Tuesday, January 31, 2012

North West Norfolk

 29th January 2012

Today we had decided to do a trip to North West Norfolk we had a early start leaving London at 06-00 hrs in the end there was just the two of us as Corrina is still not feeling well. As we set of and it was very misty but as we drove along the M11 this turned to fog we stopped for breakfast to set us up for the day as we left here the fog was patchy, So on to our first stop at Fakenham armed with some information we drove to the spot and parked up we spoke to someone leaving and was told the Great Grey Shrike was showing when we got to the spot for it had just flown back to where we had walked from it then flew further along the old road where we had good views of it we also had 2 nice male Bullfinch here

Now it was on to the Norfolk coast starting at Salthouse where we had a nice flock of 25+ Snow Buntings and some Pink Footed Geese and some White Fronted Geese, I had some very close Turnstone which i got some pictures of

Next to Cley after getting our permit for the reserve we set of to see if we could find the Western Sandpiper we tried one of the hides overlooking pat’s pool where we found a flock of Dunlin we had been told that it was with the Dunlin flock after a short time we had a small wader fly of but it went out of sight so we then went round to the other hide overlooking the pool from the other side, some birders where on a small wader the other side of the pool after watching this for a short time everyone was happy that it was the Western Sandpiper other birds seen here included Avocet, Black Tailed Godwit, Ruff, Teal, Brent Geese, Shellduck, lapwing.

Keeping to our plane for the day our next stop was Holkam we parked up and set off for the gap we did stop near the path and have a quick  look for Firecrest but with no luck, So it was on to the gap on arriving there was a party of birders of to the west looking at something so we headed out to where they were but they were just looking at the large flock of Skylarks ( it was a bit later that we learned that there were some Twite in the flock) which we did not see, We then headed off to the east side of the gap where there were more birders watching the sea they told us the birds we were looking for where behind us so we set of to see if we could find the Shorelark after a short time with some other birders we found the 4 birds there was also a large flock of Snow Buntings here, We then went back to have a look at the sea where there was a Red Necked Grebe, Slavoinion Grebe, Red Breasted Merganser, Razorbill, Guilemot, on our way back to the car we scanned the large flock of Meadow Pipits looking for Rock Pipit no luck

We now headed to the end of Holkam Park where we parked and then walked back along the road to view the marshes for Geese he we had Brent, Canada, White Fronted, Pink Footed , Eygutian, and the small flock of Barnacle Geese

As we were driving along the A149 we stopped at Burmham Overy to see if the flock of Lapland Buntings where showing no sighting of them but we did have a couple of sub species of geese Black Brant and Pale Bellied Brent Goose, as we had already seen Rough Legged Buzzard we did not wait to see this bird because time was getting on.

Our next stop was Titchwell after a coffee we had a look to see if we could see the Cole’s Arctic Redpoll which we found after a short time there where a good selection of birds on the feeders Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, House Sparrow also in the trees we had Lesser Redpoll and Siskin, Robin, We then moved on along the path towards the shore having Black Tailed Godwit and a close Spotted Redshank on the sea we had Goldeneye, Red Breasted Merganser, Common, Scoter, Eider, Slavonian Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, 3 Long Tailed Duck, along the shore line there where Sanderling, Knot, and a selection of the 5 gulls you would expect to see Black Headed, Common, Herring, Lesser Black Backed and Greater Black Backed, On the way back to the information we had a Water Rail showing very well managed to get some pictures

We now headed for Hunstanton where we had Fulmer and Bar Tailed Godwit

As we were driving along the A149 near Heacham we had a Barn Owl hunting over a field, We now decided that there might just be enough light to have a look at the scissors at Wolverton for Golden Pheasant no sign of any we then drove around the edge of Sandringham looking for Woodcock with no luck as we came down the A10 near Ely a Tawny Owl flew along under the street lights

The final total of birds seen today was 101

Monday, January 23, 2012

Raptor Weekend

Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd January

Saturday we left home about 9 o’clock for a trip into West Sussex we had a Red Kite fly over the A3 Esher by pass then another Red Kite near Petworth we also had Kestrel and Sparrowhawk on route, Our first stop after breakfast was Selsey we spent a short time at the car park at the bill only birds of note seen Gannet, Cormorant, Herring Gull, Black Headed Gull, Then we drove round to Bill House but it was very quiet.

Next stop was Church Norton to have a look at Pagham Harbour here we had a good selection of waders Curlew, Grey Plover, Ringed Plover, Black Tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Sanderling, Knot, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Gulls seen Black Headed, Herring, Great Black Backed, Mediterranean, we also  had 2 Slavonian Grebes in the channel in the harbour entrance there where Red Breasted Merganser, We then walked along the beach to get a better Look at the Harbour as we had been told there were some Pintail there but no sign of them we had a quick look at the sea not a lot going on, We then had a look along the west side behind the Church still no sign of the Pintail so we drove back to the Ferry pool and had a walk along the west side alongside the long pool to have a look at the North West corner of the Harbour where we finally found the Pintail on our walk back to the car we had a Common Buzzard sitting on a fence post.

