Tuesday, 20 October 2015

On patch and off patch

October 20th - I was out today and yesterday morning, both days being fairly similar.  Signs of vismig, with small numbers of Skylarks and Meadow Pipits going over along with 1s and 2s of Siskin and Lesser Redpoll.  I haven't seen too many Redwing yet - maybe I'm not out early enough, but I had a sizeable flock of about 75 Fieldfare go over NW yesterday, my first real numbers of these this autumn.  On the passerine front around the lake edges, there are still a handful of Chiffchaffs, plenty of Goldcrests and the odd Treecreeper amongst the Long-tailed Tit flocks.  A Coal Tit seems to be fairly regular around the edge of the STW.

I had a Yellowhammer fly over Emmetts yesterday and there are many more Skylarks and Mipits on the fields along with a flock of about 30 Linnets and single Lesser Redpoll.  There are 2 or 3 Chiffchaffs here too - they often fly into the game cover to feed.

Wildfowl on the lake is as expected with reasonable numbers of Wigeon, Shoveler and Teal, a flock of 200+ Tufted Duck that move between here and Randall's Lake to the west, just into double figures of Pochard and a handful of Gadwall.  The Greylags have taken over the spit along with plenty of Canadas and Egyptians - hopefully they will pull in one of their rarer cousins soon.  10-20 Snipe are still feeding on the base of the spit.

Of more interest was a female type Goldeneye that I watched fly in this morning at about 10:30am.  These are not regular birds here and usually turn up as single day migrants or from cold weather movements in the winter.

It started feeding as soon as it arrived and spent most of its time under water, so other record shots looked like this!

Two vocal Water Rail on the west side, one showing itself, were my first of the autumn here.

I also found another Stonechat at the top of Emmett's fields near Bloom Wood.  I didn't have my scope with me so had to settle for a digibinned record shot.

The other slightly annoying thing happened yesterday morning.  I was standing on the southern bank when a loud, single pipit call rang out over my head.  It sounded just like a Rock or Water Pipit, but when I looked up I could only see what looked like 4 Meadow Pipits.  Whether it was these birds, one of them, or another unseen bird that made the call, I don't know, but it was a very brief look before they flew off never to be seen again, so possibly one that got away.

I also can't resist giving a brief account of a day trip to North Norfolk last Friday 16th.  There had been a mouth watering list of good birds turning up here over the week, so I decided it was too good to miss.  Centred on the Holkham Pines/Wells Wood area but travelling as far east as Beeston Regis, by the end of the day I had had two Red-flanked Bluetails, two Isabelline Shrikes, a Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler, a Pallas's Warbler, a Blyth's Reed Warbler and an Olive -backed Pipit.  There were plenty of other common migrants too, including a couple of Firecrests, a fly over Short-eared Owl, Bramblings and plenty of other birds.  A fantastic day out and one that will be hard to beat in terms of quality of birds seen - slightly better than on patch!!

I hardly took any record shots, as there are so many proper ones on the internet, but I did take a couple.  They are both pretty poor as it was a dull day, but shown here for posterity:

The very confiding OBP at Muckleburgh Hill - too close for digiscoping - shame I couldn't get it sharp

The Beeston Regis Izzy Shrike

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