Home | Photo Pages | Trips | Diary | Contact me

April 2011

 

Saturday 30th April

Today it took a pair of Dotterel showing well at West Runton to get me out of bed... and showing well they certainly were. Nothing else of interest seen at the coast so I headed home via Guist Bridge from where we could see 3 Hobbies hawking in the far distance - not the sort of distance you want to find a Red-footed Falcon! Finally a quick stop near Foulsham at a site Rob Y had tipped me off about produced the hoped for Tree Sparrow, along with Early Purple Orchids. The sparrow was a belated addition to my local 'patch' list (my patch in this intance being the 5 km radius circle centred on my house). Tonights moths consisted of 2 Shuttle-shaped Darts.

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image

Dotterels, West Runton, 30th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Lapwing mobbing Kestrel, Burnham Norton, 30th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Black-headed Gull, Salthouse (left) and Early Purple Orchid, Foulsham (right), 30th April - at least I assume the Orchid is Early Purple - please let me know if I've got that wrong!

 

click for larger image  

Shuttle-shaped Dart, Bawdeswell, 30th April

 

Friday 29th April

News of 3 Red-footed Falcons was enough to drag me up to Burnham Overy this afternoon but alas they had disappeared shortly before I arrived. Two had drifted off east but one had gone west earlier so as plenty of people were looking to the east Dave and I decided to take a look at Burnham Norton. A Lesser White-fronted Goose among feral geese was surely an escapee, perhaps the bird that was at Titchwell recently. On the fields there were a couple of Wheatears and 6 Whimbrels. The saltmarsh produced Little Terns, 2 Greenshank and a ringtail Hen Harrier carrying prey. The harrier was being hotly pursued by a female Merlin, presumably intent on getting it's talons on the Hen Harrier's prey. A Green Sandpiper flew over - singing! I have seen well over a thousand Green Sandpipers but this was the first time I have ever heard one in song! The bushes held Cetti's Warbler and a couple of Lesser Whitethroats and then Dave picked up a distant flock of 60 Curlew sp. At first look they seemed like Whimbrels but we didn't get a good enough look as they flew away to be 100% sure; fortunately they were also picked up at Burnham Overy where they were identified as Whimbrel - the largest flock I've ever seen. Finally back at the car park we were entertained by 4 more Wheatears and a Yellow Wagtail.

After a bit of a drive round looking for falcons we headed back towards home, stopping at Guist Bridge where a Cuckoo was present and the pair of Mandarins dropped in. Three moths tonight - Twenty-plume Moth, another Shuttle-shaped Dart and my first Spectacle of the year.

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image

Sedge Warbler, Burnham Norton, 29th April

 

click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image

Hen Harrier and Merlin, Burnham Norton, 29th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Lesser White-fronted Goose, Burnham Norton, 29th April - the white on the forehead may just be a tiny bit too inextensive for this to be a pure bird?

 

singing Green Sandpiper, Burnham Norton, 29th April

 

click for larger image

60 Whimbrels, Burnham Norton, 29th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Gadwall, Burnham Norton (left) and Cuckoo, Guist Bridge (right), 29th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Shuttle-shaped Dart (left) and Spectacle (right), Bawdeswell, 29th April

 

Thursday 28th April

After several nights without a single moth tonight produced two: Common Quaker and another Powdered Quaker.

click for larger image  

Powdered Quaker (left) and Common Quaker (right), Bawdeswell, 28th April

 

Wednesday 27th April

The Blackbirds in my garden fledged last week and now so too have the Song Thrushes - or at least one of them.

click for larger image click for larger image

Song Thrushes, Bawdeswell, 27th April

 

Tuesday 26th April

My lunch break today was spent with 5 Dotterels at Choseley. Very nice too, even if the distance did preclude any decent photos.

Dotterels, Choseley, 26th April

 

Sunday 24th April

Easter Sunday is always a day to celebrate and this year there was an additional reason to - an absolutely stunning male Citrine Wagtail between East Runton and Cromer.

