Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Twite A Day

With the heavy winds over night I felt that although most birds here already would depart there was a good chance something exciting might turn up, so I caught the train to Sheringham at 7.45 with a plan to then bus onto Cley.

With the Coasthopper now running a winter service I had about an hour to sea watch, the shelter was pretty full, and I was told I had missed a few Pomarine Skua, Bonxie and 3 Short-eared Owl. Gannet were still streaming through and I didn't have to wait long for a couple of distant Bonxie and then a Pomarine Skua a little closer. A couple of Little Gull drifted for a while offshore and just before I had to leave for the bus a Grey Phalarope was called flying east. A few bonus birds considering hadn't realised the change in bus timetables.

After jamming onto the Grey Phalarope I really though the rest of my day was going to be disappointing as cresting the ridge near Kelling, from the bus I could see that most of Salthouse and Cley Marshes were flooded, due to last nights high tides! From the main cluster of hides ducks were the order of the day, in fact the only waders were a flock of Godwit and 2 lonely Avocet. Large numbers of Wigeon and Teal are no doubt new arrivals, these were joined by good numbers of Pintail, Shoveler and a handful of Pochard. On Billy's Wash a Peregrine was repeatedly sending the Wigeon and a flock of Golden Plover into the air. Brent Geese are already back in reasonable numbers but I didn't see any Pinkies all day. Walking back from the hides a Cetti's was calling and two Chinese Water Deer emerged from the reeds onto the boardwalk only feet away, they soon scarpered. A couple of Stonechat were near the entrance to Beach Road, and a lonely Ringed Plover was in a flooded meadow. The Golden plover had settled in the Eye Field as large numbers of Meadow Pipit seemed to be filtering through west, during the day a had numerous groups of c10 and a couple of 50+. North Scrape was the quietest I have seen it with only a few Wigeon present. Between here and East Bank I followed a small flock of birds, which once they settled turned out to be 14 Twite, defiantly find of the day. Apologies for the poor digi-scoped effort, it was still very blustery.

Following the Twite behind Arnold's (very flooded) Marsh, I decided to walk onto Salthouse. The Iron Road was flooded so I walked further on, but the next track was flooded, Beach Road also looked like it was flooded halfway down so I continued East towards Kelling Water Meadows. This was not entirely fruitless as a late Whinchat was at Salthouse Little Eye. A brief stop at Grambrough Hill turned up 2 Goldcrest and a Wren. A Rock Pipit was on the ridge just before KWM, but the Water Meadows themselves held nothing of note with little mud exposed. Stomping on past Kelling Hard and onto Weybourne I only added a Robin and Reed Bunting to the days tally. With aching feet and 6.5 km of shingle behind me I jumped on the bus, followed by the train and went home.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Saturday Patch Migrants

After missing a text from Gary asking if i wanted to go to North Norfolk on Saturday morning, come the afternoon I had to go look for some birds. After doing various jobs it was getting quite late so Laura and I headed over to Paston Cliffs for a little look. I was surprised by the amount of birds we could hear, but as the wind had picked up locating them in the scrub wasn't easy. There seemed to have been a fall of Robin as they accounted for most of the ticking we heard, c20 Robin, 5+ Goldcrest and a few Wren where in the bushes. A few thrushes came up from the cliff/off the sea with 5 Redwing and 2 Fieldfare seen. Quite a few Meadow Pipit seemed to be heading South, along with c10 Pied Wagtail and with them 2 Lapland Bunting flew through, I found them again on the deck further along the cliffs. Looking out to sea despite the land wind a few Gannet drifted through distantly and a Shearwater sp. probably Sooty Shearwater wasn't too far out.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Finally Birding

Since mid-September a raft of Westerly winds have seen migration in Norfolk slow to a trickle, but just in time for my annual 2 week mid-October holiday the wind shifted. Work meant that I missed trips for the Marked Shrike and Little Crake, but on 8th Oct I did get up to Burnham Norton, in some horrible weather to see the Steppe Grey Shrike, but rather distant.

After work on Sunday Laura and I headed up to North Norfolk to stay with friends but torrential rain on Monday meant there was no chance of a coastal walk. The day got worse as I returned home to find a puddle in our utility room, the roof was leaking! Tuesday was then taken up removing most of the tiles from our extension, repairing and re-tiling the roof. While up on the scaffold c40 Redwing few over and a flock of 22 Long-tailed Tit were in the garden. Wednesday was then spent pulling up the lino and soaked under floor insulation (the only upside was I found a tiled floor underneath). Thursday I managed to finally tidy up and it was only this afternoon that I found time to get out birding.

Being 1pm it was a bit late to head to the coast although a small fall of Pallas Warbler made it was tempting. I plumped for my normal circuit out towards Antingham Pond and back. In the fields I found my first migrants of the day, a flock of 50+ Meadow Pipit, further along another group of 9 flew over. I've only ever seen 2 Meadow Pipit on the walk in the past. Numbers of Blackbird and Song Thrush seem to have increased and a couple of Redwing were seen. Near Antingham Pond while doubling back along the road for a closer look at a group of 3 Buzzard drifting east (one looked very pale) I heard a Yellow-browed Warbler call. Despite waiting around, the tit flock I assume the YBW was associating with moved off without seeing or hearing the bird again. Nearer home a few Jay seemed to be passing over, but not the numbers of a few weeks ago. A few less common migrants have been found along the coast so who knows what the weekend and the rest of my holiday will hold.