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, 30 November 2016

A perfect seawatch

The weather chart for Tuesday 1st November looked interesting - a northerly wind coming down from a long way up picking up mid-late morning.  Not classic, but I thought there might be a few wildfowl moving and perhaps a handful of semi-scarce birds if we were lucky.  It was worth a punt - worth taking a day off work for.  I arrived early, about 6.30, and was the first one there, soon to be joined by Justin and, in the first glimmers of light, this Common Scoter just below the prom.

Common Scoter, Sheringham, 1st November

The wind wasn't very strong first thing - just a few white horses so force 4 but only just.  A few wildfowl were moving - not large numbers but a good variety.  Highlights included 27 Eider, 5 Shoveler, 3 Gadwall and the first few of 6 Goldeneye.  I missed the first 2 Velvet Scoter but saw another 2 Velvet Scoter later on and Common Scoter eventually reached 438 including up to 2 birds sitting on the sea just off the Leas.  There was also a Red-breasted Merganser and later on a Scaup moving with a flock of Common Scoter.

Eider and Common Scoter, Sheringham, 1st November

My total for Red-throated Divers only reached 56 and the vast majority (over 50) were moving east.  None of them had looked remotely interesting in terms of being anything else, so it was a bit galling when we heard news from Cley that they had had a White-billed Diver flying west.  Had it passed us, perhaps high up out of the line of our scopes?  Or had it come in from the north somewhere between Sheringham and Cley?  Annoying to have missed that but we weren't as gutted as we might have been because by this time it was already shaping up to be an enjoyable morning.  The wind had picked up and seabirds were starting to move.

I can't remember exactly what order everything came in but we'd seen the first of 5 Sooty Shearwaters pretty early on and the first of 14 Pomarine Skuas, one of which was a lovely close adult with full spoons.  It was clear fairly soon that it would be a good day for Bonxies and in the end we totalled 147 Great Skuas.  Not so many smaller skuas early on but eventually we got 25 Arctic Skuas and in the afternooon one close party of four Arctics accompanied a nice juvenile Long-tailed Skua.  Other Shearwaters included 5 Manx Shearwaters but the bird of the day came through early afternoon.  We'd had a message about a Cory's Shearwater flying east at Burnham Overy already and then news came through of a probable Scopoli's Shearwater flying east at Cley!  Just a Cory's Shearwater would be fantastic - they're rare off Norfolk although a tiny number are recorded most years.  I've personally got a poor track record with them having not seen one in Norfolk for 20 years.  Scopoli's Shearwater would be on another level!  Until recently considered to be a subspecies of Cory's Shearwater it is now treated as a separate species - its status is hard to be sure about due to the difficulty in identification but I think (I haven't checked) there is only one accepted record for the UK.  Others have been suspected in the south west, and I think I remember hearing of one or two reports on the English east coast, but I don't recall any claims in Norfolk before.

We made sure we were ready for it and started looking hard to the left.  It was Nigel who picked it up first and I think we all got on it pretty soon.  It wasn't all that far out and came through nice and slowly, staying in view for nearly all of the time.  In fact it was the best view I've ever had of a Cory's-type shearwater ever, anywhere.  It was not, however, quite close enough to be absolutely sure of the detail of the underwing pattern.  We got the impression that white extended well into the dark at the primary tips but we could not be sure of the detail.  And the bill?  Well we couldn't make it out - it was just too far to see the bill clearly.  That in itself is interesting: most of the Cory's Shearwaters I've seen have been much more distant but one I remember fairly well - the first I saw in Norfolk - was maybe a similar distance to this bird or thereabouts.  And on that bird a big yellow bill was quite easy to see.  So its tempting to imagine that this bird did not have such a big and yellow bill, which would make sense if it was a Scopoli's Shearwater.  I don't know how well Richard and others saw it at Cley so don't know if they'll be submitting it as a definite Scopoli's, let alone whether it has any chance of being accepted as such, but even if I can't ever count it on any list watching it was a fantastic and exciting experience.  Wonderful bird, wonderful flight action and brilliant to see.