In late May 1990 I took a break from A-level revision and popped down to my local reservoir in Kent. I discovered an interesting 'yellow' wagtail that showed the few features I could recall of Citrine Wagtail. I showed it to the reserve warden who was just about to leave - he took one glance, said it was a Yellow Wagtail, got in his car and left. It troubled me though, and I took detailed notes, not remembering exactly what features I should be looking for. It flew into a corner and out of sight, calling as it went - a distinctive call but I had no idea of its significance. I cycled home pondering what I'd seen and desperate to get to some reference books. When I did I was delighted to find I'd noted pretty much the full suite of characters for a first summer, probably female, Citrine Wagtail - and my transcription of the call was precisely the same as the one in the books! I phoned it out to Birdline as a possible - I think they added "report" reflecting their disbelief (at the time there were no accepted spring records of Citrine Wagtail in the UK, and none in Kent at all, although a well-watched bird had been seen at Sandwich Bay earlier in the same month). A small handful of birders turned up later in the afternoon and got sufficient views to support my ID so I submitted a description. Would it be accepted? Would I go down as the finder of a second UK spring record and second for Kent (following the Sandwich Bay bird)? They were reviewing records of Citrine Wagtail at the time and it took an agonising seven years for a final decision. To my amazement, the decision was in favour of my bird, but, thanks to an anomalous call heard, against the well-watched bird from Sandwich Bay. Mine therefore became the first accepted Kent record and the first accepted British springtime record! Since then there have been several spring records - I've seen four now - and I think at least 1-2 more in Kent, but it remains a special bird for me!

I got news of today's bird late and by the time I'd got home and picked up my optics there had been no news for nearly two hours. A call to Rob had assured me it was definitely worth seeing and when news of its continued presence finally came out I dashed straight up. What a cracker! My first in this stunning plumage.

I hadn't managed to find a single moth by the time I went to bed but the following day I discovered another Powdered Quaker and a Parsnip Moth that had presumably arrived on the night of 24th.

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image

Citrine Wagtail, between East Runton and Cromer, 24th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow Wagtails, between East Runton and Cromer, 24th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Powdered Quaker (left) and Parsnip Moth (right), Bawdeswell, 24th April

 

Friday 22nd April

Slightly fewer moths tonight but no loss in quality, including two new ones for me, and a few others I've only seen occasionally. They were 2 Tinea trinotella (my second and third), 2 Twenty-plume Moths, Flame Carpet, Garden Carpet, Streamer, Currant Pug, Common Pug, 2-3 Brindled Pugs, Oak-tree Pug (my first, assuming I've identified it correctly), Yellow-barred Brindle, Scalloped Hazel (my second ever), Small Quaker, Powdered Quaker (my first ever), 2 Common Quakers and 2 Clouded Drabs.

Let me know if you agree or disagree about any of my Pug IDs...

click for larger image click for larger image

Powdered Quaker, Bawdeswell, 22nd April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Tinea trinotella, Bawdeswell, 22nd April (two different individuals)

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Scalloped Hazel, Bawdeswell, 22nd April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Brindled Pugs, Bawdeswell, 22nd April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Brindled Pug (left) and Oak-tree Pug (right), Bawdeswell, 22nd April - the worn individual on the left looks oddly plain and tawny, but I can't think what else fits other than a very worn Brindled. The one on the right seemed a little smaller and shorter (more rounded) winged than the Brindled Pugs, and more strongly barred - am I right in thinking Oak-tree?

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Currant Pug (left) and Common Pug (right), Bawdeswell, 22nd April - at least I think so!

 

click for larger image  

Streamer, Bawdeswell, 22nd April

 

Thursday 21st April

Had the plumber round today to fix the water pressure, bathroom taps and kitchen sink plug and service the shower. £120 later the water is again dribbling out of the taps (it worked for a bit while he was still here), he couldn't fix the kitchen sink plug, the bathroom now needs decorating thanks to the way he hacked through the obstacles to accessing the bath taps and the shower, which used to work fine most of the time no longer works at all and will cost us £170 to replace (plus the cost of getting it fitted if I can't do it myself). At least the shiny new taps (which we had already paid for) are now fitted - it would just be nice if they had some water coming out of them.

