Sunday, 28 October 2012

City Center Birding

With news of a Black Redstart and a Ring Ouzel in the City, i took advantage of the clocks going back an hour, using that extra hour to go for a jaunt around the city before work on Sunday.

Walking via Jenny Lind Park and Chapelfield Gardens, no Waxwing have yet made it this far inland. James had no luck the previous day hunting for the reported Ring Ouzel near St Andrews Car park, and after 10minutes despite finding loads of Blackbird i was about to leave when i heard a Ring Ouzel call. Something i heard a lot in North Norfolk last week. I soon saw the bird in flight, a juv/female type bird showing its pale wing markings it was soon gone against into the bushes.

I spent nearly an hour around the Cathedral meeting Paul and Ricky but no Black Redstart. Two Peregrine where on the spire which was nice to see, and walking back to work a flock of Redwing flew over.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Thrushes . . . In The Wood

On Tuesday we may have stayed local, in Trimingham Clifftop Wood rather than further North, but the result was the same. From the persistent thick mist, again Thrushes dropped from the sky. The numbers were lower than Monday but still quite a sight.

Redwing - 2300, Fieldfare - 450, Ring Ouzel - 11, Song Thrush - 37, Black Bird - 110, Robin - 65, Goldcrest - 80, Brambing - 80, Siskin - 2, Chiffchaff - 12 and Woodcock - 2.

Bird of the day was a Short-eared Owl my first of the autumn. We also heard a Yellow-browed Warbler in the Wood but with the fog so thick that we couldn't view the tree tops most of the day, it alluded us. Dispite spending over 6 hours in this small area we couldn't turn up anything rarer.

News of the Arctic Warbler at Brancaster on Wednesday being found after lunch was a little frustrating as i had already committed to doing other things. With the Olive Backed Pipit still at Holkham would have also made a nice trip out, autumn isn't over quite yet!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Redwings . . . In The Mist

The forecast finally offered up some easterly winds, so a week on Gary and i returned to Burnham Ovary Dunes hoping for a better haul of migrants. Driving through fog from Norwich it got thicker and thicker, we wouldn't see anything.

How wrong we were, it was raining Thrushes, a quite unbelievable fall. The birds just seemed to magically appear through the gloom. Other highlights included a Long-eared Owl and large numbers of Robin and Brambling. Below are the counts for the birds we could see through the fog, who knows what we missed?

Burnham Overy Dunes Count:
5500 x Redwing, 3300 x Fieldfare, 340 x Blackbird, 155 x Robin, 63 x Song Thrush, 79 x Brambling, 75 x Goldcrest, 26 x Ring Ouzel, 10 x Chiffchaff , 10 x Meadow Pipit, 2 x Mistle Thrush, 2 x Crossbill, 2 x Woodcock, 1 x Redstart, 1 x Blackcap, 1 x Redpoll, 1 x Long-eared Owl.

We then headed for Stiffkey Campsite Wood to see a stunning Red-flanked Bluetail. Which showed really well, sadly i didn't have my camera. We also found another 500+ Redwings on the campsite along with a few Fieldfare and Robin. A probable Yellow-browed Warbler was also calling amongst a tit flock.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

I'm Bored, Let's Go To Scotland

On Monday common sense prevailed and Gary and I decided that the East Olivaceous Warbler in Fife, although very appealing, was just too far to go for a LBJ that could move off at anytime: and instead spent the day trawling Burnham Overy Dunes.

Fast-forward to Thursday, four days into our ‘birding fortnight’, non-existent Norfolk migrants and reports of a very content East Olivaceous Warbler in Fife, the inevitable happened. I receive a call ‘Shall we go to Scotland tomorrow?’

Just before 2am Gary Picked me up, collecting Robert on the way we arrived in Scotland by 7.30 and after a stop for breakfast we arrived in Fife Ness, Fife about 10.30am. After a while we soon located the bird. Constantly ticking it wasn’t hard to follow through the scrub. The bird was quite mobile but the  brief views were had were frequent and often at close range. A quick look on the sea turned up the expected sea birds and hunting around the area we found a couple of Blackcap, Reed Bunting, Blackbirds and a very tired Redwing. A Red Breasted Flycatcher was located near the gate before we left, and there was also at least 3 Chiffchaff in the area, but the Radde’s Warbler of the previous day couldn’t be relocated.

Driving home we decide to look for Black Grouse, a bird Robert has never seen. Heading towards Langden Beck a well known site for Black Grouse in Durham, we stumbled across 15 Black Grouse in a couple of fields in Northumberland. The 13 cocks all in one place was very unexpected and almost takes moment of the day from the Eastern Olivaceous. Most of the birds mysterious melted away over the 20min or so we watched them, I assume heading off to roost as the sun started to drop behind the hills. A brief spontaneous stop ‘somewhere on a hill’ allowed Robert to pick up ‘Grouse Lifer’ number two when we found 4/5 Red Grouse in the fading light. A beautiful sunset then finished off the day nicely (the following 5 hours drive home in drizzle aside).

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Lots of Leather, Lack of Birds

On Monday Gary and I headed out early to Gun Hill/Burnham Overy Dunes area and spent the next 6 hours migrant hunting. Starting early was vital as before 10am we connected with quite a few common migrants, but after 10am the wind picked up and birds became scarce.

Between 8.30am - 10am we had most of the days birds of note included, 4 Brambling, c15 Redwing, 5 Song Thrush, 1 Male Blackcap, 1 juv Whitethroat, Golden Plover c30, c30 Linnet, 25+ Chaffinch, 20 Goldfinch, 40+ Meadow Pipit, 2 juv Swallow, 2 Goldcrest, 50+ Starling and c30 Skylark. Most of these where in the hedgerows by the track or around the boardwalk.

Over the next 4 1/2 Hours we walked firstly Gun Hill, Burnham Overy Dunes and the West end of Holkham Pines (while hiding from a rain shower). We added comparatively few birds, 2 Blackcap, 15+ Goldcrest, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Green Woodpecker, 6 Song Thrush, c10 Redwing, 2 Brambling and 50+ Meadow Pipit.

In search of a rarity for the day we headed down to Kelling Water Meadows to have a look at the Pectoral Sandpiper that has been around for a week or so. I've seen quite a few Pectoral Sandpiper but always at a distance, so it was nice to have such a confiding bird giving close views.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Late September Moths

I ran the moth trap over night on Saturday, and was rather disappointed to find only 4 moths waiting for me on Sunday morning. 1x Angle Shades, 1x Lesser Yellow-underwing and 2 x Large Ranunculus. The later being a new moth for the garden. Being relatively new to moth trapping I am yet to understand the best conditions and what to expect throughout the year. I can only assume the clearing skies, almost full moon and cool night conspired against me.

On Sunday night it was much cloudier and a with a bit of a breeze i was more hopeful. I only ran the trap 7.15-10.30pm when the wind picked up and rain threatened. I still managed a more respectable 11 moths. Including 2x Common Marbled Carpet, (new to the garden), 6x Lesser Yellow-underwing, 1x Large Yellow-underwing and a slightly late Willow Beauty.