November 2012


Friday 30th November

Not sure why this Jay was sat on a hay bale with Woodpigeons for so long. It didn't look very well.

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Jay, West Newton, 30th November


Thursday 29th November

2 more Winter Moths tonight, again sticking to the outside of the windows for some reason.

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Winter Moth, Bawdeswell, 29th November


Sunday 25th November

Spent a couple of hours looking for interesting geese in NW Norfolk this afternoon but didn't come up with anything better than a couple of leucistic Pink-feet and a Barnacle Goose. At home 3 Winter Moths rested on the outside of the windows (they were open so not sure why none of them came in!).

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Barnacle Goose, east of Dersingham, 25th November


Saturday 24th November

Took the in-laws to the Sandringham Craft Fair today and after that headed up to the coast for a walk at Burnham Overy. Vitty's parents seemed to enjoy the birds, but I didn't find anything remarkable before rain stopped play and cake at the deli in Wells became a more attactive option. Wished I'd looked for the Snow Goose as it turned out to be a hybrid - much more interesting!


Friday 23rd November

I located a large flock of Pink-feet between Anmer and Dersingham at lunch time but too late to have a good look through. I did have just enough time to pick out a Barnacle Goose in flight and a Pink-footed Goose with neck collar inscribed LAV. I think this becomes the neck-collared Pink-foot I have seen most times now - I first saw it in 2003 and have seen it several times since. Another Winter Moth this evening.


Thursday 22nd November

Another December Moth tonight, and also a Winter Moth, my first this winter.


Wednesday 21st November

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Dark-bellied Brent Geese, Brancaster Staithe, 21st November


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Oystercatchers, Brancaster Staithe, 21st November


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Ringed Plovers, Brancaster Staithe, 21st November


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Turnstone, Brancaster Staithe, 21st November - all blinged up


Tuesday 20th November

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Turnstones, Brancaster Staithe, 20th November


Monday 19th November

A December Moth this evening, my first at home this year.

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December Moth, Bawdeswell, 19th November


Sunday 18th November

A wander round Swanton Morley this afternoon produced nothing more exciting than the likes of 2 Treecreepers. With diving duck represented by just 6 Tufted Ducks I'm not sure this patch is likely to deliver Norfolk's first Lesser Scaup any time soon. Swanton Morley has been consistently disappointing this year - if it wasn't the nearest bit of water to home I would dump it as a local patch. If it gets any worse I'll be better off watching the ducks in my bath.


Saturday 17th November

Went to Sheringham this morning, hoping to get see some Waxwings move through on vis mig, and perhaps a Little Auk or two. The wind was pretty much due south and is better for vis mig when it's got west in it, so it was a failure on the first front. I think I did see a Little Auk go through, but I was concentrating on something else, a little bit better, so didn't look at it properly!

As I walked east along the clifftop I heard the "schreep" of a Richard's Pipit. I've heard a few of these and am normally fairly confident when I hear it first but this one wasn't convincing. I looked up to the direction where it seemed to be coming from and saw a Skylark. They can sound a bit similar and as it hadn't seemed quite right I assumed that was what I'd heard. I did think I would have a good kick around the field on the way back, just in case, but in the meantime other events took over and it slipped my mind. I only remembered hours later when I read on the pager that someone else had come along and found a Richard's Pipit there (and later a second bird)!

I found a flock of 9 Common Scoter offshore and checked them carefully. All Common. I carried on and eventually turned round and headed back. The Common Scoter were still there but now there were two extra birds just apart from them. One was an obvious Velvet Scoter, complete with white in the wing visible, and the other bird with it was also clearly a Velvet Scoter as it had two smaller white patches on the head not the one large pale cheek patch of Common Scoter. The bill didn't look enormous so that was that. I would take a good look but first I wondered whether they were just close enough to get some digi-scoped shots and I spent some time attempting to photograph them. But they were too far really and I couldn't even get the Coolpix to focus on them, so I gave up trying. Then they both flew and to my horror only one of them had white secondaries! There was no way the second bird was a Common Scoter - it must have been SURF SCOTER! But that bill didn't look as big and swollen as I thought it should on Surf Scoter - could Common ever show such a head pattern? I was now seriously regretting fumbling around with the camera when I should have just had a good look at them and desperately hoped they would drop in again. Very fortunately indeed they did drop in and I headed over to opposite where they were. Interesting... the bill's still not as big as I remembered it should be on Surf but the shape did look good. I was now looking carefully at the detail of the head pattern, and shape, and yes, this looked like it was a Surf Scoter! A quick check of the Sibley guide to North American birds on my phone to make sure I wasn't going mad and yes, this still looked good. Given the pale belly it would be a juvenile which does have a less obviously big bill than the adults which I've mostly seen before. Still with some doubts I made some calls to get a second opinion, and Rob helpfully read out the text from the Advanced ID Guide. As he and Phil headed over the birds drifted closer and I become all but convinced it was indeed a Surf Scoter and when Rob arrived he very quickly and very confidently agreed. Excellent! Only my second in Norfolk and the first I've self-found anywhere.

One moth tonight - a Feathered Thorn.

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Surf Scoter, Sheringham, 17th November - with a Velvet Scoter top right and with Common Scoters bottom


Velvet Scoter, Sheringham, 17th November


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Stonechat, Sheringham, 17th November


Thursday 15th November

Heard a Waxwing briefly at work today. Just heard it the once so not sure if it was flying over or lurking somewhere unseen.


