Sunday, 29 September 2013


I saw both the moths pictured below at work recently. First is Angle Shades and the second is a Red Underwing. Kindly identified by Samuel P.

Burnham Overy Again

A days birding in Norfolk with Paul, Brendan and Dave. Our intention was to be in Norfolk because lots of good stuff was going to turn up! Of course this didn't happen and we didn't even manage a consolation Yellow-browed Warbler, although we did try twice at Wells Woods and once at Holkham Pines. "Pay and Display" don't you just luv em?!.
We did keep a Norfolk day list and you can see this below.
Our first brief stop in Norfolk was near North Creake, we had seen Grey Partridge here previously but no luck this time. We did manage Red Kite and Buzzard in the same dead tree and also Stock Dove and a large flock of Golden Plover. On to Burnham Overy the highlights of our visit here were; Brambling, Grey Partridge, Egyptian Goose and Pink-footed Goose on our walk along the track towards the sea wall. From the sea wall the more noteworthy birds; Bearded Tit, Grey Plover, Brent Goose. Nothing in the bushes near the boardwalk so we had a seawatch. The best birds seen were; Arctic Skua (close in along the beach), Guillemot, Common Scoter, Red-throated Diver, "Comic " Terns (very distant). Over to Wells Woods, very quiet here with not a lot to add to our day list. The news services were reporting a Yellow-browed Warbler at Holkham, so we made our way there. After a long walk to the west end of the pines we joined a handful of other birders hoping to connect with the Yellow-browed. No luck in the hour that we spent searching and our car park money was only for 2 hours. Now the news services we were reporting a Yellow-browed in Wells Woods. This time near the "drinking pool". None of us new where the drinking pool was but a very helpful birder gave us some good directions and we also bumped into him at Wells.  So we made our way to the drinking pool, on the way we were lucky enough to connect with a Pied Flycatcher. On reaching the drinking pool we were unable to connect with any birds except a low flyover Buzzard. A quick look for the Pied Flycatcher on our walk back produced a bit of a surprise in shape of a Redwing. So no biggies but a nice day out in glorious sunshine all the same. Our day list pretty much in the order the birds were seen. Paul's pics below and day list further down. Pink-footed Goose and Gypo, Bearded Tit, Golden Plover all at Burnham Overy.

1 Wood Pigeon
2 Lapwing
3 Lesser black-backed Gull
4 Jackdaw
5 Carrion Crow
6 Mistle Trush
7 Magpie
8 Collared Dove
9 Pheasant
10 Red-legged Partridge
11 Starling
12 Pied Wagtail
13 Rook
14 Mallard
15 Moorhen
16 Goldfinch
17 Long-tailed tit
18 Red Kite
19 Buzzard
20 Jay
21 Golden Plover
22 Stock Dove
23 Marsh Harrier
24 Skylark
25 Greylag Goose
26 Dunnock
27 Robin
28 Linnet
29 Egyptian Goose
30 Pink-footed Goose
31 Blue Tit
32 Great Tit
33 Meadow Pipit
34 Wren
35 Curlew
36 Grey Heron
37 Cormorant
38 Brambling
39 Grey Partridge
40 Chaffinch
41 Black-tailed Godwit
42 Brent Goose
43 Dunlin
44 Grey Plover
45 Redshank
46 Great black-backed Gull
47 Wigeon
48 Teal
49 Ringed Plover
50 Turnstone
51 Shelduck
52 Kestrel
53 Reed Bunting
54 Oystercatcher
55 Bearded Tit
56 Sanderling
57 Guillemot
58 Red-throated Diver
59 Gannet
60 Arctic Skua
61 Common Gull
62 Common Scoter
63 "Comic" Tern
64 Black-headed Gull
65 Herring Gull
66 Little Egret
67 Little Grebe
68 Goldcrest
69 Treecreeper
70 Chiffchaff
71 Pied Flycatcher
72 Coal Tit
73 House Sparrow
74 Blackbird

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Spotted Crake in Beds

Paul connected with the Spotted Crake at Longholme Lake in Beds this morning. His pic below. Looks like it showed well!

