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November 2007

Previous months: January 2007 ; February 2007 ; March 2007 ; April 2007 ; May 2007 ; June 2007 ; July 2007 ; August 2007 ; September 2007 ; October 2007

 

Friday 30th November

More Turnstones and things at Brancaster Staithe in my lunch-break (the feeding waders were taken with the new Coolpix and the flying birds with the Canon):

Redshank, Brancaster Staithe, 30-Nov-07 Turnstone, Brancaster Staithe, 30-Nov-07

Redshank (left) and Turnstone (right), Brancaster Staithe, 30th November 2007

 

Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Brancaster Staithe, 30-Nov-07 Teal, Brancaster Staithe, 30-Nov-07

Dark-bellied Brent Goose (left) and Teal (right), Brancaster Staithe, 30th November 2007

 

Bar-tailed Godwit, Brancaster Staithe, 30-Nov-07 Oystercatcher, Brancaster Staithe, 30-Nov-07

Bar-tailed Godwit (left) and Oystercatcher (right), Brancaster Staithe, 30th November 2007

 

Monday 26th November

Tried out the new camera at lunchtime on the hybrid goose that's been in with the Pink-feet wintering in Norfolk for the last five years. This bird's identity is still something of a conundrum. It's widely assumed to be Ross's Goose x Pink-footed Goose and gets put out as such on the bird information services, but there's a lot of reasons to doubt this. The only thing about it that suggests Pink-footed Goose is the flock of birds it's hanging out with. Emperor Goose on the other hand has a lot in common with it.

Hybrid Goose, N of Docking, 26-Nov-07 Hybrid Goose, N of Docking, 26-Nov-07
Hybrid Goose, N of Docking, 26-Nov-07 Hybrid Goose, N of Docking, 26-Nov-07

Hybrid goose (being reported as Ross's Goose x Pink-footed Goose), north of Docking, 26th November 2007

 

Sunday 25th November

I've neglected Sparham Pools a bit recently so spent an hour or so there this morning. Nothing out of the ordinary really, highlight was a large flock of Siskins, my 100th species for the site this year.

I must have taken hundreds of thousands of photos with my Coolpix 4500 since I bought it in 2003 and it's been getting really tired recently. My set of batteries is also getting tired and whereas they would have lasted for over 500 photos when they were new I got just 40 out of them yesterday before they'd all packed up - there's only so many times they can be recharged. With the camera on its last legs and likely to need replacing with something that takes different batteries in the near future, I decided that investing in a new set of batteries for it was probably not a good plan - and so I got a new camera instead. In its time the Coolpix 4500 was the camera for digiscoping, but against current standards it falls behind. However of the current models available none seem to stand out as being the ideal camera for digiscoping. I settled for the next Coolpix up, the P5000, as that way I could still use the same adaptor. There is a newer one out, the P5100, but for a bit more money the increase in performance didn't seem worth it. Not sure if I'll regret that or not!

I'm still happy with the Canon for the flight shots though, not that this morning's attempts are much to shout about.

Grey Heron, Sparham Pools, 25-Nov-07 Long-tailed Tit, Sparham Pools, 25-Nov-07

Grey Heron (left) and Long-tailed Tit (right), Sparham Pools, 25th November 2007

 

Green Woodpecker, Sparham Pools, 25-Nov-07  

male Green Woodpecker, Sparham Pools, 25th November 2007

 

Saturday 24th November

Swanton Morley produced two new species for the year this morning: Scaup and Mealy Redpoll. The Scaup was on Holkham Lake with Tufted Ducks and I'd be interested in hearing people's view as to its age and sex. It was basically good for female Scaup in every respect except the white face patch was much less prominent than on an adult female. Young male? Not sure.

Other wildfowl present included 2 Goldeneyes, 45 Pochards, 94 Tufted Ducks, 27 Gadwall, 1 Wigeon, 1 Shoveler, 2 Teal and 73 Coots.

