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Monday, 31 October 2016

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Waxwing at RNLI car park at Sheringham.
ISABELLINE WHEATEAR still, west of boardwalk, Snow Bunting, Black Redstart, Waxwing, Short-eared Owl, Black Brant in channel at Burnham Overy Dunes.
Shorelarks x 53, Lapland Bunting x 5+ east of Holkham Gap south of dunes at Holkham Bay.
Great White Egrets x 2 on freshmarsh, Waxwings x 8 flew over Holkham.
Waxwing (heard only) near Brinton Church, Holt.
Little Auk landed on sea at Mundesley.
White-fronted Geese x 10 with Pink-footed Geese between Hemsby and Winterton.
Eurasian White-fronted Geese x 50 near Hemsby.
Waxwing flew SE over Colkirk.
Bean Geese x 5, Eurasian White-fronted Geese x 4 at Titchwell RSPB.
Waxwings x 4 flew south over Heacham.
Yellow-browed Warbler at Beeston Common, Sheringham.
Waxwings x 2+ heard only at Felbrigg Hall NT.
Black Redstarts x 2 at Tivetshall St Mary.
Hooded Crow on grass verge at 12.20pm by A148 west of Alymerton.
Eurasian White-fronted Geese x 50 on Swim Coots, Hickling Broad NWT.
Long-tailed Duck, on Watling Water from Babcock Hide at Cley NWT.
Scaup x 18 flew west past Weybourne Camp.
Lapland Buntings x 2 flew south over Hunstanton.

MEGA NEWS 
MEGA! BROWN SHRIKE at south end of Canal Zone, Spurn, Yorkshire.
MEGA! BLYTH'S PIPIT at St Mary's, Isles of Scilly.
MEGA! WESTERN PURPLE SWAMPHEN again, 8 miles north of Scunthorpe at Alkborough Flats Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire.
MEGA! DALMATIAN PELICAN still at north bank, 1.5 miles west of Wadebridge, Camel Estuary, Cornwall.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Local Birding & Weekend Update!

Chiffchaff feeding late afternoon at Titchwell RSPB!


Its been a very stressful week, with my Mother not well and all kinds of crap going on. I spent Saturday feeling drained and not very well and then had to go to Holme to take my Mother birthday shopping for Father. I really wanted to go to Cley to see the cracking male Desert Wheatear, but it didn't happen.

Today I headed for Choseley Drying Barns, where I had a massive flock of Goldfinches perched on the wires just before the barns and a Wren was sitting on the public footpath signpost, but nothing else of note.

Had fabulous views of 15 Waxwings perched on birches in Roman Way at the Branodunum Estate at Brancaster, but poor for photography as silhouetted again white/grey skies.
Waxwings at Brancaster


Parked the car at Brancaster Staithe and walked west along the public footpath – heard a Cetti's Warbler, saw a Little Egret, Curlew, Redshanks, Kestrel, flocks of Starlings, Great Tit and a Blackbird, nothing else more exciting. Returned to the car and headed west.

Titchwell RSPB – main aim: to see the Dusky Warbler, but failed miserably. In the gloom of late afternoon, several of us thought we were watching the Dusky Warbler, when in fact it was a Chiffchaff! It didn't call at all and on hindsight, was feeding and showing too high up in the foliage for a Dusky. Studying my photos properly back at home (and seeking further advice), it also didn't look 'dusky' enough, legs too thick and had straight wing rather than rounded, too green and supercilium not strong/long enough etc. It's very easy to get carried away with what you want to see, especially when everyone else does too!  – got a cracking picture of a Chiffchaff though! Lesson learn't! Several Bramblings were in the same clump of willows.

Found a male Stonechat on the grazing marsh and a Barn Owl was close by. Goldcrest, Robins and Long-tailed Tits were around the Meadow Trail. The only adrenalin rush I got this weekend was being spooked several times by ghoules set up around the reserve for halloween!!! I do wish we didn't medal with time – I hate putting the clocks back an hour!

Spent the evening keeping my Mother company and doing some jobs. I'm glad I have seen a Pine Bunting in Norfolk already! I saw the Choseley bird in February 2004, which was the second one for Norfolk.

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Waxwings x 17 in birch on Roman Way at Branodunum, Brancaster.
DUSKY WARBLER still at Walsey Hills NOA.
Snow Buntings x 3 on beach, Eurasian White-fronted Geese x 7 at Winterton.
Water Pipit on pool midway along Iron Road at Salthouse.
ISABELLINE WHEATEAR still, in dunes east of Gun Hill, Richard's Pipit flew west over Gun Hill at 7.45am, Snow Bunting at Burnham Overy Dunes.
Great White Egret at Bowthorpe Marsh.
Woodlark flew SW over Northrepps.
Long-tailed Duck, on Watling Water from Babcock Hide at Cley NWT.
Shorelarks x 60, Lapland Bunting, Twite x 2, Crossbill east of Holkham Gap south of dunes, Long-tailed Ducks x 3 at Holkham Bay.
Common Cranes x 2 at Welney WWT.
Lapland Bunting flew west over West Runton.
Snow Buntings x 4 along coast path, west of Trimingham.
Great White Egret still in tree at west side of lake at Holkham.
Great Grey Shrike at Swaffham Forest.
Black Redstart at Norfolk Homes, Cromer.
Eurasian White-fronted Geese x 4 on freshmarsh at Titchwell RSPB.
Black-necked Grebes x 2, Scaup x 4 on pits, Shorelarks x 2 on beach at Snettisham RSPB.
Eurasian White-fronted Goose, Tundra Bean Goose in field north of A149, 1/2 mile east of Burnham Deepdale.
Twite x 22 at Thornham Harbour.
Lapland Bunting flew over Holme Dunes.
Black Redstart, Purple Sandpiper at Funky Mackerel Cafe, Lapland Buntings x 4, Snow Bunting at Sheringham.
Black Redstart at old coastguard lookout, Happisburgh.
MEGA! PINE BUNTING fem. on Monday [ID's from photos] behind Lifeboat House in Lupins briefly then flew inland at Blakeney Point, Norfolk.

MEGA NEWS
MEGA! PINE BUNTING fem. on Monday [ID'd from photos] behind Lifeboat House in Lupins briefly then flew inland at Blakeney Point, Norfolk. 
MEGA! SIBERIAN ACCENTOR 11th for UK! in first scrub at south end of ash lagoon bank. View only from golf course, at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Northumberland.
MEGA! WESTERN PURPLE SWAMPHEN again, 8 miles north of Scunthorpe at Alkborough Flats Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire.
MEGA! DALMATIAN PELICAN still viewed from Dinham, Camel Estuary, Cornwall.

MEGA! FEA'S/ZINO'S PETREL flew NW past North Ronaldsay, Orkney.
MEGA! FEA'S/ZINO'S PETREL flew north past Lamba Ness, Unst.
MEGA! PINE BUNTING 1w male at Spring Park Road/post office, Baltasound, Unst.  

