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Sunday, 5 November 2017

Sightings at Cley Marshes (5th November 2017)

Despite there being plenty of sunshine on the north Norfolk coast, temperatures struggled to exceed 8°C throughout the morning.

The following was seen since 9.00am:
Little Egret x 2
Stonechat x 2 - The pair were seen close to the Visitor Centre and Coast Road. They have been seen at the same location in recent years. 
Marsh Harrier x 2 - The pair were circling on the northern edge of Pat's Pool throughout the morning. At one point a male landed on one of the scrapes (see image below). 

Marsh Harrier on one of the Pat's Pool scrapes.
Pintail x 1 - A single bird sitting with a large number of Wigeon on Simmonds' Scrape.
Goldfinch x 4
Buzzard x 1
Grey Phalarope x 1 - It landed briefly in front of the hide on Whitwell Scrape and then proceeded to fly around the water for a couple of minutes. Also seen by other birders at Walsey Hills and near the East Bank. 
Dunlin x 12
Knot x 1 - A single bird seen with the Dunlin, on the edge of Simmonds' Scrape.
Sanderling x 1 - Again, a lone bird seen on the northern side of Simmonds' Scrape with 3 Ruff. 

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Sightings at Sculthorpe Moor (21st October 2017)

The weather was surprisingly warm given that it was late October, with temperatures typically around 13°C. It was also good to see a significant increase in bird activity compared to our previous visit in September.

The following was seen since 8.00am:
Tawny Owl x 1 - There were excellent views by Whitley Hide, as the adult was perched in the entrance to the owl box throughout the morning. 
Goldfinch x c100 - A large flock, possibly in excess of 100 birds, was continually moving around the reserve. Some people had reported seeing a few Siskin hidden among the finches. 
Chaffinch x 7
Buzzard x 3
Red Kite x 1 - Seen briefly above the scrape, in front of the Tower Hide. 
Jay x 1
Nuthatch x 2
Sparrowhawk x 1 - Viewed on two separate occasions, flying above Oak Fen. 
Goldcrest x 1
Long-tailed Tit x 5
Coal Tit x 1
Marsh Tit x 2

Despite our best efforts we unable to see any Brambling, despite reports of a pair being seen on the feeders just outside the Tower Hide. Usually there would be significantly higher numbers at this time of year, but with the unusually warm weather it's perhaps not all that surprising.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Sightings at Cley Marshes (24th September 2017)

It was surprisingly warm with temperatures easily reaching 19°C by midday. There was also an easterly wind with speeds rising to around 12mph.

We arrived at the East Bank car park at around 9.12am and proceeded to walk to the beach, to carry out a seawatch. We then made our way back to the visitor centre and after having some lunch, spent the afternoon in Daukes Hide. 

The following was seen from 9.12am until 2.00pm:
Gannet x 9 - A mixture of adult and juvenile birds were diving for food along Cley beach.
Brent Goose x 34
Little Egret x 3
Manx Shearwater x 2 - The pair of birds were again seen from Cley beach and flew west towards Blakeney. 
Wheater x 1 - A single bird seen perched on the sand ridge, just north of Arnold's Marsh. 
Meadow Pipit x 2 - One individual was seen close to the Wheater on the same ridge.
Curlew x 1
Kestrel x 2
Buzzard x 1
Ruff x 13 - The majority were seen on Simmonds' Scrape with some in the process of moulting, displaying a large amount of white feathers on the head and neck.
Dunlin x 6 - All were seen on Simmonds' Scrape.
White-front Goose x 1 - A single bird seen hidden among a flock of Greylags. It then proceeded to fly away with the rest of the flock. 
Little Stint x 5 - All were seen on Simmonds' Scrape.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Sightings at Sculthorpe Moor (17th September 2017)

Another quiet day at Sculthorpe Moor with a mixture of sunshine and rain throughout the morning.

The following birds were seen from 8.00am:
Great Spotted Woodpecker x 1
Kingfisher x 1 - At least one individual seen regularly flying around the reserve, using the the dyke (next to Oak Fen) as a passageway. As was the case last week, it then continued to feed in front of Whitley Hide. It was hovering for long periods of time and diving into the water.
Nuthatch x 2
Bullfinch x 1
Coal Tit x 1
Kestrel x 1
Jay x 5
Buzzard x 4
Greenfinch x 4
Goldcrest x 1

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Sightings at Sculthorpe Moor (2nd September 2017)

An usually quiet day at Sculthorpe, but probably not all that surprising given the time of year. The weather was reasonably warm, throughout the morning, with temperatures remaining steady at around 18°C.