A couple of Redpolls near the bridge appeared to be obvious Mealy Redpolls but they disappeared before I got any photos. Later 2-3 different Redpolls were nearby feeding in weeds by the river and the edge of Holkham Lake. I managed a couple of record shots of one of these and I'd welcome comments about the ID. Separating Mealy and Arctic Redpolls has always been difificult but separating Lesser and Mealy is supposed to be easy. I used to think it was easy but lately I've started struggling - I don't know if that's because I'm getting rustier as Lessers become scarcer or if it's because they never were as easy as I thought. Anyway, these didn't seem as small and dark as Lesser can be and they had quite prominent pale tramlines down the mantle (not showing in these photos). However they're not obviously pale birds as some Mealies are and the buffish tones continue well down the flanks.

There were also a few Siskins around and 2 Grey Wagtails flew off singing when I disturbed them. A Kingfisher showed well and there were at least 11 Bullfinches around the site.

Scaup, Swanton Morley, 24-Nov-07 Scaup, Swanton Morley, 24-Nov-07

Scaup, Swanton Morley, 24th November 2007

 

Mealy Redpoll, Swanton Morley, 24-Nov-07 Mealy Redpoll, Swanton Morley, 24-Nov-07

Mealy or Lesser Redpoll, Swanton Morley, 24th November 2007. I find some Lesser/Mealy Redpolls quite tricky so let me know what you think about this bird's ID.

Check out this link (click here) and look at the photos down the right hand side. Someone needs to buy the Common Gull a scarf for Christmas.

 

Friday 23rd November

Little Egret, Brancaster Staithe, 23-Nov-07 Redshank, Brancaster Staithe, 23-Nov-07

Little Egret (left) and Redshank (right), Brancaster Staithe, 23rd November 2007

 

Thursday 22nd November

A flock of Pink-feet between Heacham and Ringstead included the Ross's Goose and a family of 3 Barnacle Geese. The same Ross's Goose as seen south of Brancaster on 13th, with a distinctive wing pattern, 3 black secondaries on one wing and two on the other. Are these black secondaries remnants of immaturity? If so then presumably this is a second-winter bird.

Ross's Goose, Heacham - Ringstead, 22-Nov-07 Ross's Goose, Heacham - Ringstead, 22-Nov-07
Ross's Goose, Heacham - Ringstead, 22-Nov-07 Ross's Goose, Heacham - Ringstead, 22-Nov-07

Ross's Goose, between Heacham and Ringstead, 22nd November 2007

 

Tuesday 20th November

Another lunchtime spent at Brancaster Staithe. Despite the rain, a sizeable flock of Twite were nice and there were 6 Goldeneye in the channel.

Turnstone, Brancaster Staithe, 20-Nov-07 Turnstone, Brancaster Staithe, 20-Nov-07

Turnstone (left) and Knots (right), Brancaster Staithe, 20th November 2007

 

Turnstone, Brancaster Staithe, 20-Nov-07  

second-winter Common Gull, Brancaster Staithe, 20th November 2007

 

Saturday 17th November

After a late start decided to head up to Salthouse to see the Pomarine Skua. I've only ever seen them flying past at sea before so this was an opportunity to get a really good look at one, although I completely failed to get any decent shots. Half a dozen Lapland Buntings and at least 3 Snow Buntings were nice but not much else of note.

Lapland Bunting, Salthouse, 17-Nov-07 Lapland Bunting, Salthouse, 17-Nov-07

Lapland Bunting, Salthouse, 17th November 2007

 

Snow Bunting, Salthouse, 17-Nov-07 Snow Bunting, Salthouse, 17-Nov-07

Snow Buntings, Salthouse, 17th November 2007

 

Pomarine Skua, Salthouse, 17-Nov-07 Pomarine Skua, Salthouse, 17-Nov-07
Pomarine Skua, Salthouse, 17-Nov-07 Pomarine Skua, Salthouse, 17-Nov-07
Pomarine Skua, Salthouse, 17-Nov-07 Pomarine Skua, Salthouse, 17-Nov-07
Pomarine Skua, Salthouse, 17-Nov-07 Pomarine Skua, Salthouse, 17-Nov-07

Pomarine Skua, Salthouse, 17th November 2007

 

Pied Wagtail, Salthouse, 17-Nov-07 Jackdaw, Salthouse, 17-Nov-07

Pied Wagtail (left) and Jackdaw (right), Salthouse, 17th November 2007

 

Friday 16th November

Tell me when you're bored with Turnstones...

