Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hunstanton social club

No sign of the Alpine Swift returning to its roost but a pleasant social gathering all the same. The adult White winged Black Tern showed well at Welney WWT on the way up, and the Little Bittern reappeared at Titchwell RSPB after an absence of 3 days when it was assumed to have dissapeared from the reserve. This was only my 3rd lifer of the year and showed well for at least 15 minutes perched in the reeds to the left of the main ditch, making short flights from the ditch to the edge of the main pool.

Spring Half term

The first few days of half term were dominated by strong winds and rain with several days stuck mostly indoors. The one reason to be outside was because of the good numbers of Manx Shearwaters passing along the coast (200+ past the Norfolk sea watching capital of Sheringham) and the chance for one or two to stray into The Wash, providing me with my MOST WANTED Snettisham tick. Though it was clear that there WERE birds moving offshore, the seemingly endless rain and the condensation on the lens every time I looked through the eye piece made it impossible to look through the scope and keep an eye on the sea for any length of time. A group of 5 Kittiwake close in shore were the highlight of several failed attempts, including a short lived 4:30 start in truly awful conditions. Not that Kittiwake wouldn't normally count as a highlight, these birds were a delight to see... it just wasn't the bird I was after.

Whitethroat at Stewartby Lake... taken after dipping the Caspian Tern

Scarce migrants made an appearance towards the end of the week, and included a wide scattering of Red backed Shrikes, one of which we saw in the reedbed at Cley NWT (my first ever male) Honey Buzzards showed well at Ryburgh and Nightjars gave good views around Sandringhm (the distinct lack of midges making the experience rather more comfortable than it has been in the past!) A male Woodchat Shrike turned up on one of the fencelines running across Holme Marsh, giving reasonable views once the heat of the day had died down, but the main prize came in the form of Norfolk's first spring Booted Warbler which showed well on and off along Blakeney point, just before half way house. On my return from the plantation the crowd had dwindled to just 5 observers, and it wasn't long before I was the only person left watching the bird. With a bit of patience the bird showed well at fairly close range and was my 2nd sighting of the species, following the West Runton individual in September 2003.

Spoonbill and Arctic Tern, seen during the course of the week, both counted as local patch ticks, taking my total Snettisham List to 205 species (92% of which has been self found) with 181 species seen from or within the Coastal Park recording area.


My accomodation for the 6 months... right in the middle of the reserve at the back of the car park

From July 21st up untill December 22nd I will have adopted a new local patch down at Dungeness Kent volunteering for the RSPB on a long term basis. Staying so close to the pits, and being the first person out on the reserve in the morning, I should be in with the chance to find one or two decent birds.... Squacco Heron, Glossy Ibis, Great spotted Cuckoo, Audoins Gull, Laughing Gull, Red footed Falcon, Woodchat Shrike, Melodious Warbler, Red rumped Swallow, Bee eater and Great Reed Warbler all seen so far in 2007.

My own predictions...

Penduline Tit
Tawny Pipit
Raddes Warbler
Short-toed Treecreeper
White winged Black tern (Not rare enough? all right then... Bridled)

Baleric Shearwater should be farily easy and Long tailed Skua should find its way onto my temporary patch list, both of which would be lifers.