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Norfolk birding

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Old Saturday 2nd October 2010, 18:20   #9851
David Norgate
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Not that odd but the grey legs and yellow feet stood out well in the sunshine.

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True, those feet are quite impressive!
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Old Saturday 2nd October 2010, 18:34   #9852
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Hippo at Holkham

I joined the birders at the end of Lady Anne's Drive Holkham before 10am.

No sighting of reported icterine warbler by the north end since 720am. Par for the course having dipped the Walsey bird three times.

A strange looking bird was picked up near two ivy-covered conifers with plenty of cover. Larger and leaner than the two chiffchaff present. Harder to see than them.

Did not see a clear eye-stripe on the bird. Not the willow warbler which was around.

Bird has too large a bill for willow-chiff. Yellow-green so not the reed warbler which showed from time to time.

Legs greyish. No obvious wing panel.

Looked promising for a hippo warbler and the small crowd happy it was the icterine warbler seen first thing.

Good birding from west end of the pines.
(a) a male bearded tit, well away from reeds at the east end of Burnham Overy Dunes
(b) a dull chiffchaff reported as a possible Siberian seen with other chiffchaffs. Not convinced it is a tristis myself
(c) jammed the elusive wood warbler by the path
(d) hear but do not see the yellow-browed warbler at the crosstracks.

Any thoughts of seeing the yellow-browed vanished when the icterine warbler was seen again but was now a melodious warbler. One of those claiming the melodious said he watched it in his scope for two minutes.

Never saw the bird seen this morning during the afternoon. As on a seawatch bird sightings were shouted before their ID was confirmed. Willow warbler, reed warbler and chiffchaff all seen. No sign of any hippo type bird.

I believe the bird I saw was a hippo. not 100% sure. Assuming the bird was a hippo I cannot tell whether it is icterine or melodious.

Someone may produce good photos of the bird I saw. Or the bird is seen again and identification confirmed.

Until then the bird will remain unidentified.
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Old Saturday 2nd October 2010, 18:38   #9853
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At least the ice cream showed well

Starting in Sheringham, it was obvious that not a lot had arrived, even though some of the night had been clear.

Gramboro’s Barred Warbler continued to delight, with more sagacity shown by its viewers today. However, a dog-couple with a pair of bins spoiled everything by, firstly, looking at it and then walking right past the brambles where it was feeding, scaring it back into the bush. Amazing !

There was also a record number of (4) Dunnocks, a Blue Tit and Goldcrest present in the 'bowl'.

The end of the westernmost Track at Warham Greens had a nice male Redstart, loadsa Red Admirals, Comma, the same fadedest Painted Lady and the attached Small Tortoiseshell.

For some reason, I spent a long time at the north end of Lady Anne’s Drive, in company with lots of others. Perhaps I was building up my appetite for the excellent, if horrendously overpriced chocolate ice cream.

A (heard and distinctly not melodious in tone) Yellow-browed Warbler and 2 Shorelarks were some compensation. Later, Short-eared and Barn Owls were at the west end of the (Holkham) pines, where we morosely searched in vain for Woody the Warbler. A squeaky noise had me going for a little while- until I realised it was a squirrel.
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Old Saturday 2nd October 2010, 18:46   #9854
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Melodious Warbler- similar experience to the above, I was hoping to see an Icterine and turned up at 10ish to see 3 people, one photographing 'the' bird enthusiastically, it was clearly a yellow juv willow warbler. On the way back to the car a message came through saying that it was showing again, once I got there, there were various mutterings that the bird looked slightly larger than chiff etc, but as soon as all the birders turned up there was no sign. Not accusing anyone of stringing but it seems odd that the bird was present for 6hrs but then disappeared when birders went to see it. It does happen and if this is the case I bet the finder is annoyed, but it looks as if this may be a dodgy record, a photo would nicely prove otherwise though!
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Old Saturday 2nd October 2010, 19:03   #9855
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For some reason, I spent a long time at the north end of Lady Anne’s Drive, in company with lots of others. Perhaps I was building up my appetite for the excellent, if horrendously overpriced chocolate ice cream.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ben_lewis View Post
Melodious Warbler- similar experience to the above, I was hoping to see an Icterine and turned up at 10ish to see 3 people, one photographing 'the' bird enthusiastically, it was clearly a yellow juv willow warbler. On the way back to the car a message came through saying that it was showing again, once I got there, there were various mutterings that the bird looked slightly larger than chiff etc, but as soon as all the birders turned up there was no sign. Not accusing anyone of stringing but it seems odd that the bird was present for 6hrs but then disappeared when birders went to see it. It does happen and if this is the case I bet the finder is annoyed, but it looks as if this may be a dodgy record, a photo would nicely prove otherwise though!
I also spent too long at the north end of Lady Anne's Drive. No ice cream as the parking machine had eaten all my change! First time I had paid to park at Holkham for years. Able to travel light as the car park was quiet when I arrived.

