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Norfolk birding

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Old Friday 15th February 2008, 22:58   #3301
J Moss
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North Norfolk for me today. Burnham Norton to be precise, for the Rough Legged Buzzard. I was pointed in the right direction by 3 birders watching it on Scolt Head, very distant but sat right on top of the dunes, against the skyline. Watched it for about an hour, hoping it would fly or at least move and show its tail. Eventually it did begin to preen, revealing the white tail base. Also exibited very pale head, breast and upper wing coverts when the sun was on it, but not so much in the shade. Eventually it took off (after lightening its load! Another good bird on the 'shit list'!), and gave excellent views before dissapearing off into the distance. 3 Brilliant views of a Peregrine, 2 Marsh Harriers and 2 Kestrels were the other BOPs on show.

Year list now on 131. Did creep up to 132 for a bit, but I conceded to myself that I can't add a 99% certain Dicks Pipit, as views weren't good enough to rule out Tawny :P

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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 13:08   #3302
David Norgate
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Humm - the Beeston Bittern flew South mid-morning.
Would be interesting to hear from anyone present to know if the was any particular reason for this.
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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 14:35   #3303
matt green
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Need some gen on Walsey Hills..

Any chance of finding an easy Firecrest in the pines or a nice Brambling etc around the feeders?, also how much does it cost to access the site for non NOA members (have never seen it manned from the footpath?)

I'm showing the area to non local at the end of the month and would seem a shame to miss something good here seeing as we're going to Cley/Salthouse anyway.

Cheers

DB Barn Owl and Short Eared still showing well on Wacton Common last night (usually show between 15:30 - 16:40ish) for any keen Norwich birders..

M

Last edited by matt green : Saturday 16th February 2008 at 14:48.
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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 15:05   #3304
Richard Abr
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Ice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruralchill View Post
Humm - the Beeston Bittern flew South mid-morning.
Would be interesting to hear from anyone present to know if the was any particular reason for this.
Could it be the pond was frozen over with last night's frost and the bittern could not feed?
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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 15:25   #3305
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Quote:
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Could it be the pond was frozen over with last night's frost and the bittern could not feed?
Richard
The bittern woke up at ~ 7:30 this morning and wandered to the back of the pond, it then sat there until at least 9:30. The pond was frozen, however it was very thin at the edges (in the week the bird had been seen feeding through the ice). Who knows why it wasn't feeding, perhaps it was the ice, or maybe it was put off by the 50+ birders who went to watch it eat breakfast.
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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 15:41   #3306
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postcardcv
were you there when it took flight?
Any suggestions to the reason?
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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 15:48   #3307
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Originally Posted by Ruralchill View Post
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were you there when it took flight?
Any suggestions to the reason?
no, I was at work by then...

Both times I went in the week the bird looked very relaxed, and was feeding happily. Today it looked on edge and did not feed, but I don't know if this was because of ice or the crowd. I'll post a shot of the crowd later on.
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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 16:34   #3308
Connor Rand
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A much better day in the Brecks today with a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker, male and female Goshawk (fab and extended views for up to 15 mins with some displaying) and a Great-grey Shrike at Grimes Graves, as well as a couple of Crossbills... Yipee!

Cheers,

Connor

p.s A BIG THANKYOU TO ALL WHO HELPED WITH SITE INFO, MUCH APPRECIATED and please take a look at my site, updated with trip report for today.
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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 16:43   #3309
James Emerson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matt green View Post

DB Barn Owl and Short Eared still showing well on Wacton Common last night (usually show between 15:30 - 16:40ish) for any keen Norwich birders..

M
I went on Wednesday, and at 15:35 thick fog set in The only day it wasnt visible for the past fortnight no doubt. I will warn everyone in advance if I try again, so you know what day to avoid!

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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 17:37   #3310
ARTHUR BISHOP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matt green View Post
Need some gen on Walsey Hills..

