Thursday 13 August 2020

Season opening

With there being a light easterly aspect to the wind in recent days, I decided to kick the autumn off with a visit to the coast. Things have been a bit odd of late, Polina has been cooped up inside the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital with a badly broken ankle. So, I've been mostly there or in work or travelling to and from both. However, on Sunday evening when the heat of the day had dissipated a little, I headed for Happisburgh. I got there around 6pm and walked to the coastwatch. At the coastwatch, there's a rather large pile of dung / old straw bedding up there which if left there into the autumn will definitely attract birds like Wagtails, Pipits and Chats. Today there was a single juvenile Wheatear, my first of the autumn and a second Wheatear further along the coast path. Earlier in the day James Appleton had a juvenile Common Redstart along the coastal path so things are clearly on the move.

                            Lots of poo to attract insects and birds at Happisburgh Coastwatch.

Temperatures this week have touched the mid-thirties. By 10am its usually too hot to do any birding. I decided on Monday to head for the coast as early as I could and then do the hospital visit when the heat was too much. I arrived at Happisburgh at 6.30am. I did a full circuit from the cricket club to the coastwatch, the cliff path, old caravan park, churchyard and back to the cricket club. The weather was glorious, not too hot. En route to the coast watch, a single Whimbrel passed overhead calling, a sign of autumn for sure. I had several more including a group of three birds in off the sea. I also had a single Tringa in off, which looked good for Wood Sand but was silent and flying away from me. I eventually arrived back at the cricket club from where I had started. As usual I checked the pines by the practise net, it always looks good there but I've never done better than a single Yellow-browed Warbler a few years ago. Today, as I watched a small tit flock, a bird flew in that turned out to be my first Pied Flycatcher of the year. Being aware that there had been a Collared Flycatcher on Spurn the previous day, I was keen to get some shots and decent views of this bird just in case. I consulted with the experts (Nick and Harry) to be sure. Whilst its 'just' a Pied Flycatcher, I'm still more than happy to see it and to open up my autumn account.

                    1w / Juvenile Pied Flycatcher - Happisburgh, Norfolk - 11 August 2020

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