Tuesday, 23 October 2012

October 23rd - BIG FALL

I had read on many reports that something truly spectacular had taken place with the fall of birds yesterday afternoon in the fog and light East winds. On reaching Stiffkey this morning I could see what they meant. There were birds everywhere. Every bush, tree and hedge had Blackbirds and Robins shooting out in all directions.

In thick fog I walked slowly through the woods towards the area that the Bluetail had been found and along the way I stopped and searched through the Robins while Thrushes streaming through overhead. A few Redstarts were nice to see and Bramblings fed quietly in the trees

Redwings, Blackbirds and Fieldfares by the 1000's!

The Bluetail was very nice and showed well down to about 10 ft , I was keen to get away and look for my own birds

I walked the track from Stiffkey to the concrete 'circle' along the coast. On the way 3-4 Ring Ouzels were seen and heard (but many more must have been passing). 2-3 Chiffchaff looked fairly nominate and Redpolls called overhead while Bramblings moved through in decent flocks

On to Wells in the hope of flushing an OBP! .. It was evident that many of the birds from yesterday were still sheltering in the woods waiting for the fog to lift.

Again 100's of Robins, Thrushes and Goldcrests everywhere

Brambling numbers were even higher here (40+). Despite searching through all the tit and crest flocks I could not find anything rare .. Back at the car park and a quick scan over the seawall towards E Hills and a beautiful male Black Redstart was seen catching flies around the lifeboat station.

I will not forget the sight of Thrushes shooting out from every bush that I passed in a hurry!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

October 8th

October is always an exciting time on the Point and today the sun was shining and there was a light NE breeze. The only problem was that it was too calm a day to displace any good migrants

The morning started with a quick seawatch from Cley coastguards. A family pod of Harbour Porpoise swam slowly past, the young calf sticking close to its parent's side. A few distant Little Gulls and my first Shags of the Autumn/Winter season. They are annual here in November but never common

Started the walk up and it was clear it was going to be a quiet day !

A group of 40 Jay flew over Blakeney Harbour heading SW - These are part of the recent big movement taking place in the UK and on continent that seems to be linked to an acorn crop failure. I have never seen any birds from the Point and they just about count as a 'patch tick'
A further surprise was hearing a familiar sound over the sueda near the Watchhouse.... I knew the call but could not think what it was! Then I saw two long tailed birds 'pinging' overhead - Beardies - Another bird I have never seen here despite being common nearby at Cley
I then heard further birds were noted in Wells Wood, so a small local passage was taking place.

Raptors are always a great feature of this time of year and today was no exception with a juv fem Hen Harrier patrolling the dunes and shingle in search of some tired migrants.

The rest of the morning was spent chatting to Joe (warden) about how unpredictable migrants are! And searching for the next big rarity (without much luck!)

... It has been quiet in the county but its only a matter of time before Norfolk hosts something special

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

October 3rd - Kelling

Due to the continuing West winds decided not to walk the Point and decided the more sheltered areas around Kelling might be worth a look

The highlight was a close (ish) Manxie past along with a scattering of seabirds - Kittiwakes, Razorbills, Guillemots, only two distant Sandwich Terns and a few RT Divers

Wheatear, Chiffchaffs and just singles of H Martin and Swallow

..... Kelling Water was devoid of birds other than a few Teal and a few BH Gulls ....

Typical that later in the day Pec Sand and Water Pipit were found there!!

Not having the best of luck so far this Autumn but the fun and games should start next week when we get a bit of E and N breeze .. just in time for the chance of some real Siberian migrants

Westerly winds return

28th September The long awaited visit by my friend Dave Gandy who is now living in Thailand (see Bangkok city birding blog).We had been planning our search for rare birds for months.

The day arrived but so did the start of West winds which made birding hard work. We knew it was an 'all or nothing day' and we were right!

 As we walked towards the Point 4 Spoonbills were the highlight and we reminisced about the previous rarities we had seen along the way. A couple of Song Thrushes (I also heard the first Redwings over my house before we set off), a few Skylark and Mipits were all we could find. At the lupins a pale Sylvia looked good for the Barred which I first found over a week ago in the nearby sueda... We waited and after about 45 minutes what may have been a second Sylvia flew closer to Dave's position and he saw it was a Garden Warbler. So probably a few different birds hiding out in there as I see the Barred was still present by the weekend

 On the way back a few Stonechat, 1-2 Wheatear was all we could manage to strain out of poor migrant hunting conditions!

 Seeing as in the past Dave has always been jammy and coincided his Norfolk visits with days when great birds have turned up (Black Lark being the best), I guess the lucky run was not going to last... Still a pleasant day out and good to catch up.