Turnstone, Brancaster Staithe, 16-Nov-07 Turnstone, Brancaster Staithe, 16-Nov-07

Turnstones, Brancaster Staithe, 16th November 2007

 

Bar-tailed Godwit, Brancaster Staithe, 16-Nov-07 Turnstone, Brancaster Staithe, 16-Nov-07

Bar-tailed Godwit (left) and Turnstone (right), Brancaster Staithe, 16th November 2007

 

Thursday 15th November

Stoat, Stanhoe - Brancaster Staithe, 15-Nov-07  

Stoat, between Stanhoe and Brancaster Staithe, 15th November 2007

 

Tuesday 13th November

Located a large Pink-foot flock at lunchtime today but there didn't seem to be anything much in with them. Then something flushed a large section of the flock that had been out of sight behind a ridge and a Ross's Goose appeared amongst them. Unfortunately after a quick fly around at some distance it then went back down behind the ridge so never allowed a decent look.

Ross's Goose, S of Brancaster Staithe, 13-Nov-07 Ross's Goose, S of Brancaster Staithe, 13-Nov-07

Ross's Goose, S of Brancaster, 13th November 2007

 

Pink-footed Geese, S of Brancaster, 13-Nov-07 Pink-footed Geese, S of Brancaster, 13-Nov-07

Pink-footed Geese, S of Brancaster, 13th November 2007

 

Monday 12th November

More lunchtime snapping at Brancaster Staithe produced mostly rubbish.

Ringed Plover, Brancaster Staithe, 12-Nov-07 Turnstone, Brancaster Staithe, 12-Nov-07

Ringed Plover (left) and Turnstone (right), Brancaster Staithe, 12th November 2007

 

Saturday 10th November

Having been indoors in Warwick for a few days I completely missed the extreme weather we've had this week, but it still looked like it was going to be windy this morning so I set off for Sheringham for a seawatch. Though not as good as yesterday would have been there was still plenty to look at. 100 Little Auks were nice, a species that's always exciting to see. A Puffin was a little more unusual, providing good views as it drifted past. Of the 112 Puffins I've seen at Sheringham over the years this was the first one on the water - they usually just fly by way out in the distance. Scarce divers and grebes included 1 Black-throated Diver, no less than 4 Great Northern Divers, Red-necked Grebe and best of all, a Black-necked Grebe. The latter is scarce in Norfolk and unlike the similar Slavonian Grebe which is often seen on the sea, most records are inland. The only previous records from Sheringham were in April 1991 and January 2003 and this was a patch tick for me! Other interesting sightings included 21 Goldeneyes, Velvet Scoter, Peregrine, Purple Sandpiper and 4 Pomarine Skuas.

Having been away I hadn't heard how the weather had affected Cley and Salthouse, although I imagined that the sea defences wouldn't have held up. Indeed they hadn't and the whole area is completely flooded, which will no doubt spell the end for many of the freshwater birds that the area is famous for. Quite sad, if inevitable, but the new habitat looked quite interesting in itself. The weather had deteriorated by this time so I didn't spend long here, just long enough to see the Grey Phalarope that had been blown in and to take a few snaps of some common birds that were probably wondering why everything was tasting saltier than usual.

