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Xmas Stint ID competition

Here are some photos of Stints taken at Sippighat on South Andaman in November, in the overlap zone between wintering Little Stint and wintering Rufous-necked Stint. At the time I assumed they were the latter on range, but subsequently I have found that is an unsafe method of identification!

Tell me what you think….


Western and Eastern

Right, firstly, pics of my latest trip – the Birdquest tour of Southern India and Sri Lanka with extension to the Andaman Islands – can be found here:

Today I braved the cold and went to see the long-staying Western Sandpiper at Cley. It showed really well, main impression was of how quick and hyperactive it was. The rest is all technical…




OK OK I know I have been a bit slack, but….


OK OK so the juicy reports and pics of Andamans, South India and Sri Lanka may take a little time, meanwhile, here are some pics from the arctic extremes of Lincolnshire – a long way from the equatorial rain forests of South Asia.. Ouch!!

Back on the VP


After something of a drought for a few months, a bit of survey work popped up. Fair weather and south-easterly winds made for some nice outings, and all the usual suspects were recorded; Lapwings, Golden Plovers, Peregrine, Merlin, Hen Harrier, a flock of 46 Corn Buntings – but the best bird was never seen! Standing in a field near Mablethorpe a Richard’s Pipit flew overhead calling loudly. It called four times, but I couldn’t see it in the murk. Boo.

Here’s some pics of other stuff






Dirty drizzly twitching


Stiff south-easterlies hitting a band of drizzly rain, surely there had to be some new arrivals along the coast. Apparently not, so a bit of dirty twitching for a Daurian Shrike at Horsey was in order. It came well close as I sat on the bank in the persistent rain, flycatching and being very active, if a little bedraggled


It was so dim I had trouble getting any snaps at all. Anyhow, it seemed to enjoy the Norfolk brambles, en-route as it is from Mongolia to Sudan!




Anyway, this little fellow stole the show. It was actively feeding just a couple of feet off the beach, allowing close approach . It was so cute I watched it for ages, reminded of the breeding-plumaged birds I have seen on Iceland that come really close if you sit and wait






A good day to be out

Birding was busy today along the coast between Winterton and Sea Palling, between 8am and 3pm, in light south-easterlies after a day of rain. First thing, Fieldfares and Redwings were trickling in, the sea was calm and Thrushes and Blackbirds were struggling across the water trying to reach land, some getting harassed by a young Pomarine Skua as they went. The first of nine Short-eared Owls were seen coming in off the sea, some of the big numbers hitting the coast today.  A couple of Woodcocks were flushed, Bramblings and Lapland Buntings called overhead, and a familiar ‘tseeweet’ heralded a delightful Yellow-browed Warbler, obviously just in, and it offered close views and showed really well.  A Short-toed Owl failed to see me sat just 10m away, and perched on a branch in front of me. Couldn’t get the camera out in time, but another one at Winterton posed well but not as close. Same again tomorrow?


Click here for audio of the Yellow-browed Warbler at Sea Palling











Woodchat Shrike, Suffolk

Couldn’t face the torpor and ennui of staying indoors facing a monitor, so decided to do some dirty twitching of a juvenile Woodchat Shrike at Lowestoft. Needless to say, it performed well at close range.


Couldn’t find any rare Warblers, but did look out to sea, seeing a couple of Bonxies, a juvenile Hen Harrier (that would NOT turn itself into a Pallid!) that took forever to make it to shore, followed by a Short-eared Owl that also struggled across the North Sea into the fierce head wind, eventually dropping into the dunes out of sight.




Grus canadensis – on my British List!

Twitching Sandhill Crane

Having spent Sunday afternoon ignoring the news about this (as I lay in the sun on the beach) we left Norwich at 5am and made our way to Boyton in Suffolk.











The Crane flew in from Havergate island at 0657, landed in the fields at 400m distance, and spent the next hour feeding as the sun rose. Having followed the news of it as it went from Aberdeenshire down the east coast of England, it unaccountably got across Norfolk without anyone seeing it and reappeared over Kessingland, en route to here. Lovely stuff! A bit dim for photos, heres some dodgy digi video


No birds, move along…

Despite motivated searching, the gorgeous weather put paid to any serious bird finding, in fact not one passerine migrant was seen in several hours spent around Covehithe. Waiting for the rain now..




A day on the beach

Enjoyed a languid few hours between Horsey and Winterton. Sunny, warm, breeze from the south-east. Loads of close Seals – in the shallows, checking us out, plus Whinchat, 19 Med Gulls, two Arctic Skua and a Manx Shearwater.

Here’s a Stonechat picture just to prove I was actually there…