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Saturday, 25 April 2015

LITTLE BUNTING

Little Bunting, Snettisham
 
Today I wanted to look for the long staying Little Bunting at Snettisham. I had seen it on Thursday afternoon but only briefly in flight after I almost stood on it!
Despite the bird tolerating a fair bit of disturbance, it was clear that it was not going to be easy to pin down.
Little Bunting site & grid ref. 50 yards south of the concrete sea defences (just visible-top left)
 

Arrived at 06:30 and headed off to look for it. Lots of migrants singing in the bushes, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Grasshopper Warbler and 3 male Ring Ouzels to name but a few. I met up with Penny, Trevor and a few friends then scanned the bushes. We had an early scare with a female Reed Bunting but then I noticed the target bird sitting in an Elder at the top of the sea wall. Almost immediately it flew into the Sea Buckthorn and lost to view. The group edged close to where it dropped in. The vegetation was smaller and sparser here, allowing the ground to be viewed quite well and sure enough there was the Little Bunting, creeping mouse-like, around the Sea Buckthorn. We were lucky enough to view it for several minutes. Given its deserved reputation as a Will-o-the-Wisp, the bird showed really well. It then flew into an elder and proceeded to give everyone the slip, giving only a two more, brief, flight views to a few lucky observers.
There was a fair bit of visual migration on show with flocks of Goldfinch and Yellow Wagtails. There were also Siskin, Whimbrel, Mediterranean Gulls and Skylarks on the move. 
A fine days bird watching. However, I was still miserable because I knew I would not be able to speed down to Somerset for the Hudsonian Godwit for at least a week.



Little Bunting, Snettisham 


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Dartford Warbler & Summer Migrants

Dartford Warbler, Westleton Heath. A study in Perpetual Motion!
 
It's great to see so many summer migrants passing through Norfolk & Suffolk in recent days. A lot of time has been spent in the early mornings at Snettisham Country Park; a known migrant hotspot but one of many around the coast here. However, I also spent an afternoon after work at Westleton Heath to see the gorgeous Dartford Warblers. Some very showy birds there, singing and displaying, alongside their constant companions, the Stonechats.

video
Dartford Warbler, Westleton Heath
 
Stonechat
 
Stonechat chasing a fly! What a fluke!!!
 
Migrants have been excellent at Snettisham. Masses of Ring Ouzels, Willow Warblers, Sedge Warbler, Northern Wheatears and hirundines, amongst others. A Firecrest on the 16th was very unusual and I had my first Common Redstart of the year. Other year firsts included Grasshopper Warbler, Common & Lesser Whitethroats and Cuckoo.
 
Grasshopper Warbler, Snettisham

Common Redstart, male, Snettisham

Ring Ouzel, male, Snettisham

video
Sedge Warbler, Snettisham
Northern Wheatear, Snettisham
Barn Owl, Ken Hill Marsh
 




Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Dotterel & Ring Ouzel


A few more migrants have turned up in the past few days. Lots of Ring Ouzels, Cuckoo and the enigmatic Dotterel. Here are a few photos and videos of Ring Ouzel & Dotterel. Vids are best viewed with the sound down, unless you like the sound of wind.

 
video
Ring Ouzel, Snettisham
 


 
video
Dotterel, Choseley


 
 



Sunday, 12 April 2015

SPRING! About time too.

Chiff Chaff, Snettisham
 
Well Spring finally seems to be here (or closer). A week of fine weather has brought a shed load of migrants from the continent. Visits to the coast recently have produced some good visual migration with flocks of Siskins, some Redpolls, Ring Ouzel, Yellow Wagtails, various warblers and raptors including Common Buzzard, Marsh Harriers and Red Kites.
A visit to Snettisham Coastal Park produced 6 Ring Ouzels, 4 Sedge Warblers, 12 Willow Warblers and several Blackcaps. Titchwell also produced some nice sightings including a juvenile Spoonbill...


Juvenile Spoonbill, Titchwell
 
...Bittern, 10+ Red-crested Pochard, Mediterranean Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, hirundines, Yellow Wagtails, Wheatear and 3+ Little Ringed Plovers. I'm sure there's a lot more to follow.
video
Little Ringed Plover, Titchwell
 
There have also been a few Garganey present along the North Coast. The picture below is of the long staying male at Weybourne beach pool.
Garganey, male, Weybourne
 
Also in evidence have been Cetti's Warbler. These normally shy birds that shout at you from deep cover are now protecting territories and attracting mates. This means that they do tend to show themselves more for a short while.

Cetti's Warbler, Titchwell
 
Some birds are difficult to see all of the time but patience, a keen eye and the right habitat has produced a good haul of Stone Curlew recently.
Stone Curlew, Norfolk
 
On the earlier subject of mates, I found two male Pheasants lekking with a female in attendance. These two Pheasants fought, beak & claw, for 30 minutes. Unbeknown to them, the female had got bored 20 minutes earlier and walked off!


Pheasants lekking, Swaffham
 
Some mammals have also become more apparent with the advent of Spring. Brown Hares, for example, seem to be in every field. One field at Choseley had 27 Brown Hares all chasing each other ragged.



Brown Hare, Cockley Cley, it was totally ignorant that I was standing in the path. Even when it finally clocked me it didn't seem all that bothered. A bit of a poser actually.