short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

December- Waxwings, Trip to the Brecks and a bit of Goosing!

   So before I get to Decembers highlights let me mention the Novembers bird of the month.... the Waxwing!  I had the pleasure of seeing a flock of around 15-25 at the top of my road on Jenny Lind Park . Some cracking views were had- Full of character and always looking smart when perched or feeding. It was nice to watch them as I passed on my way to work every morning and would try catch them on my way home too . Apart from that the end of November was quiet. 


  The patch was fairly quiet too. Most visits have produced the female Marsh harrier and a nice flow of Starlings east and Meadow pipits roost in to good figures but best bit of birding I did was some birding away from the patch.
   First thing of mention is the Red Kites I had in a Location in Norfolk. Was lucky enough to see many togethrer which was A great sight to see indeed .but enough said there.
   Now to the middle of December - After a few phone calls me and local birder,& friend Matt shore decided to head into the Brecks with a couple of target species in mind but mainly just to get out and be amongst the beautiful surroundings that the Brecks offers on a nice winters day and weather was better then we hoped too with blue sky s and mild temperature for this time of year
We headed to one of the known areas for Golden Pheasant and within 30 minutes we were watching a Reeves Pleasent ( not what we expected but a nice bird indeed) . Matt soon after got on a Golden Pleasent only for me to miss it as it went out of view. But it wasn't long to wait as I soon was watching 3x Male Golden Pheasents  and again the male Reeves from earlier as went a out feeding. Super birds to watch and a good start to the day!
 Next we meet up with another local birder/friend, Tony and headed to a area I'd not been to before but matt lead the way, and soon we listening to a flock of around 10-12 X  Bramblings and watched as they landed in the tree tops beside us . Again a bird I wanted / expected to catch up with today so I was chuffed. As we walked at  least 5x C buzzards called overhead as the sky lifted and temperature rose. As we carried on round seeing Marsh & Coal Tits a plenty accompanied by the ever calling nuthatches we came across some Siskins . As we watched matt picked up 2x Redpolls & then we picked up a Bullfinch as Some calling Crossbills went over head. This area was now alone with birds , tit flocks passing through as we walked back to cars for lunch .
 We decided to head to santon downham and try for the Hawfinches and as soon as we arrived we had one on the tree tops but even more noticeable was the 150-200 x Brambling which were busy feeding in the ground below the trees and at times on the road itself.  A total of 3 X Hawfinches we seen and probably by Best views along with the ones a few years back bear feeders at Lynford . We stayed there for an hour and watched these cracking birds as they grew in size as more and more extra birds added to the flock . After here we checked in on another spot and searched for a few Breckland specialty s but no joy.  A super day and great company too Matt!


Brambling flock

 Then on to the 27th December where my family and York family meet up the day as we always do around Christmas at Sandringham. After a cracking afternoon on the grounds ( and some tea & cakes!) me & Yorkie mention to the girls "there a couple of nice Geese not far from ere.." .. Before we knew it we were on a minor road near Docking and scanning through 2-3 thousand Pink Footed Geese hoping to pick out Todds or Red Breasted . The Todds had been reported there around lunch time but the red Breasted had not been seen since Xmas day so fingers crossed.  After 20 minutes of scanning through my scope and a few others too who had been there a few hours Andy  shouts " I think I've got the Red Breasted Goose!" ... After a few moments he managed to get me and the other birders  on it , what was what even more impressive was he was the only fella there who didn't have a scope and picked it up with just he's bins ! Well played " I shouted back as I ticked my final lifer of 2016 putting me on 277  .  Truly stunning for a goose !
Quick clip here;

  Then shortly after we had a Barnacle Goose too was picked up ( probably my most tick able one I've seen after my regular Buckenham ones !lol) . We left off after 4 pm and pleased to have helped get the news out quickly through the birder next to us and saw a few arrive who were very grateful to see it as we left.

its over there...somewhere!

Red Breasted Goose lifer no.277

 A great December and sure next year will be as good if maybe better ?!

Happy birding ,

Monday, 14 November 2016

Seawatching ........

That's right I said "Seawatching"...?! A word you haven't probably seen much of you have followed my blog over the past 5 -6 years but yes it was time to drag myself up to the coast and away from the Patch . After seeing the sightings from couple weeks back I decided 2 Tuesdays ago that I should get my self up to Cley or Sheringham . I couldn't get there before 9.30 as jobs I couldn't move so I chose Cley and arrived around 9.45am and joined the line of birders with scopes and was very quickly watching a Bonxies flying close in and chasing a Blackbird ! After a few minutes it moved on and a shout out of a distant Shearwater ... Now I didn't see it although I could see what I thought was a Juv gannet but was told it was indeed a Sooty Shearwater which had been called ,I have to take my hat off to some of the birders there as they have put in many hours of sea watching over the years and can ID something so far out on the horizon which I struggle to find let alone find the features ! Any ways I won't be ticking the sooty but I was pleased to say I did see a total of 12 Little Auks which were a lifer for me and one of the target birds of the day.  My next lifer came with 2x Long Tailed Ducks which passed by West close to shore and again I hoped to see. Then a few groups of C Scoters ,a flock of Wigeon passed and 3x Guilemots were a rest in the sea giving great views. Then a couple of Kittiwakes flew west  . It was a great few hours and I started to get my eye in in a few of the true sea ducks and there behaviour/jizz. Being around those who are more experienced too helps of course.Inparticlur one birder I stood next to named "Sean" who was a diamond geezer and good company .i decided to Leave just after  1pm . I found it so enjoyable I decided to head to Sheringham the following day . I know I need to do more to get better at polishing my up my Seabird identification . 
I arrived and saw 2x birders with scopes and decided to join them rather then going below into the shelter itself.  After a few minutes we we're discussing the previous few days birds and introduced each other -Paul (fellow essex boy and Greame a now local lad) were great company aswellas good help . After watching around 6 Little Auks and 8x Brent geese pass through West ,we were soon watching a distant Short Eared Owl which Paul picked up.  It was an amazing experience to see this owl as it arrived to Norfolk and we watched it all the way in as it passed over the sea and then buildings and carried on.  That was a great time for coffee and celebrated with a Chocolate biscuit ( cheers Paul) and sat watching the rather calm sea now.  The weather was a bit to nice maybe but we still managed sone more crackers. I spotted a C snipe coming in and over head along with a group of Thrushes,:Redwings,Fieldfare and a few Blackbirds. Then a cracking Woodcock  picked up again by Paul in the distance . We watched it come all the way in and over, very nice  and never get tired of seeing these birds . A female Goldeneye,Shelduck and a couple of Guilemots and I decided to leave off and to work. 
It's been a good few days birding and I think I need many many more mornings of Seawatching though !

Happy birding