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2009 - year-listing in Norfolk

I'm a great believer in finding your own birds rather than chasing after other people's, and dedicated local patch watching is by far the most rewarding form of birding. Nevertheless, a bit of variety is a good thing and the odd trip to other sites away from your local patch is always healthy and I've never been averse to chasing the occasional rarity.

Year-listing though has always seemed a fairly pointless exercise, spending hours looking for birds that you'd quite likely find yourself if you didn't spend so much time looking for other people's. But there are plusses to year-listing, not least that you get to see a much larger variety of rare or scarce birds than you'd otherwise see. So very rarely I do a county or regional year-list - I did one in 1993, another in 2003 and again this year. I never intended this year's attempt to be a particularly serious one - more-than-full-time work and a variety of other commitments mean that I would have little chance of providing serious competition to other year-listers. Having said that, by the end of the first quarter I was surprised to find myself ahead of anyone else, and although Dave Norgate overtook me for a while, with a total of 271 species I think I may have somehow managed to end up with more than anyone else in Norfolk in 2009! A fair way off the record though.

Here are all the species I saw - along with the ones I missed in grey:

1 Mute Swan Cygnus olor

- Black Swan Cygnus atratus - singles at Cley, Blakeney Point and Salthouse which may all have related to one bird and one at Hickling (not counted as escaped birds not yet breeding in sufficient numbers to be regarded as feral)

2 Bewick's Swan Cygnus columbianus - Welney and Catfield/Ludham; also 22 over Swanton Morley in December

3 Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus - Welney and Catfield/Ludham; also 4 at Titchwell in November

4 Taiga Bean Goose Anser (fabalis) fabalis - Cantley in January

- Tundra Bean Goose Anser (fabalis/serrirostris) rossicus - Up to 4 in NW Norfolk in January-February and more unusually 2 at Sparham Pools on 20th March (not counted as BOU still treat this form and Taiga Bean Goose as one species)

Tundra Bean Goose, Sparham Pools, 20-Mar-09 Tundra Bean Goose, Sparham Pools, 20-Mar-09

Tundra Bean Geese, Sparham Pools, 20th March

5 Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus

6 Eurasian White-fronted Goose Anser (albifrons) albifrons - Cantley/Buckenham and Burnham Overy; also singles at Titchwell in April and Barton Broad in December

- Greenland White-fronted Goose Anser (albifrons) flavirostris - A surprising omission although as BOU haven't split the White-fronts it wouldn't have counted anyway: an adult was with Pink-feet in December 2008 but despite searching through many flocks of Pink-feet I wasn't able to relocate it in 2009; the only report I'm aware of in 2009 related to 2 birds at Buckenham in October

- Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus - The only report in 2009 was a presumed escaped bird associating with feral geese

7 Greylag Goose Anser anser - 3 with Pink-feet at Burnham Overy in January might have been wild, but counted on the basis of feral birds

- Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus - one with Bewick's and Whooper Swans at Welney in December (not counted)

8 Snow Goose Chen caerulescens (or Anser caerulescens) - a white adult with Pink-feet at various locations in NW Norfolk on 4 dates October to December; also of more suspect origin a white adult on its own at Stiffkey Fen in March and perhaps the same subsequently with feral geese at Blakeney and Salthouse

- Ross's Goose Chen rossii (or Anser rossii) - a white adult with Pink-feet along the Acle Straight in January and presumably the same bird with Pink-feet at Burnham Overy later in January - not counted as BOU do not (yet) recognise this species as occurring in a wild state in Britain; also 2 much more dubious individuals at Snettisham with feral Barnacle Geese and hybrids in March

Ross's Goose, Burnham Overy, 24-Jan-09  

Ross's Goose, Burnham Overy, 24th January

9 Canada Goose Branta canadensis - only feral birds - no wild birds were reported in 2009 as far as I know (of either form)

10 Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis - presumed wild birds with Pink-feet in NW Norfolk in January and November and one west with Brent Geese at Sheringham in October; feral birds at many widespread locations

11 Dark-bellied Brent Goose Branta (bernicla) bernicla

- Pale-bellied Brent Goose Branta (bernicla) hrota - 6 single adults at different places in both winter periods - not counted as BOU still treat all the forms of Brent Goose as a single species

- Black Brant Branta (bernicla) nigricans - single adults at Cockthorpe and Titchwell in Jauary, Cley in February, Stiffkey in March and Titchwell in April and also a few hybrids - not counted as BOU still treat all the forms of Brent Goose as a single species

- Red-breasted Goose Branta ruficollis - The only reports in Norfolk this year related to the presumed escaped bird with feral Barnacles at Buckenham but a bird with (slightly) better credentials was reported flying east with Pink-feet over Newark and then the A17 in Lincolnshire on 23rd December - surely this must have ended up in Norfolk?

12 Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus

- Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea - 2 at Welney in March - not counted as BOU do not treat these as wild birds

13 Shelduck Tadorna tadorna

14 Mandarin Aix galericulata - female at Felbrigg on New Years Day

Mandarin, Felbrigg, 1-Jan-09  

Mandarin, Felbrigg Lake, 1st January

15 Wigeon Anas penelope

16 American Wigeon Anas americana - male at Welney on 6th December

17 Gadwall Anas strepera

18 Teal Anas crecca

19 Green-winged Teal Anas carolinensis - male at Strumpshaw Fen on 8th February

Green-winged Teal, Strumpshaw Fen, 8-Feb-09  

Green-winged Teal, Strumpshaw Fen, 8th February

20 Mallard Anas platyrhynchos

21 Pintail Anas acuta

22 Garganey Anas querquedula - a little harder than in most years but eventually 1 at Welney in May

23 Shoveler Anas clypeata

24 Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina - pair at Titchwell from March to May by which time they had ducklings, the first breeding record in Norfolk

Red-crested Pochard, Titchwell, 20-Mar-09 Red-crested Pochard, Titchwell, 20-Mar-09

Red-crested Pochards, Titchwell, 20th March

25 Pochard Aythya ferina

26 Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris - female in the Broads on 15th February then presumably the same returning bird at Wroxham Broad on 26th and 27th December

27 Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca - male in the Broads on 15th February, female at Snettisham on 5th December and unringed male at Barton Broad on 26th December - not many people managed to see the first male in the Broads and lots of people thought it was an escape, but when it (?) returned the following winter and lots of people saw it not many thought it was an escape any more - isn't that strange? The Pochard x Ferruginous Duck hybrid at Martham Broad was just as exciting!