Lynford n Leiston

Saturday 21st September 2013.
A trip to Suffolk with Brendan and Paul. Our target birds were Two-barred Crossbill at Lynford Arboretum and Lesser-grey Shrike at Leiston near Sizewell.
We arrived at Lynford Arboretum about 07:45 and joined about 15 other birders close to the information centre. Quite soon a single Common Crossbill flew in and a perched on the top a Larch. It called for a while then flew off. A few minutes later about 20 Common Crossbills flew in and fortunately after some close scrutiny this flock contained at least 2 Two-barred Crossbills. Brendan immediately put this news out via RBA. The flock flew off but soon returned and we again managed to connect with Two-barred Crossbills. This happened several times over the next 45 minutes or so and we were able to enjoy good views of 1 adult female and 2 juvenile Two-barred Crossbill. A good result considering last time we called in at Lynford the Common Crossbill flock was approaching 70 birds with no Two-barred's amongst them (not that we could see anyway!). This time the flock was roughly half that number. Also here; Nuthatch, Goldcrest, Coal Tit.
From Lynford we headed east towards Sizewell where in the village of Leiston we were hoping to connect with the reported Lesser-grey Shrike. About an hour and fiteen minutes later we arrived in  Leiston. We parked sensibly near the Half Way Cottages and made our way along the bridle way to the paddocks. As at Lynford we didn't have to wait too long before we connected with our target bird the Lesser-grey Shrike. Although the shrike was very mobile we did enjoying some really nice views.
A few good birds had been reported at nearby Sizewell, mostly strange looking mutants due to the nuclear power station! So we thought it worth a visit. Sizewell proved quite productive with most noteworthy birds seen here; Peregrine on the rusty exhaust pipes that run up the side of Sizewell (sorry not sure if A or B ), Black Redstart (2) mostly along the perimeter fence, Arctic Skua a very confiding or maybe unwell bird on the beach [update; on closer inspection possibly an "oiled" bird], Little Gull (c10) on the outfall, Common and Sandwich Tern again at the outfall, Common Scoter (c12) on/over the sea.
Next up was Ness Point at Lowestoft. Not much doing here but we did see; Red-throated Diver, Wigeon, Gannet on another brief seawatch. Nothing doing at the Links Road area of  Lowestoft or Corton Sewage works either so we made Breydon Water, Great Yarmouth for our final stop of the day.
As usual a good number of waders were to be found here, including; Avocet, Golden Plover, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Dunlin, Knot, Black-tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher, Curlew. Also here; Kingfisher, Marsh Harrier, Mediterranean Gull, Common Gull, Teal, Wigeon.
On our return journey 2 Hobby's were seen near Thetford.
Pics below; Two-barred Crossbil at Lynford Arboretum, Lesser-grey Shrike at Leiston, Peregrine at Sizewell, Arctic Skua at Sizewell. All pics below are mine except the first Two-barred Crossbill which is Paul's

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Walk Up Black Tern

A spur of the moment decision to visit Little Marlow Gravels Pits paid off mid afternoon today. Black Terns had proved elusive this week at Keyhaven and Pennington. The opposite was the case at Little Marlow. As I approached the spit I could see a Black Tern with my naked eye. I watched it fishing and then resting on the spit. It continued the pattern of fishing for a few minutes and then resting for a few minutes. Also here; Snipe, Common Sandpiper, Sand Martin, Ring-necked Parakeet.

