27th December 2009
My Fudge notes. The blue line on the left is a scanner artefact.
We took a slow drive along the coast as far as Walcott, but didn't see the Cranes. Lots of Lapwings around Brograve farm though. Back in Norwich we stopped at Whitlingham, and after a short walked along the south shore my scope was full of diver. Presumably the Strumpshaw bird, I had hoped it would drift along to Whitlingham before Christmas, but better late than never. It was diving a lot, and will hopefully make its home there for a while so I can get better views later in the week. The broad was full of Coot and Gadwall, and a Grey Heron looked uneasy on a post, as if it was minding the space for a Cormorant and hoping it wouldn't be long. I might put a photo of the diver up, but its hardly worth it, it was so low in the water you can only see a third of its body!
A white-bearded dude goes duck spotting
Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria) in Whitlingham Woods
7th November 2009
Saturday started with rain, and I was considering not bothering to leave the house until Gary called to say he was already at Sheringham. Sportingly he came and picked me up from the city, and we headed to Burnham Market to search for the Snow Goose that has been in the area for the past few weeks. To cut a long story short, we searched between 6000-7000 Pink-footed Geese, in three large flocks and a number of small ones, over the course of a day. The possibilities are extensive, Snow, Barnacle, Tundra Bean, Whitefront, Ross' etc. We saw one Pale-bellied Brent Goose. Bugger. But at least we were out looking. We did detour to Holme briefly in the hope of picking up the Rose-coloured Starling seen heading West from Titchwell, and managed to see two Shorelark for our troubles. On the way back Gary relocated the GW Teal at Cley, along with a Water Pipit.
Great White Egret in the rain.
Great. Now where's my Blue-winged Teal?
Bearded Tooth Fungus at Trowse Woods
The consensus appears to be Harbour Porpoise, another dead mammal tick!
Tame Snow Bunting
After work I managed to get a lift down to Stoke Holy Cross mill, where there were no ibis. I walked along the road to Caistor St Edmund Roman Town, scanning the ibis-less fields, before bumping into Gary and Nick Elliston at Caistor, to be informed that there were no ibis on the stretch of the river there. We teamed up and looked out at all possible vantage points between the mill and Caistor, with no joy. I never liked ibis anyway. My hopes are now pinned on early morning Saturday.
Me & ibis in happier times
Red-necked Phalarope at Cley
With good seawatching days at a premium, me & Adam got up at 4:30 to get an early train to Sheringham. Arriving at 6:50, we found that half of the birdwatchers in Norfolk had similar plans, and settled for a vantage point on the top of the main shelters. Signs were good, Gannets were passing close in, and further out a number of Arctic Skuas were tern-bothering. As it turned out, the views were good but little out of the ordinary was seen. Two Great Skuas flew slowly west at close range, as did a Red-throated Diver. A single Balearic Shearwater was flew east, whilst an auk sp. flew west. Adam watched it for longer than I did and suggested Puffin, but without seeing the bill it has to go down as a possible. Whilst we were there a Long-tailed Skua was reported, but we didn't see it.
I forgot my camera, so here is a nice drawing I did when I got home.
A microlight, or "large eagle sp." as they are commonly known in Norfolk. Maybe.
Year list 215 species (206 Norfolk)
Ring-necked Parakeet at St James' Park. Easy to hear, but I was chuffed to actually find it amongst the leaves.
"And remember, you'll see most things if you walk along the skyline wearing garish colours and shouting. What's that Brian, you have a drum? Excellent!"
Enjoy the pond scum whilst you can...
Year list 210 species.
Upon arriving home I see that the Great-spotted Cuckoo has been relocated - hopefully it will stick around this time!
Usually stumbling across this beauty sheltering from the rain would be a once in a lifetime experience in Britain. Unfortunately, this wasn't in Buckinghamshire, it was at Pensthorpe. Before you snear too much, I would point out that it was unringed and not in one of the enclosures. According to the little I can garner from the internet, there is a small feral population on the Pensthorpe estate. Whether they are the result of releases from surrounding shooting estates, or the Phantom Pheasant Releaser Of Sculthorpe Moor, who can tell. Anyone who knows more, do share. Anyway, although their release was probably illegal, and may eventually lead to hybridisation with more naturalised Goldies, it was still a nice bird to see (well done Cath for spotting it!)
The rest of the trip came under the shadow of several storms, including one with large hailstones, which we sheltered from in the wader scrape hide. On the scrape was a Green Sandpiper, but I missed a Wood Sand that turned up shortly after, and would have been a year tick. A few butterflies about, and I managed to get a lucky shot of a Comma in flight.
Following the cancellation of the Eastern Lights motorbike cavelcade, me & dad were left with a free day. We headed to Holt C.P. to try and photograph White Admirals, but the clouds never broke and we didn't see a single one. A number of other butterflies (Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White and Peacock), plus mating Yellow-tail moths and a Buff Footman were of note, along with some early fungi.
Tricholomopsis rutilans ("Plums and Custard")
After lunch at the Pigs in Edgefield, we went on to Cley, to take distant pictures of the Spoonbills (9 today) and rack up more butterflies (Small Tort, Painted Lady, Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Brown Argus, Common Blue and 6-spot Burnet moth). A scan of Arnold's Marsh revealed Ruff, Sandwich Tern and Common Tern, no sign of the Roseate Tern that had been there half an hour earlier according to a birder returning from North Hide. We went to Salthouse for a cup of coffee then returned home.
Year list 208 species.