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Old Saturday 25th September 2010, 20:20   #9751
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And there was me quite chuffed with my find of grey phalarope on north scrape !!

Best bird in norfolk since the holkham nuthatch of 21 years ago, well done James.
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Old Saturday 25th September 2010, 20:59   #9752
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Better pics by Julian Bhalerao now on my blog

doesn't seem people who were there can even decide on its colour!
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Old Saturday 25th September 2010, 20:59   #9753
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fow View Post
Hi. Did the flycatcher go missing or fly off earlier? Thankyou.
I have walked the point many many times.. and I must say that was the worst conditions for walking up there I have ever been through. Rain and very strong NW winds .. it wasn't much fun..But worth it for the Empid!
I was stuck at work in Norwich (in Norwich until 3.30pm and managed to get up there within 2 hrs!) Mainly running into the wind with bins only.

The bird only showed briefly late in the evening and there were people in the crowd that had not even seen it when I was standing there. It was keeping very low and tucked away in the far right of the plantation. The bird is not going anywhere tonight in these conditions .. even though most birds there do normally move on fairly quickly at this time of year (not much to feed on!)

Good luck to all going tomorrow .. I suggest getting there early before it decides to wing it across the marshes. Just hope it survives the night!

As for the ID .. I reckon Yellow-bellied Fly seems the more likely based on the primary projection, yellow tinged throat and plumage. I have only seem Y bellied and Least in the US .. so, one of the others would have been nice but what a first for Britain!! and in Norfolk

Right now i'm going to crack open another beer

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Old Saturday 25th September 2010, 21:00   #9754
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Have uploaded some of my pics of the flycatcher on to my blog. Not brilliant but may add to the debate before the big boys show their's!

Great twitch, really felt that the bird had been 'earnt' in the wind, rain and shingle!! Good to see so many familiar faces that I hadn't seen for a while (and those I had!)


Josh - I took some pics of you running away from the twitch, but I don't know how to resize (!) so you're off the hook!!

thanks for being so understanding about the fact that i was wearing 'bermuda' shorts, 'hawaiian' shirt and sandals in a raging northerly gale - there was a perfectly valid reason !

well done Stuey, bet finding the Phal gave you more satisfaction than the Flycatcher, so imagine how James felt!
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Old Saturday 25th September 2010, 21:15   #9755
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How much yellow?

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Originally Posted by David Norgate View Post
doesn't seem people who were there can even decide on its colour!
Hard to be sure, in the field how much yellow tones / wash could be found on the bird. Tended to be facing the other way or at an angle from behind.

This yellowness means bird could be a yellow-bellied flycatcher. Would the yellow of a typical yellow-bellied flycatcher be a stronger shade though?

Can the ID be nailed?
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Old Saturday 25th September 2010, 21:26   #9756
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According to Kaufman, degree of yellowish-ness on the belly is useless for empidonax ID, but throat colour and contrast against the face is very important.
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Old Saturday 25th September 2010, 21:28   #9757
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Originally Posted by David Norgate View Post
Better pics by Julian Bhalerao now on my blog

doesn't seem people who were there can even decide on its colour!
Amazing pics!
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Old Saturday 25th September 2010, 21:33   #9758
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Don't how to describe really how awesome it was seeing that bird!!!!!!!!!! There is no Smilie on BF that it is mega enough to add to this post!!!

Got loads of pictures - only just home - the most atrocious walk out to Blakeney Point EVER for the most awesome bird EVER (well maybe not ever, but you know what I mean!)

Got some awesome pictures and will post them HERE, Surfbirds and my blog shortly.

I was in the Sheringham Shelters at the time news came through - never seen the shelters empty so fast!!!

The pictures below have been added to surfbirds, birdguides, rare birds thread on here and my blog - more pictures now added to my blog, also crowd shots and video at Sheringham etc.

FULL ACCOUNT OF THE DAY.

Seawatching at Sheringham 7.40am until 1.30pm

Overslept (again!) Arrived Sheringham 7.40am instead of the intended 5.15am!!! Managed to sit on my camp stool in front/to side of Justin. It was freezing cold and the waves were rolling!

