Thursday, 16 February 2017

January 2017

January 2017

7 January 2017, Great Walsingham

1 Short-eared Owl flushed along lane to Wighton. 2 Grey Wagtail in the ford. 


Walked the East Bank and stood overlooking Arnolds and the ditch. No sign of any Otters today but 1 Peregrine on the bank and flushed from the beach. 1 Sparrowhawk flew across the Serpentine flushing Wigeon. 6 Marsh Harrier including a young male being beaten up by 2 Crows. 

Snow Buntings like snow flakes along the shingle ridge

60+ Snow Bunting along the shingle ridge. The adult Glaucous Gull flew west along beach. 1 Kingfisher and a Water Rail. Otherwise usual ducks and geese in good numbers including 5 Pintail and 20 Gadwall. Several Little Egret. 

Little Egret
Checked the Brent in the Eye Field but just a few Canada Geese. 

Adult Glaucous Gull

Afternoon visit to Warham Greens. A ringtail Hen Harrier and a juv Merlin and a Marsh Harrier before the fog rolled in and obscured the marsh. 

8 January 2017

Started just after dawn at Warham Greens. I like being here first thing. So quiet and undisturbed. Just the birds and the noises of the marsh. Wonderful place. A Barn Owl was flying down the lane to Wighton on the way down. 

2 male Hen Harriers, a briefly hunting Merlin, 2 Marsh Harrier and a Buzzard out by East Hills lots of Brent Geese flying off the nighttime roost on the beach. 5 Yellowhammer, 3 Reed Bunting, 30 Linnet and 20 Goldfinch. Usual numbers of Little Egret. A Brambling called and showed in the bush with a flock of Goldies. 

3 Lapland Bunting flew in from the NE calling. Appeared to land out by the barn somewhere and later flew back out to the marsh. 

After breakfast news came through of a Great Grey Shrike at Blunts Corner near New Holkham. Within ten minutes we were the second car on site and within a minute I located it on a distant hedge along the road. It showed well if a little distantly over the next hour. 

Great Grey Shrike - Blunts Corner, New Holkham
We drove to Walsey hills and did the circular walk out to Kelling and back past Salthouse, then along the Attenborough trail before I checked the gull pre roost at the end of the East Bank. 

The immature Spoonbill was feeding on the new acquisition pools at Salthouse before dong a circuit and returning. Nothing odd came in to the roost. A Peregrine terrorised the birds on the Cley fresh marsh. 

14 January 2017, Hythe and Dungeness, Kent

Started the day at Hythe looking for Purple Sandpipers. Gary and I failed to find any on the usual rock groynes, but eventually located a couple quietly feeding nearer Folkestone. The low sun was nice, but right in our photographic faces. Made the best of it.

Purple Sandpiper
Incredible birds, with an amazing ability to grip
And happy in the spray
Or the full on surf
Tough little birds....

We drove on to Dungeness checking a few areas along the way. We watch the grey Stonechat feeding out behind the new pit along Kerton Road. By coincidence today was the day the real results came through on its DNA - it was just a hibernans or rubicola, albeit a rather aberrant one.

The 'Grey' Stonechat

And a normal one
Next stop was the beach where we immediately located a smart first-winter Caspian Gull, which showed really well. 

First-winter Caspian Gull
First-winter Caspian Gull

On the RSPB Reserve we found the two Long-eared Owl roosting quietly in the willows behind the dipping pond.

Long-eared Owl, Dungeness RSPB
And the male Ring-necked Duck was close to Scott Hide, though mainly sleeping.

Ring-necked Duck -  typically asleep
But it did wake up very briefly

21 January 2017

Drove over to Titchwell along the lanes to Choseley. A small flock of Pink-footed Geese from the road looking towards Egmere. No sign of the Shrike at New Holkham. 2 Whooper Swan on a wheat field south of Choseley. 

At Titchwell I walked out to the sea. 160+ Long-tailed Duck, 1 Great Northern Diver, 4 Slavonian Grebe, 55 Velvet Scoter, 1,000 Common Scoter, 40 Goldeneye, 20 Red-breasted Merganser, 30 Red-throated Diver, 60 Great-crested Grebe, 5 Guillemot, 1 Razorbill. Most surprising sighting was a flock of 13 Red-crested Pochard floating around near the Long-tailed Ducks - most incongruous.  

On the freshmarsh 15 Avocet, 2 Golden Plover, 12 Pintail, 2 Marsh Harrier, 2 Water Rail, Bearded Tit heard, Cetti's Warbler heard. A flyover Greenshank headed towards Thornham. 

Late afternoon, Warham Greens
3 male and 3 female Hen Harriers into roost. Also a female Merlin, 5 Marsh Harrier, 2 Buzzard, a Mute Swan flew e, 10,000 Pink-footed Geese flew in from the east and roosted on the sand banks, though many were flushed by a low flying helicopter. 

