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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

at 2:29 pm

1-30 April 2009 blog and sightings

29-30 April 2009 The month finished on the same note with a few waders appearing on the Severn on 30th. Four Grey Plover (two stunning breeding plumage birds), 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 42 Dunlin, 20 Ringed Plover swelled the ranks. A drake Garganey was my first WWT bird of the year.

28 April 2009 A very cold morning, ice all over my car at 0600. It led to a nice sea-fog moving up the estuary later in the morning and a good backdrop for the Roe Deer at Middle Point. Very few migrants around but a nice surprise came in the form of a singing Wood Warbler at WWT. Only my fourth on the reserve. I feel it probably arrived a day or two ago rather than overnight. Many birds had again departed, I saw only 3 Greenshank and Little-ringed Plovers around the Bottom New Piece but another of the latter in the 100 Acre this afternoon in the company of a stunning White Wagtail were what were likely to be the only non-large gull or hirundine migrants around. The calmer weather did make it easier to hear all the Lesser and Common Whitethroats today but again no Willow Warbler noted, the wave has passed, will we see any more locally in the Vale this Spring?

Wood Warbler, WWT MJM

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Severn sea-fog

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Roebuck at Middle Point

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27 April 2009 My sightings for the day included 5 Brown Hares seen today at WWT. Some birds from the past few days still showing up like the breeding plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit in the WWT 100 Acre which was joined by 5 Ringed Plover and 4 Dunlin. Very little seen on the estuary and apparent that a clearout had happened overnight. I saw a single Large Red Damselfly seen in the 100 Acre. as well as Hobby fattening up. A pair of Little ringed Plover and two Snipe are notable for the Bottom New Piece. Again at lunchtime the Mediterranean Gulls were on South Lake, for the second year we have displaying birds in the B.H.Gull colony and it has been a target for our breeding birds addtion list on the WWT reserve. All the hard work on the reconstruction of this island in Nov 2007 is really paying off, I wait to see what happens…

Late in the afternoon large numbers of hirundines built up over the reserve.

26 April 2009 On the rounds the resplendent Curlew Sandpiper was joined by 20 Dunlin, two of which were in non-breeding plumage and were of the larger and longer legged and billed race. They may have been responsible for numerous accounts of three Curlew Sandpipers, see images.

The two long billed/legged Dunlin and Curlew Sandpiper on the WWT TNP.

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Three Greenshank were also present here, a good number for Spring these days. A pair of Little-ringed Plover seem to be on territory on the Bottom New Piece marsh. Lots of migrants around at WWT and only my second Roe Deer on the reserve, a good safari produced this and a number of migrants including 4 Whimbrel, male Whinchat and 2 active Hobbies feeding on insects. Sadly many deer drown in the canal as they cannot get out after crossing making them scarce, they have been seen crossing the estuary.

A lunchtime look at WWT South Lake and no less than three Mediterranean Gulls were noted with 2 Common Sandpiper, a third on the Rushy. All three can be seen here, two first summers and a second summer (like and adult but with black chevrons in the wingtips or black mirrows).

1st summer #1

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1st summer #2 with Common Gull

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Second summer washing but showing black in wing.

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As I walked into the Peng Obs to collect a special visitor I noted a calling LRP over and my first Swifts. It was the conclusion of Paul Walkdens book launch, Geese of the New Grounds (details will appear on the news page soon). I was delighted to spend the afternoon with DIM Ian Wallace and look around some of his old birding grounds in the late 1960′s. It was fascinating to hear the accounts of  Gloucestershire rarities and the habitats of the great Severn bowl but I was somewhat relieved that he was only in the county for a few years. At least this left some rarities for the rest of us to find for the future. An inspiring man and very sharp birder with an amazing memory for everything to do with birds. We noted some good birds with a flock of 50 Swift descending above us whilst out.

25 April 2009 A spectacular dawn chorus in the Forest of Dean (0430-0540 when the rain started) was followed at midday by a look at a Whiskered Tern at Frampton.

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24 April 2009 I noted my first Blue-tailed Damselflies of the year locally (two teneral and one mature) and 15 Large Red Damselfies. Lots of Speckled Woods and two Common Sandpiper as well.

20-23 April 2009 Back in Glos and a good week of migrants, insects and weather. On Monday 20 April I was back at work for a couple of hours when I spotted a harrier heading up the reserve, JSL and I managed to get a scope on it when it perched on a post and it turned out to be a female Montagu’s Harrier, a Buzzard attacked it after which it dissapeared. I relocated it over Saul Warth ten minutes later as it thermalled and then headed off over my house in Whitminster. My first Large Red Damselflies of the year were noted (2).

Also whilst I was at work this week…on 21 April my first Whinchat, Grasshopper Warbler and Cuckoo of the year plus a brief Pectoral Sandpiper in the WWT 100 Acre. A male Ruff in breeding plumage was also good to see. The latter two singing and displaying. On 22 April it was a breeding plumaged Curlew Sandpiper that stole the show whilst I was on the rounds but also a Common Sandpiper was a first of the year locally. I also saw a first summer Mediterreanean Gull was on WWT South Lake and an adult summer was on the WWT 100 Acre later in the day.

The 23 April continued in good form with a lovely full breeding plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit flying around the 100 Acre early in the morning another Common Sandpiper, 3 Whimbrel, a Garganey, Wheatear, 2-3 Ruff in breeding plumage (a black male that was at WWT the other day), 11 Black-tailed Godwits 14 Redshank, a Greenshank and the first Lapwing chicks of the year. A first summer Mediterranean Gull was in the WWT 100 Acre. The Grashopper Warbler was still reeling in the WWT 100 Acre and I saw it displaying to a female. A male Whinchat was on the fence in the afternoon.

My first Whinchat of the year and for Glos? 22 April 2009 MJM

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Painted Lady seen 22 and 24 April with my first Large Red Damelflies on 21 April and first Hairy Dragonfly on 23 April were all on the WWT Slimbridge reserve.

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My first Grasshopper Warbler of the year MJM

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Kingfisher MJM

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6-19 April 2009 I was in Spain for two weeks in Andalucia and Extremadura, a lot of birds and wildlife seen. The Extremadura trip report is now on the trip reports section.

Greater Flamingo, Donana MJM

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5 April 2009 A White Wagtail, Little ringed Plover and 2 Short-eared Owls were highlights at WWT today. A party of 40 Meadow Pipit were also noted.

Meadow Pipit MJM

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Shortie and Severn Shelducks MJM

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4 April 2009 No birding but last night on return from a victorious skittles match at the pub where Harriet won the game for us I got a shot of what is only my second of the year so far. Her scream resulted in me seeing a Hedgehog not a Rat in my garden, I have left access points under my new fence to allow them in and out.

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3 April 2009 Out and about at Frampton on Severn where I saw my first Garganey of the year, a lone male which is no doubt waiting for the females to arrive. c20 Swallow, 10 Sand Martin and a 4 Black-tailed Godwit were also seen but the mist made it hard to see too far. In my garden was the first Orange Tip butterfly of the year!

Orange Tip male Whitminster, Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ28 M.J.McGill

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2 April 2009 A decent large gull passage through N at WWT all day. 6 Swallow N and the American Wigeon were also of note.

1 April 2009 A great start to the month with some fine views of an Otter at WWT Slimbridge. A single Sand Martin and a  flock of 200+ Black-headed Gull around the 100 Acre/Frampton was of interest. A Little-ringed Plover flew around the tractor where I was topping on the Bottom New Piece and a Red Kite made it’s way N in the afternoon.

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Martin

at 2:23 pm