Tuesday, 19 May 2009


Right. I've been away a lot recently and very busy,.........and also very lazy! I partly blame the fact that my digital camera has died (shortly after photographing the Piping Plovers, they must have blown it's tiny binary mind). Not having photographs to post takes the fun out of it a bit!
Anyway, here's the mega-edited highlights of what I've seen recently.

Spurn 16th-17th May (With Laurence Pitcher and Lee Amery)

Pied Fly 2
Whinchat 4
poss rubicola Stonechat
Spotted Fly
Marsh Harrier

Dipped several Ickys. Missed the East winds by a day. Still, was very nice to be out and about at Spurn. Very 'birdy' place in all ways.

Grove Ferry/Stodmarsh 13th May (With Laurence Pitcher)

Black-winged Pratincole 1
Temminck's Stint 1
12 Black Terns
2 Garganey
Little Stint 1 (sum plum)

Twitch on! Pratincoles are amazing birds. Pratincoles in Britain are fucking amazing birds. Enough said.
Plus, my best ever views of Black Terns (down to 8 feet overhead!) and finding a Temminck's Stint.

Walthamstow Resrs. 12th May

1 Hobby (No.1)
1 Oystercatcher

Horsey/Waxham 3rd May

1 Ring Ouzel
Yellow Wag
Grasshopper Warbler

Hickling Broad 2nd May

1 Hobby
7 Whimbrel
1 Greenshank

My closest ever views of Grasshopper Warbler (reeling out in the open at 20ft) plus finding a Ring Ouzel were the highlights of this trip.

Cairngorms 23rd-26th April

Capercaillie 2 males (lekking at Loch Garten RSPB)
Black Grouse 1 male (come across by chance......somewhere)
Golden Eagle 3cy Linn of Dee
Ptarmigan Cairngorm Plateau
Red Grouse Frequent in most upland areas

4 grouse whammy in 36 hours. This belies the nature of the trip though. This was no car-bound year-tick fest. A walk through the Lairig Ghru; a footpath pass, right across the Cairngorm range; with my old mate Mat, was the focus of this trip.
It was a 2 day walk through the pass, leisurely, from the Linn of Dee to Coylumbridge. An amazing landscape.
After that I spent 2 days blatting around the Cairngorm forests. Siskins are abundant up here! I see how they are becoming the most populous Carduelis. Crested Tits were also about, as were Red Squirrels. Two Capercailles put on an amazing show at Loch Garten, fortunately after most people had left the hide. This particular attraction is becoming very popular.
As an aside I'd just like to add that the Caledonian forests of Rothiemurcus and Abernethy are probably the most beautiful places in all of Britain. Go there!

The male Black Grouse that I stumbled across, walking slowly and warily across a forest ride not 30 yards away, was undoubtedly the highlight of this trip.

New York, NY, USA. 15th-18th April

Centaral Park 15/04

Yellow-throated Warbler 1
Louisiana Waterthrush
Pine Siskin

Jamaica Bay etc. 16/04


Piping Plover 5
Northern Harrier
Purple Sandpiper

American Woodcock (display flight)
Yellow-crowned Night Heron

also around.....

Blue-grey Gnatcatcher
Savannah Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Cooper's Hawk
American Kestrel
Purple Finch
Palm Warbler
Pine Warbler

YT Warbler down to 2 feet!! All good...

Saturday, 18 April 2009

New York NY

Piping Plover, what a bird!

post to follow when i get back

Monday, 6 April 2009

Larus minutus

South-easterly wind? Early April? The signs were looking good for a Little Gull today. Sure enough a text from northern rustic at 0900 revealed there was one at Stoke Newington Res already. As soon as I was free, about 1200, I headed off to my nearest large body of water, Lockwood. Sadly no joy here, but I did bump into Lol Bodini, so we headed off and gave the whole site a quick once-over.
Highlights included a nice female Wheatear on Lockwood and Common Sandpiper there. Cetti's Warbler and Sand Martin were noted on the Southern group.

Not quite satisfied yet I decided it was time for the big guns, so I headed off to KGV.
It looked good and I pretty much ran up the embankment! Sure enough a quick scan revealed a couple of Little Gulls out in the middle. Excellent! Then a few more... and another party. I ended up with a maximum of 22 birds! Most of them were adults in varying staes of 'hoodedness' plus 2 first summers and 1 second summer. In amongst them were 2 Common Terns, my first of the year.

Little Gull 22
Common Tern 2
Goldeneye 3
Teal 8
Sand Martin 4

Apologies for the crap photos!