The following was seen since 8.00am:
Chaffinch x 4
Bullfinch x 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker x 3
Little Egret x 1
Grey Heron x 1
Common Sandpiper x 1 - The single bird initially landed near the Paul Johnson hide and disappeared, but it then made a brief reappearance and flew into the reed bed. 
Nuthatch x 2
Coal Tit x 2
Little Grebe x 1
Jay x 8
Kestrel x 2
Buzzard x 1
Kingfisher x 2 -  Seen feeding in front of the Whitley Hide, whilst a second bird was seen flying along the dyke near Kingfisher Bridge.
Marsh Tit x 2
Swallow x 8

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Sightings at Cley Marshes (22nd August 2017)

We arrived at the East Bank car park at around 8.45am, to find the temperature distinctly lower than it had been further inland. As the day proceeded it did became considerably warmer and we ended up wearing t-shirts for most of the day.

Unfortunately we were unable to see any signs of the Hobby, despite the recent sightings being fairly regular over the last few days.

However, what was a pleasant surprise was the sighting of an Otter moving up the main drain, alongside the East Bank. It was seen from a distance, at around 9.45am, and continued to move towards Salthouse.

According to some of the local birders there are three in total and this one was heard calling by the bridge, possibly to the others nearby.

The following was seen throughout the morning:
Little Egret x 9
Avocet x 6
Meadow Pipit x 1 - A single bird was seen near Blakeney Eye, at the end of the East Bank.
Reed Bunting x 1
Curlew x 12 - All seen together directly opposite the Babcock Hide.
Egyptian Goose x 3
Green Sandpiper x 1 - A solitary bird seen moving along the water's edge in front of the Babcock Hide.
Ruff x 7
Greenshank x 1 - Another singular bird seen in front of the Babcock Hide.
Kestrel x 1
Grey Heron x 1
Golden Plover x 3
Sandwich Tern x 1

Monday, 31 July 2017

Trip to the Cairngorms (24th to 30th July 2017)

We arrived at Blair Atholl on the Monday and from here we were able to explore the local lochs and the rest of the Cairngorms throughout the week.

Despite the constant forecasts of persistent rain, the only heavy downpours happened on the Wednesday. The rest of the week resulted in more localised light rain showers that didn't last for more than an hour or two. 

Rather than writing a report on all the places we visited I have included a summary below of what was seen and where. However, the main places of interest were RSPB Loch Garten, Loch of the Lowes, and Cairngorm Mountain.

Red Squirrel - Seen close to our campsite in Blair Atholl but also seen on the peanut feeders at RSPB Loch Garten, outside the Osprey Centre.
Osprey - The first pair were seen on the Tuesday at Loch of the Lowes. There were good views of the fledgling, as it was perched close to the nest (with blue ring PH2). It then proceeded to devour a pike that had be given to it by one of the parents. 
The second pair also provided a similar spectacle at Loch Garten. The parent suddenly appeared, with the younger bird, and dropped the fish in the nest for the juvenile to take elsewhere and eat. 

Snow Bunting at Cairngorm Mountain

Snow Bunting - At least 2-3 individuals were seen in close proximity to the viewing platform at the top of the Cairngorm Mountain. 
Crested Tit - There were 3-4 individuals seen in the pine trees, on the left, close to the entrance at Loch Garten at around 10.00am. Despite our best efforts we were not able to find them later that morning.

My son as we walked across the highlands.

At the entrance to the RSPB Loch Garten reserve.

Siskin -  A pair were seen, through the glass doors, on the feeders just outside the Osprey Centre at RSPB Loch Garten. 
Yellowhammer - A pair were seen on the feeders outside the windows of the visitor centre (see image below) at the Loch of the Lowes reserve.
Spotted Flycatcher - A single bird was seen in the woodland, alongside the pathway, as we made our way back from the walk to Loch Mallachie.
Dippers - A total of 5 individuals were seen as we walked along the River Tilt from Blair Atholl to Aldclune. At one point 3 were seen within a few meters of each other, perched on the rocks, underneath the bridge of the A9.

Viewing window for the feeders at the Loch of the Lowes visitor centre.

Red Grouse - A single bird was seen from the window of the train, on the funicular railway, as we made our down the Cairngorm Mountain. 
Wheatear - What appeared to be a recent fledgling, was seen perched on a fence post close to the car park for the funicular railway.
Meadow Pipit - Also seen at the bottom of the Cairngorm Mountain, close to the ticket station.
Grey Wagtails - They were seen at several locations around the local area, but far the highest numbers were seen along the rocky shoreline on the River Tilt between Blair Atholl and Aldclune.