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For previous years (2012-2019) see the links on the Whitlingham Bird List page.

Thorpe Station Marsh

31st March 2009

I braved the dogs to check out Thorpe Marshes again, hoping to see the Little Ringed Plover. Again I was unsuccessful, despite scanning every bit of mud and gravel I could see! If anyone knows exactly where to look, do share ;-) I did manage decent views of a Green Sandpiper, 2 Oystercatchers and 2 Kingfishers before the long walk back.

Whitlingham (10)

30th March 2009

The latest in my Whitlingham extravaganza. Not surprisingly, there was a similar range of species to the 27th, although I dipped a reported Goosander, continuing my poor luck at finding this species at Whitlingham. The Siskin flock was down to 2 birds, the Black Swan had moved to the Little Broad, and five Shoveler had re-appeared. The first birds of note were two Sand Martins that flew over high, and I had a run of Kingfisher, Cetti's Warbler and Chiffchaff around the conservation area. The bird of the day was a singing Willow Warbler, which I think is my earliest record.

Year list 156 species.

Salthouse & Cley

29th March 2009

Train & Coasthopper to Salthouse. We walked around Gramborough Hill, which was Wheatear-less. The walk to Cley was productive, a female Garganey and a Green Sandpiper amongst others. There were huge numbers of Meadow Pipits, maybe we could ween Sea Eagles onto them instead of lambs and bitterns. Incidentally, after painstaking research I found evidence that Sea Eagles were native to Norfolk and can therefore be reintroduced! Unfortunately it was stolen from me by the Easter Bunny, who then jumped into the Bermuda Triangle. Doh!
At Cley we saw an out-of-place Rock Pipit (migrating north?) at the end of the East Bank, along with some summer plumage Black-tailed Godwits. Walking to the visitors centre, I spotted a small raptor flying through and briefly tangling with a Marsh Harrier. It's identity caused confusion, my thought process was basically calling out names of birds of prey, followed by "no!" It then flew swiftly off towards Blakeney, leaving us with the conclusion it was an escaped something. Bizarrely we got home to find that an escaped Saker had been reported from Salthouse and Blakeney. A check in the book confirmed that was indeed the bird we saw, and I feel slightly happier that it wasn't just me not being able to identify raptors! Also it's the first time I've jammed in on a good bird in ages.

Year list 154 species.

Whitlingham (9)

27th March 2009

Ignoring the weather forecast I went down to Whitlingham again, determined to find a migrant! Along the Little Broad a Mealy Redpoll was with the Siskin flock, showing a deep pink on the breast. Unfortunately the light was too poor for decent photos. At the edge of the Little Broad two Grey Wagtails flew along the bank, the third consecutive trip I've seen GW in the past few days, maybe new arrivals?

The conservation area was quiet, a Kingfisher along the river and three Little Grebes of note. Around the front the drizzle set in, but a nice bonus was a Black Swan gliding along. Having brought my camera, I was looking to get pictures of the geese, and had a look at a domestic-type goose, only to notice the two geese with it had Swan Goose-coloured necks. The beaks recall birds I saw last year, which I put down as Swan Geese. As they had knobs on the beak, internet research suggests it may be more accurate to say they were Chinese Goose (a domesticated form of Swan Goose) and the birds pictured are likely to be Chinese Goose x Greylag Goose. Interesting birds, and whilst looking at them, a hybrid Canada x Greylag swam into view as well.

Thorpe Station Marsh

25th March 2009

Following an interview in the morning, I decided to have a look round Station Marsh, on the offchance that some migrants actually fancy coming near me this spring. Omens were good, a Grey Wagtail flew from boat to boat on the river opposite the station as I walked through the city, my 2nd in successive days. Unfortunately the marsh didn't live up to my optimism, 4 gull spp, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Coot, Tufted Duck, Egyptian Goose and Mute Swan being the only species visible. Careful scanning of every available bit of gravel viewable from the path failed to give up Little Ringed Plover or Rock Pipit, both regular species when it was still a working gravel pit. Chiffchaff and Cetti's Warbler called, and brief compensation was a Common Buzzard (only my 5th record for the Whitlingham/Thorpe area), which flew over then quickly soared upwards into the clouds.

