Northern Harrier etc, Cambs, 26 October 2013

A completely unplanned days birding while Belinda was out doing wedding stuff.
I'd only thought about giving the Two-barred Crossbill at Lynford Arboretum a few hours but after spending a fruitless 3 hours there where there were c20 Common Crossbills, 3 Nuthatches, Sparrowhawk, 2 Mistle Thrushes, 2 Redwings, Coals Tits but nothing with any wingbars except Chaffinches I decided to move on.

So, the Ouse Washes in Cambs it was to see the Northern Harrier of the last few days. Starting off on the east side just south of the railway bridge I was reliably informed by Mike Sidwell, Trevor Davies and Richard Allison that it hadn't been see for 2 hours - great! It did eventually show at enormous distance but with only my bins with me I had no chance except a crafty look through Trevor's scope. Even then we laughed at the 'views' we were getting. I then made the good call of driving the long way round to the RSPB reserve on the west side where I walked to Grose Hide to find the bird sat on the grass only 200 yards away - at last! After 10 minutes it got up and had a good fly round before heading north.
5 Marsh Harriers and a standard Hen Harrier were also seen but other than the usual wildfowl suspects little else.

Common Crossbills

Plenty of Crossbills but nothing with wingbars!

Northern Harrier, Ouse Washes

Northern Harrier and Pymore Railway bridge, Ouse Washes

Boring Patchwork! Weybread GPs, 15 October 2013

I worked the patch at Weybread for a couple of hours this afternoon and it was hard work! Very little to write home about from the walk alongside Ocean Pit:

Great Black-backed Gull - 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 7
Cormorant - 5
Grey Heron - 1
Great Crested Grebe - c50
Egyptian Goose - 2
Little Grebe - 1
Wigeon - 2
Tufted Duck - 22
Kingfisher - 2
Treecreeper - 1
Long-tailed Tit - 30

Migrant Hawker - c10
Common Darter - 2
Comma - 1
Small Tortoiseshell - 1

Migrant Hawkers 'at it'!


Long-tailed Tit

East Norfolk goodies, 14 October 2013

Having been unable to venture out over the weekend today was my first chance to get up to the East Norfolk coast for some of the waifs and strays that the weather has brought in over the last couple of days.
I made a beeline for Whimpwell Green, just inland of Happisburgh first and with a bit of patience managed some half decent views of the Red-flanked Bluetail which proved to be the trickiest one I've seen to get some views of. By leaving the small crowd and getting a different angle on things I managed to get some better views and even a record shot or two. A Pied Flycatcher was also a welcome addition to the days list. Plenty of grey-looking continental Robins around too and Redwings moving over in good numbers.

After grabbing some lunch in Sea Palling I made my way to Winterton for the afternoon. Walking the short distance to the totem pole in the North Dunes had me soon getting some lovely views of Pallas's Warbler with Goldcrests in birch scrub. I'd not seen one of these little beauties for a while so it was very welcome indeed. If only I could have got a shot of it! The bushes also held a couple of Chiffchaffs. A walk all the way north to the concrete blocks is best forgotten as all I managed was good numbers of Swallows moving south, 3 Stonechats and a Green Woodpecker! The flock of assorted redpolls had long since departed.
Odonata today was quite limited with Red Admiral, an extremely late Small Heath, Migrant Hawker and several Common Darters

British Bumblebee id

This summer I started trying to get to grips with bumblebee id and found it a bit of a minefield until I got my eye in and got used to what to look for. The following plates are some I found online and the diagramatic style helped me quite a bit. They seemed much better for id compared to photographs which at a first glance (and often 2nd glance) all looked the same!
There aren't too many bumblebees still about but hopefully this will prove useful next spring when these little beauties are back on the wing.


Caister, Norfolk, 6 October 2013

As I'd not connected with the long-staying Rose-coloured Starling at Caister we made our way in that direction today. Arriving at the carpark at the seaward end of Beach Road I located the bird almost immediately flying round with a flock of c50 Starlings. Luckily they landed on the chimneys of some terrace houses and I was able to get pretty close for some photos. Nothing much else to report from there except a Comma, Small Whites, Small Tortoiseshells and Peacock butterflies still out.

A walk through the valley in Winterton South Dunes followed and after a fait bit of searching I found the juvenile Cuckoo which gave some good views (it must have known I'd left my camera in the car!). I was keen to see such a late bird, my latest record by a long way. Apart from that a single Chiffchaff and Small Copper were all I had to show for my efforts.

Rose-coloured Starling, Caister 


Great Cormorant

Hedgehog on the patio - Pulham Market