After that it was nice to have one of the best evenings of the year so far on the moth front, with 17 species including several that were good for me. Most exciting of the lot was my first Mullein - not an uncommon species apparently, but I'd not appreciated what wonderful great beasts they are! The rest were: Parornix sp. (probably anglicella), Agonopterix sp. (might just be heracliana but I wasn't sure - any ideas from the photo?), 2 Twenty-plume Moths, Frosted Green (following my first and second ever yesterday), my first 2 Flame Carpets of the year (a bit early?), my first Garden Carpet of the year, another Water Carpet (my third or fourth ever, all this year), 2 Brindled Pugs (I tried hard to turn one into something else but couldn't pull it off - but I'm not completely certain so let me know if you think differently), Double-striped Pug, 3 Waved Umbers (more than I've ever seen in a whole year before), at least 1 Least Black Arches, my second ever Shuttle-shaped Dart, Common Quaker, 2 Clouded Drabs, 2 Hebrew Characters and Early Grey.

click for larger image click for larger image

Blackbirds, Bawdeswell, 21st April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Mullein, Bawdeswell, 21st April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Shuttle-shaped Dart, Bawdeswell, 21st April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Frosted Green, Bawdeswell, 21st April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Flame Carpets, Bawdeswell, 21st April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Parornix sp., probably Parornix anglicella, Bawdeswell, 21st April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Garden Carpet (left) and Water Carpet (right), Bawdeswell, 21st April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Agonopterix sp. (left) and Brindled Pugs (right), Bawdeswell, 21st April

 

click for larger image  

Waved Umber, Bawdeswell, 21st April

 

Wednesday 20th April

Lunchtime yielded 2 of the Mallard x Muscovy Duck hybrids at Tattersett, and various bits and pieces at Coxford and Raynham, though nothing worth mentioning. On the way home I diverted past Bintree Mill where there was a Green Sandpiper. A Marsh Harrier flew over and a Cuckoo called nearby. I've always found the road between Bintree and Billingford quite productive and with others now seeing the likes of possible Little Bunting and Rough-legged Buzzard down there I'm starting to wonder if it deserves closer attention. In the past I've suspected migrant White and Yellow Wagtails, though not proved either (the former provided poor views and the latter was heard too indistinctly) so I headed home this way. A quick scan of one of the ploughed fields produced 3 Wheatears, which doubles the number of Wheatears I've seen in the valley in the 4.5 years I've lived here. I'm going to have to keep an eye on this place - Red-throated Pipit next month...

The moths were good tonight - not huge numbers, in fact fewer than yesterday, but more variety with twice as many species. Best of the bunch were 2 Frosted Greens, my first and second ever. Also my second ever Pine Beauty and my second ever Nut-tree Tussock, plus my first 2 Common Pugs of the year, first Agonopterix arenella of the year, another Waved Umber and a Parornix that was probably Parornix anglicella. More run-of-the-mill stuff were 2 Twenty-plume Moths, Common Quaker, Clouded Drab, Hebrew Character and Early Grey.

click for larger image click for larger image

Mallard x Muscovy Duck hybrids, Tattersett, 20th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Buzzard, Coxford, 20th April

 

click for larger image

Pheasant, Swanton Morley (left) and Green Sandpiper, Bintree Mill (right), 20th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Frosted Greens, Bawdeswell, 20th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Nut-tree Tussock (left) and Pine Beauty (right), Bawdeswell, 20th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Agonopterix arenella (left) and Waved Umber(right), Bawdeswell, 20th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Common Pug (left) and Early Grey (right), Bawdeswell, 20th April

 

click for larger image  

Parornix sp., probably Parornix anglicella, Bawdeswell, 20th April

 

Tuesday 19th April

Another look at Thornham in today's lunch break, but this time around the bottle banks. This area produced a weird vaguely acrocephaline gurgling songster that remained hidden and a distant reeling Grasshopper Warbler (that also remained hidden). On the way back to work I found a fine Red Kite along the road between Docking and Bircham - my sixth Red Kite in Norfolk this month!