Another feature of the day was the gulls and terns.  We amassed an impressive total of 1300 Kittiwakes although attempting to extrapolate from timed counts I was quite conservative and the true figure may well lhave been a great deal higher.  We got news of a Sabine's Gull heading our way from Cley and kept a close eye out for that.  Dave H picked it up first and we all got nice views of this juvenile Sabine's Gull as it moved through with a party of Kittiwakes.  Not the closest I've ever seen but it wasn't too far out at all - close enough to see it well.  We didn't pick up the second Sabine's Gull that was reported off Cley but we did see 116 Little Gulls, all flying east, which were delightful.  An adult Mediterranean Gull flew up from the beach and was seen several times during the day and in the afternoon a second-year Mediterranean Gull flew east too.  There were also a handful of Herring Gulls migrating east throughout the day.  It being November now any tern is noteworthy and this morning a Sandwich Tern flew west high up and in the afternoon a juvenile Arctic Tern flew east.

There were lots of auks moving today too - both Razorbills and Guillemots but of the ones I identified Guillemots were in the majority.  In total my estimated total based on a number of timed connts was 2420 - quite possibly another underestimate.  The biggest count of the day was another potentially underestimated estimate based on conservative extrapolation from a number of timed counts - 3000 Gannets.

Other birds of note included a Shag that I picked up on the sea seconds after a conversation about the fact that we hadn't heard of many Shags being reported yet this autumn.  This first-winter bird later appeared on the groynes.  The last good bird of the day was predicted and then picked up by Dave H.  Despite nearly all the larger auks flying east a Little Auk had been seen flying west at Cley.  Re-orienting Little Auks often fly west close inshore after a blow and although this blow wasn't quite finished the news from Cley got Dave looking down the beach to the right.  And this technique came up trumps as he soon picked up a Little Auk heading our way through the surf.

A great end to a fabulous day.  On reflection it wasn't just the great birds and the company that made it such a good day.  I've sat throught lots of seawatches with similar quality of birds, except perhaps the Scopoli's assuming that's what it was, but this was somehow different.  I think I know what it was - it lacked the frustration factor that often comes with seawatching.  Often I'm cramped in an uncomfortable position, I'm freezing cold, I'm getting wet (or else the sun's so bright everything looks too contrasty), I end up sitting next to some dofus who keeps shouting "what's this" every time a Gannet or Kittiwake flies past close enough for them to notice it, my eye isn't in, people are seeing things I can't pick up on, I'm struggling to identify things that I feel like I should be able to identify, and I go away having seen some good birds but feeling more frustrated than elated.  None of the above applied today.  It wasn't too cold, I had an uncrowded seat in a good position, the company was good, it was windy enough but not so windy that everything was lost below the crests of the waves, the light was excellent nearly all of the time.  My eye was in and I was picking up nearly everything all of the time and I don't think I made any significant blunders.  And some great birds exceding my expectations for the day.  A perfect seawatch!

I sometimes drive the track between Heacham North Beach and Hunstanton in my lunch breaks at this time of year in the hope of a rare Wheatear or something.  No such luck during my lunch on 3rd November but as I scanned the Wash from the raised bit at the north end I saw 6 Whooper Swans (4 adults, 2 first-winters) heading south along the edge of the beach.

Whooper Swans, Hunstanton, 3rd November

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Little Bunting

A few days of easterlies ended on 25th October at the end of which the wind turned round to the south west overnight.  I’d had to work on 24th/25th but took 26th off work in the hope that there would be some visible migration, as well as perhaps a few eastern rares still waiting to be found at less well-watched sites.  I picked Stiffkey and Morston Greens as I thought this may give me some chance of experiencing some vis mig as well as a fair chance of finding something a bit more unusual - after all, it had worked its magic on my last visit on 15th October.

This time I started off at the north end of Green Ways at dawn walking east past the campsite wood and on through Stiffkey Greens.  There was a bit of vis mig (the odd Siskin and Redpoll and a few flocks of Lapwings - 230 Lapwings altogether which I always love seeing on migration).  There were some Bramblings knocking around and I enjoyed watching a fantastic adult male Hen Harrier over the saltmarsh.

