Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Semi-palmated Sandpiper for Lunch

About 10am this morning Gary text me to find our when i was next free, which translates as there's a rare bird about we need to go look for. Well the reply text was 'I'm free now' and at 11.15 Gary was on my door-step in full suit and tie. Having driven over from Great Yarmouth this was his extended Lunch hour. Parking off Old Womans Lane at Cley we where soon in the main hides looking through waders. It didn't take long to locate the Semi-palmated Sandpiper in with the Dunlin. A life tick or both Gary and myself, and in Norfolk to boot. In recent years this bird has been on our radar for a twitch but has always been just a bit to far or at the wrong time. Having not removed his tie Gary was back at work by 2pm and i was back at home.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Disappointing UEA

A stinking cold had me stuck in the house yesterday, so feeling a little better i decided to get some fresh air and walk down to the UEA, Whitlingham was a bit to far. Walking across Eaton Park very little was about, but near the 'new' Greenhouses just off Bluebell Road i soon found loads of small birds. Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit and Blackbird flew across the path. I then noticed a feeder near the growing beds that I've not noticed before. A Nuthatch flitted about in the tree tops and a loose group of Siskin flew over. The rest of my walk was very disappointing, the Broad had 2 Great Crested Grebe, a single Mallard and a few Black-headed Gull. Approaching the Rabbit enclosure i was expecting good things but found nothing! All the feeders that used to be here have been taken down, these feeders used to attract so many birds including Nuthatch, Marsh Tit and on one occasion i had Hawfinch here so i hope they return soon. Walking the river towards Eaton i only had a few Blue Tit and Moorhen, more disappointment. Then a Kingfisher flew past and perching very close, spirits raised i got out my camera. The little excitement soon became anger as i realised the shutter button had broken. I walked home via Waitrose, wondering if i should have stayed indoors!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Wagtail Roost

Popping out on my break before working through until 8pm on Thursday, I was greeted by Pied Wagtail flitting and calling in the fading light and glow of the street lights. c10 birds tried to roost in one of the 'palms' on the traffic islands outside John Lewis and looking up 50+ Pied Wagtail sat on the safety rail that runs around the rooftop of the shop. Most winters a large group of Pied Wagtail move into the city to take advantage of the extra warmth from the buildings. Whether they continue to roost at John Lewis or move to their regular trees/buildings near Gentleman's Walk I'll have to wait and see.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Waxwings Return

The late fall of migrants in the week typically occurred just after I'd had a few days off, and equally as typical had all moved off by the time my next day off, Sunday had rolled around. I would have like to catch up with the Hume's Leaf Warbler and Melodious Warbler particularly, but a Palla's or Yellow-browed would have also been welcomed. On Sunday however i did catch up with my first Waxwing of this winter, with c12 birds just off Hall Road in Norwich. I'll try to return in the week to photograph them if they stay.

Walking to work this morning (Monday), was much more enjoyable now i have the prospect of Waxwing on route, last winter a flock was around the Jenny Lind Park area for a few weeks and most days brightened an often cold damp walk into work. No Waxwing yet in the Park but a Peregrine diving low across the ground after chasing some pigeons from the Old Hospital site, was even more exciting. Not to be out done 3 Waxwing then flew overhead and settled in some trees near the Bignold School, a very pleasant start to the week.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

SEO@Thorpe Station Marsh

I've had quite a bit of holiday to use up recently but yesterday was my last holiday day of the year, and i decided to give Surlingham a bash. I was planning to cycle around Whitlingham then take the cycle route to Surlingham, but a slow puncture made me change my plan.

I cycled around the Great Broad and stopped a few times, it was rather quiet but a Little Gull was with the other gulls in the conservation area and Tufted Duck numbers are starting to build. Scanning Thorpe Broad i could see a few Pochard and lots of BH Gull but again it looked quite. As i was on the bike i gave Whitlingham Marsh a quick look, a Grey Wagtail by the viaduct was my first on the patch this year and a Chinese Water Deer was also somethingCheck Spelling new. Near the Sewage works i noticed my tyre was rather flat so headed over the Postwick Viaduct and dumped the bike at Laura's work on Thorpe Road. After lunch with Laura in the Coach and Horses i decided to walk the areas of my patch north of the river.

I started off in the Roseary Cemetery, as with the days trend it was rather quiet and close up Green Woodpecker, was one of the few bird i saw. Lions Wood was awash with Grey Squirrels, Blackbird and Wood Pigeon, but a Nuthatch broke the monotony. Carey's Meadow was also very quiet, bar a Bullfinch i could hear but not locate. I had planned to get to Station Marsh about 3.30 then hang around for the Short-eared Owl seen the last few nights, but as it was only just after 2.30 so i first walked the whole site. A Great Black-backed Gull was a patch year tick and i found a few Cetti's Warbler calling. Waiting by the cattle pen gulls streamed over along with corvids. A few other birders appeared then at 4.15 the Short-eared Owl appeared. It rise up from the edge of Thorpe Broad and then started to quarter the meadows, and times coming very close and circling over the broad. Sadly the light was to poor to get a photo of my newest patch bird.

North East Norfolk

Sorry about the slightly late update on 29th Oct James, Gay and myself after a bit of furniture moving at Gary's headed to Trimmingham for a final bash at finding some late migrants. Getting out of the car Gary noticed a Buzzard sp. finding a gap in the treeline we were able to confirm Gary's initial thought Rough-legged Buzzard. News of a Red-rumped Swallow flying north through Sea Palling with 2 Swallow had us move to the clifftop hoping they would continue north. While waiting we scanned the sea, eventually picking up several groups of Little Gull and Kittiwake and a few Wigeon. Red-throated Diver appeared then disappeared on the sea and a lone Snow Bunting appeared to come in-off. At about 12.30 i located 3 Swallow heading north, but as the passed overhead they became silhouetted so we tried to ID them over the stubble, 2 where clearly Swallow, the third we could not clearly see however no obvious rump. We had to conclude as unlike as it may be there was 2 groups of 3 Swallow heading north at the end of October in NE Norfolk.

As it was lunch time we headed to the Poachers Pocket at Walcott, ordered our cheesy chips and sat outside to scan the sea. We picked up many similar sea birds as at Trimingham, with Little Gull, Black Tern and Kittiwake being Pub Ticks. A few Guillemots lingered off shore and a Common Scoter flew through. 2 Red-breasted Mergansers west, a flyover Redpoll and a Great Northern Diver were a further 3 Pub Ticks. The best bird though was a Black Guillemot, a Pub Tick, a Norfolk Tick, a rare bird for Norfolk, it flew in and eventually gave good enough views to clinch an ID. We then located a flock of Pink-footed Geese we could hear from the pub, only a couple of fields over. We couldn't find any rare geese mixed in but a neck collared bird (pale blue CCI) has since been reported back to us as a bird ringed in 202 in Aberdeenshire and been seen in Norfolk most years since.