallow but the GREAT WHITE EGRET flew across the marsh just before we left. Driving to Cley we saw another 3 BARN OWLS, including 2 together just beyond Holkham. At Cley it was a bit too late to pick out the Black Brant but we enjoyed the spectacle as all the Brents and Pink Feet lifted off to head out to roost towards Blakeney Point, a great day out and great to catch-up with Stephen and reminisce about our birding over the years, including a magical morning on a snowy mountain in Poland watching Pygmy Owl and Three Toed Woodpecker............I can see them now as clear as anything :-)

So to today, strong southerly winds forecast, I was a bit late getting up but got to Dunge for around 9am GANNETS, GUILLEMOTS and KITTIWAKES were streaming down channel, many only just off shore giving great views. I was hoping for Sooty Shearwater as a few had been reported on previous days, the shout did come up twice while I was there but these were very distant and I didn't catch-up with them. There was plenty more to keep the attention though, the first winter CASPIAN GULL was seen several times and on the sea RED THROATED DIVERS, several BONXIES a single ARCTIC SKUA, SANDWICH TERN, plus a handful of RAZORBILLS all headed the same way. Trying to even things up were goods numbers of BRENT GEESE all heading up channel several hundred were seen this morning. Other birds here were SHELDUCK, FULMAR and TURNSTONE on the beach. A quick stop at the reserve added the LONG EARED OWL, almost hidden from view, 2 GREAT WHITE EGRETS and good numbers of GOLDENEYE. Driving back across the marsh didn't produce the hoped for Bewick's Swans just a couple of large flocks of FIELDFARE. Finally I dropped into the local patch which was quiet with just a single Snipe, Chiffchaff and Kingfisher.

pics from the last couple of days no particular order!!!
One of many Gannets today

Guillemot and an unseasonal Arctic Skua

Great White Egret - Dungeness

Pallid Harrier - Flitcham

View from Burnham Norton walk

Marsh Harrier

Barn Owl
Just a few Pink Footed Geese

Barn Owl

Sunday, 10 May 2015

A bit of Local birding

After a couple of weeks of inactivity, I enjoyed a nice local walk. The new patch hit 100 species today, a little later than I hoped for but still a nice mark to reach, this year so far the total is 87 with several common species missing.
There were good numbers of SWIFT, SWALLOW and HOUSE MARTIN around the area. Raptors were in good supply with at least 6 BUZZARDS, 1 KESTREL, 2 SPARROWHAWKS, 1 PEREGRINE and a HONEY BUZZARD! Other birds of note were 2 EGYPTIAN GEESE, several TUFTED DUCK, KINGFISHER, LITTLE OWL a couple of CUCKOOS, LITTLE RINGED PLOVER and a BLACK TAILED GODWIT! Some really nice local birds, add to that families of GREAT CRESTED GREBES, LAPWING and MUTE SWAN, it was a very enjoyable couple of hours.

A surprise find today

Young Lapwing

Distant Honey Buzzard