Sunday, October 28, 2012

Norfolk in October

My family and I spent a long weekend in the bird-filled county of Norfolk at the beginning of October. Unfortunately for a birdwatcher like myself the weather conditions were not conducive to the arrival of many migrants or rare birds. It was sunny and calm nearly every day, unlike the end of the month which was dominated by easterly winds and fog; these conditions produced large falls of thrushes and other passerines on the east and south coasts, but also unfortunately resulted in the demise of many birds that landed in the sea exhausted.
But back to my weekend in Norfolk. Pink-footed Geese were arriving in reasonable numbers and the one continental migrant that I saw regularly was the Jay. The only rarity of note during my stay was a Pectoral Sandpiper at Kelling Water Meadows, it has been a good autumn for this nearctic wader and this was my second sighting of this species this year.
We stayed on the outskirts of Cley in view of the famous windmill, and were treated to good views of Barn Owl most evenings. The nearby reedbed at Cley Norfolk Naturalists Trust Reserve also held good numbers of Bearded Tits.

There seem to be an inordinate number of pheasants around at the
 moment. As this photo shows they are beautiful birds, but they
have a significant detrimental effect on our native invertebrates.

This Blue Tit, the Long-tailed Tit and the Pheasant were all
photographed in the cottage garden at Cley.

A stunning male Bearded Tit at Cley.

This Barn Owl was observed catching a Shrew, which was duly
 stolen by a Kestrel; fascinating behaviour.

Barn Owl before being mugged.
Lapwing at Cley

Dunnock in its usual brambly habitat.
Juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper at Kelling, record shot.

This Chaffinch and juvenile Goldfinch were photographed at
Burton Mere in Cheshire at the end of September while waiting
and failing to see a juvenile Sabine's Gull.

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