After days of warm nights producing next to no moths, even on cloudy nights, a clear night tonight produced relatively large numbers. Most (12+) were Twenty-plume Moths, but there was also Brindled Pug, my first-of-the-year Parsnip Moth and Brimstone Moth along with Clouded Drab and Early Grey

click for larger image click for larger image

Red Kite, between Docking and Bircham, 19th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Parsnip Moth (left) and Brindled Pug (right), Bawdeswell, 19th April

 

Monday 18th April

Went for a quick wander along the seawall at Thornham at lunch time. Two Bean Geese have been at Holme recently and are identified by some as one Tundra and one Taiga, which I find rather unlikely. I was doubtful whether I would have time to get close enough to the Pink-feet to find these, let alone identify them, and indeed my doubts proved well-founded. I did see the flock, but with hardly any time and rather too much distance between me and them I didn't have a hope. Still, a few Wheatears and at least 28 Golden Plovers were nice. No moths again tonight.

click for larger image  

Wheatear, Thornham, 18th April

 

Sunday 17th April

Another rubbish night for moths produced only a Yellow-barred Brindle.

click for larger image  

Yellow-barred Brindle, Bawdeswell, 17th April

 

Saturday 16th April

Arrived at Sheringham at 5.40 and it felt good - cloud, a little bit of light drizzle and very light warm southerly breeze. Surely there'd be some good birds today, I thought as I got out of my car, and at that moment I heard a tacking coming from the hedgerow opposite. It continued on and off for the next 15 minutes, though I never saw the source, but I was pretty certain it was a Ring Ouzel. As I moved to get a different angle I heard a second bird in the hedgerow inland of here, and this time I got brief views of a nice male Ring Ouzel as it headed inland. Good start. It soon became evident that Whitethroats were now in - and not just 1-2 but lots singing, and 2-3 Lesser Whitethroats too.

At first there was little in the way of vis mig so Rob and I headed off in search of grounded migrants. These soon appeared and by the end of the morning I'd counted roughly 100 Wheatears, perhaps considerably more. Another 2 Ring Ouzels proved much easier than the first two and a couple of Yellow Wagtails were seen.

I noticed a group of 5 Cormorants flying east high above the cliffs and wondered if they were migrants rather than local birds, and was amused a few minutes later when a pager report announced 5 possible Glossy Ibises east over Sheringham. Then the awful thought occurred to me that I'd seen them flying away at considerable distance and hadn't been all that careful... could I have been the one who stuffed up?! I don't think so, but I wouldn't put it past me!

At this point Dave and Jackie had arrived and were about to start watching vis mig. Although a couple of flocks of Meadow Pipits had just gone through I suggested they might be better off looking for grounded migrants as there had been very little so far in the way of vis mig. They assured me that things can pick up later in the morning, which I thought was being quite optimistic, and then another wave of Meadow Pipits and Linnets moved through. Swallows, Goldfinches, Pied Wagtails, Yellow Wagtails, lots of Meadow Pipits and Linnets were now clearly on the move proving me completely wrong, and I spent an enjoyable hour or so watching them with Dave & Jackie. As all this was going on a Grasshopper Warbler began to reel. After a few bursts I was sure I wasn't imagining it, but it was hard to hear and when we moved closer to where it seemed to be it fell silent.

Next stop was a brief one at Salthouse, where I heard and then saw a pair of adult Mediterranean Gulls. Blakeney produced the Nordic Jackdaw and then I headed towards home. A quick stop at Guist Bridge produced the Harris Hawk, Bintree Mill held Little Ringed Plover, another site held 3 Red Kites and Swanton Morley produced Common Sandpiper, Grey Wagtail and more Whitethroats and Lesser Whitethroats.

click for larger image click for larger image

Ring Ouzel, Sheringham, 16th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow Wagtail, Sheringham, 16th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Pied Shieldbug (left) and Stonechat (right), Sheringham, 16th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Wheatear (left) and Meadow Pipit (right), Sheringham, 16th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image

Gadwalls, Salthouse, 16th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Grey Heron, Salthouse, 16th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image

Mediterranean Gulls, Salthouse, 16th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image

apparent Nordic Jackdaw, Blakeney, 16th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

apparent Nordic Jackdaw (left) and Western Jackdaw (right), Blakeney, 16th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Chiffchaff, Blakeney, 16th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

escaped Harris's Hawk, Guist Bridge, 16th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Common Sandpiper, Swanton Morley, 16th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Greylag Goose x Canada Goose hybrid, Swanton Morley, 16th April

 

Friday 15th April

Heard a Black Redstart singing in my lunch break today, and soon after located it - a female-type bird but presumably an immature male as it was singing. First-spring males are often said to be indistinguishable from females, and some probably are, but if this one hadn't been singing I think the dark lores and pale wing-panel would have pointed to it being a male. As it was singing pretty determinedly I guess it may be breeding so for now I'll leave the location out.

