Our NEW BIRD BLOG is now up and running and seems to have taken off with various collective members, so for now please change your bookmarks and go there to get the news. If we change back to here we'll let you know.
To see more photos of some of the birds mentioned here visit Tim's photoblog.
NOTE: no more news will appear here - please click the link to the new blog, above.
A contentious 2008 AGM was held (about six months late) on Saturday, at John's house, with a DOMESTIC CAT in attendance. Several collective members fell victim to mysterious wheezy illnesses and leg seizures, but nevertheless we managed to get through much important work. As a result, in true collective fashion we are testing out a new joint blog for bird news, which all of us can contribute to, and which will go live after this (non-existent) autumn migation. Have a look here. If you have any comments (apart from "who cares?") then please post them on the Shoutbox. We strive to serve you, the reader.
Massive news tonight - Pete saw a Little Owl on his way home from work this evening (at exactly the crepuscular hour...). The ensuing mega-twitch went badly wrong however, and we expect to have scared to death a number of little old ladies of the parish...
A Bearded Tit was seen by Pete along the Holmes Road and later trapped by the ringers - another good bird for the year.
The RBF left us overnight. Tim has added some nice shots of it to his blog (click the link above). Here's one of them:
The Red-breasted Flycatcher was still with us today. Tim got some good pics which he'll put on his blog tomorrow. In the mean time you'll have to make do with a few record shots taken with my toy camera in low light this evening (too crowded with twitchers for a sunny daytime visit).
Tim found a Red-breasted Flycatcher in the Oaks this morning, which eventually showed well for the assembled Collective membership. A great bird and a majorly difficult one to see in the parish - it was even Pete's first. Well done Tim! I now have an answer to the question I posed here only four days ago...
Quite a few Bonxies past today (probably about 100), along with several tens of Arctic Skuas and a couple of Sooty Shearwaters. A Swift was feeding amongst the hirudlines low over the dunes and a Hobby came in off the sea.
In the valley this morning: four Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler, a Garden Warbler, two Blackcaps, three Lesser Whitethroat and seven Common Whitethroats.
2 Whinchats and a flock of 17 Redshank this morning.
Stung into action by the Newton Stringer's attack Pete found several Med Gulls today in the Pallid Fields. Lately there has been a steady flow of Lesser Whitethroats. Otherwise it has been a quiet summer, though the parish did host what Colin called a "classic British birding event" - the sight of a certain well-known big listing celebrity - and his car - being hauled out of a ditch on the main road, thankfully unharmed. I wonder if he has now had more than 400 crashes?
More bird news will be forthcoming as Autumn hots up...
Wood Warbler today
Wryneck in the N Dunes. Ted captured it in the evening with his new toy.
Another Red-rumped Swallow today at almost exactly the same time, and some more shots from Terry. Also of note were four Little Egrets, an Osprey and Treecreeper. Adding these to decent birds already seen such as Kingfisher, Nightingale, Crossbill and several others, this is shaping up to be an excellent year for difficult birds in the parish. Indeed the yearlist record could be there for the taking, if only we knew what it was. We'll let you know as soon as we've had our AGM, as it's item 2 on the agenda.
Terry managed a good shot of today's Red-rumped Swallow:
Here's Terry's list for today. Note the typical (for Winterton) southerly direction of all the Summer migrants.
Goldfinch 60 (S)
Linnet 178 (S), 3 (N)
Swallow 99 (S)
Red-rumped Swallow 1 (S) @ 0915
Meadow Pipit 5 (S)
Whimbrel 21 (S)
Bar-tailed Godwit 78 (S)
Red-breasted Merganser 1 (S)
Yellow Wagtail 3 (S)
Grey Plover 3 (S)
Sandwich Tern 1 (S)
Collared Dove 2 (S) - these flew straight through, so presumed migrants
Fieldfare 1 (N)
Sand Martin 3 (S)
House Martin 2 (S)
Dunlin 2 (S)
Terry arrived and had a pretty good day:
"RED KITE (1 south at 0930 then circled over Peter C's house!) NB This is my first Red Kite in Winterton - a real bogey bird for me
COMMON BUZZARD (2 together over poplar plantation towards East Somerton)
HEN HARRIER (2 ringtails circling together over pasture to west of stunted pine plantation)
GRASSHOPPER WARBLER (1 reeling about 200m north of concrete blocks on west side of path)
COMMON WHITETHROAT (at least 4 on north dunes)
NORTHERN WHEATEAR (1 male in north dunes)
SWALLOW (30+ mostly north but some south)
SAND MARTIN (1 south)"
Astoundingly, the Kingfisher remained 'available' today, and a male Pied Flycatcher was also seen.