I doubt the bird claimed as a icterine or melodious warbler was a willow warbler. Remain unsure if its ID, but it wasn't a reed warbler!
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Old Saturday 2nd October 2010, 19:05   #9856
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Bit of an error checking the net for bird news before departing for Waxham and the patch. The lure of a Melodious was too much, and my experiences sadly mirror those of the above. Certainly a lot of negative feeling surrounding the sighting from people I spoke with, and I hope for the finder's sake a picture was taken! Seriously though, as James was telling me on site this is a very rare bird for Norfolk, so if someone has found one then hats off to them.
I spent my time at the cross-tracks, picked up some nice common migrants. Chiffchaff, a very yellow Willow Warbler (easy there), Blackcap, Bullfinch and a small flock of Siskin. Plenty of Goldcrests mingling with the Tit flocks. Finished with cracking views of a Barn Owl, but gutted I missed out on the Shortie that Firstreesjohn saw!
Cheers,
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Old Saturday 2nd October 2010, 21:51   #9857
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Any photos of the Melodious/Icterine/(phyllosc?) from this morning at Holkam; at least we would know that our £2.50's (or £5 if over 3 hrs!) were well spent (or not).
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Old Saturday 2nd October 2010, 22:17   #9858
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Not what I expected really today, but it was beautiful sunny weather.

I don't often go to Wells as I hate to pay for parking, but today I just thought it would be a good place to start. The ticket man was there, so there was no getting away with not paying, so I reluctantly put my money in the machine (£2.50 for 2 hours). Early on, the place was dripping with birds, blackcaps, robins, hedge sparrows, long tailed tits, blue, great and coal tits, blackbirds, 1 Garden Warbler, goldcrests and best of all a half a dozen Redpolls (got a record shot of one). Also tons of Siskins going over. I spent some time photographing black headed gulls overhead catching flies. Walked all round the Dell and beyond to a pond area. Photographed several different types of mushrooms. Found a few chiffchaffs but that was about it. Several people had seen redstarts and pied flys as well, but I didn't see any! Got back to car an hour over the ticket time and sat and had my lunch.

Wareham Greens, west track. Parked the car on the concrete pad and walked down the track to see absolutely nothing and returned to the car. News of a Melodious Warbler at Holkham changed my plans. I wished later on that I had stuck to my plans and continued to Cley and on to Kelling.

Holkham - parked up on the other side of the main road and walked down Lady Ann's Drive (not paying for parking twice in one day!) to find lots of familiar faces looking at absolutely nothing by the west path. I walked on as couldn't see the point of standing around. Walked as far as the cross tracks and walked down the path left by Joe Jordan's hide and round by the pond area where I photographed a bright yellow willow warbler sitting amongst red hawthorn berries. Also several goldcrests flitting about in the tall pine along with a few chiffchaffs. No sign of the Wood Warbler or Yellow browed Warbler, right of the cross tracks. Walked back and joined other birders to walk from Holkham beach gap east, a very long way, to view 2 Shorelarks at 6pm which I managed to get a distant record shot of. Also a single Lapland Bunting flew over. Watched and photographed 3 large bats! It seemed to take forever to get back to my car.

