Sunday, 25 September 2011

Out of County!

With the continued prevalence of South-westerly winds across the country, littering parts with American waders and the occasional passerine and a dearth of an Easterly flow or even anything from the South, Dave and I decided to head further afield. Not to Aberdeen or the far South-west for any 'real' ;) ticks, but to Lincolnshire for a 'real' birders bird - the American Black Tern, that had been present for a while now.

On-route we made a dawn stop off to experience an amazing gathering of Stone Curlews. Even in the dawn light, with an atmospheric mist possibly effecting the full count, we still manged to muster over 100 birds. Strangely, considering how vocal a species these can be, an eerie silence emitted from the field!

Onwards to Covenham Reservoir in Lincolnshire and we were soon watching the subtle, yet distinctive American Black Tern, currently treated by most authorities as a distinct sub-species, but not a full species. Even in 1st winter plumage the comparative darkness of the non-contrasting upper parts were evident, as were the dusky grey flanks and pale underwing.
(look out for some 'real' flight pics that will appear on!)

After a period the bird landed and showed exceptionally well.

Also present were two confiding Little Stint, as well as two Ringed Plover:

An imm Marsh Harrier and one, maybe two Common Swift passed over.

From here, we thought we would take the opportunity to catch-up with the adult Sabine's Gull and Grey Phalarope at Grafham Water (the Gull was reported flying west, but we hoped it was still around, although we finally concluded that it wasn't). A slight mis-calculation lead us to the North Shore, where both inland Shag and Gannet were found!
Reorienting to the dam, the Grey Phalarope, as well as a Ringed Plover and Dunlin were showing well.

A number of Yellow Wagtails were present with Pied Wagtails and included a couple of 'interesting' birds. One we thought was 'definitely' of the headed variety, but whether it was 'just' blue-headed or possibly from the further east we aren't sure!

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A Couple to Catch-up!

I was fortunate to catch up with the Grey Phalarope at Cley, as well as watching some interesting behaviour between an adult and its young Great Crested Grebe at Sparham. The adult was an expert catcher, but would then seemingly dive and wait for the young to also dive to take the fish for itself!

A few more other pics in a quiet time of westerlies in Norfolk!

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Sunday, 11 September 2011

Julian Bhalerao: Little Bittern, Titchwell

Obviously he was not happy with the reeds (or people's heads for that matter!)

(Also please note, I only post pictures taken by him in separate posts using his name or initials!
Please don't think he could ever take pictures the 'quality' of mine!!!)

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Saturday, 10 September 2011


Finally decided to go up to Titchwell around mid-day (having disappointingly watched England scrape through their first match in the Rugby World Cup) and met up with JB, patiently waiting for the Little Bittern to show - well maybe not that patiently as we irately talked about the inconsistencies of certain people's birding morals :) Fortunately, Steve refound the Bittern further down the track and, after some reed filled views, the bird showed wonderfully well! The Buff-breasted Sandpiper was rather distant, but still appreciated as it feed with Ruff and nearby Curlew Sandpiper. There were plenty of Pied Wagtails, but I couldn't find a Citrine, but a well-marked Yellow Wagtail was probably one of the 'headed' varieties. Although probably still around, I didn't see the Cattle Egret.

Edit below!

Obviously the observant ones amongst you have been wondering why I posted pictures of three Ruff, but to polite to ask. Well the truth is you are more observant than I am! No deliberate mistake here (just reaffirming some people's judgements)! Assumptions were made and I learn from my mistakes! I really should carry a scope! Thanks to JB for his patient and non-patronising correction!!

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Cley After Work, Thursday

Not quite as planned, but fortunately JB was on plan to confirm the continued presence of the Citrine Wagtail, at the time from Daukes Hide. There were still good numbers of juv Curlew Sandpipers, as well as a showy Little Egret. The Cattle Egret had moved on.

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