Too tired after sorting all flycatcher pictures out to list everything, but basically there were TONS of Red throated Divers, Bonxies and Gannets. Small numbers of Little Gulls, Arctic Skuas, a few Arctic Terns, 2 Barnacle Geese at 9.10am going east, 4 Brent Geese (see picture below), Auk sp.'s, Guillemot, Common Scooters, Wigeon, Eiders, Dunlins, Sandwich Terns, a single Manx Shearwater at 1.03pm.

We were waiting for the "Holme" Sabines to glide past, when at 1.30pm news came through of a possible Alder/Willow Flycatcher on Blakeney Point. I have never seen those shelters empty so quickly!!!!! I struggled up the steps with my stuff (thanks Dave H. for helping me) and whizzed along the coast road (well I tried - someone who obviously wasn't a birder crawled along in front of me all the way to Cley). Got the last of the few places left on Coastguards carpark.

The walk up the point was the most horrendous conditions - the worst I have experienced - it was torrential, driving rain and a head wind just to add to the hellish walk - I found it difficult to put one foot in front of the other the wind was so strong!

Andy and Justin had left the Sheringham earlier to go to football - Andy was cursing when I rang him, as when news came through he had been just about to leave for football! Connor was on his way too and Pete S. and Eddie M. were way ahead of me and had the seen the bird long before I got there. Got to The Plantation and first saw the Alder/Willow Flycatcher at 3.10pm - an awesome bird! People were saying that it was a possible Yellow bellied Flycatcher which if so, it would have been the first for the Western Palearctic!!! I watched the bird on and off, but less so at dusk until approx 6.15pm. Connor and Billy and both Andy W. and Justin L. all got to see the bird. Lee Evans arrived and after seeing the bird, collapsed with relief and dived under his coat for shelter. The weather was absolutely dreadful and it constantly rained heavily on/off but there were a few spells of brighter weather when I was initially arrived which enabled me to get the following shots. Don't know how to describe really, how awesome it was seeing that bird!!!!!!!!!! Didn't expect that today with north west winds!!! There was around 100 birders there at most, although I am sure that will increase in the morning!

Left the plantation at around 6.30pm - the walk back was shattering, but slightly more relaxing! It was one of the most atmospheric walks back ever, the foam from the pounding waves (now high tide) covered the sands and it looked like the beach was covered in snow! Part of the way back I walked along with Ashley Banwell and another man and a Purple Sandpiper literally walked across us on the shingle at 7.20pm! Got back to the carpark at 8.05pm and I felt completely burnt out! There were still loads of cars in the carpark - several people would be walking back in complete blackness. Got home late.

Looking through my Peterson Guide and my photos - the flycatcher didn't have enough yellowish underparts to be "yellow bellied", but which of the others it is - I'll leave that to the experts! It did look yellowish in the field though!

Best Wishes Penny


HUGE THANKS to James McCallum and Paul for finding the bird - Congratulations!
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Old Saturday 25th September 2010, 21:34   #9759
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Amazing pics!
Thanks! but I assume you are talking about Julian's!


Josh, not a problem! It was good to see you (seriously!)
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Old Saturday 25th September 2010, 22:00   #9760
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Hi. Did the flycatcher go missing or fly off earlier? Thankyou.
It showed last at around 6.30pm I think, having shown well, but relatively briefly a handful of times since c5pm. As others have said, conditions were pretty dire (not a particularly pleasant walk out for my 9 year old son!). It was exceptionally windy and I would have thought with the overnight weather, more than a fair chance of it staying put?..

Good luck to those in the morning.
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Old Sunday 26th September 2010, 07:19   #9761
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My first day's at sea watching in Norfolk and really enjoyed it - not what we would call ideal birding weather in Africa haha

Anyway, without a scope I lost out on a few but a couple of highlights though; one was being in the hide with Stuart when he found the Grey Phalarope (brilliant - thanks for that, and the chat Stuart). The other was a Bonxie right over our heads, hanging in the winds briefly - my 1st Skua

Thanks for all the chats everyone. Today my last day in Norfolk sadly till I get back from Africa in December.

Cheers
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Old Sunday 26th September 2010, 07:35   #9762
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Originally Posted by Paul Woolnough View Post
Hard to be sure, in the field how much yellow tones / wash could be found on the bird. Tended to be facing the other way or at an angle from behind.

This yellowness means bird could be a yellow-bellied flycatcher. Would the yellow of a typical yellow-bellied flycatcher be a stronger shade though?

