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February 2008

 

Friday 29th February

Another Stonechat today, this time at Wells. Also a white thing at Holkham as I drove past, presumably a Ross's Goose as one was reported in the same field, but I didn't stop.

Curlew, Wells, 29-Feb-08  

Curlew, Wells, 29th February 2008

 

 

Thursday 28th February

A pair of Stonechats at Choseley and back at the ranch there were 2 moths in tonight: my first Hebrew Character and what I think was a dark Chestnut but might possibly have been a Dark Chestnut.

Hebrew Character, Bawdeswell, 28-Feb-08 Stonechat, Choseley, 28-Feb-08

Hebrew Character, Bawdeswell, 28th February 2008

 

female Stonechat, Choseley, 28th February 2008

 

 

Wednesday 27th February

Lunch at Flitcham produced 2 Buzzards and another one of those pesky Harlequins that are taking over the world. Once they've finished getting rid of all our nice friendly native ladybirds they'll be coming after us...

Harlequin Ladybird, Flitcham, 27-Feb-08 Pheasant, Flitcham, 27-Feb-08

Evil Harlequin Ladybird (left) and Pheasant's wing (right), Flitcham, 27th February 2008

 

 

Sunday 24th February

Sparham Pools was quiet, although Oystercatchers and Shelduck have returned for the summer and a pair of Goosanders was still present. Out of curiosity I compared the number of species I've seen in my local 5 km circle so far this year with last year's total for at the end of February - both identical at 84.

Yesterday a presumed Teal x Tufted Duck was reported at Cantley Beet Factory and, being the only birder in the UK remotely interested in such things, I thought I'd see if I could find it (well, if I start talking to most birders about hybrids their eyes glaze over and they start snoring). Eventually I did locate it, although never close enough to get good photos. An odd bird indeed and at the moment I'm not sure what its parents were. There are more photos on my Hybrid Ducks page (click here) together with some commentary.

Also at Cantley Stonechat, 2 Grey Wagtails, Cetti's Warbler, 3 Pintails and 2 Green Sandpipers.

Stock Dove, Cantley BF, 24-Feb-08 Grey Wagtail, Cantley BF, 24-Feb-08

Stock Dove (left) and Grey Wagtail (right), Cantley Beet Factory, 24th February 2008

 

Stock Dove, Cantley BF, 24-Feb-08 Stock Dove, Cantley BF, 24-Feb-08

Stock Dove, Cantley Beet Factory, 24th February 2008

 

Hybrid duck, Cantley BF, 24-Feb-08 Hybrid duck, Cantley BF, 24-Feb-08

Hybrid duck, Cantley Beet Factory, 24th February 2008

 

 

Saturday 23rd February

Swanton Morley produced stuff like Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, etc. and my first local Little Egret of the year. A party of Mallard x Egyptian Goose hybrids appeared last August and hung around for about a month but I'd not seen them again until late January when one re-appeared briefly. Today two of them were present again, at least I assume they were two of the same four, although one now has a completely dark head which wasn't the case in the autumn. This time they were up a tree behaving like they were going to breed.

The albinistic Great Crested Grebe that was present for one day in October was back again today, on the same lake as before (not one where there's usually grebes present). It's now pretty much in summer plumage but still has pale blotches on its back. I'll spare you the photos as they're rubbish, but if you're interested they're on the Great Crested Grebe page.

Back at home a Pheasant was having a good look round the garden. I often see them in the field behind but this was the first to actually come into the garden.

Mallard x Egyptian Goose, Swanton Morley, 23-Feb-08 Mallard x Egyptian Goose, Swanton Morley, 23-Feb-08
Mallard x Egyptian Goose, Swanton Morley, 23-Feb-08 Mallard x Egyptian Goose, Swanton Morley, 23-Feb-08

Mallard x Egyptian Geese, Swanton Morley, 23rd February 2008

 

Great Crested Grebe, Swanton Morley, 23-Feb-08 Great Crested Grebe, Swanton Morley, 23-Feb-08

Great Crested Grebe, Swanton Morley, 23rd February 2008

 

Coot, Swanton Morley, 23-Feb-08 Great Spotted Woodpecker, Swanton Morley, 23-Feb-08

Coot (left) and Great Spotted Woodpecker (right), Swanton Morley, 23rd February 2008

 

Pheasant, Bawdeswell, 23-Feb-08 Pheasant, Bawdeswell, 23-Feb-08

male Pheasant, Bawdeswell, 23rd February 2008

 

