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.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Eclipsing hybrid, close encounters with Kingfisher and Corncrakes in the village

I'd wanted to see if I could find the Mallard x Pintail hybrid in eclipse plumage so headed over to Thorpe Green on Sunday 18th June.  Eventually I found a bird which I figured had to be it, not quite fully in eclipse but far enough to be quite hard to pick out.  By comparison with Dave Norgate's photos taken a few days earlier (but in more recognisable plumage) I was able to confirm it was the same boy.

Mallard x Pintail hybrid, Thorpe Green, 18th June

That evening 3 Grey Herons flew high west over the garden - I don't often see herons here.

At Ryburgh on 21st I saw the White Wagtail again (for the last time - I've not seen it since) and a Kingfisher.  I knew there were Lapwing chicks around from the behaviour of the parents - they had become much more aggresive than previously.  Here is one attacking a Little Egret.

Lapwing vs. Little Egret, Ryburgh, 21st June

Eventually I did get great views of two chicks...

Lapwing chicks, Ryburgh, 21st June

Two Red Kites were the highlight at Ryburgh on 24th.  Also 6 Barnacle Geese.  Adult Blue Tits are not looking their best at this time of year...

Blue Tit, Ryburgh, 24th June

One or two Chiffchaffs showed very well...

Chiffchaff(s?), Ryburgh, 24th June

I went up to Burnham Overy on 26th - lots of big white birds on view as I walked out - 2 Great White Egrets among at least 30 Little Egrets and 4-5 Spoonbills.  That was pretty much it so far as birds are concerned, though I had a great time in the dunes so far as insects are concerned - you can read about that in my mothing diary.  Oh, there was one bird that was just about noteworthy - this Cuckoo.

Cuckoo, Burnham Overy, 26th June

Pochard, Burnham Overy, 26th June

I occasionally see Kingfishers at Ryburgh but rarely do they perch up close enough to photograph.  And when they do they stop for just a second or two so I can maybe get one or two shots if I'm really quick.  On Friday 30th one was far more obliging.  It arrived at 11.27 and left while it was still 11.27 (according to the timestamps on my photos) so it wasn't exactly around for a long time, but it did let me get these shots which I was quite happy with.

Kingfisher, Ryburgh, 30th June

Whitethroat, Ryburgh, 30th June

Other visits to Ryburgh and other local spots around this time didn't turn up much worth mentioning here.

A while back I learned that a large number of Corncrakes had been released in the Wensum Valley "somewhere towards North Elmham" in the last year or two and in late June I discovered more precisely where they had been released.  A number of people started reporting hearing them from the railway just north of North Elmham station and on 4th July I finally got round to having a look myself.  It was a warm, calm evening and I thought conditions might be good but alas there was no sign of them.  The area one had been calling was very close to my road and I suspected that they must be audible from my road - it was no more than 500m away from my front door!  I later discovered that neighbours had indeed heard them from the bottom of my road.  I did see at least 3 Barn Owls and later when I got home I heard a Little Owl alarm-calling.

An early morning visit to the railway on 11th July finally allowed me to catch up with the Corncrakes - I heard at least one Corncrake calling from a barley field between 5 and 5.30 am.  After this I moved on to Ryburgh where a showy juvenile Bullfinch was the highlight.  I've not often managed prolonged close views of juvenile Bullfinches so I quite enjoyed this.

juvenile Bullfinch, Ryburgh, 11th July

My first juvenile Black-headed Gull of the year away from breeding grounds was here and a Kingfisher put in another brief appearance.

Kingfisher, Ryburgh, 11th July

Robin, Ryburgh, 11th July

Sedge Warbler, Ryburgh, 11th July