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March 2008

 

Monday 31st March

Another Little Egret standing in a field beside the road, this time at Sculthorpe.

Early Grey, Bawdeswell, 31-Mar-08 Early Grey, Bawdeswell, 31-Mar-08

Early Grey, Bawdeswell, 31st March 2008

 

 

Sunday 30th March

Spent way too much time indoors on what was a glorious spring day. Did manage a quick look round Sparham Pools but nothing much seemed to be doing there.

Egyptian Goose, Sparham Pools, 30-Mar-08  

Egyptian Goose, Sparham Pools, 30th March 2008

 

Saturday 29th March

On the way to Swanton Morley this morning I was surprised to see a Little Egret stood just next to the road beside Bawdeswell Garage. I see them often enough in the valley but this was the first time I've seen one in Bawdeswell - another half mile or so and it would be on my garden list.

Swanton Morley held a Pink-footed Goose, my first for this site. It was with Greylags which is never a good start when deciding if a goose is wild or escaped, but a young bird and in my optimistic opinion more likely to be a wild one than an escape. Also here were 2 singing Cetti's Warblers, 10 singing Chiffchaffs, 5 Sand Martins, 3 Grey Wagtails and 3 Siskins.

Thought about popping in to check out the wagtails at Bylaugh after Swanton Morley but decided against it. However when Dave N texted me to say there was a White Wagtail there I popped in after all. The target bird was quickly located along with a second: 2 White Wagtails, and 2 Grey Wagtails too.

Pink-footed Goose, Swanton Morley, 29-Mar-08 Pink-footed Goose, Swanton Morley, 29-Mar-08
Pink-footed Goose, Swanton Morley, 29-Mar-08 Pink-footed Goose, Swanton Morley, 29-Mar-08

Pink-footed Goose, Swanton Morley, 29th March 2008

 

Siskin, Swanton Morley, 29-Mar-08 Siskin, Swanton Morley, 29-Mar-08
Siskin, Swanton Morley, 29-Mar-08  

Siskins, Swanton Morley, 29th March 2008

 

Great Crested Grebe, Swanton Morley, 29-Mar-08 Frogspawn, Swanton Morley, 29-Mar-08

Great Crested Grebe (left) and Frog spawn (right), Swanton Morley, 29th March 2008

 

Reed Bunting, Bylaugh, 29-Mar-08 Reed Bunting, Bylaugh, 29-Mar-08

Reed Bunting, Bylaugh, 29th March 2008

 

White Wagtail, Bylaugh, 29-Mar-08 Tufted Duck, Swanton Morley, 29-Mar-08

White Wagtail, Bylaugh, 29th March 2008

Tufted Duck, Swanton Morley, 29th March 2008

 

Friday 28th March

The Little Owl at Choseley didn't seem to be enjoying the rain much.

Little Owl, Choseley, 28-Mar-08 Little Owl, Choseley, 28-Mar-08

Little Owl, Choseley, 28th March 2008

 

Black-headed Gull, Brancaster Staithe, 27-Mar-08 Common Gull, Brancaster Staithe, 27-Mar-08

Black-headed (left) and Common (right) Gulls, Brancaster Staithe, 27th March 2008

 

 

Tuesday 25th March

Had a brief look for the Great White Egret that had been seen at Thornham but no sign.

Muntjac, Thornham, 25-Mar-08  

Muntjac, Thornham, 25th March 2008

 

Monday 24th March

You wouldn't think that the weather we've been having recently would be conducive for summer migrants arriving, but 2 Sand Martins were at Swanton Morley this morning. Also at least 10 Chiffchaffs in now. More wintery observations included a pair of Wigeon and a nice drake Goldeneye on the river, my first in the area this year.

Some of the more interesting local species were showing well today - enjoying the snow presumably. These included Kingfisher, 3 Grey Wagtails and 3 Barn Owls. Also a Cetti's Warbler continues to sing.

The road between Billingford and Bintree was heaving with birds (and rats), the most interesting of which were at least half a dozen Bramblings.