Can the ID be nailed?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Penny Clarke View Post
Looking through my Peterson Guide and my photos - the flycatcher didn't have enough yellowish underparts to be "yellow bellied", but which of the others it is - I'll leave that to the experts! It did look yellowish in the field though!

Best Wishes Penny


HUGE THANKS to James McCallum and Paul for finding the bird - Congratulations!
Any thoughts of the bird being a yellow-bellied flycatcher now eliminated from my mind. Alder or willow then
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Old Sunday 26th September 2010, 09:54   #9763
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Any thoughts of the bird being a yellow-bellied flycatcher now eliminated from my mind. Alder or willow then
This has got to be one of the hardest birds to ID to have ever turned up on Norfolk! It does seem to be narrowing down to Alder/Willow. Great bird and educational, whatever it is
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Old Sunday 26th September 2010, 13:57   #9764
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Any thoughts of the bird being a yellow-bellied flycatcher now eliminated from my mind. Alder or willow then
Why!!!?

Until you hear it call - or can measure the primary formula - I wouldn't jump, if I were you. If I - not an expert at on Eastern empids at all, but having seen all five species many times - saw this bird in the field, and did not hear it, I would say Empidonax sp., probable Yellow-bellied, and not go any further than that. If it gave a whit, I would say, okay, I was wrong, it's a Willow. These are never trivial!

Yellowness of underparts highly variable, and very strongly influenced by ambient light - just look at the differences among the various photos posted here.

So what I'm saying is, maybe the throat looks "artificially" yellow to me in the photos, and that is unduly bending me toward's Y-B; or maybe it really is very yellow (Penny's original observation), in which case it certainly isn't a "Traill's". But overall, field obs. of this trait - and the back colour - by an experienced observer, should trump the photos. (Unless they are detailed enough to work out the wing formula.) The camera often lies.

Pp projection looks really short to me, still - and I've seen a lot of Traill's Flycatchers. (But the eye is a lousy ruler).

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Old Sunday 26th September 2010, 14:52   #9765
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What are the odds that James wanted a bit of peace and quiet, sloped off to Wells Woods and found the Bonelli's - high i would say!
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Old Sunday 26th September 2010, 16:45   #9766
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A Bonny, Rosy day- apart from the weather

A most pleasant, if late (following the arduous 50% of a Point-to-Point yesterday), start to my birding, with the two Phalaropes (Grey and Red-necked) at Kelling Quags- in pouring rain. This seems to have been a feature of the last few days !

Driving past Gramboro’, in pouring rain, I decided to go to Wells Woods, where I’d been when the news of the Empid broke. Perhaps I’d get lucky twice in a row, even in the pouring rain. I did, by being on site, instead of having the trek half the width of Norfolk, when Stuart bowled up and said that he’d just found a BONELLI'S WARBLER. Within a few minutes, I was on it. It proved impossible to photo, even when I had good, if brief, views. A classic example, if silent.

Well done, Stu.

Then the ‘Madding Crowd’ started to arrive: time to go. The westernmost track at Warham Greens felt good; even in the pouring rain. A Pied Fly was at the northern end and things were flitting away from me. A flash of red, immediately lost and not refound, was probably a Redstart; at least, I hope it wasn’t something better ! I scanned and scanned again the tit flock, resident for a while now.

Then, my eye was caught by a brown, out-of-place bird, trying to hide. It was sodden- in the soddin’ weather it’s not surprising- but I thought it was interesting. Every time it perched, it was behind something. However, I managed a few shots (the one here is compressed, but otherwise unaltered, as I don’t think it’ll benefit from this), having ID’d it as a COMMON ROSEFINCH. I then phoned one of the bird information services and awaited the first of the other birders, before going home, in the pouring rain, for a long, hot soak.
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Old Sunday 26th September 2010, 18:14   #9767
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What are the odds that James wanted a bit of peace and quiet, sloped off to Wells Woods and found the Bonelli's - high i would say!
Sorry to disappoint you Josh !!
To say the last 3 days in norfolk have been good would be an understatement !
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Old Sunday 26th September 2010, 18:14   #9768
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Another excellent afternoons birding (that will wind a few people up!) but still no definite Norfolk ticks (yet)!! Many thanks to Stuart for finding the Bonelli's Warbler and to John for the Rosefinch! (John, did wonder if you had popped into Gramborough or Stiffkey on the way Home and found more!)