Flew home!!!!!! Just in time for X-Factor!!!

PICTURES TO BE POSTED TOMORROW ON BLOG.

Best Wishes Penny

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Old Saturday 2nd October 2010, 22:34   #9859
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Glad to hear you can still park for free Penny. At £5 to park at Holkam - think of that money they will make when the next 'Red breasted Nuthatch' turns up- at least 3 visits will be needed, so thats 5000 birders x £5 x 3 days..............£75K!
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Old Sunday 3rd October 2010, 07:30   #9860
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Icterine Warbler - Holkham

Richard "Sam" Hill and I - both from West Sussex - arrived at Lady Anne's Drive just before 7am. Having paid our king's ransom for a three hour stay we intended to walk west to the Burnham Overy dunes.

Taking the path, having already seen a lot of common migrants around the gate, including a surprisingly obliging Garden Warbler, I looked up at the first pine and amongst an expletive declared there was a large warbler with a huge bill there.

It was clearly a "hippo" and the only real decision was Icky or Melodious.

Now before somebody picks up on my amended signature both of us have seen lots of both species abroad, so the next cutting comment was it wishful thinking on our behalf?

We watched the bird for over fifteen minutes feeding vigorously in the pine. It clearly had steel grey legs, but for me it is the agressive look of the bird. I always find that Ickys look evil whereas Melodious have a much more gentle look due to its rounded head.

Having satisfied ourselves that the bird was an Icterine we put out the message to RBA and continued our walk. We returned at 10am to find a number of people searching for the bird, which had clearly not shown since we left it still feeding in the pines at 7.25am

We had an excellent day finishing with a glorious Short-eared Owl quartering the fields at Holme at 6pm and the Tawny Owl flying over the road just south of Hunstanton as dusk fell made it 102 species in less than 12 hours birding - not bad.

Thanks Penny for confirming the route to the Grey Phal.

As a final comment, the pictures of the bird attached to this thread is not the bird we watched.

Ian
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Old Sunday 3rd October 2010, 08:03   #9861
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Thanks for the update Ian, looks like the bird gave a lot of people the slip then! Could strill be there, far from perfect conditions to leave last night.
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Old Sunday 3rd October 2010, 08:07   #9862
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Red necked Phalerope still here at Kelling Water Meadows at 9.05am but no sign of the Barred Warbler that Pete S. Saw yesterday.

Glad you had a good day Ian.

Best Wishes Penny

(posted via iphone)

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Old Sunday 3rd October 2010, 08:16   #9863
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Bit of an error checking the net for bird news before departing for Waxham and the patch. The lure of a Melodious was too much, and my experiences sadly mirror those of the above. Certainly a lot of negative feeling surrounding the sighting from people I spoke with, and I hope for the finder's sake a picture was taken! Seriously though, as James was telling me on site this is a very rare bird for Norfolk, so if someone has found one then hats off to them.
I spent my time at the cross-tracks, picked up some nice common migrants. Chiffchaff, a very yellow Willow Warbler (easy there), Blackcap, Bullfinch and a small flock of Siskin. Plenty of Goldcrests mingling with the Tit flocks. Finished with cracking views of a Barn Owl, but gutted I missed out on the Shortie that Firstreesjohn saw!
Cheers,
Jim.
Jim,

There is no photo since I do not carry a camera, however as you will see above I never claimed it as a Melodious - somebody later in the day did that, presumably not looking at the same bird we saw first thing in the morning!

In view of that for my sake I am not in the least concerned.

Ian
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Old Sunday 3rd October 2010, 08:41   #9864
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Jim,

There is no photo since I do not carry a camera, however as you will see above I never claimed it as a Melodious - somebody later in the day did that, presumably not looking at the same bird we saw first thing in the morning!

In view of that for my sake I am not in the least concerned.