Ferruginous Duck, Barton Broad, 26-Dec-09 Ferruginous Duck, Snettisham, 5-Dec-09

Ferruginous Ducks, Barton Broad, 26th December (left) and Snettisham, 5th December (right)

28 Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula

29 Scaup Aythya marila - singles on 3 different broads from January to April, one Kings Lynn in January and a total of 17 past Sheringham in September

30 Eider Somateria mollissima

31 Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis - singles off Titchwell in January and past Sheringham in October

32 Common Scoter Melanitta nigra

33 Velvet Scoter Melanitta fusca - Holkham in January, Sheringham in December and finally a rare inland find at Wroxham Broad on 26th December

34 Goldeneye Bucephala clangula

- Hooded Merganser Lophodytes cucullatus - none reported in Norfolk but on one of my rare out-of-county expeditions I saw the drake at Radipole Lake (quite possibly an escaped bird)

Hooded Merganser, Radipole, 2-May-09  

Hooded Merganser, Radipole Lake, 2nd May

35 Smew Mergellus albellus 2 redheads at Wiggenhall St Marys in January and a first-winter male at Whitlingham Broad in February

36 Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator

37 Goosander Mergus merganser - total of 5 at 3 west Norfolk sites in January, up to 6 at Sparham Pools in March and one at Swanton Morley in December

38 Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis - 1-2 at various coastal sites in NW Norfolk between January and May - one that's not likely to be on many future year-lists as they're steadily being exterminated

39 Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa

40 Grey Partridge Perdix perdix

41 Quail Coturnix coturnix - a calling bird in north Norfolk in May eventually provided a glimpse as it jumped up

42 Pheasant Phasianus colchicus

- Reeves's Pheasant Syrmaticus reevesii - 4 males in the Brecks on 8th March (not counted)

Reeves's Pheasant, Hilborough, 8-Mar-09 Reeves's Pheasant, Hilborough, 8-Mar-09

male Reeves's Pheasants, near Hilborough, 8th March

43 Golden Pheasant Chrysolophus pictus - seen at 3 locations and heard at a third in the Wolferton area from January to March, dark-throated birds of the form var. 'obscurus''; as the UK400 Club considers these birds as uncountable I decided to take the precaution of seeing another male at a Breckland location in May, although frankly I think the Breckland birds are no more or less countable than the Wolferton ones - both populations are decreasing and as they do so they become more inbred and show increasing characteristics of the dark-throated variation

44 Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata

Red-throated Diver, Kelling, 21-Mar-09 Red-throated Diver, Kelling, 21-Mar-09

Red-throated Diver, Kelling Quags, 21st March

45 Black-throated Diver Gavia arctica - One on Ormesby Little Broad on 5th April

46 Great Northern Diver Gavia immer - Singles at Titchwell in January and November and singles at Sheringham in May and October

47 Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis

48 Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus

49 Red-necked Grebe Podicpes grisegna - at least one at Titchwell in January and singles at Sheringham in September and October

50 Slavonian Grebe Podiceps auritus - remarkably rare in Norfolk in the first winter period and this species only made it onto my year-list thanks to a mad dash across the county for 2 off Holme on 13th April (although with a bit of effort I might have been able to find another towards the end of the year)

51 Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis - An obliging and well-watched bird at Brancaster (Gypsy Lane) on 14th February

Black-necked Grebe, Brancaster, 14-Feb-09  

Black-necked Grebe, Brancaster, 14th February

52 Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis

- Cory's Shearwater Calonectris diomedea - A probable past Sheringham on 16th September was not seen well enough to count; several others were reported (some of them were real) but were unfortunately not seen by me

- Great Shearwater Puffinus gravis - A very distant bird flew past Sheringham and Cley on 15th September but even those who were there and saw it didn't for the most part feel able to count it; there was also a report from Holme earlier in the month by a couple of experienced observers

53 Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus - A total of 17 past Sheringham on 3 dates in September and October plus a rare winter record, one past Sheringham on 17th December

54 Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus - A total of 437 past Sheringham over 7 dates August to October

- Macronesian (Little) Shearwater Puffinus baroli - one was reported flying past Sheringham on 1st January - a very unlikely date for this extremely rare but easily misidentified species

55 Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus - 3-4 past Sheringham August to September

56 Storm Petrel Hydrobates pelagicus - 1 past Sheringham on 16th September

57 Leach's Petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa - Total of 3 past Sheringham on 13th-16th September; also a distant unidentified petrel seen being attacked and caught by a Peregrine off there in October

58 Gannet Morus bassanus

59 Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo

60 Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis - 1 at Kings Lynn in February followed by singles at Sheringham on 5 dates in September-October

Shag, Kings Lynn, 22-Feb-09  

Shag, Kings Lynn docks, 22nd February

61 Bittern Botaurus stellaris - 1 at Strumpshaw Fen in January followed by an unusually large number of observations at several sites in the Broads and the north Norfolk coast throughout the year

Bittern, Heigham Sound, 31-May-09 Bittern, Strumpshaw Fen, 4-Jan-09

Bitterns, Hickling, 31st May (left) and Strumpshaw Fen, 4th January (right)

- Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax - I don't think any wild birds were reported in 2009 but one that presumably originated from Great Witchingham flew over Lyng in August; there were rumours of birds elsewhere in the Wensum Valley too - I'd be interested in more details if anyone has them... (a couple of reports from Guist Common I'm told - any others?)

