January 2014

 

Thursday 30th January

A Spring Usher was my 5th species of moth so far this year.

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Spring Usher, Bawdeswell, 30th January

 

Sunday 26th January

Spent the morning at the local patch today. Best bird was a Pink-footed Goose flying west as I arrived. Other than that not much to report really.

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Pheasant, Rawhall Wood, 26th January

 

Saturday 25th January

Didn't make it up out of bed as early as I'd intended, but at least that did result in me getting an interesting garden bird - a Blackcap, my first here in winter.

Eventually made it up to Burnham Overy where I enjoyed most of the day. I couldn't find the Black Brant - the best geese were a couple of Barnacle Geese and the Ross's Goose x Barnacle Goose hybrid. Raptors put on a good show with 2 Red Kites over Gun Hill for ages, then moving to over Scolt Head, and a ringtail Hen Harrier over Gun Hill briefly. Also lots of Common Buzzards and Marsh Harriers, but I couldn't find the Rough-legged Buzzard that has been reported here recently (and again just after I left this afternoon). The Great Northern Diver was still present, further up the channel towards the staithe than I'd seen it before. Ever the optimist I decided to walk the suaeda carefully looking for migrants (!). It paid off as I flushed a Jack Snipe from beneath my feet and got a great look at it as it flew up and off into the saltmarsh - bird of the day!

Popped in to Bayfield Lake on the way home, where Dave had seen a couple of hybrid geese recently. From his photos I wasn't sure what they were but on finding them today (among 9 Barnacle Geese) they were, I think, more Ross's Goose x Barnacle Goose hybrids. Some of the Barnacles looked quite manky - 2-3 had quite brown plumage. The condition of the plumage on these birds was poor, so I think the brown was just where the black had faded through excessive wear, rather than this indicating odd parentage.

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Jack Snipe, Burnham Overy, 25th January

 

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probable Ross's Goose x Barnacle Goose hybrid, Bayfield Lake, 25th January - looking more Barnacle-like than most so I wondered if they might be backcrossed, but I wouldn't expect it to be a fertile hybrid so doubtful?

 

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Barnacle Goose hybrid, Bayfield Lake, 25th January - one of three birds in a flock of nine with brown feathers in the wing-coverts, flight feathers and breast; these feathers seemed excessively worn so I assume them to be old unmoulted feathers that had faded, rather than some form of pigment deficiency (the brown colours don't show up well in these high-ISO photos)

 

Friday 24th January

A few Starlings bathing in the puddles were better looking than the Fieldfares they were among.

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Starling, north of Stanhoe, 24th January

 

Wednesday 22nd January

A large flock of Pink-feet remain between Docking and Fring in my lunch break. Impossible to see the whole flock from the car, but enough of them for me to pick out Pale-bellied Brent Goose and Barnacle Goose. The other side of Fring a ringtail Hen Harrier was quartering the fields.

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Pale-bellied Brent Goose, between Docking and Fring, 22nd January

 

Sunday 19th January

A Winter Moth appeared this evening - my latest ever.

 

Saturday 18th January

Didn't get out until late today. Paused briefly at the patch on the way up to the coast, mainly to see the fine drake Pintail that Dave had found at Rawhall GPs (also a record 19 Shoveler there). I was going to head up to Burnham Overy, primarily to see the Black Brant in overcast conditions as I've a nagging doubt about its purity and so far I've only seen it in sunshine (not good for determining subtle tones) or at long range. As the Sun had come out by the time I got up there I decided instead to go to the generally quieter Burnham Norton. A pleasant enough walk round, my first time since the floods, and it was clear that there were far fewer birds on the marsh than usual, presumably as they don't like everything tasting of salt! A couple of flocks of Brents though, one of which contained a Pale-bellied Brent Goose. Over the saltmarsh there were 5 Marsh Harriers and a Hen Harrier at dusk, plus a Kingfisher. Edit: nearly forgot: I also heard a Lapland Bunting calling.

Another Early Moth seemed to be the only moth in tonight, until I discovered a Parsnip Moth Depressaria radiella next day - my first winter record of this species.

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Parsnip Moth Depressaria radiella, Bawdeswell, 17th January

 

Friday 17th January

Popped in to Brancaster Staithe during my lunch break today. Nothing unusual doing. My first "spring" moth this evening, an aptly-named Early Moth.