Little Auks, Sheringham, 10-Nov-07
Little Auk, Sheringham, 10-Nov-07 Little Auks, Sheringham, 10-Nov-07
Little Auks, Sheringham, 10-Nov-07

Little Auks, Sheringham, 10th November 2007

 

Lapwing, Salthouse, 10-Nov-07 Lapwing, Salthouse, 10-Nov-07

escaped Black Swan, Salthouse, 10th November 2007

 

Lapwing, Salthouse, 10-Nov-07 Egyptian Goose, Salthouse, 10-Nov-07

Lapwing (left) and Egyptian Goose (right), Salthouse, 10th November 2007

 

Teal, Salthouse, 10-Nov-07 Teal, Salthouse, 10-Nov-07

male Teal, Salthouse, 10th November 2007. The left hand photo was my first view - no visible white stripe along the side but what looked like the beginnings of a white stripe down the side of the breast. Unfortunately the initial interest was short-lived as it quickly became clear that the white breast stripe was formed by water droplets, but it had me going for a second.

 

Shovelers, Salthouse, 10-Nov-07 Shelducks, Salthouse, 10-Nov-07

Shovelers (left) and Shelducks (right), Salthouse, 10th November 2007

 

Tuesday 6th November

Lunch at Brancaster Staithe:

Herring Gull, Brancaster Staithe, 6-Nov-07 Herring Gull, Brancaster Staithe, 6-Nov-07
Herring Gull, Brancaster Staithe, 6-Nov-07 Herring Gull, Brancaster Staithe, 6-Nov-07

Herring Gulls, Brancaster Staithe, 6th November 2007

 

Black-headed Gull, Brancaster Staithe, 6-Nov-07 Turnstone, Brancaster Staithe, 6-Nov-07
Turnstone, Brancaster Staithe, 6-Nov-07 Turnstone, Brancaster Staithe, 6-Nov-07

Black-headed Gull (top left) and Turnstones, Brancaster Staithe, 6th November 2007

 

Sunday 4th November

With Pom Skuas abounding at the coast maybe I should have gone there, but with limited time I settled on Swanton Morley again.

Although I don't think they're particularly uncommon in the valley (I saw one at Sparham Pools last December), a Wigeon was my first this year. Other ducks had arrived too including my first Goldeneye of the winter, a Shoveler, 15 Gadwall and 33 Pochard. A flock of 25 Siskins performed nicely, unlike the Redpoll and Brambling which flew over. There were 2 Cetti's Warblers singing today, a new one on Grebe Lake and the old one on Holkham Lake.

Otherwise, at least 1 Water Rail heard, c20 Meadow Pipits, 30+ Skylarks, 100+ Fieldfares over, 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Kingfisher, 2 Treecreepers and other bits and pieces like that.

Siskin, Swanton Morley, 4-Nov-07 Fieldfare, Swanton Morley, 4-Nov-07

female Siskin (left) and female Goldeneye (right), Swanton Morley, 4th November 2007. Out of 6 Goldeneye frames shame the only vaguely sharp one was while it was behind a tree.

 

Siskin, Swanton Morley, 4-Nov-07 Siskin, Swanton Morley, 4-Nov-07

male Siskins, Swanton Morley, 4th November 2007

 

Grey Heron, Swanton Morley, 4-Nov-07 Fieldfare, Swanton Morley, 4-Nov-07

Grey Heron swimming (left) and Fieldfare (right), Swanton Morley, 4th November 2007

 

Little Grebes, Swanton Morley, 4-Nov-07

Little Grebes, Swanton Morley, 4th November 2007. I never realised that Little Grebes were scared by Great Crested Grebes before: these swam away from the shore as I approached but when they found themselves approaching 3 Great Crested Grebes, they paused, started to turn back, realised that meant they were heading back towards me and flew off to the side.

 

Mute Swan, Swanton Morley, 4-Nov-07 Mute Swan, Swanton Morley, 4-Nov-07
Mute Swan, Swanton Morley, 4-Nov-07 Mute Swan, Swanton Morley, 4-Nov-07

Mute Swans, Swanton Morley, 4th November 2007

 

Cetti's Warbler

Click here to hear a Cetti's Warbler

 

Saturday 3rd November

Given that we only moved in to our house at the end of September 2006 it's remarkable how few new birds I've managed to add to the house list this summer. However, the last couple of days have seen two additions - a Bullfinch heard calling as I lay in bed yesterday morning and an Egyptian Goose heard messing around outside this morning (around for a while but I never did see it), bringing the house list total to 60. Also of housey interest, a Tawny Owl was sitting in full silhouetted view at the back of the garden and being very noisy in the middle of the night.

