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, 31 May 2018

Keeping local

A Cuckoo was the avian highlight of a few more visits to the Cathedral Meadows, heard on most visis though not yet seen.  It's great to see and hear so many Yellowhammers there.  Other birds during these visits included Little Egrets over, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Bullfinches and my first newly-fledged passerines of the year, Mistle Thrushes (closely followed by Blackbirds).

Yellowhammer, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 5th May

Mistle Thrush, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 7th May

Rook, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 7th May

Whitethroat, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 9th May

Swifts finally made it back to North Elmham on 9th May.  In fact they may have made it a couple of days earlier - I could have sworn I heard one late on 7th but didn't eyeball it, and I wasn't around on 8th.

Buzzard, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 12th May

Red-legged Partridge, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 12th May

Robins, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 12th May

Whitethroat, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 12th May

The highlight of a visit to Great Ryburgh on 18th was a pair of Siskins, a species I'd not seen there before.  I say a pair, but although I had good prolonged views of at least one male I never got good views of a female.  At one point a second bird visited the feeders but remained directly behind the feeder for the whole time so I could only see such a tiny part of it I was unable to tell if it was male or female - when it flew it flew directly away and disappeared straight into the hedgerow.

Siskin, Great Ryburgh, 18th May

A pair of Common Terns visited the scrape briefly, displaying for the whole time they were here.

Common Terns, Great Ryburgh, 18th May

There was also a Sedge Warbler singing and at least 10 Barnacle Geese from Pensthorpe.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Birding out east and locally

An appointment out east on 18th was an opportunity to do some birding round Waxham and Horsey.  My first Whitethroat of the year was singing along the road between West Somerton and Horsey, my first of 3-4 that day.  As I headed down the dunes from Waxham 3 Cranes flew over and I got distant views of a ringtail Hen Harrier.  At least I'm pretty sure it was a Hen Harrier though to be honest I identified it primarily on jizz, especially the breadth of its hand, as plumage details were barely discernible at that range.  A female Pallid Harrier was found in the area a few days later which in some photos seemed to show a surprisingly (for me) broad hand, which made me wonder if I could have stuffed up, but I really don't think so - my bird just looked like a bog standard Hen.

Cranes, Waxham, 18th April

There was a White Wagtail at the holiday camp and my first of 2-3 Lesser Whitethroats was singing at Horsey Gap. 

Lesser Whitethroat, Horsey Gap, 18th April

A group of 7 Cranes spent a lot of time in the air viewed from here, very slowly moving north.  Apparently 2 dropped off at Waxham so perhaps the others were the same 5 Cranes that were later seen at Cromer?  At least one Yellow Wagtail flew south and a Whimbrel called as I returned past Horsey Gap and then this Red Kite flew south.

Red Kite, Waxham, 18th April

As I was getting into the car I heard a call that instantly put me in mind of Serin.  Sadly it didn't call again and I couldn't locate it, so I shall consign that one to the bin.  Two Yellow Wagtails flew past me while I was searching for it and further down the road a Wheatear was seen.

On the way home I stopped at Felthorpe to see if there were any Redpolls left.  There weren't, at least not showing while I was there not that I gave it very long, but a surprise and surely a Felthorpe-mega was a Yellow Wagtail feeding around a puddle before flying off.  I also stopped at St Faith's Common where a Treecreeper was the only bird I noted.  Back at the patch later, 2 Green Sandpipers were the highlight.

A Willow Warbler was singing in my garden early on 24th April.  Later I had a look round the Cathedral Meadows which I'm now surveying for moths and butterflies (and anything else).  The avian highlights were a Cuckoo, pair of Nuthatches, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Bullfinches, Sparrowhawk, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers and 2 Little Egrets over.

Nuthatches, North Elmham Chapel, 25th April

I moved on to Ryburgh where a Wheatear was the clear highlight, a species rarely recorded at this site.  There was also Red Kite, 2 Sparrowhawks, at least 6 Buzzards, 2 Snipe and Grey Wagtail.

Pheasant, Ryburgh, 25th April

The Nuthatches were still at the Cathedral Meadows on 27th...

Nuthatch, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 27th April

After an early start at the meadows I went on to the patch where the highlights were a Yellow Wagtail south, a Whimbrel and a migrant singing Reed Warbler.  Also at least 6 Little Ringed Plovers.

On Tuesday 2nd May a Cuckoo was calling by the Cathedral Meadows at North Elmham and 2 Barnacle Geese flew over.  On the patch a Hobby was the clear highlight, with Little Ringed Plovers, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Marsh Tits and Bullfinch bring up the rear.  Sadly no sign of Dave's Pied Flycatcher or 5 Wheatears.  Cuckoo, Barn Owl and Great Spotted Woodpecker were the highlights at the Cathedral Meadows that evening.

The Cathedral Meadows were very quiet yesterday, at least in respect of non-local birds (there was plenty of activity from the locally-breeding birds first thing).

Wren, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 4th May

Song Thrush, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 4th May

Linnet, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 4th May

Dunnock, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 4th May