Crocuses, Bawdeswell, 23-Feb-08 Miniature Iris, Bawdeswell, 23-Feb-08

Crocuses and Miniature Irises (thanks to David Collins for the ID), Bawdeswell, 23rd February 2008

 

Blue Tit, Bawdeswell, 23-Feb-08  

Blue Tit, Bawdeswell, 23rd February 2008

 

 

Friday 22nd February

A Great Northern Diver was reported at the fishing lakes beside the RSPB carpark at Snettisham this morning. I just about have time to get there in my lunchbreak, though I wouldn't have time to get on to the reserve itself. When I arrived there were a few people enjoying excellent views of the diver and although it had just started to feed I was told it had just been loafing around all morning. Not sure how many people had seen it during the morning and gone away happy they'd seen a Great Northern Diver, but when I clapped eyes on it I was surprised to discover that it was in fact a Red-throated Diver. Although Red-throated Diver is a far commoner species in Norfolk, it's a species I've never managed to get any decent photos of, whereas I have some reasonable shots of Great Northern, so I didn't really mind. Some of those present had come here having altered their plans to go and see the Great Northern Diver at Blickling so they weren't so happy with this revelation! A plastic Ross's Goose was also present with the Greylags.

Red-throated Diver, Snettisham, 22-Feb-08 Red-throated Diver, Snettisham, 22-Feb-08
Red-throated Diver, Snettisham, 22-Feb-08 Red-throated Diver, Snettisham, 22-Feb-08

Red-throated Diver, Snettisham, 22nd February 2008

 

Ross's Goose, Snettisham, 22-Feb-08 Ross's Goose, Snettisham, 22-Feb-08

presumed escaped Ross's Goose, Snettisham, 22nd February 2008

 

 

Tuesday 19th February

Lunchtime at Sandringham - it was the only place I could think of where I could get close enough to any birds to be able to see them through the fog. Too dark for many decent photos though.

Grey Squirrel, Sandringham, 19-Feb-08 Blackbird, Sandringham, 19-Feb-08

Grey Squirrel (left) and Blackbird (right), Sandringham, 19th February 2008

 

 

Monday 18th February

Burnham Overy is a great place if you've got plenty of time for a walk but it hasn't been up to much when I've lunched there previously. Nothing unusual today either but it provided some nice photo opportunities. I've noticed lately that reducing the size of photos to publish them here results in a huge loss of quality, in a way that never used to happen. Can't figure out why - if anyone has any bright ideas please let me know!

Redshank, Burnham Overy Staithe, 18-Feb-08 Redshank, Burnham Overy Staithe, 18-Feb-08

Redshank, Burnham Overy Staithe, 18th February 2008

 

Turnstone, Burnham Overy Staithe, 18-Feb-08 Ringed Plover, Burnham Overy Staithe, 18-Feb-08

colour-ringed Turnstone (left) and Ringed Plover (right), Burnham Overy Staithe, 18th February 2008

 

Grey Plover, Burnham Overy Staithe, 18-Feb-08 Grey Plover, Burnham Overy Staithe, 18-Feb-08

Grey Plover, Burnham Overy Staithe, 18th February 2008

 

 

Sunday 17th February

Nice morning, not many birds. At Swanton Morley a pontoon of 21 Snipe was feeding on the flood and Holkham Lake was awash with Cormorants. A total of at least 65 were present, which I'm sure the fishing community are delighted about. Expected, but always enjoyable, records included 2 Kingfishers, 2 Marsh Tits and a few Siskins. More unusually, a Woodcock flushed from the swampy bit between the road and Curly's Lake, my first at Swanton Morley.

Carrion Crow, Swanton Morley, 17-Feb-08 Dunnock, Swanton Morley, 17-Feb-08

Carrion Crow (left) and Dunnock (right), Swanton Morley, 17th February 2008

 

Greylag Goose, Swanton Morley, 17-Feb-08 Tufted Duck, Swanton Morley, 17-Feb-08

Greylag Goose (left) and Tufted Duck (right), Swanton Morley, 17th February 2008

 

 

Saturday 16th February

A Bittern has been present on the small pond at Beeston Common near Sheringham for about six weeks but news only seeped out about it late last week-end. This week it's been performing well for all and sundry but today was my first opportunity to visit. The pond was frozen and it was sat out in the open among the reeds well back from the edge. Occasionally it moved around a bit but didn't feed while I was there. After a while it went for a wander through some brambles and eventually took flight. It appeared to go down not far away but I don't think it was seen again.

Most views of Bitterns I've had have been in flight over extensive reed-beds and the few views I've had of birds on the deck have never been as prolonged as this. It's behaviour was interesting to watch - it often did a little belly dance, shaking itself from side to side.