Middx Filter Beds 0830

Chiffchaff 2
Stock Dove
Jay (on nest)
Redwing 12

Waterworks NR 0850

Cetti's Warbler
Sand Martin 4 (prospecting nest holes)
Snipe 7
Reed Bunting (singing male)
Teal 9
Pochard 6
Shoveler 1
Willow Warbler 2

Walthamstow Marshes 1000-1330

Reed Bunting
Green Sandpiper 2 (relief channel)
Willow Warbler
Skylark (briefly singing)
Common Buzzard 2 (both WNW, 1255 and 1330)

Finally broke my local large raptor duck with 2 Buzzards in an hour and a half sky-watching on Walthamstow Marsh! Duck and Snipe numbers dwindling fast on Waterworks. Lots of Willow Warblers about today.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Waterworks NR

0845-1000 C:8/8, NE 2


A cold start to the day today. Fully overcast with a chill NE breeze. First Willow Warbler of the year was singing away though! Single Swallow and Sand Martin together overhead. Teal numbers holding their own, but Snipe seem to be dwindling slowly.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Surrey 26th-27th March

Ring-necked Duck

Frithend Sand Pits- a strange place for any bird let alone a rare one!

A couple of days back at the old family ranch (well, bungalow) near Farnham. Managed a few hours in the field whilst I was there. Thursday afternoon at Frensham Little Pond yielded a House Martin amongst half a dozen Sand Martins brought in by a heavy squall, as well as Siskin, Redpoll and a couple of singing Woodlarks thereabouts. I nipped over to Frithend sand pits (or Grunton, as it's also known) at about 5pm to twitch the Ring-necked Duck that's been around all winter there. Very handsome it was too. What a mad place for a rare aythya to turn up! There are only about 15 Tufties there as it is. This part of Surrey seems to get almost as many Ring-necks as County Clare. Not that I'm suspiscious or anything.....!
A quick return to the Little Pond at dusk revealed no Bitterns. They were last seen on the 21st apparently. There have been up to 4 (!) here this month. I did however catch 26 Sand Martins passing through, a roost of about 60 Pied Wags (being bombed by a cracking male Sparrowhawk at one point) and a nice Kingfisher.
On Friday afternoon I had a quick squizz at Tice's Meadow (of Crag Martin fame). Nice habo going on. A flash on the meadow held 2 LRP's whilst the wash-out ponds had a Snipe, 2 Teal and 2 Shoveler. Skylarks were singing and a few Stock Doves were feeding in the grass.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009



1 Jack Snipe
26+ Snipe
24 Teal
10 Shoveler
9 Pochard
1 singing male Reed Bunting

Monday, 16 March 2009



Jack Snipe 1
Snipe 25+
Teal 26
Shoveler 7
Cetti's Warbler

Noctule Bat 2

An interesting couple of hours at Waterworks at lunchtime today in lovely warm, sunny conditions. On approaching the reserve from Hackney marshes I noticed something unusual flying over the pools. "That looks a bit like a Woodcock" I thought as I saw this thing; lifting the bins I realised immediately I was looking at a large bat! It was hawking for insects over the pools at heights varying between 40ft and 150ft, showing hirundine-like agility and even a few moves reminiscent of a Black Tern. After a minute or two it was joined by a second individual. They continued to feed in the area for the next 45 minutes. They were about the same wingspan as a Sanderling, with a rufous tinge to the fur and prominent ears clearly visible in flight. Having subsequently consulted a few good folk of the londonbirders yahoo group and some literature Iam pretty confident they were Noctule Bats, a species known to occur in the lower Lea valley in good numbers and known for their early Spring daylight forays. Something I've never seen before, and what a treat!!
On Bed 17 about 25 Snipe were visible and, after much searching, a Jack Snipe materialised out of the 'magic eye'-like pattern in front of me. Fantastic.
I wish I had discovered this bird myself but I have to 'fess up and say I was tipped off about it's presence by someone else!


Black Brant 1
Spotted Redshank 2
Wheatear 4
Raven 2
Slavonian Grebe 7
Long-tailed Duck 1
Med Gull (60+)
Common Scoter 1

Spent a great couple of days at my old teenage stomping ground of Pagham Harbour (West Sussex) on Friday and Saturday.