Ian
Ian,
and neither should you be. The early bird catches the worm then! It has been a good year for Icterine records in Norfolk. Quite where the Melodious bit comes in is a mystery. Both of the usual Hippos in the same place in one day? Stranger things have happened.
Cheers,
Jim.
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Old Sunday 3rd October 2010, 08:43   #9865
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Thanks for the update Ian, looks like the bird gave a lot of people the slip then! Could strill be there, far from perfect conditions to leave last night.
Hi Ben,

I think the problem may well be that the bird moved on after we left it at 7.30am. I have no idea when the next birder arrived, but for it not to be seen all day would appear to indicate that (it was a very showy bird all the time we were there and in my mind its id was never in doubt).

So purely my speculation here, it had roosted in the pine overnight (we arrived not long after first light), it fed up (it was very actively feeding all the time we were watching it), and then it moved on.

I guess for once in my birding life I was very lucky!

Ian
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Old Sunday 3rd October 2010, 09:16   #9866
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Richard "Sam" Hill and I - both from West Sussex - arrived at Lady Anne's Drive just before 7am. Having paid our king's ransom for a three hour stay we intended to walk west to the Burnham Overy dunes.

It was clearly a "hippo" and the only real decision was Icky or Melodious.

We watched the bird for over fifteen minutes feeding vigorously in the pine. It clearly had steel grey legs, but for me it is the agressive look of the bird. I always find that Ickys look evil whereas Melodious have a much more gentle look due to its rounded head.

Having satisfied ourselves that the bird was an Icterine we put out the message to RBA and continued our walk. We returned at 10am to find a number of people searching for the bird, which had clearly not shown since we left it still feeding in the pines at 7.25am

As a final comment, the pictures of the bird attached to this thread is not the bird we watched.

Ian
Hi Ian,

I'm glad you had such a good day. The reason for posting the photos of the "yellow-footed grey-legged warbler" was just to highlight that there was a bit of collective hysteria going on with at least one of the later claims.

Mind you there could be some jealousy involved as I have dipped on every Icterine in this area for the last 2 years.

I will still be out in the field for the next one.

Dave
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Old Sunday 3rd October 2010, 09:58   #9867
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Hi Ian,

I'm glad you had such a good day. The reason for posting the photos of the "yellow-footed grey-legged warbler" was just to highlight that there was a bit of collective hysteria going on with at least one of the later claims.

Mind you there could be some jealousy involved as I have dipped on every Icterine in this area for the last 2 years.

I will still be out in the field for the next one.

Dave
Hi Dave,

I am pleased you did post the picture it permitted me to pass comment, anyway surely size of bill and of the bird should always eliminate this type of error. We were fortunate in that there were 2 Chiifys flitting about at the same time when we found the bird - and i agree that hysteria seems to have ruled.

I had dipped my fair share before yesterday, it made finding it myself all the sweeter. I hope you will get the same thrill soon!

Ian
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Old Sunday 3rd October 2010, 16:40   #9868
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Bird was not a melodious warbler

  • The bird I saw had too long a bill, dagger like and pale coloured below.
  • I could not see an eye-stripe which would suggest a willow warbler. (Some reported hippos turn out to be willow warblers.)
  • A medium shade of grey legs.
  • Yellow / green body.
  • Bird did arch its neck, to confirm it being bigger than willow-chiff. This to feed on the berries below the right of the two conifers.
  • I always think of hippo warblers as being like small bananas. not like phylloscs.

Bird reluctant to show openly unlike the willow warbler, two chiffchaffs and the "yellow and greenless" reed warbler.

Do not know what to make of the melodious warbler report and or sighting. Perhaps they saw the icterine?

I hoped my sighting and the better early one would lead to a later clinching sighting.

It was not to be. The icterine showed at 720 and once or twice soon after 10 (as did two chiffchaffs which showed well as the presumed icterine warbler skulked).

