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Monday, 31 October 2022

Cley NWT, Salthouse & West Runton!

West Runton Cliffs
 

Since all the good birds (as far as we know) were at Cley and Blakeney yesterday, I decided it might be a good idea to return and to try and see some of the birds I missed yesterday. It was a cracking day all round and the sun shone like it was a Summer's day.

Parked up at the East Bank car park at Cley to see yesterday's cracking Desert Wheatear, which was still hopfully here today, but not seen since 8am. Seconds after I arrived, Lee Evans turned up – he had just done Blakeney Point at dawn for the Alpine Accentor and had had good views with only a handful of other birders whilst he was there. We walked along the East bank and as we approached the north end, we were trying to decide which group of birders had the Desert Wheatear, as both groups were intently looking through their scopes, both west and east of the East Bank – we decided the west group looked more promising, plus this is where it was seen earlier. On reaching the group of birders, they had seen the Desert Wheatear around 10 minutes ago, but was out of view now – when they described where it was, I wished I had brought my scope with me instead of the camera! It showed again in a few minutes and was perched very distantly in the cut reed area, south of the brackish pool and embankment – the Desert Wheatear was a striking bird even at this distance, but it was a mere dot in the scope, when Lee kindly let me look through his scope, as did another birder too, thank you both. I put the news out to RBA, as there had been no sightings reported since 8am this morning.

I left Lee chatting to local birders and as I started to walk back over the shingle, a couple highlighted that some Snow Buntings had just flown over the shingle next to the sea – after a bit of scanning I could see about 5 Snow Buntings along the shore, roughly opposite were Lee, Mark G and others were standing and it appeared that they were watching them too. A Red-throated Diver was on the sea. I returned along the East Bank and saw 2 Stonechats on the west side and on The Serpentine were the usual Wigeon, Teal, Redshanks etc.

I was going to the Iron Road at Salthouse next, but after seeing the small car park full and cars parked stupidly on the main road, I escaped to West Runton in hope of re-finding the Hoopoe. John Furse had looked earlier this morning and couldn't find it. I found a lovely free parking spot in West Runton, I won't say where! I'm really glad I parked where I did, as it allowed me to look into some beautiful gardens on route and along Water Lane, which leads down to the beach. Several Blackbirds were feeding on apples in a large parking area and also several House Sparrows seen. This entire walk was just so beautiful in the sunshine, which was warm, but not too hot.

Lots of birds in the fields next to Water Lane by the beach, including Jackdaws, Rooks, big flock of Linnets, House Sparrows, Starlings, Pied Wagtails – all whizzing about in all directions, it was a joy to watch! I obviously haven't been here for a while, as a Woolly Mammoth has appeared by the beach shelter! Walked east along the cliff top path and took several pictures of the cliffs and sea. Made my way up to the very large beet field adjacent to a belt of pine trees, where the Hoopoe has been feeding. There are only so many beet leaves you can scan through and sadly no black, white or salmon pink colours revealed themselves! I searched the pine belt thoroughly, the south, north and east and west sides – only birds found were 2 Robins, a Blackbird, a Wren and some House Sparrows. Ambled back along the clifftop, peering over the edge (which I shouldn't have been doing I know) and pished the scrub below, but no LBJ's or Alpine Accentors appeared!

Back at my car, I had lunch and then headed to Holt to pick up four more paintings I have had re-framed (more news on this another time). Returned to Salthouse and managed to get a space in the tiny car park for the Iron Road. The light was disappearing fast now. I managed to see the Long-billed Dowitcher in the pool along with some Black-tailed Godwits, Shelduck and lots of Pied Wagtails, at least 20+ I counted! No sign of the Shorelarks or Jack Snipe, which didn't surprise me at this late hour in the day.

Drove to Beach Road at Salthouse and had a coffee. I was the only car here..... until a campervan turned up for the night! Scanned the marshes in hope of seeing the 2 Short-eared Owls that were seen a short while ago, but no luck with that. Drove home and felt exhausted after two days birding and driving. Glorious weather and some nice birds seen. Rest and jobs day tomorrow after returning to work on Wednesday.

Pictures to be added

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT" 
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ALPINE ACCENTOR by the Tamarisk near The Plantation, then flew to east of Halfway House, then east again and no further sign by 12.44pm, Lapland Buntings x 2, Pallid Harrier juv., Snow Bunting at Blakeney Point
Desert Wheatear male, Snow Buntings x 6, Water Pipits x 3, Little Stints x 3, Short-eared Owls x 2, Hen Harrier at Cley NWT
Little Auk just west of beach car park at Cley
Long-billed Dowitcher, Shorelarks x 7, Jack Snipe x 3, Twite, Lapland Bunting at Salthouse
Pallid Harrier juv. at Stiffkey Fen
Hen Harrier at Stiffkey
Slavonian Grebe at Whitlingham Country Park
Cattle Egrets x 6 at Holkham Freshmarsh
Pallid Harrier juv. over saltmarsh at Wells
Little Auk, Black-throated Diver, Cattle Egret at Holme Dunes NWT
Hen Harrier (possible) flew over Titchwell RSPB
Hawfinch at Lynford Aboretum
Spotted Redshank at Welney WWT
Great Northern Diver at Sheringham
 
