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August 2009


Monday 31st August

The Osprey has appeared at Rockland Broad for two consecutive mornings so I spent a few hours there this morning. Needless to say today it visited the broad in the afternoon, well after I'd given up. A couple of Hobbies and a Water Rail seen in flight three times were the best the place could offer. I should have gone to Oxfordshire to see the American Black Tern, or just gone birding, or stayed in and got the chores done, or done anything but go to Rockland!

Celypha lacunana, Bawdeswell, 31-Aug-09 Acleris sparsana, Bawdeswell, 31-Aug-09

Celypha lacunana (left) and Acleris sparsana (right), Bawdeswell, 31st August - I'm grateful to Koen van Dijken for identifying the sparsana (elsewhere).


Sunday 30th August

That Osprey's been seen again lately in the Rockland/Strumpshaw/Buckenham area and this morning it flew off from Rockland towards Buckenham. I headed over to Buckenham late morning and looked long and hard both here and at Strumpshaw but with no success. The place was crawling with Hobbies - hard to guess how many but probably into double figures. A Chinese Water Deer was seen but the highlight at Strumpshaw was an Otter swimming across the river.

Eventually I gave up on the Osprey, knowing full well that if I stayed all day it wouldn't be seen again and if I gave up it would appear about 10 minutes later. Sure enough, it reappeared at Rockland Broad minutes after I'd left the river bank - I'm sure it would have been visible from where I'd been looking from for the last 4-5 hours, at least when it flew in to there. When the news came through I was in the car and the other side of Brundall, so I decided to head straight down to Rockland Broad. I hurried up the path and saw two familiar birders heading towards me (I forget their names). As I approached the first gap in the trees from which the broad can be viewed they were passing the gap and shouted to me that the Osprey was on view. I immediately joined them and literally the very second I got there the Osprey disappeared behind the trees. It had been flying up and down the broad so they seemed optimistic that I would see it from the hide. I was optimistic too, but I think I knew I wouldn't see it really, and I didn't.

This Norfolk year-listing game has been great in many ways. I've got to see many more interesting birds than I would normally see in a year and had some highly enjoyable moments. The downside is that you can waste hours of valuable birding time chasing after things that frankly aren't worth it. There's a more than 50% chance that I'll see an Osprey at some point this year without chasing it - it's a bird I've seen about 65 times over the years. Investing over 10 hours on a flippin' Osprey and still not coming up with the goods is one reason why I don't do year-listing very often! Still, I am this year, so I'll probably be back at Rockland in the morning...

Ruddy Darter, Strumpshaw Fen, 30-Aug-09 Chinese Water Deer, Strumpshaw Fen, 30-Aug-09

Ruddy Darter (left) and Otter (right), Strumpshaw Fen, 30th August


Chiffchaff, Strumpshaw Fen, 30-Aug-09 Chiffchaff, Strumpshaw Fen, 30-Aug-09

Chiffchaff, Strumpshaw Fen, 30th August


Chinese Water Deer, Strumpshaw Fen, 30-Aug-09 Chinese Water Deer, Strumpshaw Fen, 30-Aug-09

Chinese Water Deer, Strumpshaw Fen, 30th August


Hobby, Strumpshaw Fen, 30-Aug-09 Hobby, Strumpshaw Fen, 30-Aug-09

Hobby, Strumpshaw Fen, 30th August


Brown House-moth, Bawdeswell, 30-Aug-09 White-shouldered House-moth, Bawdeswell, 30-Aug-09

Brown House-moth (left) and White-shouldered House-moth (right), Bawdeswell, 30th August


Eudonia angustea, Bawdeswell, 30-Aug-09  

Eudonia angustea, Bawdeswell, 30th August


Saturday 29th August

When the wind is due west, or just south of west as it was this morning, a good seawatch isn't very likely in Norfolk. A bit of north in it and things can be quite different, but straight west is usually pretty unproductive. However, last time I elected not to go seawatching in such conditions I missed a Cory's Shearwater so, keen not to make the same mistake again, I headed up to Sheringham early but with low expectations.