Hen Harrier, Stiffkey, 26th October

There was a Yellow-browed Warbler near the start of Stiffkey Greens and a dead Weasel on the path.  When I reached the last big patch of gorse and elders before Stiffkey Fen a Reed Bunting was perched on top of an elder and a flock of Long-tailed Tits moved through the gorse.  As I watched, a second bunting appeared on the same elder.  It was mainly facing away from me but when it turned its head I saw chestnut ear-coverts seemingly lacking a dark lower border towards the bill, a conspicuous white eye-ring and a small pointy bill.   When it was facing away a reddish central crown stripe was visible stretching back towards the nape.  Surely this was a Little Bunting, and I switched to my telescope to check what I was seeing.  A quick squint through the scope was enough to confirm it was indeed a Little Bunting and now I picked up the camera to get the evidence.  I took a burst of about 5-6 photos and the bird dropped out of view as I did so.  I didn’t see precisely where it went but was pretty sure it hadn’t flown off.

Little Bunting, Stiffkey Greens, 26th October

After waiting some time without any more sign I moved round to the back of the bushes to view from the fields.  I had one possible view but too distant and too brief to be sure.  I walked on past the Fen and through Morston Greens which were quiet (Blackcap and Brambling about the best).  There were 2 Greenshanks at Morston but not much in the way of passerines around the village.

Grey Heron, Morston, 26th October

As I returned I counted 130 Shelduck in Blakeney Harbour, found a Goldeneye on Stiffkey Fen and then spent some more time looking for the Little Bunting again where I’d seen it before.  No sign at all, but as I walked through a field slightly west of there I flushed a small compact bunting.  It didn’t call and I didn’t get a good look at it – I suspect it was the Little Bunting but am not positive.  It flew a fair way but I could not relocate it when I reached the area it had gone down in.

Another Hen Harrier was hunting over the fields and hedgerows just inland of the path.

Hen Harrier, Stiffkey, 26th October

Once I finished here I decided to have a drive round some lanes a little way inland where sometimes there can be lots of thrushes in the hedgerows.  Not so today and I ended up at Wiveton Down LNR, a site I've never stopped at before.  Not much in the way of birdlife there today, at least not anything noteworthy, but a nice place with a nice view.

Cley viewed from Wiveton Down, 26th October

Finally I popped in to Friary Hills at Blakeney again but apart from a Brambling, not much doing there.

Goldfinch, Friary Hills, 26th October

Didn't manage to see much else before the end of October but a few thrushes in my lunch breaks including these Fieldfares.

Fieldfares, Thornham, 31st October

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Siberian Accentor and Isabelline Wheatears

I'd decided not to go for the Siberian Accentor in Yorkshire while there were easterlies in Norfolk and finding a Radde's Warbler made me think I'd made the right decision.  But the Accentor outstayed the easterlies so in the end I had a chance to see that as well, and headed up to Eastington with Dave on 18th October.  We would have liked to have spent a full day there birding the area but for reasons too boring to describe here we would only have enough time to see the main target and perhaps one or two other rares in the area if we were lucky.

Not sure I have any readers who need this explanation but Siberian Accentor is a rare relative of Dunnock that until this year had never been recorded in the UK and only a handful of times anywhere in Europe.  This year has seen an incredible arrival of them in northern Europe - well over 200 recorded including 13 in the UK (the Yorkshire one being the closest I think).

Anyway, we rocked up to Easington mid morning and as we walked up the road to see it we noted lots of Chiffchaffs - far more birds had arrived here than I had seen in Norfolk recently.  We were advised by people coming back from the Accentor that we wouldn't need our scopes (what were we meant to do... abandon them on the road?) and indeed we didn't - we hardly needed our bins!  The Siberian Accentor was hopping around just the other side of a small fence, sometimes too close to focus on.  It was strangely hard to get decent photos of it - not quite sure why.  These are the best of hundreds taken - ok, but for a bird that was virtually in touching distance not as good as they ought to have been.

