Monday, 15 June 2009

Can I Count It As A Find?

Quick answer: No! But let me explain...
When news of a female Red-backed Shrike at Holkham appeared it took me a while (well 10 min!) to decide to go for it. I arrived at the Washington Hide just before 11 am (I cycled down before you ask!) There were only two people in the hide and they hadn't seen the Shrike. However, whilst searching, I kept hearing bird song of varying variety(!) I mentioned it to the others, but only one heard something interesting. I mentioned the mimicry and Marsh Warbler was mentioned in passing! Unfortunately, it stopped singing as a couple of other birders arrived. 1/2 hour later there was no further sound, so I resigned it to a mimicking Reed Warbler (there was one singing nearby) and decided to go further a field to look for the Shrike! At 1 pm the pager went off the say a Marsh Warbler was singing just west of the hide at 12.55 - bit surprised I didn't get a phone call first. I cycled back quickly and after a few minutes the bird was heard and even seen briefly. The Red-backed Shrike was relocated by the original finders (who also identified the Warbler - thanks guys) so we went to see this, showing well, and returned to the Marsh Warbler. The bird seemed to have a small circuit, singing briefly and showing even more so. Storm approach and we left before the rain (and a picture!)

Marsh Warbler. Okay, it's not in there, but it was!

Friday, 5 June 2009

Distant, but No Controversy!

An after work visit to Rushills Scrape, Hickling Broad brought distant, but good scope views, of the female Red-necked Phalarope. Fortunately, Philip was on sight and mentioned that both Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper were on sight. He quickly pointed out the Little Stint and as I scanned across the Curlew Sandpiper was seen, both were in full summer plumage. This was fortunate as these birds quickly disappeared, presumably back to Swim Coots.

Monday, 1 June 2009

All's Well That Starts Well!

What a start to June! (seeing birds that I could have finished May with!)
The day began with a dawn start at Hickling. I met AK and at 4.50 am he picked up the Great White Egret at distance, flying north with a Grey Heron. The bird perched for a while then went down in the reed bed. Hobby, Bittern (also booming) and a distant Crane were seen (with a much closer, but brief, Crane encounter later) amongst other birds. Whilst returning via Rush Hills The Egret flew west no more than 20 m away, landing near Swim Coots. A couple of more distant views showed the bird was spending some time on / over the NWT Reserve, so I made my way round and had superb views as it eventually flew over my head and back to Higham Holmes.

A showy but brief Cetti's Warber at Hickling.
Back at the NWT car park news broke of the return of the Pratincole. A long and arduous journey ensued, but the bird didn't show whilst I travelled. On site the wait was interrupted by a call of Montagu's Harrier and a female drifted past. 'There it is,' immediately came and we assumed it was the for the Monties, but there 'it' was, the Black-winged Pratincole! The phrase 'showing well', really is an understatement for this bird as it, literally whizzed above our heads!
You get the picture!
Anyone for Oriental next week? Would be great to get all three!
News of a possible Iberian Chiffchaff was quashed as it was identified as a mix singing Willow Warbler - would have been nice, but not today!
Lovely mixture of other wildlife at Hickling.