Saturday, 29 October 2016

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
DUSKY WARBLER still in willows by main path at Titchwell RSPB.
Eastern Yellow Wagtail probable [form plexa simillima/tschutschensis] flew west over Lady Anne's Drive, Great White Egret on Freshmarsh, Great White Egret at south end of lake at Holkham.
Shorelarks x 42, Lapland Bunting east of Holkham Gap towards dunes at Holkham Bay.
Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler probable, just west of crosstracks [heard only] at Holkham.
DUSKY WARBLER still at Walsey Hills NOA.
ISABELLINE WHEATEAR still, west of boardwalk near Gun Hill, Lapland Buntings x 2, Snow Bunting, Crossbill, Waxwing at Burnham Overy Dunes.
DESERT WHEATEAR Male again on shingle, Shorelarks x 3 between Cley and Salthouse.
Water Pipit between Iron and Little Eye, Wood Sandpiper north of A149 on pool west of Iron Road at Salthouse.
Long-tailed Duck, on Watling Water from Babcock Hide, Caspian Gull at North Scrape, Cley NWT.
DUSKY WARBLER on Warren Road at Gorleston-on-Sea.
Water Pipits x 2 at Cantley Beet Factory.
Common Cranes x 4 NNE of Cantley.
White Storks esc x 2, Spotted Redshank at Breydon Water.
Cattle Egret in field by A47 Acle New Road, viewable from gate, White Stork esc flew over Great Yarmouth.
Shorelark, Snow Buntings x 3 at North Beach, Great Yarmouth.
Yellow-browed Warbler along footpath by Ken Hill Wood at Snettisham.
Snow Buntings x 2 on beach, Yellow-browed Warbler at north end of Snettisham Coastal Park.
Yellow-browed Warbler at east end of UEA Broad, Norwich.
Jack Snipe x 3 at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB.
Hooded Crow on grass verge by A148, 200yds beyond 40mph sign at Aylmerton.
Lesser Whitethroat [possible of eastern form] just north of Hall School in bushes between cottages and clifftop at Sidestrand.
Waxwings x 2 along Firs Road, Water Pipits x 2 trapped and ringed at Holme NOA.
Hen Harrier at Buckenham Marshes RSPB.
Short-eared Owl at Thorpe Marshes, Haddiscoe.
Rough-legged Buzzard possible at Halvergate Marshes.
Waxwings x 12 at Branodunum, Brancaster.
Lapland Buntings x 3 west of Garden Drove at Warham Greens.
Lapland Buntings x 2, Snow Bunting at West Runton.

MEGA NEWS 
MEGA! SIBERIAN ACCENTOR 11th for UK! in area with no general access at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Northumberland.
MEGA! WESTERN PURPLE SWAMPHEN again, 8 miles north of Scunthorpe at Alkborough Flats Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire.
MEGA! DALMATIAN PELICAN still Camel Estuary at Rock, Cornwall.

Friday, 28 October 2016

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Tundra Peregrine, possible (form calidus) at 11am from Daukes' Hide and then late afternoon over Walsey Hills NOA, Long-tailed Duck, on Watling Water from Babcock Hide, Shorelarks x 7 on shingle near North Scrape at Cley NWT.
Hooded Crow 1/2 mile west of Aylmerton.
PALLAS'S WARBLER 150yds east of first bench at Wells Woods.
DESERT WHEATEAR Male on shingle near Sea Pool, Shorelarks x 2, Water Pipit north of A149 on pool west of Iron Road between Cley and Salthouse.
Tundra Bean Geese x 2, Eurasian White-fronted Geese x 3 with Pink-footed Geese in field by Friar's Thorne Farm, between Burnham Market and Docking.
Great White Egrets x 2, Short-eared Owl, Yellow-browed Warbler at Holkham.
MEGA! ISABELLINE WHEATEAR west of boardwalk near Gun Hill at Burnham Overy Dunes.
Shorelarks x 52 on saltmarsh at Holkham Gap at Holkham Bay.
Yellow-browed Warbler at Beeston Common, Sheringham.
Tundra Bean Geese x 2, Eurasian White-fronted Goose near Hemsby.
DUSKY WARBLER on Warren Road at Gorleston-on-Sea.
DUSKY WARBLER still in willows by main path, Yellow-browed Warbler, Pectoral Sandpiper juv, Eurasian White-fronted Geese x 3, Velvet Scoters x 3, Curlew Sandpiper at Titchwell RSPB.
Bewick's Swans x 4 at Cold Harbour, Ludham.
Tundra Bean Goose, Eurasian White-fronted Geese x 3 in field north of A149 at Burnham Deepdale.
Hen Harrier at Claxton Marsh.
DUSKY WARBLER still at Walsey Hills NOA.
Tundra Bean Goose x 3, Eurasian White-fronted Geese x 15 with Pink-footed Geese along Choseley Road just east of Sussex Farm c2mls WSW of Burnham Market.

MEGA NEWS
MEGA! ASIAN HOUSE MARTIN possible, still St Mary's Isles of Scilly.
MEGA! SIBERIAN ACCENTOR 9th for UK! still at Sandside Bay, Deerness, Orkney.
MEGA! WESTERN PURPLE SWAMPHEN again, 8 miles north of Scunthorpe at Alkborough Flats Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire.
MEGA! DALMATIAN PELICAN still oppoiste Cant Cove, Camel Estuary, Cornwall.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Spotted Redshanks x 2, Water Pipits x 2 at Titchwell RSPB.
Lapland Bunting at Thornham Marsh.
Yellow-browed Warbler at Sheringham.
DUSKY WARBLER still at Walsey Hills NOA.
Eastern Yellow Wagtail probable (form plexa simillima) flew west over Iron Road at Salthouse.
DESERT WHEATEAR Male, Shorelarks x 12, Snow Bunting, Lapland Bunting on shingle between Iron Road and Sea Pool between Cley and Salthouse.
Water Pipits just north of A149 on pool west of Iron Road, Jack Snipe, Lapland Bunting, Snow Bunting just west of Little Eye, Black Redstart in garden by A149 at Salthouse.
Lapland Buntings x 2 flew west over cliffs at West Runton.
Yellow-browed Warbler yesterday at Upper Sheringham.
MEGA! ISABELLINE WHEATEAR and DESERT WHEATEAR 1w fem again west of boardwalk near Gun Hill at Burnham Overy Dunes.
Great Grey Shrike at Marsham Heath.
DUSKY WARBLER on Warren Road at Gorleston-on-Sea.
Long-tailed Duck, Water Pipits x 5, Jack Snipe on Watling Water from Babcock Hide, Caspian Gulls x 3 on Simmond's Scrape at Cley NWT.
Jack Snipe x 2, Bittern at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB.
Shorelarks x 44 on saltmarsh at Holkham Gap at Holkham Bay.
Whinchat in hedge in near road between drying barns and Choseley.
Twite x 2, Linnets x 200 at Thornham Harbour.
Tundra Bean Goose, Eurasian White-fronted Goose, Pink-footed Geese x 7,000 yesterday in field by Friar's Thorne Farm, between Burnham Market and Docking.
Shorelarks x 3 in cliff top fields at Trimingham.

