Sunday, 25 August 2013

Wyneck Wyneck Everywhere but None in Sight of Drink

Has summer ended? Yesterday and today saw a steady flow of migrants arriving along the whole of the east coast including large numbers of Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Whinchat, Wheatear and Wryneck. As well as smaller numbers of Greenish Warbler, Icterine Warbler and Black Tern.

Despite it being a Bank Holiday Weekend Laura and I after a lazy morning headed to Salthouse to see what migrant we could catch up with. We parked in the beach car park and could see a large group of birders on Gramborough Hill, at least 1 but probably 2 Wryneck were close by but not showing once we got there. A Whinchat was on the wires close to the car, A family of Stonechat confused a few people as Whinchat, Stonechat and Wheatear created a mixed flock including 6 Whinchat, 5 Stonechat and and 5 Wheatear. In the Gramborough Hill bushes 3 Spotted Flycatcher and 2 Pied Flycatcher occasionally made short fly catching darts and at least 1 Willow Warbler, 2 Whitethroat and a female Redstart kept themselves well hidden. We did think about leaving as there was no sign of the Wryneck for over an hour, but the other birds had kept us there, the Wryneck then reappeared perched up with a Wheatear  on the wires, giving clear if a little distant views. A quick look over the shingle back didn't offer any Shearwater or Skua but a juv. Black Tern was a bonus bird. 20+ Wryneck have been reported on Spurn today and 12+ in Norfolk so it was likely we would see one the only disappointing thing was that the bird wasn't viewable from a Public House that would have topped the day off.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Little Nugget of Gold

I manged to run the moth trap last night but just before i went to bed an unexpected shower forced me to bring the trap in at 12.30. The trap was dominated by Copper Underwing (9), with at least one probable Svensson's Copper Underwing. New for the Garden were a rather warn Gothic, Flame Shoulder (3), Poplar Hawk Moth and Tawny Speckled Pug (1). The most attractive moth without doubt was a Gold Spot also new. Other moths among others included, Bloodvein (1),  Dunbar (2), Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing (5), Brimstone (2), Silver Y (5), Mother of Pearl (3) and Willow Beauty (4).

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Cantley to Brundall

Yesterday i caught the train to Cantley and planned to walk back to Brundall, via Buckenham and Strumpshaw, quite a punishing walk if you include getting to and from the station. I decide to start with the Beet Factory and soon found lots of Green Sandpiper. But before reaching the cooling pools i stumbled across a mixed tit flock holding young Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, 2 Willow Warbler and a loosely associating family of Whitethroat. The cooling pools to the north held 8 Green Sandpiper and 1 Common Sandpiper however visibility was hindered by tall vegetation. I had much more success with he pools to the east of the factory with 8 Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, 7 Ruff, 5 Dunlin and a Spotted Redshank. There was lots of eclipse duck which despite picking through all look quite common.

Walking along the river back towards Buckenham i found the best birds of the day, 2 Wood Sandpiper were in a muddy pool and also Ruff in ones and twos at various spots. A female Hobby flew through and I found 3 Grass Snake sunbathing, but until i reached the Mill at Buckenham I had to make do with watching Dragonflies which filled the air as few birds seemed to be around. What was left of the quite dry flooded pools was dominated by a large flock of Canada Geese, which were joined by 17 Barnacle Geese and 2 Snow Goose type birds. 2 Avocet, 1 Green Sandpiper and 1 Common Sandpiper found space in the margins before 2 Wood Sandpiper arrived, probably the two I had seen earlier. By  the Fisherman's Carpark a lonely summer plumage Bar-tailed Godwit and Oystercatcher were joined by two further Green Sandpiper and Yellowhammer was a nice bird to find as i walked towards Buckenham Station.

At Strumpshaw Fen RSPB my first stop was the pool by the feeders to look for Small Red-eyed Damselfly, which i found but I was also entertained by a family of Blue Tits bathing and a Chiffchaff having a drink. Walking along the river bank a juvenile Cuckoo flew from reed bed and i spotted my second Hobby of the day. From the Tower Hide 32 Ruff were causing confusion as they varied from bright white to golds and browns, a good gathering of Lapwing were also present along with a rather drab eclipse drake Wigeon and you guessed it another Green Sandpiper. Walking back towards the railway line i bumped into Ben who pointed out 8 rather nice Swallowtail caterpillars, before we discussed the possibily of seeing the Willow Emerald Damselflies quite soon. Walking along the rather over grown footpath back towards Brundall i'm not sure who was more shocked, as i pushed through overhanging bracken a Tawny Owl perch on a low branch was startled and flew only a few feet over my head. Getting home i examined my blistered toe and reflected on a nice day out. I did run the moth trap but with little success, an Orange Swift the only moth of note and new for he garden.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Birding Gary's Patch

Or should that be Insecting Gary's Patch? On Monday I found myself in North Walsham with a few hours to kill so headed off along the disused North Walsham - Mundesley Railway and Pigny's Wood, part of Gary's Patch. It was a lovely sunny afternoon, and i soon had a large list of Butterflies, but birds were in short supply. Upon reaching the steps down to Pigny's Wood I had 13 species of Butterfly all quite common but nice to see. Banded Demoiselle, Migrant Hawker and Common Darter were near the river Ant. Not far from the 'Old Oak'  I found a colony of Purple Hairstreak defiantly the butterfly of the day. I sat and watched c 12 for a while and managed a few pictures as they briefly settled between chasing and dancing around. Walking across the Meadow area towards the 'Barn' i spotted a Harvest Mouse in some tall grass, I've only ever seen them in captivity so was taken for a while until it spotted me. By the scrape I saw Broad-bodied Chaser and Black-tailed Skimmer, before watching a Green Sandpiper on the muddy margins. I followed the course of the River Ant back towards Bacton Road, seeing 2 Painted Lady Butterflies and a surprise Kingfisher, considering the over grown nature of the channel. All in all a rather nice couple of hours, with 18 species of butterflies on the wing and 8 species of Dragonfly/Damselfly, it was only the poor total of 20 birds that let the walk down.