The Kingfisher was back today allowing several spotters to score this massive blocker.
A Nightingale singing in the Valley this morning.
Two Ring Ouzels in the S Dunes this morning.
Sorry for the lack of updates - I have been practicing my guitar and also away on the Isle of Mull. Two male Crossbills in the Potter's garden this evening were a delightful sight, found by Tim, who also saw another major rarity today - a Kingfisher. Recently Colin joined the Rare Lark Club with a Shorelark in the North Dunes on 5 April, and the commoner migrants have been trickling in.
Four Black Redstarts and a Wheatear today. Tim has a new blog for his photos here.
Two Black Redstarts in the Valley this morning.
A record FIVE Tree Sparrows and a Brambling in Senor El Proxima's garden today.
There have been a couple of ringtail Hen Harriers in the parish this week, and two Glaucous Gulls (one flying south, then it or another north a couple of days later).
A note to visiting birders. Please keep to public rights of way in Winterton and surrounding area. Recently some birders have gone "off-piste" in the parish and, given that much of the surrounding farmland is used for shooting, this is very stupid and irresponsible. Make sure you stay on public footpaths at all times. If further problems occur we will stop reporting birds on this website.
The Ruff count has gone up to at least 27 today. A fantastic, incongruous sight. The Grey Wagtails and Black Redstart are all still present, as are two Mute Swans.
Massive news from the Holmes Road: Tim has found 23 Ruff on a ploughed field.
Two Grey Wagtails, a Black Redstart and some Tree Sparrows today.
A young Dartford Warbler was in the valley today.
Wind still in the West. A Woodcock flew through the village yesterday evening, and today there were c10 Mediterranean Gulls on the fields down the Pallid Track (just outside the parish).
It didn't take long for Terry to weave his magic. After a disappointing day yesterday where he only managed two Grey Wagtails, today he scored heavily with a real mega (outside its very limited parish range in the North) - two Bearded Tits in the Valley!! He also got a Firecrest in Low Road. Go Terry! We want a Zoothera tomorrow please, before you jet off for the easy pickings on Scilly!
It's been raining hard for several days so not much birding done. The wind is hopeful again - moving into the east - so maybe next week will be good. A Great Skua flew over the dunes this afternoon.
Late news arrived today (thanks James) that a relatively inexperienced but reliable birder probably saw a Red-breasted Flycatcher below the Hermanus on 25th September, adding weight to the possibly imaginary one seen on the cafe patio at dusk the night before.
Les was the latest collective member to stumble across the Great Grey Shrike today, near the Totem Pole bushes. It's such a lovely, obliging bird.
Early doors it was all about 'crests Brian, as the mist clung to the Totem Pole bushes. As it cleared two Redwings, the first of the Autumn, landed in the Valley. Quiet otherwise, with comrades noting the commoner warblers, a few Pied Flycatchers, one Redstart, several Whinchats, and two Grey Wagtails. Towards the end of the morning session Tim either refound the Great Grey Shrike or found another one, and when Colin got back from work he went out and found it again, so we all trogged down towards Hemsby and took photos and video, and congratulated Colin on his fieldcraft.
Only one Redstart and one Wheatear, plus a few Robins left in the valley
this evening. The wind is still in the east but it looks like it might change overnight. We will wait and see what tomorrow brings, though the weather is rather fine and so probably not much will put down on the coast compared to recent days.
We went out early this morning searching for a (possibly imaginary) Red-breasted Flycatcher which landed on the cafe patio in the gloaming last night. No sign, but a very nice Great Grey Shrike right at the start of the Valley was ample compensation. A few Redstarts and Pied Flycatchers still around, and a noticeable fall of Robins yesterday and today.
