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Anser Birding North Norfolk 22-24 May 2009 trip report

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Collared Pratincole at Cley NWT, Woodlark at Roydon Common and Golden Oriole on the nest RSPB Lakenheath, Avocet at RSPB Titchwell.

22-24 May 2009 Anser Birding North Norfolk

The Spring weekend trip to North Norfolk is an annual one for Anser and always produces great birding. This visit was so memorable for me for the amazing avian behaviour we witnessed, the weather and the fact we managed to see everything we went for. To top it off a very enthusiastic group that ensured the outcome being the best Anser Norfolk Spring trip ever!

To round up the amazing sites we witnessed is not easy, lots of birds had young or were nesting which is always good to see. Stone Curlew was enjoyed by all, Golden Oriole, Crane and Bittern (Jill spotted this one) were seen by some of the group on day one. A look at the weather convinced me to go for the Collared Pratincole at Cley on Friday, my instincts told me it would go overnight, it turned out it did only to reappear in Yorkshire. This Mediterranean overshoot is delightful to watch, as it was windy it favoured sheltering and running about ‘plover like’. A Spoonbill was joined by two others that flew in. Some of the group had lovely views of Bearded Tit.

A good day of birding was had by all. On Saturday morning we woke to a scorcher, at Holme I picked up a Bittern in flight which disappeared. Ten minutes later it surfaced with a pair of Marsh Harriers attacking it. It must have been near the nest. The Bittern climbed to the top of the reeds and turned itself in a larger bird by opening out all of its feathers including head and neck. It opened the bill to a full gape and stabbed at the annoyed raptors on every dive. This went on for ten minutes, great stuff. After breakfast at Swanton Novers we watched a pair of Honey Buzzard cruise overhead then watched the male set out on a display session that must have involved c50 consecutive butterly flaps. Two female Montagu’s Harriers were also enjoyed today and at RSPB Titcwell, excellent views of Bearded Tits, a Hen Harrier and another Bittern in flight. The most significant record was of a female Red-crested Pochard with a brood of ducklings. In the evening the still, calm conditions were perfect for dusk birding and at Roydon Common we gained lovely views of Woodcock roding and calling and 2-3 Nightjar picking moths of the birches, churring, calling and chasing about over us. Unusually a Hobby flew past calling in the dark and more typical a Cuckoo was singing.

On Sunday we had great views of Woodlark (good spot Len) collecting grubs when the male carefully piled up the food package, all balanced on the ground and gathered another package. It returned to the original, picked them up as well and flew off to feed the young. We returned to RSPB Lakenheath and got great views of Golden Oriole in the nest, a Garagney pair on the washes and a Grasshopper Warbler reeling. We did not fit in a visit to the Squacco Heron in Cambridgeshire but I was pleased to hear Jill and Trevor saw it well on Monday. The Painted Lady invasion was in full force today, I noted c600 but the days to come were to see at least 16,000 past Scolt Head.

Thanks to all who attended for their company, special thanks to Neil Smart for helping me out and locating more birds and to Trevor Blythe who kept notes and compiled the list.

Martin J McGill

ANSER BIRDING: NORTH NORFOLK TRIP MAY 2009

1.Birding Itinerary:Birds Seen/Heard By Location.

Friday 22 May 2009

1.1.Newmarket .

House Martin

Sparrowhawk

House Sparrow

Starling

Swift

Magpie

Crow

Blackbird

1.2 ‘Stone Curlew site’

Stone Curlew

Yellowhammer

Red-legged Partridge

Jay

Woodpigeon

Pheasant

Lapwing

[en route to next stop at Lakenheath ]

Common Buzzard

Kestrel

1.3.Lakenheath Fen RSPB reserve

Mallard

Hobby

Common Crane [Flying in distance]

Whitethroat

Blackcap [Heard]

Marsh Harrier

Reed Bunting

Reed Warbler [Heard]

Swift

Cormorant

Bittern [Heard and/or seen by some]

Cuckoo [Heard]

Golden Oriole [Heard]

Blue Tit

Wren

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Great Crested Grebe

Mute Swan

Grey Heron

Coot

Gadwall

Swallow

[en route to Cley]