MEGA NEWS
Blakeney Point, Norfolk
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT
Doon Lough, County Leitrim, Ireland
AFRICAN SWAMPHEN
Probable, for 34th day at Dovercourt, Essex

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT" 
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SUNDAY 30th OCTOBER
 
Pallid Harrier juv., Long-billed Dowitcher, Desert Wheatear male, Swift sp., Water Pipit, Little Stints x 3 at Cley NWT
Long-billed Dowitcher, Shorelarks x 3, Harrier sp. at Salthouse
Hawfinch flew over Heacham
Short-eared Owl in off sea at Kelling Water Meadows
Hoopoe, Caspian Gull at West Runton
ALPINE ACCENTOR just north of the Yucca plant, east of The Plantation, Lapland Buntings x 2 at The Hood, Blakeney Point
Black-throated Diver, Red-necked Grebe, Slavonian Grebes x 2, Velvet Scoters x 5 at Holkham Bay
Hen Harrier at Stiffkey
Hooded Crow at Warham Greens
Pallid Harrier juv. over sea, Black-throated Diver, Slavonian Grebe, Jack Snipe, Hen Harrier at Titchwell RSPB
Short-eared Owl at Brancaster
Lapland Buntings x 2, Snow Buntings x 60 at Happisburgh
Cattle Egret, Little Gulls x 5 at Holme Dunes NWT
Spoonbill at Holme NOA
Water Pipits x 2, Lapland Bunting at North Point Pools, Wells
Spotted Redshank at Welney WWT
Water Pipits x 2 at Cantley Beet Factory
Little Gulls x 21 at Sheringham
 
MEGA NEWS
Blakeney Point, Norfolk
LITTLE SWIFT
Brean Down, Somerset and Bristol
WILSON'S SNIPE 
St Mary's, Isles of Scilly
WHITE-WINGED SCOTER
Musselburgh Lagoons, Lothian

MEGA! ALPINE ACCENTOR AT BLAKENEY POINT!!!

ALPINE ACCENTOR
Blakeney Point
 
 
SUNDAY 30th OCTOBER
 

After hearing news at 9.30am of an "unconfirmed report of Alpine Accentor at Blakeney Point", I felt sure this would come up again as confirmed, so I waited for more news – the next message at 11am said "unconfirmed report of Alpine Accentor at Blakeney Point east of Plantation". All very odd, you would have thought it would have been confirmed in what was at least an hour and a half. The confirmed message came at 12.59 from James MacCallum, who had re-found it and was presumably the second person to see it – he put the news out within three minutes of him seeing it (he told me this later on). When this message came up, I was already on my way to Cley, in fact I was just driving through Glandford.

I dreaded the thought of walking Blakeney Point with my recent back, shoulder and neck issues, but decided to give it a go. This meant that I didn't get the chance to see the fabulous male Desert Wheatear at Cley, which was found by Marcus Nash, but I have seen them before – but never seen an Alpine Accentor anywhere!!! The parking had already extended into the over spill field car park at Coastguards and this is where I parked. Pete Snook had arrived just before me and had intended in going to see the Desert Wheatear, but changed his mind and joined me to walk Blakeney Point. Pete had to borrow my second bottle of water and one of my camera bags, as he hadn't planned on walking BP!

I had no choice but to travel as light as possible, so only took my camera gear, 1 bottle of water and my diet snacks in my lightest rucksack. I couldn't walk down there with the usual additional flask of coffee etc, it would have been too risky. The walk out was not too bad to be honest, the tide was out and the sand was quite firm. We walking quite fast out there, but ambled back on the return trek! I can't remember what time we left the car park or what time we arrived to be honest. We were simply focussed on getting out there – time was of the essence, as Alpine Accentors seem to have a habit of being one day birds. The third Alpine Accentor for Norfolk, that Connor Rand found at HBO on 26th April 2014, was only on show for mere minutes!

ALPINE ACCENTOR
Blakeney Point
 

We arrived at The Plantation and birders were standing just east of here, looking northwards into a gulley in the dunes. The usual panic when you first arrive and then.... there it was! A fabulous ALPINE ACCENTOR, happily feeding away in the dunes! The finder was Paul Laurie, thank you very much indeed! Several Norfolk birders here, including Dawn & Pete B., Ashley B., Richard W., Ian, Chris and Richard, Stuart W., Mike E., Jim L., John G., Jake G., Neil B., James Mc. and others. Two birders from the "north east" called Mike and Les came over and introduced themselves to me – they read my blog regularly, lovely to meet you both!

Pete Snook and me, shortly after seeing the Alpine Accentor!