Family Guy

A mid-week family break with daughter Becky, son in law Drew, grandson Joshua, grandaughter Amelie and darling wife Audrey. We stayed at Shorefields near Milford on Sea. Which is not too far from Keyhaven and Pennington Marshes. I wasn’t expecting too many birding opportunities but I did get out for at least a couple of hours every day. Unfortunaely for me I could not connect with a Black Tern, however, on Tuesday afternoon a family stroll along around Keyhaven and Pennington I noticed that there were a few more birders than usual. So of course I asked the question “much about?” “The Long-billed Dowitcher is back on the next pool” was the response. Luckily we were heading that way and sure enough there was the Long-billed Dowitcher now in winter plumage, in the company of 4 or 5 Redshank. Normally to jam in to this quality of bird would be a huge slice of luck but as I had “twitched” this particular bird several weeks ago I would have happily swapped it for a Black Tern. If presumably this is the same bird as I saw on August 3rd and was not seen since 23rd of August. I wonder where it went? I did not see this bird again on any of my further visits.
Several mainly early morning visits to Keyhaven and Pennington Marshes produced the following; Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit, Black-headed Gull, Blackbird, Canada Goose, Chiffchaff, Common Gull, Common Sandpiper, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Dunnock, Eider, Gannet, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Greenshank, Grey Plover, Grey Wagtail, Guillemot, Heron, Herring Gull, House Martin, Lapwing, Lesser black-backed Gull, Linnet, Little Egret, Long-billed Dowitcher,Mallard, Meadow Pipit, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Pied Wagtail, Raven, Redshank, Reed Bunting, Ringed Plover, Sand Martin, Sandwich Tern, Shelduck, Snipe, Sparrowhawk, Spotted Redshank, Starling, Swallow, Teal, Turnstone, Water Rail, Wheatear, Whitethroat, Wigeon.

At Shorefields mainly whilst sitting outside enjoying a nice cup of tea; Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Common Buzzard, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Collared Dove, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Green Woodpecker, Jackdaw, Magpie, Nuthatch, Robin, Willow Warbler Wood Pigeon.

Milford on Sea. An evening stroll with my better half along the cliff top and a quick look out to sea a Bonxie was harassing a Gannet. Also amongst the big boulders that I presume are there to protect the cliffs from erosion was a Rock Pipit. Later in the week I paid a late evening visit to the cliff top but this time I walked towards Barton on Sea. The light was fading fast but I still managed to connect with c30 Yellow Wagtails in amongst some cows. Also in the same field 3 Wheatear. 

An early morning trip in to the New Forest with visits to Pig Bush and Shatterford; Jay, Marsh Tit, Song Thrush, Spotted Flycatcher, Stock Dove, Stonechat, Treecreeper, Wren, House Sparrow. Also Fallow Deer at Shatterford.

On a family visit to Blackwater Arboretum I was able to add the following to my “week list”; Crossbill, Goldcrest.

Kestrel was added to list on a trip to the IOW and Rook was seen but I don’t recall where!

Total species for the week = 84.
4 Curlew Sandpiper at Keyhaven and Pennington

Curlew Sandpiper at Keyhaven and Pennington

Dunlin at Keyhaven and Pennington

Spotted Redshank at Keyhaven and Pennington

Spotted Redshank at Keyhaven and Pennington

Spotted Redshank at Keyhaven and Pennington

Grey Plover at Keyhaven and Pennington

Grey Plover at Keyhaven and Pennington

Long-billed Dowitcher at Keyhaven and Pennington

Long-billed Dowitcher at Keyhaven and Pennington

Common Tern at Keyhaven and Pennington

Common Tern at Keyhaven and Pennington

Turnstone at Keyhaven and Pennington

Wheater at Keyhaven and Pennington

Greenshank at Keyhaven and Pennington

Spotted Flycatcher at Pigbush

Fallow Deer at Shatterford

Curlew at Keyhaven and Pennington

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Crake Expectations

An early morning visit to Wilstone Reservoir with Brendan. Quite a chilly start to the day, a long time since I can remember it being this cold in the morning. We parked up near cemetery corner and made our way towards the jetty. On our walk a Common Sandpiper flew from the edge of the reservoir. Only 2 other birders were on site which was quite a surprise given that a Spotted Crake is such a good local bird. We set up our scopes and scanned the edge of the far reedbed. I was straight onto what I thought was the Spotted Crake, however, the light was not good and the edge of the reservoir had a thin layer of mist. I alerted Brendan and he too thought the bird was a Spotted Crake, but the bird soon disappeared without us getting a clear view. We continued scanning the edge of the reed bed and soon connected with 2 adult and 2 juvenile Water Rail. The light was now much better and the mist had lifted. Quite soon one of the other birders said he thought he had the Crake and sure enough he did and this time it was showing much better. The Spotted Crake continued to show itself for at least the next forty minutes and at one time was close to a Water Rail that it soon chased off but was useful for a comparison. Garganey, Little Egret, Sparrowhawk, Reed Warbler, Common Tern were also noted.