Siberian Accentor, Easington, 18th October

Once we'd had sufficient views of this we would have gone straight down the road to see the Isabelline Wheatear but were under the mistaken impression that it hadn't been seen this day (very poor signal here making it hard to get up to date news), so we decided to enjoy the Accentor a little longer.  Eventually we realised that the Wheatear was in fact still there, so wandered down to see that - or more like rushed down as by now we hadn't got much time before we had to go.  In the relative shelter of the Siberian Accentor site we hadn't appreciated how windy it was but standing on the sea wall overlooking the open fields it was hard to keep optics still enough to get a good look at the Isabelline Wheatear.

Isabelline Wheatear, Easington, 18th October

Apparently Dave saw another bird close to the Wheatear but with the noise of the wind I didn't hear him mention it - I didn't see it and didn't know about it until I processed my Wheatear photos and found that one of them had a Lapland Bunting behind it!

Lapland Bunting and Isabelline Wheatear, Easington, 18th October

On the way back to the car we paused to have a look at a flock of 50+ Tree Sparrows.

The following day I headed up to Sheringham for a sea watch.  The strong north-westerlies should have produced more than they did but there were a few noteworthy birds that made the effort worthwhile, including 2 Velvet Scoters, Red-necked Grebe, 3 Pomarine Skuas (along with 8 Great and 3 Arctic Skuas), Little Gull and Puffin.  Things eased off late morning and I decided to call it a day, having enough time to get home and work the afternoon (I'm on unpaid leave now so didn't want to waste it).  As it turned out things picked up during the afternoon with over 50 Little Gulls and a Sabine's Gull among other things - typical!

On the evening of 21st a flock of Pink-footed Geese flew over my house after dark - sounded like quite a large flock.  A Grey Wagtail had been heard earlier in the day - heard several days in October.

On Saturday 22nd I thought there would be too many birders at Burnham Overy again so went somewhere quieter, Brancaster.  Turned out to be a bad decision as I ended up having to go to Burnham Overy after all.  Broad Lane was pretty quiet - hardly any thrushes though a flock of 30 Brambling flying over was good.  I headed down towards the beach with a view to walking up Gypsy Lane and was surprised to see a Water Pipit on the practice green.  A flock of 10 Bearded Tits flew up from the reeds as I headed up Gypsy Lane.

Bearded Tits, Gypsy Lane, 22nd October

When I reached the wooded part I received news of an Isabelline Wheatear at Burnham Overy.  That's a bird that I (and most other people) had never seen in Norfolk so I needed to get over there as soon as possible.  I was reluctant to hang around as I could foresee people flushing it over to Scolt Head where access would be extremely tricky but I was about as far from my car as I could be on my circuit.

I got to Burnham Overy as fast as I could and was pleased to find the Isabelline Wheatear still showing nicely, alongside a Northern Wheatear.  It was nice to catch up with lots of birder friends I hadn't seen in a while too.

Isabelline Wheatear, Burnham Overy, 22nd October

A Pallas's Warbler appeared in the bushes in front of us, although it was very hard to see.  Sadly we didn't know that just a few yards west of where we were standing someone photographed a Desert Wheatear - news of this only emerged after dark.  Another Northern Wheatear appeared on my way back to the car.

I had a quick look round Burnham Deepdale churchyard but apart from a few Redwings and a Brambling there wasn't much doing.  I walked along the coast path to somewhere between Brancasters Staithe and Brancaster but it seemed very quiet.  A Yellow-browed Warbler called briefly and 3 Red Kites were over Brancaster Staithe, but that was it.

Redwing, Burnham Deepdale, 22nd October

Monday, 21 November 2016

Radde's Warbler!

