Saturday, 2 October 2010

Another day North

Another offer for a day of birding on the coast was taken up. We were mostly looking to catch up on a few year ticks but also trying to find some of our own birds, got to see a fair bit of the coast today and what a nice day it was too.

Started at Salthouse where we picked up the Barred Warbler fairly quickly, there was a fair arrival of pipits, buntings and larks while we were there. We soon picked up on a Lapland bunting flying over head, then another, eventually we saw 2 on the ground nicely with reed bunts, linnet and lots of mipits, also present in the area were 8+ wheatears and at least 2 whinchats.

Next stop warham greens- not a huge amount in the bushes from the cp to the whirlygig but a nice ringtail hen harrier gave a flyby to make it worthwhile.

A pager message told us that an Icterine warbler was at Holkham (my embarrassing bogey bird) so we set off to find some people looking intently at 'the bird' or a rather nicely marked Willow warbler (!) moving on with suspicions we found the majority of the area to be fairly dead too adding a few species to the day list such as Pied fly Siskin, Crossbill and other woodland birds. We eventually heard the unmistakable call of a Yellow browed warbler which showed very briefly, I managed to see its belly and then the front end of its head- not great views but the first of hopefully many this year. Another pager message said Iccy/melody at Holkham showing well, we got there 5 mins later to find, yep you guessed it a yellow looking willow warbler, reed warbler, blackcap and no Hippos. The bird, which was seen in the same area from 7.15 to middayish, but disappeared as soon as the other 'birders' arrived, I'll try not to be too cynical as we all make mistakes but everything that moved was greeted with 'there it is!' stayed for about 15 mins and decided that it all smelt too fishy. Needless to say the bird was not seen again all day, I hope someone photographed the thing, whatever it was!

Moving on to Burnham Overy got us Redstart, Merlin (cracking view) and Grey phalarope, lovely place for a walk, a lot of people seemed to agree as the place was packed.

Final stop was to Titchwell to see whats been going on, after a chat with a near balding warden we headed up the path. Adding a few easy species to the day list, reserve looks good at the moment and was packed with wildfowl, the brackish marsh was near unrecognisable and looks to be a pipit/bunting/lark magnet- expect good things to be seen here this autumn! I heard a couple of lap bunts and tried to tell the people either side of me that there were 2 lapland bunts flying past, they just looked blankly at me as if I was speaking foreign. Judging by their scopes and bins (swarovski) they must have been new to birding and never heard of a lapland bunting or thought that my rspb bins would never be able to see such things if they have not seen them... all the gear and no idea.. some people do irritate me. Also added to the day list little stint and a very late whimbrel flying in off and over the tidal pool.

A very good day in general, always eye opening to see how other 'birders' go about their business, i think i'll stick to the quiter bit of coastline next week and stay out East. Without trying too hard we managed a day list of 109 species, pretty good considering we missed a lot of very common birds, just shows what you can do in a day if you do really try.

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