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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 22:21   #3326
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A fantastic male Lesser spotted Woodpecker in the brecks and a Rough legged Buzzard at Burnham Norton were todays fare, fantastic views of both and digiscoped record shots of the buzzard on my blog. Unfortunatly there were no long tailed ducks off holme but a red breasted merganser and fulmar past were interesting. A big thank you to Connor Rand for all the information you gave me re-Holme and the long tailed ducks, it was a great help even though i didnt see them.
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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 22:26   #3327
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All,
The Bittern was still showing on the pond this afternoon until at last 4pm and actively feeding. It is completely unconcerned by birders. In fact it often walked towards those stood watching.
Can we all just stop the accusations and enjoy the bird for what it is - a confiding and obviously happy and settled bird.

Chris
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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 22:40   #3328
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Went to Burnham Norton today to look for the Rough Legged Buzzard. Beautiful sunshine, but freezing cold. Parked up at the carpark and waited for my friend Pete to arrive and after quick cup of tea started walking along the path. It is extremely muddy along this path, in fact in some parts you need waders, I have never got so muddy! A nice pair of stonechats were over on the east side of the marsh, several greylags, canadas and brents were feeding, also meadow pipits. We passed a birder who said the RLB had been sitting on the seabank for an hour and a half earlier on!!! We walked west along the seabank and saw a rock pipit and also 2 snowbuntings and a marsh harrier over towards Scolt Head Island. Pete saw a merlin briefly, but I couldn't pick it up in time. Over in the very distance we could see a group of birders who looked like they were most probably watching the buzzard, so we trudged all the way up there to view the RLB way out sitting on a hump of grass, the other side of the channel, not brilliant views. It took ages to get back to car, walking along seabanks for miles is not one of my favourite things to do and I had not bought my lunch with me. Saw a barn owl on the way back. Got back to the car just before 3pm, had lunch, cup of tea and Pete and I both went home. As I left the carpark, I went straight ahead through Burnham Norton and Pete had turned off left to go back to Holt - a few yard down the road, near a field entrance, several birders were standing watching something! so I stopped to ask and yes they were watching the buzzard, so I phoned Pete quickly who then came back in his car and we had much better views of the buzzard sitting on post in the sunshine - typical I thought, all the miles we walked and here we were 3ft from the car with better views!!!!! Also saw another marsh harrier here, and 2 red leg partridge in the field. Anyway we departed again and I decided to go to Holme Marsh Reserve for the rest of the afternoon, hoping to see a short eared owl maybe. I walked along a public track first of all (near the reserve) and had lovely views of my 2nd barn owl of the day and also a hen harrier flew across the marsh!!! Walked back to car and then onto reserve and only saw a water rail from Hide 1. I could hear what sounded like an elephant on the roof of the hide and I guessed it was maybe a woodpigeon, it was a real mystery because it kept rattling about above my head and really I wanted to know what it was, so I opened the side hide flap and you wouldn't believe what it was making all that noise - 2 wrens!!!, alot of noise for 2 little birds! almost dark now, left and went to visit my parents before driving home.

Best Wishes Penny

(Year List 126)

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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 22:55   #3329
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I may be wrong Rurachill but you seem to have a chip on your shoulder regarding "Photographers" I was present this afternoon at the Bittern site standing at the back of the pond. Several people including artists, birders with telescopes and photographers also stood at the side. The bird did not appear to be concerned and was catching frogs whilst I was present. Why dont you climb down of that throne of yours and stop bleating.
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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 23:31   #3330
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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!

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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.
Sounds like a perfect day Connor - well done
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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 23:34   #3331
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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
Wonderful sunny pictures of Hawfinches Jo

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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 23:37   #3332
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major wildlife
What an interesting reaction! I do wish I had a throne, them maybe I could sell it and buy myself a big camera! As for chips, you must know me well as they are my staple diet.
I have often admired your photographs, although never picked up your name.

I only say what I see. I love seeing rare and interesting birds and admire the photgraphs taken. However, at the WCS one photographer (as named) stood next to the gate whilst I was there - the rest were fantastic. At the Bittern, one photographer went down and stood closer to the Bittern than anyone else. Many other photographers were there keeping their distance. As I said, I say what I see.