I started at Sidlesham Friday lunchtime. There wasn't much doing on the Ferry Pool but a pair of Ravens flew over the car park as I was about to leave. One of them, presumably the male, did a few display rolls as they went over. Not bad for West Sussex!
After that it was round to Church Norton for high tide. The sea off here has a wintering flock of Slav Grebes and today did not disappoint. There were at least 7 present and, better still, a female Long-tailed Duck, a good bird for the South coast. There was also a female Common Scoter, 4 Eider and a few Mergs here and a Spotted Redshank on the flash between the car park and the beach.
I should mention at this point the constant background at Pagham Harbour of waders, Brent Geese, wildfowl and beautiful scenery. Church Norton particularly is one of those magical places, with a migrant trap churchyard, a wader scrape, an estuary full of birds behind (with an enviable reputation for sandplovers and almost annual Kentish Plovers) and a productive patch of sea just offshore.(Let's not forget Trumpeter Finch and Collared Flycatcher as well!)

Spent the night in the campervan with just the sound of the Curlews and a glass of rum for company. Perfect.

Next morning I was up at first light and off up the shingle spit at Norton to find a Wheatear. 20 minutes later I was watching a splendid male flitting about in the sea kale. I love it when a plan comes together. A cursory scan through the Brents on the off chance of connecting with this winter's Black Brant came good almost immediately.
Over the course of the day I realised there were only about 200 Brents left in the harbour and ended up seeing the Black Brant 4 times in various places!

After this I nipped down to Selsey Bill. Not much doing on the sea but I did enjoy watching a steady trickle of Meadow Pipits coming in off the sea for half an hour or so.

After that I paid a visit to Selsey West fields. This is about become an RSPB reserve I beleive. It's a great area of flooded meadows, accessed through the hellhole that is West Sands holiday park. How such hideousness can be permitted in such a beautiful place is beyond me. Go there, have a look, tell me I'm wrong!
Anyway the West fields were chock full with displaying Lapwings, plus lots of other good stuff including Snipe, Wigeon, Teal, Skylark etc. The hedges round there look a dead cert for Ring Ouzel in the coming weeks too. I'll be back!

I finished up my day with a walk from Halsey's Farm to the North Wall. 3 male Wheatears were resting up in a grass field at Halsey's Farm. From the North Wall there were 40+ Pintail, another Spotted Redshank, 130 Curlew including one leucistic bird the colour of milky tea all over, and over 350 Grey Plover. One more thing I should mention here is the number of Med Gulls. I saw over 60 together in one gull flock which was 80% Meds! Appararently over 260 have been counted at the harbour mouth at low tide recently. It seems they're doing very well round here, with over 100 pairs at a nearby colony last year.
Headed home for Hackney at about 5pm feeling very satisfied. I'll be going back as often as possible this Spring I think!

Monday, 9 March 2009

Waterworks NR


26 Snipe (Bed 17)
11 Shoveler
12 Teal
1 Cetti's Warbler
1 Reed Bunting

Thursday, 5 March 2009

LOCAL PATCH 02/03/09

Started off at Middlesex Filter beds getting cracking, "too close to focus", views of the Firecrest that's been seen in there, on and off, over this winter. There was also a Chiffchaff in full song there.
At Waterworks NR, there were at least 20 Snipe on Bed 17 plus a good count of 48 Teal, and also Shoveler, Gadwall and Pochard. The Cetti's Warbler continues to sing around the reserve.
On Walthamstow Marshes a Little Owl was in the usual tree and there were 2 Stock doves in the horse field. Unfortunately I wasn't as lucky as some London birders recently and failed to turn up a Wheatear!

SHEPPEY 28/02/09

Another trip out to Kent this weekend, this time in the company of both Laurence and Mark. For a full account of the day check out Marks excellent blog http://northernrustic.blogspot.com/
There,that gets me out of writing this post! Only joking, suffice to say an excellent day was had with great views of Rough-legged Buzzard, Merlin, Hen Harrier and Peregrine not to mention lots of Marsh Harriers, a Common Buzzard or two and a Barn Owl.
At Shellness NNR, amongst the splendid and sometimes very close waders, was the same summer-plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit Laurence and I last saw on the 30th January. I managed to get a few photos, the best one being shown above.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Waterworks NR 25/02/09

Joined a conservation volunteer work party yesterday doing some habitat management on Bed No.17. Very rewarding it was too, although my arms are still aching 30 hours later!
There was a good turnout of 16 people, all seemingly regulars of the Lee Valley Regional Park work parties, I was the only new kid. The work consisted of cutting reeds (phragmites) in order to maintain areas of open water. The different beds here are arrested at different stages of ecological succession from open water to alder and willow carr.
One of the highlight of the day was the number of Snipe we flushed off the bed when we started work. 35! More than I've ever seen here before. Just goes to show how many birds you can hide in there without knowing about them all. They were back on the bed this morning, I counted about 20 but I guess there's a few more out there!

