Tuesday, 14 September 2010

A Handful of Wheatears

....was all i had to show for the 7 1/2 mile walk along the coast from Cley Coastguards back to Sheringham. I wasn't hopeful for much as the wind had swung around to a strong SW, scuppering any plans to sea watch or finding many migrants. I caught the 8.23am train and the trip to Sheringham produced some of the best birding of the day, 2 Buzzard, a Sparrowhawk and what was to be the days biggest surprise 2 Quail near Northrepps. They'll soon be leaving and are normally hiding in the crops, but the harrowed ground gave these two nowhere to hide. At Cley the wind was strong, anything good was going to be skulking down low. A quick look on North Scrape just gave the normal waders, so i soon headed off towards Salthouse. Behind Arnolds Marsh a Wryneck has been present a week, but despite looking thought the bushs and scrub i didn't find it. (I later learned no one saw it all day.) In the same area though a group of 7 Lapland Bunting fed on the shingle ridge, but were easily spooked by walkers. 2 Wheatear and a lone Whimbrel were the only migrants i could find, though a fly through Merlin let me know Winter is on its way. Moving onto the Little Eye at i found a further 4 Wheatear, 1 Whinchat and a few juv Common and Sandwich Tern. Grambrough Hill so often a migrant hotspot gave me close views of Kestrel but only another Wheatear to the migrant list. Weybourne looked more promising with the seaward side of the hill sheltered from the wind. With 6 Wheatear, 3 Stonechat, 3 Meadow Pipit, 1 Whinchat and a Willow Warbler, that was debatable. The walk from here to Sheringham along the coastal path was even less eventful with a Whitethroat and 2 Wheatear hardly worth noting. Not the best migrant hunting conditions by a long shot but t was still nice to get out.


  1. Quail - thats something I really need to see, as most have gone now they seem to follow the Swifts, did you see them from the train?

  2. I was suprised at seeing them, a bird i haven't seen for many years. When i've seen them in the past it has always been just before they leave once the crops are low. They were from the train but i got a pretty good view and was confident with their ID. Its a nice train ride along there, shame about the rest of the day!

  3. 'Was confident' sounds like you having doubts now. I am just amazed that you were able to see them even in harrowed ground. I know that a Quail can hide on any ground you sure that they werent young Pheasent? And from the train most birds would hide up as the hear the train approaching?