Robert Wilson, Dave Nye and many others were positioned brilliantly and I even helped Rob carry his camera equipment back to the car (don't know why I bothered to tell you that!)

I believe the only time I have seen you in the 'field' as it were was at the Dark-breasted Barn Owl (I apologise if I am wrong). A number of us were standing on the rough road watching the bird and you arrived and promptly walked into the field/rough ground to try and get closer to the bird. Nothing wrong with that, just saying what I see!

Yours, with no throne or chip (all eaten)

David
(who takes video stills with a x32 JCV)

Baa!

PS Apologies to all others who bothered to read this!

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Old Sunday 17th February 2008, 00:40   #3333
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Originally Posted by Canarybirder View Post
All,
The Bittern was still showing on the pond this afternoon until at last 4pm and actively feeding. It is completely unconcerned by birders. In fact it often walked towards those stood watching.
Can we all just stop the accusations and enjoy the bird for what it is - a confiding and obviously happy and settled bird.

Chris
Hear, hear.

In particular, I think any comment which effectively drags someone's name through the mud, and then admits that it may not be accurate is on rather thin ice. Trrying to draw conclusions about what the Bittern may or may not 'enjoy' seems a bit iffy as well, assuming it is capable of such an emotion.
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Old Sunday 17th February 2008, 00:54   #3334
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Well I popped in to see the Bittern this afternoon. Walked in from the layby to find a small line of people surrounding two sides of the pond. Bittern caught a frog and retreated to the back of the pond. Bloke came over to where we had joined the end of the line and said he thought the bird was wanting to get into a clump near where we were stood. We happily moved over to the far side, but a number of folk just ignored him and stayed where they were.

I felt uncomfortable seeing a Bittern surrounded by so many people, to be honest: felt more like a zoo. And given that everyone uses digital cameras these days, why do they leave the shutter sound on? When the Bittern swollowed the frog the sound of shutters made me jump. We left after five minutes, the bird might not be bothered (and it clearly can leave if it was) but I was.

Went on to Kelling in the hope of some butterflies (Brimstone seen there last week) but again the place was full of people going "seen the shrike?". No butterflies to be seen (too cold) So we went to see the snow buntings. Again, everyone was lined up, staying back - except for one bloke who kept edging forward till he put them up. And when they settled, he did the same thing again.

I fear I'm turning into a grumpy old man - and a hypocrite at that - after all, I went to the bittern and the buntings, should have been out looking for something new. Memo to self, avoid north coast at weekends.
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Old Sunday 17th February 2008, 07:58   #3335
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After all said and done, what a fantastic bird the bittern is, eh?
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Old Sunday 17th February 2008, 08:20   #3336
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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
Thanks Dave and Penny!
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Old Sunday 17th February 2008, 14:44   #3337
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Hi there!
I've noticed through time that a number of contributors to this forum have been trying to find twites. If any of you in that category should find yourselves in Scotland, I have just posted some information on twites in "My local patch - Kintyre Birds", which may prove helpful.

Wishing you well in your twite-hunt,
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Old Sunday 17th February 2008, 15:16   #3338
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After all said and done, what a fantastic bird the bittern is, eh?
It certainly is, didn't go for it myself but just been perusing Postcardcv's pics of it...I reckon it's just settled up somewhere nice and quiet with a gut full of frogs and a bloody great grin on it's face tbh!!!

