Thursday, 16 October 2014

Steppe Grey Shrike

Weather conditions for the East Coast were perfect early in the week, and we really should have gone up on Tuesday-multiple Shrikes, Raddes Warblers everywhere a Bluetail or two and large numbers of Yellow Browed Warblers. Plus  a few decent seabirds and waders.
Anyway we went up yesterday hoping that some of the birds were still around. Of course being a weekday, the traffic was horrendous particularly as we had to get past Cambridge and we did not get to the coast until 1000. We had driven up in grey murk, but at Kings Lynn the sun broke through and it turned out to be a rather nice day.
We started at Burnham Norton where the long staying Steppe Grey Shrike remained-there were also Great Grey and Red Back Shrikes reported yesterday.
As usual the Shrike was very confiding, coming very close to the path at times and posed extremely well. I seem to have got the digiscoping right this time for the head close up.

Lots of geese in the area-Brents and Pink Feet, plus a few egrets and a Marsh Harrier. The area can be good for Lapland Buntings but none were seen until after we left. I never saw the Great Grey Shrike here-I was chatting to some guys I knew from Tring while Colin was watching it, not to worry as another showed quite well later on on Thornham Marsh.
Titchwell had a Yellow Browed Warbler and hoards of Goldcrests. Despite a search we did not see the warbler. The tide was high, but a low one and so the fresh marsh was full of Golden Plovers, Godwits wildfowl and Gulls. I went through them hoping to find something unusual with no success. There seemed to be very little on the sea, one Red Throated Diver, a few Eider and Scoters and one Gannet. Just before I returned, I heard the distinctive call of  a Lapland Bunting heading west, and moments later a small flock of Twite flew east. Had I waited a bit longer I might have seen the two Shorelarks  found a few hundred yards to the west.
We finished the rather short day at Holme. A Pallas's Warbler had been reported by by the toilet block, an another had been ringed at the observatory and was apparently showing well. The crowd in the NWT car park suggested that there was a good bird here. I walked over and was treated to a wonderful view of a Pallas's Warbler low down in the Sycamore. Plenty of crests here too and it was not long before a Yellow Browed Warbler showed as well.
I had a wander round the NOA reserve hoping that no-one wanted my membership card which I had mislaid, but despite only a couple of visits in the last few years Sophie recognised me. They had been ringing Goldcrests pretty much all day, though the Pallas's was the highlight, and I don't know if it was meant to be tongue in cheek but the Chaffinch being processed was a 'rare' bird for the site.
Looks like the weather is settling down so there may not be much for the weekend.

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