It was such a pleasure to walk down the valley this evening; with Redstarts, Pied Flycatchers, Whinchats and Wheatears everywhere, it felt like I had gone back in time. The Red-Backed Shrike was hunting on the bank, and two Tree Pipits showed really well. Here are some photos. Wait a minute... look at the coverts on that flycatcher! It couldn't be... could it?...
A fall of Redstarts (20+) and Wheatears (50+) today, with Willow Warblers, Pied Flycatchers and a Hobby, plus a Red-Backed Shrike in the valley and a Barred Warbler reported in the N Dunes (not seen by any of us, but that doesn't mean a thing...).
Much expectation as we got up but although the wind was east and brisk, the night had been cloudless and the day was fine, so although there were a few more Redstarts, and some Siskins were on the move, it was in general quiet. An early Honey Buzzard drifting south past the church and getting mobbed by the religious corvids enabled us to break our embarrassing duck from yesterday. Another came through a few hours later.
It was eerily still and foggy first thing, and the noise of the sea was everwhere. From the sea edge of the dunes, the church and the Hermanus lifted out of the mist like tepuis. I tried bush bashing but was soaked in seconds. The first migrant Goldcrests had arrived, two days before Pete's predicted date, and two Redstarts were new in the valley, complementing the usual Pied Flycatcher. Tim had a Balearic Shearwater south quite early. As the day progressed and the wind shifted to the east it became apparent that Honey Buzzards were coming in off the sea in unprecedented numbers. With uncanny skill we missed them all. A Wryneck was reported in the valley this evening, and Pete and Tim had a Short-eared Owl.
Continual rain and only, it seemed, the same birds as for the last few days around, plus the near resident Grey Wagtail, today. However, things changed at around 2pm when Pete found a lovely, fluffy Icterine Warbler in his garden. It stayed for about an hour and a half and put on a fine show for all of the collective. First view:
Poor shot of wings:
Still Garden Warbler, Spotted and Pied Flycatchers in the valley, but a Lesser Whitethroat was new. A Swift south and a smattering of Willow Warblers around. An unidentifiably elusive Acro in the Totem Pole bushes - probably just a Reed Warbler.
Pied Flycatcher in the sycamores below the Hermanus this evening, and Garden Warbler further along, plus a tight little flock of about 30 Linnets. Four Swifts hanging around the valley top too. A few Arctic Skuas about on the sea, and a steady flow of Common Terns, but in general rather quiet at the moment. for 23 August - the Sooty Shearwater count was 54 for the morning, not 70 as stated. So you can all stop the muttering now!
Spotted Flycatcher and Pied Flycatcher in the valley today, along with Garden Warblers and six Swifts going south this evening.
Two Balearic and three Sooty Shearwaters today, plus Great and Arctic Skuas. AG and TH have had a good week seawatching, with more Balearics and all four Skuas. The autumn formally begun for passerines today with the first Pied Flycatchers - on in the valley and one in Pete's garden. Garden Warblers, Whitethroats, Blackcaps and a Whinchat also seen.
Three Hobbies in the North Dunes, plus a Grey Wagtail on the beach.
54 Sooty Shearwaters past this morning, plus one Balearic Shearwater.
Four Common Sandpipers on the North beach this evening.
No updates lately as I have been on holiday in Costa Rica (showing Squirrel Monkeys to the kids whilst secretly oggling the mixed feeding flocks). Blimey the country's changed! It's more like a Disney rainforest adventure these days, with a yank "gated community" around every corner and a canopy walk or zipwire in every scrap of forest.... I was last there 18 years ago so some change is inevitable but I didn't expect a cross between Marbella and the Jungle Book for retired US expats.
In my absence from Winterton a Grey Wagtail has apparently been hanging out in our garden but not much else around. A quick seawatch this evening (mainly to get the oldpituitary gland adjusted to the time difference) produced three Arctic Skuas, a Tufted Duck and a lot of Terns going south. Garden Warbler and Redstart have already been seen this week so Autumn is beginning. Woohoo!
The Ring Ouzel is still with us, and a Roseate Tern went south this evening.
An unprecedented record to report today. A male Ring Ouzel has been frequenting the North Dunes for the last three day!
A couple of Arctic Terns on the beach this morning, plus a couple of Arctic Skuas north, juv Sandwich Terns on the beach and Grasshopper Warbler in the Warren. This evening Arctic Tern 4 or 5 north, Sandwich Tern c 80 north, Dunlin c15 north, Med Gull 1 juv north and Ringed Plover 1 juv south of the tern enclosure.