Only 7 moths tonight - another disappointing total. These included another Leek Moth though, and 2 Streamers plus a Water Carpet. I wonder if the latter is the same one that hid in the wardrobe yesterday - if so it's become a lot tattier for its adventure! Also Twenty-plume Moth, Double-striped Pug and my first Yellow-barred Brindle of the year.

click for larger image click for larger image

Black Redstart, NW Norfolk, 15th April

 

click for larger image  

Swallow, NW Norfolk, 15th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Leek Moth, Bawdeswell, 15th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Streamers, Bawdeswell, 15th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Water Carpet (left) and Yellow-barred Brindle (right), Bawdeswell, 15th April

 

Thursday 14th April

A warm cloudy night should have made for a good evening for moths. Although it was the best day of the week so far it was a bit disappointing with only 9 moths. These included 2 Brindled Pugs (my second and third) and a Carpet sp. that wouldn't settle before it disappeared into a wardrobe (!) and hid itself. I managed one poor photo as it moved around, and from what little of the upperwing you can see on that the only species that I can match to the pattern is Water Carpet. It was a bit paler than I'd expect from that species though, so if I've overlooked something please let me know! The other half-dozen were 3 Twenty-plume Moths, Common Quaker, Clouded Drab and Twin-spotted Quaker.

click for larger image click for larger image

Twin-spotted Quaker (left) and presumed Water Carpet (right), Bawdeswell, 14th April - let me know if you think I'm right about the Water Carpet!

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Brindled Pugs, Bawdeswell, 14th April

 

Wednesday 13th April

I returned in my lunch break to see if I could find the putative intersex tenebrosus Pheasant. I couldn't, but I did find a remarkable number of Pheasants showing characteristics of the mutant variation tenebrosus (and some intermediate birds).

No moths tonight at all.

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image

Pheasants (var. tenebrosus or intermediate), south of Wells, 13th April - four different birds

 

Tuesday 12th April

On the way back from not seeing the White-tailed Eagle the other day I noticed 2-3 tenebrosus Pheasants near Crabbe Castle Farm, south of Wells. I returned during my lunch break today but the only interesting Pheasants all dived for cover as soon as they saw my camera. One was particularly interesting - it showed much of the typical dark brown plumage of female tenebrosus, but traces of the red facial skin of a male as well as a reasonable amount of male colouring in the head and neck. I think it must have been an intersex bird, but I'd welcome others' opinions. I can't recall seeing (in life or in photos) an intersex bird that wasn't a duck, though judging by the number of intersex Mallards adorning the www it can't be all that unusual a phenomenon. There is some evidence (not a lot yet!) that intersexes are more likely to occur in hybrids than in pure species and although var. tenebrosus Pheasants aren't hybrids, they are mutants and I wonder if this has the same effect of making them more prone to being intersex. One bird isn't enough to draw conclusions, but it's a hypothesis I'll try to test in the future.

Did some gardening this evening, which is about as rare as any bird I've seen this year: found a Holly Blue roosting in the ivy. Few moths again - singles of Double-striped Pug, Clouded Drab and Early Grey.

click for larger image click for larger image

Holly Blue, Bawdeswell, 12th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image  

Pheasant, south of Wells, 12th April - presumably an intersex var. tenebrosus but comments welcome!

 

Monday 11th April

I had decided not to twitch the Red Kite at North Creake during my lunch break but as I was driving through Burnham Market my pager announced the presence of a Goshawk there too. Skeptical as ever when it comes to Goshawk reports I nevertheless changed my mind and headed down. One of the guys present apparently monitors Goshawks in the Brecks, so ought to recognise one, but there was no sign of it during the next half-hour or so (nor any Sparrowhawks). Plenty of Buzzards, at least 2 Marsh Harriers and a Kestrel or two were the only raptors I could manage.

