Sunday, 18 September 2011

The Great Gannet Getaway

Yesterday (sat) morning I decided to go to Waxham for dawn to see if I could find any migrants which may have come in on Fridays Easterly. One of the main targets however was to see if any large shearwaters were lingering offshore.... They weren't.

My seawatch started at about 6.30 and ended at 8ish, there was loads out there considering it was a calm sea and an offshore wind, most notably Gannets and winter ducks, these almost certainly were the result of the strong winds. It was interesting that I saw a lot of Gannets, terns, Divers and sea duck but no Shearwaters or Skua's at all.

Results are below

Red Throated Diver- 32 (loads more than I was expecting, all but 3 were pristine summer adults, nice!) 
Wigeon- 300+ many medium sized flocks passing through
Teal 200+ again quite a lot of small flocks, mainly heading North
Common Scoter, one small flock of 12 heading North
Gannet- 350+ (mostly in the first half hr after dawn but a steady stream throughout the day)
Common tern- Many passing through 100+(? not counted fully)
Commic tern- at least 15 probable Arctics but I'm still not confident enough with this species pair in flight, esp at distance!
Sandwich tern- 27
Hobby 1 juv in off and over my head at about 5metres!

After the seawatch I checked the bushes, not much doing here spare a Lesser whitethroat and a few Blackcaps. I heard a call once which I thought could be a Yellow Browed Warbler but the wind and dense veg made it impossible to see or hear again, maybe it was one but I'm sure I'll find one sooner or later this autumn. A trumpet from behind alerted me to a nice flock of 14 Cranes heading South, always a good sight.
Another good sight and sound is the first flock of pinks for the autumn, a bit of a rabble of a flock came over from the North, not flying in their usual prestine V.
Just as I gave up on the passerine front and headed back to the car a little pish in Shangri La garden got the attention of a Pied Fly, which was my first of the year believe it or not.
I looked at the pager as I got in the car and decided to give the 'showing well' Wryneck a go at Winterton seeing as it was on the way home. I met up with Winterton's Ted and we had a search of the area in question but to no avail, the Wryneck had eluded us.
Other birds at Winterton included 2 Hobby's, 2 Buzzards and a few hirrundines moving through, apart from that it was fairly quiet, no dragons or damsels worthy of mention at the pools either.

A nice morning out even if it was slightly less eventful than hoped.

 Obviously watched the rugby this morning so no birding so far today. May go to Strumpy later to try and photograph the Willow Emeralds, conditions look good for them least at the moment anyway.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Twitchwell 10/9

The lure of three very good birds at Titchwell saw me on the road after the rugby had finished. The main target was the Buff breasted Sandpiper, a species which has eluded me so far, I walked straight past the Little Bittern watchers (or in that case it should be lookers)  headed to the Brackish marsh. Th BBS was very easy although it was about 250m from the hide. I watched the bird for about an hour as it was in full view for all the time and looked good through the scope. One thing that immediately struck me was the fact that I thought they were meant to look like Ruff! I assumed that because so many ruffs were miss id'd at Titchwell as BBS they would be tricky to separate, in reality they are very different as I'm sure most that are reading will already know. A nice bird and I'm glad to have finally caught up with one. My 6th British tick this year and it puts me on 405 species now.

After this I headed to the Little Bittern, I had frustrating brief and obscured views for about 20mins, enough to see all features of the bird but not all at the same time, I could have done with a box to stand on! With this in mind I decided to go along the boardwalk where I remembered their was once a gap to view the reeds, I struck lucky, I had my scope on the bird, the whole bird. Unfortunately there were only 2 small windows through the veg to view the bird but I managed to get a lot of people on to it, again I watched it in full view for about 20mins. After that the bird walked towards the crowd, unfortunately going along the nearside of the reeds. It did eventually show in the scrub right next to the path, but again you needed to be in the right place, and even then directions were tricky to give/follow. All in all I did have very good views and it was the first juv I have seen, the only other LB was the calling male at Titchwell a few years back, in a similar area. The new pools that have been created along the path look ideal for this species so hopefully there will be many more in the next few years.

Good to chat to all the usual suspects and always nice to visit the North coast, I dont need too much of an excuse.

Monday, 5 September 2011


Ruth and i had a fantastic time in Arizona. We stayed near the Mexican Border in the town of Sierra vista for two weeks at Birders Vista B&B, which I cannot recommend highly enough, It was a great base with a lovely birdy garden, very nice knowledgeable owners and a very pleasant place to stay all round.

I believe the final tally of bird species was 126, including 12 species of hummingbird. A great birding/wildlife experience and a far more varied landscape than first comes to mind.
So busy at work at the moment so I had to get these pics on here with the briefest of write ups or else it would have been too late to put anything on here.
A selection of low res images, just 20 out of the 2000 or so I took!

vinegaroon- in the bathroom, Meep meep! Roadrunner on roof of B&B

Lightning at Mt. Lemmon

Great horned owl in garden, Elegant and Trogon necter feeding bat

Diamond backed rattlesnake on our door mat! Fantastically marked little beetle

Swainsons Hawk, Ornate box turtle

House Finch, Calliope hummer, violet crowned hummer

Yellow breasted chat, Kissing beetle

Rufous hummer, Gila woodpecker

Arizona sister, Darter sp

Flock of black necked stilts and Wilsons phalaropes

Wilsons warbler and common ground dove

Lucifer hummer and Lesser goldfinch

Vroad billed hummer and Wilsons phal

Blue grosbeak, Anna's and Black chinned hummer

White winged dove, canyon wren