Tempted by superb frame-filling images of Water Rails that keep on appearing on the internet I decided to check out Sculthorpe Moor, a Hawk & Owl Trust reserve just the other side of Fakenham where there's been quite a few improvements introduced since I last visited. As well as at least 3 Water Rails showing in full view just in front of the hide there was a Brambling, Marsh Harrier and several Marsh Tits (but no Willow Tits).

Treecreeper, Swanton Morley, 24-Mar-08 Reed Bunting, Swanton Morley, 24-Mar-08

singing Treecreeper (left) and female Reed Bunting (right), Swanton Morley, 24th March 2008

 

Grey Wagtails, Swanton Morley, 24-Mar-08 Grey Wagtails, Swanton Morley, 24-Mar-08
Grey Wagtails, Swanton Morley, 24-Mar-08 Grey Wagtails, Swanton Morley, 24-Mar-08

Grey Wagtails (male upper, different male lower left, female lower right), Swanton Morley, 24th March 2008

 

Great Crested Grebe, Swanton Morley, 24-Mar-08 Goldeneye, Swanton Morley, 24-Mar-08

Great Crested Grebe (left) and male Goldeneye (right), Swanton Morley, 24th March 2008

 

Rabbit, Swanton Morley, 24-Mar-08 Sparrowhawk, Swanton Morley, 24-Mar-08

Rabbit (left) and Sparrowhawk (right), Swanton Morley, 24th March 2008

 

Barn Owl, Swanton Morley, 24-Mar-08 Barn Owl, Swanton Morley, 24-Mar-08

Barn Owl, Swanton Morley, 24th March 2008

 

Brambling, Sculthorpe Moor, 24-Mar-08 Brambling, Sculthorpe Moor, 24-Mar-08

Brambling, Sculthorpe Moor, 24th March 2008

 

Water Rail, Sculthorpe Moor, 24-Mar-08 Water Rail, Sculthorpe Moor, 24-Mar-08
Water Rail, Sculthorpe Moor, 24-Mar-08 Water Rail, Sculthorpe Moor, 24-Mar-08

Water Rails, Sculthorpe Moor, 24th March 2008

 

Marsh Tit, Sculthorpe Moor, 24-Mar-08 Long-tailed Tit, Sculthorpe Moor, 24-Mar-08

Marsh Tit (left) and Long-tailed Tit (right), Sculthorpe Moor, 24th March 2008

 

Great Tit, Sculthorpe Moor, 24-Mar-08 Coal Tit, Sculthorpe Moor, 24-Mar-08

Great Tit (left) and Coal Tit (right), Sculthorpe Moor, 24th March 2008

 

Blue Tit, Sculthorpe Moor, 24-Mar-08 Dunnock, Sculthorpe Moor, 24-Mar-08

Blue Tit (left) and Dunnock (right), Sculthorpe Moor, 24th March 2008

 

Pheasant, Sculthorpe Moor, 24-Mar-08 Pheasant, Sculthorpe Moor, 24-Mar-08
Pheasant, Sculthorpe Moor, 24-Mar-08 Pheasant, Sculthorpe Moor, 24-Mar-08
Pheasant, Sculthorpe Moor, 24-Mar-08 Pheasant, Sculthorpe Moor, 24-Mar-08

Pheasants, Sculthorpe Moor, 24th March 2008

 

Chaffinch, Sculthorpe Moor, 24-Mar-08 Chaffinch, Sculthorpe Moor, 24-Mar-08

Chaffinches, Sculthorpe Moor, 24th March 2008

 

Mallard x Egyptian Goose hybrid, Swanton Morley, 24-Mar-08  

hybrid Mallard x Egyptian Goose, Swanton Morley, 24th March 2008

 

Easter Sunday 23rd March

Well, yesterday I was hankering after spring but today's change in weather, whilst certainly not spring-like, was very welcome. Snow! Something we've had far too little of in recent winters, walking round Sparham Pools in it was very enjoyable. Not great for watching birds as you can't see much through snow-covered optics, hence not much of interest to report apart from 2 female Stonechats beside the path. Other than that, Grey Wagtail, Kingfisher and 4 Chiffchaffs, and nearby a Brambling at Bylaugh.

