Saturday, 29 September 2012

2 "Lifers" and a Dorset Holiday

With 5 days planned in Dorset from 24th-28th i wasn't planning on doing much on Sunday 23th, but with favourable weather, Gary convinced me a trip to the coast would be a worthwhile. The day started very quietly at Holme, 2 hours of waiting around the NWT reserve looking for the long staying Barred Warbler and Wryneck and Little Bunting of the previous day turned up nothing more interesting that a fly over Hawfinch and my first Brambling of the Autumn. A Red-breasted Flycatcher had been showing at the NOA reserve so we paid our £3 and waited, but as the wind increased so the RBF kept out of site. After and hour or so we decided to look around the more sheltered pines but only found a few Goldcrest. Hoping for a change of fortune and some lunch we stopped in a Titchwell, views of a possible 'Baird's Sandpiper' were inconclusive, but before we found much else (or got a bacon bap!) news of a possible Booted Warbler at Burnham Overy provided some hope so we jumped in the car and headed east. Parking in the village we walked along the sea wall and eventually found 4 birders looking into some suadae, not the crowd we expected. A very pale 'milky-tea' coloured bird soon flitted out of the scrub, giving great flight views before disappearing again. Someone bravely called it in as a Booted Warbler and soon people started to arrive. The bird got more and more flighty as the crowd grew, this enabled us further good views, but we decided to leave before the rain arrived. A brief stop at Cley failed to turn up much before the rain really set in, so we headed for home.

5am on Monday and we go in the car for 5 days in Dorset, not really a birding holiday but with scope for a few hours birding at least. No being able to get our accommodation keys until 3pm we headed first to Lodmoor RSPB. I couldn't join Gary in his trip for the Short-billed Dowitcher 2 weeks ago but the bird had been seen the previous day. Things didn't look good but after about an hour the bird was located. The bird turned out to be my 350th British Tick, my second in two days and a good start to the holiday. The only other birding of the holiday was a sea watching stint from Portland Bill, which eventually turned up a single Balearic Shearwater, a few Guillemot, Gannet and Razorbill, a rather disappointing total. A Raven offered close views, but we failed to find the Ortolan Bunting seen earlier in the day. Other birds seen round and about included a Wryneck, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Winchat and some Redwing. Gary also found a Goshawk and Osprey on a trip out without me.

Since my last post I've ran the moth trap  only a few nights, once at home and once at Gary's. Catches are falling but new moths include Angleshade and Light Emerald in Norwich, and Common Marbled Carpet and Oak Hooktip at Gary's. We did take the trap to Dorset but the heavy showers only enabled us to run if for a couple of hours on 27th, catching only eight moths. However these included two new species for me in Frosted Orange and Lunar Underwing.

Friday, 7 September 2012

1st Autumn Migrant Hunt

I haven't forgotten about my blog, but simply haven't been birdwatching much since returning from my Honeymoon back in June. I've run the moth trap a few times but with nothing to shout about let alone blog about.

Yesterday I was hoping to joing Gary driving down to Dorset to see the Short-billed Dowitcher, but work messing up the rota left me very annoyed and having to work! I have a holiday booked only a mile down the road from Lodmoor RSPB at the end of the month, fingers crossed.

Being deprived of a twitch, I had to get out to the coast today to release some frustration. Laura and i headed to Grambrough Hill at Salthouse, a favourate migrant haunt of mine. Lots of Curlew on the grazing marshes, showed a little promise but hunting around the bushes we could only turn up a Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Whitethroat. A small group of Pinkfoot Geese on the marshes to the north of the Dun Cow though were rather early arrivals.

Moving onto Cley Marshes, we could see a lone Spoonbill from the visitor center. From Daukes hide we soon were directed to a Pectoral Sandpiper on Simmonds Scrape as well as 3 Curlew Sandpiper. The scapes held many more birds than recent visits, as well as the regular waders we picked out, 2 Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Little Stint and Yellow-legged Gull. Content with this we headed to the deli in Cley to fill up on Sausage Rolls and cake! I might run the moth trap tonight as its been a nice warm day.