Monday 26 November 2007

Out & About – 23rd & 24th November 2007

Commitments made it impossible to do any specific trips this weekend but still travelling around and checking out the species. On Friday along the A14 two Common Buzzards, two Sparrowhawks and numerous Kestrels plus Geese in transit to feeding grounds. On Saturday some garden ticks, Goldfinch, Greater Spotted Woodpecker and Coal Tit. A field abundant with Lapwing and Golden Plover feeding along the side of the A428 in Bedfordshire. Other sightings including more Kestrels, Jays and Jackdaws. Life List: 356 Year List: 301 Month List: 98

Monday 19 November 2007

Walberswick , Suffolk – Saturday 17th November 2007

Cold and sunny was the order of the day as we arrived on site with many another birders after the Penduline Tits that had been on this site all week. For us though we had a prior agenda of seeing some winter visitors for our year list, which had escaped us in January and February. Walking through the reeds we were surprised at the number of Bearded Tits running through, absolutely first class views. On to the area where the Pendulines had been seen, but they had recently flown, never mind, out across the reeds towards the sea there was a Hen Harrier putting up waders and wildfowl and inland we could see two Marsh Harriers and a Peregrine. The wait for the returning tits was pressing and we decided to head for the beach, here we were immediately on a mixed flock of Snow Bunting, Greenfinch and Twite. Looking back over the marsh it was evident that the pendulines had returned, so we pushed back to try and catch them, err not this time, they flew minutes before we returned. Back to the beach and lagoons, we see Water Pipit and distant Whooper Swans, the 300 for the year was now in the bag! We walk slowly back pausing for the elusive (only for us) Tits, again no luck. On our way through we divert from the path to the edge of the reeds, here a small group of birders explain that this was where the now extremely tricky (only for us) Pendulines were commuting to. We wait, one birder describes how they had only been 6 feet from him, we wait and then we wait some more, reports come in by phone that the birds were in the air, we wait. Alas they never did return for us and we pulled back to car to return home. Out of over a hundred birders that day, I wonder if anyone else dipped quite like us.
Life List: 356 Year List: 301 Month List: 96

Monday 12 November 2007

Titchwell & Holme, Norfolk – Sunday 11th November 2007

Two days after the flood warning subsided all around the East Anglia coast, the winds were still high but we found any damage to be pretty limited. One of those weekends where there were lots of birds reported, but nothing to drive you out to one particular place, so we plumped for the west end of the North Norfolk Coast and arrived at Titchwell just after 9:00am. An impressive number of Pintails were on the freshmarsh along with Shoveler and Teal, amongst the Pintails a lone Goosander. Waders included, Knot, Avocet & Snipe on the marsh and on the shore Sanderling, more Knot, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Oystercatcher and Turnstone. Out at sea, watching was not easy with high waves and swell, but we managed Velvet Scoter, Little Auk & Slavonian Grebe. Also of note were the high numbers of Common Gulls on both the marsh and shore line.

After lunch we completed a short drive to Holme before the light totally failed, the wind by now had become very strong and we saw large numbers of Brent Geese & Shelduck plus a movement of Kittiwake. Life List: 356 Year List: 297 Month List: 88

Sunday 4 November 2007

Holkham & Salthouse, Norfolk - 3rd November 2007

Some real anticipation of a great days birding ahead with the weather warm and the promise of some sun. We arrived at Lady Ann's Drive just after 8 am, too early for the parking man (hehe!), walked along the south of the pines to the Washington hide, pickup Long-tailed Tit, Coal Tit and Gold Crest. From the hide this early in the day the Pink-footed Geese were very thin on the ground, but there were plenty of Wigeon. We strolled along to the Joe Jordan Hide, looking amongst some Greylag Geese for Bean or Lesser-white Fronted, alas not today, about 10:30ish the Pink Feet started to arrive, not huge numbers, but enough to be a spectacle, they favour the fields back along to towards the Drive.
We walk back to the car along the south edge of the pines, more Crests and Tits, a quick look at the gathering Geese from Washington again and back to the Drive seeing Jay & Redwing.
A nice (and familiar) coastal drive to Salthouse passing Brent Geese and a lone Swallow on a wire at Cley. Parked up and a short walk for Lapland Bunting and Turnstone, then Red Throated Diver, very close in, Little Auk, just off the tide line, quite a number of Kittiwake going both east and west, a large flock of Snow Bunting in off the sea, Gannets, Common Scoter & Great Crested Grebe all past. Then finally 3 Skuas going East, 2 Pomarine and 1 Arctic. Now that's good birding!
Life List: 356 Year List: 297 Month List: 64