Siberian Stonechat, Caister, 23 October 2015

A mid-afternoon exit from work in Mattishall enabled me a little time to streak along the A47 to see this little beauty.
Showing almost straight away with a winter male Common Stonechat for company and comparison. Despite seeing many of these in spring in Kuwait over the years this has to be the best looking one I've ever seen. A real frosty pale and contrasting 1w male of the race 'maura'. And of course, since my last one Siberian Stonechat is now a species in its own right!


Borneo Frustration!

OK, it's rant time!

Belinda and I are off to Borneo (Sabah) in March/April next year and one of the must visit areas is the Danum Valley. There are only 2 accommodation options - the Danum Valley Field Centre and the Borneo Rainforest Lodge. DVFC refuse to answer emails even though I've tried 6 different ones (they are renouned for this apparantly although most people eventually get a response). Alternatively the price I've been quoted for BRL is a mere £2200 for the 2 of us for 4 nights!!!!! WTF! And that's tagging onto another group and their guide. For that price I want a personal guide available 24/7 who even wipes my arse upon request!

Time to think again about that phase of the itinerary me thinks... 

Holkham Meals, 20 October 2015

Today was my first chance to get up to Wells and it was just my luck that there had been a bit of a clear out of migrants following a starry night.

Nevertheless I managed some good stuff in the 4 hours my carpark ticket allowed me. The Red-flanked Bluetail was showing nicely around the drinking pool and I saw it on both my walk there and my walk back. It was being constantly hassled by a Robin though so rarely settled for long. I then managed to re-find the Olive-backed Pipit about 200 yards further west but as I was watching it in an spindly oak some marauding idiot birders ran up to me and flushed it. Later on it was seen in flight and calling over the drinking pool. Other than those 2 goodies it was all common stuff - still loads of Goldcrests, lots of Redwings and a few Skylarks over, Siskins, 2 Redpolls, 2 Song Thrushes, a late Tree Pipit that showed nicely and my first Pink-footed Geese of the winter.

Comma and Migrant Hawker were the only insects.  

Feeling Twitchy in North Norfolk, 15 October 2015

Finishing work at lunchtime meant I could at last spend an afternoon birding - yay!

My primary aim was to see the Daurian Shrike of the last few days at Beeston Common and after the drive up there and a very short walk it was showing very well upon arrival. Despite being oput out as an Isabelline sp it looks a dead cert for Daurian to me. It continued to show really well for the whole hour I was there.  A single Chiffchaff and a Common Buzzard where the only other things seen.

While talking to Dave Norgate the news came through of an Olive-backed Pipit at Muckleburgh Hill and despite initial scepticism it seemed to be pinned down. I dashed there to find it missing but within about 15 mins it was re-found and it showed nicely albeit briefly low down in a single isolated oak. A lovely bright and clearcut individual - boom!

I finished my unashamed twitchy afternoon with a Great Grey Shrike on the marsh at Salthouse looking west from Beach Road. A couple of close Little Egrets and the first of the winters Wigeon were also by Beach Road.

Not a bad 3 hours!


Orwell Estuary, Shotley Gate - Chelmondiston, 11 October 2015

More of a hike than a birding walk but with 18.5km covered we felt good about ourselves afterwards!

A few good bits and bobs were seen en-route with the best being reserved for the stretch between Shotley Gate and Chelmondiston - 2 Kingfishers on rocks at the waters edge, 2 Rock Pipits, Grey Wagtail, c6 Black-tailed Godwits, loads of Redshank and Lapwings and a Peregrine that shot through going up river were the pick of things. Into the bargain there are still no shortage of Goldcrests in coastal bushes, the first few Brent Geese have arrived and the stretch also held c12 Little Egrets. A couple of Red Admirals and a single Comma plus Common Darters and Migrants Hawkers were also braving the October sunshine.

Kessingland etc, 1 October 2015

From my lack of blog posts you may have guessed I've been a bit busy! I finally got a day off today though and headed to the coast to see what I could find.

At Kessingland Sewage Works it was quite hard work but I eventually managed to winkle out a Yellow-browed Warbler which called from thick ivy but refused to show. A Cetti's Warbler burst into song briefly whilst 4 Grey Wagtails flew over. Other than that c4 Chiffchaffs, 1 Blackcap, a few Goldcrests and a nice photogenic Great Spotted Woodpecker were all I could muster.

At Gunton Wood there had been another YBW and several Firecrests reported but despite my best efforts all I could muster were c20 Goldcrests and a Blackcap!

After doing some other bits and bobs I finished the afternoon in Yarmouth Churchyard where I found the Yellow-browed Warbler in holly by the gates to the cemetry and got some nice views of this active and vocal individual. A few more Goldcrests were in the cemetry too. There has certainly been an arrival of those.