Sunday, September 30, 2012

Road trip

After some easterlies was tempted up to Norfolk. 

Burnham Overy

Never seen such a busy Booted Warbler. When it wasnt flying about it was deep in cover, occasionally landing in a place where it could be photographed

There was also an extremely elusive Barred Warbler hanging around a large clump of brambles, very occasionally seen popping its head up,  not a sniff of a photo in 90 minutes so  had to eventually give up on it.

Have to own up to this one. This unlucky Song Thrush just happened to be flying across the road as I passed. This is how it landed.

No sign of the next target bird, Red-breasted Flycatcher so it was off to Wells Woods to have a look around. This Common Redstart was actually a photographic year tick. There were large numbers brought in by the north-east winds. Up to 75 birds at one site

This Chiffchaff had seen better days

Managed to locate 3 Yellow-browed Warblers loosely associating with a large mixed Tit flock

One of a flock of 8 Jays coming in off 

Strong northerlies early next morning saw me seawatching at Cley. Highlights were Black Guillemot and Sooty Shearwater. Nothing photographed unfortunately. Sooty would have been one for the yearlist

Next followed a little bit of running around with not much reward. Report of Pec Sand at Titchwell drew a  blank (if it was one) but Golden Plover new for the photographic year.

With things going a bit quiet in Norfolk so was tempted up to Spurn where the headline bird was a Greenish Warbler. This is where it was hanging out

Showed quite well on and off with regular bouts of persistent and loud calling. Unfortunately couldnt sound record and take photos at the same time

As with Norfolk, all the RB Flys had disappeared. This Garden Warbler was skulking around a farm at Kilnsea but no sign of the reported Barred Warbler there.

Mileage starting to add up now as it was back to Norfolk, east coast this time, for a Buff-breasted Sandpiper. 

At dusk, headed for Horsey Mere where there was a chance of seeing Common Cranes coming into roost. But not tonight.

Early next morning tried Stubb Mill. 

Got there just in time to see a few leaving the roost

A few also hung around, flying from field to field before eventually departing

Fly by Kingfisher brought the photographic yearlist to 261 (as at 26th Sept)

I continued south. There was news of a White-rumped Sandpiper at Breydon Water from the day before so popped in for a look but nothing to be seen.

Onwards then to Suffolk. 
There wasnt really anything about and I wasnt going to stop but then had a thought about Stone Curlews. I didnt manage to photograph the nesting pair actually on the reserve last time I was at Minsmere as I got bored of waiting. It was however much later in the year now and time was running out. I was within spitting distance again from Minsmere. Maybe I will just drive down the track and see if they are on the heath. A good move as there were three birds there.

With two Barred Warbler dips under the belt, the chance of a rather showy one at Dungeness was too much to pass up. Anyway it was kind of on the way home! I wasnt disappointed.

Whilst celebrating that with some of the locals a rather distinctive bird caught my eye amongst the amassing hirundines. Unfortunately it was nothing more than a House Martin with white primaries. It still looked pretty amazing in the lowering light levels. 

More evidence of Jay movement the next morning. A group of six (one missing here) came in from the north, headed for the sea but then did an about turn and headed back north

A closer fly by meant only one at a time could be photographed here

Couple of odd ball geese with the feral Barnacles. From a distance resembling 'blue' Snow Geese

A bit quiet at Dunge so headed towards home. Next came a reminder of how stupid year listing really is.
I was ambling back, happy with my haul, but a bit tired after all the driving and looking forward to getting home, when a Pec Sand came on the pager. Now normally I wouldnt bat an eyelid at such a message but this was a photographic year tick and it was getting late in the year and could be my last chance to get one. The thing was it was at Pulborough Brooks, a place I had already passed some 30 miles ago. Not only that but the message had taken over an hour to get out so was actually there as I was passing by. Anyway I had to go, after all I had driven this far, may as well do the extra few miles. When I got there, I found out that I also had a long walk as well, to the far end of the reserve. Eventually I arrived at the place where it was seen, to be greeted by "well actually it flew off just after it had been seen" I was now steaming! Not only had the message got out late but there was no follow up one to say it had cleared off! Explitives were rushing through my head that Brett would have been proud of. I was also now completely knackered. After searching the whole reserve I eventually had to give up and head for home. Three hours after I had turned around I was back to where I was when the message came on, considerably more tired and pissed off.
This is the first (and last) time I have seriously tried a UK yearlist and I really dont know how people can do it. I mean you are regularly relying on idiots for the identification and whereabouts of birds. Who is to say that bird ever was a Pec Sand. No offence to Pulborough Brooks but it is a mini Titchwell with all that that entails if you know what I mean.

If you dont, let me give you a clue. This was declared a small Swan by one of the visitors. Who is to say it wasnt the Pec Sand finder. 
Just one more.  I got to another hide where there was a suitable scrape. I stupidly asked one of the people if they had seen the Pec Sand here. "No" was the reply. "You dont get Sandpipers on this scrape" I mean what kind of shit is that!