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Old Sunday 17th February 2008, 18:31   #3339
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Popped over for the great northern diver at Blickling this afternoon, a very nice bird well worth a look. Also had a roosting tawny owl showing quite well by the fisher's car park... well it was showing well (and had been for a couple of hours) until some idiot decided to pish it. At which point it opened it's eyes, looked at him and then flew off.
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Old Sunday 17th February 2008, 20:02   #3340
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Beautiful afternoon at Salthouse today. Really picked up from the cold of this morning (on my bike to work this morning, before sunrise, and I thought my eyes were going to freeze!!!). 1 Black Brant was present amongst the other Brents when I arrived. Went for a wander in search of my probable Richards Pipit, but no joy. There were a pair of Stonechats clinging to grass stems and waching me pass, along with the usual Mipits, and a juv. Marsh Harrier past. The Show Buntings were as accomidating as they always are, coming as close as you could ever want them to. Some males are really coming along in their summer plumage. I hope they stick around for just a little longer, as I'd love to see one in its full breeding outfit. Shame the Lapland Buntings didn't hang around longer though. A brief seawatch produced a lifer in the form of 2 Slavonian Grebes together on the flat sea. Spent ages trying to absolutely rule out Guillemot (of which there were several around, which helped), RT Diver and other grebes. Silly really, but because I'm absolutely unfamilliar with this species, my brain was telling me that it must be something else. Eventually settled on Slav though. V. nice. Also present were a good 20-30 RT Divers on the sea and west.

Headed down to Wareham at about 5:30. Bit late, but did have c3 ringtail Hen Harriers and a Marsh Harrier.

Year list now on 134, with Slavonian Grebe and Guillemot today.
Norfolk list on 229.

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Old Sunday 17th February 2008, 21:13   #3341
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I've come here to confess. I went twitching today. After over a month's struggle with my inner-self, I went to see the Sparrow for the first time! I blame drinking and dancing to cheesy eighties pop music until 2am for my altered state of mind.

To top it all off I then twitched the Rough-legged Buzzard. Fortunately I didn’t see it, but found a Lapland Bunting and a flock of twite on the Saltmarsh, which meant it wasn’t an entirely wasted trip

Much more importantly I had two patch ticks today!!! Stonechat and Buzzard.
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Old Sunday 17th February 2008, 21:22   #3342
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You make me sick! Seriously though, it would have been silly not to have at least a glance. You do live in the same county after all, and not that far away.

At least you missed the RL Buzzard. Your credibility hasn't completely evaporated!

Jason


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I've come here to confess. I went twitching today. After over a month's struggle with my inner-self, I went to see the Sparrow for the first time!

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Old Sunday 17th February 2008, 21:34   #3343
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At least you missed the RL Buzzard. Your credibility hasn't completely evaporated!
Don't know about that, undoubtedly a slippery slope from here

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Old Sunday 17th February 2008, 21:38   #3344
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You make me sick! Seriously though, it would have been silly not to have at least a glance. You do live in the same county after all, and not that far away.

At least you missed the RL Buzzard. Your credibility hasn't completely evaporated!

Jason
Actually it was nice to get really good views of it in the bright sunshine unsurrounded by crowds. Made even sweeter by strolling along and finding it in the hedge straight away upon arrival while the five or so gathered people were all staring pointedly in the wrong direction.

Shame you couldn’t pin that pipit down. It sounds interesting, particularly in February. I wouldn’t completely rule out Blyth’s at this time of year (the rarer the bird the more likely it is to stay put and a February bird would surely be a long-stayer rather than a new arrival). Might pop down and have look for it myself at some point. Would seem unlikely that having been around for a number of months, which it surely must have been if it was one of the rarer species, it suddenly moved off.
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Old Sunday 17th February 2008, 21:50   #3345
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I must say, that would be rather nice... :) Tail did strike me as very long though, so most likely a Richards. Will see what happens.

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Old Monday 18th February 2008, 18:12   #3346
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lots of birding in last week, water rail at bittern site and 2 wigeon at beeston priory were inland patch ticks,
had a possible black guillemot on the sea off sheringham, on the sea it looked like a black guilli, whole body jet black (not chocolate brown) with white oval patch on the wing which was slightly broken with black, however when it dived it had white undertail coverts, was thinking maybe a summer plumaged bird retaining some winter plumaged feathers - most of the common guillis have now moulted to summer plumage, but some are still a bit patchy - very unfamiliar with this species - only seen one ad winter before so its one that getting away at the moment, went down this morning but no alcids in misty conditions.

also 34 stunning LTDs off Holme and 4+ Laps at Thornham, Rough Legged Blob at Burnham Norton.