MEGA NEWS
MEGA! ASIAN HOUSE MARTIN possible, St Mary's Isles of Scilly.
MEGA! SORA found dead on 18th October at Exminster Marshes RSPB.
MEGA! SIBERIAN ACCENTOR 8th for UK! still at Unst at Lund, Shetland.
MEGA! SIBERIAN ACCENTOR 9th for UK! still at Sandside Bay, Deerness, Orkney.
MEGA! ISABELLINE WHEATEAR still, west of end of boardwalk at Burnham Overy Dunes, Norfolk.
MEGA! WESTERN PURPLE SWAMPHEN again, 8 miles north of Scunthorpe at Alkborough Flats Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire.
MEGA! DALMATIAN PELICAN still 1 mile NW of Wadebridge plus SW of Trewornan, Camel Estuary, Cornwall.
MEGA! HUDSONIAN WHIMBREL, 4 miles east of Penzance, 500yds west of Perranuthnoe at Boat Cove, Cornwall.

RBA Weekly Update 19th to 25th October!

By Andy Stoddart
http://www.rarebirdalert.co.uk/v2/Content/WeeklyRoundup2016-43.aspx?s_id=813248668

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Spotted Redshank, Water Pipit, Velvet Scoter, Lapland Buntings x 5 , Scaup, Jack Snipe x 3 at Titchwell RSPB.
Shorelarks x 3 at Thornham Point.
LITTLE BUNTING 200yds west of Stiffkey Fen, Yellow-browed Warbler 2/3 way to Campsite Wood at Stiffkey.
Barred Warbler still behind old pill box on King's Loke, Waxwings x 4 at Hemsby.
DUSKY WARBLER still at Walsey Hills NOA.
Long-tailed Duck, Jack Snipe still on Watling Water from Babcock Hide, Caspian Gulls x 3, Water Pipit at Cley NWT.
Shorelarks x 4 near Sea Pool at Cley.
DESERT WHEATEAR Male just east of east end of Sea Pool between Cley and Salthouse.
Great White Egrets x 2 at Holkham.
MEGA! ISABELLINE WHEATEAR and DESERT WHEATEAR 1w fem again west of boardwalk near Gun Hill at Burnham Overy Dunes.
Yellow-browed warbler in garden at Upper Sheringham.
Richard's Pipit & Shorelarks x 3 flew over Gramborough Hill, Shorelarks x 9 at Salthouse.
DUSKY WARBLER on Warren Road at Gorleston-on-Sea.
Waxwings x 4 at Holt.
Shorelarks x 27, Red-necked Grebe NE of Holkham Gap at Holkham Bay.
Waxwings x 3 near Redwell Hide at Holme.
Jack Snipe x 2 at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB.
Waxwings x 3 at Norwich.
Common Cranes x 2 at Horsey.
Shorelark, Lapland Buntings x 5 flew over Hunstanton.
Yellow-browed Warbler by south path at Muckleburgh Hill.
Eurasian White-fronted Geese x 20 at Burnham Norton.
DESERT WHEATEAR Male reported at Choseley Drying Barns.
Hawfinch flew NW over Hingham.

MEGA NEWS 
MEGA! DUSKY THRUSH probable, on Peninnis, St Mary's, Isles of Scilly.
MEGA! PINE BUNTING trapped and ringed at Crown Estate Field, Isle of Portland.
MEGA! PINE BUNTING still, Fair Isle, Scotland.
MEGA! SIBERIAN ACCENTOR 8th for UK! still at Unst at Lund, Shetland.
MEGA! SIBERIAN ACCENTOR 9th for UK! still at Sandside Bay, Deerness, Orkney.
MEGA! SIBERIAN ACCENTOR 11th for UK! at South Dale, Fetlar, Shetland.
MEGA! ISABELLINE WHEATEAR still, west of end of boardwalk at Burnham Overy Dunes, Norfolk.
MEGA! WESTERN PURPLE SWAMPHEN again, 8 miles north of Scunthorpe at Alkborough Flats Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire.
MEGA! DALMATIAN PELICAN near Pinkson Creek, viewable from Camel Trail, Cornwall.
MEGA! HUDSONIAN WHIMBREL, 4 miles east of Penzance, 500yds west of Perranuthnoe at Boat Cove, Cornwall.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Fin Whale Investigation! My Photographic Evidence Proves Likely Cause of Death!

Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme – UK Strandings

https://www.facebook.com/Cetacean-Strandings-Investigation-Programme-UK-strandings-142706582438320/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE&fref=nf

If you can't open the Facebook link above, I have copied below what the CSIP have written on their Facebook site about the Fin Whale at Holkham, Norfolk:

Tuesday 25th October
Following on from the last post (21st Oct), we’ve received some additional information that helps further our understanding of the fin whale which stranded at Holkham last week. One image taken of the whale by a local photographer (Penny Clarke, http://pennyshotbirdingandlife.blogspot.co.uk/) before we arrived, when the body had moved on the tide, shows an apparent deep laceration on the left side of the body, roughly corresponding with the location of the distortion to the body which we had described in the previous post.

This was the side we couldn’t access last Friday and as we mentioned, there was a question mark about whether there might have been any scarring or traumatic injuries to this aspect of the whale. As stated in our first post, the spinal abnormality could have been congenital or could have been due to an historical traumatic event- this new evidence now suggests that the latter is more likely. Although we can’t determine the potential cause/s of the lesion without having examined it directly ourselves, it is certainly reasonable to presume it might have been the result of an earlier ship strike (e.g. from the keel of a vessel). So we now speculate that the possible sequence of events might have been;

• historical traumatic event such as ship strike, which injured but didn't kill the whale
• damage to and distortion of the vertebra/musculature
• limiting the range of movement in the caudal peduncle (tail stock)
• causing progressive wasting of this area
• limiting the ability to dive and feed
• leading to starvation and eventual live stranding and death.

We have amended the provisional cause of death to 'starvation, sequential to spinal abnormality (possible historical ship-strike)', pending the results of follow up analyses.

One thing we didn’t include in the last post was some contextual information. Of the approximately 600 cetacean strandings annually reported around the UK, between 2-4/year are fin whales (data CSIP database, 2010-2015). This is the fourth fin whale reported in the UK this year and is the 10th reported on the southern North Sea facing coastline of England since the inception of the CSIP in 1990 (data CSIP dataset, 1990-current), with the last recorded in Kent in 2015. So although there have been some media comments about this stranding being a really unusual event, it is something that has happened within the recent past.

Finally, ship-strike in fin whales is a finding that the CSIP has previously recorded in the UK, with the last case being the fin whale found stranded on the north Kent coast in 2015. The data we collect feeds into both national and international reporting, in an effort to learn more about this issue and hopefully mitigate against it in the future.

