Thursday, 17 September 2009

14th September (Cley/Titchwell)

A much windier and nastier day than yesterday. Had a pre-breakfast seawatch from Cley coastguards and recorded:

Lots of Gannets
7 Bonxies
11 Kittiwakes
6 Wigeon
1 Sooty Shearwater (west)
1 Arctic Skua

After breakfast drove to Titchwell to meet up with the RSPB group. Titchwell was very disappointing, probably due to the work being done there. The best birds were Marsh Harrier, Water Rail, 3 Little Stints and a few Bar-tailed Godwits.

I accidently dropped my telescope in the sand :-( but have managed to clean it fairly well.

I then drove home to try and beat the traffic but still ended up at a standstill on the M25 in the roadworks.

94 species over 3 days wasn't bad and I didn't do that much twitching!

13th September (Cley and Stiffkey Fen)

Had a pre-breakfast seawatch at Cley coastguards which resulted in the following:

Lots of Gannets
A few Common Scoter
2 diver sp. east
2 Bonxies (one in the company of a Gannet)
1 Manx Shearwater
1 Arctic Skua

After breakfast met up with the NE Hants RSPB group at Cley. A walk around the reserve produced a couple of Curlew Sandpipers, a Little Stint, Green Sandpiper, distant Hobby. One the sea were are fair number of Gannets and lots of Common Scoter (c150). One Manx Shearwater flew distantly east, 1 Bonxie, 2 Arctic Skuas and 2 Kittiwakes. A Guillemot was close inshore.

After Cley went over to Stiffkey Fen where saw the juv. Red-necked Phalarope. The gold and brown striped back and needle sharp bill were noted. One of the local Greylag Geese didn't like the bird very much and kept swimming after it.

Also at the fen was a Snow Goose and 3 Greenshank.

I then returned to Cley east bank where the weather was amazingly calm - the sea was like a mill pond (I've never seen North Norfolk like this!). Managed a Red-throated Diver flying west and the two drake Scaup were still on Arnold's Marsh. Also one Common Seal offshore. A Water Rail was loudly squealling in the ditch on the reserver side of the bank but it didn't show.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Cley/Blakeney Point (12/09/09)

Having finished the first part of the trip I now drove up to north Norfolk and to Cley. I started by walking down the east bank and along the shingle ridge to coastguards. Best of the birds on the way round were a Spotted Redshank, Knot and 2 drake Scaup on Arnold's Marsh. Offshore were 7 Gannets.

While seawatching at coastguards another birder walked up to me and enquired whether I had come back from Blakeney Point. I said I hadn't and he said that were one (possibly two) Red-breasted Flycatchers at the point along with a Pied Flycatcher.

I asked if I could tag along and the chap's name, who was Michael, said no problem. Having someone to walk the walk to Blakeney Point helps because it is one of the worst bird walks in the UK (3.5 miles of sand and shingle, there and back).

We didn't hang around birding but made straight for the lupins where I managed to pick up the first Red-breasted Flycatcher in brambles above the lupins. I noted the dark legs, short tail, white eye-ring and pinkish orange flush to the breast. It occasionally flicked its tail.

I then made my way over to where other birders had gathered, expecting the other Red-breasted Flycatcher, but was told they had a Booted Warbler! The bird showed on and off in the scrub and was seen to be a pale warbler like a sturdy Chiffchaff but with with a strong bill and quite a thick eye stripe and white edges to tail feathers. I managed to get a few shots which will feature on this blog shortly.

I had a look at the Pied Flycatcher which was in the Plantation and then all that remained was to walk back to Cley coastguards and walk back to the car to drive to the B&B.

Suffolk/Norfolk (12/09/09)

Left home at 4.40am and found that the best part of the M3 and M25 that I was travelling around was roadworks and unbelievably I managed to grind to a halt on the M25 at 6.00am in the morning :-(

I quite easily found my first stop which was Boyton Marshes and almost immediately got onto the Glossy Ibis on the right side of the track. It was seen to be loosely in the company of a Little Egret. Walked down to the sea wall to get a better view and the bird eventually flew to the left hand side of the path.

On the sea wall a warbler lurking in some brambles was a female Whitethroat. A Buzzard flew through before I left.

Next stop was Staverton Lakes but despite searching I only managed to find one Emerald dragonfly but have yet to identify it.

There was a Blue-tailed Damselfly and a couple of Migrant Hawkers. At one point I had a Kingfisher hovering like a giant hummingbird over one of the streams.

Next stop was the River Deben and this time I got lucky. In the sunny patches along the river I managed to find a Southern Hawker and at least 7 Willow Emeralds. Some crashing through the undergrowth on the other side of the river revealed a Muntjac Deer.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

IBM Lake/Farlington Marshes (31st August)

When I actually managed to find the site I had a walk around the lake where the Blue-winged Teal (juv.) was showing very well. At first it was asleep but then woke up when two Buzzards flew low over.

The bird was quite grey in its colouring with a farily large dark grey bill, pale eye ring, white loral spot, and diffuse eye stripe. Also noted yellow legs (which were un-ringed) and at one point it flew out of the water onto the bank where could see the large blue-grey patches on the wing coverts.

Around the lake were a lot of Blue-tailed Damselflies, a couple of Azure Damselflies and a couple of Common Darters. Also 4 or 5 unidentified hawkers which I have photographed and will appear later on this blog.

I then went to Farlington Marshes as I was nearby. I walked clockwise and met some people I know about 1/5th of the way around. I asked what was about and they surprised me by saying there was a Grey Phalarope present.

I continued walking and managed to pick up a distant Osprey perched on a low post in the harbour. When I reached "The Deeps" there was no sign of the phalarope, but suddenly it appeared. The dark eye smudge, dark line down its neck to the mantle and grey upperparts were indicating an adult rather than a juv./1st winter.

There were a couple of Wheatears on the central fence and a distant chat which could have been a Whinchat, however, further around there were definitely 2 Whinchats on the fence at the back of the main lake.

Farmoor Reservoir (30th August)

Had to go for this one. Two rare terns and a back-up tern.

On arrival picked up the three terns on the north basin and, amazingly, they were all together so it was possible to all three in a scope at the same time.

The terns were (in order of rarity): American Black Tern, White-winged Black Tern and Black Tern. They were quite easy to distinguish.

a. The American Black Tern was a distinctly darker bird to the Black Tern with the upper wing being extremely dark with a obvious dark band on the leading edge to the wing. Also there was distinctive dark smudge on the flanks. At rest it was more difficult to discern from the Black Tern but still looked darker. It appeared to be a slightly bigger bird but that may have been to its wings which looked longer.

b. The Black Tern could be picked out basically being lighter than the American Black Tern without the smudge on the flanks.

c. The White-winged Black Tern was a disinctly larger and paler bird with silvery upper wings, whitish tail and lacking the conspicuous mark on the neck which the Black Tern has. Also the brownish mantle was quite obvious.

Keyhaven/Pennington Marsh (28/08/09)

A very windy day on the coast which started with the Cattle Egret showing extremely well on the lower balancing lake roosting with ducks. Noted the off white plumage, dagger like bill with darker tip and shaggy beard!

The usual waders to be expected from this area but only small numbers and the worst thing was that the Red-necked Phalarope had gone. A single Wigeon was seen on the fish-tail lagoon.