I've been thinking about all these GGShrikes + the Rough Leg and this possible Dick's Pipit. It struck me that alot of these birds have shown up at site where they were reported in the autumn, Dersingham and Burnham Overy for GG, Gramborough Hill for Dicks and East Hills for Rough Leg, could it be these are the same birds from the Autumn? Hard to believe they have been overlooked at such well watched sites, so perhaps they moved inland and are now part of an early spring movement back to their previous staging posts - any comments welcome.

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Old Monday 18th February 2008, 19:06   #3347
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also 34 stunning LTDs off Holme and 4+ Laps at Thornham, Rough Legged Blob at Burnham Norton.
Glad you had sucess at Holme! Were the LTDs of Gore Point? 7+ Lap Bunts still present today in the same stubble field at Thornham.

Dad had a female Lesser-spotted Woodpecker early morning today in the Brecks...

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Old Monday 18th February 2008, 19:50   #3348
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had a successful trip. managed to see nearly everything i went for which was unusual.
on the way there we saw some swans near welney and 3 emus somewhere random.
at on friday afternnon hunstanton we had lovely views of the fulmars on the cliffs. there were some commoner waders and a med gull on the beach. i couldn't manage more than single red-throated diver offshore.
when we arrived we walked onto the seawall and had good views of the rough-legged buzzard on a post. (we were staying at burnham deepdale farm)

on saturday morning with surprisingly a crowd of about 40 the white-crowned sparrow was showing well at cley. at beeston when we arrived the bittern had flown off from the pond. after waiting a while i got bored and so went for a walk to see if there was anything else about. i spotted the bittern in the field with the long grass showing very well around the gorse bushes. after enjoying it myself for a few minutes , i went and got the only 10 or so people who were there and everyone enjoyed good views. the birds stayed here for about 30 minutes before flying off as more people began to arrive. it appeared to land at the pond but had actually landed somewhere else. back at the pond loads of birders began to arrive so we left. it may be tame but i can't see why it would land there when there were nearly 50 people surrounding the pond.
cley was dead. about 800 brents flew off as we were eating. the scrapes held the usual avocets and ducks plus a couple of ruff, golden plover and redshank but there were very few birds. 2 marsh harriers. med gull on the duck pond by the road.
at salthouse there were 20+ red-throats offshore plus 2 guillemots flew past. the flock of about 50 snow buntings showed superbly the whole time. when the photographers waited quietly by the green grass bit then they would come down to feed metres away. i never understand why the people with the biggest lenses need to get closest tho . 2 marsh harriere
we had a bit of time to spare so headed to holkham not really knowing what we were going to see. c50 Pinkfeet and c1000 Brents showed well in the fields by Lady Anne's Drive plus some close Snipe roosting in the grass. as we entered the washington hide a pair of marsh harriers entertained us and there were thousands of ducks mostly wigeon. a muntjac was feeding down the side of a field, briefly being watched by the only jay of the trip. a barn owl appeared out of nowhere as they do and showed beautifully in the golden light. with hundreds of curlew flying over calling as well it was one of those really atmospheric afternoons that makes norfolk so special. 2 more barn owls showed distantly over the other side and i also spotted a mystery bird. it was flying away from us the whole time which made it hard to id but the only thing that i seemed anything like was a long-eared owld. it was slightly larger than a barn owl but smaller than a female hen harrier and it had quite flat wings. i watched it for about half a minute before it disappeared into holkham estate.