Image credit Penny Clarke

My account on Thursday 21st October:
http://pennyshotbirdingandlife.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/gun-hill-burnham-overy-dunes-fin-whale.htm

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
DUSKY WARBLER in scrub by main path at Meadow Trail junction, Yellow-browed Warbler, Velvet Scoters x 3, Spotted Redshank, Jack Snipe at Titchwell RSPB.
Barred Warbler still behind old pill box on King's Loke at Hemsby.
DUSKY WARBLER still at Walsey Hills NOA.
MEGA! ISABELLINE WHEATEAR and *DESERT WHEATEAR again west of boardwalk (*also commuting between east end of Scolt Head Island and Gun Hill) near Gun Hill, Lapland Buntings x 2 flew west, Waxwing flew west at Burnham Overy Dunes.
DUSKY WARBLER trapped and ringed, PALLAS'S WARBLER, Yellow-browed Warbler, Waxwings x 8 in pines, Mealy Redpoll, Black Redstart, Redstart at Holme NOA.
Shorelarks x 5 at Holme Dunes.
Great Northern Diver flew north, Snow Bunting flew south over, Black Redstart south of Braddock Road, Caister-on-Sea.
Osprey flew east over Horstead.
PALLAS'S WARBLER in The Plantation at Blakeney Point.
Northern Bullfinch male flew east over Friary Hills NR, Blakeney.
Bearded Tits x 2 at South Denes, Great Yarmouth.
Lapland Bunting, Hen Harrier, Shorelarks x 3 flew west over East Hills, Wells.
Waxwing at Wells Woods.
Shorelarks x 4 at Weybourne Camp.
Great White Egret at Welney WWT.
Shorelarks x 10 flew east past beach car park at Cley.
BLACK-EARED WHEATEAR possible at 2.50pm, DESERT WHEATEAR unconfirmed report 200yds east of north of East Bank at Cley NWT.
Yellow-browed Warbler, Mealy Redpoll at Beeston Common, Sheringham.
Shorelarks x 18 1/2 mile east of boardwalk at end of Lady Anne's Drive on saltmarsh before large gap in dunes at Holkham.
Long-tailed Duck still on Watling Water, Jack Snipe from Babcock Hide, Caspian Gulls x 2 on Simmond's Scrape at Cley NWT.
Hen Harrier at Buckenham Marshes RSPB.
Jack Snipe x 2 at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB.
Great White Egret at Bowthorpe Marsh.
PALLAS'S WARBLER in hawthorns at NE end of Royal West Norfolk Golf Club, north of Brancaster Staithe.
Shorelarks x 5 at Thornham Point.

MEGA NEWS
MEGA! PINE BUNTING male behind Westmere, then flew to Sammy's Point, Kilnsea, East Yorkshire.
MEGA! PINE BUNTING fem in willows above small plantation by Loch of Grimsetter, Isle of Bressay, Shetland.
MEGA! PINE BUNTING still at Bulls Park, Fair Isle.
MEGA! SIBERIAN ACCENTOR 8th for UK! still at Unst at Lund, Shetland.
MEGA! SIBERIAN ACCENTOR 9th for UK! still at Sandside Bay, Deerness, Orkney.

MEGA! SIBERIAN ACCENTOR 10th for UK! at Excavations just over dunes from Snipe Point, Holy Island, Northumberland.
MEGA! ISABELLINE WHEATEAR still, west of end of boardwalk at Burnham Overy Dunes, Norfolk.
MEGA! BLACK-EARED WHEATEAR possible at 2.50pm, 200yds east of north end of East Bank at Cley NWT, NORFOLK.
MEGA! WESTERN PURPLE SWAMPHEN again, 8 miles north of Scunthorpe at Alkborough Flats Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire.
MEGA! ISABELLINE WHEATEAR on Friday, 1 mile north of car park at stone blocks/shingle beach junction in afternoon, but no sign on Saturday, Sizewell, Suffolk.

Monday, 24 October 2016

A Marriage Proposal!!!

My Mother had to go for an out-patient's appointment at the hospital this afternoon and as arranged, I picked her up when I finished work. Can you believe you can not get hospital transport unless you are dying, so she had to pay £28.00 for a taxi to her appointment – ridiculous!

We popped in to visit Father on the way home to Holme. Father was eating his tea when we arrived, which I then helped him with. He really enjoyed all the exciting news about my pictures of the Fin Whale and tapped my hand as if to say 'well done' – he was smiling and looked pleased for me. I apologised for not visiting for a while and explained all about the east winds and birds – I think he understood! He seemed so pleased to see me and said 'he didn't think he was going to see me anymore' – the then said 'will you marry me' and laughed (rather strange I know), but I think it was his way of saying he loves me. I laughed and pointed out that he has a wonderful wife sitting next to him already!

Father is going to be 90 years old on the 2nd November (next Wednesday), I never thought he would make it this far – tough cookie! I've booked the day off work as has Vivien and along with Lucy and Mother we all going to spend his birthday with him. Any old friends (not many left!) that would like to join us for the cake cutting at about 5pm on the day, please do join us at Summerville House Care Home, Fenway, Heacham, Norfolk PE31 7BH.

After visiting Father, we went to Hunstanton and bought a take-away vegetarian biryani (one between us) and peshwari naan for our tea and enjoyed this back at Holme. Spent a nice evening with Mother and then returned home feeling very tired.

SpecSavers appointment tomorrow!

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Northern Long-tailed Tit (nominate  form caudatus) reported yesterday, flew south over Gun Hill with Long-tailed Tits at midday, Burnham Overy Dunes.
DUSKY WARBLER reported yesterday at South Dunes, Winterton.
Sabine's Gull flew south, Snow Buntings x 4 at North Beach, Winterton.
MEGA! ISABELLINE WHEATEAR and DESERT WHEATEAR again (and later moved across to east end of Scolt Head Island), RADDE'S WARBLER, DUSKY WARBLER west of boardwalk near Gun Hill, Lapland Bunting flew west, Black-throated Diver on sea near dead Fin Whale at Burnham Overy Dunes.
Waxwing flew SW over New Costessey.
Long-tailed Ducks x 2 at Titchwell RSPB.
Garganey, Jack Snipe, Waxwings x 2 at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB.
DUSKY WARBLER still, Mealy Redpoll at Walsey Hills NOA.
Waxwing flew west, Black Redstart at old coastguard lookout at Happisburgh.
DUSKY WARBLER east of car park though elusive, PALLAS'S WARBER ringed, Water Pipit at Holme NOA.
Waxwing in garden along Firs Road, Holme Dunes.
Short-eared Owl flew west over freshmarsh at Blakeney.
Waxwings x 2 on path near sluice by river at Burnham Norton.
Lapland Bunting at East Hills, Wells.
PALLAS'S WARBLER, Waxwings x 8, Yellow-browed Warblers x 2, Lapland Buntings x 2 (in stubble field west of pine woods) at Wells Woods.
Long-tailed Duck on Watling Water from Babcock Hide, Capsian Gulls x 2 on Simmond's Scrape at Cley NWT.
Curlew Sandpiper, Spotted Redshanks x 3, Short-eared Owl at Breydon Water.
DUSKY WARBLER still in trees at start of main path, Yellow-browed Warbler at Titchwell RSPB.
Yellow-browed Warbler near River Yare at UEA, Norwich.
Snow Bunting by The Leas car park, Yellow-browed Warbler at Beeston Common, Sheringham.
PALLAS'S WARBLER in hedge by church, Shorelark along clifftop at Trimingham.
Lapland Buntings x 2, Black Redstarts x 2, Hen Harrier, Quail at Yankee Ridge, Blakeney Point.
Lapland Buntings x 3 at Weybourne.
Shorelarks x 28 on saltmarsh NE of Holkham Gap.
BOOTED WARBLER, RADDE'S WARBLER, DUSKY WARBLERS x 4, OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT reported 'recently' at Scolt Head Island.
Short-eared Owl at Horsey.
Great White Egret at Welney WWT.
Barred Warbler behind old pill box on King's Loke, Great Grey Shrike at Hemsby.
Water Pipits x 3 at Cantley Beet Factory.
Eurasian White-fronted Geese x 2 at Cantley Marshes RSPB.
Eurasian White-fronted Geese x 47 at Buckenham Marshes RSPB.
Snow Buntings x 2 at Sidestrand.