As someone said, 'Norfolk birding, back to the good old days!' and it looks like it could get even better!!!
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Old Sunday 26th September 2010, 19:01   #9769
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Great mornings birding, as I am sure most people will have had.
I managed Empid sp, Little Bunting, Richards pipit, Red necked grebe, 2 Long tailed skua's pretty much overhead and a couple of Pied flys, all before 11.30am. Unfortunately we must have just missed the Bonelli's as we looked in the Dell area an hour before the bird was found D'oh!
A good day to be in Norfolk!
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Old Sunday 26th September 2010, 19:23   #9770
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Like many others, I trudged up to the Point today.
Started well with a grey phalarope along the beach after 15 mins and dropped onto the sea. Not much else on the walk up but there were a few wheatears trying to find shelter. The flycatcher performed well despite the heavy rain and as it eased off I decided to thrash the cover on the way back.
There were small numbers of migrants about including 3 redstart, 15 redwing, 10 song thrush, 2 blackcap, 19 robin and single garden warbler, goldcrest and chiff.
Back on the beach there was an adult little gull, 2 arctic skuas and amazingly another grey phal flying west along the beach.

A good day just a shame about the weather!!
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Old Sunday 26th September 2010, 19:55   #9771
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What are the odds that James wanted a bit of peace and quiet, sloped off to Wells Woods and found the Bonelli's - high i would say!
BUT James did find a Spotted Crake today on Blakeney Point and the Raddes' Warbler at Stiffkey!!!!!!!!! Is there no stopping him He told me this himself when I pulled up at Stiffkey in semi dusk!

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Old Sunday 26th September 2010, 20:27   #9772
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What a day! After clearing the various bodies off the living room floor (living, just) I undertook a rather gruelling walk to the plantation. Excellent views of the Flycatcher were obtained, as it recieved hassle from a Brambling. I wil let folk more learned than I continue to add to the id debate, and whilst many are leaning towards Alder I feel we could be in for a suprise in the end......
As the masses trundled 'bent double and knock kneeded' back to the carpark, I stumbled across a Grey Phalarope on the beach. Thankyou!
Cheers,
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Old Sunday 26th September 2010, 22:00   #9773
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Another Awesome Day!!!

After working very late in to the night/morning going through 220 shots of the Flycatcher and adding them to here and other websites, I decided not to set the alarm this morning. I had originally planned to go down the Point today, before the Flycatcher turned up yesterday!

Most of my morning was spent emailing pictures and info to a Media company who had contacted me through Jed A. to ask for my crowd shots at the Flycatcher to be possibly used for National Newspapers!!!!! So naturally I also emailed them some pics of the bird too, just in case they use them aswell!!! The lady I spoke to said she would contact me tomorrow (Monday) if the pictures go in the papers tomorrow!!!!!

Took me ages to get out of the house today - now on my second pair of walking boots as yesterday's still soaked through. Had a strange combination of crumpets with cheese on just for quickness! My destination today CLEY!

As soon as I pulled the car out of the drive I realised it has still lost power, it took ages to get anywhere - don't know whats going on with it, bl**dy frustrating and no time to get it to a garage as starting work at 11.30am tomorrow and I NEED to use this time to go birding! (doing a late shift once a month now - another colleague couldn't do tomorrow so I VERY quickly volunteered!) I have used 3/4 of a tank of petrol to go to Cley and back today - normally its a 1/4 of a tank! The car is chugging when in first gear and stationery and going up hills I can't do more than 30mph and on the straights 40mph max - now the only thing I can think of is I drove VERY quickly through the tidal area of water in the road just before Coastguards at Cley yesterday in my hurry to get parked to go down the Point! I have sprayed all the leads/spark plugs with WD40 before I left to go home and no difference whatsoever - cars behind me getting very frustrated! (not as frustrated as I am). Several people have told me the car needs to dry out - not much hope of that at the moment!

