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.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Isabelline Shrike

I didn't have much opportunity to get out birding on the weekend of 10th/11th October so come Sunday afternoon when I did have a few hours free I first headed up to Beeston Common where an Isabelline (Daurian) Shrike was performing well.  Upon my arrival it was showing very close to the path down near the layby, though it quickly moved back and out of view as the crowds encroached on it.  After a while it began to show from further up, but I waited nearer the layby in anticipation that it would return there - when it did I would get fantastic close views, I figured, with the crowd now having moved away.  From here I couldn't actually see it most of the time but I thought it was worth waiting where I was so that I got closer views when it returned to this area, before the crowds pushed it off again.  That might have been a good idea except that it didn't return to that point, and although I realised the crowd was watching it further up I didn't realise quite how close it was to them!  Eventually I gave up and went back to where the crowd was, and only then realised how close it was to them.  I was a bit annoyed that I'd wasted however long in the hope of getting closer views when all I needed to have done was walk 50 yards back to the crowd where they were all getting great views, but that annoyance was quickly forgotten as it was continuing to show brilliantly.

Isabelline Shrike, Beeston Common, 11th October

At least 15 Siskins flew over while I was here as well as 1-2 Redpolls and a couple of Bramblings.  At least 2 Bramblings also stopped to feed in a nearby Rowan.

Brambling, Beeston Common, 11th October

My intention had been to spend just a short time looking at the Shrike before heading elsewhere to find my own migrants.  I ended up spending far longer there than planned so had little time left to find my own rares.  I did have a look round East Runton though, but apart from another Brambling and a few Goldcrests I pretty much drew a blank.

In the week that followed I got a few birds at home or in my lunch breaks, though nothing to shout about.  Home produced Grey Wagtail, several Redwings and, on the evening of 12th October, a Snipe heard flying over the garden.  The latter was my 71st bird species for the house so bringing my North Elmham house list up to the same as my old Bawdeswell house list, but in much less time (14 months here, about 8 years at Bawdeswell).

2-3 lunch breaks were spent at Thornham where the only migrants I found were common species like Blackcap, Redwings and Goldcrests.  Also heard a Water Rail there and saw Kingfishers twice.

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