Saturday, 30 December 2006

3 Days in Norfolk

Thursday 28th December

The trip started off well with the Great Grey Shrike at Santon Downham, appearing briefly in gorse bush area by track before flying into trees without relocation. A small feeding flock of Brambling were further up the road.

There was no sign of any Hawfinch at Lynford Aboretum in horse paddocks, although a large finch flock in the field behind a large house could have held Brambling and Redpoll. Too distant for positive ID.

Next stop was Cantley Marshes, where good views were sustained of Taiga Bean and Eurasian White-fronted Geese.

Taiga Bean Geese in scattered groups, this group of 5 were observed quite close to the main track (c) Ashley Howe.

A Barn Owl was seen at 13:30pm while looking for Bewick's Swan at Catfield.

We finished the day off at Stubb Mill, where 2 Cranes were immediately located infront of the view point. About 50 Marsh Harrier came into roost that evening, as did a Peregrine in the facinity. A further c30 Cranes came in later on with a maximum of 4 Barn Owl seen.

Friday 29th December

Again the day started of well 4 Golden Pheasant seen at Wolferton Triangle. A group of three by the road consisting of 2 males and a female. A further fourth Golden Pheasant ran across the road (female) on our departure.

The drake Smew managed to elude most at Snettisham but the Scaup, a Peregrine hunting through the masses of waders, Kingfisher and Partridge kept us entertained for a while.

Red-legged Partridge infront of the southern most hide, can't remember what it was called (c) Ashley Howe

The day got worse, with little else seen all day in bad weather until we arrived on the East Bank of Cley. The Black-eared Kite was located for the first time since the morning over Blakeney Freshmarsh. It gave better views than it did in Lincolnshire follow this link for that trip>

Black-eared Kite at Holbeach, Lincs

Black-eared Kite at Cley before roosting in Woods by East Bank (top 2 photos) and a Marsh Harrier over the reserve, one of nine in the air at once with the Kite (bottom) (c) Ashley Howe

A late afternoon search for the White-rumped Sandpiper a Salthouse was a waste of time.

Saturday 30th December

Again there was no sign of the White-rumped Sandpiper on the flood by Salthouse, however a group of Dunlin were distant could have held the Sandpiper.

Holkham gave flight views of a dozen or so Shorelark, Merlin and Snow Bunting on the beach, little of interest was on the sea. White-fronted Geese were at Lady Ann's Drive.

Snow Bunting and White-fronted Geese at Holkham (c) Ashley Howe

Titchwell wasn't much better, though weather was deteriorating quickly. Spotted Redshank was one of the highlights, meanwhile the sea offered the usual suspects. Red-throated Diver, Scoters, Merganser and a few Long-tailed Duck flew past.

The Spotted Redshank and Teal at Titchwell (c) Ashley Howe

Monday, 25 December 2006

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all viewers, from the 3 birders

The first picture of a bird I took with my new Canon EOS 30D & Sigma 50-500mm lense. (c) Ashley Howe

Sunday, 24 December 2006


23/12/06 - A miserably dull morning at Beer, Devon, gave us the opportunity to finally catch up with a Surf Scoter. This one a 1st winter drake. A Black Redstart was present with Fulmar and Peregrine. There was no sign of the Yellow-browed Warbler however at Beer Quarry Caves though Bullfinch frequented the area. Again there was no sign of the Grey Phalorope at West Bexington but Mediterranean Gull, Water Rails, 3 Bearded Tit, 6 Red-throated Diver, Eider and 100's of Auks on the sea there, mainly Razorbill. Not much at Radipole besides Ruddy Ducks and a Barnacle Goose of dubious origin (in other words - an escape). Lodmoor was much of the same with plenty more Ruddy Ducks, Bearded Tits and 2 (very showy) Cetti's Warblers. There was no sign of any Scaup which were reported from the reserve earlier today. We searched every where.

Radipole RSPB (c) Ashley Howe

Farlington Marshes

22/12/06 - There was still no sign of the adult female Surf Scoter today at Langstone Harbour, with nothing else worth reporting apart from 24 Avocets. The adult Ring-billed Gull showed late in the afternoon at Walpole Park, Gosport in the middle of the lake in poor light.