On 15th October I was sorely tempted to go and see the Siberian Accentor in Yorkshire but conditions were still good for finding rare eastern vagrants in Norfolk and as much as I was keen to see the Accentor I did not want to waste valuable birding time driving to Yorkshire and standing in a queue.  Instead I would try my level best to find one in Norfolk.  I decided to start my search somewhere that I thought may not have been birded much over the last couple of days (judged by a lack of reports from there on the rare bird news networks) and where I had seen plenty of Dunnocks in the past (making an assumption that Siberian Accentors might like the same sorts of places) – the footpath between Morston and Stiffkey.

Dunnock, Morston Greens, 15th October

I arrived at Stiffkey at first light parking at the layby near the barns where a Barn Owl was hunting.  As I walked down towards the Fen a total of 50 Little Egrets flew away from the Fen - these were just the birds flying SW from roost - there must have been a load more leaving in other directions.  A couple of Bramblings were calling and on the Fen itself there were at least 25 Greenshanks.  A Spotted Redshank flew in to join them as I headed off along the footpath through Morston Greens.

I stopped to check some buntings thinking I could hear one ticking like a Song Thrush, before realising that it was a Song Thrush flying high overhead - there were quite a few thrushes coming in from the north.  In looking for the bunting I retraced my steps for a few yards and flushed a Jack Snipe from under my feet in doing so - odd how I didn't flush it when I walked there a minute earlier.  Some interesting sounding geese caused me to look up - they were a flock of 27 White-fronted Geese flying east, part of a large movement of this species mainly the previous day.  It was shaping up to be an enjoyable morning.

Further along the path I found 2 Ring Ouzels in the bushes which eventually flew off inland.

Ring Ouzel, Morston Greens, 15th October

There were also a couple of Blackcaps and I continued on to Morston village where I did a loop round the village before heading back along the same path towards Stiffkey.

Stock Dove and Woodpigeon, Morston, 15th October

 Morston, 15th October

When I reached one patch of scrub I lifted by bins to look at a small bird in a rose bush ahead of me and was pleased to see a bird which I pretty much instantly identified as a RADDE'S WARBLER!  It was in full view (except perhaps its bill which I think was hidden behind leaves) and in side profile.  The view was very brief, but I clocked the key features I needed and felt confident about the ID.  I did not have time to take any photos before the bird moved, gave a soft ‘tac’ and then flew across the path to brambles where I could not see it.  It then flew back across the path to a large hawthorn behind the rose where I obtained further brief views, then back across the path and out of view.  Apart from a further possible flight view I did not see or hear it again.

A Yellow-browed Warbler called in the hedgerow to my side while I was looking - so loud it sounded like it was perched on my left ear but I couldn't see it.  Another Ring Ouzel was in the same area too.  Eventually I gave up looking for the Radde's and continued on towards Stiffkey.  There were 175 Pintail visible in Blakeney Harbour and a Tree Pipit (or perhaps an Olive-backed Pipit - I am not sure I can tell their calls apart) flew west over Stiffkey Fen.  Other than Brambling, a couple of Siskins and a few thrushes there wasn't a great deal at Stiffkey Greens and even less in the campsite wood.

Yellowhammer, Stiffkey Greens, 15th October

Robin, Stiffkey, 15th October

I then had a look round the village and took the road up to the south end of Cockthorpe Common.  I've birded the north end of the common a few times coming in from beside Stiffkey Flood, but never approached it from this end.  It was good this end.  There were loads of thrushes in the hedgerows here.  As one group of thrushes flew across the path in front of me I noticed one large bird that stopped me in my tracks.  It clearly wasn't a Mistle Thrush as it had no white on the tail, but it seemed to have scaly pale markings on the upperparts.  I know what you're thinking but this was no White's Thrush (sadly) - the flock all landed in a big ivy-covered tree and the larger bird was just visible although mostly obscured.  Just about all I could see was a big yellow eye peering at me - it was a Little Owl!  A short way further a Ring Ouzel appeared among the thrushes and then a Yellow-browed Warbler started calling in the trees next to where the path started to open up.