After this I popped into Cley to see if I could get better photos of the White-crowed Sparrow. I couldn't: the light was rubbish and I didn't have a clear view of the area when it was showing.

Bittern, Beeston Common, 16-Feb-08 Bittern, Beeston Common, 16-Feb-08
Bittern, Beeston Common, 16-Feb-08 Bittern, Beeston Common, 16-Feb-08
Bittern, Beeston Common, 16-Feb-08 Bittern, Beeston Common, 16-Feb-08

Bittern, Beeston Common, 16th February 2008

 

White-crowned Sparrow, Cley, 16-Feb-08 White-crowned Sparrow, Cley, 16-Feb-08

White-crowned Sparrow, Cley, 16th February 2008

 

Common Gull, Salthouse, 16-Feb-08 Black-headed Gull, Salthouse, 16-Feb-08

Common Gull (left) and Black-headed Gull (right), Salthouse, 16th February 2008

 

Jackdaw, Salthouse, 16-Feb-08 Jackdaw, Salthouse, 16-Feb-08

Jackdaws, Salthouse, 16th February 2008

 

Mallard, Salthouse, 16-Feb-08 Mallard, Salthouse, 16-Feb-08

Mallards, Salthouse, 16th February 2008

 

White-crowned Sparrow, Cley, 16-Feb-08  

Chaffinch, Cley, 16th February 2008

 

Friday 15th February

My second moth of the year was a crazed beast flying around manically and hiding under cupboards and things when it needed a rest, hence rubbish photos. I eventually worked out that it was a Chestnut, another new species for me.

Chestnut, Bawdeswell, 15-Feb-08  

Chestnut, Bawdeswell, 15th February 2008

 

 

Thursday 14th February

Saw the adult Black Brant at Wells again this lunchtime. On the way there a Barn Owl was hunting between Burnham Market and Holkham.

Black Brant, Wells, 14-Feb-08 Black Brant, Wells, 14-Feb-08
Black Brant, Wells, 14-Feb-08 Black Brant, Wells, 14-Feb-08

adult Black Brant, Wells, 14th February 2008

 

 

Wednesday 13th February

Grey day...

Knot, Brancaster Staithe, 13-Feb-08 Knot, Brancaster Staithe, 13-Feb-08

Knot, Brancaster Staithe, 13th February 2008

 

Grey Plover, Brancaster Staithe, 13-Feb-08 Knot, Brancaster Staithe, 13-Feb-08

Grey Plover (left) and Black-tailed Godwit (right), Brancaster Staithe, 13th February 2008

 

 

Sunday 10th February

First moth of the year this evening, and a new species: Dotted Border.

Before that I went to Salthouse with a view to photographing the hybrid Green-winged Teal that's been present there recently. Some of these hybrids (Green-winged x Eurasian) show a prominent white vertical breast stripe (as in Green-winged Teal) and an equally prominent white horizontal stripe (as in Eurasian Teal) but many, like this one, show a much weaker vertical stripe and are more overlookable amongst the normal "Eurasian" Teal. Nobody on site seemed to know anything about the bird and neither were they interested; indeed I'm not sure if anyone else saw it when it put in a very brief appearance. At least 70 tame Snow Buntings continued to feast on the seeds being put out by the photographers.

Teal x Green-winged Teal hybrid, Salthouse, 10-Feb-08 Teal x Green-winged Teal hybrid, Salthouse, 10-Feb-08

Hybrid (Eurasian) Teal x Green-winged Teal, Salthouse, 10th February 2008

 

Snow Bunting, Salthouse, 10-Feb-08 Snow Bunting, Salthouse, 10-Feb-08
Snow Bunting, Salthouse, 10-Feb-08 Snow Bunting, Salthouse, 10-Feb-08
Snow Bunting, Salthouse, 10-Feb-08 Snow Bunting, Salthouse, 10-Feb-08

Snow Buntings, Salthouse, 10th February 2008

 

Lapwing, Salthouse, 10-Feb-08 Lapwing, Salthouse, 10-Feb-08

Lapwing, Salthouse, 10th February 2008

 

Pied Wagtail, Salthouse, 10-Feb-08 Pied Wagtail, Salthouse, 10-Feb-08

Pied Wagtail, Salthouse, 10th February 2008 (no, it's not upside down!)