62 Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis - 1 at Matlaske on 14th February

Cattle Egret, Matlaske, 14-Feb-09  

Cattle Egret, Matlaske, 14th February

63 Little Egret Egretta garzetta

64 Great White Egret Ardea alba - With twitchable birds inches from the Norfolk border in both Suffolk and Cambridgeshire and others reported from practically every county in the country it was frustrating for nearly five months that none of the reports from Norfolk proved twitchable. Finally one at Heigham Sound on 31st May gave itself up (thanks to Andy Kane) and much more remarkable was lucking in to the largest flock ever recorded in this country as a group of 8 flew past Sheringham on 14th October!

Great White Egrets, Sheringham, 14-Oct-09

8 Great White Egrets, Sheringham, 14th October

65 Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

66 Purple Heron Ardea purpurea - One at Hockwold on 4th May spent much of its stay across the border in Suffolk and was missed by several year-listers; I'd have rather seen the bird in my local valley at Sparham Pools though!

- White Stork Ciconia ciconia - singles were reported at Kimberley in February, Titchwell in April, Norwich in May and Outwell and Terrington in October but none were seen by many observers and at least 2 were thought to be escapes

67 Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus - It was started to look like the largest ever influx of this species would miss Norfolk altogether but eventually we were rewarded with 3 at Caistor St Edmund on 19th September

Glossy Ibis, Caistor St Edmund, 19-Sep-09 Glossy Ibis, Caistor St Edmund, 19-Sep-09

Glossy Ibises, Caistor St Edmunds, 19th September

68 Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia - 1-6 on 7 dates, all at Cley or Titchwell between March and August

69 Honey-Buzzard Pernis apivorus - One at Swanton Novers on 20th May

70 Red Kite Milvus milvus - Singles at Shernborne, Houghton St Giles, Sculthorpe, Swanton Novers and Bircham Newton between February and July - 4 of these were self-found but none were particularly likely to be Continental migrants as opposed to birds wandering from the English reintroduced population

Red Kite, Shernborne, 21-Feb-09 Red Kite, Shernborne, 21-Feb-09

Red Kite, Shernborne, 21st February

- White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla - A couple of reports of possibles/probables and some other "Eagle sp." reports but none were confirmed as far as I know - at least some of the reports will no doubt have related to escaped raptors

- Black Kite Milvus migrans - One was seen by a reliable observer at Holkham and/or Burnham on 15th May; another couple were reported from Flitcham and there were a number of other reports of possibles or probables, at least some of which related to misidentified Marsh Harriers or Red Kites

71 Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus

72 Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus - A total of 16 records but unusual ones included a very late female at Sheringham on 20th May (which lingered in the county for several weeks) and a very early juvenile at Sheringham on 29th August

Hen Harrier, Sheringham, 20-May-09 Hen Harrier, Sheringham, 20-May-09

Hen Harrier, Sheringham, 20th May

-Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus - Andrew Grieve was fortunate to see one at Winterton on 30th April; presumably the same bird was independently found and photographed by Andy Benson at Aylmerton next day 1st May - it was probably also seen by Mark Webster over Sheringham Park a short while later but it eluded the crowds

73 Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus - Singles were seen at the usual location on a couple of dates in May

74 Goshawk Accipiter gentilis - An adult and an immature seen at a well-known Breckland location in February and a single at another not-very-secret location in west Norfolk, also in February

75 Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus

- Harris's Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus - An escaped bird at Guist Bridge in April (not counted)

76 Buzzard Buteo buteo

77 Rough-legged Buzzard Buteo lagopus - A self-found bird at Sandringham on 9th February but a small element of doubt crept in so I didn't count it until it, plus a second bird, were eventually relocated nearby at Wolferton later in the month. Even then it took some effort before I'd obtained adequate views

- Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis - A presumed escaped bird at the well-known Goshawk site in the Brecks on 14th February (not counted)

78 Osprey Pandion haliaetus - This species proved exceptionally difficult this year and frustrating, causing me to waste many hours during prime autumn migration period searching for them; eventually, after countless near misses, I not only caught up with one but enjoyed some of the best views I've ever had of this species - and returned next day for a second helping

Osprey, East Norfolk, 19-Sep-09 Osprey, East Norfolk, 18-Sep-09

Osprey, East Norfolk, 18th-19th September

79 Kestrel Falco tinnunculus

- Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus - There were several brief reports of this species in late April and early May but none were seen by many observers; then a longer-staying but very elusive bird turned up at Hickling in August - although several year-listers managed to catch up with it here it was not available for those of us who work full time at the other end of the county

80 Merlin Falco columbarius - Staggeringly I only managed to see a single Merlin all year, at the rather unexpected location of Bircham Newton on 7th January

81 Hobby Falco subbuteo - A total of 30 seen (some duplication possible)

82 Peregrine Falco peregrinus - A total of 14 bird/days

- Saker Falco cherrug - There were a number of reports of large falcons, many identified with varying degrees of uncertainty as Sakers, and all probably related to escaped individuals

- Lanner Falco biarmicus - One was reported at Honing in August - presumably an escaped bird

- Gyrfalcon Falco rusticolus - probables were reported at Terrington (grey morph or hybrid) and Cromer (white morph) in early March

83 Water Rail Rallus aquaticus

- Band-bellied Crake Porzana paykullii - a rumour of one being suppressed in Norfolk was circulated in December but I've not unearthed any basis for this rumour; until and unless more information is forthcoming we have to assume it's unfounded (as many rumours are) - Band-bellied Crake is a reasonably long-distance migrant from eastern Asia so could conceivably occur in Europe but I'm not aware of any reports of long-distance vagrancy

84 Spotted Crake Porzana porzana - One at Cley on 25th September - this was the only bird reported in Norfolk this year apart from one report from Stiffkey Fen the day before

- Little Crake Porzana parva - Another rare crake about which I've only heard rumours - apparently one was heard calling at Fakenham in early March, but I've not got much information about this and don't know if even the observer was certain about the identity

85 Moorhen Gallinula chloropus

86 Coot Fulica atra

87 Crane Grus grus - A nice flock of 27 at Waxham on 1st January followed by several records of smaller numbers in the Horsey/Hickling/Martham area during the year; elsewhere 3 flew west at Warham Greens in May and one of the Lakenheath birds was seen just inside Norfolk in May and July

Crane, Hockwold, 25-Jul-09  

Crane, Hockwold, 25th July

88 Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus

89 Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta

90 Stone-Curlew Burhinus oedicnemus - After some unsuccessful attempts one was eventually seen at a regular wintering site in March

91 Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola - One at Salthouse on 15th May - poor views on the ground and I slightly regret not trying harder to get better views of this as it remained in the area for a few days

92 Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni - One at Thornham eventually gave itself up for me on 1st June

93 Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius

94 Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula

- Killdeer Charadrius vociferus - a fantastic find by Dave and Jackie Bridges at Saddlebow on 11th January but whilst a handful of people managed to get there in time these didn't include me or any of the other main year-listers

95 Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus - One at Cley on 13th May - nice one Stu!