Just 3 moths again tonight, and again one of them was, I think, a bit on the early side - Least Black Arches. The other 2 were both Hebrew Characters.

click for larger image  

Least Black Arches, Bawdeswell, 11th April

 

Sunday 10th April

No time for birding today, sadly. This evening a Waved Umber was, I think, a fairly early record, and there was another Red Chestnut. The only other moth was a Twenty-plume Moth.

click for larger image click for larger image

Red Chestnut (left) and Waved Umber (right), Bawdeswell, 10th April

 

Saturday 9th April

I decided that the clear skies would make birding at the coast hard work and settled instead for a trip to the Brecks and Welney. First stop produced 2 Stone-Curlews without any difficulty, meaning I could press on and get to Welney for opening at 7.00 am. Last year's White-spotted Bluethroat has returned to exactly the same spot and is holding territory once again - is this the first time in the UK that a territorial Bluethroat has returned in consecutive years? Let's hope he attracts a female!

Eventually good views were obtained of it singing, though my first opportunity for photos was thwarted by my camera battery running out at the wrong time. You can't get on the bank this year, but from the small corner hide I'd seen that it sang a couple of times from the top of a willow, which would just be visible from the path. So I positioned myself on the path next to the willow and waited - after a while I could hear it singing just in front of me, but too low down to see, and then it went quiet again. A bit longer and up it popped, singing its heart out just in front of us. It was a bit obscured by vegetation growing on the bank, but good enough. Quite good in fact!

A Little Ringed Plover flew over, Sedge Warblers were singing all over the place and a Peregrine was seen (having apparently just chewed the head off a Black-tailed Godwit).

Next stop was a well-known site for Goshawks, but I'd spent too long enjoying the Bluethroats and, already perhaps a bit late in the season, it was now also later in the day than would be ideal. A Woodlark was singing, Bramblings and Siskins called, but raptors were hard to see. A distant Accipiter was impossible to do anything with in the heat haze, though I suspected it could have been a Goshawk. Then finally a male Goshawk flew low over the trees - bingo! Not the longest view in the world, but very distinctive. I've not seen all that many Goshawks, but every one I've seen in normal flight has been relatively straightforward - a totally different beast from Sparrowhawk - indeed not even recalling Sparrowhawk! When they're soaring though, it's a different matter - I think big female Sparrowhawks can look distinctly similar to Goshawks when soaring and they can even be difficult to be sure about when looking at photos. Still a species I'd like to increase my familiarity with - and today's brief view wasn't really what I had in mind. A couple of Crossbills flew over before I headed back.

Just a single moth tonight - Clouded Drab.

click for larger image click for larger image

Stone-Curlews, Norfolk Brecks, 9th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image

White-spotted Bluethroat, Welney, 9th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Wren (left) and Shovelers (right), Welney, 9th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Chiffchaff (left) and Orange-tip (right), Norfolk Brecks, 9th April

 

Friday 8th April

I should give up trying to intercept large birds moving along the coast in my lunch breaks... I didn't see the Cranes so decided to give up and look elsewhere, where I didn't see anything better than a Pheasant.

Very few moths again tonight - too clear - however once again they included an interesting one. Last August I found a Leek Moth which proved to be the most westerly record in Norfolk - surprisingly there are no other records west of a line between Weybourne and Norwich. So I wasn't expecting another, but I'm pretty sure tonight's micro was indeed another Leek Moth. Other than that, a nicely-bright Double-striped Pug and just 5 others: 3 Twenty-plume Moths, Clouded Drab and Early Grey.

click for larger image click for larger image

Pheasant (var. tenebrosus), North Creake, 8th April - once again notice the purply sheen on the side of the neck which seems to be a feature of this variant

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Leek Moth, Bawdeswell, 8th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Double-striped Pug (left) and Early Grey (right), Bawdeswell, 8th April

 

Thursday 7th April

To my surprise the Eagle supposedly returned to Norfolk today, having crossed the Wash and gone into deepest darkest Lincolnshire yesterday afternoon. What's more I was in the right place at very nearly the right time. Of course not quite the right time, and I didn't find out about it until several hours later.