Baby Ringed Plovers on the beach today, and southbound Dunlin, including juvs, here already too.
A superb Hobby has been spending the evenings in the Valley for the last few days. A few Whimbrels going South today.
A crack team, consisting of various Collective members and Phil Heath, conducted a major, full-scale Nightjar survey of the North Dunes this evening. The method was to synchronise watches (or in Pete's case build in a compensation calculation to overcome the loss of his watch instruction manual), then to hang about at approx 300m intervals between 9.30 and 10.30, and plot the males on a rubbishy photocopy of a completely undetailed map. The operation went like clockwork and at least five churring males were counted between the village and the concrete blocks, with an upper number of about eight. Anyway, even five is more than we expected, which is good news, isn't it? If we can get it together we'll repeat the excercise in a few weeks.
We've been suppressing everything for a few weeks now but the singing male Golden Oriole in our poplars didn't find a mate and nest so from now on we'll add anything decent we promise... Went to see the Nightjars tonight - four or five birds seen in half an hour. We ar going to try to survey them "properly" soon so volunteers welcome for that. Bring some ear plugs otherwise you may have to put up with non-stop grass identification commentary from one of our number...you'll sleep well after that, we promise.
A lovely Spotted Flycatcher spent an hour or so in Pete's garden, allowing some great photos to be taken, even through his kitchen window. Here it is in a willow bower:
Here's a closer shot (both were taken with my great new toy, a Panasonic FZ18. Here I also used a Nikon TCE15ED converter plus dirty window filter):
13 Crossbills flew south through the valley at 5.45am, and there was a Whinchat on the Pallid Track.
Pete had a Turtle Dove in his garden this morning! Yearlist updates added below.
A Bittern was heard booming this morning from the Holmes road.
A Ring Ouzel in the North Dunes this morning. It seems that the parish has been taken over by Garden Warblers today - at least 12 singing between the village and the Holmes Road, and NO Blackcaps!! What the hell is going on??
The kite plot thickens. Surely the kite photographed here and ID'd by andrew as Black-eared is the same individual as photographed here and ID'd as a hybrid. Also the debate rages here.
Black Redstart in the Valley this morning. An exerpt from Colin's excellent Black Lark video (best we've seen anywhere) can be seen here. The page opens in a new window.
A Sedge Warbler in the Valley this morning, and Reed Warblers singing along the Holmes Road today, as well as several Garden Warblers. Lots of Little Terns are in, and a Red Kite drifted south around 11am.
Interesting Chiffchaff singing this evening along Low Road. Definite Willow Warbler elements in the song. Whilst we wait for all the goodies to come in on the east winds, you might like to view Tim's instructive photos of a Red Kite and a Black/Black-eared Kite which flew past us last week. Click here. Apologies to the ringers, who wanted to see these pictures last weekend. According to Forsman's raptors book this rufous plumage does not mean it's a Black-eared (subspecies lineatus), although the larger white underwing patch is good for lineatus. Frankly, I've got no idea. I thought it was a beefy Red Kite with half its tail missing, so what do I know? Hopefully Mr Grieve will provide a detailed analysis soon.
Update email from Andrew en route to Kazakhstan: "Hi Sean, Tim's photographs were of a Red Kite and a Black-eared Kite. I have not got time to go into it as I am typing this at Amsterdam airport but the size (bigger than Red Kite), long wings, big white flash underwing, reddish underparts with bold streaking, greyer square tail, darker bill (Red Kite have largely yellow bills, and browner upperparts all show this bird to be a Black-eared Kite.Have to go now to catch my plane." So there you go...
A male Golden Oriole came south past the northern watchpoint this morning. Also around now are a few Little Terns, five Greenshank, a Merlin, a Ring Ouzel, a few Yellow Wagtails, two Tree Pipits, and the white-headed Linnet put in a photo-opportunity. Swallows constantly going south this afternoon.
A single Redwing in the Valley this morning, and another (or the same) pair of Grey Partridges were flushed, this time in the North Dunes. In a stunning display of his extraordinary powers, Stanley broke Jill's nose during a tickling session, so the evening walk up Low Road was cut short, but we did see two Barn Owls and a Lesser Whitethroat (out of the parish).