96 Dotterel Charadrius morinellus - One at Wereham on 18th April

Dotterel, Wereham, 18-Apr-09  

Dotterel, Wereham (Norfolk, UK), 18th April

97 American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica - Two troublesome birds seen: one at Breydon Water on 10th April and one in Blakeney Harbour on 16th July - neither were straightforward to identify and apparently even now at least one experienced observer believes the first was in fact a Pacific Golden Plover

American Golden Plover, Breydon Water, 10-Apr-09  

American Golden Plover, Breydon Water, 10th April

98 Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva - Just after an extremely similar-looking American Golden Plover disappeared from north Norfolk this bird was discovered at Breydon Water; initially assumed to be the same bird, it was five days before it was reidentified as a Pacific Golden Plover and it was several more days before I eventually managed to catch up with it on 31st July

Pacific Golden Plover, Breydon Water, 31-Jul-09 Pacific Golden Plover, Breydon Water, 31-Jul-09

Pacific Golden Plover, Breydon Water, 31st July

99 Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria

100 Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola

101 Lapwing Vanellus vanellus

102 Knot Calidris canutus

- Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris - One was reported at Breydon Water on 29th May so I hurried over to see it after work; the bird was very distant and being such a mega it deserved careful study but a Short-toed Lark was on Blakeney Point and in my desperation to claw this species back after missing an earlier one I opted to "tick and run", the sort of behaviour I'd normally condemn! Had I actually bothered to stop and study the knot I would perhaps have realised it was in fact not a Great Knot, but an ordinary Knot - at least that's what the eventual consensus of opinion seems to be (must admit in the short time I spent with it I thought it looked pretty good for Great Knot, but greater and more careful minds think otherwise so they're probably right and of course I've not counted it)

103 Sanderling Calidris alba

- Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla - A contender for this species was at Cley on 10th August but fortunately for me (as I didn't see it) the consensus eventually turned to Little Stint, although I understand a few observers still feel it was probably Semipalmated

104 Little Stint Calidris minuta - It was a poor year for this species, especially the spring - I only saw five, all in autumn

105 Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii - Singles at Stiffkey Fen on 9th May and Cley on 13th and 20th May

106 White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis - One at Welney on 1st August

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

White-rumped Sandpiper, Welney, 1st August

107 Baird's Sandpiper Calidris bairdii - A nice find by Tim Allwood - one at Rushill Scrape (Hickling) on 10th August

108 Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos - One at Rushill Scrape (Hickling) on 1st August

109 Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea - A very poor year - 4 at Cley on 12th August were the only ones I saw!

110 Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima - 2 at Sheringham in January and one there in October; also one at Snettisham in December

Purple Sandpiper, Sheringham, 18-Jan-09  

Purple Sandpiper, Sheringham, 18th January

111 Dunlin Calidris alpina

112 Buff-breasted Sandpiper Tryngites subruficollis - One at Cley on 6th and 13th July

Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Cley, 6-Jul-09 Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Cley, 6-Jul-09

Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Cley, 6th July

113 Ruff Philomachus pugnax

114 Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus - One flushed at Thornham in January and 2 singles at Titchwell in October

115 Snipe Gallinago gallinago

- Great Snipe Gallinago media - A probable was reported flying in off the sea with Snipe between Cley and Salthouse on 30th October - the photo perhaps didn't rule out Great Snipe but from recollection I don't think it ruled it in either!

116 Woodcock Scolopax rusticola - Total of 10 in a variety of locations

117 Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa

118 Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica

119 Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus

120 Curlew Numenius arquata

121 Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleuca

122 Green Sandpiper Tringa ochruros

123 Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus

124 Greenshank Tringa nebularia

125 Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola - Scarce this year with just 3 singles at Cley, Hickling and Kelling in July-August

126 Redshank Tringa totanus

- Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes - one was reported on Hunstanton beach on 30th July; no idea if the observer was reliable but it sounds rather unlikely to me...!

127 Turnstone Arenaria interpres

128 Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus - 1 at Rushill Scrape (Hickling) on 4th June

129 Grey Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius - 1 at Thornham on 15th October and the same bird again at Titchwell on 17th

Grey Phalarope, Thornham, 15-Oct-09 Grey Phalarope, Thornham, 15-Oct-09

Grey Phalarope, Thornham, 15th October

130 Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus - Singles at Sheringham in September and October, including a nice fully-spooned bird close inshore

131 Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus

132 Long-tailed Skua Stercorarius longicaudus - 3 juveniles past Sheringham in September followed by a fantastic adult on 16th

133 Great Skua Stercorarius skua

- Sabine's Gull Xema sabini - As usual most reports related to Kittiwakes, or terns, but there were some genuine records in 2009 too; unfortunately none of them were while I was looking

134 Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla

- Bonaparte's Gull Chroicocephalus philadelphia (Larus philadelphia) - The report of one at Cley in April apparently turned out to be erroneous

135 Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus (Larus ridibundus)

136 Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus (Larus minutus)

Little Gull, Burnham Norton, 23-May-09 Little Gull, Barton Broad, 13-Apr-09

Little Gulls, Burnham Norton, 23rd May (left) and Barton Broad, 13th April (right)

137 Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus

Mediterranean Gull, Great Yarmouth, 1-Jan-09 Mediterranean Gull, Great Yarmouth, 1-Jan-09
Mediterranean Gull, Great Yarmouth, 1-Jan-09 Mediterranean Gull, Great Yarmouth, 1-Jan-09