Another highlight was a singing male Cetti's Warbler. This is a bird I've not seen here before. Apparently it's been around for a week or two, but I haven't been down here for a while. I hope it stays and finds a mate!

Cetti's Warbler 1
Common Snipe 35
Reed Bunting 1
Redwing 2
Shoveler 12+
Grey Wagtail

Tuesday, 17 February 2009


Thought I'd take a look at this complex of mature gravel pits near Cheshunt today, the first time I've ever been here! Very impressed I was too. No Bitterns today from the watchpoint at Fishers Green unfortunately, probably too disturbed. Being half term there were a great many visitors in the park today. Musn't grumble though, nice to see people enjoying their local nature reserves. Lots of Smew about and a good selection of other wildfowl including 2 Pintail. This area has a huge number of Alders, with a correspondingly large flock of Siskins roving around, and a few smaller parties of Redpolls. Great views of Water Rail from the Bittern hide too.

5 Smew (2m, 2f Hooks Marsh Lake, 1m Holyfield Lake)
2 Pintail (Hall Marsh Scrape)
4 Goldeneye (2m, 1f Friday Lake, 1m Holyfield)
3 Goosander (1m, 2f Holyfield)
70 Siskin
14+ Redpoll
25+ Wigeon
50+ Lapwing
Many Shoveler,Gadwall,Pochard.

P.S: Why do they call it the River Lee up here and the Lea further down!!??

Thursday, 12 February 2009


Hackney Marshes (0730-0830)

80 Common Gull
40 Herring Gull
60 LBB Gull
1 Skylark (over W)
1 Redpoll (over W)
Grey Wag

Waterworks NR (0830-1000)

10 Shoveler
1 Water Rail
12+ Teal

Wednesday, 11 February 2009


Adult Heerman's Gull- one of my favourites

Marbled Godwit

Anna's Hummingbird

Glaucous-winged Gull- 1st winter

Least Sandpiper

(all photos California)

Ballona Wetlands, Los Angeles, California, 02/02/09

Jamica Bay Wildlife Refuge, New York, 08/02/09

A short trip to the states with the band allowed me to grab a couple of days in the field at each end. Always a much appreciated bonus. To help me decide where to spend my day off in L.A. I consulted David Lindo's excellent 'Urban Birder' website. The obvious contender for central L.A. was the wetland area around Ballona Creek, on the coast just North of LAX airport, so off I duly headed. This area consists of some saltmarsh with pools, scrub, a shallow lagoon with muddy margins surround by houses (Laguna del Rey), a tidal creek, and a harbour-like area impounded by several large, rock breakwaters. The whole area was very rich in birds. Unfortunately I didn't have time to visit an additional reed-fringed, freshwater lagoon nearby, but it looked pretty tasty from the road.
Just offshore was a raft containing 4 species of grebe and the breakwaters were heaving with pelicans,cormorants and Sea-lions. By the creek were several Willet and Hudsonian Whimbrel, and a group of peep's roosting, consisting of Least and Western Sands and Sanderling. The saltmarsh pool held a flock of Black-bellied Plovers and a single Bonaparte's Gull.
The scrub held a good few passerines including Anna's and Allen's Hummingbirds and Say's and Black Phoebes.
Laguna del Rey held many bathing or loafing Gulls, a few Marbled Godwits and the three commoner herons. The mature trees surrounding the lagoon held at least half a dozen Yellow-rumped (Audubon's) Warblers.

(systematic list to follow soon)

A few days later I had the chance to go birding in New York, so I chose to go to Jamaica Bay, in conditions about 25c cooler!
The West pond at Jamaica Bay was completely frozen. The East pond was 90% frozen but the open patch held a nice group of Hooded and Red-breasted Mergansers and Goosander, along with Buffleheads, American Wigeon, Gadwall and a group of Ring-billed and American Herring Gulls. Every now and then the gulls would take to the air as a couple of Northern Harriers patrolled the edge of the lake.
Out in the bay it was low tide, so a lot of the birds were rather far away and the Snow Geese were nowhere to be seen! However there was lots of good stuff on offer.
Large numbers of Brants and Black Duck fed on the falling tide. The bayside scrub was jumping with Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warblers and I got great views of American Tree Sparrow.
On top of all this was the oppurtunity to study American Herring Gull in large numbers, at close range, in all plumages. Call me sad but this is exactly what I did for about 2 hours! One thing I noticed was how variable they are (like all the large white-headed gull complex). Some birds looked like they would really stand out if they turned up in an Irish harbour, but some just didn't.
With the adults I noticed the Glaucous-like head profile mentioned by Olsen and Larsson to be particularly noticable on a lot of birds (this being the NE population). This is a combination of a longer, heavier bill than 'argentatus/argenteus', coupled with a flat crown.