Collared Dove

Chaffinch

Stock Dove

Pied Wagtail

Goldfinch

Greenfinch

Starling

Black-headed Gull

1.4. Cley NWT NR

Greylag Goose

Collared Pratincole

Oystercatcher

Shelduck

Avocet

Spoonbill

Black-headed Gull

Mallard

Woodpigeon

Gadwall

Lapwing

Coot

Moorhen

Ringed Plover

Shoveler

Sandwich Tern

Pied Wagtail

Jackdaw

Bar-Tailed Godwit

Black-Tailed Godwit

Redshank

Linnet

Little Tern

Bearded Tit

Egyptian Goose

Dunlin

Mute Swan

Starling

Marsh Harrier

Swift

Sand Martin

Swallow

Pheasant

Greenfinch

Magpie

Blackbird

[en route to Hunstanton]

Tufted Duck

Little Egret

 

Saturday 23 May

1.5. Pre –breakfast walk at Holme next the Sea

Wood Pigeon

Reed Bunting

Linnet

Meadow Pipit

Redshank

Bittern*

Marsh Harrier*

Crow

Magpie

Oystercatcher

Black-headed Gull

Chaffinch

Robin

Turtle Dove

Wren

Stonechat

Cuckoo

Mallard

Mute Swan

Sedge Warbler

Red-legged Partridge

Lapwing

Chiffchaff

Dunnock

Jackdaw

Willow Warbler

Whitethroat

Swallow

Blackbird

Moorhen

* Marsh Harrier pair engaged in an aerial attempt to drive-off the Bittern, which had presumably strayed into a reed bed containing the Harrier nest. The Bittern fiercely resisted and showed well for several minutes.

[en route to raptor watchpoint]

Yellowhammer

Chaffinch

Swallow

House Martin

Crow

1.6. Raptor watchpoint at Swanton Novers NNR [Fulmodestone Road]

Sparrowhawk

Common Buzzard

Yellowhammer

Greenfinch

Skylark

Chaffinch

Lesser Whitethroat

Blue Tit

Hobby

Honey Buzzard [male and female]

1.7. ‘Raptor watchpoint’ near coast.

Grey Partridge

Skylark

Lapwing

Montagu’s Harrier [female]

Pied Wagtail

Black-headed Gull

Herring Gull

Swift

1.8.Titchwell RSPB Reserve.

Mute Swan

Coot

Black-headed Gull

Great Crested Grebe

Bearded Tit

Red-Crested Pochard

Reed Warbler

Wood Pigeon

Marsh Harrier*

Greylag Goose

Starling

Chaffinch

Collared Dove

Crow

Redshank

Lapwing

Grey Plover

Mallard

Reed Bunting

Swallow

Bittern

Ruddy Duck

Little Grebe

Avocet

Canada Goose

Brent Goose

Shelduck

Shoveler

Gadwall

Herring Gull

Common Gull

Lesser Black Backed Gull

Turnstone

Bar-Tailed Godwit

Black-Tailed Godwit

Hen Harrier

Oystercatcher

Little Egret

Little Tern

Cetti’s Warbler

Sandwich Tern

Common Tern

Sanderling

Cormorant

Robin

Pied Wagtail

 

* aerial transfer of food between a pair

1.9 Evening visit to Roydon Common.

Garden Warbler [Heard]

Green Woodpecker [Heard]
Cuckoo

Hobby

Woodcock

Nightjar

Sunday 24 May

1.10. Visit to Hunstanton shore

Common Scoter[Seen by Len and Kate]

1.11. Morning visit to Roydon Common

Mistle Thrush

Tree Pipit

Kestrel

Black-Headed Gull

Carrion Crow

Curlew

Yellowhammer

Woodlark

Jackdaw

Pheasant

Jay

Stock Dove

Rook

Red-legged Partridge

[en route between Burnt Fen and Sedge Fen]

Yellow Wagtail [Martin only]

1.12.Lakenheath Fen RSPB reserve

Great Tit

Great Crested Grebe

Coot

Cormorant

Mute Swan

Reed Bunting

Hobby

Grey Heron

Golden Oriole

Sparrowhawk

Marsh Harrier

Common Buzzard

Cuckoo

Sedge Warbler

Reed Warbler

Grasshopper Warbler [Heard]

Mallard

Garganey pair

1.13. Newmarket

Little Owl [Heard by Martin]

