Saturday, 26 September 2020

Shrikes and seawatching

Following my yomp down Blakeney Point and despite the aching and tired limbs, I returned to north Norfolk on Sunday morning to catch up with the 1st winter Brown Shrike found by Alex Berryman earlier that week. This was only the second record for Norfolk. I had seen the first one a few years ago at Weybourne but that was a very fleeting glimpse. 

I arrived at Warham Greens bang on 7am and walked towards Garden Drove and along the coastal path to where I met with three other birders who immediately got me onto the bird. The light was poor but the bird was sitting up on a dead branch with the distant pines of East Hills as its back drop.

                                    1st winter Brown Shrike, Warham Greens, Norfolk - 20th September 2020

It didn't sit out like that for long and soon went missing. We relocated it 10 minutes later sitting in the hedgerow of the nearest field but it kept the assembly of birders at arms length. 

After enjoying the bird for a further 30 minutes I decided with Nick to head towards Burnham Overy Dunes and see if anything was doing there. The winds were a brisk east blow but without any rain to drop migrants, we didn't expect too much. And that's more or less how it turned out. 2 - 3 Common Redstarts and a few Northern Wheatears including one very bulky and upright male, were the best we could muster. 

I returned home and was pleasantly surprised to see this juvenile Grey Wagtail in the back garden. I never even had a fly-over bird so this was an unexpected and most welcome garden visitor.

                                   Juvenile Grey Wagtail - Norwich, Norfolk - 20th September 2020

I didn't see it again after that. We recently had a pond put in the garden so I suspect it was passing over, saw the pond and dropped in to check it out before moving on.

I 'nocmigged' most evenings the following week until the weather turned on Thursday. Best I had were a couple of Dunlin and a fly-over Coot (which was new for the garden).


This recording would have been almost perfect if I hadn't left the sitting room window open and the tv blasting out - d'uh!

Once the weather turned there was no chance for much birding. The rain on Friday was incessant and the winds really picked up later that day and overnight. However, myself and Nick did give Happisburgh a go for some seawatching and managed an adult Sabine's Gull, Sooty Shearwater and two probable Arctic Skuas. However the winds had clearly done a bit of damage at the local cricket club.

Fallen trees at the Cricket Club - less cover though for rare Phylloscs!! 
Part of the cricket club pavillion roof - at least the football that was stuck up there is down now!


                            And the 'piece of resistance' - A Full English from the Kingfisher Cafe in Walcott


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