Monday, 2 September 2013


2 Swifts quite low over my house heading south.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Return to North Norfolk

Saturday 31st August 2013.
Another day on the North Norfolk coast, this time with Dave and Brendan.

We decided to stop briefly on route at Lynford Arboretum. A Two-barred Crossbill and had been seen here, so we decided to have a quick look. We spent just over 45 minutes near the visitors centre but although there were 50 plus Common Crossbills, neither us, or any of the other birders on site could locate the Two-barred.

Our next stop was near Choseley not too far from Titchwell. We had seen Grey Partridge here on many occasions but no luck this time. However, a Clouded Yellow was a nice surprise. Then up the road to Choseley Drying Barns. Not too much to see here either except for 3 nice Yellow Wagtails in amongst a big flock of Pied Wagtails.

Onwards to Titchwell. As usual a nice selection of waders were to be found here the best of which were 20+ Curlew Sandpiper, 4 Little Stint and a couple of Spotted Redshank. 14 Spoonbill in flight, a Hobby and a Pink-footed Goose also worthy of mention.
A brief seawatch produced; Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Eider, Common Scoter and best of all 5 Arctic Skua. The usual Sanderling on the beach and also a Wheatear.

Next up was Holme Dunes where we were hoping to see a Wryneck. Brendan knew exactly how to get to Holme so we dispensed with the twat-nav. When we arrived at Holkham Pines it became obvious we should have used the sat-nav! Anyway after our detour we eventually arrived at Holme. Despite a good bit of searching by ourselves and many other birders we could not locate the Wryneck. It had apparently flown to an area beyond the Creek and was out of site. Whilst in the dunes we did see 3 Wheatear, a nice male Redstart, Whinchat and thermalling over a distant wood were 5 Buzzard.
It was getting quite late in the day now so we headed for home. We made 3 stops on the way.
Our first was a ploughed field near Ringstead, here we saw c100 Golden Plover and c12 Stock Dove.

The next was a return visit to Lynford Arboretum. Only one flyover Crossbill this time and a fair sized mixed flock of Tits and Goldcrest were seen this time. We didn’t stay long as the light was not good in amongst the pines.

As it was on our route we made a quick stop in the Brecks at a reliable Stone Curlew site. None were to be seen. I did see c25 here on 27th August last year but one week later there were none so I suspect they have departed for warmer climes. A low flying Buzzard making an unusual call did give us some entertainment. 

A good day that just needed a “star” bird.
92 species were seen. A full list can be found further down this page underneath my usual top quality photo’s.

Curlew Sandpiper-Titchwell

Ringed Plover-Titchwell

Little Stint-Titchwell
Little Stint-Titchwell
Little Stint-Titchwell

Mixed Waders in flight-Titchwell
14 Spoonbill-Titchwell
Black-tailed Godwit-Titchwell

Lynford Arboretum; Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Common Crossbill, Goldcrest, Great Tit, Nuthatch, Siskin, Swallow.

Choseley; Buzzard, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Marsh Harrier, Pied Wagtail, Whitethroat, Yellow Wagtail.

Titchwell; Arctic Skua, Avocet, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit, Blackbird, Canada Goose, Chiffchaff, Common Gull, Common Scoter, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew Sandpiper, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Eider, Gadwall, Gannet, Great-crested Grebe, Greylag Goose, Grey Plover, Heron, Herring Gull, Hobby, Kestrel, Knot, Lapwing, Linnet, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Little Stint, Mute Swan, Pink-footed Goose,  Red-crested Pochard, Redshank, Reed Bunting, Ringed Plover, Robin, Ruff, Sanderling, Sandwich Tern, Shelduck, Shoveler, Snipe, Spoonbill, Spotted Redshank, Starling, Teal, Tufted Duck, Turnstone, Wheatear, Wigeon, Wren.

Holme; Green Sandpiper, Long-tailed Tit, Meadow Pipit, Redstart, Sparrowhawk, Whinchat.

Ringstead; Golden Plover, Stock Dove.

Norfolk general area; Black-headed Gull, Carrion Crow, Collared Dove, House Martin, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Magpie, Mallard, Moorhen, Pheasant, Red-legged Partridge, Rook, Wood Pigeon, Yellowhammer.