Norwich (Wensum walk)

24th March 2009

An afternoon walk along the river as far as Sweetbriar. My first Little Egret around Norwich was a nice surprise, seen in flight being mobbed by crows. We also saw a Grey Wagtail just past the inner ring road, and heard several Chiffchaffs. Whilst having a pint of Wherry, I saw 16 species from the Gibralter Gardens pub garden!

Holt & Salthouse

22nd March 2009

Following a brief and unsuccessful attempt to locate the Dipper at Hunworth, me & Dad went to Holt Lowes to look for adders. We found 4, as well as 2 Common Lizards and a Slow-worm.

Afterwards we called in at Salthouse for a cup of coffee (the coffee van at the beach car park serves better coffee than you can get in Norwich!) and a quick Wheatear hunt. Still negative, but I did add Spotted Redshank to my Norfolk list, and photograph 2 possible Caspian Gulls.

Wherryman's Way

19th March 2009

Fancying a walk, and still trying to find my own Garganey (it's fine, I've given up now, I'll wait until August and twitch one at Cley ;-0) I roped Adam into getting the bus to Rockland and walking back to Norwich. The day started well, 3 Chiffchaffs singing in the car park, creating a slightly disorientating atmosphere. I managed to home in on one singing from a conifer. A Kingisher called as it flew across the staithe. Not much about on the broad, although we obviously missed a treat as the sightings board had "a shark chasing another shark, wow awesome" as a recent entry.

A walk around Wheatfen was pleasant, we had a chat with David Nobbs the warden, who directed us to some good examples of Scarlet Elf Cup fungus. I finally got my Cetti's Warbler, with one shooting across the path. A walk around Surlingham Church Marsh was fairly birdless, 20-odd Teal and 2 Shelduck the only wildfowl. Through Bramerton and a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker called and then flew out of the top of a tree, a surprising find. At the top of the hill, the resident Lapwing were calling occasionally. Whitlingham was disappointing, a Little Grebe was probably the highlight.
Scarlet Elf Cup

Year list 151 species.

In the evening I managed to drag my aching limbs to the Horse & Dray, where we won the pub quiz, with the aid of intelligence-giving Adnams Explorer.

Waxham & Horsey

17th March 2009
Second part of the Wheatear hunt. Me & Adam went to Waxham, for an admittedly over ambitious early migrant hunt. The walk along the dunes between Waxham and Horsey was unproductive and hampered by fog. We found a flock of Reed Bunting, numerous Skylarks and more flocks of Meadow Pipits. At Horsey we looked over onto the beach where ~150 Grey Seals were lounging. We walked back down the Nelson Head track and I managed to see two Common Cranes across the fields. A walk around Horsey Mere failed to add any more species, but we got good views of Barn Owl and Marsh harrier. An early Grass Snake was basking by the path, and two more Cetti's Warblers called from cover.

On the way home we stopped at Walcott, where we managed to locate the Mediterranean Gull, almost in full summer plumage.

Year list 149 species.

Brecks & Burnham

15th March 2009
A trip out with Gary and Adam. Our first destination was a place in the Brecks to observe Goshawks. Its got to the point where its an open secret, I was amazed to dind about 25 cars parked opposite. Anyway, if you see a Red-tailed Hawk, you're probably close ;-) Following a few false alarms (Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, distant Kestrel, aforementioned Hawk) we finally got distant views of a soaring Goshawk. Not particularly spectacular, but its a lifer, and hopefully the next one will be self-found and closer to earth! A further bonus was a flyover Iceland Gull and three calling Crossbills.

Later we called in at Roydon Common. We had been informed that a Great Grey Shrike was showing well "near the car park", failing to mention there were two car parks. After trying the first one, we went to the much more plausible looking second one. Sure enough, we could see the shrike from the car, allowing distant record shots. A cruise around Wolferton Triangle was unsuccessful, and there was no sign of the Rough-legged Buzzard over Dersingham marshes.