 

Thursday 1st November

Couldn't find the Pink-feet at lunchtime so spent it photographing a Kestrel instead.

Kestrel, Titchwell, 1-Nov-07 Kestrel, Titchwell, 1-Nov-07
Kestrel, Titchwell, 1-Nov-07 Kestrel, Titchwell, 1-Nov-07

Kestrel, Choseley Road, Titchwell, 1st November 2007

 

 

Previous months: January 2007 ; February 2007 ; March 2007 ; April 2007 ; May 2007 ; June 2007 ; July 2007 ; August 2007 ; September 2007 ; October 2007

Next month: December 2007

Current month

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Should anyone care about my 5 km circle year-list, I've seen (or heard) 123 species within 5 km of my home at Bawdeswell (species marked with an * asterisk are new this month):

  • Mute Swan
  • Greylag Goose
  • Canada Goose
  • Barnacle Goose
  • Egyptian Goose
  • Ruddy Shelduck
  • Shelduck
  • Wigeon *
  • Gadwall
  • Teal
  • Mallard
  • Pintail
  • Shoveler
  • Red-crested Pochard
  • Pochard
  • Tufted Duck
  • Scaup *
  • Goldeneye
  • Goosander
  • Red-legged Partridge
  • Grey Partridge
  • Pheasant
  • Little Grebe
  • Great Crested Grebe
  • Cormorant
  • Shag
  • Little Egret
  • Grey Heron
  • Honey-Buzzard
  • Red Kite
  • Marsh Harrier
  • Sparrowhawk
  • Buzzard
  • Kestrel
  • Hobby
  • Peregrine
  • Water Rail
  • Moorhen
  • Coot
  • Oystercatcher
  • Little Ringed Plover
  • Golden Plover
  • Lapwing
  • Snipe
  • Woodcock
  • Bar-tailed Godwit
  • Whimbrel
  • Greenshank
  • Green Sandpiper
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Black-headed Gull
  • Common Gull
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull
  • Herring Gull
  • Great Black-backed Gull
  • Common Tern
  • Stock Dove
  • Woodpigeon
  • Collared Dove
  • Turtle Dove
  • Cuckoo
  • Barn Owl
  • Little Owl
  • Tawny Owl
  • Swift
  • Kingfisher
  • Green Woodpecker
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker
  • Skylark
  • Sand Martin
  • Swallow
  • House Martin
  • Meadow Pipit
  • Grey Wagtail
  • Pied Wagtail
  • Wren
  • Dunnock
  • Robin
  • Wheatear
  • Ring Ouzel
  • Blackbird
  • Fieldfare
  • Song Thrush
  • Redwing
  • Mistle Thrush
  • Cetti's Warbler
  • Sedge Warbler
  • Reed Warbler
  • Lesser Whitethroat
  • Whitethroat
  • Garden Warbler
  • Blackcap
  • Chiffchaff
  • Willow Warbler
  • Goldcrest
  • Spotted Flycatcher
  • Long-tailed Tit
  • Marsh Tit
  • Willow Tit
  • Coal Tit
  • Blue Tit
  • Great Tit
  • Nuthatch
  • Treecreeper
  • Jay
  • Magpie
  • Jackdaw
  • Rook
  • Carrion Crow
  • Starling
  • House Sparrow
  • Chaffinch
  • Brambling
  • Greenfinch
  • Goldfinch
  • Siskin
  • Linnet
  • Lesser Redpoll
  • Mealy Redpoll *
  • Crossbill
  • Bullfinch
  • Yellowhammer
  • Reed Bunting

 

Escapes

  • Blue-winged Goose
  • Chiloe Wigeon
  • Rosybill
  • Night Heron