Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Goodbye Norfolk, hello Yorkshire

So, after 20 months birding NE Norfolk, it is time to move on. It has been great to get to know a new patch, and to do some coastal birding. I have made a few new mates, some of whom I hope to stay in touch with.

I will take some good memories with me;
first White-fronted Geese of the winter dropping in on a misty December dawn at Buckenham, the many exhilarating Otter sightings, the huge Redwing movement in mid-October last year, finding a second Rough-legged Buzzard at Haddiscoe, nailing Ring Ouzels a few minutes walk from my house in April, Bee-eater over the garden followed by finding three Temminck's Stints the next day at Hickling in May, and the anticipation of something big on the coast this autumn, that never really came off, but was exciting nonetheless.

I will miss the flocks of Pink-feet flying over the house at dawn this winter, and being able to nip up to the coast to do some seawatching before work. The wildlife of the area is stunning and the people on the whole have been welcoming and generous with their news.

But soon I will be back in the north. We move to York on Friday and I look forward to getting back out to my old haunts in the York area and on the coast, especially the Lower Derwent Valley. I just hope Yorkshire's cracking spell continues!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Buckenham wader fest

...must have happened another year. The site looks excellent now with all scrapes full of mud and water. Sadly, apart from lots of Snipe, not a single wader shares this view! A quick walk on Wednesday morning was very disappointing, although a calling Tree Pipit flying north saved the day.

Tuesday morning blues

The weather looked perfect. The time of year was great. I had learnt Advanced Bird ID by heart. Sadly, Waxham was dead! A 6.45am start saw a dejected looking Tim Allwood already leaving having seen nothing - not a good omen.
A Redstart near the car raised our spirits however, as we trudged the familiar paths through rain-soaked marram and phragmites. Sadly, the epic fall was not evident. We found two Redstarts, 10 Wheatears round the pipe dump and a few warblers. Biggest miss was a Firecrest which called once from a thick gorse bush, only for me to ignore it as a Goldcrest. Back to basics for me...
A quick look on the sea at 7.45am revealed a Bonxie and two Arctic Skuas. Later, a message came on of a Long-tailed Skua passed Waxham at 7.45am. Some days are just like that...

fem Redstart hiding on the pipe dump

Reg pleading with the copse

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Take 2

With car shennanigans organised, Philip, Reg and me walked from Horsey Gap to the Shangri La at Waxham between 7 and 9.30am. Pretty much the same as yesterday, with a single Lapland Bunting just north of the pipe dump, a Whinchat, a Willow Warbler and 1-2 Hobbies the only birds of note. Views of the Lap Bunt were brief and in flight only, so we are unable to contribute to the whole racial identification debate!

Friday, 3 September 2010


An early morning thrash of Waxham revealed none of the goodies from earlier in the week, but a delightful couple of hours was had before work beckoned. We were knee-deep in Whitethroats and tits (Long-tailed and Blue) at times, with the odd Reed and Sedge Warbler thrown in for good measure, plus a handful of Lesser throats, Blackcaps and a solitary Phyllosc; a Chiffchaff. A couple of Wheatears were around the pipedump, where an overflying Lapland Bunt failed to be nailed satisfactorily.
All in all, lots of fun and left us wanting more, which is how birding should be.