 
The beautiful Yucca at Blakeney Point

Mike and Les to the right of the Yucca

I took so many pictures of this fabulous bird, but obviously struggling to get the results I want with the Canon R5, as Mike E.'s shot of the Alpine Accentor was stupendous and he was using the same camera and lens as me. I wasn't happy with any of the 645 shots I took when I returned home. The Alpine Accentor flew east just over to the next gulley, where we then watched it from until a Kestrel harrassed it and it flew off north over the dunes. Pete and I left to walk back after this. Stuart White did re-find it again and kindly kept with the bird for Ben C., who had ran (you did read that correctly) up the Point to see this bird – and he did see it, just in time! The last message was that the Alpine Accentor had "flew to roost in a building" at 4.48pm. The walk back was tedious! I take my hat off to Ashley Banwell – how amazing that he was able to do that walk after his accident, unbelievable really! Hardcore Norfolk boi! We joined Mike E. and Neil B. for part of the walk back to Coastguards. We arrived back in the car park at 5.30pm in the dark! The car seat had never felt so good! After a quick coffee and snack I headed home to King's Lynn.

This is now the fifth Alpine Accentor for Norfolk, the first being in 1978, 30th April and stayed for 5 days at Sheringham. The second record was at Overstrand in 2004, 20th April, one day only. The third record was in 2014, 26th April and only on show for a short while. The fourth record was at Scolt Head Island NNR in 2016, 12th April and also one day only.

More pictures later......

Saturday, 29 October 2022

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT" 
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services

Long-billed Dowitcher, Curlew Sandpipers x 2, Snow Buntings x 6, Water Pipit, Little Stints x 4 at Cley NWT
Long-billed Dowitcher, Shorelarks x 5, Richard's Pipit, Lapland Bunting, Snow Buntings x 6, Little Stints x 2, Great Northern Diver at Salthouse
Pallid Harrier juv. seen at Blakeney, then between Cley & Salthouse
Pallid Swift, Hoopoe, Waxwing, Caspian Gull at West Runton
Great Northern Diver, Little Gulls x 36 at Sheringham
Cattle Egrets x 6 at Holkham Freshmarsh
Black-throated Diver, Slavonian Grebes x 3, Red-necked Grebe, Velvet Scoters x 3, Snow Buntings x 2 at Holkham Bay
Snow Bunting at Cromer
Cattle Egret at Hempton Marsh NOA
Spotted Redshank, Hen Harrier at Stiffkey
Jack Snipe at Walsey Hills NOA
*Crimon Speckled Moths x 2 , Short-eared Owl at North Denes, Great Yarmouth
*Crimon Speckled Moth on window at Caister-on-Sea
Spoonbill at Thornham
Long-tailed Ducks x 5, Slavonian Grebe, Great Northern Diver, Spoonbill, Spotted Redshank, Water Pipit, Hen Harrier at Titchwell RSPB
Black Redstart on church roof, Hen Harrier at Happisburgh
Great Northern Diver at Weybourne
Cattle Egret, Spotted Redshank at Holme NOA
Snow Bunting at Holme Dunes NWT
Curlew Sandpiper at Burnham Overy Staithe
Lapland Bunting, Hen Harrier at North Point Pools, Wells
Waxwings x 5 at Attleborough
Cattle Egret, Spotted Redshank at Welney WWT
Pallid Harrier juv. SW of Walcott
 
MEGA NEWS
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER
Bryher, Isles of Scilly
St Mary's, Isles of Scilly
From 7.05am-7.20am only at Slaughden, Suffolk
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT
Doon Lough, County Leitrim, Ireland
BOOTED OR SYKES'S WARBLER
Lundy, briefly, Devon

Friday, 28 October 2022

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT" 
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services

Pallid Swifts x 3 over Horsey Corner
Pallid Swifts x 2 at Cromer
Pallid Swifts x 4 at Beeston Bump, Waxwing at Beeston Common, Little Gulls x 8 at Sheringham
Red-necked Grebe at Gore Point, Little Gulls x 12, Cattle Egret at Holme
Long-billed Dowitcher, Short-eared Owls x 2, Little Stint at Cley NWT
Swift sp. flew over South Dunes, Winterton
Long-billed Dowitcher, Shorelarks x 5 at Salthouse
Pallid Swifts x 4 at Sheringham
Spotted Redshank at Welney WWT
Wood Warbler at Holkham Pines
Shorelarks x 2 at Holkham Freshmarsh
Pallid Swifts x 2, Waxwing flew over at Overstrand
Ring Ouzel between Ringstead & Thornham
Cattle Egret at Potter Heigham
Short-eared Owl, Spoonbill, Hen Harrier at Titchwell RSPB
Pallas's Warbler at Stiffkey
Pallid Swift at Great Yarmouth
 
MEGA NEWS
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER
Bryher, Isles of Scilly
Slaughden, Suffolk
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT
Doon Lough, County Leitrim, Ireland

Thursday, 27 October 2022

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT" 
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services