Brent Geese taken at Farlington Marshes and Mute Swan taken at Walpole Park. Adult Ring-billed Gull at Walpole Park, pity it wasn't closer and in better light. (c) Ashley Howe

Normandy Marsh

16/12/06 - A bit of local birding, which we haven't done in a while. We located the long staying White-fronted Goose at Normandy Marsh, a supporting cast of Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Merlin, Bullfinch, Mediterranean Gull, Water Rail and Goldeneye were nice. At Pennington Marsh there was no sign of the Twite found yesterday, but 2 more Water Rail, Dartford Warbler, 5 Spotted Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwits, Knot, 3 Greenshank with many Red-breasted Mergansers on the sea.

Just a record shot of the Goose at quite a distance with Canada Geese near Normandy Marsh in private field east of the hide. (c) Ashley Howe


09/12/06 - A day trip to Portland where we hoped to catch up with any lingering Leach's Petrel in the harbour or at Chesil Cove. The winds had dropped even more over night and were much milder. Half a dozen Great Northern Divers were in the Harbour with Razorbill, Shags, and Red-breasted Mergansers from Osprey Quay, as were 2 fem/imm Black Redstarts with Rock Pipits. From Chesil Cove a few Mediterranean Gulls fed on the shore and 2 Red-throated Diver, Razorbill, Guillemot and Gannet were on the sea there.

This Shag allowed Lee and I to get extremely close. We both sat on the same rock as it, and Lee gently stroked its back before it went back into the water fishing. (c) Ashley Howe

The sunset from Chesil Cove, just as the only clouds of the day were beginning to come in. (c) Ashley Howe

Goose Barnacles washed up on to the shore of Chesil Beach, after the storms during the week. (c) Ashley Howe

Huge amounts of rubbish and litter was distributed over the entire beach, the bodies of Gannets scattered about with dead Eels and a drifting dead Dolphin or Porpoise. (c) Ashley Howe

Hengistbury Head

02/12/06 - A late start today, begun with another Pallas's Warbler showing well at Hengistbury Head in Sycamores in the area before the beach huts at about 13:00pm. Extras included 2 Purple Sandpipers on the first groyne, being very confiding birds, and a Red-throated Diver flew East.On the way home, with light fading quickly, a very brief look for the reported Great Grey Shrike a few days prior. We met Lee Evans where he had no sign, looking doubtful, he had given up. Literally seconds after his departure Mick located a small woodpecker-like bird in flight with a long tail, silhouetted by the dull sky at a great distant. Thankfully it was the Great Grey Shrike which flew over the road towards gorse bushes west of Whitten Pond. Plus a Dartford Warbler was heard.

One of the two Purple Sandpipers on the groyne there. (c) Lee Fuller


25/11/06 - Barrow's Goldeneye at Callander, Forth and short visit to Musselburgh Lagoons

Hedge End

24/11/06 - Cormorants are becoming a regular sighting passing over head with another today, but not before a Woodcock flew over the South end of Hedge End at 17:00pm

Holbeach and Little Chalfont

18/11/06 - contraversial Black-eared Kite at Holbeach Marsh + Purple Heron at Little Chalfont

Selsey Bill

12/11/06 - 2 Little Auk off Selsey Bill just prior to midday. One sat on the sea and dived so frequently it was impossible to digiscope. Another flew East landing on the sea briefly before flying off East again.




05/11/06 - Red-breasted Goose at Ferrybridge, Dorset plus Black Brant and more

Hedge End

30/10/06 - 4000 Wood Pigeon over Hedge End this morning from 07:00 in 30 minute sample before school and a few Black-headed Gulls but wasn't really counting them.

Lower Test Marshes

29/10/06 - Green Sandpiper, Cetti's Warbler, 2 Kingfisher and 5 Little Egrets at Lower Test Marshes on a very brief visit before our footy match.

Blashford Lakes

27/10/06 - The Great-white Egret is still at Blashford Lakes, Hampshire and today I saw the bird flying west over Ivy Lake early afternoon, with not much else to report from the lake aside the regular wildfowl. 11 Mandarin were seen at Eyeworth Pond (7 Drakes).