Cuckoo in the Valley again.
Twenty five Wheatears in the dunes today, plus Cuckoo and Whimbrel.
Lesser Whitethroat in the Valley.
A lot quieter today. A pair of Grey Partridges in the South Dunes was a welcome sighting - evideince that they are still clinging on. However they were, of course, flushed by a dog...
Great day with lots of good birds. Spoonbill, Hobby, Grasshopper Warblers, a lot of Swifts, Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl, and Kites...My god there weren't half a lot of them. It was Kite madness out there today. I'm not one to complain but this whole Kite situation is really getting out of hand. At one point early this morning it seemed there was a Kite of one sort or another everywhere you looked. Red Kites, a Black Kite and, presumably, a Black-eared Kite were all seen. The Black-eared, if that's what it is, has a really heavily abraded tail and looks very like a Red to me, except with a shallow tail fork (what's left of it) and a browner upper-tail. I know they are supposed to look like Reds but this bird was also closer in shape to Red than to Black, and had reddish underwing linings, which is, according to Pete, only shown on Reds (at least going by the BWP illustrations). We obviously need to take this whole ID thing more seriously and someone here is going to have to get hold of a copy of Birding World or something...I've posted Tim's pictures from today to our scientific officer for his opinions. If he gets back to me and doesn't say "don't be daft that's IS a Red you berk" I shall publish some of the pictures.
A good day with a nice selection of scarce birds. Spoonbill, Rough-legged Buzzard, Merlin, Grasshopper Warbler, Hobby, Ring Ouzel.
Tim had Black-eared Kite over Winterton this morning, one of EIGHT raptor species he saw, as well as a Turtle Dove. Here's his Kite picture. As far as we know the London Zoo birds were three Black and one Black-eared. Anyone have any opinion of the provenance of all these birds we've been seeing?
A quiet day. Someone reported an Osprey again, and there was a Fulmar, about 6 Wheatears, some Swallows and two Siskins in Pete's garden. Didn't see any of these today:
Thanks to Mike Lawrence for these - more can be seen on his excellent blog here.
The Hoopoe was in the paddocks along Low Road briefly, and the Wryneck was still present. John saw an Osprey go over, as well as thirteen terns over the dunes (commic - bad views). There were two Black Redstarts by the pine plantation in the north of the parish, and three Whimbrel flying over the chalet park in the south. A couple of Bramblings in Low Road, and a Whitethroat and a Lesser Whitethroat were also seen, and several House Martins over the village.
The Black Lark was still present first thing, refound by Pete (which he has asked me to point out, which seems fair, given that the other 70 or so people who were present at first light needed to rely on him for their tick). Actually, he has just admitted to me that his pal Terry was the first to see it. Also on the dunes today, along with many birders, were, apparently, a reported Subalpine Warbler, a Hoopoe and a Wryneck. Hobby was also seen, plus Yellow Wagtail, and three Cuckoos.
Several Swallows and Wheatears in the North Dunes this afternoon. Oh, and a Black Lark... Now please excuse me whilst I try to scrape myself off the floor. Modesty forbids me from mentioning that I found it. Me. Just to clarify that statement, that's ME. It was my son Stanley's third birthday yesterday so it seems appropriate to find a THIRD FOR BRITAIN this weekend. Wonder what I missed last year... Here's a pic of the bird courtesy of Andrew Grieve, who was quickly on the scene, after Ted, Tim and Colin (though I'm happy to say all spotters have now added it to their I-Spy books).
And here's a pic of the ensuing twitch this evening:
Firecrest in valley.
Ring Ouzel in the South Dunes this morning.
Brambling along Low Road this evening.
Ring Ouzel in the N dunes today, and a Firecrest along the Holmes Road. Hen Harrier and Firecrest (by Colin's garden in Beach Road) yesterday.
Massive excitement today when probably TWO Black Kites drifted south over the dunes, occasioning a very successful rapid response from most Collective members. Who cares if four have escaped from London Zoo...See Pete's stunning photo of it here. A Long-eared Owl was another nice find as it flew from a garden along Low Road. Some Swallows around at last too.