Swift sp. at Horsey
Pallid Swift, Black-necked Grebes x 3 at Horsey Gap
Pallid Swift, Swift sp. at Sidestrand
Long-billed Dowitcher, Little Stints x 3, Caspian Gull at Cley NWT
Long-billed Dowitcher, Shorelarks x 3, Jack Snipe at Salthouse
Pallid Swift, Swift sp., Little Gull at Overstrand
Pallid Swift, Hoopoe at West Runton
Shorelarks x 2, Snow Buntings x 15, Velvet Scoters x 2, Long-tailed Duck, Black-throated Diver, Slavonian Grebes x 5 at Holkham Bay
Swift sp., Little Gulls x 2 at Waxham
Pallid Swifts x 4 at Cromer
Jack Snipe, Hen Harrier, Spoonbill at Titchwell RSPB
Cattle Egret, Slavonian Grebe, Little Gulls x 15 at Holme Dunes NWT
Yellow-browed Warbler at Weybourne Camp
Pallid Swifts x 3, Swift sp. x 2 at Sheringham
Pallid Swift, Swift sp., Great Northern Diver at Winterton
Pallid Swifts x 2 at Great Yarmouth
Glossy Ibis at Snettisham RSPB
Short-eared Owl at Caister-on-Sea
Jack Snipe at Walsey Hills NOA
Hooded Crow at Warham Greens
Great Northern Diver, Little Gulls x 4 at Mundesley
Spotted Redshank at Welney WWT
Short-eared Owls x 2 at Caister-on-Sea
Common Cranes x 4 at Stubb Mill Roost, Hickling Broad NWT
 
MEGA NEWS
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER
Bryher, Isles of Scilly
St Mary's, Isles of Scilly
Slaughden, Suffolk
WHITE-WINGED SCOTER
Musselburgh Lagoons, Lothian
NORTHERN HARRIER
Lough Boora Parklands, County Offaly, Ireland

Wednesday, 26 October 2022

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT" 
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services

Shorelarks x 7, Snow Buntings x 20 at Holkham Bay
Yellow-browed Warbler at Holkham Pines
Cattle Egrets x 5 at Holkham Freshmarsh
Waxwings x 2 at Beeston Common, Sheringham
Pallid Swifts x 2 flew in off sea, Swift sp. over golf course, Little Gulls x 20, Great Northern Diver, Lapland Bunting at Sheringham
Glossy Ibis, Spotted Redshanks x 4 at Breydon Water
Bearded Tits x 4 at Nunnery Lakes NR, Thetford
Glossy Ibis, Spoonbill, Spotted Redshank, Hen Harrier at Titchwell RSPB
Spoonbills x 2 at Snettisham RSPB
Cattle Egrets x 16, Spotted Redshank at Welney WWT
Black-throated Diver at Blakeney Harbour
Glossy Ibis at Burnham Overy Staithe
Long-billed Dowitcher at Salthouse
Jack Snipe, Water Pipit at North Point Pools, Wells
Hooded Crow at Warham Greens
Little Gulls x 8 at Mundesley
 
MEGA NEWS
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER
Bryher, Isles of Scilly
St Mary's, Isles of Scilly
WHITE-WINGED SCOTER
Fisherrow, Lothian

Tuesday, 25 October 2022

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT" 
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services

Pallid Swifts x 2, Shorelarks x 2 at Cromer
Swift sp., Yellow-browed Warbler, Cattle Egret, Red-necked Grebe, Spoonbills x 2 at Holme Dunes NWT
Long-billed Dowitcher, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Water Pipits x 2, Snow Buntings x 4, Caspian Gull at Cley NWT
Grey Phalarope, Shorelarks x 6, Slavonian Grebes x 3, Black-throated Diver, Snow Buntings x 17 at Holkham Bay
Cattle Egrets x 6 at Holkham Freshmarsh
Waxwing flew over Muckleburgh Hill
Black Redstart, Little Gulls x 3 at Mundesley
Pallid Swift (possible), Swift sp. over Beeston Regis, Sheringham
Short-eared Owl at West Runton
Snow Bunting, Short-eared Owl at Winterton Dunes
Cattle Egrets x 17, Common Cranes x 8, Short-eared Owl at Welney WWT
Yellow-browed Warbler at Wells Woods
Glossy Ibis, Snow Bunting, Water Pipits x 3 at Titchwell RSPB
Hooded Crow at Warham Greens
Great Northern Diver, Little Gulls x 8 flew past Sheringham
Common Cranes x 2 at Cantley Marshes RSPB
 
MEGA NEWS
St Mary's, Isles of Scilly
WHITE-WINGED SCOTER
Musselburgh Lagoons, Lothian

RBA Weekly Round-Up 18th to 24th October!

