Monday, 17 October 2011

Patch ticks and work at the same time!

Thursday was obviously a great day for migration, with Great Grey Shrikes present on the coast and 50 Short Eared Owls coming in/off at Titchwell there was definately something about to be found. But I was at work, at this time of the year Strumpshaw can feel as far away from the coast as the midlands, oh to be working by the sea again!
It was a Thursday so we have our weekly work party, burning reeds in front of the Fen Hide (view looks great now by the way). As we headed out we encountered a large flock of Bearded Tits, great news considering their decimation this winter. The BR's hung around all morning pinging in the reeds.
The clear sky meant that we were getting a small but steady stream of fieldfare, redwing, redpoll, brambling, siskin and meadow pipits but it was shortly after lunch when Strumpy got on the scarce migration band wagon. I looked at my pager to reveal the fact that there was a large SEO movement along the coast, telling Ron about this he seemed suitably impressed, 3 minutes later a shout went up, SEO flying along the river. So it was a bird flying high obviously moving through to the East following the river, great, patch tick 1.
About an hour after that excitement we had stopped for a drink when I noticed a bird on one of the dead tree perches not too far from Fen Hide, from the sounds of it the reedbed birds were not too keen on its presence. I said to Ron, who had bins on him 'Is that a small Sparrowhawk, or is it a great grey shrike' half jokingly of course, he looked, turned to me and his face was a picture, he simply said 'yes, its a ggs!' A super bird for the reserve, I have not yet checked the records but it is possibly the first for the reserve since the 80's!
Nice to know that on that Thursday the main species along the coast of interest were SEO's and GGS's and we had both at Strumpy. Rough Legged Buzzard is the next target, its obviously been a good vole/lemming year so I would not be surprised if we get loads of geese, RLB, and all the other assosiated species, could be a good winter!

A selection of distant pics of the shrike, a lot of these were taken at 30x magnification hand held so click on them to blow them up and laugh, still, it would help pass it through the BBRC had it of been an Isabeline Shrike.

Can anyone id this micro??


  1. Ben, I noticed on BF that you are claiming a Common Rosefinch last autumn in 'East Norfolk'?

    I don't recall this at the time, and it certainly wasn't submitted. Could you supply some details please?

  2. Hi Tim,
    Hope your well,
    I have not submitted the record as I am not 100% sure about the sighting (hearing). But for the record I shall give you the details. I was at Waxham 17th Oct 2010, a day with lots of vis mig. I had a flock of Siskin fly North and then heard a call which was unfamiliar to me, I did not actually see the bird it was clearly flying N quickly. The call was a single whistle followed 3 notes descending into each other and quite flutey.
    I listened to playbacks when I got home but could not find the call, eventually, 2 days later I heard the song of a Common Rosefinch, this seemed to fit very nicely...but do they sing in Autumn while flying over?
    Apologies for not looping you in to the sighting, but it was long gone very quickly.
    I did post a rather muddled blog on that day which does mention the call, it also mentions imm gannet, which you commented on.
    I am not sure I can give much more detail other than that, which is partially why I have not submitted it. Have you ever heard that call/song from CR flyovers in the past?


  3. No, never heard of anything like that. The date is very late for CR as well.

    Note Dave and Jacquie's new email address if you wish to submit the record:

  4. The date was also of concern as you have pointed out. I let this one go because I didn't get enough on it. The call I heard fitted CR but I have not counted it therefore not submitted it. I should have changed the wording on the bf post to 'could have heard'