Mediterranean Gulls, Great Yarmouth, 1st January

138 Common Gull Larus canus

139 Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus

140 Herring Gull Larus argentatus

141 Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis - 1-6 at Hockwold Washes, Blackborough End, Breydon Water, Wroxham Broad and Titchwell

142 Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans - Second winter at Blackborough End on 10th January

143 Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides - Juvenile at Blackborough End on 10th January and more unexpectedly among Black-headed and Common Gulls, a juvenile at Wroxham Broad on 15th February

Iceland Gull, Wroxham Broad, 15-Feb-09  

Iceland Gull, Wroxham Broad, 15th February

- Kumlien's Gull Larus glaucoides kumlieni - One was reported at Blackborough End on several occasions in March and April but despite several attempts I didn't manange to catch up with it; however the photos that eventually appeared were less than convincing - indeed it seemed remarkably similar to the leucistic Herring Gull I saw at Titchwell in May (which was also initially reported as an Iceland Gull)

144 Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus - Juvenile at Cley on 3rd January

145 Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus

146 Little Tern Sternula albifrons

147 Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia - 1 at Welney on 4th July

Caspian Tern, Welney, 4-Jul-09  

Caspian Tern, Welney, 4th July

148 Black Tern Chlidonias niger - 3 at Titchwell and at least 25 at Cley on 13th May - very unusually I don't seem to have connected with any more during the autumn!

149 White-winged Black Tern Chlidonias leucopterus - One at Cley on 8th July

White-winged Black Tern, Cley, 8-Jul-09  

White-winged Black Tern, Cley, 8th July

150 Sandwich Tern - Sterna sandvicensis

- Lesser Crested Tern Sterna bengalensis - One was reported flying past Cley on 12th July but there were no further reports

151 Common Tern Sterna hirundo

- Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii - This species proved very difficult this year - too difficult for me - although a small number of birds were seen irregularly at Cley, Breydon Water and elsewhere in east Norfolk

152 Arctic Tern Sterna arctica - 1 at Barton Broad in April and a few more in the autumn

Arctic Tern, Barton Broad, 13-Apr-09 Arctic Tern, Barton Broad, 13-Apr-09

Arctic Tern, Barton Broad, 13th April

153 Guillemot Uria aalge

- Brünnich’s Guillemot Uria lomvia - James McCallum did very well to see and identify one fly past Cley on 4th December (Stu White probably saw the same bird earlier past Sheringham but unfortunately, but very understandably, missed identifying it)

154 Razorbill Alca torda

- Black Guillemot Cepphys grylle - One was seen on several dates from a variety of locations between Cley and east Norfolk in October; I caught a very brief glimpse of what was almost certainly this bird at Sheringham on one occasion but frustratingly it was just a fraction too brief for me to be 100% certain that I saw what I think I saw, so am not counting it

155 Little Auk Alle alle - This species proved very scarce this year so I was fortunate to see 3 fly past Sheringham on 17th October - even year-lister extraordinaire, Lee Evans, didn't see a Little Auk in the whole of the UK in 2009!

Little Auk, Sheringham, 17-Oct-09  

Little Auk, Sheringham, 17th October

156 Puffin Fratercula arctica - Very rare in Norfolk in spring so one past Sheringham on 11th May was very unusual; also 3 more typical records of 4 birds past Sheringham in September-October

157 Feral Pigeon (Rock Dove) Columbia livia - I really don't like counting these 'orrible things but everyone else does so I suppose I should!

158 Stock Dove Columba oenas

159 Woodpigeon Columba palumbus

160 Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto

161 Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur - This species continues to decline and I only recorded 6 birds in 2009; most were heard only, the only ones seen were 2 at Kelling in May

- Ring-necked Parakeet (Rose-ringed Parakeet) Psittacula krameri - One was in east Norfolk for a while but not tied down; another was reported at Sheringham in early December but none were twitchable

162 Great Spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius - One of the year's highlights - one at Salthouse on 23rd July

Great Spotted Cuckoo, Salthouse, 23-Jul-09  

Great Spotted Cuckoo, Salthouse, 23rd July

163 Cuckoo Cuculus canorus

164 Barn Owl Tyto alba

Barn Owl, Wolferton, 17-Feb-09 Barn Owl, Houghton, 15-Feb-09

Barn Owls, Wolferton, 17th February (left) and Houghton, 15th February (right)

165 Little Owl Athene noctua - Never a particularly commonly-encountered bird round here but up to 2 at Flitcham on several dates, 1 heard from home and 1 at Stibbard were the only ones I recorded

166 Tawny Owl Strix aluco

167 Long-eared Owl Asio otus - One seen at dusk at a secret location in January

168 Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus - Scarce this year with singles at Stiffkey in January and Horsey in October my only observations

169 Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus - One at Salthouse Heath in May

170 Swift Apus apus

- Alpine Swift Apus melba - 3-4 reports of this species in Norfolk this year but none lingered long enough to be chaseable

171 Kingfisher Alcedo atthis

Kingfisher, Burnham Overy, 31-Jan-09 Kingfisher, Burnham Overy, 31-Jan-09

Kingfisher, Burnham Overy Marsh, 31st January

- Bee-eater Merops apiaster - 3 were seen by one of the Punkbirders at Great Yarmouth in May but were reported as flying off north; as I was birding in NE Norfolk anyway I spent the rest of the day keeping an eye out for them coming my way but it wasn't until I read it on the Punkbirders website in the evening that I discovered they'd actually returned to the same spot and shown again later in the afternoon; there were a handful of further reports in the county but none of them chaseable

172 Hoopoe Upupa epops - Having spent several hours failing to see several birds previously I was very grateful when I eventually got views of the Great Ryburgh bird on 16th May

Hoopoe, Great Ryburgh, 16-May-09 Hoopoe, Great Ryburgh, 16-May-09

Hoopoe, Great Ryburgh, 16th May

173 Wryneck Jynx torquilla - Probably the worst year ever for this species in Norfolk with at least one keen Norfolk year-lister failing to catch up with one; I eventually caught up with the last bird to be reported, a fairly late bird at Horsey on 4th October