MEGA NEWS
MEGA! PINE BUNTING at Bulls Park, Fair Isle.
MEGA! SIBERIAN ACCENTOR 8th for UK! still at Unst at Lund, Shetland.
MEGA! BLACK-FACED BUNTING still at north end of Gunnista, Bressay, Shetland.
MEGA! SIBERIAN ACCENTOR 9th for UK! at Sandside Bay, Deerness, Orkney.
MEGA! ISABELLINE WHEATEAR still, west of end of boardwalk at Burnham Overy Dunes, Norfolk.
MEGA! DALMATIAN PELICAN Camel Estuary, still along Camel Trail, 1/2 mile north of Wadebridge, Cornwall.
MEGA! WESTERN PURPLE SWAMPHEN again, 8 miles north of Scunthorpe at Alkborough Flats Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Spent Last Day Of Holiday At Burnham Overy Dunes & Holkham!

DESERT WHEATEAR
Gun Hill, Burnham Overy Dunes

Last night I was contacted by email, to ask for assistance to ID a Wheatear. The finder sent me four pictures and thought they were of the Isabelline Wheatear but wasn't sure – the pictures were taken at 2.43pm on Saturday and the bird was west from where the Isabelline Wheatear was. When I read this email it was very late – just before midnight and I was already falling asleep. To be fair the pictures were grainy and difficult to ID, well they were for me anyway! My first thoughts were that it was the Isabelline looking at three out of the four pictures, two of which were back views, one slight side on view, but the fourth picture was a front view and the bird didn't look right, but I wasn't even thinking about another species of wheatear in the dunes! So I passed on the pictures by email to Mark Golley who would ID this bird far far quicker and more accurately than me – Mark was luckily still up! My first email response from Mark was 'OOH ERRR.....', the second was 'Not a second Isabelline. Third species of wheatear in the dunes...'!!! The third email said 'my tired eyes think its a 1w female Desert' and went on to explain why (1.14am!). Mark looked at the picture again with clear head early this morning and confirmed that it was indeed a 1w female Desert Wheatear and put the news out to Rare Bird Alert! With permission from Mark, I emailed his analysis to the finder to whom I would like to thank for emailing me the pictures, it made both myself and alot of other birders very happy on Sunday! Though it was frustrating to know that Connor and I had searched this area thoroughly last night as I know others did too – a good number of birders were around yesterday – a Desert Wheatear was right there under our noses!!! Can't believe no one saw this yesterday!

So obviously I returned to Burnham Overy Dunes this morning! It was a beautiful sunny day. I did not get there as soon as I would have liked, which mean't there were tons of birders here already. There was some diabolical fieldcraft going on and different 'rules' for different people – the worst incidence I witnessed was for the Desert Wheatear when I first arrived (having not seen the bird yet). I joined a line of birders on the outer edge of the dunes at the western most end of Gun Hill. Below where we were standing, was a large area of beach/shingle and sueda bushes where the bird favoured to feed. One lady was standing by a small sueda clump at the far side – apparently she had boldly walked across the beach in front of everyone to photograph the bird yards in front of her – the bird obviously had flown and at this point no one knew where it was and she remained standing next to the bush in hope that it would return!!! It was completely selfish to walk across the entire feeding area of the bird – why did she think other birders were standing where they were!!! Also did she really think it was gong to return to the same bush with her standing so close!!! Eventually the Desert Wheatear returned (after she left) and I had a some cracking views of this gorgeous bird in the sunshine – it was covering a large area, including flying to the brick ruin area to feed and the roof of the boat shed. How fabulous to have an Isabelline and Desert Wheatear within yards of each other!

I witnessed birders and photographers far too close for the Isabelline Wheatear too and one photographer who was standing on the path at the top of the dunes only yards away from the bird – ok, so this could have been ok to do, but when I did a similar thing later on, but standing a long way away I got duly ticked off for the first time!!! I was standing at the top of the dunes and was in the middle of a rant to someone about watching birders walking across everyone else eg a line of birders were watching the Isabelline Wheatear half way up the slope of dunes, some with bins, some with scopes and a birder walks past in front of them all!!! Total rudeness! Why did he not walk behind them? Eddie was having a far bigger rant about this yesterday when the same thing happened to him – I won't repeat the language Eddie used!!! The lack of courtesy to other birders is sometimes quite shocking. Anyway, I then bumped into three very nice birders I had met last year who were telling me that photographers were getting awesome pictures from 'over there' (positioned half way up the slope). So, I started to walk round the top of the path (seaward side) so as not to disturb the bird to join the line of photographers, when suddenly the Isabelline Wheatear flew up onto the little path, directly in line with me! I stopped and didn't move. The bird disappeared behind a small sueda bush – I couldn't see it and it couldn't see me. So, as I often do in these situations, I pulled my hood up over my head to cover up the blonde hair, so I blended in more! I took a few steps forward slowly and stopped. The bird still wasn't in view, I took a couple more steps, carefully and stealthily. The bird then came into view slightly just to the side of the bush. Then a voice from behind me aggressively said "Are you going to walk into that bird?" I was quite taken back, as I was far from close to the bird and I would not have been walking much further than I was, but obviously he didn't know that. So I swung round and said 'are you being serious?' It made it all the more upsetting as I knew this person. I can't remember what his reply was now, but I explained that I wasn't that close and walked and turned back to talk to him, pulled back my hood and said 'I won't be needing this up now then will I then!' and stormed off seaward side to escape the crowds! He probably flushed the bird by shouting at me, it was certainly settled when I was standing where I was and he probably lost me my only chance of getting a half decent picture, so thanks alot! I'm getting tired of all photographers being tarred with the same brush – I watched a very selfish 'birder' later on in the day chasing the Isabelline Wheatear to watch at closer distances than a photographer would have been (seriously) and the bird flew off because of this! There are inconsiderate birders and photographers and there are some very considerate birders and photographers – just a pity we are not ALL considerate to both birds and each other at times! Rant over!

