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September 2006

1st - House Martins & Swallows were feeding over the local area this afternoon.

2nd - Two Willow warblers were observed in the garden today.

3rd, North Cave Wetlands - On the quiet side this morning but not without interest, as highlights included a Buzzard, a Ruddy duck, 120 Greylag geese, 25 Canada geese, a Wigeon tagged with EB on its wing, 13 Gadwall, 4 Teal, 19 Pochard, many Tufted ducks, a Common Sandpiper, 8 Snipe, 3 Common Terns, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, and three Sand Martins. 37 species seen altogether.

4th - A single Willow warbler seen in the garden.

5th - Very warm today, up to 24 C.

10th - Warm sunshine again, with a high of 23 C.

11th - Very hot today, especially for mid September, with a day high of 26 C. Indeed in London it was the hottest September day for thirty years. The sun also brought out the butterflies, including four Comma’s, and a Speckled Wood.

12th - Remaining very warm (24 C).

13th - A Willow warbler and a Chiffchaff seen passing through the garden today. Very warm, and indeed muggy, today, with a high of 23 C and a dew point of 19 C.

14th - Another muggy and warm day (23 C).

16th - A female Blackcap seen in the garden Elder.

Skua & Shearwater Cruise - Went on a very enjoyable sea cruise this morning as Dad and I went out on one of the RSPB Pelagic trips. It was rather grey and cloudy but thankfully relatively calm with just a moderate swell at times. Infact we could have done with a bit more breeze really as it was quite foggy around Flamborough Head, and for most of the trip we couldn’t actually see land, even though we only a few miles offshore. Bird wise there was plenty to see, with highlights including Manx Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwaters, a species which were particularly prevalent and approached closer than the others, Arctic Skuas, Great Skuas, Red throated Divers, Shags, Fulmars, Little Gulls, Terns, a flock of Common Scoter, as well as other small flocks of Wigeon & Teal, and we even saw a Wheatear at one point, possibly arriving from lands to the north. After our cruise there were additional observations from the walls of Bridlington Harbour, including Redshanks, Turnstones, and migrating House Martins. A great day out.

17th, North Cave Wetlands - Lots of birds about today, as autumn now seems to be really getting going. The main highlight was the return of Golden Plovers, these mixed in with the abundant Lapwings on the reserve and in the nearby fields. Also notable today was the lack of summer visitors, with no warblers, and only a few Swallows. 15 Little Grebes were counted today too, and there were 4 Wigeon, 20 Pochard, 2 Ruddy ducks, 15 Snipe, and a couple of Kingfishers, which were seen chasing each other over the north west lagoon. Forty one species counted around the reserve this morning.

18th - A flock of nine Long tailed tits was seen in the Swedish Whitebeam.

19th - Autumn signs in the garden now with ripe berries on the Hawthorn, Cotoneasters, & Swedish Whitebeam. The Blackberries, Elderberries, & Yews are also still fruiting strongly, with the Thrushes beginning to eat the Yew berries. The Creeper which grows around the Silver Birch is also now turning red. On the Westwood the Conkers are also ready.

21st - 140 Lapwings, 60 Golden Plovers, and two Curlews seen out in the fields this morning. Very hot today, up to 27 C, with clear blue skies.

22nd - Golden Plovers & Lapwings were again seen this morning, though the Golden Plovers were at first just circling overhead but came down slowly with about 80 to 100 seen in total. Also seen in the fields were nine Yellow Wagtails, a mix of adults and juveniles. A very wet day with persistent and heavy rain. Over an inch recorded.

Wash & North West Norfolk Trip, 22nd to 23rd September
22nd - Dad and I travelled down to Long Sutton this afternoon, for a day of birding in the Wash area tomorrow. However on the way down we stopped off at Frampton Marsh, a few miles east of Boston, which is a vast area of salt marsh and tidal mudflats. These sort of reserves I find rather bleak, and the wildlife is usually hidden in the numerous creeks, or is seen far beyond on the distant shore. However we did see a few birds about, including Cormorants, Gulls, Redshanks, Mallard, Little Egrets, Linnets, and a single Barn Owl. Not a reserve to revisit though.