Wryneck, Horsey, 4-Oct-09 Wryneck, Horsey, 4-Oct-09

Wryneck, Horsey, 4th October

174 Green Woodpecker Picus viridis

175 Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopus major

176 Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopus minor - 2 at Santon Downham in early March

177 Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla - After missing one which most of my fellow year-listers saw at West Runton I was glad when another turned up on Blakeney Point, although this took me three attempts before I eventually saw it on 30th May; another long-stayer turned up at West Runton in the autumn and I saw that one too on 11th October

- Crested Lark Galerida cristata - None in Norfolk unfortunately but I saw my first UK Crested Lark at Dungeness (Kent) in May

178 Woodlark Lullula arborea - 1-2 seen on three occasions at Breckland sites in the spring

179 Skylark Alauda arvensis

180 Shore Lark Eremophila alpestris - Incredibly there were no Shore Larks reported as wintering in Norfolk in the first quarter of the year and just a single late report of a spring migrant at Winterton; fortunately a small number arrived in the autumn, of which I saw the 2 at Titchwell on 17th October

181 Sand Martin Riparia riparia

182 Swallow Hirundo rustica

183 House Martin Delichon urbicum

184 Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica - A good crop of records in Norfolk this spring, of which I saw one at Cley mill on 25th April and 2 at Weybourne on 9th May

185 Richard's Pipit Anthus richardi - Not the best year for this species but I managed 2 - the only publicised long-stayer, at West Runton, in October and another west through Sheringham later the same month

- Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris - Unusually, none were reported in Norfolk this year

186 Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis - An early bird at Waxham on 10th April wasn't heard to call so, given the unusual date and the brevity of the observation, I didn't count it; another migrant at the same location in May was all I could muster up for this declining species

187 Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis

- Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus - One was heard calling a few times at Sheringham in the autumn and there were a couple of other reports of flyovers but there weren't any twitchable birds in the county this year

188 Rock Pipit Anthus petrosus

189 Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta - 1-2 on 3 dates at Titchwell or Cley in the first quarter, including a nice summer plumaged bird at Cley in late March; also one between Martham Broad and Heigham Holmes in December

190 Yellow Wagtail Motacilla (flava) flavissima

- Blue-headed Wagtail Motacilla flava flava - Males seen in April at Old Hunstanton and Sea Palling (not counted as BOU treat as the same species as Yellow Wagtail)

- Grey-headed Wagtail Motacilla flava thunbergi - A male at Salthouse on 9th May followed by a flock of up to 9 at West Runton on 16th May (not counted as BOU treat as the same species as Yellow Wagtail)

- Black-headed Wagtail Motacilla (flava) feldegg - My only new bird in Norfolk in 2009 - a fantastic male was found at Titchwell on 25th April (not counted as BOU treat as the same species as Yellow Wagtail)

Black-headed Wagtail, Titchwell, 25-Apr-09  

Black-headed Wagtail, Titchwell, 25th April

191 Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola - One at Cley on 12th May

192 Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea

Grey Wagtail, Swanton Morley, 29-Mar-09 Grey Wagtail, Swanton Morley, 29-Mar-09

Grey Wagtail, Swanton Morley, 29th March

193 Pied Wagtail Motacilla (alba) yarrellii

- White Wagtail Motacilla (alba) alba - One at Cley and 2 at Old Hunstanton in April

- Moroccan Pied Wagtail Motacilla (alba) subpersonata - A bird reported as possibly showing characteristics of this form was at Pentney in March; I saw some photos and although it was certainly interesting I feel it was most likely an aberrant Pied Wagtail

194 Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus - 20 at Thorpe St Andrew on 4th January and then a self-found bird just down the road from home beside the A1067 at Foulsham two days later

Waxwing, Thorpe St Andrew, 4-Jan-09  

Waxwings, Thorpe St Andrew, 4th January

195 Black-bellied Dipper Cinclus cinclus cinclus - A bird wintering in the Glaven Valley proved extremely difficult to catch up with but I managed to see it with Dave Norgate, for whom it was his 19th attempt, on 25th January

Black-bellied Dipper, Letheringsett, 25-Jan-09  

Black-bellied Dipper, Little Thornage/Letheringsett, 25th January

196 Wren Troglodytes troglodytes

197 Dunnock Prunella modularis

198 Robin Erithacus rubecula

199 Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos - A small number heard in and around Salthouse Heath during the spring, and also one at Weybourne; none seen well but one of them glimpsed in flight

- Bluethroat Luscinia svecica - A sign of the times, or prehaps just a sign of a bad year, that this species wasn't reported in 2009

200 Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros - One at Kings Lynn in February, 2 at Eccles and 2 at Old Hunstanton in April and one at Hunstanton in October

201 Redstart Pheonicurus phoenicurus - A male at Old Hunstanton in April but in autumn when I'd normally expect to see quite a few, only one at Winterton and 2 at Wells in September

202 Whinchat Saxicola rubetra - Scarce this year with just half a dozen seen (one in spring)

203 Stonechat Saxicola torquatus

204 Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe

205 Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka - A female at Horsey on 14th October

Pied Wheatear, Horsey, 14-Oct-09 Pied Wheatear, Horsey, 14-Oct-09

Pied Wheatear, Horsey, 14th October

- Siberian Thrush Zoothera sibirica - One was at Natural Surroundings on 4th March but the circumstances were extremely bizarre and much suspicion has been aroused as to how the bird came to be there; I didn't see it but most people I know who did see it aren't counting it

- Veery Catharus fuscescens - A Catharus thrush, thought most likely to be this species, was seen by Vince Hanlon on Beeston Common on 16th October; sadly it couldn't be relocated

206 Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus - Singles at Heacham in March and April followed by 2 at Winterton and one at Blakeney in April