2. Total species seen: 102

Avocet

Blackbird

Bittern

Bunting, Reed

Buzzard,Common

Buzzard, Honey

Chaffinch

Chiffchaff        

Coot

Cormorant

Crane, Common

Crow, Carrion

Cuckoo

Curlew

Curlew, Stone

Dove, Collared

Dove, Stock

Dove, Turtle

Duck, Ruddy

Duck, Tufted

Dunlin

Dunnock

Egret, Little

Gadwall

Garganey

Greenfinch

Godwit, Bar-Tailed

Godwit, Black-Tailed

Goldfinch

Goose, Brent

Goose, Canada

Goose, Egyptian

Goose, Greylag

Grebe, Great Crested

Grebe, Little

Gull, Black-headed

Gull, Common

Gull, Herring

Gull, Lesser Back- backed

Harrier, Hen

Harrier, Marsh

Harrier, Montagu’s

Heron, Grey

Hobby

Jackdaw

Jay

Kestrel

Linnet

Magpie

Mallard

Martin, House

Martin, Sand

Moorhen

Nightjar

Oriole, Golden

Oystercatcher

Partridge, Grey

Partridge, Red-legged

Pheasant

Pipit, Meadow

Pipit, Tree

Plover, Grey

Plover, Green

Plover, Ringed

Pochard, Red Crested

Pratincole, Collared

Redshank

Robin

Rook

Sanderling

Scoter, Common

Shelduck

Shoveler

Skylark

Sparrowhawk

Sparrow, House

Spoonbill

Starling

Stonechat

Swallow

Swan, Mute

Swift

Thrush, Mistle

Tit, Blue

Tit, Bearded

Tit, Great

Tern, Common

Tern, Little

Tern, Sandwich

Turnstone

Wagtail, Pied

Wagtail, Yellow

Warbler, Cetti’s

Warbler, Reed

Warbler, Sedge

Whitethroat

Whitethroat, Lesser

Woodcock

Woodlark

Woodpecker, Great Spotted

Wood Pigeon

Wren

Yellowhammer

3. Total species heard only: 5         

Blackcap

Owl, Little

Warbler, Garden

Warbler, Grasshopper

Woodpecker,Green

4. Total species seen and/or heard: 108       

 

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Martin

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1-30 June 2009 blog diary and sightings

Ruddy Darter MJM

Emperor Brown Hawker 30 June 2009 Lumix MJMcGill 009Brown Brown Hawker, WWT, MJM

Emperor Brown Hawker 30 June 2009 Lumix MJMcGill 023Female Emperor ovipositing MJM

Emperor Brown Hawker 30 June 2009 Lumix MJMcGill 006

29-30 June 2009 Still great insect weather, temperatures this weeks heatwave of up to 30 c has been good for butterflies and dragonflies. New birds include a breeding plumage, blackish form male Ruff at WWT today.

Shoveler brood WWT.

Water Vole 29 June 2009 Lumix MJMcGill 005

Baby Water Vole, WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre MJM

Water Vole 29 June 2009 Lumix MJMcGill 013

28 June 2009 The WWT landrover safari’s were very productive again today. The very warm weather made it a great day for insects. My first 2 Brown Hawkers of the year and 6 Marbled Whites. A Water Vole in the 100 Acre and at the Centre entrance wiith three young were appreciated by many. Also noted today a 1st summer and adult Yellow-legged Gull, Hobby, 2 Shoveler broods, 12 Green Sandpiper, 50 Black-tailed Godwit, 90 Redshank including 2 fledged juveniles and a fluffy juvenile in the Top New Piece. Cuckoo and Kingfishers at the Kingfisher Hide. Stacks of dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies of many species. On the estuary a Whimbrel, 100 Curlew, 200 Shelduck and thousands of gulls feeding in the mud.

Brown Hawker, WWT South Finger near the new dragonfly pond.

Brown Hawker 29 June 2009 Coolpix MJMcGill 001

First summer Yellow-legged Gull

Brown Hawker 29 June 2009 Coolpix MJMcGill 013

27 June 2009 A few damselflies about the garden and a chaser sp.

26 June 2009 A walk out at Frampton in the torrential rain produced singing Common and Lesser Whitethroat prior to the deluge, breeding plumage Spotted Redshank, Redshank pair with young and Lapwing with young at Saul Warth and a lot of water. A Common Whitethroat was singing adjacent to my garden.

25 June 2009 Generally numbers still building at WWT, six Green Sandpiper, 15 Black-tailed Godwit, a Dunlin, 9 Redshank and 40 Lapwing were on the Top New Piece but were eclipsed by a singing Quail that was clearly audible from the Zeiss Hide. Many visitors are seeing and photographing Otter from the Kingfisher Hide where Cuckoo and Whitethroat are also on territory. I may have glimpsed a Lesser Emperor at work today. At least three pairs of Common Tern are now nesting on the 100 Acre.