(systematic list to follow)

Saturday, 31 January 2009

SHEPPEY 30/01/09

A day out to the Capel Fleet/ Harty Marshes area with Laurence Pitcher proved very sucessful, with all the Sheppey specials giving themselves up one by one. A classic winter days birding!
As we were walking down from Mockett's to the marshes, one of the area's Rough-legged Buzzards, a juvenile, hove into view at 1150. We had fantastic views at first as the bird circled at close range. Over the course of about 7 minutes observation the bird slowly gained height and drifted off North eventually being lost to sight over the Swale. What a cracker!
We saw at least 2 ringtailed Hen Harriers on the marshes, in fact there was usually one on show for what felt like most of the time today! Very close views were had.
A couple of Peregrines made frequent forays across the area. We witnessed some real life and death chases as one adult male laid into a flock of Starlings. This bird pulled some moves worthy of the Red Arrows, including an almost complete loop-the-loop, something i've never seen before.
Other great birds included 1 Short-eared Owl, up to 3 Barn Owls, 67 White-fronted Geese, and about 20 Marsh Harriers.

We had a quick look at Shellness at high tide and were rewarded with great views of roosting waders including, Knot, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher and Bar-tailed Godwits. Amongst the flock of the latter species was 1 full summer-plumaged bird!

Monday, 26 January 2009


Popped down to see the GND found on Saturday by Walthamstow regular Lol Bodini. The bird, a juv, showed very well on West Warwick, which also held 8 Goldeneye. An added bonus was a Water Rail swimming around in the margins like a strange phalarope! Other birds on the Southern group included, 2 Sparrowhawks, 52 Teal, 25+ Shoveler, 3 Shelduck and 20 Redwings.


Adult Iceland

Ring-billed doing the funky chicken

Ghostly 3rd winter Iceland

Friday, 9 January 2009


It's up there!
Mark has a very small bittern perched on the end of his finger.......
OOP.. there it is!

Got a call from Mark around 11.30 saying a member of the public had reported a Bittern sat up a tree on the Lea Navigation by Springfield Marina! Surely bollocks says I. An hour later Iam watching a Bittern at crippling range. And yes, it is up a tree next to the Lea Navigation by Springfield Marina! What the............??!!
Amazing views were had of this strangely reptilian beauty as it sat about 20 feet up, right above our heads. The bird seemed completely unconcerned by people passing underneath to get to and from their boats. It's only worries seemed to be the occasional harrassment by crow, gull and....... pied wagtail! What a bird! What the fuck!???


coming soon.......

Tuesday, 6 January 2009


Goosander- male on No.5 res
'sinensis'- better than a kick in the gulars
Aythya weirdness

I covered the whole group today from 1100 til 1430. Cold, clear conditions with a light Northerly breeze. Most of the reservoirs were ice free except for No.2 and a bit of No.1. Highlights were drake Goosander on Lockwood, and a particularly confiding one on No.5, 2 Lapwing flying North over Lockwood, large numbers of Teal and 3 Jackdaws west over No.5.
Goosander 2
Goldeneye 9
Lapwing 2
Teal 112
Shoveler 10
Ruddy Duck 14
Jackdaw 3
Shelduck 5
GBBGull 3
Kingfisher 2
Sparrowhawk 1 imm.
Water Rail (calling from West Warwick)
Little Egret 1

Also of interest was this aythya duck on No.3 res shown in the photos above. The bird shows an obvious peaked crown but no crest, reminiscent of Ring-necked Duck or even Lesser Scaup. The bill seemed slightly broader than that of a Tufty. It was a very dark horn colour with a narrow grey subterminal band. The distal area beyond that, including the nail, was black. In some of the photos the nail appears pale. This is a trick of the light caused by water on the bill tip reflecting sunlight.
The cheeks of the bird showed a dark bronzey or purplish sheen. The undertail coverts were dirty white. It's obviously a hybrid but what the hell is it?? It looks like a Pochard was involved somewhere along the line. I'm going for Pochard x Lesser Scaup! Seriously though, I don't know a great deal about aythya hybrids so if anyone out there has any idea what this is please drop me a line or post on londonbirders forum; i'd be very grateful.