By Jon Dunn

Monday, 24 October 2022

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT" 
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services

Pallid Harrier (possible), Short-eared Owl, Curlew Sandpiper at Salthouse
Cattle Egret, Slavonian Grebe at Holme Dunes NWT
Snow Bunting, Spoonbill, Hen Harrier at Titchwell RSPB
Hooded Crow at Holkham Pines
Shorelarks x 6 at Holkham Bay
Cattle Egret at Buckenham Marshes RSPB
Pallid Swift flew east, Little Auk, Pomarine Skuas x 3, Little Gulls x 624 flew past Sheringham
Water Pipit at Brendan's Marsh, Hickling Broad NWT
Black Redstart on church at Winterton
Pallid Swifts x 2 at Cromer
Long-billed Dowitcher at Cley NWT
Black-throated Diver off beach car park at Cley
Little Gulls x 40, Hen Harrier flew past Horsey
Cattle Egret at Welney WWT
Black Redstart at Overstrand
 
MEGA NEWS
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER
Bryher, Isles of Scilly
St Mary's, Isles of Scilly

Sunday, 23 October 2022

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT" 
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services

Long-eared Owl between Yaxham & Whinburgh, SE of Dereham
Swift sp x 2, Long-billed Dowitcher, Jack Snipe, Water Pipit, Little Stints x 2, Curlew Sandpiper, Caspian Gulls x 3 at Cley NWT
Yellow-browed Warbler, Mealy Redpoll, Water Pipit, Snow Buntings x 16 at Titchwell RSPB
Snow Bunting at Thornham Point
Hoopoe flew west at Beeston Bump, Sheringham
Cattle Egrets x 13, Spotted Redshank at Welney WWT
Cattle Egret at Buckenham Marshes RSPB
Black-throated Diver, Slavonian Grebes x 2 at Holkham Bay
Wood Warbler at Holkham Pines
Water Pipits x 2 at North Point Pools, Wells
Hawfinch at Bawsey Country Park
Black Redstart in garden at Overstrand
Siberian Chiffchaff at Great Yarmouth Cemetery
Russian White-fronted Geese x 4, Water Pipits x 2, Woodlark at Snettisham RSPB
Bean Geese sp. x 2 flew over Blakeney Harbour
Snow Buntings x 14 on beach at Holme Dunes
Pomarine Skua, Little Gulls x 62 at Happisburgh
 
MEGA NEWS
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER
Bryher, Isles of Scilly
St Mary's, Isles of Scilly
North Ronaldsay, Orkney

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT" 
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services

SATURDAY 22nd OCTOBER
 
Yellow-browed Warbler at Walsey Hills NOA
Long-billed Dowitcher, Shorelark x 2, Snow Buntings x 10, Little Stints x 3, Hen Harrier, Curlew Sandpipers x 2, Great Northern Diver, Spoonbill at Cley NWT
Black-throated Diver, Velvet Scoter off beach car park at Cley
Dusky Warbler (probable) at Burnham Overy Dunes
Little Stint, Water Pipit at North Point Pools, Wells
Wood Warbler at Holkham Pines
Shorelark, Snow Buntings x 20 at Holkham Bay
Cattle Egrets x 3 at Holkham Freshmarsh
Yellow-browed Warbler near church at Titchwell
Rose-coloured Starling juv. (possible) on path by Patsy's Pool at 5.40pm, Jack Snipes x 3, Spotted Redshank, Snow Bunting, Lapland Bunting, Mealy Redpolls x 2, Hen Harrier, Caspian Gulls x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Hooded Crow at Warham Greens
Little Gulls x 40 flew past, Black-throated Diver at Cromer
Hen Harrier, Cattle Egrets x 6, Common Cranes x 23, Short-eared Owl at Welney WWT
Yellow-browed Warbler at Beeston Bump, Black Redstart in cemetery at Sheringham
Black-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Little Gulls x 361 flew past Sheringham
Little Auk reported, flew past Kelling
Snow Buntings x 3 at North Beach, Great Yarmouth
Black Redstart at Norwich Cathedral
Waxwing, Cattle Egret, Little Gulls x 4 at Holme Dunes NWT
Spoonbill flew over Attleborough
Hen Harriers x 2, Russian White-fronted Goose at Hickling Broad NWT
Water Pipit at Cantley Beet Factory
Bittern at Great Broad, Hoveton
Common Cranes x 17 flew over Great Hockham
 
MEGA NEWS
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER
Bryher, Isles of Scilly
St Mary's, Isles of Scilly
Kilbaha, County Clare, Ireland
BAND-RUMPED PETREL sp.
Flew past Porthgwarra & The Lizard, Cornwall
BAROLO SHEARWATER
Flew past The Lizard, Cornwall

Friday, 21 October 2022

East Coast Birding!

I could not make my mind up which direction to head today and in the end decided to return to Winterton! A bit crazy but there we go. This post will be short, as sadly I didn't have a very productive day.

I searched for the Blue Rock Thrush again and returned to where I saw it last night, but no joy. It was SO difficult to pin down yesterday, even with so many birders searching, that I wouldn't be surprised if it reappeared again – I certainly didn't see many birders looking while I was there. Definitely worth another thorough search for weekend birders – fingers crossed, especially for the some of the local birders, who frustratingly didn't get to see it for various reasons.

