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.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Iberian Chiffchaff, Grey-headed Wagtail and Short-eared Owl

On Friday 12th I headed up to Burnham Overy in the hope of finding some spring migrants.  I arrived early and had Whimbrel, 2 Common Sandpipers, Spoonbill and 3 Bearded Tits on the way out.  The apparent Pale-bellied x Dark-bellied Brent Goose hybrid was still paired to the colour-ringed Dark-bellied Brent BYB=.  A pair of second-summer Mediterranean Gulls flew over and I heard 2 Cuckoos.

Cuckoo, Burnham Overy, 12th May

From Gun Hill the sea was dead and overland migration quiet - I eventually managed 55 Swallows and 3 Sand Martins through along with 1 Grey and 2 Yellow Wagtails west.  But the weather never looked great for vis mig - it looked much better for grounded migrants - that was what I was really hoping for and expecting.  At this time of year I don't expect big falls, just the odd bird, and maybe the odd good bird.  Well sadly there wasn't the odd bird - practically nothing new at all.  Ok I did hear what sounded exactly like a Tawny Pipit calling once quite close to where I was standing in the east dunes but it never called again and despite 2.5 hours searching the area I never found it.  There were a handful of migrants remaining from previous days - 2 Ring Ouzels and 5-6 Wheatears - but it was pretty dire.  A Stoat and a Natterjack were more interesting.

I stopped at Ryburgh on the way home which was also quiet.  This Grey Wagtail was the highlight.

Grey Wagtail, Ryburgh, 12th May

It still was the next day...

Grey Wagtail, Ryburgh, 13th May

Actually I lie - a distant Marsh Harrier was my first for the site, although they're meant to be regular here.  I remember seeing Stickleback, Three-spined I think, when I was little, but haven't positively identified any for a long time.  I'm pretty sure the tiddlers this This Little Egret was catching were Three-spined Stickleback.

Little Egret with Three-spined Sticklebacks, Ryburgh, 13th May

Common Tern, Ryburgh, 13th May

These House Martins have been busy collecting mud for their nests in Great Ryburgh village.

House Martins, Ryburgh, 13th May

Wren, Ryburgh, 13th May

Little Egret, Ryburgh, 14th May

I was surprised to hear a Barn Owl calling a couple of times from my study on 14th.  I once saw one at the bottom of the road but have never seen or heard them here before. Other local birds around this time included a Kingfisher at Mill Street (Elsing) and Little Ringed Plovers at some gravel pits.

I was tempted up to Walsey Hills on Friday 16th to see (and hear) an Iberian Chiffchaff.  It was singing strongly when I arrived and continued to do so for some time.  It was much harder to see though, but I did get a few good views of it.  My photos don't do it justice.

Iberian Chiffchaff, Wasley Hills, 16th May

As I chatted to Mark G on Old Woman's Lane news came through of a Grey-headed Wagtail on the Eye Field.  It seemed rude not to pay it a visit so popped down and found about a dozen 12 Yellow Wagtails among the cows.  Eventually we picked out the Grey-headed Wagtail from among them - a stunning bird as always.  Someone called a 'Channel' Wagtail while I was there but I certainly didn't see anything I consider identifiable as such.  Having said that I'm never quite sure about the ID of some of the greyer-headed/backed female-type Yellow Wagtails that occur in late spring, like these two for example.

Yellow Wagtails, Cley, 16th May

Little Egret, Ryburgh, 18th May

Shelducks, Ryburgh, 20th May

Another trip up to Burnham Overy late on Wednesday 21st May produced little in the way of migrants - 3 Wheatears, a Willow Warbler and a Whimbrel.  This Short-eared Owl was nice though.

Wheatear, Burnham Overy, 21st May

Linnets, Burnham Overy, 21st May

A Great White Egret was also seen at Holkham.

Barnacle Goose, Ryburgh, 22nd May

House Sparrows, Ryburgh, 22nd May

Starling, Ryburgh, 22nd May

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