It turned out to be much as expected, low numbers of fairly common species, but one highlight made it worthwhile, although not as good as Cory's. There were 13 Arctic Skuas and 1 Great Skua before I headed off elsewhere, and 9 Manx Shearwaters. The latter included a flock of 7 moving west and while we were watching these a Balearic Shearwater came into view amongst them - I think at least three of us called it simultaneously.

Other than that it was pretty quiet - a few waders moving including 32 Redshank and with one of them, a Greenshank. I've seen and/or heard a few Greenshanks over Sheringham but I think this was the first time I've ever seen one from the seawatching shelter.

After this I had a look round the obs for things like Barred Warblers and Wrynecks. No joy there - the only passerine migrants I could find were 1-2 Whinchats and 6 Wheatears. Less predictable was an unseasonal Hen Harrier. Not the same bird that was at Kelling recently (as that was reported to be 1st year male) but this was by far my earliest ever autumn record - my previous earliest being in October. This falls hot on the heels of by far my latest ever spring record in the same area on 20th May - there were several further reports of what I took to be the same bird in north Norfolk into June - are they breeding somewhere?

Wheatear, Sheringham, 29-Aug-09 Wheatear, Sheringham, 29-Aug-09

Wheatear, Sheringham, 29th August


Great Black-backed Gull, Sheringham, 29-Aug-09 Sandwich Tern, Sheringham, 29-Aug-09

Great Black-backed Gull (left) and Sandwich Tern (right), Sheringham, 29th August


Hen Harrier, Sheringham, 29-Aug-09 Hen Harrier, Sheringham, 29-Aug-09
Hen Harrier, Sheringham, 29-Aug-09 Hen Harrier, Sheringham, 29-Aug-09

Hen Harrier, Sheringham, 29th August


Small Tortoiseshell, Sheringham, 29-Aug-09 Small Dusty Wave, Bawdeswell, 29-Aug-09

Small Tortoiseshell, Sheringham (left) and Small Dusty Wave, Bawdeswell (right), 29th August


Friday 28th August

Wren, Bawdeswell, 28-Aug-09  

Wren, Bawdeswell, 28th August


Thursday 27th August

Update (October): Thanks to Andrew Duff for providing the ID of this weevil.

Vine Weevil, Bawdeswell, 27-Aug-09  

Vine Weevil, Bawdeswell, 27th August


Wednesday 26th August

Large Yellow Underwing, Bawdeswell, 26-Aug-09 Large Yellow Underwing, Bawdeswell, 26-Aug-09

Large Yellow Underwings, Bawdeswell, 26th August


Tuesday 25th August

A Common Marbled Carpet was, surprisingly, my first this year.

Agriphila tristella ?, Bawdeswell, 25-Aug-09 Blood-vein, Bawdeswell, 25-Aug-09

possible Agriphila tristella (left) and Blood-vein (right), Bawdeswell, 25th August - is the Agriphila right? They normally have a whiter streak than this.


Monday 24th August

Stopped off at Kelling on the way home from work where I was just in time to see the juvenile Red-backed Shrike before it disappeared. No sign of either of the Pied Flycatchers that had been reported there but the quags held Wood Sandpiper, 2 Little Ringed Plovers and 3 Spotted Redshank. Josh and I apparently failed to see a Hen Harrier fly over our heads but instead I picked out a juvenile Arctic Tern from among the Common Terns hawking insects over the hill.

Red-backed Shrike, Kelling, 24-Aug-09 Red-backed Shrike, Kelling, 24-Aug-09

Red-backed Shrike, Kelling, 24th August


Wood Sandpiper, Kelling, 24-Aug-09 Wood Sandpiper, Kelling, 24-Aug-09

Wood Sandpiper, Kelling, 24th August


Little Ringed Plover, Kelling, 25-Aug-09 Little Ringed Plover, Kelling, 25-Aug-09

Little Ringed Plovers, Kelling, 24th August


Sunday 23rd August

I've still got a lot on that I'm trying to clear before the autumn gets into full swing, so I hadn't wanted to spend too long out today. But I really wanted to see that Red-foot so I started early morning again at Weavers Way. Rushill Scrape held a nice summery Grey Plover and I'm pretty sure 2 Garganeys, though I rushed them in order to get on to where I might see the falcon. A Spotted Redshank was heard flying over and I think I heard Crossbill too. A nice prolonged view of Bittern in flight and numerous falcons including a Hobby or two but nothing that showed itself long enough or well enough to be identified as a Red-footed Falcon (or Amur Falcon).

