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.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Summer birding

On Wednesday 8th June I got up early and started going through the moth trap before dawn so that I could get up to Burnham Overy early.  I had a day off and wanted to spend it completing what would probably be my last serious search for spring migrants this year.

I was still going through the trap at home when it started to get light and became aware of a peculiar noise.  Something was flying over and as it came closer I recognised it, then saw it flying low over the garden - a Ruddy Shelduck!  There must be a resident Ruddy Shelduck nearby because this is now the third time I've seen one from the house in less than 2 years - and that compares with a grand total of 1 other duck (either a Mallard or Gadwall but not seen well enough to identify).

On arrival at Burnham Overy I was greeted by a Spoonbill in the staithe, with a second bird flying over soon after (I ended up with at least 3 Spoonbills).

Spoonbill, Burnham Overy, 8th June

Spoonbill, Burnham Overy, 8th June

There were 2 Bearded Tits in the last few reeds at the very northern end of the dyke right be the staithe carpark - not the first time I've seen them all the way up here.  Among the feral geese were 3 Barnacle Geese, presumably the same birds I was later to see flying over the dunes.

At Gun Hill I watched a Marsh Harrier carrying in some prey, a chick of something, but before I could identify its prey I was distracted by this Hobby.

Hobby, Burnham Overy, 8th June

It wasn't getting as much grief as a Kestrel had earlier, with a horde of Lapwings and Redshanks in pursuit.

Kestrel (with Lapwing and Redshanks), Burnham Overy, 8th June

Kestrel, Burnham Overy, 8th June

Lapwing, Burnham Overy, 8th June

Meadow Pipits, Burnham Overy, 8th June

There are still Lesser Whitethroats at Gun Hill, presumably settled in now.

Lesser Whitethroat, Burnham Overy, 8th June

My serach for passage migrants drew a blank though.  Today's birding was pretty much all about resident and breeding birds.  I can't tell how many Oystercatchers are in this photo - a closer look would have revealed the answer but it didn't seem worth disturbing them.

Oystercatcher chicks, Burnham Overy, 8th June

This Lapwing took its chicks for a walk along the sea wall footpath...

Lapwings, Burnham Overy, 8th June

A pair of Mediterranean Gulls flew west past towards Scolt and a third bird, a first-year, was around the beach briefly.

A few days later in my lunch break I rocked up at a site for Monties.  Not the same place as I'd been told by birders that they were present at this year, but another site where they were formerly present and which a non-birder tipped me off about so I wanted to check.  This ringtail Montagu's Harrier appeared literally as I pulled in.  Photos not the best as I concentrated on looking at it first.

 Montagu's Harrier, undisclosed location, 13th June

The same day I had a look round Whin Hill quarry.  A Barn Owl flew away from there carrying a mouse or similar and a Green Woodpecker was feeding on the slopes of the quarry.

Not much else to report except for various sightings of Red Kites.  Oh, and two failed attempts to see the Great Knot at Titchwell.  A nice Spotted Redshank and a couple of Spoonbills but no Great Knot.  I must try again - it's still around and a cracking bird.

PS: last night stood at the end of Lady Anne's Drive waiting for the start of a moth evening we saw a total of 5 Spoonbills fly over and a Great White Egret drop in east of the drive.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

I think spring finished early this year

On the last Saturday in May I headed up to Burnham Overy in the hope of finding some late spring migrants.  A Spoonbill flew off from the staithe as I arrived (there were 2 Spoonbills feeding in the pools later on) and a Common Sandpiper was in the channel.  A Cuckoo was calling somewhere and it was good to see 3-4 Pochard ducklings in the dyke.

Pochards, Burnham Overy, 28th May

A short spell watching the sea resulted in two flock totalling 53 Dark-bellied Brent Geese flying east and a flock of about 40 Knot east.  A single Swallow moved east, and later one moved west, and that, I'm afraid to report, is the sum total of passage migrants I found all morning.  

Still an enjoyable morning though - love birding here even when I don't see anything of real note.

Little Tern, Burnham Overy, 28th May

Spoonbill, Burnham Overy, 28th May

Saturday gone I was up at the coast again, this time with the group at Titchwell.  Plenty of migrants around this time, but only of the micro moth variety - hundreds of Diamond-back Moths everywhere.  We headed down to Patsy's Pool first where we found 6 Red-crested Pochards (4 males).

Red-crested Pochard, Titchwell, 4th June

With the murky conditions (it was bright and sunny inland but the coastal strip was shrouded in mist) the Swifts were flying low.  I still didn't manage to get any sharp photos though... these were the best of my feeble efforts.

Swift, Titchwell, 4th June

There are some Black-headed Gulls nesting on the roof of Island Hide and one of the chicks had made it down to the ground (or just fallen off).  It's parent was feeding it as we went in to the hide, though seemed more reluctant to do so once the hide was full.

Black-headed Gull chick, Titchwell, 4th June

The 2 Little Gulls were in the mist from the hide but by the time we ventured further up the path it was bright enough (and it was close enough) for us to see one of them a bit better.

Little Gull (right, with Black-headed Gull), Titchwell, 4th June

From the central hides we enjoyed watching a new-hatched Avocet chick.  Apparently it was Titchwell's first this year and had only hatched that morning.

Avocet and chick, Titchwell, 4th June

Two pairs of Moorhen were engaged in some sort of stand-off for a while, after chasing each other round for a bit:

Moorhens, Titchwell, 4th June

Then they turned their backs on each other and started flashing their rear ends at each other, though with their backs turned they can't have seen eachother's displays.  Quite good impressions of lekking Black Grouse, don't you think?

Moorhens, Titchwell, 4th June

Other birds of note on the scrape were a summer plumaged Spotted Redshank (unfortunately right over at the very back, and usually out of view) and a Little Ringed Plover.

Gadwall, Titchwell, 4th June

Common Tern, Titchwell, 4th June

Linnet, Titchwell, 4th June

I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening looking for moths, but managed to see or hear a few birds too, including Stonechat, Tree Pipit, Hobby, Woodcock and Nightjar.

On Monday morning I saw a Red Kite over the road at Sculthorpe on my way to work.