Tuesday, 21 October 2008

E. Norfolk (Strumpshaw Fen, Horsey & Cart Gaps and Stub Mill) – 11th October 2008

Strumpshaw Fen is such a great place in the autumn with hips and other berries all over, the light on the waters and the leaf changing colour. Arriving about 8:00 everything was very quite and the sun was warming the fen nicely. Bearded Tits were very active in the reeds and popped up to view every 5 or 10 minutes, a single Marsh Harrier disturbed gatherings of Shoveler, Teal, Gadwall and Mallard on the waters. A single Grey Herron stalked in some shallow water and a Kingfisher sped across the broad. Over we also saw flocks of Greylag Geese and Canada Geese heading for daytime feeding grounds. We then headed north to Horsey Gap and walking from the car park found a family of Stonechat and a hopeful Kestrel hovering. On the way back, the same ground, produced Northern Wheatear, Meadow Pipit and Skylark. Off shore there was a gathering of 20+ Red-throated Divers all still in summer plumage and distant Gannets. After lunch it was a move up the coast to Cart Gap for a more sea-watching. This produced Fulmar and Black-throated Diver, with Oystercatcher and Turnstone on the beach. Finally we ended the evening at the Stub Mill watch point, to find a Great Grey Shrike distant before the light wavered. Once dusk started to fall and to a background of large flocks of Pink-footed Geese returning from the days feeding we saw Barn Owl, Short-eared Owl, Hen Harrier, 8+ Marsh Harrier and 17 Cranes. Life bird count: 376 Year bird count: 263 Month bird count: 65

Monday, 13 October 2008

Norfolk (Wells Wood & Walsey Hills) – 26th September 2008

Safely back form Cyprus and looking at the UK site reports there seamed to be few of the harder to see migrants in Norfolk, so decided to spend a day on the north coast. Tried Wells Wood first and to be honest it was disappointing from a migrant point of view but none the less got good views of Goldcrest, Coal Tit, Willow Warbler, Treecreeper and other woodland species. As foot note; many butterflies were clearly about and we did get “lowish” level views of a White Admiral.
Onward to Walsey Hills and a wonder around this small site produced a juvenile Barred Warbler with Tits and Crests evident in quite high numbers. Also saw Marsh Harrier over Cley. Life bird count: 376 Year bird count: 258 Month bird count: 106

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

N. Cyprus (The central plain and local) – 21st & 23rd September 2008

In the immediate local area to our hotel as well as the owls being evident there was a collection of smaller birds in and out, including Cetti’s Warbler, Icterine Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher.
Further a field and en-route across the central plain we saw larger gatherings of Bee Eaters, numerous Crested Lark, Thekla Lark and some Short Toed Lark. Along with Hoopoe, Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail and Chucka.
Life bird count: 376 Year bird count: 257 Month bird count: 102

Monday, 6 October 2008

N. Cyprus (The Karpas) – 19th & 22nd September 2008

The Karpas can only be described as a completely unspoilt wilderness of scrub and hills, with a fantastic coast line on each face ending in a narrow spit of landfall. There are few roads and the occasional coastal bar, at the end there is a small village mainly centred around a religious retreat.
The scrub and hills are used by arable farmers & goat herders and at this time of year the sun has scorched the landscape, squeezing the vegetation to a minimum.
During our two visits the scrub was alive with Northern Wheatear, Black-eared Wheatear, Cyprus Pied Wheatear, Whinchat, Lesser Grey Shrike & a Red-backed Shrike. Over we saw Booted Eagle, Montagu’s Harrier, Honey Buzzard and Pallid Harrier.
En-route in and out we had views of Golden Oriole, Blackcap & Black Francolin. Plus stopping at the Talitsu reservoir we came across a Hobby, 3 Bonelli’s Eagles and 4 Eleonora’s Falcons.
Life bird count: 376 Year bird count: 252 Month bird count: 65

Friday, 3 October 2008

N. Cyprus (Coast east of Kyrenia) – 17th September 2008

Heading in the other direction, the coast road soon gets quieter, as we leave the outskirts of Kyrenia. We see more movements of herons heading west including Purple Heron and Night Heron. There are two Masked Shrikes on the wires close to the road and Red-rumped Swallows in and out of one on the small village en-route. Along the shore line Kingfishers are quiet evident and we come across a small group of Audouin’s Gulls along with a single Yellow-legged Gull.
Stopping for lunch in a delightful and friendly road side restaurant, with great cheap local food we see an Orphean Warbler in the scrub and Turtle Dove on the wires. In the evening just outside the Hotel we are treated to Little owl and Scops Owls. Life bird count: 375 Year bird count: 244 Month bird count: 47

Thursday, 2 October 2008

N. Cyprus (Coast west of Kyrenia) – 15th & 16th September 2008

Taking the coast road and heading west from our base on the outskirts of Kyrenia we saw only locally common birds like Hooded Crow, House Sparrow & Great Tit. Until, that is, we hit the smaller road out to Sadrazamkoy when things opened up and the common birds increase to Crested Lark and Cyprus Warbler with Grey Heron, Little Egret and Shag in numbers off the coast. Out on the small western peninsula, we had good views of Peregrine Falcon, Bee Eater, Juvenile Woodchat Shrike, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler and Blue Rock Thrush, with Green Sandpiper and Little Ringed Plover on the Gecitkoy Reservoir. Life bird count: 372 Year bird count: 239 Month bird count: 35