22 January 2016
Holkham -7C when I left home. Barn owl along lane to wighton. 
Walked out to the beach checking sea duck then around salt marsh for Shore larks. 
24 Velvet Scoter 
400  very distant common Scoter
2 red breasted merganser
GC Grebe and rt Diver
1 fulmar

Beach produced 20 Linnet and 12 Sky Lark, but no sign of any Shore larks. A Jack Snipe was flushed from the marram. 

The field to west of lady Anne's held 30 Snipe feeding openly in the first area to get the sun. The Great White Egret flew across the marsh. A few Pinkies still around. 

Red kite over Brancaster showing a very worn forkless tail. Walked out to the sea where c180-200 Long-tailed Duck were distant. 2,000 Common Scoter and 30 Velvets including a single adult drake.  30 Goldeneye, 10 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Slavonian Grebe, 30 distant Great-crested Grebe and an immature drake Scaup. Red-throated Divers distantly. 

Water Rail
Beach held usual bar wits and knot. Checking the gulls I found nothing unusual. Walking back the freshmarsh was frozen. A very close water rail and bird of the day - a Woodcock showing well in the boggy pools under the willows. 


Cettis warbler, marsh harrier out over the reedbed. 

Afternoon walked from great Walsingham to Binham loop. Barn owl, 4 buzzard, 15 meadow pipit, grey Wagtail, 4 yellowhammer, a superb barn owl along the road and a woodcock flew along the spring. 

Another barn owl flew low over the car in houghton st giles on the way home. 

27 January 2017
Murston, Kent
Arrived before first light and walked out to the sea wall over looking the duck pond. The male Pine Bunting flew low overhead calling landed briefly but dropped out of view before I got a look. As others arrived it was found sitting in the hedge at the back of the field and showed distantly over the next 30 minutes. It then flew into the field showed in the small hawthorns and then around the feeders for another 15 minutes. Also c10 Yellowhammer, 12 Chaffinch, 6 Reed Bunting. 

28 January 2017

7 Tundra Bean Geese in flock of c600 Pink-feet to east of windmill. 

Tundra Bean Goose, Weybourne

No sign of Glaucous Gull so walked to Funky Mackerel. About 30 Red-throated Diver flew west and 3 Guillemot including one in summer plumage. As I walked back a first winter Glaucous Gull flew in from the west and landed on a groyne where it gave good views before moving further east. 

First-winter Glaucous Gull, Sheringham

2 Stonechat. At least 9 Lapland Bunting in flock of c60 Skylark. Mainly in flight and hard to see in unsettled flock and high stubble. Also 2 Stonechat and a Kestrel

White-fronted Geese fly over the East Bank, Cley
A Sparrowhawk along road by Walsey Hills. East Bank produced 3 Chiffchaff and a Siberian Chiffchaff, a female Smew and a sickly looking first winter Glaucous Gull. Also good numbers of Pintail and Teal. Gadwall and Mallard and 12 flyover Ruff. 3 White-fronts flew low over. 

Siberian Chiffchaff tristis with a normal collybita British type
The Siberian Chiffchaff
Strikingly pale

Warham Greens
3 male (not including the usual dark one) and 4 ringtail (including a super juv male with a grey back) Hen Harrier gave stunning views. Also 2 - 3 Merlin, 2 Peregrine (one chasing a flock of Knot),  2 Red Kite, a Buzzard, and 4 Marsh Harrier. Also a Lapland Bunting flew overhead calling. Managed to scope it as it flew onto the Saltmarsh. 

29 January 2017

One stunning Barn Owl on post beside road at Burnham Norton windmill. 

Walked out to sea, seeing a couple of close Song Thrush and a Water Rail in the usual ditch. 

Song Thrush
Water Rail
The sea produced at least 165 Long-tailed duck, 60 Velvet Scoter, 2,000 Common Scoter, 10 Red-breasted Merganser, 20 Goldeneye, lots of Great-crested Grebe and Red-throated Diver including an apparent passage of birds continually to the west, a Black-throated Diver initially on sea and then in flight to the west and 6 Slavonian Grebe.


Heard a Spotted Redshank as I walked back but couldn't see it. Also a Water Rail flew out of reedbed calling. Several Marsh Harrier over the reedbed. Usual array of wildfowl and waders. 

Checked the orchard to west of Thornham. No sign of Waxwing but hundreds of Fieldfare and 30 Redwing. 

A flock of 250 Brambling feeding largely out of view along edge of field. 4 Common Buzzard. Also a single Tree Sparrow 


Woodhall Spa, Lincs
I just couldn't resist the temptation of a showy White-billed Diver on an inland river. These are stunning birds at the best of times, and to see (another) one so well was just too tempting.

The juv White-billed Diver showed very well on the River Witham. Tree Sparrow and Yellowhammer heard. On journey home in rains flock of 25 Red Kite beside road. 

Juvenile White-billed Diver, River Witham, Lincolnshire

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