I walked through the allotments by the church, where two birders had had a Black Redstart, but no sign when I looked. I then walked along the path adjacent to the horse meadows and ended up birding for ages in South Dunes. It all seemed very exciting and apart from a handful of dog walkers, I was the only birder here! Good numbers of Goldcrests amongst the sycamores and searched hard for my own Pallas's Warbler, but no luck with that. Several Blackbirds, Redwings and Robins and that was it! I felt that I deserved more, after walking what seemed like several miles. I returned via a different route and sat on a bench to rest in a beautiful little park and watched a Blackbird feeding, whilst I had a drink and a snack. Retraced my steps for a short distance and then followed the path back by the horse meadows and through the allotments by the church again – still no Black Redstart! A few Redwings, Blackbirds, House Sparrows and a Robin were all I could find here. Returned to my car and felt exhausted, which is hardly surprising after the last couple of days.

I was thinking about doing North Dunes, but decided to go and twitch the Pallas's Warbler north of Shangri-la chalet at Waxham, so that I at least saw one good bird today! I love this little spot and I have not been here for probably a few years. It was lovely to bump into Dawn and Pete Balmer here and nice to have a little catch-up. I walked north along the path through the dunes overlooking the scrub and all the way back again, then followed the lower path through the sycamores and all the way back! Nothing at all apart from Goldcrests, Robins, Blackbirds and Redwings – probably too late in the day and it was quite windy. Not the day I had hoped for, but it was still lovely to be out and no rain! The drive home was long and tedious. Feel exhausted and all birded out! Good night!

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT" 
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services

Hawfinch at Lynford Aboretum
Long-billed Dowitcher, Richard's Pipit, Jack Snipe x 2, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Black-throated Diver, Snow Buntings x 8 at Cley NWT
Dusky Warbler, Pallas's Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, Richard's Pipit, Black Redstart, Lapland Buntings x 2 at North Dunes, Caspian Gull at Winterton
Pallas's Warbler, Wood Warblers x 2, Yellow-browed Warbler, Goshawk at Holkham Pines
Snow Buntings x 12 at Holkham Bay
Black Redstarts x 2 by lifeboat station at Wells
Jack Snipe, Water Pipit at North Point Pools, Wells
Ring Ouzel south of South Beach, Heacham
Hooded Crow at Warham Greens
Richard's Pipit, Short-eared Owl at West Runton
Firecrest trapped & ringed at Holme NOA
Yellow-browed Warbler in Forestry, Cattle Egret at Holme Dunes NWT
Pallas's Warbler north of Shangri-la chalet, Black Redstart at Waxham
Common Cranes x 15, Osprey, Spotted Redshank, Cattle Egret at Welney WWT
Little Gulls x 266, Short-eared Owl, Long-tailed Duck, Velvet Scoters x 8, Lapland Bunting at Horsey
Swift sp., Spoonbills x 2 at Horsey Mere
Minke Whale south past Horsey
Richard's Pipit, Yellow-browed Warbler, Jack Snipe x 4, Spotted Redshank, Hen Harrier at Titchwell RSPB
Waxwings x 2 near Boal Quay at King's Lynn
Little Gulls x 49 flew past Weybourne
Shorelark at Burnham Overy Dunes
Little Gulls x 329 flew past Sheringham
Yellow-browed Warbler at Beeston Bump, Sheringham
DUSKY THRUSH, probable, in garden from c2pm-2.15pm then flew east with Redwings at Scoulton, east of Watton
 
MEGA NEWS
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER
Bryher, Isles of Scilly
St Mary's, Isles of Scilly
Kilbaha, County Clare, Ireland
DUSKY THRUSH
At undisclosed site, trapped & ringed, Lothian
DUSKY THRUSH
Probable, briefly in garden at Scoulton, east of Watton, Norfolk

Thursday, 20 October 2022

MEGA! BLUE ROCK THRUSH AT WINTERTON! FIRST FOR NORFOLK!

BLUE ROCK THRUSH 1w

Winterton – First for Norfolk!
Found by Sean Offord, thank you!
 
Not once in the very short while I watching this, did it turn for a side beak shot!
Taken with the Canon R5 and 100-500mm lens and heavily cropped etc!
 

I woke up feeling tired and bedraggled after yesterday, but I knew that I had to go out today, even though it was lashing down with rain. East winds with rain in October potentially means one thing: MEGA! I was looking forward to going out to see what I could find in the rain, but a message on the Norfolk WhatsApp group changed everything for many birders and twitchers today! Initially there were odd messages about being "erroneous" and "not, as someone has seen photo"....... until finder Sean Offord messaged at 10.51 to say "The Blue Rock Thrush was last seen in the Hermanus. Car parking has been agreed at £10. Seen last 15 mins ago. Please report to reception to get a ticket" FAB U LOUS!!!

For some very strange reason, I didn't leave straight away, which nearly cost me seeing the Blue Rock Thrush! Its a long, almost two hour journey to Winterton, along the tedious A47, which wasn't fun at all with flooded roads and heavy rain. I arrived at the Hermanus Holiday Park car park after lunch, but to be honest I have no idea what the time was exactly. All I know is that the Blue Rock Thrush had not been seen for quite a while, not something I wanted to hear. Looked at Steve Gantlett's lovely pictures on his camera, chatted to Andy W. and Justin L. and saw many Norfolk birders here! It had only been seen on the roofs of the buildings in the car park and people had been searching around the site beyond here and in the village to relocate it.