Once the NWT reserve opened I headed round there in the hope that it might be seen from that angle. No joy there either, with just another brief sighting of Bittern, Crane, Greenshank and at least 4 Green Sandpipers to report.

By the afternoon I'd had enough and decided to head over to Strumpshaw Fen as an Osprey had been seen in the area the last couple of days. Not a bird I'd normally twitch but when you're year-listing you can't leave these things to chance. I arrived to find that the place had been well-covered all morning, and Rockland Broad too, with no hint of the Osprey. I gave it a while but now suffering from not having donned my sun-barrier early enough I decided to give up and head home. Half an hour later those more patient than me were rewarded with not one but two Ospreys. Doh!

By now the effects of having spent too much time in the sun now rendered me useless for catching up with the chores or anything else so eventually I turned in for a good sleep (having enjoyed an Angle Shades and a Lime-speck Pug among 4-5 each of Green Carpets and Square-spot Rustics and various other assorted moths). But even sleeping didn't go according to plan as the plethora of moths had attracted a more surprising visitor. No, not a spider (well, that too) but just as I was dropping off I became aware of an extraordinary noise of something that was clearly much larger than a moth flying round the room. I turned the light on and, as I suspected, a Bat was hurtling round the room at a frightening velocity. Not sure which species, but quite a large one (or so it seemed) and I had absolutely no idea what to do with it other than get out of its way! Fortunately it found the window by itself leaving me to clear up the severed wings of what must have been its prey.

Finally, to the sound of the first Little Owl I've heard from the house in months, I got some sleep.

Update July 2011: Have just found a photo of a moth which, at the time, I could not identify. Now with recent experience of another I recognise it as Cochylidia implicitana.

Ruddy Darter, Hickling, 23-Aug-09 Common Darter, Hickling, 23-Aug-09

Ruddy Darter (left) and Common Darter (right), Hickling, 23rd August


Migrant Hawker, Hickling, 23-Aug-09 Migrant Hawker, Hickling, 23-Aug-09

Migrant Hawkers, Hickling, 23rd August


Green Sandpiper and Greenshank, Hickling, 23-Aug-09 Little Egret, Hickling, 23-Aug-09

Greenshank and Green Sandpiper (left) and Little Egret (right), Hickling, 23rd August


Angle Shades, Bawdeswell, 23-Aug-09 Lime-speck Pug, Bawdeswell, 23-Aug-09

Angle Shades (left) and Lime-speck Pug (right), Bawdeswell, 23rd August


Celypha lacunana, Bawdeswell, 23-Aug-09 Acleris laterana, Bawdeswell, 23-Aug-09

Celypha lacunana (left) and Acleris laterana or possibly Strawberry Tortrix (right), Bawdeswell, 23rd August - if you can confirm the Acleris please contact me.


Slugs, Hickling, 23-Aug-09  

Slugs, Hickling, 23rd August - at least the molluscs were having fun today


Saturday 22nd August

The afternoon was spent with friends who have a narrow-boat moored at St Olaves. Several Yellow Wagtails in the area and during a cruise down the river to Somerleyton, Kingfisher and 2 Green Sandpipers.

From here we went to Hickling where the Red-footed Falcon had been seen again, but only from a boat. It was too far to take Adam's boat from St Olaves, much as he would have liked to have seen the Red-foot, so instead I tried looking from the Weavers Way past Rushill Scrape. Got there quite late and no joy. There didn't seem to by much on Rushill either apart from 2 more Green Sandpipers, but 3 Cranes flew over.