Further down the common the birds thinned out a bit but a second Ring Ouzel was calling from the blackthorn on the east side.  Then as I entered the wood that runs down the side of Stiffkey Flood another Yellow-browed Warbler was calling there.  It either followed me along the path or else there was a second bird in the same wood.  A Kingfisher flew along the ditch but there was nothing of much note on the flood.

After this I had just enough time and energy left to look round somewhere small and not too far away, so popped down to Friary Hills at Blakeney.  Brambling, 3 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaffs, 40 Redwings but not the Cattle Egret that dropped in here the following day.

Muntjac, Blakeney, 15th October

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Siberian Stonechat, Yellow-browed Warblers and Great Grey Shrike

On Saturday 8th October I knew Burnham Overy would be crawling with birders so decided to go somewhere quieter.  I started off at Broad Lane, Brancaster, a fab little location that I had discovered for the first time during the week before and found it teeming with birds.  Not quite so many birds this morning, but one of the first was a calling but invisible Yellow-browed Warbler.  There were a few thrushes, mainly Song Thrushes and Redwings, at least 3 Blackcaps and a Brambling.  Then a second, silent, Yellow-browed Warbler appeared briefly.

Yellow-browed Warbler, Broad Lane, Brancaster, 8th October

Looking over to the dunes I could see a Short-eared Owl heading west past the clubhouse.  I decided to do Gypsy Lane next but it was quiet here - Siskin and 2 Redpoll sp. west were the highlights, along with a Treecreeper.

Redwing, Gypsy Lane, 8th October

Next stop Titchwell Church, a site that I can't believe I've never birded before.  Brambling, a couple of Blackcaps and more thrushes was all I could find today, but there's potential for a lot more here.  Many times I've driven up or down Chalkpit Lane and wondered what the chalk pit would be like.  From the road it looked like it might be quite a nice little spot that would probably hold things like Yellow-browed Warblers in the autumn and sometimes probably much better things.  But there isn't much parking space right next to it and I'd never got round to making the effort to walk up to it from the village.  Now I was already parked in the village it was the perfect opportunity to see what it was like.  It's pretty close so no problem at all to stroll up from near the church, and the local folk have done a good job of making the place nice.  It used to be used as a dump and you can still see evidence of that, but they've cleaned it up nicely, made a good path through it and planted it up.  The biggest mature trees are Ash I think but there's a large variety of other species of tree and shrub.  It's a bit of an oasis of quiet and calm on a windy birder-swamped day.  And it held birds, pretty much exactly like I thought it would.  Not vast numbers, but a good few thrushes, at least 3 Chiffchaffs and, audible the second I stepped in, at least 2 Yellow-browed Warblers.  It's not hard to imagine a Mugimaki Flycatcher spending a few days in here without anyone noticing.

Yellow-browed Warbler, Titchwell Chalk Pit, 8th October

Next stop was Thornham where I took the path round Marshlands.  A Yellow-browed Warbler was calling in there but I hadn't got very far when I received a phone call which required a speedy drive home and an emergency trip to Norwich.  Was in Norwich when I received news that the Black-browed Albatross had been seen again off Scolt Head flying west.  Dropped Vitty off at home and sped up to Hunstanton where the albatross had now been reported flying into the wash.  Perhaps it would turn round and come back out?

There were lots of Gannets coming out but no Albatross.  At least not that I saw, although one small group of birders seemed to think they'd seen it, despite none of the rest of the 20-30 birders looking seeing it.  A late Whimbrel called briefly but the best thing seen was a funnel cloud (thanks Dave H).  Also a Barn Owl at Colkirk on the way home.

Next day I was free in the afternoon and decided to have another look at the Chalk Pit.  Apart from anything I'd heard what sounded a bit Pallas'sy the day before, although I'm pretty sure it was just one of the Yellow-browed Warblers calling oddly.  Same thing occurred today but I spent a lot of time there and was never able to confirm Pallas's and only ever heard the Pallas'sy call when there was a definite Yellow-browed Warbler in the same area.  It was never convincingly Pallas's and I'm all but sure it was just variation in the Yellow-browed call.  There was also Blackcap and a couple of Chiffchaffs in there and 2 Red Kites flying low over the pit.