A confusing willow warbler and a not confusable reed warbler were what I saw after that.
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Old Sunday 3rd October 2010, 17:31   #9869
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Bird was not a melodious warbler
Cheers Paul - glad we've established that... but given your earlier doubt and observation of no pale wing-panel, is it also possible that the bird you saw around 10 o'clock wasn't an Icterine Warbler either?

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  • (Some reported hippos turn out to be willow warblers.)
  • A medium shade of grey legs.
Yes... or Chiffchaffs?

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  • Bird did arch its neck, to confirm it being bigger than willow-chiff. This to feed on the berries below the right of the two conifers.
I'm sure I'm just being dim but I fail to see why a bird arching its neck confirms that it's bigger than willow-chiff. What am I missing?

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  • I always think of hippo warblers as being like small bananas. not like phylloscs.
Personally I've never made the connection between either Icterine or Melodious Warbler and a small banana, but maybe I've not seen enough of them yet Are you saying you saw something that looked like a small banana?
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Old Sunday 3rd October 2010, 17:40   #9870
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Icterine present am only juv willow warbler most of the day!

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Originally Posted by Selsey Birder View Post
the pictures of the bird attached to this thread is not the bird we watched.
Ian
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Melodious Warbler- similar experience to the above, I was hoping to see an Icterine and turned up at 10ish to see 3 people, one photographing 'the' bird enthusiastically, it was clearly a yellow juv willow warbler. On the way back to the car a message came through saying that it was showing again, once I got there, there were various mutterings that the bird looked slightly larger than chiff etc, but as soon as all the birders turned up there was no sign. Not accusing anyone of stringing but it seems odd that the bird was present for 6hrs but then disappeared when birders went to see it. It does happen and if this is the case I bet the finder is annoyed, but it looks as if this may be a dodgy record, a photo would nicely prove otherwise though!
I did not think the photo was of the bird I considered a probable icterine warbler. Bill too short, face too well marked around the back of the eye.

Agree the willow warbler was a yellow juvenile.
The second (fourth if both chiffchaffs included!!) was not as yellow as the claimed refound icterine warbler.

Many gave the shout in the afternoon when the willow warbler came into view on its circuit. Two much yellow on it and showing too well.

A probable icterine is the bird I am commenting on. Kept low so unable to clinch it.
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Old Sunday 3rd October 2010, 17:46   #9871
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ID not always straightforward

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A probable icterine is the bird I am commenting on. Kept low so unable to clinch it.
Probable icterine as the willow warbler was around at the time.

I did see an icterine in 2010 at the umpteenth attempt didn't I?? Wasn't a willow warbler??

Melodious warbler - the Melodious sighting muddies the waters even more. Never could I claim my washed out yellow (or yellow-green according to the light) grey-legged bird going to be my first Norfolk melodious warbler.
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Old Sunday 3rd October 2010, 17:51   #9872
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The plot thickens, not the 2 bird theory but maybe the three bird theory ?
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Old Sunday 3rd October 2010, 17:55   #9873
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Cheers Paul - glad we've established that... but given your earlier doubt and observation of no pale wing-panel, is it also possible that the bird you saw around 10 o'clock wasn't an Icterine Warbler either?


Yes... or Chiffchaffs?


I'm sure I'm just being dim but I fail to see why a bird arching its neck confirms that it's bigger than willow-chiff. What am I missing?


Personally I've never made the connection between either Icterine or Melodious Warbler and a small banana, but maybe I've not seen enough of them yet Are you saying you saw something that looked like a small banana?
Banana comment was tongue-in-cheek. Bird looked too long for willow-chiff and even longer with neck strained.

Icterine or not icterine that is the question
Pain the neck that sends you bananas
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Old Sunday 3rd October 2010, 18:09   #9874
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The plot thickens, not the 2 bird theory but maybe the three bird theory ?
Three birds and a banana theory I think, Stu. Sadly none of them were Melodious Warblers though.

And now cue someone to produce that photo that proves us all wrong...
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Old Sunday 3rd October 2010, 18:34   #9875
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Wouldn't all sightings of bananas be ship -assisted?
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