The best part of the morning was eating my lunch alone on a dune looking out to sea towards Scolt Head – what a beautiful day! A Black-throated Thrush popped up on the pager! Knowing that Connor R. was birding at Brancaster and doesn't have a pager, I phoned him straight away to let him know – understandably he wasn't overjoyed when he said he had just been birding in the area where it was found at Brancaster Staithe! Several people left Burnham Overy Dunes to go and see this rare bird, but were unlucky sadly, as the bird was only seen by the finder. I made the decision not to go until I saw a pager message saying 'showing well' – I made the right decision!

I spent the rest of the day away from the crowds and felt determined to find my own good bird. I spent hours trudging up and down dunes and walked as far as Holkham. I walked all around the west end of Holkham pines and found a Treecreeper at the base of a pine and 7 Grey Partridges. I also sat for a good while in the large dip by the big sycamore (where the Citril Finch was) waiting for something to appear in the scrub. Had a coffee and snack and sat in hope! A Robin was singing, a male Blackcap appeared, 2 Jays (not siberian!) flew across and a few Redwings erupted from bushes. It was highly disappointing to say the least! The light was beautiful though and I just love the variety of scrub at this end of the pines – especially the spindle trees with their bright pink fruits, holly, oak, holm oak, sycamore, bramble etc. I headed back through the dunes which was birdless, aside from Pink-footed Geese and the odd Cormorant flying overhead.

I spent the last of the day sitting on the edge of the beach watching the Desert Wheatear feeding on the shoreline at 6pm – it was lovely sitting here alone, watching this magical little bird all by myself. The light was too poor for photos. I carefully walked away and could still see the Desert Wheatear feeding, as I looked back one last time. Walking back in the dark and the dreadful mud was not funny, but the sunset over the pools of water was spectacular!

So, no we didn't get a Norfolk Siberian Accentor, but there is still time yet – please!

PHOTOGRAPHS TO BE ADDED

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
MEGA! ISABELLINE WHEATEAR again, west of end of boardwalk at Burnham Overy Dunes.
DESERT WHEATEAR yesterday, ID'd from photos and today at west end of Gull Hill/beach, PALLAS'S WARBLER in bushes by Gun Hill, Waxwings x 3 briefly at Gun Hill, Eurasian White-fronted Geese x 2 in field near gate to boardwalk, Ring Ouzel, Jack Snipe at Burnham Overy Dunes.
DUSKY WARBLER still at Walsey Hills NOA.
Waxwings x 12 still, 300yds from windmill by sluice along coast path at Burnham Norton.
Richard's Pipit east of Dead Man's Wood, Snow Bunting by The Leas car park, Ring Ouzel at Sheringham.
DUSKY WARBLER yesterday in scrub by south side at Stiffkey Campsite Wood.
Long-tailed Duck on Watling Water from Babcock Hide at Cley NWT.
Waxwings x 13 behind Riverside Caravan Park at Hunstanton.
Great Grey Shrike at Buxton Heath.
Richards' Pipit on grazing marsh, Waxwings x 24 flew east, Waxwings x 9 at Holme Dunes, Yellow-browed Warbler by Redwell Marsh, Water Pipits x 3, Short-eared Owl at Holme.
Black Redstart at east end of Seagull Road at Scratby.
Shorelarks x 11 on saltmarsh east of Burnham Gap at Holkham Bay, Great White Egret at Holkham.
Shorelark at South Denes, Great Yarmouth.
BLACK-THROATED THRUSH in hawthorns at NE end of Royal West Norfolk Golf Club late morning with Redwings, but mobile and elusive (only seen by finder) at Brancaster Staithe.
SIBERIAN STONECHAT (probably form maurus) at Long Hills, Blakeney Point.
Common Cranes x 4 flew over Thetford.
Shorelarks x 6 in field 1/2 mile west of cliff top wood at Trimingham.
Waxwings x 15 flew east over Whirligig at Warham Greens.
Jack Snipe at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB.
Shorelarks x 2, Snow Buntings x 2 at North Beach, Winterton.
Eurasian White-fronted Geese x 31 at Buckenham Marshes RSPB.
DUSKY WARBLER in trees at start of main path at 4pm, Shorelarks x 6 in dunes at Titchwell RSPB.

MEGA NEWS
MEGA! PINE BUNTING, Fair Isle.
MEGA! SIBERIAN ACCENTOR 8th for UK! at Unst at Lund, Shetland.
MEGA! ISABELLINE WHEATEAR still, west of end of boardwalk at Burnham Overy Dunes, Norfolk.
MEGA! DALMATIAN PELICAN near Pinkson Creek, viewable from Camel Trail, Cornwall.
MEGA! WESTERN PURPLE SWAMPHEN again, 8 miles north of Scunthorpe at Alkborough Flats Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire.

MEGA! HUDSONIAN WHIMBREL, 4 miles east of Penzance, 500yds west of Perranuthnoe at Boat Cove, Cornwall.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

EAST HILLS, Burnham Overy Dunes & The MEGA!

EAST HILLS
East Hills was planned a good few days ago with others, but sadly it did not produce today with ten sharp sets of eyes! No sign of Dave Andrews' Red-flanked Bluetail that he found yesterday, which was highly disappointing. 3 Woodcocks, Robins, Goldcrests, Wrens, Blackbirds, Redwings, Song Thrush, Chiffchaffs, 1 Blackcap, 4 Greenfinches, Ring Ouzel (not seen by me). We searched hard to find something good but then gave in early and left to see Dave Andrew's second good bird in two days!

BURNHAM OVERY DUNES
Mega! ISABELLINE WHEATER found by Dave Andrews – he's on a roll! This fabulous bird was not far from where I had been watching a Northern Wheatear the other day! The Isabelline Wheatear was very distinctive – very pale, with upright stance – generally feeding high on the dune ridge amongst long grasses and privet bushes. Too distant for photos really and wished I had bought my scope to do a video, but never mind. This was the place to be today, with Pallas's Warbler too, which I saw flying from one bush to another and other good birds (see today's Norfolk list) which I didn't see.

So nice to bump into Simeon and James Grundy and Connor Rand (not seen them in ages) amongst other Norfolk birders. Lots of people walking out to see the Fin Whale on the beach, which made the entire place incredibly busy! Wonder who's fault that is Penelope!

I left the crowds and went to eat my very late lunch at 3pm (ish) by the scrub seaward side of Gun Hill – watched a Chiffchaff and several Goldcrests feeding close by in low cover. The light was beautiful and it was lovely sitting here. Connor came and joined me and we had a good catch up and then searched all the scrub and dunes/beach west of Gun Hill – several Goldcrests, Hedge Sparrow, Chiffchaff and that was the best we could find.