Very few moths tonight - but one was a new one for me. I thought it was probably an Early Tooth-striped, but was grateful for confirmation from Jon as I wasn't certain I could eliminate Mottled Grey. Another Pug sp. (possibly another Brindled, not Double-striped) was on the wrong side of the window and refused to come in whilst yet another single Red Chesntnut turned up. Other than that it was dead - just 2 Hebrew Characters.

click for larger image click for larger image

Early Tooth-striped, Bawdeswell, 7th April - thanks to Jon Clifton for confirmation of this ID

 

click for larger image  

Grey Plover, Brancaster Staithe, 7th April

 

Wednesday 6th April

I was working from home today, so it was no surprise to hear that the White-tailed Eagle was in NW Norfolk today, heading towards work just before lunch and then showing well in the Titchwell area when I would have been on lunch and could have been there, had I been at work. Typical! The only raptors I managed from home were Buzzard and Sparrowhawk. I rarely see Buzzards from here, but would probably see more if I looked out of the window more often!

Brindled Pug is one of the commoner species I'd not managed to pick up until now, but tonight I finally found one. Other than that there was Agonopterix sp., 3 Twenty-plume Moths, Double-striped Pug, 3 Early Thorns, yet another Red Chestnut, 5 Common Quakers, 2 Clouded Drabs, 3 Hebrew Characters and an Early Grey.

click for larger image

Chaffinch, Bawdeswell, 6th April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Double-striped Pug (left) and Brindled Pug (right), Bawdeswell, 6th April

 

click for larger image  

Blackbird, Bawdeswell, 6th April

 

Tuesday 5th April

The White-tailed Eagle spent the morning in north central Norfolk, just a little too far east for me to be able to reach in my lunch break. But as I left for lunch I noticed that the last message said it had been seeing flying west from Langham towards Warham - I could get to Warham just about. I arrived to find others not seeing it and not knowing if it had carried on west or not got that far, so I turned back keeping an eye out as I went. Picked up a Red Kite over the west end of Holkham Park, but no Eagles.

During the afternoon there had been more sightings, the last (by the time I left work) flying over Edgefield towards Itteringham so I headed in that direction. There hadn't been any news for a while and I suspected it would have been long gone by the time I arrived, but as I came out of Saxthorpe I found a group of birders looking intently. I pulled in, and as I did the pager informed me that the Eagle had just been here, but had just gone out of view. It wasn't seen again. Missed it by seconds... again!

Still windy, and few moths again - Early Thorn, 4 Common Quakers and Early Grey.

click for larger image click for larger image

Common Quaker (left) and Early Thorn (right), Bawdeswell, 5th April

 

Monday 4th April

Mindful of how quickly the Eagle got from Titchwell to Cromer yesterday, when I heard that 3 Cranes were heading west along the north coast I decided to take an early lunch and nip up to the hill just south of Thornham to see them coming. They were at Blakeney at 11.40 so when I arrived at c. 12.25 I suspected I might be too late but kept a watch out just in case. But I was totally wrong - by 12.42 I heard that they'd only just reached Holkham! I had to leave a few minutes after this and they'd not appeared in that time. Had I taken my lunch at the usual time I would have seen them - though distantly as they apparently didn't get further than Brancaster.

With strong winds I didn't expect many moths, though I thought there might be a few more than there were. Just Diurnea fagella, Agonopterix sp., 2 Early Thorns, 2 Common Quakers, and 2 Clouded Drabs.

 

Sunday 3rd April

I had an hour or two free this afternoon so phoned Dave to see if he fancied a wander round Swanton Morley. While on the phone I received news that the White-tailed Eagle that had just flown west over Titchwell was now flying east over Brancaster, so I suggested a change of plan! We headed north, and with no further news by the time we reached Fakenham decided to intercept it at Wells. But we weren't in with a chance - as we approached Wells we received the news that it was already at Cromer!! This was one fast-moving Eagle! We decided to give chase and as we headed south towards Stalham took a call to say it had gone down at East Ruston but was now back in the air, so we rapidly headed back that way, only to receive a further update that it was now heading rapidly south. We continued the chase, and were just coming up to Sea Palling when we heard it was still in that area, but it was moving faster than we were (well, in a straighter line anyway) and we narrowly missed it. The next news was that it was flying SE over Martham so we tore down to the vantage point of Burgh Castle in the hope of intercepting it there. But it had other ideas, and can't have got much further before turning as it was next seen at Winterton. Unfortunately news was a bit late reaching us about that sighting and we didn't think it was worth going back through the Yarmouth traffic, so stayed put in the hope that it would carry on. It did, but not until the next day, and we didn't wait that long! Thanks anyway to Tim for the regular updates on the Eagle's whereabouts!

