Friday, 28 October 2011

Siberian Chiffchaff

Beautiful sunny warm day

Started with a seawatch at Cley with Mark Golley - 5 Pom Skuas (7 seen in total today between Cley and the Point) a few Bonxies and lots of Little Gulls lingering and moving through - over 150 counted between Cley and the far Point area.

With the possibility of either a Pallas's or Richard's Pipit around in light N to E winds I headed up the Point in glorious weather

A few Rock Pipits around and lots of Skylark moving West. Imm Shag on the sea was a long awaited year tick! plus a few Guillemots and Razorbills around

I then found a Phyllosc near the Hood - It appeared quite pale and frosty coloured. It called and I knew it was no Collybita! It had a piping , monotone , deep call .. and different from 'normal' Chiffs

Amazingly the bird then sat in a bush just 15-20 feet away and I even managed to get a shot through the binoculars using my phone!

The defining features were

Warm brown cheek and no yellow in plumage
Frosty pale below with just warm flanks
Green only in wings
mantle grey brown and eye looked really beady, almost Bonelli's like face
Bill dark with just pale around cutting edges
Legs dark but toes appeared paler than rest of legs - This is the only feature which didn't fit as I thought they are meant to be jet black legs and feet?

On the whole - coupled with the call - a pretty good candidate for tristis - I put the news on Birdguides as this rather than possible or probable - a bit foolish maybe , but looked good enough to me!

R Porter managed to see it too a few hours later and he also got some shots. In the brighter light later in the afternoon it looked much paler .. but the warm tones and call that it showed earlier still make me think it was a Sibe Chiff

I have previously seen one bird that wintered (with an abietinus type) at the Brent Res many years ago .. and the odd possible bird on Scillies .. but this was the first time I have seen one in Norfolk

Photos below:

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

All quiet in Norfolk

West winds are still blocking all migrants.

A Brambling and Grey Wag over garden in Salle gave me hope that there would be some migrants on the coast.
In reality, although it felt autumnal, there were no migrants around

I can't believe Norfolk will not get a decent October rarity. The Sandhill Crane will of course be one of the rarest birds of the year to cross the county.

I am just glad I saw it (even if it did mean a rare trip out of the county!)

Last year the 'Alder Fly' was for me the star bird and I would be surprised if a rare american passerine does not get found this year as well....
Now ... A Parula or Y Rump Warbler (two big bogey birds of mine) would be very nice.

Thursday, 6 October 2011


High winds are still blocking any decent arrivals from the East.

1 close juv Pom with a large amount of white on forewing (something i've never seen before?) went past harrasing the few S Terns left.
I have in the past seen Bonxies with larger than normal pale areas. Not sure if this is common with Skuas .. Please comment if you have also noticed strange Skua plumages.

2-3 A Skuas, 5 Manxies, plenty of Gannets, Razorbills and Guillemots
A few RTDivers

N Hide was quiet

Went to Kelling with a visiting couple from Surrey who were birding in Norfolk for the week. There had been some J Snipe the day before but could not relocate these.

Highlights were:
1 juv Yellow Wag which had a greyish upper tone and yellow confined to lower part of body. Certainly not Eastern origin but had been described as 'continental/g headed' by someone else.Not sure how it would be possible to racially identify autumn juvs! But it did look interesting. One Possible White Alba also in the group of Wags

Other than a Little Stint..not much else was found here.
Bring on some E Winds please!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Sandhill Crane in Suffolk

Sandhill Crane is one of those birds that I never imagined seeing in the UK. The last bird in Orkney in 2009 and then the recent bird in Scotland were too far away for me.
When the Scottish bird started slowly moving south, being tracked along the east coast I was hoping it would reach Norfolk.
The odds of thus happening and for me to catch up with it were not great, however, when the bird stopped in Suffolk I was slow at getting there (due to family commitments) but today I managed to get there.

On arrival at 7.30am the bird was already flying around and being admired by a small crowd.

Great bird and amazing to think it has traveled over 4000 miles so far already!

Last time I saw one was wandering around a lawn in Florida... Great to see one so close to home

A blocker no more