 

Teal, Salthouse, 10-Feb-08 Teal, Salthouse, 10-Feb-08
Teal, Salthouse, 10-Feb-08 Teal, Salthouse, 10-Feb-08

Teals, Salthouse, 10th February 2008

 

Dotted Border, Bawdeswell, 10-Feb-08  

Dotted Border, Bawdeswell, 10th February 2008

 

 

Saturday 9th February

Bintree Woods produced Willow Tit, Brambling and 3 Buzzards. Then went to Titchwell hoping to photograph the Water Pipit that's been there recently. No sign of that, so had to make do with Black Brant, Peregrine, Stonechat and 12 Marsh Harriers at dusk.

Spotted Redshank, Titchwell, 9-Feb-08 Spotted Redshank, Titchwell, 9-Feb-08

Spotted Redshank, Titchwell, 9th February 2008

 

Little Grebe, Titchwell, 9-Feb-08 Black Brant, Titchwell, 9-Feb-08

Little Grebe (left) and Black Brant (right), Titchwell, 9th February 2008

 

Siskin, Titchwell, 9-Feb-08 Reed Bunting, Titchwell, 9-Feb-08

Siskin (left) and Reed Bunting (right), Titchwell, 9th February 2008

 

Pied Wagtail, Titchwell, 9-Feb-08 Pied Wagtail, Titchwell, 9-Feb-08

Pied Wagtail, Titchwell, 9th February 2008

 

Ruff, Titchwell, 9-Feb-08 Ruff, Titchwell, 9-Feb-08
Ruff, Titchwell, 9-Feb-08 Ruff, Titchwell, 9-Feb-08

Ruffs, Titchwell, 9th February 2008

 

Shoveler, Titchwell, 9-Feb-08 Shoveler, Titchwell, 9-Feb-08

Shovelers, Titchwell, 9th February 2008

 

Shelduck, Titchwell, 9-Feb-08 Shelduck, Titchwell, 9-Feb-08

Shelducks, Titchwell, 9th February 2008

 

Snipe, Titchwell, 9-Feb-08 Golden Plover, Titchwell, 9-Feb-08

Snipe (left) and Golden Plover (right), Titchwell, 9th February 2008

 

Lapwing, Titchwell, 9-Feb-08 Lapwing, Titchwell, 9-Feb-08
Lapwing, Titchwell, 9-Feb-08 Lapwing, Titchwell, 9-Feb-08

Lapwings, Titchwell, 9th February 2008

 

Goldeneye, Titchwell, 9-Feb-08  

Goldeneye, Titchwell, 9th February 2008

 

 

Tuesday 4th & Wednesday 5th February

Lunchtime snaps:

Teal, Brancaster Staithe, 4-Feb-08 Teal, Brancaster Staithe, 4-Feb-08

Teals, Brancaster Staithe, 4th February 2008

 

Teal, Brancaster Staithe, 4-Feb-08

Turnstones, Brancaster Staithe, 4th February 2008

 

Redshank, Thornham, 5-Feb-08  

Redshank, Thornham, 5th February 2008

 

 

Saturday 2nd February

The snow failed to bring in any interesting birds to Sparham Pools or Swanton Morley - highlights at Sparham Pools were Barn Owl and 5 Goosanders and at Swanton Morley there were 7 Snipe. Thankfully the attempts to repair the riverbank last autumn didn't hold up to the rain we had 2-3 weeks ago and the meadow across the river is flooded once again. Hopefully they won't bother fixing it again and we'll have a good piece of habitat for waders and stuff. A Grey Wagtail was at Bylaugh water treatment works.

Long-tailed Tit, Sparham Pools, 2-Feb-08 Goosander, Sparham Pools, 2-Feb-08

Long-tailed Tit (left) and Goosander (right), Sparham Pools, 2nd February 2008

 

Long-tailed Tit, Swanton Morley, 2-Feb-08 Long-tailed Tit, Swanton Morley, 2-Feb-08

Long-tailed Tits, Swanton Morley, 2nd February 2008

 

Egyptian Goose, Swanton Morley, 2-Feb-08 Egyptian Goose, Swanton Morley, 2-Feb-08

Egyptian Goose, Swanton Morley, 2nd February 2008

 

Greylag Goose, Swanton Morley, 2-Feb-08 Greylag Goose, Swanton Morley, 2-Feb-08

Greylag Geese, Swanton Morley, 2nd February 2008

 

Pochards, Swanton Morley, 2-Feb-08 Treecreeper, Swanton Morley, 2-Feb-08

Pochards (left) and Treecreeper (right), Swanton Morley, 2nd February 2008

 

Rook Bylaugh, 2-Feb-08 Rook Bylaugh, 2-Feb-08

Rooks, Bylaugh, 2nd February 2008

 

 

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