The Isabelline Wheatear remained on the dune ridge at dusk just before I left. A few people were still there as I headed back. A Redwing was perched in the apple tree at the end of the boardwalk, as I started to walk back. It was completely dark when I got back to my car. Very muddy, very tired.

The big question is? What is Dave Andrews going to find for the last day of my holiday? Make it a good one please!

RUBBISH PICTURES TO BE ADDED TOMORROW

This is the latest tally for Siberian Accentors!!!

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
MEGA! ISABELLINE WHEATEAR (Dave Andrews) west of end of boardwalk at Burnham Overy Dunes.
PALLAS'S WARBLER, Barred Warbler, Shorelark, Waxwings x 4, Little Auk flew west along shore, Short-eared Owl at Burnham Overy Dunes.
Waxwings x 14 in hedge along path from car park to River Burn Bridge at Burnham Norton.
Water Pipit, Yellow-browed Warbler, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Slavnian Grebe, Velvet Scoter, Shorelark, Spotted Redshank at Titchwell RSPB.
Great Grey Shrike at Lusty Hills, UEA, Waxwing flew over at Norwich.
PALLAS'S WARBLER on footpath from Eastfield Road, Hickling.
Yellow-browed Warblers x 2, Water Pipits x 3 at Hickling Broad NWT.
Waxings x 5 in hedge SW of Lifeboat Inn at Thornham.
Shorelarks x 2 at Thornham Point.
Little Auks x 2 flew west past Cley.
Great White Egret at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB.
Great White Egret at Bowthorpe Marsh.
Barred Warbler at Long Beach Caravan Park at Hemsby.
Snow Bunting by The Leas car park, Waxwing flew over, Balearic Shearwater, Long-tailed Duck, Little Gulls x 10, Short-eared Owl at Sheringham.
Snow Bunting, Black Redstarts x 2 at South Denes, Great Yarmouth.
Waxwings x 8 flew over, Short-eared Owl, Mealy Redpoll at Holme NOA.
DUSKY WARBLER (J & S. Grundy), Yellow-browed Warbler at Holme.
Short-eared owl, Waxwings x 6 flew over at Holme NWT.
Water Pipit on golf course practice green at Brancaster.
Yellow-browed Warbler in sycamores west of Harbour Road at Brancaster Staithe.
SIBERIAN STONECHAT (probably form maurus) in dunes just NE of Plantation, Blakeney Point.
Long-tailed Duck flew east past Weybourne.
DUSKY WARBLER (D.B)at Walsey Hills NOA.
Snow Bunting at North Beach, Heacham.
Great Grey Shrike at Buxton Heath.
Great White Egrets x 2 at Holkham.
Ring Ouzel at Wells Woods.
DUSKY WARBLER on farmland with no general access at Sea Palling/Eccles.
Lapland Bunting, Mealy Redpoll, Short-eared Owl at Sidestrand.
Little Auk off East Hills at Wells.

MEGA NEWS 
MEGA! SIBERIAN ACCENTOR 7th for UK! Fair Isle. 
MEGA! PINE BUNTING, Fair Isle.
MEGA! SIBERIAN ACCENTOR 8th for UK! at Unst at Lund, Shetland. 
MEGA! ISABELLINE WHEATEAR west of end of boardwalk at Burnham Overy Dunes, Norfolk.
MEGA! ISABELLINE WHEATEAR in 2nd field south of boatyard, Easington, Yorkshire.
MEGA! DALMATIAN PELICAN near Pinkson Creek, viewable from Camel Trail, Cornwall.
MEGA! WESTERN PURPLE SWAMPHEN again, 8 miles north of Scunthorpe at Alkborough Flats Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire. 

Friday, 21 October 2016

BIG WEEKEND!

Since the weekend is going to be blowing NORTH EAST winds continuously and on Monday (not happy about the Monday bit, as back at work)!!! In fact, looking at the weather charts again, it continues to the end of Tuesday! Oh dear!

It's going to be leaping with RARES and we won't know which way to turn! Well, that's what I'm hoping for anyway! For me and everyone else. No suppressing please – don't want to hear about leggy warblers or such like a few days later – ring it out!

I will be out dawn until dusk as a last big effort before returning to work. See you all at the mega or two or maybe three or........ if we're lucky!

If everyone works the coast, maybe we'll hit the big time, sitting indoors watching the pager, won't get the results you desire! Get out there and find something incredible!

I hear that the 2015 Norfolk Bird & Mammal Report has been published and is available now to buy from the usual places eg Titchwell RSPB, Cley Visitor Centre NWT and here. Waiting for my complimentary copy to drop on the mat – don't know which of my pictures are in yet, so it will be a surprise! Rob Holmes has the front cover with his stunning Bluethroat at Blakeney Point – looking forward to seeing it. http://andystoddart.weebly.com/2015.html

Happy Birding!

Media Frenzie All Day!

The day continued to be crazy with emails, telephone calls, deals, opening a PayPal account and all kinds! I need a PA?!!! I have been SO busy, which of course was exciting and lifted my spirits, but I should have been out birding!!! I still can't believe, that just because I took an average video of a Fin Whale that it has generated this massive media interest! If I had known, I would have made a better job of it! Mind you, my pictures were ok I suppose.

I eventually got out to Holme NOA for an hour only! Heard a Cetti's Warbler, saw a few Robins, Blackbirds and watched a Barn Owl over the marsh. Searched the pines opposite the sea watching hide to find a bluetail, but obviously they were under cover for the night! Very cold this evening.

Visited my Mother who was extremely low in mood and feeling lousy – it was very difficult to cheer her up, some tablets she has to be on are making her feel like this I think. Gave her a hug and left her watching a gardening programme. When I phoned later, she sounded a little better and excitedly told me she had seen my pictures of the Fin Whale on BBC1 – I haven't seen any of them on TV yet myself!

Went to pick Lucy up from her rehearsal at 10pm and take her home, which added to the crazy day. I am hoping tomorrow will be crazy with birds! Good night!