While at Burgh Castle Dave picked up an Eagle-like raptor heading our way being mobbed by a smaller bird. Through my scope it looked interesting, but not an Eagle. The bird mobbing it was a Lapwing but, at some distance and flying directly towards us it wasn't immediately obvious what I was looking at. Only when it landed on Berney Marshes did I realise it was a Buzzard sp. and it wasn't until it got up again that the penny dropped. It continued flying south flying past us - a fine Rough-legged Buzzard. Not as good as an Eagle, but compensation of sorts.

By dusk rain had set in, limiting the number of moths seen. Best was my first Streamer of the year - always a favourite for me. Otherwise Twenty-plume Moth, 4 Early Thorns, Red Chestnut, 3 Clouded Drabs and Hebrew Character.

click for larger image click for larger image

Clouded Drab (left) and Streamer (right), Bawdeswell, 2nd April

 

Saturday 2nd April

My first Blackcap of the year spent the morning singing in the garden, along with a Chiffchaff. To remind me that winter is not far away yet, a Brambling called a few times. All good stuff for the garden, but it doesn't quite make up for not having time to go birding again.

Moths this evening were interesting with the most interest coming from the micros for a change. These included a Parornix sp., Parornix anglicella I think, Diurnea fagella, 2 Agonopterix sp., 2 Emmelina monodactyla and a unprecedented 20+ Twenty-plume Moths. The macros were relatively quiet: Shoulder Stripe, 2 Early Thorns, Red Chestnut, 2 Small Quakers, 6 Common Quakers, Clouded Drab and 2 Early Greys.

click for larger image click for larger image

Parornix sp., Bawdeswell, 2nd April - I think Parornix anglicella is both what is most likely and what it looks closest to, but confirmation welcome as always!

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Twenty-plume Moths, Bawdeswell, 2nd April

 

click for larger image  

Diurnea fagella, Bawdeswell, 2nd April

 

Friday 1st April

Had a look at Raynham Lake to see if any of the presumed Barnacle Goose x White-fronted Goose hybrids were still around. This mixed pairing had bred there years ago and since then there have been 2-3 small dark Barnacle Goose hybrids in the area (including Coxford and Flitcham) on and off which have been presumed to be their offspring. Well there was one there, but either it was a different bird or it has changed its appearance considerably since I last saw it. Now it has a paler belly with some clear white markings in the flanks. Are these just Barnacle features coming through late, or is it something different?

Heading into Norwich after work I saw a Red Kite in the same place as a few weeks ago, at Attlebridge.

This evening's 23 moths were: Twenty-plume Moth, 2 Shoulder Stripes, 4 Double-striped Pugs (my first four this year), 2 Early Thorns, Red Chestnut, Small Quaker, 7 Common Quakers, Clouded Drab, Twin-spotted Quaker, 2 Hebrew Characters and Early Grey.

click for larger image click for larger image

presumed hybrid Barnacle Goose x White-fronted Goose, Raynham Lake, 1st April

 

click for larger image

Buzzard, Tatterford Common, 1st April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Hebrew Character (left) and Red Chestnut (right), Bawdeswell, 1st April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Double-striped Pug (left) and Early Grey (right), Bawdeswell, 1st April

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Common Quaker (left) and Small Quaker (right), Bawdeswell, 1st April

 

click for larger image  

Green Lacewing, Bawdeswell, 1st April - lots of these have started to appear recently

 

Next month: May 2011

Current month

 

Previous months:

2007: Jan ; Feb ; Mar ; Apr ; May ; Jun ; Jul ; Aug ; Sep ; Oct ; Nov ; Dec ;

 

2008: Jan ; Feb ; Mar ; Apr ; May ; Jun ; Jul ; Aug ; Sep ; Oct ; Nov ; Dec ;

 

2009: Jan ; Feb ; Mar ; Apr ; May ; Jun ; Jul ; Aug ; Sep ; Oct ; Nov ; Dec ;

 

2010: Jan ; Feb ; Mar ; Apr ; May ; Jun ; Jul ; Aug ; Sep ; Oct ; Nov ; Dec ;

 

2011: Jan ; Feb ; Mar