Pete had his customary Red-rumped Swallow flying north over the dunes at 7.55am. His tireless dedication to patchwork once again embroiders a rarity onto his quilt of achievement. Well done Mr Next Door. In the evening Colin found a Ring Ouzel in the Valley and Sean yet another Black Redstart in the dunes close to Old Chapel Road whilst the two inland are still present (it's a great year for them, isn't it?). John had a Buzzard from the Northern watchpoint this morning. Also seen were Barn Owl in the warren, and Willow Warbler and four Redwings along Low Road.
No particular news today though Pete's Hawfinch was still in Ormesby. The yearlists have been updated to the end of March and the webmaster is shocked to be shown so graphically how little he has managed to get out birding. He has therefore vowed to desert his wife and children as frequently as possible in April in the service of the higher cause. He vows to be off the bottom by the end of the month...
After a brief trip to Ormseby where Pete had found a Hawfinch whilst doing his duck count, we all returned to our insular birding activites around the parish. Two Black Redstarts in George Beck Road today, including one singing from a rooftop near John's house. The Little Grebe was still on the North Pool this morning and an Egyptian Goose was also sitting around on the field next to it. An evening walk up Low Road produced a Firecrest at Duffles Pond, several Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff, a Hen Harrier and a couple of Song Thrushes. The North wind has now died down but the biting Northern block of air it has blown to us is really crammed full of brass monkeys.
The Black Redstart was still in the valley this morning and another - a fine male - was inland in the village. Incredible news of a Little Grebe seeming to be semi-resident on the Northern Pool has sent us all into a flap. This is a first for the parish, first heard a few days ago on an inaccessible pool south of the Holmes Road (inaccessible to all except the intrepid Ted, of course, who thus got it on his "sight list" first). Tim saw some Egyptian Geese up there this morning too. The Long-eared Owl he flushed when he was having a pee in the Hermanus Bushes on 29 March can be viewed here.
This evening saw the Annual General Meeting, which, as a way of welcoming him formally to the Collective, was held round at John's gaff. Tim was confirmed as the winner of the Greetings Tit Yearlist Trophy for the third year running, which means he can keep it (thank god). The Shrike Rarity Badge was awarded to Pete for his Sabine's Gull, and the Greatest Pleasure award went to Tim for his wonderful spring male Montague's Harrier which many of us saw go right over our heads. Other nominations for this prestigious award were the Sabine's Gull, and the Storm Petrel, but on balance the Harrier had clearly generated the most excitement and pleasure.
A Black Redstart and a Wheatear in the valley today.
With the webmaster away for two weeks it was a surefire period for decent birding and a veritable glut of Black Redstarts and Firecrests provided the supporting cast for Pete's wonderful White-spotted Bluethroat in a ditch on Low Road on 26 March and staying til the next day. Although out of the parish everyone who saw it agreed it was worth the trip (an extra 100m). An evening walk up Low Road this evening to witness the scene of the crime only produced 2 White Wagtails, a Chiffchaff and a male Blackcap, but Pete was at least able to recreate the experience of finding the Bluethroat for me, including his uncanny impression of the bird itself hopping out from under a rusty girder.
Quite a few Chiffchaffs seem to have arrived in the mist overnight, heralding the start of Spring migration. In the Old Chapel Road gardens 5 Bramblings and a similar number of Siskins are still bounding around enjoying the food on offer. Watch some of them here. We seem to have our own flock of Starlings in the village at the moment - several hundred of them wheeling about at dusk over the last few days.
The Firecrest (or another) was in the same place in the Valley again. See Ted's Purple Sandpiper video here.
Blackcap in Pete's garden.
A good beginning to the month with a Firecrest in the Valley (well done John). Two Siskins in Pete's garden this morning and the Brambling still there too.
It's been a quiet time. The new year's Brambling has been around for several months, and a couple of Siskins have visited Pete's feeders. Purple Sandpipers have made it south into the Parish on a couple of occasions, and the odd Egyptian Goose has flown by. Ted and Colin have attempted to use Existentialist arguments to add Bewick's Swans (seen from the Horsey Road on a pond technically visible from within the Parish) to their year lists and, though there was some logical validity to their claims, the record has been rejected. Terry visited for a weekend and promptly saw more species than anyone else has all year.