23rd - Woke up to thick fog at Long Sutton, as we set off at dawn for Titchwell, the always interesting RSPB reserve on the north west Norfolk coast. Thankfully the fog cleared by the time we reached Titchwell, and we were about the first to arrive for a bit of morning birding. This meant we could take our time, this no doubt contributing to fantastic views of Bearded tits, with about twelve seen, including a full plumaged male within just a few yards of us. It was in fact there ‘pinging’ calls which alerted us to their presence, and it was wonderful to watch them flying from reed to reed right in front of us. In the same area of the reedbed we also saw a few late Reed Warblers, and we also briefly spied a Kingfisher. Also on the reserve we saw a few Marsh Harriers, a fairly common bird in these parts now, and there was a good variety of waders & wildfowl on the lagoons, including Oystercatchers, Ringed Plovers, Dunlin, Snipe, Black tailed Godwits, Curlews, Spotted Redshanks, Common Redshanks, Sanderlings, and even a Whimbrel. No Brent Geese seen, perhaps still a little early, but out on the sea were Eiders, and a small number of Common Scoters. Also seen while sea watching were Gannets, and a Common Tern. In total forty eight species were seen, a great start to the day.

After finishing at Titchwell we made our way eastwards along the coast to Cley Marshes, though first we stopped by at Cley Spy. There both Dad and I acquired some ‘new’ second hand binoculars, mine are more compact 10 by 32’s and of porro-prism design, less than half the size and weight of my current Audubons. I would admit that they aren’t quite as good as my old things optically, but the benefits of their compact nature outweighs any concerns. They can also close focus to within a metre, a feature which will make them very useful for butterfly and insect observing. After this brief detour we went on to Cley Marshes, a reserve we have often driven by but until today hadn’t visited. We started first on the shore, walking along the shingle bank to a small hide. Along the walk we saw a few passerine passage migrants, including quite a few Wheatears, and a Whinchat. Over the sea we also saw quite a number of Gannets, & Common Terns passing by, and we also saw a lone Sandwich Tern too. At the hide, which overlooked an area of wetland, we observed Black tailed Godwits, Redshanks, Spotted Redshanks, Dunlin, Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Shoveler, & Teal, and hunting over the area were Marsh Harriers, Kestrels, and most notably a Hobby, a new personal species for me. Indeed this oft mentioned reserve didn’t disappoint and the variety of species was impressive. No doubt we will return one day.

After finishing up at Cley we began our journey home, but we had time to stop at the relatively new RSPB reserve at Frieston, just a little bit north east of Boston, and indeed just up the road from Frampton which we visited yesterday. I was most impressed with this relatively compact reserve, which is partly a freshwater lagoon, and beyond the sea wall a saltmarsh. There are also some nearby wet fields, which no doubt will attract winter wildfowl and waders. A circular walk takes you around the reserve, and along it we saw Ringed Plovers, Dunlin, Oystercatchers, Curlew, & Wigeon, and though this is far from an impressive list it was nevertheless a most enjoyable walk, made the better by the beautiful sunset which dominated the huge fenland sky. A great way to end our day of birding in this lovely and quiet corner of England.

25th - Up to three Chiffchaffs seen in the hedge at Old Hall Farm this morning.

26th - A Chiffchaff seen again at Old Hall Farm, and near Black House Farm up to ten Golden Plovers were seen in nearby fields. Mushrooms also seen in the local fields.

27th - Two Roe deer seen in the Millennium Orchard, and a Chiffchaff was also seen. A Grey Heron also passed over the fields this morning. In the afternoon five Sand Martins were seen passing over the house.

28th - A fox seen out in the fields this morning, and as it didn’t see me I was able to watch it for some time. A Chiffchaff again heard in the area.

29th - Two Roe deer watched chasing each other this morning out in the fields, with one of them with medium sized antlers. The Chiffchaff still about in that area. A spell of thundery rain in early afternoon, with nearly 20 mm’s recorded in about four hours.

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