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Sunday, December 30, 2012

30th December

What with poor weather and visiting my mother in-law I haven’t been able to spend much time in the park. When we did manage to have two long walks on Xmas and Boxing Day, there was nothing to get my pulse racing. The best bird being the Water Rail in area 2, the high lake level may not be to it’s liking though.

I have spent the last three days up in Norfolk, where the weather again scuppered my plains a little. It meant that this morning was the only time I had to get out. I thought Cley was my best bet being a 45 minute drive from Stalham our base. I arrived at the Cley NNT Reserve at 8.10am, having seen 2 Barn Owls on the way there.The reserve remained in the shadow of the nearby ridge  until 8.30. There was a brisk SW wind blowing making it feel very chilly. This made birding a little difficult with passerines keeping in cover and sea birds being further out to sea. The most surprising birds on view were Richardson’s Canada Goose (unkown origin) and likewise Sacred Ibis. There are feral populations on the Atlantic coast of France and other Mediterranean countries.

Here are a few pics apart from the Bewick’s Swans all were taken at Cley and Salthouse.

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There is normally a small wintering herd of Bewick’s Swans around the old Ludham Airfield

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Up to 4 Marsh Harriers quartered the reserve constantly putting the ducks and waders to flight.

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Richardson Canada Goose

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Sacred Ibis: this bird unringed turned up a few months ago. Looking at the feathering  on its underwing, if the weather turns really cold it might struggle.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

24th December

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Below are some of my birding highlights for 2012

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Coues’s Arctic Redpoll Titchwell January

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Dark-eyed Junco New Forest January

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Common Yellowthroat Newport March

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Unfortunately the eggs from this birds nest disappeared. The birds below were from Sutton, here 5 birds fledged.

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This showy Little Gull was seen on my annual weekend away with friends in May. Unfortunately this turned out to be the last weekend that Trevor Hill would be joining us. He had been hiding a severe illness and was to pass away a couple of weeks later. He will be sorely missed, but never forgotten.

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Pacific Golden Plover seen at Cley on the day of Trevor's funeral. I know that he would have expected me to pop in and see this strikingly good looking wader. My only other sighting of this species was also at here in August 1990.

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This cracking 1st summer Sabine’s Gull graced Startops Res for several days in July. It was so good I had to see it it twice, unluckily for one birder on my second visit I managed to spoil his photo.

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03.07.12 - Startop's End Reservoir 131

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In August Sally and I had a week away in Pembrokeshire. I was able to enjoy my favourite corvid the Chough almost daily, normally in the Old Deer Park at St Martins Haven.

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In early September the lure of the Short-billed Dowitcher saw Dave, Glen and I leave London at 5.30am. The journey to Weymouth was going better than I thought and we were going to be there before the sun had started to rise. We did encounter some really thick fog, which fortunately remained inland of the coast and didn’t hinder our search for this 2nd UK record. We had good views but a little distant with the early morning sun being a slight hindrance but at least it remained dry.

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I have always meant to call in at Davidstow Airport when on my way to Cornwall. This year I/we (Mark and I) finally managed it on our way to the Isles of Scilly. We had fantastic views of a Curlew and a Buff-breasted Sandpiper. Two species that we would later see on Scillies.

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This Ortolan Bunting seen within an hour of landing on St Mary’s had at least 5 ticks on it’s body and was thought to have been taken by a cat.

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Red breasted Flycatcher

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Bonelli’s Warbler on St Martins

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This Buff-breasted Sandpiper kept close company with a Dotterel on Penninis Head.

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In previous Yellow-browed Warbler numbers would normally increase just as we are about to return to the mainland. This year birds were widely scattered throughout the islands.

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This Sykes’ Warbler was a first for me and the Isles of Scilly.

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I have seen 3 American Golden Plovers on Scillies in recent years, two years ago I found one which was claimed by someone else.

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I have never seen that many Wrynecks on Scillies, we were trying to enjoy this bird but pathetic birders with no field craft kept on flushing it. We gave up, after cursing them.

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The year ended almost where it began, this time the redpoll was even an even scarcer visitor to mainland UK a Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll.

So as you can see it wasn’t a bad year