Friday, 4 September 2020

An ultra-confiding Wryneck

 I've just returned from nice a few days at Spurn, and the stand-out highlight was the Wryneck by the Canal Scrape car park. It gave unbelievable views as it sunbathed and hoovered up ants at just a few metres range, much to the delight of the many birders and interested passers-by...





Wryneck loving life!

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Caspian Gulls from Cromer

Had good views of several Caspian Gulls at Cromer in early August before I returned home to Northumberland, but only just got around to editing my photos. Here are a few of my favourites...









Juvenile and first-summer Caspian Gulls

Juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull for comparison

Monday, 31 August 2020

Greenish Warbler at Newbiggin

It took a while for the Greenish Warbler to show on the Ash Lagoon Bank at Newbiggin when I visited this morning, although it was worth the wait in the end. While a bit distant for my camera, the views through the scope were really nice as it moved through the scrub. It was also more vocal than the Greenish Warblers I've seen in the past. A juvenile Spotted Redshank was still at the nearby Woodhorn Flashes too.


Greenish Warbler

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Gull-billed Tern in Suffolk

 One of the highlights of my stay in Norwich a few weeks ago was the adult Gull-billed Tern at Alton Water in Suffolk. I had been persuaded to make the journey there from Norwich by a mate, and in the end I was glad I did as we had some really nice views of it sat on a railing, as well as making several close fly-bys. The only problem was that we visited in the peak of the heatwave when the outside temperature was at a warm 36C - the few photos I took through the heat haze were all a bit blurry...


 

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Exciting August birding...

 At the moment I am lucky enough to be dividing my time between living at home in Northumberland and living in my uni house down in Norwich.

This week I am back up north, and on Sunday I had the chance to catch up with some of the good birds on offer along the Northumberland coast. First up was the Pacific Golden Plover at Longhoughton Steel which gave some really good views just underneath the small cliffs. Much more confiding than the Holy Island bird of last year, we were able to really appreciate this smart bird throughout the time we spent on site. 

Not only was the Plover showing well, there were also decent numbers of seabirds passing offshore. They included at least two juvenile Long-tailed Skuas and a second calendar-year Pomarine Skua, along with several Arctic and Great Skuas, three Sooty Shearwaters, plenty of Manx Shearwaters and a few Roseate Terns

Next we stopped at Druridge Bay Country Park, where the moulting adult White-winged Black Tern was performing well in the drizzle although rarely coming close to the shore. 

Finally, the low water levels on the north pool at East Chevington is proving attractive to waders at the moment, with a smart juvenile Spotted Redshank being the best. The regular turn over of other juvenile waders has been good to see too. 




 

Pacific Golden Plover





White-winged Black Tern

Monday, 10 August 2020

An afternoon in the Broads...

Yesterday morning we were planning on heading to the Broads to look for waders, but when news came through of a Caspian Tern at Hickling Broad we changed our plans and set off quickly. I have had several near misses with Caspian Terns over the last few years so it was a relief when the smart adult individual was still present on Rush Hill Scrape when we arrived. 

We enjoyed some good scope views through the heat haze, and it was sometimes viewable in the same field of view as a Little Stint. A Great White Egret and several Marsh Harriers were flying around too. 

We left mid-afternoon and I picked up an interesting looking raptor while walking back towards Potter Heigham Village. I suspected that it was a Honey Buzzard, and it soon flew right over heads giving us a really good view and confirming the ID. The views didn't stop there as it started circling over the fields and was mobbed by a Sparrowhawk and Common Buzzard before it drifted off north-east. A really nice way to end a great afternoon of birding in the sun.







Adult female Honey Buzzard

Caspian Tern through the heat haze

Great Egret

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Southern Migrant Hawkers

  Last weekend I moved into my Norwich house ahead of uni restarting in September. Since then me and my housemates have very busy catching up with some of the good birds and insects in the area, and I've built up quite a big backlog of photo editing in doing so (with photos from Scotland still to edit as well)!

One of the first trips I made was to Thompson Common, hoping to catch up with Southern Migrant Hawkers - one of my most hoped for dragonfly sightings. At least six males gave a brilliant performance and certainly lived up to my expectations...




Male Southern Migrant Hawkers