Friday 21st August

Eudonia angustea, Bawdeswell, 21-Aug-09 Light Emerald, Bawdeswell, 21-Aug-09

Eudonia angustea (left) and Light Emerald (right), Bawdeswell, 21st August (updated 30th August as had previously identified the Eudonia as Scoparia ambigualis, which would be quite a late date for that species).


Scoparia ambigualis, Bawdeswell, 21-Aug-09  
moth, Bawdeswell, 21st August - stumped again on another noctuid - any ideas?


Thursday 20th August

A Least Yellow Underwing was tonight's best moth.

Square-spot Rustic, Bawdeswell, 20-Aug-09 Square-spot Rustic, Bawdeswell, 20-Aug-09

Square-spot Rustics, Bawdeswell, 20th August - the one on the left doesn't have a very square spot but I can't figure out what else it could be... confirmation welcome please!


Wednesday 19th August

I was working in Morley yesterday and today so no chance of getting to the Red-footed Falcon at Hicking; mind you, probably wouldn't have seen it if I'd been working in Norfolk either as it was found late Tuesday evening and only seen during the day today. A small but fine selection of moths this evening including Blood-vein, Burnished Brass, Common Wave and my first Wax Moth.

Wax Moth, Bawdeswell, 19-Aug-09 Common Wave, Bawdeswell, 19-Aug-09

Wax Moth (left) and Common Wave (right), Bawdeswell, 19th August


Monday 17th August

Mottled Rustic, Bawdeswell, 17-Aug-09 Acleris sp., Bawdeswell, 17-Aug-09

Mottled Rustic (left) and either Strawberry Tortrix or Acleris laterana (right), Bawdeswell, 17th August


Endothenia quadrimaculana, Bawdeswell, 17-Aug-09  

Endothenia quadrimaculana, Bawdeswell, 17th August (updated with the ID in Oct 2010)


Sunday 16th August

Another bird-free week-end passes as I struggle to get on top of a thousand and one non-birdy things. Small China-mark was new for the year and 3 other micros were totally new species for me, including Light Brown Apple Moth (an introduced species from Australia, apparently) and Caloptilia syringella and Celypha lacunana.

Orange Swift, Bawdeswell, 16-Aug-09 Light Brown Apple Moth, Bawdeswell, 16-Aug-09

Orange Swift (left) and Light Brown Apple Moth (right), Bawdeswell, 16th August


Small China-mark, Bawdeswell, 16-Aug-09 Small Dusty Wave, Bawdeswell, 16-Aug-09

Small China-mark (left) and Small Dusty Wave (right), Bawdeswell, 16th August


Double-striped Pug, Bawdeswell, 16-Aug-09 Caloptilia syringella, Bawdeswell, 16-Aug-09

Double-striped Pug (left) and Caloptilia syringella (right), Bawdeswell, 16th August


Celypha lacunana, Bawdeswell, 16-Aug-09  

Celypha lacunana, Bawdeswell, 16th August


Saturday 15th August

Tonight's moths included my first Setaceous Hebrew Character and Square-spot Rustics of the year.

Netelia Ichneumon Fly, Bawdeswell, 15-Aug-09 Flame Carpet, Bawdeswell, 15-Aug-09

Ichneumon Fly - Netelia sp. I think (left) and Flame Carpet (right), Bawdeswell, 15th August


Old Lady, Bawdeswell, 15-Aug-09 Old Lady, Bawdeswell, 15-Aug-09

Old Lady, Bawdeswell, 15th August


Square-spot Rustic, Bawdeswell, 15-Aug-09 Agriphila tristella, Bawdeswell, 15-Aug-09

Square-spot Rustic (left) and Agriphila tristella (right), Bawdeswell, 15th August


Thursday 13th August

Two new moths for the year: Old Lady and Flame Carpet. The Old Lady was my first here, though I saw them a few times when I lived in Norwich.