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Siberian Chiffchaff (probable) west of the toilet block by The Dell, Waxwings x 2 flew west, Yellow-browed Warblers x 2, Ring Ouzels x 2, Firecrest, Water Pipit, Twite, Crossbill, Common Cranes x 2 flew east at Wells Woods.
Pomarine Skua flew over beach at Wells.
Waxwing in garden at Hemsby.
Yellow-browed Warbler in garden at Earlham Marshes.
Waxwings x 2 in hawthorn by sea wall at Burnham Overy Staithe.
Long-tailed Duck at Winterton.
Spoonbill, Jack Snipe, Little Stint, Velvet Scoter, Curlew Sandpipers x 2, Slavonian Grebe, Yellow-browed Warbler at Titchwell RSPB.
Shorelark, Black Redstart at South Denes, Great Yarmouth.
Common Cranes x 2 flew east over Old Woman's Lane, Tundra Peregrine (form Calidus) possible, flew west, Little Auk flew west, Little Stint on Pat's Pool, Caspian Gull on Simmond's Scrape at Cley NWT.
Hoopoe on The Street 300yds south of A149 at Kelling.
Whinchat at Kelling Hard.
Waxwings x 2 at village hall, Trimingham.
Whinchat, Spotted Redshank at Warham Greens.
Waxwings x 5, Crossbill in pines at the Firs, Short-eared Owl at Holme Dunes NWT.
Lesser Whitethroat (possibly of an eastern form) trapped and ringed at Holme NOA.
Great White Egrets x 2, Firecrest, Yellow-browed Warblers x 2 at Holkham.
Snow Bunting by The Leas, Little Auks x 2, Lapland Bunting, Little Gulls x 9, Velvet Scoter, Short-eared Owl at Sheringham.
PALLAS'S WARBLER in bushes before Gun Hill, Waxwings x 5 flew south over Gun Hill, Little Auk dead on beach at Burnham Overy Dunes.
LITTLE BUNTING 200yds north of Braddock Avenue car park, Great Grey Shrike at West Caister at Caister-on-Sea.
RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL (Dave Andrews) at East Hills, Wells.
SIBERIAN STONECHAT (probably form maurus) 1w male at The Hood at 3.04pm, Blakeney Point.
Hoopoe at Blakeney Point then flew south over Blakeney Harbour between Morston and Stiffkey.
Yellow-browed Warbler at Abbey, Wymondham.
Yellow-browed Warbler at Muckleburgh Hill, Weybourne.
Jack Snipe at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB.
Snow Bunting at North Beach, Heacham.
Great Grey Shrike at Lusty Hills, UEA, Norwich.
Yellow-browed Warbler in garden at top of Harbour Road at Brancaster Staithe.
Northern Bullfinch, Short-eared Owl, Twite, locustella warbler sp. at Scolt Head Island NNR.
Hen Harrier at Claxton Marsh.
Little Auk, Little Gulls x 8 at Walcott.

MEGA NEWS
MEGA! PALE-LEGGED OR SAKHALIN LEAF WARBLER DEAD at lighthouse garden, Agnes, Isles of Scilly DNA analysis should confirm which species it actually is, and it should therefore be a first for Britain.
MEGA! ISABELLINE WHEATEAR in 2nd field south of boatyard, Easington, Yorkshire.
MEGA! WESTERN ORPHEAN WARBLER just north of Finstown by A966 in first garden south of crossroads, Mainland, Orkney.
MEGA! ISABELLINE WHEATEAR at Loch of Spiggie at Noss junction, Shetland.
MEGA! PINE BUNTING mainland, north of Hillwell at Brake in stubble field, 1/2 west of Brake Farm at Loch of Hillwell, Shetland.
MEGA! DALMATIAN PELICAN near Pinkson Creek, viewable from Camel Trail, Cornwall.
MEGA! HUDSONIAN WHIMBREL, 4 miles east of Penzance, 500yds west of Perranuthnoe at Boat Cove, Cornwall.
MEGA! WESTERN PURPLE SWAMPHEN again, 8 miles north of Scunthorpe at Alkborough Flats Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire. 

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Gun Hill, Burnham Overy Dunes, The Fin Whale & An Evening Of Media Frenzie!!!

F I N  W H A L E
Sadly washed up dead at Holkham Beach, Norfolk


I spent hours searching Gun Hill and Burnham Overy Dunes for a Siberian Accentor or something rare and got excited when I found a single Wheatear just south of Gun Hill – I tried very hard to turn it into a Isabelline, but sadly it was just a Northern Wheatear. I also found a Lesser Whitethroat which looked interesting, but only managed to get a poor record shot of this bird before it disappeared – this was just east of Gun Hill. There were several Wrens, Hedgesparrows and a few Goldcrests, but little else. An annoying couple followed me all around Gun Hill with their three dogs (off leads) and threw balls in my direction for the dogs to retrieve, I was not happy – they left in the end! A huge flock of Starlings landed in the bushes at the end of the boardwalk and also big numbers of Pink-footed Geese flew over east.
Northern Wheatear at Gun Hill, Burnham Overy Dunes
Should have been an Isabelline Wheatear!

An elusive Lesser White-throat at Gun Hill, Burnham Overy Dunes
and this should have been a Western Orphean Warbler!


As I started to walk back from Gun Hill, I bumped into another birder who told me about a dead Fin Whale that had been washed up on the beach, just east of the end of the boardwalk. I have never seen a Fin Whale, so naturally went off to find it. Walking along the boardwalk to the beach from the end of the sea wall, the whale was on the beach next to the incoming tide, slightly east of here. It was a sad sight indeed. The light was incredible with dark rolling clouds and sunshine – the beach looked almost white. I watched Sanderlings and Turnstones running around the pools, as I made my way across the sands. The Fin Whale was a magnificent sight, but equally very sad to see this beautiful creature lifeless on our shores. Its eye was half closed and I felt like it was aware of my presence – sounds weird, but that's how it felt! It couldn't have been washed up long, as there was very little odour at all and it looked in fairly good condition, aside from a few notches in the skin – that is until I noticed a deep laceration on its back indicating a possible ship strike, as Carl Chapman suggested.

Holkham Beach, Norfolk

Pictures above taken with Canon 7D and 300 f4 lens

Detail of throat grooves

An almost closed eye

laceration to back

 F I N  W H A L E
Holkham Beach, Norfolk
Pictures above taken with Apple iphone 6
 

Looking towards Scolt Head Island from Holkham


The sun was setting as I took several pictures of this rare cetacean and I headed back across the wet sands, looking back every now and again at the image of this beautiful whale. It was dark when I got back to my car. I had 4G on my phone, so tweeted a picture out of the Fin Whale. Rather than going straight home, I headed to Tesco's to get some much needed shopping. When I returned home and turned on the Mac, I could not believe how many emails I had! I loaded up a video of the Fin Whale on youtube and it all kicked off!
F I N  W H A L E
Holkham Beach, Norfolk

SLOW MOTION VIDEO

The evening went crazy with the media attention! BBC Look East, Sky News and The Daily Mail all contacted me for pictures and video! I wouldn't have wasted time going to the supermarket had I known all this was going to occur! I also phoned Carl Chapman, who is the Cetaceans Recorder for Norfolk to discuss my pictures with him.

http://news.sky.com/video/whale-washes-up-on-norfolk-beach-10625552

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-37721845

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b07y9d1h/look-east-late-news-20102016

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3857708/Giant-40ft-fin-whale-washes-dead-beach-Norfolk-latest-casualty-spate-strandings-North-Sea.html 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/21/mystery-of-enormous-whale-found-on-norfolk-beach-as-experts-say/ 

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/21/rare-fin-whale-stranding-in-norfolk-puzzles-scientists 

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/giant-40ft-fin-whale-washes-9097609 

http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/555614/40ft-fin-whale-Norfolk-beach-Brits-steer-clear-mammal

UPDATE
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-37744737
"A fin whale measuring 42ft (13m) that washed up on a Norfolk beach died of starvation linked to a spinal abnormality, experts have said."