Great Crested Grebe, Sparham Pools, 23-Mar-08  

Great Crestsed Grebe in the snow, Sparham Pools, 23rd March 2008

Great Yarmouth's a bit too far to bother twitching things like Glaucous Gull really, but with not much else in the county and an urge to see something half-decent we headed off out there after a rousing Easter Sunday service in Norwich. The Glaucous Gull wasn't quite as obliging as I'd hoped at first but eventually provided some point blank views, although a sharp, close in-flight photo eluded me. Amazingly, managed to drive up and down the seafront without seeing any Med Gulls.

Glaucous Gull, Gorleston, 23-Mar-08 Glaucous Gull, Gorleston, 23-Mar-08
Glaucous Gull, Gorleston, 23-Mar-08 Glaucous Gull, Gorleston, 23-Mar-08

juvenile Glaucous Gull, Great Yarmouth river mouth, 23rd March 2008

 

Herring Gull, Gorleston, 23-Mar-08 Herring Gull, Gorleston, 23-Mar-08

Herring Gulls, Great Yarmouth river mouth, 23rd March 2008

 

Saturday 22nd March

Easter's always better when it's late because spring migration's more underway when we have a couple of extra days off work, but this year not only is it early but the weather is foul. Strong, cold northerly winds and sleet - completely useless to birders at this time of year. Had to pop in to Norwich this morning and while there took a brief look at Whitlingham Country Park (from the car) where there didn't seem to be much doing. Equally little doing during an equally half-hearted drive round Swanton Morley. Roll on spring (or did I miss that?).

Tufted Duck, Whitlingham CP, 22-Mar-08 Tufted Duck, Whitlingham CP, 22-Mar-08

female Tufted Duck, Whitlingham Country Park, 22nd March 2008

 

Thursday 20th March

Another rainy lunch spent at Brancaster Staithe

Dunlin, Brancaster Staithe, 20-Mar-08 Dunlin, Brancaster Staithe, 20-Mar-08

Red-breasted Mergansers, Brancaster Staithe, 20th March 2008

 

Dunlin, Brancaster Staithe, 20-Mar-08  

Dunlin, Brancaster Staithe, 20th March 2008

 

Monday 17th March

A Great White Egret was seen at Bintree Mill early this morning, apparently for its second day. Bintree Mill is just outside of my 5 km circle patch, although when it flew it would almost certainly have been visible from the patch. Anyway, it didn't stick around long enough for me to test this hypothesis. Popped in there on the way home from work just in case it returned to roost in the area - a couple of Marsh Harriers was all I could muster up.

Dunlins, Brancaster Staithe, 17-Mar-08  

Dunlins, Brancaster Staithe, 17th March 2008

 

Saturday 15th March

Not much happening at Sheringham Bird Observatory this morning. Visible migration was slow with just a handful of Meadow Pipits and the odd Pied Wagtail moving through. There were a few Bramblings in the wood, about 25 Snow Buntings in Main Field and a Chiffchaff singing at the pool. I didn't cover the whole site but there were at least 15 Stonechats present. It's been a remarkable season for Stonechat and 15 would have represented a record count if it wasn't for the fact that Rob & Nigel had an even more impressive 21 last week-end.

Yellowhammer, Sheringham, 15-Mar-08 Yellowhammer, Sheringham, 15-Mar-08

male Yellowhammers, Sheringham, 15th March 2008

Green Sandpiper click here to hear one of them singing

 

Skylark, Sheringham, 15-Mar-08  

Skylark, Sheringham, 15th March 2008

 

Friday 14th March

Quarter of an hour at Sandringham at lunch was productive, 2 Marsh Tits being the most interesting species but Jays were just as welcome as this is a species I've always struggled to photograph. I think I've finally cracked the problem I was having with loss of quality when reducing photo sizes to post here. Now I just have to go back and re-do all my photos of the last few weeks.