EAST NORFOLK 03/01/09-04/01/09 with Mark Pearson


Monday, 5 January 2009


RB Merg

The continuing cold snap inspired Mark Pearson, Tony Butler and myself to have quick look at KGV this afternoon. We unearthed a few interesting goodies.

1 Red-breasted Merganser (redhead, prob. imm male)
1 Scaup (female)
1 Dunlin
1 Goosander (redhead, flew North up Flood Relief Channel)
3 Shelduck
4 Wigeon
27 Teal
25 Goldeneye
18 Ruddy Duck
6 Shoveler



I always try to spend a few days in Norfolk at this time of year if I can. It's pure medicine it really is. This time clear, anticyclonic conditions meant Easterly winds, brutal cold and fantastic sunsets. I went in my campervan, it was ****ing cold!



No Twite in evidence this year at Thornham Harbour. Good views of all the expected commoner waders on the ebbing tide, 25 Skylarks and a Ruff on the flooded field and brief but close views of a stoat! Holme NWT held 1500+ Pink-feet, 1000 Wigeon and 1 drake Pintail. Nothing unusual on the sea today, but still 1500+ Common Scoter and a few Red-throated Divers.


A cracking male and 3 ringtail Hen Harriers at the roost this evening. I narrowly missed out on a Short-eared Owl apparently!



A nice long walk along the shingle then down the beach road and a bus back to the van in Salthouse was in order this morning. 3 Snow buntings gave crippling views near the car park and the 1st winter Glaucous Gull was still in residence on the beach. At least 20 Red-throated Divers were offshore as well as Gannet and Guillemot. Cley North Scrape held Black-tailed Godwit, over 40 Pintail and 44 Avocets as well as myriad Teal and Wigeon. On the Eye field I was surprised to find a Pale-bellied Brent amongst a small flock of Dark-bellieds. I later found out this bird had been around for a while. I was also surprised to find the beach shelter at Cley (also fondly known as the Beach Hotel, yes i'm that old!) is now almost engulfed by shingle. Won't be long now.........


Finished up here again this evening. Good views of the male Hen Harrier again but only 1 ringtail in evidence. Also had a distant immature Merlin sat on a post out on the marsh and a Barn Owl hunting in the fields behind me.



I decided to go here to check out the dawn flight of the Pink-footed Geese this morning. Also, with high tide just before dawn, there was a good chance of some serious wader action. I arrived before light and what unfolded before me took me by surprise and completely blew me away.
Even from the car park you could hear the noise from the geese, which were more than 2 miles away, it was like the rumble you get from a distant football stadium! On reaching the sea wall I set up my scope. Out of the slowly dissolving murk I could make out a raft of geese out on the Wash about the size of 2 football pitches! ( This roost consists of about 35,000 birds).Incredible! I must add at this point that conditions were flat calm which made the sounds I was hearing all the more clear and intense. Suddenly the birds started to take off; not the whole lot at once, but huge chunks of the flock would take to the air every few minutes. Each time a new wave took off there was an incredible roar, of calls and wings, like a goal being scored at aforesaid football stadium! It has to be one of the most incredible avian spectacles Britain has to offer and one of the most enthralling things I've ever seen. Not only that but right in front of me was a flock of over 10,000 Knot. Every so often they would take to the air, again with a mighty roar of wings that sounded like breaking surf, and do their mesmerising, shape-shifting thing over the mudflats.
So next time you're getting a bit down about the state of your London year list or whatever, do yourself a favour, jump in the car and go to Snettisham,....or Caerleverock, or the Dee Estuary or wherever, and remind yourself why birds are so ****ing amazing!!
Also noted were 30+ Snow Buntings, 1500+ Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Barn Owl, 20 Goldeneye.


After Snettisham I took a drive through Ringstead to Choseley to check out farmland birds. About halfway between the two villages I made a random stop and what I saw was like something out of the old days! A mixed flock of 40 Corn Buntings and many more Yellowhammers buzzed between the hedge and the set-aside. The rolling field was studded with Lapwings and Golden Plover as far as the eye could see, an army of tchacking Fieldfares advanced across the grass and everywhere loose groups of Grey Partridges and Brown Hares were visible. All of England's farmland must have been like this at one time! A beautiful but also slightly poignant moment.


Finshed the day here. A nice roost of Pink-feet on the freshmarsh, plus fantastic views of Barn Owl and a very confiding Treecreeper in the pines.