Any chance of finding an easy Firecrest in the pines or a nice Brambling etc around the feeders?, also how much does it cost to access the site for non NOA members (have never seen it manned from the footpath?)

I'm showing the area to non local at the end of the month and would seem a shame to miss something good here seeing as we're going to Cley/Salthouse anyway.

Cheers

DB Barn Owl and Short Eared still showing well on Wacton Common last night (usually show between 15:30 - 16:40ish) for any keen Norwich birders..

M
Matt its a puplic footpath from the parking area up to the heath, also round the edge of the feild on top of Walsey Hills
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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 18:26   #3311
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Apparently, when the bittern cleared off, birdwatchers had surrounded the whole pond. It was inevitable large numbers were gonna be there. Why couldn't people watch from a little distance back. There is plenty of room there. I am all for birders seeing birds but they must conduct themselves in the correct manner.
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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 18:27   #3312
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Today I got my Bogey bird! Went out with the Norwich RSPB members group to Lynford Arboretum. We walked straight through to the paddock where I was the first to pick up on a distant bird with a very heavy bill sitting on top of one of the fir trees. Unfortunately the light was such that we could discern very little detail on the bird but general structure had a number of the group convinced it was a hawfinch.

A walk around the paddock produced very little, bar one marsh tit which showed well. Then as we headed back, I again picked up on an orange coloured bird flyinging into a group of trees. Sure enough when I got it in my scope there was no doubt that this was a hawfinch! The light was coming from behind us so we got great views of the colour on it.

Finally, as we headed back towards the carpark through the arboretum we stopped to check out some siskins and goldcrests and then someone shouted out that there was another hawfinch close to us in the top of another fir tree! Clearly it had come to see us, along with two of its friends who were behind us in another group of trees.

We then headed on to Grimes Graves to look for the Great Grey Shrike. Unfortunately, there was limited information on the whereabouts so we didn't manage to pick up on it but we did see a nice mixed flock of finches including more siskins, goldfinch and chaffinch. Other than that, we didn't see much other than a sparrowhawk and green and Gt Spotted woodpeckers. But I didn't really care as I got what I came for, which was the hawfinches!

Some pics below:

Jo
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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 19:14   #3313
J Moss
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruralchill View Post
Humm - the Beeston Bittern flew South mid-morning.
Would be interesting to hear from anyone present to know if the was any particular reason for this.


Really shouldn't have been put on the pagers, this bird. Intelligent suppression was necessary, IMO.
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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 19:23   #3314
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Out to Holme this afternoon at around high tide, hoping for a Long-Tailed Duck or two. Sadly didn't materialise, but did have a lone Fulmar west, c8 Great Crested Grebes and the usual shoreline Barwits, Sanderling, Oystercatchers and Ringed Plover. Also had lovely views of a Short Eared Owl hunting along the track and being mobbed by a crow and a Magpie. Also 2 Barn Owls.

Felt good about the owls, so headed to my local LEO site. Sadly it wasn't to be, with only a brief probable sighting. Did have 7 Woodcocks though.

Jason
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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 19:25   #3315
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It is still not clear why the bittern departed today the comment earlier was 'apparently', with comments made about the frozen pond etc.
If suppression is to be done then it needs to be total eg your LeOs Jason!
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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 19:44   #3316
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Really shouldn't have been put on the pagers, this bird. Intelligent suppression was necessary, IMO.
It's very hard to surpress a bird when it's on a busy public site, very visable and being discussed in the local press! I think the locals tried to keep things low key, but then someone else found it and put it out.

Anyway here's the promised shot of the crowd at ~9am and one of the bird from today. While I was there no one was going in close, the bird wasn't feeding but I don't think we'll ever know if this was because of ice or the crowd.
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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 20:02   #3317
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I agree, you could never put all the blame for the bird not feeding on the croud. No evidence for it, especially as it has been feeding calmly for the last few days, as you say. However, around 50 people twitching a BITTERN in a pond, and surrounding said pond. No Bittern is going to enjoy that!