Anyway on route I got a text from M.G. to say there was a Bonelli's Warbler at Wells Wood - luckily I had not gone past the Wells turn off. Parked the car at Wells and in pouring rain walked to the Dell area were there were several birders trying to relocate the bird. After about an hour and a half I had a single view of the Bonelli's Warbler at around 3.20pmish skulking about on a thick branch surrounded by dark leaves! I could see the white underparts and the green colouring and that was it! I was standing in a big condensed crowd in a clearing amongst brambles and I was standing to the right - the people on the left had better/more views. Unusually for me I got no pictures, the bird was difficult enough to see as it was and combined with the pouring rain and bad light there was no hope of a picture! Don't think anyone got any pictures, but I maybe wrong. Recognised most of the faces in the crowd - LGRE again, M.G., R.M., Andy W., Dave H., Robin A., Stuart W. (finder - thanks!), Dave F., David N., Dave A. .... the list goes on!

Note: my father found the first Western Bonelli's Warbler for Norfolk on 7th August 1970 - my mother reminded me this evening - 'did I see it I asked' 'No' mother replied 'you were 5 years old' !!!!

Left here with Andy W. to go the Western track at Warham to look for the Rosefinch and Yellow browed Warbler - both of which were seen around 5.20pm thanks to Dave Holman! LGRE also here too along with Dave N., Brian B. and others. The Rosefinch sat for moments in amongst hawthorn leaves in the dripping rain and as I got the camera out of the plastic sack, it dived into the thicker foliage at the back! Losing my touch, no pics of any of the birds I have seen today, not even a measly, smudgy, out of focus shot! The track down to the concrete pad was like a river - don't know how my little car got down there really! Lots of LBJ's flitting about all over the place in the wind and rain - god knows whats out there!

Gave Brian Bland a lift back to Cley and the plan was to seawatch at Coastguards. I drove through the flooded road very carefully indeed! Eddie M. was just leaving and even he was fed up with the rain and 'was going home'. He told me that a Raddes' Warbler had come up on the pager at Stiffkey - BOTHER! Turned car round and went back to Stiffkey carpark to find a very happy, smiley James McCallum in the carpark - the first thing I said was 'you haven't found that as well have you?' he replied 'Yes' with a big beaming smile!!! 'And' he added 'a Spotted Crake at Blakeney Point today aswell'!!!!!!! He must hold the record for the most self-founds in Norfolk!!! James had a friend with him who said he found the Rosefinch a Wareham, so don't know if he found it before John F.? or after! The Raddes' was the opposite end of the pipe that goes out to sea (seaward side) and too late now to relocate I realised. I walked along the narrow path west for a fair distance in semi light and all I can say is, there were several small passerines diving in off the sea into the bushes!!! But much to dark to see anything.

The car trundled home incredibly slowly - oh well at least I won't get any speeding fines! I hate driving slow, its driving me insane!

Looking forward to my little stint out tomorrow morning - but wherever I go I have to leave by 10am - how annoying is that going to be!

Best Wishes Penny

Flycatcher in the Tabloids - see links on my blog!!!

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Old Sunday 26th September 2010, 22:57   #9774
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Had a nice drive down to Blakeney Point today, got there at 3pm , First time ive been, very wet n windy walking down to the point (and back too) got on the Flycatcher as soon as i got there, it was been pestered a bit by a male Brambling, there was a Garden Warbler too, got a few record photo's , also got a Grey Phalarope hugging close to the shoreline on the way back to the car park, http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/a...tcher011-1.jpg

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/a...catcher012.jpg

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/a...catcher004.jpg

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Old Monday 27th September 2010, 07:45   #9775
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a good day to be birding in Norfolk

feels good this morning even 'mega'. Lots of Redwings and Song Thrushes in the bushes and flying over especially on the West side. A ringtail Hen Harrier and a Wheatear in the Harbour, not enough time to check Friary Hills, will do that later. Continual thrushes flying over, then while watching a tit flock in the quarry West of Blakeney - nothing magic just Blackcap and Goldcrest, looked up to see a raptor being mobbed by some convids, brief views but distinct carpal patch , cuckoo-like head and rounded tail revealed HONEY BUZZARD- (well capital letters for me anyway ) - conditions similar to the influx two years? - currently NE winds on the back of the grotty weather yesterday that could have held them up. Hopefully weather will clear this afternoon to reveal a big fall
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ALASKAN BIRDING FROM A CRUISE SHIP: part 1 - Introduction HelenB Vacational Trip Reports 17 Sunday 21st September 2003 13:04



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