Sunday, 16 October 2011

A 'Typical' Autumn Day's Birding in Norfolk!

After the madness of Friday evening and the first winds from a reasonable direction this autumn, it was decided that some decent bird searching was in order (and later, if the Robin was still present, we would return for better views).

We hit the coast for first light and slowly started to make our way through suitable habitat. There was plenty of activity: thrushes, robins and a larger number of Dunnocks that would be expected locally, all made there presence known as they called from their roost sites.

A thin, sharp, robin-like alarm call, came from a hedge-line in the early light, from a slim robin-like bird seen as silhouette, so presumably a Robin! It was lost to view!

One of the first birds really noted was a Richard's Pipit calling, unseen, as it moved west. Another call, although not recognised at the time, was also heard as we headed towards to sea. T here was some movement overhead, although not as much as hoped for. The call from earlier was heard again, definitely seaward. We thought it was gull-ish, but nothing we'd heard before. I scanned the sea and saw a close diver take off and disappear west. I inquired if this could have made the call. We listened to Red-throated Diver, which it obviously wasn't. Then a call was played that was an exact match - Black-throated Diver, the first I'd ever heard!

Although, a few Siskins and Bramblings could be picked out, the sea produced to next good bird, as a winter plumaged Black Guillemot was found, drifting east. Three Pintail were also of interest and again there was a small trickle of ducks, auks and Gannets. A distant Marsh Harrier moving east over the sea was interesting, as well as another, seemingly prospecting its new land-fall before drifting south. A single Short-eared Owl was picked up coming in from the NE and finally ditching down safely to re cooperate. A group of 6 Little Gull were noted.
A 'phone call alerted us to a nearby Yellow-browed Warbler that had been heard, so we headed off in that direction. No sooner as we arrived at the location, the bird called twice, allowing me to locate it and get good views of this delightful bird. However, this was interrupted by news on the pager of a Radde's Warbler that had been trapped and would be released at 11.30am at Weybourne. Deciding we had enough time, we made our way over and were privileged to be there when the bird was shown before being released by the car park.
One of the assembled crowd decided to voice his opinions about the ethics of ringing and I took it upon myself to 'argue' the case! He was rather surprised when I told him I wasn't even a ringer!

We decided to continue to try to find our own birds and scoured Friary Hills to no real avail! Wrens and Robins were showy, though!

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