To end the day we decided to go Wheatear hunting at Burnham Overy. Suffice to say we didn't see any, however at the end of the dunes closest to the pines, Adam saw what looked like a Dartford Warbler fly down into some scrub. It called twice, confirming Adam's ID, although the brief views through levels of branches made the viewing experience for me worse than the Goshawk! Later a Dunnock flew out of the bush, in turn flushing another bird, presumably the DW, but we couldnt relocate it.

Year list 147 species.

Whitlingham (7)

13th March 2009
A trip to Whitlingham to look for spring migrants. No Garganey or Sand Martins, but I did clock up a long overdue Lesser Redpoll. In the conservation area a Kingfisher shot past, and I was taunted by at least three Cetti's Warblers (still haven't seen one this year). Of note were three sinensis-Cormorants and five pseudo-scaup female Tufted Ducks. Part of the broad was being dredged, so I couldn't get all the way round. A number of Chiffchaffs were reported today, so a first sighting shouldn't be far away!

Year list now 142 species.

Rosary Cemetery

10th March 2009
A walk around Rosary Cemetery and Lions Wood, produced very little, although I had good views of a calling Nuthatch. The older part of the cemetery was carpetted in crocuses, looking rather nice.

Felbrigg & North Walsham area

7th March 2009
A day out around North Walsham with Adam. We were picked up from the station and dropped at Felbrigg Hall in the morning. The woods were fairly quiet, a Siskin and a pair of Coal Tits of note. Towards the lake a huge flock of Redwing flew up, and a Little Egret on a pool nearby was the first either of us have seen here. Eventually we located the Mandarin, 5 males and 3 females at best count. A Grey Wagtail flew along the stream towards the woods. near the donkey paddocks we heard, and eventually saw, a Nuthatch. We then went and had tea and a scone at the NT cafe.

After lunch we went to Walcott to look for Med Gull. No luck, but extensive gull searching did turn up a 3rd-winter Caspian Gull, my first of the year. There were 25-30 Turnstone along the sea wall, along with one Sanderling. We stopped at two patches of woods near Witton, flushing two Woodcock, 4 Roe Deer and 3 Muntjac Deer. Later in the day I walked through Spa Common and along the edge of Bacton Woods, seeing very little!

Year list 141 species

Siberian Thrush

No, I didn't see it. Balls. And whats more annoying is that starling with the strange long claws that I had started painting eyebrows on with my Poundland white paint has gone missing too.

Read all sorts of conspiratory nonsense here:

3rd March 2009

Cathy's birding education continued with a visit to Titchwell. The hides produced the usual stuff, 200+ Avocet, decent numbers of Pintail and some grotty Herring Gulls that I couldn't turn into Caspian. Scrutiny of the saline marsh yielded 2 Ringed Plover, 1 Grey Plover and 2 Black-tailed Godwit. A prolonged seawatch was ultimately disappointing, a diver I squinted at for 15 minutes turned out to be Red-throated, and there was a distinct lack of Eider or Long-tails. A few Goldeneye & Red-breasted Mergansers later I called it quits. On the way back to the visitors centre the brent flock settled on a large pool, and I managed to find the Black Brant. On the way back I was able to see a Slavonian Grebe & 2 Little Grebes in Wells Harbour.

Year list 139 species.

28th February 2009

With a lull in watchable Norfolk birds (the Penduline tit appears to have buggered off and can't get to Wolferton to hunt for Rough-legs), me & Adam took the train to Oulton Broad. Luckily the Black-throated Diver was sat close to the road. Whilst Adam was taking photos, it flew to the west end soon after and wasn't seen for the rest of the day. Going into the Nicholas Everitt Park, a beautiful male Wood Duck gave good views, as did a Red-crested Pochard x Mallard hybrid.

We walked down to Lowestoft Docks, and saw 5 Kittiwakes (2 juveniles) sitting on old nests at the harbour entrance. Looking back from Hamilton Dock we saw a lone Shag. We walked up to Ness Point, where unfortunately the tide was in. We did see 8 Purple Sandpiper, numerous Turnstones and a large flock of Linnet.

Year list 138 species (+6 non-BOU)