I have started my annual October fortnight off. While there is still a lot of garden work to be done e.g. I painted the shed yesterday and took some stuff down to the tip (not the most thrilling holiday hi light) it means I can keep an eye on garden wildlife. Had a Comma and a Small Tortoiseshell today, plus a few bees and there has been a few Skylarks going over.
On Sunday I went to Norfolk with Colin. The cold and rather wet northerly winds on Saturday promised a bit of interest, considering the rather poor east coast autumn so far. The reports in the evening suggested a few were Yellow Browed Warblers scattered along the coast so it seemed worthwhile to go up and try and get a few things.
The generally clear skies and warm sunshine wasn't ideal when we reached the coast, but the northerly breeze was still continuing. There didn't seem to be a great deal along the lanes between Ringstead and Chosely apart from hoards of Red Legged Partridge and a couple of Pink Footed Geese going over and the barns at Chosely didn't seem to have much either so we continued on to Titchwell, which proved to be rather busy.
As the tide was dropping we headed to the sea, with only the occasional halt. A male Wheatear on Thornham Pool was nice as was a flyover Rock Pipit. The Fresh Marsh was full of duck-mainly Wigeon, Teal, Mallard and Gadwall with some Shovellers, Pintail and Tufted. There were lots of Ruff on the muddy patches, with Golden Plover, Lapwing, Godwits and Knot, but only as couple of Avocet. The muddy channels of the now tidal brackish marsh and a few Curlew, Grey Plovers and Redshanks, but most of the waders were on the shore, feeding among the remains of the forest. There were lots of bearded Tits pinging away in the reeds, but a scan of the muddy edges for rails cakes and Jack Snipe didn't deliver.
Offshore there was a constant movement of gulls westwards, including Kittiwake and Little Gulls, and Brent Geese and Wigeon were also heading west. Several Common Scoter flocks were movie around, and a couple of Gannets flew east, but there was little else of note unfortunately. Other had reported Skuas and a Red Necked Grebe and elsewhere a few Manx Shearwater and Leaches Petrels were seen.
Back at the car park we spent a while going through the tit flocks hoping to pick up the Yellow Browed Warbler with them, but with no success.
In the afternoon we spent a couple of hours at Burnham Overy Dunes. Half way up, by the sluice a small crowd had gathered. I noticed a large pale warbler pop out of a small hawthorn and realised they had been looking at a Barred Warbler. The interesting thing is we had hoped to see one here, but it was supposed to be on the boardwalk. Turned out there were two here, and several more on Blakeny and elsewhere.
I managed to get a couple of not very good images-a camera problem meant I had two clean the sd card contacts before I could take photos so missed the best views.
This was our first Barred Warbler since one at Kelling around 2004.
We were told that there were a few Yellow Brows in the west end of Wells Woods and a possible blythi Lesser Whitethroat in the dunes which I was most interested in seeing. I think I found the right patch of scrub but the only birds around were Dunnocks and Stonechats. We didn't get as far as the wood, but I did spend some time scanning the sallows along the north side of Holkham Marsh but didn't find any birds-I suspect that any that had dropped in overnight had moved on.
One annoying thing is I did see a brownish bird fly out of the reeds and along a ditch while we were walking up to the boardwalk. Could have been a Reed Bunting but it looked like a warbler in the brief glimpse I had. Blakeny had a Blythes Reed Warbler that day.