Our next site was The Burge at Burpham when we arrived the wind was very strong so it did not look very promising but we decided to have a short walk anyway we found 2 birds of prey flying down the valley one was the Light Common Buzzard that is present we did not get a very good view of the other bird but it gave the impression that it might be the Rough Legged Buzzard we then lost sight of the two birds so decided we would walk further up along the Burge as we walked along the road we had a flock of 60+ Corn Buntings in a bush After we had past the farm and took the path to the right so we could view the valley we had a Male Hen Harrier, Then we had the two buzzards up again this time much better views and now we could see that it was in fact the Rough Legged Buzzard as we here walking back we had a Raven fly along the valley and a flock of 14 Grey Partridge other birds seen included Yellowhammer, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Rook, Linnet, Kestrel.

Next we decided to have a look at Waltham Brooks here we here looking for Short Eared Owl but with no luck we did have a Ringtail Hen Harrier as the time was getting on it was time to start heading for home so ending a god days birding


The Isle of Sheppey there should have been 3 of us going on this trip but as Corrina was not felling well it was just me and my mate Bob we had Kestrel and Sparrowhawk on route, We stopped for breakfast at what used to be a little chef it is now Nicky’s Rock Cafe and very pleasant it was after breakfast  our first stop was Kings hill farm at the RSPB reserve at Elmley we had a look here to see if we could see Little Owl but no luck we did have a mixed flock of Lapwing and Golden Plover, We then headed for the road to Harty ferry and the Raptor watch point on our way along the road we had the Rough Legged Buzzard over Mockett’s Hill not long after arriving at the watch point we had a female Peregrine sitting on the ground plenty of Marsh Harriers quite a strong wind here you had a job standing on top of the mound, We then drove to the end of the road we had Red Legged Partridge on the road and a Fieldfare sitting on the road at Harty ferry Inn where we had a look over the marsh but not a lot going on so we headed back along the road where we stopped to over look the marshes as it was nice and sheltered here we decided to have lunch (Bob’s homemade soup and sandwiches) from here we had ringtail Hen Harrier. And more Marsh Harriers

Our next stop was Muswell Manor where there had been a large flock of Lapland Buntings we did not have much information as to where we should be looking ( I have now discovered we here in the right place) but as there was a strong wind there was not that many small birds to be seen we sheltered behind a barn and had a female Merlin fly across in front of us it then landed on a mound out of the wind we had god scope views of tit so after braving the wind here we headed back to the Harty marshes when we got to the raptor watch point there were a lot of birders there  but nothing more than we had earlier we got talking to one of them and he said he had seen the Spoonbill near the hart inn so we drove to the end of the road again and found it feeding on the marshes then it was back to see if we could find any Owls but as there was a wildfowl shoot going on it turned out to be a bit of a waste of time so we packed up and headed for home so ending a good Raptor Weekend.

Raptors for the weekend total of 9
Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Merlin, Common Buzzard, Rough Legged Buzzard, Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Peregrine and Red Kite

Monday, January 16, 2012

15th January

Dungeness Area

Today we visited the Dungeness are in south east Kent as we were driving down the temperature dropped as we drove over the weald a stop for breakfast at a little Chef this is one of the ones to be closed so will need to find somewhere else in future after breakfast we headed for Walland marsh, Near Lydd we had a small flock of Lapwing and Golden Plovers plus Common Gulls in a field we then continued  to a spot we know for Tree Sparrow where we found some on the feeders and in the trees nearby on crossing the marsh we had a flock of 49 Bewick’s Swans  as the farmer has done a lot of clearing around the barn area  no sign of Corn Bunting or Yellowhammer, Our next stop was the RSPB reserve centre here we checked the list to see what was about we then took a walk around part of the reserve stopping at a couple of the hides hopping to see Pintail but we had no luck all day with this bird (there was a group of wildfowlers being show around  the guy leading them was a bit over the top he was making more noise telling them about the ducks and other birds than the group themselves) birds seen on the way to Christmas Dell hide included Little Egret, Shovler, Gadwall, Wigeon, Cormorant, just as we were approaching  the hide Bob found a Raven from the hide we had 2 Red Head Smew then the group arrived so we moved on stopping at Denge marsh hide where had a Marsh Harrierso it was now back to the car, Meadow Pipit was added to the list we then stopped near the wardens house where we had more Tree Sparrows then it was off to the car park at the ARC pit we walked to the shelter hide here we had 2 more red head Smew  bob also had a Drake Smew then it was off to the main hide after talking to some birders there we found the bird we had come for the Long Tailed Duck but no sign of the Great White Egret that had been seen earlier in the day we had a quick look at the pit from the road but added no more birds to the list, We now decided to have a look at the sea taking in the flocks of Gulls on route, our sea watch produced 40+ Gannets, Guilimot, Razorbill, Brent Geese, lots of Kittiwake and 14+ Red Throated Diver’s ,we stopped to have a look at the Gull’s again but no sign of the Glaucous Gull, We now decided to return to Walland marsh and have a look at the spot for raptors  hoping for a Barn Owl with no luck but we did watch the Marsh Harrier’s coming into roost we had 10 in the air at once, It was a cold day not as cold as some we have had in past years< And so another good days birding comes to a end, Have arranged o go to the Isle of Sheppey next Sunday