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Oystercatcher (left) and Turnstone (right), Brancaster Staithe, 17th January

 

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Early Moth, Bawdeswell, 17th January

 

Wednesday 15th January

About 3 years ago there were loads of Tenebrosus Pheasants along the road running parallel to the coast road about 2 miles south of Wells - presumably following a significant release of these variants. Not seen many there since then but one obliged as I checked the reservoir for gulls in today's lunch break.

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Pheasant (var. tenebrosus), south of Wells, 15th January

 

Tuesday 14th January

Another lunch time spent roaming the countryside looking for geese etc. produced only Brown Hares and Common Gulls...

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Common Gull, Shernborne, 14th January

 

Saturday 11th January

A very pleasant day spent at Burnham Overy. The best birds seen were all birds I'd seen on previous visits - Black Brant, Great Northern Diver and 2 Long-tailed Ducks - but better views were obtained. Other birds of note included 4 Barnacle Geese but it was the sheer spectacle of enormous numbers of birds that was most breathtaking. Tens of thousands of Pink-footed Geese, hundreds if not thousands of Brent Geese, hundreds if not thousands of Wigeon, scores of Teal, Shelduck, Curlew, Oystercatchers, Dunlin, hundreds of Lapwings, 2758 Golden Plovers (yes, I counted them) and hundreds of Starlings along with scores of Common Scoter offshore. I love this place! Awesome scenery, big open skies and vast numbers of birds - what more could you want?

Stopped off briefly at the patch on the way home - Barnacle Goose and Green Sandpiper were the highlights.

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Great Northern Diver, Burnham Overy, 11th January

 

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Long-tailed Ducks, Burnham Overy, 11th January

 

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Curlew, Burnham Overy, 11th January

 

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Goldeneyes, Burnham Overy, 11th January

 

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Red-breasted Mergansers, Burnham Overy, 11th January

 

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Reed Bunting, Burnham Overy, 11th January

 

Friday 10th January

Didn't find any birds of note during my lunchbreak but I was intrigued by rainbow-coloured patches of cloud either side of the Sun. Have seen them before, or something like it, but wondered what they're called. A bit of research suggests they're sundogs... is that right? Here's one of them - the other one was only visible occasionally.

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sundog, from near Ringstead, 10th January

 

Wednesday 8th January

One Barnacle Goose was briefly seen among the Pink-feet north of Stanhoe in my lunchbreak.

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Pink-footed Geese, north of Stanhoe, 8th January

 

Tuesday 7th January

Nothing better than a Goldeneye at Brancaster Staithe in my lunch break.

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Turnstone (left) and Bar-tailed Godwit (right), Brancaster Staithe, 7th January

 

Saturday 4th January

A trip to Strumpshaw Fen seemed to be enjoyed by most of the group and we managed to avoid the worst of the rain. The highlight was probably the 2 Otters from reception hide, though the Stoat along the railway was a bit showier. Nothing hugely exciting among the birds but the group are easy to please and the Marsh Harriers, 10 Snipe, 3 Marsh Tits, 2 Treecreepers, Brambling and about 4 Lesser Redpolls kept them on their toes. They seemed less impressed with the Black Swan!

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Marsh Harriers, Strumpshaw Fen, 4th January

 

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Fieldfare (left) and Marsh Tit (right), Strumpshaw Fen, 4th January

 

Friday 3rd January

Found a Many-plumed Moth Alucita hexadactyla in the bathroom this evening. Had my first December record last month and now my first January record.

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Many-plumed Moth Alucita hexadactyla, Bawdeswell, 3rd January

 

Thursday 2nd January

On the way to work today 3 Fallow Deer ran across the road in front of me at Syderstone Common. Have seen Roe Deer and Muntjac here many times but never Fallow Deer before.

 

Wednesday 1st January

Happy New Year!

I joined Dave to bird the patch this morning. There wasn't a great deal around - 3 Snipe, Green Sandpiper and Barnacle Goose at one end and a Little Owl at the other.

Dave was bemused by me photographing the twig shown below - it was to demonstrate the camouflage of the Buff-tip moth I've shown in the inset! OK, you have to squint a bit and imagine it's on the same background!

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twig, Creaking Gate Lake, 1st January - with a Buff-tip from June 2011 in the inset

 

 

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