Ring Ouzel, Winterton, 13-Apr-09 Ring Ouzel, Winterton, 13-Apr-09

Ring Ouzel, Winterton, 13th April

207 Blackbird Turdus merula

Blackbird, Kings Lynn, 22-Mar-09 Blackbird, Kings Lynn, 22-Mar-09

albinistic Blackbird, Kings Lynn, 22nd March

208 Fieldfare Turdus pilaris

209 Song Thrush Turdus philomelos

210 Redwing Turdus iliacus

211 Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus

212 Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti

213 Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia - At least 10 heard singing at 4 sites during the spring, including 5 at Snettisham Coastal Park and 3 at Hickling (Weavers Way) - two were seen well

- Savi's Warbler Locustella luscinioides - Seen most years in Norfolk but no news has reached my ears of any in 2009

214 Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus

- Paddyfield Warbler Acrocephalus agricola - Trevor Girling was very lucky to capture one during a mist-netting session at Snettisham Country Park on 15th October but sadly it wasn't seen again following release

- Blyth's Reed Warbler Acrocephalus dumetorum - A spring migrant was at Burnham Overy in May but wasn't seen after the initial observation; another was on Blakeney Point in September but despite being reportedly present for 3 days it was exceptionally elusive and very few people glimpsed it - the chances of getting views adequate for identification seemed so remote I didn't even look for it

- Marsh Warbler Acrocephalus palustris - The one bird I missed during my holiday to the Pyrenees - one was at Holkham and another trapped at Weybourne in mid June; various rumours of breeding birds were circulating but the credible ones were (quite rightly) lacking in enough detail for me to do anything about them until after they'd moved on

215 Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus

- Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus - The "probable" reported at Cley in September couldn't be confirmed

- Booted Warbler Hippolais caligata - One was on Blakeney Point for one day only in September - this was one for the retired year-listers only

- Icterine Warbler Hippolais icterina - The majority of reports of this species were almost certainly erroneous but I believe there were a couple of genuine birds in the Blakeney area (one on the point) and perhaps one or two others elsewhere; none were twitchable although reports of one following a tit flock (very atypical behaviour for this species) at Wells persisted for several days, however the majority of competent birders only saw a Willow Warbler with a pale wing-panel (although I know one experienced birder who's quite sure she saw an Icterine here)

216 Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla

217 Garden Warbler Sylvia borin

218 Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria - A very poor autumn for this species but I managed to connect with the bird at West Runton soon after it was first reported on 10th October

219 Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca

220 Whitethroat Sylvia communis

221 Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata - One in west Norfolk on 24th January and one singing at the better known site in north Norfolk on 10th April

222 Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides - One was at Sheringham for a few days in the autumn but due to site sensitivities news of this bird's presence had to be withheld from the hordes; fortunately I'm a regular there and got to hear of it, and saw it on 13th September

223 Pallas's Warbler Phylloscopus proregulus - The worst autumn across the whole of the UK for this species for many years but Ian Prentice discovered one at East Runton late on 18th October; it reappeared briefly in the same clump of trees the following morning where it showed well to a small handful of observers (including me), calling constantly, before moving on. Some confusion arose due to the reported presence of a Yellow-browed Warbler at the same location, but the identification was sound. Sadly not many other people saw this bird, nor two more that were seen in the east later on

224 Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus - A poor year for this species too and the only one I saw was at Wells on 20th September; I'm pretty sure I heard one calling at Beeston Common on 19th October too, but I shan't submit that record

- Radde's Warbler Phylloscopus schwarzi - 1-2 were apparently seen in Wells in October but not seen by the masses

- Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus - None were reported to the news services this year but photographs were recently published of a short-stayer in east Norfolk during the autumn

- Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix - It wasn't a foolish decision to prioritise Collared Pratincole and Hoopoe over Wood Warbler on the evening of the day all three turned up, but it was the wrong decision as the two rarer species both stayed overnight and the commoner Wood Warbler departed - and no further Wood Warblers were reported in the county for the remainder of the year (singles were reported at Salthouse and Winterton the day before but news of these didn't emerge until after dark)

225 Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita

- Siberian Chiffchaff Phylloscopus (collybita) tristris - Andy Musgrove found one at Shotesham in late October - I heard it singing and calling on 29th and then saw it on 31st (not counted as BOU treat it as a race of Chiffchaff)

226 Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus

227 Goldcrest Regulus regulus

228 Firecrest Regulus ignicapilla - A pair in the Brecks in March and 4 more elsewhere in the autumn

229 Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata - Two migrants in May and one in the Walks in Kings Lynn in July

230 Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva - One at Wells on 16th September followed by one at Winterton on 19th September

- Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis - None in Norfolk sadly but I saw my first ever at Portland in Dorset in May

Collared Flycatcher, Southwell, 2-May-09 Collared Flycatcher, Southwell, 2-May-09

Collared Flycatcher, Southwell (Portland), 2nd May

231 Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca - A terrible year for this species which I only saw on 2 dates in September in Wells (7 birds)

Pied Flycatcher, Wells, 16-Sep-09 Red-breasted Flycatcher, Wells, 16-Sep-09

Pied Flycatcher (left) and Red-breasted Flycatcher (right), Wells, 16th September

232 Bearded Tit Panurus biarmicus

233 Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus

234 Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus

235 Great Tit Parus major

236 Coal Tit Periparus ater

237 Willow Tit Poecile montana - Among the commoner Marsh Tits a conveniently vocal individual was seen well at Sculthorpe Moor in January

238 Marsh Tit Poecile palustris

239 Nuthatch Sitta europaea

240 Treecreeper Certhia familiaris

241 Penduline Tit Remiz pendulinus - One at Strumpshaw Fen on 8th February

Penduline Tit, Strumpshaw Fen, 8-Feb-09 Penduline Tit, Strumpshaw Fen, 8-Feb-09

Penduline Tit, Strumpshaw Fen, 8th February

- Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus - Although I'm not aware of this species having bred in Norfolk for a few years now the Lakenheath birds have previously provided opportunities for county year-listers as they cross the river into Norfolk on feeding forays; unfortunately this year they seemed to stick to their own county and, for the first time in many years, I'm not aware of any year-listers who saw this species in Norfolk; the only report was a migrant flying through Stiffkey in May although one or two rumours circulated about singing birds heard, presumably again on spring passage

- Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus - Norfolk still awaits its first but I saw my first in Surrey in October

Brown Shrike, Staines Moor, 29-Oct-09  

Brown Shrike, Staines Moor, 29th October

242 Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio - A juvenile at Kelling on 24th August - very scarce this year and one or two year-listers missed seeing any

243 Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor - Singles at Dersingham Bog and Roydon (and just out of the county at Lakenheath) in January-March

Great Grey Shrike, Roydon Common, 12-Mar-09 Great Grey Shrike, west Norfolk, 24-Jan-09

Great Grey Shrikes, Roydon Common, 12th March (left) and Dersingham Bog, 24th January (right)

244 Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator - A first summer male at Blakeney on 19th May

245 Jay Garrulus glandarius

246 Magpie Pica pica

247 Jackdaw Corvus monedula - In addition to the local birds a 'Nordic Jackdaw' was seen at Weybourne Camp on 10th April

248 Rook Corvus frugilegus

249 Carrion Crow Corvus corone

250 Hooded Crow Corvus cornix - I was fortunate to be close by when 1 turned up at Beeston on 21st February; it didn't stick around for very long and there weren't any easier birds reported later on

Hooded Crow, Beeston Regis, 21-Feb-09 Hooded Crow, Beeston Regis, 21-Feb-09

Hooded Crow, Beeston Regis, 21st February

- Raven Corvus corax - There were four brief reports of this species during the year - it will be interesting to see if any of the records are accepted!

251 Starling Sturnus vulgaris

- Rose-coloured Starling Pastor roseus - At least 3 were reported in October with one at Choseley/Titchwell apparently lingering, but almost impossible to locate among huge flocks of migrant Starlings

252 House Sparrow Passer domesticus

253 Tree Sparrow Passer montanus - Seen at Flitcham in January and Great Cressingham in March

254 Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs

255 Brambling Fringilla montifringilla

- Serin Serinus serinus - After a promising candidate got away from me at Snettisham in March there were 3 more reports of this species in the county but none twitchable

256 Greenfinch Carduelis chloris

257 Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis

258 Siskin Carduelis spinus

259 Linnet Carduelis cannabina

260 Twite Carduelis flavirostris - I was happy with the 3 silent birds I saw in flight at Thornham on 3rd January but when someone pointed out that most reliable observers there had only seen Linnets there when Twites were being reported I thought I'd better see some more a bit better! Fortunately the flock of 30 at Brancaster Staithe obliged on 9th January

261 Lesser Redpoll Carduelis cabaret - Most of the Redpolls I saw in 2009 were not specifically identified but 10 at Strumpshaw Fen on 7th February were Lessers

262 Mealy Redpoll Carduelis flammea - 2 were among the Lesser Redpolls at Strumpshaw Fen on 7th February

263 Crossbill Loxia curvirostra - Sightings included 31 in west Norfolk, 4-5 at Wells and Holkham, a party of 7 migrants in off at Sheringham and small numbers at 4 sites in the Brecks

- Parrot Crossbill Loxia pytyopsittacus - A possible was heard calling at Wells in October but there were no subsequent reports

- Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus - On 25th May Dave Norgate and I hammered Gun Hill at Burnham Overy looking for late spring migrants like Common Rosefinch without any success. As we left, Rich Moores arrived, and seconds later he discovered a Common Rosefinch right where we'd just been looking. It only stayed for a few minutes - which might have been long enough if we'd received news straight away rather than four hours later; no others were reported in Norfolk in 2009

- Pine Grosbeak Pinicolor enucleator - A possible was reported at Kelling on 21st September - the description given didn't sound entirely convincing and it's rather unlikely, but you never know...!

264 Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula

265 Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes - One at Felbrigg on New Years Day

266 Lapland Bunting Calcarius lapponicus - One at Cley in April followed by singles at Sheringham (2), West Runton and Thornham in October

267 Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis - Seen at Titchwell and Holkham in January but according to my notes I didn't see any more for the remainder of the year!

268 Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella

269 Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana - A first-winter at Cley on 4th and 5th September

Ortolan Bunting, Cley, 5-Sep-09 Ortolan Bunting, Cley, 5-Sep-09

Ortolan Bunting, Cley, 5th September

- Little Bunting Emberiza pusilla - Not a species a county year-lister can guarantee to see but it's relatively unusual for none to be reported, as was the case in 2009

270 Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus

271 Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra - regularly seen at Choseley, also at Welney and Hockwold

- Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater - With only one previous British record a series of 3 records on the UK east coast within a few days was extraordinary, although the two mainland records, including the first, a possible at Weybourne on 7th May, were in private gardens and not widely seen


I shouldn't finish without saying a word of thanks to all those who found good birds and provided me with information about them. Apart from the birds, one of the things I enjoyed most about the year was meeting other birders from all over the county - both twitchers and those who'd done the hard work of finding the birds in the first place. Thanks too to Dave Norgate for his company during numerous long hard days in the field, for patiently waiting while I invariably arrived late to pick him up in the mornings and most of all for introducing me to the burger van at Snettisham beach car park!

News of several rare birds in Norfolk was suppressed in 2009 - no doubt several more than I'm aware of currently. The ever increasing thoughtlessness and ignorance displayed by large portions of the twitching population will only serve to increase this suppression going forwards. I fully understand why news of some unusual birds needs to be suppressed and why many rare bird finders chose not to release news widely, and I don't think anyone has an automatic right to hear about rare birds as soon as they're found. Consequently I don't tend to support the anti-suppression banter that goes on; nevertheless I'm always grateful when people do decide to release news of unusual birds and am particularly thankful to those who've tipped me off with some generally confidential information about some of the more sensitive ones this year.

I think all that remains to be said is no, I shan't be year-listing again in 2010! I do intend to get out and do a load of birding though, striking a balance between local patch work and getting out to some of the other great sites in Norfolk. Happy New Year!

Monthly diary:

Jan ; Feb ; Mar ; Apr ; May ; Jun ; Jul ; Aug ; Sep ; Oct ; Nov ; Dec