Tuesday 13th November

The best night for moths in ages: Ashy Button Acleris sparsana, Red-green Carpet, 3 Feathered Thorns, Brick, Red-line Quaker and Beaded Chestnut. The Acleris was interesting, firstly as it was more strongly marked than any I've seen before (f. favillaceana I believe) and secondly because it was larger than the size range normally quoted for this species (if only by a mm or two). I think the ID is correct anyway, but please shout if I've got it wrong!

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Ashy Button Acleris sparsana f. favillaceana, Bawdeswell, 13th November


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Red-line Quaker, Bawdeswell, 13th November


Sunday 11th November

I sometimes contribute to various online forums and get to 'meet' a few fellow birders in doing so, usually only in the virtual world. One of them is in Norfolk this week and we arranged to meet up in the real world for some birding. We'd planned to go to Titchwell but he and his wife reported being unable to park in the car park due to the crowds so we decided to go to Burnham Overy instead. I think Mac and Helen enjoyed the walk, and they seemed to enjoy the birding as well, although we didn't see many unusual species. The most unexpected one was a Red-throated Diver in the harbour but it's always a great place to enjoy the common birds and that's what we did this afternoon.

A couple of moths tonight: Mottled Umber and Chestnut.

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Chestnut (left) and Mottled Umber (right), Bawdeswell, 11th November


Saturday 10th November

Tonight's moths consisted of 2 Bricks.


Friday 9th November

This Marsh Harrier was feeding on a Woodpigeon right next to the road when I passed it - needless to say it didn't stay there when I passed, but it took some of its prey off to the next field where it carried on munching. In the meantime 2 Buzzards were flying around overhead.

Some moths tonight: Feathered Thorn, Yellow-line Quaker and Beaded Chestnut.

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Marsh Harrier, south of Brancaster, 9th November


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Feathered Thorn, Bawdeswell (left) and Buzzard, south of Brancaster (right), 9th November


Wednesday 7th November

Today I found a FIRST FOR NORFOLK! Well, more accurately, today I discovered that I'd found a first for Norfolk - I actually found it on 30th June but its identity was only resolved today. It's the first first for Norfolk I've ever found so I'm quite pleased!

Jon Clifton got back to me this morning with the results of dissecting a number of moths I'd retained for him over the summer and there were several goodies among them. Best was Larch Piercer Cydia illutana that I collected from Bunker's Hill near Houghton on 30th June. It's a relatively new species in Britain and there are now records from several southern counties, and one or two in the Midlands, so it's not a particularly surprising addition to the Norfolk list. Nor will Lesser Scaup be but that won't stop me celebrating when I find it!

Next best was from home where one of my Coleophora turned out to be a second for Norfolk: Black-bindweed Case-bearer Coleophora therinella. Amazingly the 9 Coleophora from home that Jon dissected for me were all different species!

Not content with a first and a second, Jon also uncovered a third for Norfolk, Black-brindled Bell Epinotia signatana. I already thought I'd found the third of these for Norfolk as the next day I found a better-marked individual that I managed to identify without dissection - that now becomes the fourth. Both were found in my bedroom.

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Larch Piercer Cydia illutana, Houghton, 30th June (male: gen. det. J Clifton) - the first for Norfolk!


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Black-bindweed Case-bearer Coleophora therinella, Bawdeswell, 6th July (left) and Black-brindled Bell Epinotia signatana, Bawdeswell, 13th July (right) (both males: gen. det. J Clifton) - the second and third for Norfolk


Tuesday 6th November

A better moth tonight: Spruce Carpet. Although I've seen these at several sites this year this one was my first at home.

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Spruce Carpet, Bawdeswell, 6th November


Monday 5th November

One Epirrita sp. was the first moth at home for a while.


Saturday 3rd November

Spent much of today at Titchwell. By the visitor centre 4 Lesser Redpolls provided some entertainment for the group, followed by 4 Siskin (and later a brief Brambling). We then headed to the new east trail which is looking good - my first time along here and a good improvement I reckon. From the far end as we viewed the marsh several flocks of duck flew in, among them at least 93 Pintail. As we headed back a family asked whether Marsh Harrier can have a forked tail like a Kite - apparently they'd been arguing about whether a bird was a Red Kite or a Marsh Harrier. The bird wasn't in view but I'd seen a Marsh Harrier nearby earlier so I imagined they'd seen a Marsh Harrier with a tatty tail, but then from behind the trees appeared a very nice Red Kite.

Rain hadn't been forecast but it came and from the shelter of the hides we didn't have much to look at apart from loads of duck (and an Angle Shades moth that Ray had found in the hide). Eventually it cleared up and we headed down to the beach where I was able to pick out both Red-necked and Slavonian Grebes. A couple of Long-tailed Ducks dropped in close by while just in front of us 11 Snow Buntings fed on the beach.

Afterwards I headed along the coast to Burnham Norton, pausing briefly at Brancaster Staithe on the way. A nice walk in the evening sunshine (well, for a bit anyway) but nothing hugely exciting seen.

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Lesser Redpoll (left) and Spotted Redshank (right), Titchwell, 3rd November


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Pintail, Titchwell, 3rd November


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Teal (left) and Shoveler (right), Titchwell, 3rd November


Red Kite, Titchwell, 3rd November


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Angle Shades (left) and Little Grebe (right), Titchwell, 3rd November


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Little Egret, Brancaster Staithe, 3rd November


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Marsh Harrier, Burnham Norton, 3rd November


Thursday 1st November

Spent today with Vitty in London with her family - visited Wimbledon Common and Battersea Park. Dipped on Womble (I understand they're usually elusive) but saw some Ring-necked Parakeets.


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