Les found the parish's first twitchable Little Egret (apart from the ones where you have to run out of your house to see them fly over), stalking about in the ditches around the horse paddocks. Pete saw some Whitefronts going over the other day. Colin had a Brambling in his front garden this morning.
A garden Brambling was a pleasant beginning to another year. Final tallies for 2007 are at the bottom of the page. Tim won again, comfortably in the end as he had omitted several species from previous submissions to the Keeper of Lists. John was seen showing off his bootleg Collective teeshirt (made, apparently, in a New Zealand sweatshop). He will be disciplined at the forthcoming AGM for trading in unauthorised merchandise.
2008 Year List Totals
up to end of April
Who saw what - click here
A Buzzard drifted south over the inland fields this morning.
As we hit the tail-end of the year there's little to report, although John has consolidated his position as best newcomer with super records of a Lapland Bunting over the cafe and a Treecreeper along the Holmes Road. Otherwise it looks like Tim will finish the year with the highest count (AG's excepted), unless Pete can find five new species in three weeks - and that's a LOT of sea-watching...
This weekend the first garden Blackcap sighting of the winter occurred. Little else of note - a few Snipe on the North Dunes was about it - though we didn't get out much. My fantasy yesterday, of finding a Desert Wheatear in the dunes, was realised by someone else today about a mile north of the parish. Bah!
Chiffchaff in the valley - John's first official find! Grey Wagtail and ringtail Hen Harrier along Low Road. Rather a lot of Snipe about.
A bit quieter on the sea today, with significantly fewer Little Auks, but a good day for scarce ducks, with Tufted Duck, Pintail, Pochard, Long-tailed Duck and Goldeneye all passing on their way north. A big blow from the Arctic began in the afternoon, so it's quite possible everything will get driven back again. Several lucky observers got a Black-throated Diver this morning, and a flock of about 20 Snow Buntings are now frequenting the tideline debris left by the tidal surge. A Lanner Falcon hunting out at sea was an exciting sight too.
A good day for the sea, though no Skuas today. Highlight for those lucky enough to be there (which made it a very nice moving-in present for our latest Collective member, John) was the mid-day Storm Petrel which flew slowly north. Other good birds included a single Grey Phalarope, a female Goosander, several Red-breasted Mergansers, a Purple Sandpiper, three Great Northern Divers, and nearly 100 Little Auks (which were still all going south until late morning, and then for the rest of the day were flying back north).
The tidal surge provided an unexpected day off work for some, and thus enabled a bit of sea-watching. About 20 Pomarine Skuas and 100 Little Auks were highlights, with many very close Little Gulls. About 6 Snow Buntings fed amongst the tide debris below the sheds as the tide receeded, and AG, who was there for most of the day, also recorded Grey Phalarope (one in the early afternoon and three on the sea later), Purple Sandpiper and Glaucous Gull.
At least 20 Pomarine Skuas went past today, plus Great Crested Grebe and Red-necked Grebe, a pair of Eider, and a scattering of Little Auks. A Grey Wagtail flew south, and there are lots of Siskins flying over too.
A quick seawatch produced several Little Auks this morning, going north, as well as Arctic, Great and one Pomarine Skua going south, and then a pair of Tufted Duck first going south and then coming back north... Also a Red-necked Grebe on the Sea, and small parties of Starlings steadly coming in off.
Black Redstart still there...
A Black Redstart on the Hermanus roof was as good as it got today. Winds have died away. It looks like the eastern promise will not be fulfilled. Bah!
We are all waiting expectantly for good birds - this is the 3rd day of easterlies. So far two more Firecrests. One in Sean/Pete's gardens, and one behind the Hermanus. Bramblings in evidence.
Another Firecrest in the Valley.
Firecrest in Pete's garden and another in the N Dunes.
Another Long-eared Owl in off the sea today. A Pallas's Warbler was found in the parish on 20 October but, since it was on private land, we could not put the news out.
Much excitement late afternoon when Pete (partially redeeming himself after Friday's Shrike ID fiasco) found a lovely immature Sabine's Gull paddling about fairly close to the shore, on a millpond sea, in gorgeous afternoon light. The poor bird made the mistake of catching a fish and was promptly set upon by some bully-boy Common Gulls. It flew north but appeared, as dusk fell, to settle offshore near Swift Bomb Hill.
