Monday, 29 August 2011

Bank Holiday birding

Up to four Spotted Redshanks were at Kelling Quag, included this one of three juveniles.
Apologies for the late post. I seem to spend much of my working time connected to the web, researching, writing, tweeting and updating, so it’s weird when it suddenly comes to a halt. For that to happen, all I have to do is head to north Norfolk for the weekend – no web connection or TV, and barely even a mobile phone signal (thanks O2 for the frankly duff coverage map).

We were up on the coast by early Saturday afternoon, and a couple of hours later I was heading along the coast road to Cromer, where both Greenish and Western Bonelli’s Warblers had been performing. An earlier message had intimated news of an escaped Burrowing Owl at nearby East Runton and, as I drove past the caravan site there, a spotted ball of feathers on a bank just a few metres from the road caused me to brake rapidly. Couldn’t resist a couple of snaps …

Don't get too excited - the tell-tale red colour ring renders this cute cage-breaker thoroughly untickable.
Arriving at Warren Wood in Cromer, another birder smiled when he saw me setting up my big lens in preparation for the impending feast of Phylloscs. “You won’t need that, mate,” he sniggered – and he was right. The birds were duly elusive, but I did eventually get fleeting views of both as they moved about on generally the wrong side of the canopy, the Bonelli’s being marginally more showy than the Greenish.

A Merlin was an unexpected sight at Kelling - August seems early for this diminutive falcon in Norfolk.
Curlew Sandpipers have been everywhere in Norfolk these last few days. These three juvs were at Kelling.


 One of two juvenile Red Knot that dropped in at Kelling on Bank Holiday Monday.

Another Spotted Redshank - one of my favourite waders having a good old wing stretch.

Can you spot the interesting gull? (Trick question - they're all interesting).
Birding was otherwise focused mainly on the Kelling area, with a few ticks for this newly adopted long-distance patch. Best of the bunch was an early Merlin found sitting in a ploughed field before chasing the local passerines, but Manx Shearwater, Arctic Skua, Spotted Redshank, Curlew Sandpiper and Mediterranean Gull were all also welcome local birds.

A Manx Shearwater heads west into the wind off Kelling Hard.
Having bumped into Moss Taylor again here (I first met him while on a YOC course in Sheringham in 1974), it was also good to make the acquaintance of local birders Malcolm and Sally, among others. The area is being well covered at present – doubtless more good birds to come during the autumn.

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