Red Kites, Titchwell Chalk Pit, 9th October

As I was looking round the church yard I came back into phone reception and received news of a Siberian Stonechat at Thornham Point.  I was nearby so headed straight there.  From the bank at Titchwell could see a small group of birders looking for it.  A call to Penny who was among them confirmed that they hadn't seen it for a while and it was flightly and elusive.  Not sure how far it ranged I decided to stay put and scan the saltmarsh from where I was.  After a while a call from Penny (thanks!) confirmed that it had been seen again, and I headed over to join them, accidentally flushing a fabulous Short-eared Owl on my way.  A lovely Siberian Stonechat that had apparently been found by James McCallum and Mark Golley on what I'm told was James's first visit to Titchwell in years!  Often tricky to see though as it kept low and frequently dipped out of sight.

Siberian Stonechat, Thornham Point, 9th October

It was getting dark as we headed back through the reserve - there were some Yellow-legged Gulls out there but it was too dark to see them properly.  This Spotted Redshank next to the path was taken on maximum ISO.

Spotted Redshank, Titchwell, 9th October

On 11th October I decided to return to Burnham Overy in the hope that it being mid-week there wouldn't be too many other birders there.  I arrived at first light to see a group already on their way out and changed my mind!  Instead I nipped over to Thornham and decided to work my way east from there.  There were a few thrushes at Thornham, at least 3 Blackcaps and a couple of Bramblings, but it wasn't heaving with migrants.  A Barn Owl quartered the field while a Little Owl called nearby.

More thrushes at Titchwell church, a Grey Wagtail and a Brambling.  There was another Brambling on the way up to the chalk pit but not so much in there today.

Titchwell Chalk Pit, 11th October

There wasn't a huge amount to see as I wandered through the trees along Gypsy Lane - fewer thrushes than of late, the odd crest, 3+ Bramblings.  A Grey Wagtail was heard and further down the nice weather meant that Bearded Tits were in evidence with small flocks exploding out of the reed bed at regular intervals (though none actually departed, so hard to know how many involved - at least 20).  The odd Snipe flying around too.

Snipe, Gypsy Lane, 11th October

One of 3 Cetti's Warblers showed quite nicely (if a bit too far for photos) and at the pool at the northern end of the path a Yellow-browed Warbler was calling.  There was a Wheatear along the footpath and another on the practice green, and then I walked on to Broad Lane.  Fewer birds here than in recent visits but I was pleased to see 2 Mealy Redpolls drop in briefly.

Mealy Redpolls, Brancaster, 11th October

Redwing, Brancaster, 11th October

Next day I headed up to Burnham Overy again and although there were other birders out there early I stuck with it this time.  The walk out was uneventful, although I got my first distant view of the Great Grey Shrike that has been around for a few days.  There was a lot of rain as I did Gun Hill and that end of the dunes, but plenty of birds.  Final totals included 80 Redwings, 70 Song Thrushes, and 25 Goldcrests, though these were probably underestimates.  Also 6 Blackcaps, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Wheatears, 5 Brambling and Grey Wagtail.  A Woodcock was flushed and a Redstart sp. seen in flight (got the impression it was Black, but not 100% sure and couldn't relocated it - a Common Redstart was also present, not seen by me, but was a different bird).  A young male Merlin was seen and a Peregrine was on the beach.  Also a Red Kite seen.

Bramblings, Burnham Overy, 12th October

Redwing, Burnham Overy, 12th October

Blackcaps, Burnham Overy, 12th October

Reed Bunting, Burnham Overy, 12th October

I got another better view of the Great Grey Shrike as I headed through the dunes - it popped up just in front of me.

Great Grey Shrike, Burnham Overy, 12th October

This Dunnock was the wrong accentor.  Another Dunnock showed peculiar white spectacles, but sadly they aren't the fieldmark of any rare eastern Accentors.

Dunnock, Burnham Overy, 12th October

At the far east end I heard a Yellow-browed Warbler call briefly and I could see the Great White Egret at Holkham.