The magic of birding was demonstrated wonderfully this evening in the North Dunes, when a probable immature Isabelline Shrike transformed, before our very eyes, into a Red-backed.
Long-eared Owl in off the sea this morning (Pete).
The weekend passed off quietly with a Grey Wagtail flying south, a Bar-tailed Godwit on a ploughed field along the Holmes Road, along with 300 Golden Plovers, and a Hen Harrier around the Pallid Track. The wind is firmly in the South at present.
At least 4 Leach's Petrels today.
Ring Ouzel and Red-backed Shrike in the valley/North Dunes. The Shrike was initially seen in the Valley then seems to have relocated to the North Dunes during the day.
The expected glut of Blyth's Reed Warblers didn't arrive, although a Grey Wagtail found by Colin was at least as good.
A good spell of easterlies have meant some great birds. Pete's Leach's Petrel last week, and the weekend's Great Grey Shrike were notable recent highlights, and a Yellow-browed Warbler this evening in our gardens was a nice interruption to the kids' bedtime routine! By the way, sorry about the lack of updates - we are working on an easier method for Collective members to make contributions - but you have to remember that we are dealing with a number of people who still regard the slide-rule as cutting edge...
Barred Warbler in the South Dunes
Strong easterlies produced a decent seawatch this morining. In about 40 mins there were many Gannets, six Kittiwakes, four Arctic Skuas and two Manx Shearwaters. AG was there for several hours and recorded much higher numbers of each species. Sean
We've all been busy for a few months, obviously. Hopefully we'll get more reports from now on. Today there was a Razorbill on the sea and a pair of Sanderling on the beach. Sean
A gorgeous male Red-backed Shrike, plus Spotted and Pied Flycatchers in the Valley today. Belated news from Tim of a Rosefinch yesterday. Sean
No sign of Shrike this evening but good views of Biscuit Bunny and the White-headed Linnet. Peter
Don't ask us Terry - our Chief Scientific Officer doesn't seem to tell us about his sightings these days! We are considering disciplinary action... By the way everyone, a useful tip for writers is to select "watch this page" from your menu on the right - that way you'll get an email whenever someone posts an update. Sean
What's the news on the Bee-eater record at Winterton on 22 May by Andrew Grieve (from Great Yarmouth Bird Club's website)? Within two days of last year's sighting - maybe they are annual ;-)
PS Saw my first Danish Red-backed Shrike today.Terry
A very obliging Stone Curlew today from the Holmes Road was seen well into the evening. Nightjars are calling from about 9.00pm. Sean
Colin saw a Spotted Flycatcher in the Valley this morning.
Pete saw the female-type Montague's Harrier again at the cow-shed this morning.
A Nightjar seen and heard on the North Dunes this evening. Started calling at c 9.20. Peter
A Collective outing to Waxham to see the Alpine Swift. Great views as it dive-bombed our heads. Two Spoonbills flew over too. Montague's Harrier in Winterton (again) this morning. Sean
Can't believe I missed Biscuit Bunny... that's a real blocker... Hoping to get out in Copenhagen this weekend, so will let you know what I see. Good chance of Thrush Nightingale and Icterine Warbler (both seem to be arriving now). Also possibility of spring Barred Warbler (they breed just east of here in southern Sweden). Swifts just arriving here. Terry
Exciting news from the Valley this morning where the lack of birds was amply compensated for by fantastic prolonged views of Biscuit Bunny - the undoubted mammal highlight of the year.
Back to more mundane matters there were c60 Little Terns on the beach this evening + a Turnstone. Pete
Just a test really.
Met AG this morning, nothing special to report except significant movement of Swifts & Hirundines. Ted
After a day skillfully weaving my way round a variety of rare birds on the North Norfolk coast I returned home to a discover a House Sparrow in my garden. This was a bit of a let-down after the two Willow Warblers that were present yesterday (one of which spent all afternoon in song).
Another Willow Warbler was singing from an isolated bush in the North Dunes so perhaps there has been an "influx". Pete
PS There WAS a Willow Warbler singing in your garden all afternoon today as well. It was even singing from the TV arial over the back. Maybe it will nest on the floor of your shed... Sean.
Year List Totals
Who saw what - click here
Totals and lists for previous years - click here