Many decided to stay put, probably those who had already seen it and some banking on it returning to the same spot. Others decided to search and so did I. I don't know where I ended up, but I walked a long way through streets, scanning all the buildings, checking gardens, but nothing. There were several continental Blackbirds feeding on someone's apples, also Song Thrushes, Robins and Hedge Sparrows. Lee Evans had turned up a while ago and he was walking ahead of me with two other birders. Then I bumped into Sue B. and John G. and with a few others, we saw a Black Redstart (no photos though). Lee had disappeared from view at this point.

News came up that the Blue Rock Thrush had been seen trying to land on the church in Winterton! I followed Google maps on my phone to walk there, as decided it would be far quicker than returning all the way to my car and indeed it was! On reaching the church, lots of birders looking but no bird. Lee said he had seen it with someone else (can't remember his name) in a particular garden along Back Lane and then the Blue Rock Thrush flew off, was hassled by a Kestrel and then flew towards and seemed to try and land on the top of the church and was not relocated again. I returned to look near this garden as did others. Birders dispersed after a while and people did their own searches trying to find the BRT. I ended up on a very pretty little footpath adjacent to some horse meadows – I recalled being there before to look at some Ring Ouzels, many years ago – didn't find any today, but good numbers of Blackbirds, Redwings, Song Thrushes and two Common Buzzards perched on fence posts.


This was the first view I had of the Blue Rock Thrush, it then turned (see first picture at top of post) dropped down and flew off!

 

It was raining again now and I was feeling frustrated and a bit fed-up, as others were who had not seen it yet. I decided to check the garden again along Back Lane and then meandered along the streets to head back to my car at Hermanus and also in hope that the BRT may have returned there, where lots saw it this morning. As I was walking along, another birder was not far behind me, when suddenly his phone rang...... the BRT was someone near the church again! He ran, I ran, although I gave up running before he did, obviously fitter than me – I was impressed, he sprinted like a teenager up the road (update: Barry W.)! You can guess where the Blue Rock Thrush was.... yards from the garden I had checked only 10 minutes ago!!! There it was perched on the apex of a roof – PHEW! I and a few others were VERY lucky indeed! Poor views in rubbish light at the end of the day, as you will see from my pictures, but at least I saw it! It wasn't there long though! I was quite surprised by the huge range this bird had covered today, no wonder it was difficult to pin down. Huge thanks to Annie Baker, who had refound the Blue Rock Thrush here at just after 5pm – you made my day, thank you and of course to the finder Sean Offord – thank you for putting the news out. Hopefully the Hermanus made some pennies – £10 to park was worth it. The petrol cost me far more!

Then news came up that it had been seen opposite the pub, which wasn't too far away, so some of us headed that way, but didn't see it. This was only a stone's throw from Hermanus, so maybe it was returning there to roost?! Who knows, will it be here tomorrow?! Or will it be a one day bird?!

There have been 9 previous records in the UK, the last one being on Orkney in 2019, Isles of Scilly before that in 2019, Beachy Head, Sussex in 2017 etc. This first for Norfolk would have made many birders very happy today, what a bird! There must be loads of other migrants still undiscovered in the county, fingers crossed for tomorrow!

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT" 
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services

Shorelark, Black Redstarts x 2, Curlew Sandpiper at Burnham Overy Dunes
Olive-backed Pipit at 8.20am then flew west, Yellow-browed Warbler, Black Redstarts x 3, Lapland Bunting, Snow Buntings x 4, Red-necked Grebe, Hen Harrier at Titchwell RSPB
Snow Buntings x 4 flew in off sea at Thornham Point
Long-billed Dowitcher, Little Stint, Hen Harrier at Cley NWT
Redstart, Firecrest, Little Gulls x 238, Caspian Gull off beach car park at Cley
Pallas's Warbler in car park, Black Redstart, Ring Ouzel, Hen Harrier, Osprey, Jack Snipe x 2 at Holme Dunes NWT
Pallas's Warbler, Wood Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, Black Redstarts x 3, Woodlark at Holkham Pines
Cattle Egret at Holkham Freshmarsh
Ring Ouzels x 2 flew in off sea at Holkham Bay
BLUE ROCK THRUSH 1w at Winterton – First for Norfolk!
Pallas's Warbler, Shorelark, Black Redstarts x 2, Ring Ouzel, Short-eared Owl at Winterton
Yellow-browed Warbler at Garden Drove, Hen Harrier at Warham Greens
Black Redstarts x 2 at base of Hunstanton Cliffs
Common Cranes x 13, Spotted Redshanks x 2 at Welney WWT
Shorelark, Short-eared Owl at Sidestrand
Little Gulls x 152 flew past Weybourne Camp
Hoopoe just east of Beeston Bump, Short-eared Owl at Sheringham
Black Guillemot, Little Gulls x 1,148, Sooty Shearwater, Red-necked Grebe, Velvet Scoters x 3, Short-eared Owls x 4, Long-eared Owls x 3 at Sheringham
Pallas's Warbler early morning at Waxham
Pallas's Warbler at Sea Palling
 
MEGA NEWS
BLUE ROCK THRUSH 1w
Winterton, Norfolk
SIBERIAN RUBYTHROAT Male
Quendale, Shetland
Dublin, Ireland
Kilbaha, County Clare, Ireland
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER
Bryher, Isles of Scilly
St Mary's, Isles of Scilly

Wednesday, 19 October 2022

EAST WINDS! Garden Drove, Warham, East Hills, Wells!