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Spanish Sparrow / New Forest and Blashford lake

Spanish Sparrow

I had arranged to go to Hampshire with me mate Bob and Corrina  for the Spanish Sparrow we set off a little after 7 o’clock and where at the spot for the sparrow just after 9 o’clock we joined the rest of the birders and after a short time the Sparrow appeared in the hedge then flew across the road  where we all had good views of it (I did attempt to take some pictures but the bird was too far away and they are not that good ) on leaving here we had a Brambling fly in front of the car, Our plan for the rest of the day was next to see if we could see the Red Eyed Junco that had been present since Christmas near Beauliue  after a minor mix up over witch road to take we arrived at the car park and set off for the short walk to the spot here we had a good number of Crossbills which was nice to see after a while the Junco appeared in the tree with the Crosbills and a flock of Reed Buntings, Our next port of call on the agenda was Blashford Lakes on route we stopped for breakfast come lunch then on to the lakes where we had a Ferruginous Duck on the feeders from the woodland hide we had  Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, Great Spotted Woodpecker after speaking to a local we headed to Ibsley where in the fields we had a Whooper Swan 3 Bewick’s Swans and then someone told us there are some Egyptian Geese in the field further back we had a pair of Common Buzzard and some Canada Geese,  After this we headed back to Blashford Lakes and returned to the north hide where we had 2 Water Rails and a brief sighting of a Bittern  we also had some close views of Sisins and lesser Redpoll, The next stop on the list was Blackwater  arboretum for Hawfinch  we arrived at about 2 30 and it was very quite after a short stroll around  bird life picked up Coal Tit, Wren. Robin then Bob found 5 Bullfinches in a tree by now more birders had turned up and aftera short time Corrina found a Hawfinch at the top of a tree which we all had good views off as we were leaving me and Bob had another Hawfinch, As Corrina had a meeting we now had to start heading for home just before leaving the car park Bob heard a Song Thrush singing this was located then back to the car and home so ending a good days birding

The Chilterns and Stockers Lake

8th Jan 2012

Chilterns / Stockers Lake

We decided to have a look for Red Kites today so off we set for the Chilterns driving along the M40 we started seeing our first Kites by the time we left the motorway we had seen 12+ birds we then drove  through Christmas Common looking for more Kites finding one and two on the way we then took a road out of the village and found a spot where there were 10 birds flying around and I managed to get some pictures (see end of report) also had a Common Buzzard  as we were driving back towards Stowenchurch  we came across something dead on the road and above us where 8 more Kites  we now decided to head for Stockers Lake Red Kites seen 60+ birds + a selection of common birds

Stockers Lake

On arriving at the car park we decide to have lunch (homemade soup and rolls) birds seen during lunch on Springwell Lake  included Gadwall, Great Crested Grebe, Black Headed Gull, Robin, Blackbird, Chaffinch Coot, Moorhen, Fieldfare, Long Tailed Tit, Then after lunch we had a walk around part of Stokers Lake where we had more Gadwall, Shovler, Goosander,  Heron, Canada Goose,  back at the car we had a coffee and I had a short wander around and found Siskin, Redpoll,  as the temperature started to drop we headed for home

Sunday, January 8, 2012

1st to the 4th Jan 2012

1st  Jan 2012

Decided on a trip to west Sussex today  started at the burgh at Burpham was hoping to see the Rough Legged Buzzard  saw a few birds on route, On arriving at the car parking spot the first raptor that we saw was a Red Kite we then spoke to a couple who told us the R l Buzzard  had flown behind the farm and landed out of sight, So we walked along the road past the farm to see if we could see it after a short time I had a Peregrine chasing a flock of Starlings we also had a Kestrel we then continued on past the farm where I found a Buzzard sitting in a bush but even through the scope you could not make out what it was as it was misty and it just started raining there had been a Common Buzzard seen before we arrived we then found some where to get out of the rain but after a while we realised that it was getting heavier so it was a Buzzard Sp we then headed back to the car where we had lunch after lunch the rain had not eased off so we then headed to Arundel WWT where we spent the rest of the afternoon   Birds seen on the downs and at Arundel included Yellow Hammer, Marsh Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Blackbird, Linnet, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Gadwall, Snipe, Black Headed Gull, Birds seen on route included Rook, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Starling, Magpie,

2nd Jan

Today spent some time on Staines Reservoir where we had Great Northern Diver, juv Shag, Cormorant, Scaup, 2 Water Pipit, Black Necked Grebe, Goldeneye, Wigeon,  then we had a look at the pits at Wraysbury we parked by  the station and looked at the pits here we I found 2 red head Smew on our way back to the car we had Mistle Thrush and then found a small flock of Redwings with 1 Fieldfare other birds seen included Tufted Duck, Shovler, Teal, Pochard, Wren, Robin, Long Tailed Tit, Ring Necked Parakeet

Total number of species seen over the 2 days was 61 so not a bad start to the year

4th Jan

Have added Goldcrest, Song Thrush and heard a Tawny Owl at Witley station