Straw Dot, Bawdeswell, 13-Aug-09 Old Lady, Bawdeswell, 13-Aug-09

Straw Dot (left) and Old Lady (right), Bawdeswell, 13th August - seems to be a good year for Straw Dots


unidentified moths, Bawdeswell, 13-Aug-09  

unidentified moths, Bawdeswell, 13th August - please get in touch if you know what these are. I wondered if the one in front was another Aethes, or a Phalonidia, but I can't find any of these that look quite right.


Wednesday 12th August

On Monday night a possible Semipalmated Sandpiper was at Cley, a species I've only seen once and not in Norfolk. It was seen again last night and its identity was still unresolved, so this morning I got up to Cley early to have a look before work. No sign of it, nor any other small stints, but by the end of today opinion seems to be that it was just a Little Stint anyway. A few birds were present, including a Spoonbill that dropped in out of sight, 4 Curlew Sandpipers, a juvenile Peregrine and 2 Wheatears on the beach.

Update: Apparently some observers are still of the opinion that the stint was indeed a Semipalmated Sandpiper.

Wheatear, Cley, 12-Aug-09  

Wheatear, Cley, 12th August


Tuesday 11th August

A few moths in tonight included a micro new for me, Aethes smeathmanniana - great name!

Leafhopper, Bawdeswell, 11-Aug-09 Aethes smeathmanniana, Bawdeswell, 11-Aug-09

unidentified insect, probably a Leafhopper (left) and Aethes smeathmanniana (right), Bawdeswell, 11th August - please let me know if you can identify the leafhoppery thing


Monday 10th August

The Baird's at Hickling was rather more obliging today so I headed back over there after work. Not the best views I've ever had of a Baird's Sandpiper, but I was very pleased to see it anyway! Thanks Tim! Also a Little Stint present and among the feral Barnacle Geese was a hybrid Canada x Barnacle.

Baird's Sandpiper and Little Stint, Hickling Rushill, 10-Aug-09

Baird's Sandpiper (left) and Little Stint (right), Hickling Rushill Scrape, 10th August


Canada Goose x Barnacle Goose, Hickling Rushill, 10-Aug-09 Canada Goose x Barnacle Goose, Hickling Rushill, 10-Aug-09

hybrid Canada Goose x Barnacle Goose (with Barnacle Goose), Hickling Rushill Scrape, 10th August


Blood-vein, Bawdeswell, 10-Aug-09 Acleris laterana, Bawdeswell, 10-Aug-09

Blood-vein (left) and Acleris laterana (right), Bawdeswell, 10th August (ID amended Nov 2010)


Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Bawdeswell, 10-Aug-09 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Bawdeswell, 10-Aug-09

Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Bawdeswell, 10th August


Garden Carpet, Bawdeswell, 10-Aug-09  

Garden Carpet, Bawdeswell, 10th August


Sunday 9th August

Yesterday evening Tim Allwood found a Baird's Sandpiper at Hickling. Not having seen one of them in Norfolk for many years I would have headed straight over but there was no point as it would have been dark by the time I'd got there. Instead I headed over early this morning but sadly there was no sign. It was seen again later, but not until dusk. A variety of waders present, Wood Sandpiper being the best. Also a Hobby made several appearances and a Black Swan was on the broad.


Friday 7th August

When this Marsh Harrier flew over the juncus beds at Coxford strange and unfamiliar calls and subsong emerged from the juncus. Sounded clearly like an Acrocephalus sp. but unlike any Sedge or Reed Warbler I've ever heard. I have seen occasional Sedge Warblers here and I assume that's what it was, but it never showed and sounded suspiciously similar to recordings of Aquatic Warbler! It was probably nothing to get excited by but I'll never know and I'm quite annoyed with myself for letting it get away - that's why I never find rare birds - I convince myself they're probably just something common and give up too quickly.

This evening's visitors included another Yellow-tail and an Oak Bush-Cricket.