Had a couple of days off at home (except for covering the 1850-2220 period at WWT on safari/bar-b-q), highlight was a Spitfire performing stunts over the garden, due to 350mph speeds I never got a decent shot of this iconic aircraft with it’s beautiful sound.

Spitfire MK 4? in D Day landing livery, Whitminster.

late June 2009 Lumix MJMcGill 028

23 June 2009 The safari was excellent at WWT Slimbridge this evening, a very warm evening, thousands on Meadow Browns on the wing, my first Southern Hawker of the year, Emperors out in the dark!, 40 Sand Martin and 30 Starling coming into roost, Barn Owl hunting at sunset, a great Severn Bore etc etc.

May Hill, The Severn Estuary and Barn Owl MJM

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Barn Owl and Fretherne Sluice in the distance.

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22 June 2009 RDH and myself ringed 18 juvenile Black-headed Gulls on the South Lake late in the afternoon. The Common Terns on South Lake are nesting on the small pier I built to gravel the island over a couple of years ago. An Oystercatcher also had a nest with one damaged egg in it. The Bottom New Piece flood had 30 Black-tailed Skimmers over it this afternoon. On the tide, six Yellow-legged Gulls (second summers and adults)were the highlight at WWT today.

Pyramidal and Bee Orchids WWT Slimbridge June 2009 MJM

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Female Tufted Duck and young WWT Slimbridge MJM

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Common Redshank WWT Slimbridge June 2009 MJM

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10-21 June 2009 Not many posts lately but still plenty going on locally among the breeding birds. A Snipe was a very intriguing record from WWT today, maybe a breeder? At least two possibly three broods of Shoveler at work today made me very happy. One brood contains 10 ducklings and are very well grown.  Tufted Duck are now hatching young everywhere, another highlight of the summer and it is time for the orchids.

9 June 2009 Our breeding waders are always a highlight.

Lapwing chick MJM

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8 June 2009 Another look at the breeding plumage waders at WWT which roosted and fed very near to Middle Point hide at low tide. Now 5 Grey Plover, a Red Knot, 3 Turnstone (all first summers), the Curlew Sandpiper which is a first summer and a small flock of Ringed Plover including many first summers and a juvenile and c 40 Dunlin.

First summer Turnstone MJM

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First summer Curlew Sandpiper MJM

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Curlew Sanderling!

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Sanderling MJM

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7 June 2009 A birdwatch morning at WWT focussing on waders was very good, 4 Grey Plover (two in fine breeding plumage), a Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, 15 Sanderling and Dunlin and Ringed Plover all in breeding plumage.

6 June 2009 A wet day! almost forgot what they are like.

5 June 2009 Went to Ashleworth Ham again, the Redstarts were showing well along the road and Cuckoo singing. Next stop Cannop Ponds and brook with my target being the Golden-ringed Dragonfly, we found 4-5 and saw them resting, feeding, patrolling territories and even ovipositing in the Cannop Ponds. A family of Grey and Pied Wagtail were around the stoneworks. At Lydney Lakes I saw my first Tufted Ducklings of the year (3). A look at Saul Warth and Townfield Lake did not produce much out of the ordinary. News of a shrike sp at Coombe Hill today GWT and the Rosefinch seen again at Ashleworth Ham GWT on Wednesday shows that birds are still around/arriving.

The magnificent Golden-ringed Dragonfly, Cannop Stoneworks, MJMcGill.

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2-4 June 2009 Lots of dragonfllies locally. A roundup in images follows, also a Bee swarm at WWT was nearly collected by a Bee Keeper but they did not want to go in the box.

Hairy Dragonfly, WWT 100 Acre MJM

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Broad-bodied Chaser, WWT MJM

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Black-tailed Skimmer, Saul Warth

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Scarce Chaser, WWT Bull Ground, MJM

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Four-spotted Chaser, Forest of Dean, MJM

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1 June 2009 Up at 0440 to get to WWT for what ended up as four live and one recorded appearance for the BBC news. The Painted Lady invasion was the topic and the hot dry starts to the day certainly helped.

31 May 2009 A long day at WWT with the bird highlight being two Red Kites over the 100 Acre. I left work at 1800 and went straight to search for the Ashleworth Ham GWT  Common Rosefinch with NRS, PJT and RGB but our effort went unrewarded. 

Red Kites over the WWT 100 Acre, 31 May 2009
Note the primary moult.

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Martin

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