Hengistbury Head

25/10/06 - Pallas's Warbler at Hengistbury Head, found while we were there was a welcome addition to the year list at about 16:00pm, although needed some hard work to be picked out from a constantly moving flock of 100+ Goldcrests, 50+ Chiff-chaffs, Treecreepers, Blackcaps, Long-tailed, Great and Blue Tits. Also 5+ Firecrest were located amongst. A distant and very brief Black Redstart was seen up by the huts shortly after midday.

Black Gutter Bottom

20/10/06 - 3 Ring Ouzels at Black Gutter Bottom, New Forest, behind Leadon Hall feeding in Holly Bushes. 2 Females and a 1st winter male. Plus about 10 Dartford Warblers seen.

You can just make out a thrush shaped bird in the holly, those with better eyes, might be able to see the white crescent. (c) Ashley Howe

Ireland to Northumberland

13 & 14 /10/06 - Canada Warbler, Roller, Red-breasted Flycatcher and Barred & Yellow-browed Warbler

Hurst Spit

08/10/06 - Snow Bunting seen along Hurst Shingle, allowing very close views and approachable. An Osprey was seen in Keyhaven Harbour (record shot taken below at large distance) but there was no sign of the adult summer plumage Great Northern Diver (which was found dead the following day), also of note were Bar-tailed Godwit and Knot.

(c) Ashley Howe

Huntspill NR

07/10/06 - juvenile Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Huntspill NR, Somerset, dipping Lesser Yellowlegs

Keyhaven Marshes

07/10/06 - juvenile American Golden Plover at Keyhaven Marshes, Hampshire

Stanpit Marshes

24/09/06 & 30/09/06 - juvenile Marbled Duck at Stanpit Marshes (could it be genuine?) plus Osprey

Stithian's Reservoir

23/09/06 - Wilson's Phalorope, 2 Pectoral Sandpipers, Dotterel in Cornwall

Thorney Island

17/09/06 - Another Red-backed Shrike, this time a juvenile on Thorney Island seen from the sea wall in bushes, showing very well but not at an ideal distance for photography again only records were taken. 2 Ospreys were also present often flying over to fish in the channel or on the main pool, one of which caught a huge fish and sat perched for a long period of time. Greenshanks, Buzzards and Whinchat were also seen.

Hengistbury Head

16/09/06 - Cattle Egret at Hengistbury Head, Dorset and Semipalmated Sandpiper at Keyhaven, Hampshire

Queen Mother Reservoir

11/09/06 - Juvenile dark morph Long-tailed Skua at Queen Mother Reservoir. Seen quite late in the day at 19:30pm after school, the bird was very quickly picked out by Lee in the Gull roost and soon became seperated and it was soon a lone bird drifting quickly to the edge of the Reservoir. It looked surprisingly smaller than expected, small and slim like a Black-headed Gull with a short, rather thick bill. Due to the light fading quickly the bird soon became silhouetted and due to the angle the bird was positioned the distinctively barred vent was not viewable. 4 Ring-necked Parakeets were also seen in the area flying from nearby trees.

Needs Ore Point

09/09/06 - Today we decided to stay local and wait for something to turn up, a shame that the Long-tailed Skua was found too late in the day. But a trip to Needs Ore Point (permit only) provided some interest as Osprey and Spoonbill had recently been seen. Unfortunately neither could be found after intense searching. At least 2 Water Rails showed well today (a juvenile and an adult) with a singing Cetti's Warbler, 2 Ravens were present. Grounded migrants included 2 Wheatear, 2 Whinchat, Whitethroat, and Sedge and Reed Warblers could be seen in the reeds. Overhead there was 3 yellow Wagtails and Hirundines were plentiful. 11 Spotted Redshank, Dunlin, 3 Greenshank and a Green Sandpiper were the highlights from the hides as was a Black-tailed godwit that was extremely tame allowing Lee and I to get within 2 feet of it. We could have touched it, it was so close (honestly). All seen from the James Vennar Hide. Wildfowl numbers were high with hundreds of Teal with few Wigeon and the occasional Pintail and Gadwall.

(c) Ashley Howe

Keyhaven Marshes

04/09/06 - juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper at Keyhaven Marshes, Hampshire with adult Little Stint