Sunday, 9 September 2012

The last six months...

Having spent the spring and summer at Titchwell I am now residing at Strumpshaw, as of late August, where I am spending another six months for the 2nd half of my RSPB internship.

Despite spending most days around the reserve, Titchwell failed to deliver a decent find (the reserves first confirmed Otter record in over 30 years turning out to be by far the most notable record!) with the best offerings being an offshore Black-necked Grebe, three Ospreys, a Roseate Tern and a Hawfinch. A moulting adult Black Guillemot was probably the best bird, with other highlights being three Cranes, a June Temminck's Stint, a spring male Pied Flycatcher and the wintering Arctic Redpoll. The Sheringham Alpine Swift and Cley Pacific Golden Plover were the best Norfolk birds from elsewhere (NW Norfolk having a virtually rarity free spring) with nearly all of the best birds being found further East along the Coast towards Cley.

A Black necked Grebe was a Snettisham Patch tick, where I finally managed to see a spring Garganey on Ken Hill marsh, but failed to get over and see the Golden Oriole (It only stayed SIX days!!) A self found White rumped Sand became my 3rd for Snetts, though a Juvenile Purple Sandpiper, present on the same high tide, was perhaps more of a surprise! A Silver-washed Fritillary was an unexpected (but always hoped for) find in Ken Hill wood, where White Admiral numbers appear to be going from strength to strength.

A productive spring visit to Dungeness more than made up for last years poor timimg (everything happening as soon as I had left) with a spectacular arrival of common migrants, overshadowing the Crested Lark and Red-rumped Swallow that appeared on the same afternoon a few days later. After seeing a Wood Warbler in the hand, a walk around the moat found Nightingale, Whinchats, Wheatears, Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher, Garden Warblers, Blackcaps, Willows, Chiffchaffs, Whitethroats, Lesser Whitethroats and another Wood Warbler. By the end of the day, the vegetation around the entrance to the heligoland must have held in excess of 150 warblers (mostly Whitethroats) constantly darting back and forth over the vegation, hopping on the bare shingle and filling the thinnest of bramble bushes..... to quote one local birder "ive not seen a fall like this since 1973" Two White Stork were another Dungeness tick and the female Kentish Plover showed well at nearby Rye Harbour.