Marsh Harrier, Coxford, 7-Aug-09 Marsh Harrier, Coxford, 7-Aug-09
Marsh Harrier, Coxford, 7-Aug-09 Marsh Harrier, Coxford, 7-Aug-09

Marsh Harrier, Coxford, 7th August


Oak Bushcricket, Bawdeswell, 7-Aug-09 Oak Bushcricket, Bawdeswell, 7-Aug-09

Oak Bush-Cricket, Bawdeswell, 7th August


Thursday 6th August

Diamond-back Moth, Bawdeswell, 6-Aug-09 Brown House-moth, Bawdeswell, 6-Aug-09

Diamond-back Moth (left) and presumed Brown House-moth (right), Bawdeswell, 6th August - I assume the one on the right is just a pale worn House-moth - am I right?


Spectacle, Bawdeswell, 6-Aug-09  

Spectacle, Bawdeswell, 6th August



Wednesday 5th August

A few more moths tonight, including a new micro.

Flame Shoulder, Bawdeswell, 5-Aug-09 Scorched Carpet, Bawdeswell, 5-Aug-09

Flame Shoulder (left) and Scorched Carpet (right), Bawdeswell, 5th August


Flame Shoulder, Bawdeswell, 5-Aug-09 Scorched Carpet, Bawdeswell, 5-Aug-09

Agriphila tristella (left) and Argyresthia semifusca (right), Bawdeswell, 5th August - I think that's what these two are but both have similar species in the same genus so please correct me if I'm wrong.


Tuesday 4th August

Not much in the way of moths tonight - a Yellow-barred Brindle was best.

Barnacle Goose, Holkham Park, 4-Aug-09 Barnacle Goose, Holkham Park, 4-Aug-09

Barnacle Geese, Holkham Park, 4th August


Sunday 2nd August

A Ringed China-mark was my first of this aquatic species, my fourth China-mark. Also tonight, my first Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing of the year.

Ringed China-mark, Bawdeswell, 2-Aug-09 Single-dotted Wave, Bawdeswell, 2-Aug-09

Ringed Carpet (left) and Single-dotted Wave (right), Bawdeswell, 2nd August


Saturday 1st August

Went to Welney this morning to see the White-rumped Sandpiper that arrived yesterday. Fortunately it was still present and showed well. A juvenile Dunlin was also present among some adults and an amazing number of people were perfectly happy to believe that was the White-rumped Sandpiper, even when the real White-rumped Sandpiper walked right past it. The fact that it didn't look like a White-rumped Sandpiper in any way, shape or form didn't seem to matter.

Anyway, no time for marvelling at people behaviour as a Pec Sand was the other end of the county. Eventually I reached Hickling's Rushill Scrape where the Pectoral Sandpiper was still present and the nearest bird, though still pretty rubbish for photographing in the heat haze. Also here a Little Stint, Green Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 3 Whimbrel and 12 Barnacle Geese.

White-rumped Sandpiper, Welney, 1-Aug-09 White-rumped Sandpiper, Welney, 1-Aug-09
White-rumped Sandpiper, Welney, 1-Aug-09 White-rumped Sandpiper, Welney, 1-Aug-09

White-rumped Sandpiper, Welney, 1st August


Pectoral Sandpiper, Hickling, 1-Aug-09 Pectoral Sandpiper, Hickling, 1-Aug-09

Pectoral Sandpiper, Hickling (Rushill Scrape), 1st August


Black-tailed Skimmer, Hickling, 1-Aug-09 Black-tailed Skimmer, Hickling, 1-Aug-09

Common Darter (left) and Black-tailed Skimmer (right), Hickling (Rushill Scrape), 1st August


Common Wainscot, Bawdeswell, 1-Aug-09 Scalloped Oak, Bawdeswell, 1-Aug-09

Common Wainscot (left) and Scalloped Oak (right), Bawdeswell, 1st August


Flame Shoulder, Bawdeswell, 1-Aug-09 Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, Bawdeswell, 1-Aug-09

Flame Shoulder (left) and Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet (right), Bawdeswell, 1st August


Blastobasis lignea, Bawdeswell, 1-Aug-09  

Blastobasis lignea, Bawdeswell, 1st August


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