on sunday we started at holme where the tide was far out which made seawatching difficult. i picked up the 30 or so long-tailed ducks showing poorly plus after a while 4 pairs of mergansers and a great northern diver! 2 fulmars flew past. commoner waders and brents were on the beach and a nice male bullfinch was in the hedgerow in holme village
at choseley corn buntings and yellowhammers were both fairly numerous often feeding on the ground by the barns. a buzzard was circling overhead. for the first time i saw no partridge of any kind here.
as usual titchwell produced. we started with a brambling on the feeders and then red-legged partridge, snipe, lapwing, curlew and golden plover all in the same scope view in the wet fields. a crowd had gathered and were watching a group of about 5 redpoll silently feeding in the trees. the freshmarsh was frozen over. about 30 ruff were present plus avocets, a med gull, pintails and a marsh harrier. a water rail scurried across the ice and a bearded tit called then showed in flight only. there wasnt much on the brackish marsh that wasnt an oystercatcher. the tidal pool was the best. i spotted 2 twite feeding on the sandy bit at the back. after watching them for about 2 minutes our attention turned to a spotshank that had just landed in front of us. when i went back to the twite they had disappeared! 3 goldeneye were on the tidal pool plus a variety of waders and ducks. offshore it took a while for me to find anything except goldeneyes and gulls. after ages i found 2 female scoter, 1 female merganser, and a female eider. a fulmar flew past (unsexed ). the way back was more productive. from parrinder hide a snipe was showing incredibly about a metre in front of the hide. a water rail also gave brilliant scope views along the reed edge. a peregrine was perched in a dead tree and a merlin flew past so quickly that most people didnt even notice it! on the path to the car park we were going to have a good look for the woodcock but fortunately someone had done the hard work for us. i was expecting to see a pile of leaves with a beak sticking out, but i was quite wrong. it was walking around feeding and giving great scope views quite close. it took a while to spot but once you had found it you couldn't miss it. certainly a very rare opportunity.
at warham it was quite foggy but 3 marsh harriers and 2 female hens showed, although the hens were rather distant. also a flock of about 40 linnet and many red-legged partridges.
this morning we went out onto thornham point to look for the lapland buntings because i had only heard '7 lapland buntings at thornham'. obviously no luck but plenty of skylarks and mipits. when we found out they were in a flooded stubble field we drove around a bit trying to find it. we arrived at a car park where a kind birder told us the buntings were just down the seawall in the field. it took a long time to find them but i got six together in flight and then enjoyed excellent close views of one on the ground for about 10 minutes. i found 2 more on the ground showing not so well. we also saw a knot which was one of the commoner birds we hadnt seen. and now another mystery bird. i almost passed it off as a dunlin but closer inspection showed it to be quite different. it could have just been a retarded dunlin but it had an obvious white eyestripe, a longer body and a slighly short less curved bill. it had the 'scales' effect on its sides which you normally see in juvenile waders in the autumn. looking in my collins bird guide i seriously think it could have been a white-rumped sandpiper, so if anyone goes for the laps could they have a look at it. it was in the channel just by the field where the buntings are (TF 724 443).
welney had large numbers of swans with the whoopers being from the observatory and the bewicks in the fields, but no sign of the crane or beans. a rather lost looking brent, a marsh harrier and about 500 godwits was 'the best of the rest'.

hope everyone has had a good day,
tom
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Old Monday 18th February 2008, 20:00   #3349
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Originally Posted by pomskua View Post
I've been thinking about all these GGShrikes + the Rough Leg and this possible Dick's Pipit. It struck me that alot of these birds have shown up at site where they were reported in the autumn, Dersingham and Burnham Overy for GG, Gramborough Hill for Dicks and East Hills for Rough Leg, could it be these are the same birds from the Autumn? Hard to believe they have been overlooked at such well watched sites, so perhaps they moved inland and are now part of an early spring movement back to their previous staging posts - any comments welcome.
I definitely considered whether the Burnham Overy GG Shrike was the same bird as that from when the Subalpine and LG Shrike were around last year. As you say, in an area as well watched as this it should have been seen at some point. one thing I considered was that it had commuted over to Scolt Head. Surely a possibility?

Re the RLB, I dont see how something like that could hide for any long period and it is one of those birds that are reported when seen, as a rule. Moving inland is a possibility. There have been birds seen in various parts of the county throughout Dec/Jan though. Same bird, maybe, just roming?

Dicks Pipit is sadly still just a probable. No sign today or yesturday.

Jason
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Old Monday 18th February 2008, 20:10   #3350
J Moss
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Glad you had what sounds like an excellent trip Tom. That mystery wader sounds very interesting! However, the other mystery bird at Holkham doesn't really sound like a LEO. They're a lot smaller than you might expect. Noticably smaller that a Barn Owl anyway. SEO maybe?

Dont think we bumped into each other this time. Maybe next time...

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