At long last, East winds today, Thursday and part of Friday and then again on Sunday, may produce something special for us Norfolk birders?! No messing about today, out of the door and off east!

Parked up at the concrete pad at Garden Drove, Warham and walked along the hedge lined track north to the copse at the end. Strong easterly winds all day, made it difficult to pin birds down, but a nice selection here, included hundreds of Redwings flying high west and along the track itself, were Redwings, Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Robins, Chaffinches and Blue Tits. Best bird at the far end was a Brambling calling and then seen high in a hawthorn, but I wasn't quick enough for a photo. I slipped unexpectedly on some wet grass and ended up with a muddy hand, but didn't hurt myself at all thank goodness – took ages to clean myself up!

Later on with John F, Ian E., Ben and Phil F. we all descended onto East Hills at Wells! We were not the only ones out here! A fabulous afternoon, dripping with birds! Hundreds of Redwings, Song Thrushes, Blackbirds, Robins, Goldcrests and also a couple of Wrens, one Chiffchaff, Sparrowhawk, Red Kite, 2 Little Egrets and one Pheasant. Very sadly we didn’t find the big one! We had a possible Yellow-browed Warbler fly from a pine tree with a Goldcrest, both Ian and I saw what appeared to be double wing bars as it flew away from us to another pine, but sadly we were unable to relocate it.

Every Robin needed to be checked very carefully for blue tails – so many Robins! Later on when alone for a while I saw a possible Red-flanked Bluetail fly from a sycamore at close range and then dive into a short clump of young pines, about 4ft high. It was so quick, but I felt sure I saw red flanks as it dived across, but didn't see a blue tail, so maybe I was imagining things! I didn't take my eyes off where it landed and fully expected to see it again...... I didn't! Two other birders out here, assisted me to re-find it, but nothing, vanished! Very frustrating indeed and later on I returned to the same spot in hope of seeing it again. Ian had a similar experience with a possible Lesser Whitethroat and couldn't re-find it this either. The strong winds did not help at all. Lots of LBJ's! I managed to find a Chiffchaff and someone else had a possible Siberian Chiffchaff. Ben found a Black Redstart on the northern most side of the dunes, but could not relocate it again, after it flew into the pines.

Although it was a fabulous afternoon, it was frustrating to hear of Pallas's Warblers and Yellow-browed Warblers landing elsewhere in Norfolk, but surprisingly not here! So many birds here – there had to be something mega here somewhere, surely?! Not today though!

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT" 
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services

Common Cranes x 11 flew over UEA, Norwich
Ring Ouzel at Horsey Gap
Common Rosefinch, Shorelark at Gun Hill, Short-eared Owls x 2, Twite, Curlew Sandpiper at Burnham Overy Dunes
Pallas's Warblers x 2, Wood Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, at Holkham Pines
Snow Buntings x 16 at Holkham Bay
Cattle Egrets x 3 at Holkham Freshmarsh
Yellow-browed Warblers x 2 at Wells Woods
Hawfinches x 3, Redwings x 10,000 flew west, Water Pipits x 2 at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
Snow Buntings x 2, Spoonbill, Slavonian Grebe, Hen Harrier at Titchwell RSPB
Spotted Redshanks x 2, Common Cranes x 2 at Welney WWT
Quail, Yellow-browed Warbler in Forestry & one in car park, Short-eared Owl at Holme Dunes NWT
Short-eared Owl at Sheringham
Yellow-browed Warbler at Redwell Marsh, Holme NOA
Pallas's Warbler just west of beach car park at Cley
Long-billed Dowitcher, Curlew Sandpiper, Snow Buntings x 35, Little Gulls x 2, Short-eared Owl at Cley NWT
Pallas's Warbler at The Hood, Blakeney Point
Water Pipit at Blakeney Freshmarsh
Velvet Scoter, Short-eared Owl at Salthouse
Great Northern Diver at Sidestrand
Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owls x 2, Lapland Buntings x 2 at East Hills, Wells
Short-eared Owl at Waxham
Sabine's Gull at Breydon Water
Pallas's Warbler, Snow Buntings x 12, Black-throated Diver, Short-eared Owls x 2 at Happisburgh
Pallas's Warbler at Kelling Water Meadows
Long-eared Owl flew in off sea at Paston
Ring Ouzel at North Walsham
 
MEGA NEWS
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER
Bryher, Isles of Scilly
St Mary's, Isles of Scilly
PECHORA PIPIT
St Mary's, Isles of Scilly