Welcome to my new blog for 2012, i hope you enjoy sharing my travels.
Well for the 2nd week running we found ourselves back on the south coast, twitching (successfully this time!) the Hooded Merganser, which one of our crew needed, the rest of us had unexpectedly had the Chilham bird in Kent accepted.
We re-visited the Red-breasted Goose at Farlington, still looking as stunning as last week if slightly more distant.
Walpole Park, Gosport was the next stop for the regular wintering Ring-billed Gull, looking slightly dishevelled around the gape. Showed very well indeed and all it took was a loaf of bread.
A final stop was made at Thursleigh Common in Surrey but despite searching we could not find the wintering Great Grey Shrike.
Well Autumn appear to be over, with a bit of a whimper unfortunately!
A quite year on Scilly where we spent 2 weeks, just arriving in time to see the Sykes Warbler on Tresco, my only tick of the autumn, the rest of the trip produced highlights such as Solitary Sandpiper and Buff-bellied Pipit but little else to get the pulse racing - Oh well it was bound to be slow compared to the previous year, next years return trip is assured.
East coast birding has produced Little Bunting and Little Auk but the hoped for Pallas Warbler never materialised, these eastern gems are always the highlight for me of late October.
Anyway yesterday a trip to the south coast for Hooded Merganser produced a dip, although the stunning Red-breasted Goose at Farlington showed well, it would be interesting to get to the bottom of just how long this bird has been returning, surely it is the same bird seen at West Wittering in previous years. The day was rounded off with Black-necked Grebe at Frensham Great Pond although it only gave scope views.
After weeks of westerlies the winds finally relented and had a touch of east in them, instant migrants on the East coast had us heading for North Norfolk.
The Barred Warbler that had taken about 2 hours to glimpse last weekend showed very well if a little distant for good photos, moving on to the observatory a very flighty Red-breasted Flycatcher gave us brief (mainly flight) views. 4 Brambling in the car park demonstrated the change in weather conditions.
Titchwell car park was full so we headed to Wells Woods where we saw at least 2 Yellow-browed Warblers around the Dell, as usual with this sight finding the flock and staying on it was the key.
Warham Greens was up next where an adult Red-breasted Flycatcher had been found and although mobile showed very well at times, it supported a stonking orange flush to the throat and breast in complete contrast to the earlier Holme bird.
Back to Titchwell but no sign of either the Pectoral Sandpiper (despite people claiming Dunlin at every opportunity!) or the Bairds Sandpiper which seems to show for an hour every 5 days!
News of a Short-billed Dowitcher in Dorset sent us to the south coast, Jayne needed the bird as she missed the Cleveland bird that the rest of us saw. Expecting very distant views i was pleasantly surprised to find the bird showing on arrival at about 75 yards distance, still not ideal for photos but great scope views.
Next up was Portland where a Monarch butterfly was present, presumably from across the atlantic but possibly from a more southern direction, anyway it fed unconcerned with the local Red Admirals only a few feet away from the appreciative crowd.
Not much to be seen around the obs, just a Peregrine so we decided to head for pastures new in search of a Wryneck at Durlston Country Park. With the complete absence of birders at the site it soon turned into a needle in haystack job, so we turned our focus to butterflies as the last of the summers Lulworth Skippers were still on the wing.
A great day, Scillies now only 4 weeks away if only we knew what the helicopter company was planning!
A very quite day spent wandering around Norfolk, not seeing much at all (oh well the sibes will arrive soon)!
Only real bird of note was a very early Purple Sandpiper at Titchwell feeding on the old brick house on the beach, totally unconcerned by the various birders, dog walkers and general public.