Marsh Tit, Sandringham, 14-Mar-08 Marsh Tit, Sandringham, 14-Mar-08

Marsh Tits, Sandringham, 14th March 2008

 

Jay, Sandringham, 14-Mar-08 Jay, Sandringham, 14-Mar-08

Jay, Sandringham, 14th March 2008

 

Pheasant, Sandringham, 14-Mar-08 Pheasant, Sandringham, 14-Mar-08
Pheasant, Sandringham, 14-Mar-08  

male Pheasant, Sandringham, 14th March 2008

 

Tuesday 11th March

Stopped off at Coxford where a female Stonechat was present.

 

Monday 10th March

Went to Brancaster Staithe at lunchtime again. Thanks to a road block had to go via Choseley where there was a nice Little Owl looking down at me as I drove past.

Turnstone, Brancaster Staithe, 10-Mar-08  

Turnstone, Brancaster Staithe, 10th March 2008

 

Sunday 9th March

The Stonechat was still at Sparham Pools this morning and there was a Chiffchaff singing there. Also 3 Little Grebes on the main lake - a species I don't see there very often though I suspect I overlook them. Sparham Pools and Bintree Woods produced at least 3 Barn Owls between them.

On the way from Sparham Pools to Bintree Woods the pair of Mallard x Egyptian Goose hybrids that I saw last week at Swanton Morley were waddling across a ploughed field at Bylaugh - looking very couply. Also at least a couple of Bramblings in a Chaffinch flock between Billingford and Bintree.

Once again Bintree Woods came up trumps with Willow Tit - and once again they were deep in the wood away from the paths so only heard calling. At least half a dozen Sparrowhawks seen today with 4 displaying together over Bintree Woods. The best thing about Bintree Woods is the view it affords over the surrounding countryside. Looking north towards Guist can be especially rewarding and this morning 5 Buzzards were in the air together over Sennowe Park or thereabouts. A flock of 8 Wigeon that were flying around the same area before dropping down into the park - they're quite a scarce bird in my area, even where there are lakes, so not one I'd expected to see from Bintree (although I see from his blog that Chris Mills has been getting up to 40 at Sennowe Park this winter).

Moth sightings included an Early Grey at Bintree Woods and a Hebrew Character at home.

Norfolk County Council are currently running a consultation about options for siting mineral extraction operations and one of the proposed sites is Bintree Woods. Click here for details - and if you want to register your views you apparently need to do so by the end of March.

Early Grey, Bintree Wood, 9-Mar-08 Blue Tit, Bawdeswell, 9-Mar-08

Early Grey, Bintree Woods, 9th March 2008

 

Blue Tit, Bawdeswell, 9th March 2008

 

Barn Owl, Bintree Wood, 9-Mar-08 Sparrowhawk, Bintree Wood, 9-Mar-08

Barn Owl (left) and Sparrowhawk (right), Bintree Woods, 9th March 2008

 

Saturday 8th March

It's been a third of a year since I added any species to my house list so two new birds in 12 hours was good. First was an Oystercatcher heard calling as it flew over when I went to bed last night, second was Siskins in next door's tree as I arrived back from Swanton Morley this morning. House list now at 62.

Swanton Morley produced my first singing Chiffchaff of the year but not a lot else. Two Cetti's Warblers included one in a new spot by "The Pond".

Hybrid Goose, Swanton Morley, 8-Mar-08 Hybrid Goose, Swanton Morley, 8-Mar-08

Hybrid Canada Goose x Greylag Goose, Swanton Morley (Norfolk, UK), 8th March 2008

 

Canada Goose, Swanton Morley, 8-Mar-08 Canada Goose, Swanton Morley, 8-Mar-08

Canada Geese, Swanton Morley, 8th March 2008

 

Pochard, Swanton Morley, 8-Mar-08 Pochard, Swanton Morley, 8-Mar-08

male Pochards, Swanton Morley, 8th March 2008

 

Green Sandpiper Marsh Tit Wren

Chiffchaff,
Swanton Morley,
8th March 2008

Hybrid Greylag x Canada Goose,
Swanton Morley, 8th March 2008
(two recordings)

 

Friday 7th March

Lunch at Sandringham's bird tables provided the usual selection of Blue, Great and Coal Tits and these were joined briefly by a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Nuthatches are one of my favourite birds and I sometimes see them here, but usually they just fly in, grab a peanut and fly off again. Today one spent all of a few seconds on the table which was just enough time for me to run off a few shots.