Anyway, I hope it's found itself a nice, quiet, out of the way area to spend the winter (it's welcome at my LEO marsh any time )

Jason
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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 20:44   #3318
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firefox32 View Post
Apparently, when the bittern cleared off, birdwatchers had surrounded the whole pond. It was inevitable large numbers were gonna be there. Why couldn't people watch from a little distance back. There is plenty of room there. I am all for birders seeing birds but they must conduct themselves in the correct manner.
That is totally incorrect. I was there when it flew.

No birders encroached the birds space and it was a good orderly group of birders and photographers right up to the birds departure.

I was with postcardcv until he left and stayed there until the bird flew at 10:23. I know that time is correct as I took a photo of it at 10:22 just seconds before it took off.

There is a possibility that this bird may still be nearby, as just after it flew it circled and may have come down in the field to the left of the pool. A few went to look (including me) but it is vastly overgrown in there and would be very hard to find.

Back to the Bittern.

The only time the bird looked alarmed was when members of the public used the paths at the side of the pool. These are public footpaths and walkers and dog walkers were using them fairly frequently. Each time someone used them the Bittern would go into its head up routine.

Just before 10am it started to move up the bank a bit then stretched and preened before settling down. About ten minutes later it moved higher up, stretched and preened then settled down again. About ten minutes later it started to walk along the very back of the vegetation behind the pool and eventually reached the path at the left side of the pool, stuck its head over the path, looked both ways and took off. At no time were any birders any closer than they had been for the last 90 minutes. In fact those at the side were in a straight line and were in fact further away from the bird.

Whether or not 50+ people being there was instrumental in the bird leaving I can't say but it looked perfectly contented with life right up until it flew off.

It will take me a while before I edit all the photos (I have quite a few W C Sparrow photos as well) but I have a photo of the birds head seconds before it took off and will post it on this thread, along with some other photos I took. Hopefully you can judge for yourselves if this bird looked harassed.

John

Edit

I managed to crop and edit the last photo I took and here it is. This was taken about ten seconds before it flew.
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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 20:50   #3319
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In reply to the last comment by Reader.

If this is the case I have been misinformed. Very sorry.
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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 20:58   #3320
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Your welcome.

Mind you I would like to know how someone else read the situation the way it was explained to you as it couldn't have been further from the truth.

John

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In reply to the last comment by Reader.

If this is the case I have been misinformed. Very sorry.
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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 21:26   #3321
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Thankyou Reader for a full account of the situation at the Bittern today. As I asked in my first post after its departure, I wanted to here from someone present on the site at the time, not the secondhand comments we usually get.
I, for one, an pleased that the news was released and that I had the opportunity to see the bird during the week. From what I can tell from postcardcv's photo of the crowd, they seem well organised and at a great distance than when I visited. Glad you too were able to enjoy this bird Reader.

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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 21:50   #3322
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Hi all, spoke to a well known local artist this afternoon who had been present at the site all day who said that he felt that the Bittern had just decided on a change of scenery rather than being flushed by birders & that it didnt go too far either. A constant flow of observers this pm didnt seem to deter it either, in fact when i arrived it was in the n.e. corner right near birders & actively stalking prey, as long as we all behave as expected i cant see any problems.
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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 21:56   #3323
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittykat23uk View Post
Today I got my Bogey bird!
Jo
Congrats on your hawfinch, KK23! It's always a good feeling when you finally find a frustrating bird. My last lifer was a White-faced Scops Owl, for which I had been searching for 35 years. It's not even uncommon - I just had persistently failed to find it!.

Once again, well done, and thank you for the photographs.

Kind regards,
Dave Kennedy
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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 21:57   #3324
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Hi rob, are you saying the Bittern has been seen again this afternoon?
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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 22:05   #3325
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Hi Rural, yes i am, & it is to my shame as well as others, i guess, that it never went back on the pager, but judging by the steady flow of people it was obviously known to be back. As i quoted "it never went far".
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