A diary of my birding activity covering highlights and photos from my birding adventures. Mainly Norfolk (UK), occasionally beyond. I might mention the odd thing that isn't avian, but for moth and other insect news check out my mothing diary.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Last few weeks

The last couple of months have involved a depressing lack of birding.  OK, it wasn't all work and no pleasure - the lack of birding was in part been down to an excess of mothing.  But even so, I had hoped to spend a bit more time in the field looking for birds, especially in early June.  I did get out birding once or twice but by and large I've been focusing on smaller things.

A visit to Burnham Overy in late June produced a few birds, though nothing to shout about.  At least 150 Swifts west provided some vis mig interest, while 4 Greenfinches west was more unexpected on that front.  A Greenshank was presumably an early returning migrant though what a Chiffchaff was doing in the dunes I have no idea - very late spring migrant, very early autumn migrant, oversummering in unsuitable breeding habitat (saw one elsewhere in the dunes earlier in the month), early post-breeding dispersal or just a local bird going for a wander?   Also a Spoonbill.

Chiffchaff, Burnham Overy, 27th June

Meadow Pipit, Burnham Overy, 27th June

Saw another Spoonbill at Brancaster later the same day, prior to doing some mothing there.

Grey Heron, Brancaster, 27th June

Sedge Warbler, Brancaster, 27th June

A sea watch from Sheringham on Saturday 25th July was a little disappointing, though I enjoyed watching an adult Black Tern moving through.  A Manx Shearwater was the next best seabird, and 3 Arctic Skuas nipped east together.  Also 40+ Common Scoter.

Other than that birding has taken a temporary back seat in favour of moths.  I have managed to see a few mildly interesting birds during the summer, though nothing amazing.  At home Cuckoo was calling regularly as I emptied the moth trap in the mornings until mid June.  I didn't see it but it was close on occasion (usually a bit more distant).  Raptors seen from my study have included Buzzard and Sparrowhawk - neither species I see often from here.  Perhaps the biggest surprise early one morning was hearing a Stock Dove singing - not surprising that they're around here but given that I'd neither seen nor heard one from the house since moving in last August it was a surprise to hear one singing in the neighbour's garden, albeit briefly.  Coastal watchers have been reporting good numbers of Siskins and I've heard a few at home too.  Common Terns flew over the house at dawn 2-3 times which I heard calling when emptying the moth trap.

Elsewhere half a dozen Red Kites on the journeys to and from Leicester one day, plus one at Attlebridge the same day.  Mothing field trips have produced Cuckoo, Barn Owl and Nightjar.  A Fenland site we trapped at produced some early (4th July) returning passage migrants, Greenshank and at least 2 Green Sandpipers; also 20+ Ruff and 10 Black-tailed Godwits (also a Yellow-legged Gull).  Mothing at Brancaster on 18th July produced Whimbrel and Barn Owl.  On the way back from Norwich one day a Turtle Dove flew up from the side of the road in Hellesdon.

A harrier showing a narrow white rump flew over the road at Colkirk one evening on the way home from work - I stopped and checked it out but it was, as I had suspected, just a Marsh Harrier.

 Marsh Harrier, Colkirk, 30th June

I have managed to see Montagu's Harriers a couple of times though, including once when I was lucky to see a food pass between the male and female. 

Montagu's Harrier, undisclosed location, 6th July

Other than that, just common stuff like these.

Chiffchaff, Bunker's Hill (near Anmer), 8th June

Pied Wagtail, Stanhoe, 19th June

This Chaffinch kept flying into our side window.  It never learned that fighting your own reflection is a bit dim and eventually we had to draw the blind to stop it.

Chaffinch, North Elmham, 26th June