Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Sh*t list continued....

More crap pics! Dartford Warbler, Brent Geese and GG Shrike
Miserable drizzly weather greeted Hicklywick and myself to Minsmere but that did not stop some good birding. Having been told of a Great Grey Shrike we were soon watching it (onto Hicks sh*tting list!) on the north bank along with a Rouzel and female Redstart. Onto Dunwich and a Bittern flew into the reeds nearby and a family of Dartford Warblers showed well. Brent Geese were continually flying south, there were a few migrants about and a Cetti's showed very well. Back at Minsmere, south of the sluice we soon picked out the King Eider thats been hanging around. A couple of local birders told us of 5 RB Geese and that they must be wild as 5 can't have escaped together!!! We didn't bother looking for them! Minsmere ended with a Marsh Tit while eating lunch, Hicks 5th tart tick of the day.
We visited a few other places but the majority of yesterdays migs seem to have left or the rain kept them down. Kessingland had a 4-5 Redstarts, several Song Thrush, Redwings, Wheatears, Whitethroats but nowt special except the wooden cut out of a pom skua that had the Hick very very excited!!
The day ended with Avocet joining Hicks 'sh*t' list at Burgh Castle. I seriously have to stop speaking about sh*tting lists!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

What a Day!!!

Awful shots of Barred Warbler. Copyright Hicklywick

Yet more awful photos. Red-flanked Bluetail.

After a brief stint away offshore I was back in the office today. At lunch I decided to check out the wasteland near work. Straight away it looked good as birds were flying about all over the place. Robins were everywhere, a couple Goldcrests showed, a female Blackcap hid in brambles, a Redstart flitted through the site, we flushed 5 Redwing and a Snipe and 3 Siskins flew in. While following yet another Robin a large warbler flitted up and I soon got reasonable views to ID it as a Barred Warbler, a nice find for the site and Hicklywick snapped off a few record shots.

We then heard of a Red-flanked Bluetail at Corton, some 5 miles from work so after a meeting we set off there. We soon got great views of the bird, definately a bird I want to find one day. Also there we found a flock (8+) Bramblings, Snipe, a Knot, Blackcaps, dozens of Wheatears, Redwings etc as well as 26 Brent geese flying south. The area was packed with migrants! Definately taking tomorrow off. Unfortunately the day slowly went downhill soon after as Hicklywick started reciting his bird shitting list! Almost as long as his shit bird list! The only man I know who has Pallas's reed bunting, Dark-eyed junco and RFBluetail on his list but yet to see long-tailed tit! Tart!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Sick as a Seal!

My plans today were to have an early start and walk from Gorleston to Corton along the coast to see what was left of this weeks 'fall'. However, as I reached Gorleston beach I noticed a small seal on the beach not looking too lively. I approached it slowly and it seemed not too concerned at my presence so I called a work colleague who saves seals in his spare time and we discussed what to do. I monitored it for another hour and in that time it was chased into the sea four times by Yarmites and their dogs but it kept coming back. I managed to send photos to my colleague who thought it was looking ok and obviously too mobile to catch to take into care at the moment. I went back later in the afternoon but the beach was too busy and I could see the seal out in the sea out of harms way. A early visit tomorrow morning will hopefully bring good news about it. All this distracted me from birding and I saw bugger all except a few Med Gulls, a Wheatear and a Sandwich Tern on the beach near the seal.

Common Seal, Gorleston Beach

The bit of waste land near work emptied by the end of the week although a wasteland tick was found in the shape of a Spotted Flycatcher on Thursday 9th.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Upstaged up north!!!!

With strong easterlies all week I had hoped the patch would produce but although I have picked up a few patch ticks it seems everywhere else has up staged here, even the birdless 'Ness up north! Things are bad! On the 6th there was severe east/south easterlies which made passerine hunting nigh on impossible. At lunch time I checked the scrub neear work and amongst the wind blown bushes I managed only a single Goldcrest. On the beach there werea couple of Wheatears and 5 Med gulls while out at sea 2 RT Divers, 6 Teal and a pale phase Arctic Skua flew south.

In the evening I decided to walk from Corton to Hopton. It was bloody hard work in the wind with only a Spotted Flycatcher near Corton and a dozen Wheatears on the pitch in putt course between the villages to show for my efforts. I decided a seawatch might save the day but again things were slow although I did add Razorbill and 2 Manxies to my patch list. I later found out I missed a Balearic flying past earlier!

Storms at Corton on the 6th
On the 7th the waste ground near work was its most productive I have ever seen it, with 2 Wheatears, 2 Whitethroats, a Whinchat and a Chiffchaff, a massive fall for the patch! The next day most had left with only a single Wheatear and Whitethroat about. The day (8th) started promisingly with a Lesser Whitethroat near my house. A walk through Beacon Park in Gorleston in the evening was little better with again only Whitethroats and a Lesser Whitethroat on show. And to think Girdleness, Abdn has had Lap bunts, Y Wags, Barred Warbs, Redstarts etc!!
Whinchat at the wasteground near work

A friendly dragonfly

Friday, 3 September 2010

Missed Chances

Having been away most of August in Cornwall and then frying my brains for a week on a course in St Andrews it was good to get back to the patch. On the 30th I managed a seawatch at Hopton but didn't catch up with any of the skuas that the north coast was enjoying. Sooty shearwater was new for the patch and 6 med gulls, 2 arctic terns and 4 common terns passed by flying south. The only migrant that appeared in the windswept dunes was a Whinchat. I checked the same dunes on the 31st and flushed a Gropper in fading light.

Seawatch Southwest

Small pearl bordered Fritillary

In the middle of August I headed west to Cornwall to volunteer for SeaWatch Southwest at Porthgwarra. Free accomodation and a week seawatching at one of the best seawatching sites in the UK sounded a good deal to me so it was to my suprise when I was there to find out they find it very hard to find volunteers. Visit the website and have a look and help if you can. To try and convince everyone here is brief breakdown of what I saw during my week:

210 Balearics
3500+ Manxies
28 Sootys
6 Great Shears
32 Stormies
27 Bonxies
5 Arc Skuas
1 Pom Skua
10 Med Gulls
1 Roseate Tern
1 Little Gull

Adult Med Gull

Crap photo of a Sooty

Ocean Sunfish

Crap photo of Balearics