Sunday, 20 November 2016

Forsters Tern and Black Bellied Dipper

I had taken a weeks holiday spending some of the week in Norfolk, (see last blog) so the rest of my time will be spent around Home and a couple of Day trips just over the border.
Friday was spent at Ely so there wasn't much birding except for a few tickable Muscovy Ducks ;-)

 Saturday I felt id better stay on patch, I was neglecting it somewhat, I was reminded how good it can be with 5 Velvet Scoters an adult Shag a few Guillemots, Gannets and Red Throated Diver, all from COSW. A group of 3 and a single Snow Bunting flew north, excellent and then onto Corton Dis Railtrack a Firecrest and a Chiffchaff. a Second Chiffchaff in the NSW area too.

Sunday it was Twitch on with Danny and Rene heading to Mistley for a Forsters Tern and hoping to get the Black Bellied Dipper at Needham Market too. It was a good start as I spotted a cream crown Marsh harrier hunting along Corton long lane. I picked up Rene and Danny and got to Mistley where the Forsters Tern had showed briefly but further up the Stour. So we moved East between here and Rabs ness where the Tern had been found feeding and giving good views, Lifer!!!! Woohoo. Took a few pics of the distant Tern, at least they were good scope views.

We decided to nip for the Dipper and wait for the tide to come in hoping for the Tern to come closer so made the half hour journey up the road to Needham Market where the Dipper was showing amazingly well, albeit in the rain.

We had our fill of this bird and headed back to Mistley for what we hoped was much closer views, unfortunately this wasn't going to happen as the bird didn't want to return until vey late in the day at which point we had decided to make the hour and a bit journey back. We couldn't grumble though it was an excellent day with good birds.

Thursday, 17 November 2016


A day at Minsmere was fairly quiet, a quick view of the Great Grey Shrike in North bush's. Plenty of Marsh Tits here too, more than Ive ever seen 3-4 birds chasing each other plus others at the feeders by the visitor centre.
Moving onto North hide it was nice to see 10 Bewick Swans so we moved around to East hide to take some pictures.

We didn't see much after this except for the usual ducks and waders even at Island Mere it was quiet. however it was dark by then.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

North Norfolk.

Time for a nice holiday, I'd booked the Caravan at Kelling Heath again but just a Saturday to Wednesday taking in Rachel's Birthday and a trip to the amazing Thursford Christmas show.
Anyway the important birding stuff.
Left home Saturday morning and got to Salthouse just before lunch. We stopped to check a small flock of Pink footed Geese between Kelling Village and Salthouse. There were about 400 Pinkfeet, 33 Brent Geese and amazingly 3 Tundra Bean Geese, Bingo, what a start.


Headed onto Holkham bay where the big flock of Shorelark had been and ones id missed the weekend before. I didn't miss them this time although I did only see a fraction of what had been there. Whilst watching the Shorelark's being pushed around by the amount of people on site I picked out the call of the Snow Bunting which I followed into the dune and had amazing views down to just a few feet. Wasn't even bothered by the dogs.

Had a quick look out to sea where I was able to pick out a couple of Long-tailed Ducks and 2 Drake Velvet Scoters within the hundreds of Common Scoters. Back along Holkham Drive the Pinkfeet were showing nicely. Nothing special amongst them unfortunately. 


Monday was spent around Sherringham and Cromer doing tourist stuff as it was Rachel's Birthday, I did manage to find 2 Shag, an Adult Med Gull, Guillemots, 2 Red Throated Divers, 3 Common Scoter and a fly by Velvet Scoter. Found an unfortunate dead Little Auk in the shingle on Sherringham Beach, boooo.

Tuesday was great, I had a good search around the Choseley to Docking area looking for a big flock of Geese that had been seen with a Todd's Canada goose in them. I couldn't find the flock so headed for Titchwell where I did find a flock of Pinkfeet with 5 very smart Bean Geese.  To me they were the much rarer Taiga Been Geese although theres still much discussion going on as they could be an Integrate. What I do know is there definatly Bean Geese and BOU rules that's all that matters ;-)
It was still great to find the two different species though 

Also I managed to find 7 White fronted Geese too. Lovely.

Out on the reserve the pools were full of Ducks and Waders but nothing amazingly special. A Water pipit on the fresh marsh was it. Out on the beach the tide was out so it was hard to identify many of the birds but 11+ Long tailed Ducks were a high count of the season, 19 Mergansers were nice a shed load of Common Scoter and I managed to pick out a very distant Velvet Scoter. On the beach many of the usual Waders such as Bar tailed Godwit and Sanderling.

Started to head back to the van but spotted a large white bird, it was a Great White Egret on the pools at Holkham, so turned around and took a few pics from the main road. 24 more White Fronted Geese were with it. It was getting dark so it was superb to see and hear the flight of the many hundreds of Pink footed Geese, this is what Norfolk's all about. Also Grey Partridge were nice to see close up.

We finished by parking up at Stiffkey where a nice Male Hen Harrier drifted West and a Peregrine was out on the sand hunting. Lastly a lovely close Barn Owl hunting.

Wednesday it was time for home so it was a case of birding the heath and birding as we headed home but there was nothing of note until I got home and grabbed some time back on the patch, a patch tick Juvenile Glaucous Gull flew north and landed on the sea. 2 Common Scoters also. The rest of the patch was quiet and muddy.
Another superb trip away.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Isabeline Wheatear

So started on the patch with a good Seawatch, 3 Long tailed ducks all 1st winter/female types. 2 Little Auk were cracking and showed really nicely. A red headed Goosander flew close south too.
Other stuff passing were 30+ Common Scoter and a Teal, Hundreds of Cormorant, a Distant Grebe, RN or GC...A few Red Throated Divers and Guillemots were just about it.

Danny then rang saying he was off to Norfolk for the Isabelline wheatear and would I like to go.....hmmmmmm hell yeh.
We stopped off at Holt first for a few Waxwings in the rain, nice all the same.
Then onto Burnham Overy Dunes Checked the Geese as we went but just Brents, Pinks, Greylags and half a Dozen Barnacles. Into the dunes we found the Izzy Wheatear but the bird must have been chased to pieces as there was no way it would let us anywhere near it. So record shots gained before another photographer chased it away and back over the marsh wall.

Danny refound the Izzy about 200 yards down the path towards the carpark in the field for a very lucky birder, it showed nicely again with a couple of Stonechats.
We finished the day at Holkham gap but we missed the Shorelark but did get 6 Twite and 6 Grey Partridge.
Light was fading and the rain was threatening again so called it a day.
We did spot a nice pale buzzard which had us double checking.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Cliff Swallow

Amazing that an America Cliff Swallow had turned up at Minsmere last night so I was lay in bed when news broke this morning that it was still present. Jumped out and headed quickly for Minsmere spotting 4 Waxwing in trees behind KFC in Lowestoft.
On arriving at Minsmere nerves were jangling but the bird was still on show and even better it was sat in a tree with 7 Barn Swallows. Bingo!!!
After 10 minutes it gave great flight views, what a stunning and unusual individual.

All the Swallows headed off South so I had a walk to the Bittern hide and it was nice to spot 7 Bewicks, Great White Egret a Green winged tagged Marsh Harrier (VD) and a couple of Brief Bitterns.

Back at Carlton Collville I had a quick look for the Waxwings again, just the best birds ever.

This Blackbird was nice too.

Back on patch it was WET! poured it down the whole time so called it a day.