Sunday, 13 November 2011

Mega day at Mid Yare

No car again today which forced me to take to two wheels instead of 4. It actually prompted me to have a proper look around Buckenham and Cantley rather than just doing the necessary (rushed) counts during work hours. It turned out to be a great day.

The day started at 7am emptying the moth trap at Strumpshaw, a warm night had me hopeful I managed 2 migrant species, the first of the December moths and a very odd looking variant of Large Wainscot, the photo does not do it justice but there is a prominent zigzag line which is not shown in any guides. I have searched on the net and found a couple of images showing this form but I have no idea of how frequently it is found?
While emptying the trap I heard a flock go overhead at first I thought they were Cranes but they turned out to be Whooper Swans, my first (and most likely) of 3 Mid Yare ticks today, as I was in the wood I am not sure of how many flew over but it sounded like a small flock 5+.
Trap contents;
Mottled Umbar 2
December Moth 5
November moth sp 2
Feathered Thorn 3
Chestnut 2

Winter moth 2
Lunar underwing 1

Rusty Dot Pearl 2
Diamondback 1
Blastobasis lacticollela
Acleris cristana 1
(Acleris Hastiana a few weeks ago  too)

Not bad for November.

Onwards to Buckenham where I saw 2 Peregrines sat on gate posts across the marsh, another 2 Whooper Swans flew over the hide just to reaffirm any doubts I had about the earlier call. I got to the mill and noticed that the wet area held large numbers of Linnet and Skylark, after 20 mins of searching through the long wet vegetation a small group of Skylark took off and one had white wings, you can imagine my thoughts! No white winged lark unfortunately but it was obviously a Snow bunting, there were another 2 in the flock too, they were feeding well for at least 20 mins as I carried on searching the flock. I am beginning to get slightly blasé about snobs but this was different this was Buckenham, I even felt a rush as I realised how rare these birds are in the Mid Yare Valley. The records in the office show that this was only the second sighting ever (2003), I suspect however there have been a few more than that.

The third and final local mega appeared minutes after I left the snow bunts, I saw a duck on the river which I almost passed as Mallard, luckily I thought it looked a little odd . I put my bins up and thought thats an was one! I have no idea how uncommon Eider are on the River Yare especially this far up river, I know we have no records at all on the system so its got to be pretty dam rare!
On reviewing the pictures it appears to have a black nail of the bill it should really be pale, could be a juv?

Totals for the day;

Pinkies 533
Whitefronts 118
Snow Bunt 3
whooper Swan 2+
Eider 1 female
Dunlin 1
Marsh Harrier 6 inc 1 wing tagged individual
Sparrowhawk 3
Peregrine 2
Merlin 1+
Golden Plover 3000+

So there you go yesterday I had Desert Wheatear and Yellow Browed Warbler as hightlights and today its Whooper Swan, Snow Bunting and Eider, the later 2 probably being more exciting rarity wise than yesterdays offerings (relatively speaking), funny old game eh.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Surprise UK tick?!

A quick update since my last post...
I took Monday and Tuesday off as well as heading to the north coast today.
With Ruth working weekends, being car-less is pretty rubbish, but luckily I managed to jump in with a colleague this morning.
Highlights from the past week include;

Sheringham Monday;
1 drake scaup
5 Shag
2 bonxies
2 Snow Buntings

Wells, Monday;
2 Waxwings
600+ Blackbirds (everywhere! lesser numbers of Rwing, ff and s thrush)

Waxham, Tuesday;
2 Little Auks
150+ Little Gulls
40+ Red throated Divers
6 Blackcap
2 Chiffchaff

Strumpshaw, Friday
56 Waxwings
35,000 Starlings roosting

Lapland Bunting- heard as I opened the car door- good start to the day!
Desert Wheatear
Northern Wheatear

Lapland Bunting 1
Snow Bunting 1
Slav Grebe 1
Goldeneye 8

Desert Wheatear was a UK tick for me, I was not aware of this at all (!) I was convinced that I had seen one before but unless I just have not recorded it before it was a new British bird for me. A surprise but a result at the same time!
Some poorish pics below- usual excuses- poor light being the main factor. great bird through the scope though. 

Friday, 4 November 2011

Who rules the roost?

After an inspiring all day meeting in Cambridge I got back to the reserve to enjoy the sunset. It seems as if the Starlings have returned for another year, possibly helped on by some Easterly winds. Throughout the week there have been small numbers; between 3 and 5 thousand strong. Tonight it seemed as though there were far more, I would estimate that a total of 10,000 or thereabouts roosted. Hopefully these are just the first few, they certainly create a nice end to the day, especially when they fly overhead while tending to a reed/scrub fire. Hopefully they will also attract a few more Harriers, Peregrines, Bitterns and possibly Merlins to feast on the bounty that has presented itself.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Dusky Lemon Sallow?

I put the trap out on monday night and had a few expected moths, it was very warm (13 degrees!) for November. Along with the usual red line quakers and november moths I had a couple of migrants in the forms of Rusty Dot Peal and a diamond-back, been a while since I caught either of these at Strumpshaw.

I did get a possible new moth for me, the photos below show the particular individual in question, I think its a Dusky Lemon Sallow, its a bit battered so I'd really appreciate a confirmation or two, thanks!