Nuthatch, Sandringham, 7-Mar-08 Nuthatch, Sandringham, 7-Mar-08
Nuthatch, Sandringham, 7th March 2008

 

Great Spotted Woodpecker, Sandringham, 7-Mar-08 Great Spotted Woodpecker, Sandringham, 7-Mar-08
Great Spotted Woodpecker, Sandringham, 7th March 2008

 

Blue Tit, Sandringham, 7-Mar-08 Great Tit, Sandringham, 7-Mar-08
Blue Tit (left) and Great Tit (right), Sandringham, 7th March 2008

 

Great Tit, Sandringham, 7-Mar-08 Great Tit, Sandringham, 7-Mar-08
Great Tits, Sandringham, 7th March 2008

 

Wednesday 5th March

Brancaster Staithe at lunch:

Teal, Brancaster Staithe, 5-Mar-08 Black-headed Gull, Brancaster Staithe, 5-Mar-08

Teal (left) and Black-headed Gull (right), Brancaster Staithe, 5th March 2008

 

Bar-tailed Godwit, Brancaster Staithe, 5-Mar-08 Bar-tailed Godwit, Brancaster Staithe, 5-Mar-08

Bar-tailed Godwit, Brancaster Staithe, 5th March 2008

 

Monday 3rd March

A ringtail Harrier flew over the road near Fring at lunchtime. Normally at this time of year I'd just stick it down as a Hen without worrying about the fact that views were too brief to conclusively eliminate the other similar species. I'd probably be best doing the same thing this time, but slightly worryingly it seemed quite thin-winged and appeared to have strong orangey tones to the underparts... However, views were on the crappy side of poor and I was driving at 60 mph, so I don't really imagine it was anything more exciting than a Hen Harrier.

 

Sunday 2nd March

Not much birding today, in fact not any birding today, unless you count increasing the garden year list by about 10 as birding. A Woodcock flew over Reepham Road as I was on the way out of the village in the evening - shame I couldn't get that on the garden list, but gives me hope for getting one soon.

Chaffinch, Bawdeswell, 2-Mar-08 Blue Tit, Bawdeswell, 2-Mar-08

Chaffinch (left) and Blue Tit (right), Bawdeswell, 2nd March 2008

 

Dotted Border, Bawdeswell, 2-Mar-08  

Dotted Border, Bawdeswell, 2nd March 2008. The line bottom left is a crack - obviously last week's earthquake did more damage than I realised, even though I slept through it. Typical, most exciting thing to happen in Norfolk for decades and I didn't even wake up.

 

Saturday 1st March

Titchwell's Water Pipit spent showed well in front of Parrinder hide today and a Bittern was seen in flight. Other than that several Spotted Redshanks on the reserve and 2-3 Bramblings by the feeders.

Water Pipit, Titchwell, 1-Mar-08 Water Pipit, Titchwell, 1-Mar-08
Water Pipit, Titchwell, 1-Mar-08 Water Pipit, Titchwell, 1-Mar-08
Water Pipit, Titchwell, 1-Mar-08 Water Pipit, Titchwell, 1-Mar-08

Water Pipit, Titchwell, 1st March 2008

 

Brambling, Titchwell, 1-Mar-08 Brambling, Titchwell, 1-Mar-08

Bramblings, Titchwell, 1st March 2008

 

Chaffinch, Titchwell, 1-Mar-08 Chaffinch, Titchwell, 1-Mar-08
Chaffinch, Titchwell, 1-Mar-08 Chaffinch, Titchwell, 1-Mar-08

Chaffinches, Titchwell, 1st March 2008

 

Woodpigeon, Titchwell, 1-Mar-08  

Woodpigeon, Titchwell, 1st March 2008

 

 

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