Saturday, 23 October 2010

Pallid Harrier Tick?

Got back from a holiday to the Scilly Isles and south-west late last night, i will do a full report soon. Highlights including Tawny Pipit, Melodious Warbler, American Golden Plover, Red-eyed Verio, Subalpine Warbler, Red-flanked Bluetail, Green Heron, Squacco Heron and Cattle Egret, plus many commoner birds giving great views.

Catching up on the blogs and websites i was surprised to see a retrospective ringtail Pallid Harrier reported at Holme. This has created a dilemma for me, i was at Holme and saw the bird, noting it down as a probable Montagu's Harrier, but not giving it much attention, before concentrated on looking for 'rarer' migrants. The bird has now been re-identified from photos, so do i have a new tick, or is this just a lesson in being more attentive?

Monday, 11 October 2010

Olive-backed Pipit...No Thanks

High tides meant that early afternoon would be the best time to look for the Olive-backed Pipit at Stiffkey, so Laura and i started off at Holme. Walking the dunes towards the Warden's house there was an obvious fall of Song Thrush and Brambling with birds in nearly every bush. I also saw my first Fieldfare of the autumn and Richard's Pipit was briefly seen on an area of short turf. At least 2 Lapland Bunting flew over the dunes and Thrushes continued to come in-off. Around the Warden's House i saw 2 Redstart and a Black Redstart, before Laura found a Yellow-browed Warbler in a clump of Buckthorn. A Great Grey Shrike had been seen on the grazing marshes but looking from the hide we could see little. From the footpath to Thornham the Great Grey Shrike could be seen, albeit distantly. By the time we walked further down the footpath the bird had gone, first flushed by a Magpie then Sparrowhawk. A juv. Montagu's Harrier flew through, but we couldn't be bothered to walk further so returned to the car, and then had lunch at 'The Hero' in Burnham Overy. It was about 2.30 when we parked by the campsite in Stiffkey, cars were everywhere and i could see a line of birders distantly across the very muddy saltmarsh. Before setting off i made a phone call to check if the bird was showing, it was but an Isabelline Wheatear had also just been found in Lowestoft. Before even getting my boots on i had decided to leave the Olive-backed Pipit and go to Lowestoft. After a frantic drive across the whole of Norfolk we eventually arrived at North Denes. The Isabelline Wheatear was showing extremely well at close range, with little need for a scope, it was a shame the camera was at home. In the early evening sun the pale tones and posture of the bird along with it 'pot-belly' appearence distinguised it from a Northern Wheatear near by. We headed back to Norwich, mud free and rather content at seeing a stunning bird, leaving Stiffkey was probably a good call.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Whitlingham BIG Count!

With rain forecast i decided not to venture far from home, and there wasn't much about anyway. I headed down to Whitlingham, and thought I'd take a leaf out of James book and actually count what i saw, but not just the waterfowl but everything. If it moved it was counted! I started by the Canoe club, walked the South shore of both Little and Great Broads, then scanned Thorpe Station Marsh and returned via the Conservation area and North shore, before working the scrub near Little Broad Car park. The despite light drizzle most of the morning i counted plenty of birds with a few surprises. Of note were 9 Mistle Thrush on the Meadow near Whitlingham Lane, a 2nd Winter Yellow-legged Gull (patch tick), 35+ Robin possibly part of the autumn influx seen at the coast, 3/4 Kingfisher (i'm normally lucky to see one) and Cormorant are now roosting on the large pylons at the west end of the site.

Whitlingham Total Count
(Great Broad - GB, Little Broad - LB, Thorpe Broad - TB,
River Yare - RY, Other - Oth)

Great Crested Grebe 7 (4 GB, 2 LB, 1 TB)
Little Grebe 2 (2 GB)
Cormorant 25 (13 GB, 5 TB, 7 Oth)
Grey Heron 2 (2 GB)
Mute Swan 79 (76 GB, 2 TB, 1 RY)
Black Swan 1 (1 GB)
Egyptian Goose 10 (8 GB, 2 TB)
Greylag Goose 4 (4 GB)
Feral Goose 10 (8 GB, 2 RY)
Wigeon 2 (2 GB)
Mallard 156 (76 GB, 39 LB, 3 TB, 38 RY)
Gadwall 63(27 GB, 5 LB, 31 TB)
Shoveler 1 (1 GB)
Teal 2 (2 GB)
Pochard 10 (1 GB, 9 TB)
Tufted Duck 98 (95 GB, 3 TB)
Pheasant 1 (1 Oth)
Coot 258 (211 GB, 41 LB, 6 TB, 2 RY)
Moorhen 19 (15 GB, 4 LB)
Snipe 5 (5 TB)
Black-headed Gull 35 (11 GB, 8 LB, 5 TB, 11 Oth)
Common Gull 2 (2 GB)
Yellow-legged Gull 1 (1 GB)
Lesser Black-backed Gull 2 (2 GB)
Feral Pigeon 8 (8 Oth)
Stock Dove 2 (2 GB)
Woodpigeon 36 (19 GB, 2 LB, 6 TB, 11 Oth)
Collared Dove 1 (1 Oth)
Kingfisher 4 (2 GB, 1 TB, 1 RY)
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 (1 GB)
Dunnock 3 (2 GB, 1 Oth)
Wren 7 (2 GB, 1 LB, 4 Oth)
Robin 36 (17 GB, 5 LB, 14 Oth)
Blackbird 17 (4 GB, 2 LB, 1 TB, 2 RY, 8 Oth)
Redwing 1 (1 Oth)
Mistle Thrush 11 (11 Oth)
Cetti's Warbler 4 (3 GB, 1 RY)
Chiffchaff 1 (1 Oth)
Blackcap 2 (2 GB)
Goldcrest 1 (1 Oth)
Long-tailed Tit 17 (13 GB, 4 Oth)
Marsh Tit 2 (2 Oth)
Coal Tit 1 (1 Oth)
Blue Tit 33 (6 GB, 3 LB, 24 Oth)
Great Tit 9 (2 GB, 7 Oth)
Jay 12 (3 GB, 4RY, 5 Oth)
Magpie 6 (3 LB, 3 Oth)
Jackdaw 13 (13 Oth)
Carrion Crow 2 (2 Oth)
Chaffinch 2 (2 Oth)
Goldfinch 17 (4 GB, 13 Oth)