Monday, 5 October 2099

WelcomeYou have found us. We are a secret group of crack birders who have turned our backs on the machismo, corruption, and backstabbing greed that constitute today's birding scene, and have united together to follow the True Path of non-competitive, collaborative and generally lovely birding-as-meditation-and-spiritual-growth. Consequently, we never see anything.  Birds that land right in front of our noses, and which we can identify with our observer book, are written about here.  Oh, and they have to be seen in - or from - the parish of Winterton-on-Sea, Norfolk.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

7 May 2014

I hardly dared hope that the two Dotterel found by Barry this morning would stay until after work, but they did!  My 200th species for the parish of Winterton-on-Sea.  Shot taken in the gloom just before the heavens opened...
Dotterel, Winterton, 7/5/14


More pics here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/28183474@N04/sets/72157644566241614/

Sunday, 13 October 2013

13 October 2013

A lovely flock of about 20 Common Redpolls in the Totem Pole bushes today. Several had very white rumps - they were naturally the birds which proved hardest to photograph and I failed miserably to get the best which had a large, seemingly unstreaked white rump. Any ID comments welcome since I totally do not understand Redpoll ID and there was a Coues's Arctic in Norfolk today...

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Redpolls Winterton 13.10.13
, a set on Flickr.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

12 Oct 2013

Fantastic late autumn birding in the north dunes today, starting off with a Great Grey Shrike in the Totem Pole bushes, where Pete then found a lovely Pallas's Warbler -record shots here. Later in the afternoon I managed to see and hear the Richard's Pipit which had been seen by various people intermittently all day. Supporting cast of Redpoll, Brambling, Ring Ouzel, Woodcock, loads of Robins and Reed Buntings, Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers, Goldcrests, Redwings etc. Marvellous stuff and two patch ticks bringing my Winterton list to 199.  Now if I can just see a bloody Merlin before Christmas...




Tuesday, 11 June 2013

9th June 2013

Its been a quiet May and early June but this female RB shrike near The Oaks brightened up Sunday. The quality of this photo is a reason why I don't posted many on here!!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

26 May 2013

Red-backed Shrike in the North Dunes today, found by Tim.



Sunday, 12 May 2013

12 May 2013

After the occasional single or small group going through for the last week or so, the local Swifts seem finally to have arrived yesterday evening, a whole week late.

With the advent of Twitter as our primary means of communicating bird news to each other these days, I have been worrying about the lack of records on our blog, which may mean that in future years we may not be able to look back at things like migrant arrival times.  Twitter is a great method of disseminating news but somewhat ephemeral.  So I have embedded a feed of our tweets so they don't get lost in the dustbin of history.

Unfortunately the Twitter feed will not trigger an automatic email for those of you that get the email updates about our blog posts, so I'm afraid you'll have to visit the blog to find out what we have all been up to (or follow us on Twitter of course!).

Saturday, 11 May 2013

11 May 2013

Photo of Brambling in cherry tree (thru window)

Friday, 26 April 2013

26 April 2013

A flabbergasting number of Wheatears have made landfall today all along the east Suffolk and Norfolk coast.  In an hour this evening in the North Dunes I counted over 100, between the totem pole bushes and the top of the Warren.  Most were sitting absolutely still, dotting the landscape wherever you looked.  They flew strongly on approach though, so I don't think they are overly exhausted.  Two Curlews also flew south.

24th April 2013

The first Swift seen over the village this evening.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

16th April 2013

Well, if I'm putting on a post it can only mean one thing - another Winterton tick.  This time it was a lovely Purple Heron, inadvertently flushed from the Toad Pools on the North Dunes. Sadly it made off to the south west where it no doubt found the vast expanses of Reed much more to its liking.

Also two Ring Ouzels and a Yellow Wagtail south.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

14th April 2013

A very exciting day on the patch as the weather finally became warm and spring-like.

Last night in the dark I saw an 'eared' owl with long, rather slender wings go zigzagging over my house and thought it could have been a Long-eared. Today, sure enough there were two, or maybe even three, Long-eared Owls roosting in the valley. There was also a massive movement of thrushes, first Redwings and later in the day it seemed like thousands of Blackbirds, clearly relocating after the seemingly endless cold weather.  Several Ring Ouzels were also in the south dunes, plus a Black Redstart on the Hermanus rooftops, and some very confiding Common Redpolls feeding on the dune tops.  Swallows, Sand Martins and a House Martin were flying through, and other migrants included Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. It was a great day and I got twelve year ticks!

Just out of the parish, in Horsey, a Red-flanked Bluetail was showing off gaudily. We don't want birds like that down here thank you very much (and I'm certainly glad that I dipped it when I guiltily went to look for it late in the evening...).

Monday, 8 April 2013

8th April 2013

Well, it's happened again!  Years can go by without a patch tick and then you get two in three days.  Today it was the turn of a Goshawk to finally make it onto my Winterton list.  A few years ago Winterton became one of those places where it was alleged that if you hung around long enough and stared at the sky over the woods eventually you would see a Goshawk.  Many were duly rewarded but many also (including myself) never quite got satisfactory views.  There wasn't much doubt about the big streaky monster today so onto the list it goes.

Also today 2 Barn Owls and 2 Short-eared Owls.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

6th April 2013

Well it was a great day here on the patch and well worth an update on the now virtually moribund blog, an anachronistic dinosaur indeed in the brave new world of tweeting and all the instant instant gratification it affords.

The cause of all the excitement came to light when a small group of Lapwings flew over.  Amongst them was a smaller paler wader which I at first expected to be a Golden Plover but the reddish/orange legs and bill revealed it to be a Ruff - a genuine Winterton tick for me.

The excitement continued when I got home in the form of a group of five, or maybe even six, Great Tits in the garden, easily beating my previous record of three.

The icing on the cake was another brief sighting of the male Reed Bunting in the garden.

Other birds seen today included upto 15 Common Buzzards, 4 or 5 Red Kites and a White-tailed Eagle.

Monday, 28 January 2013

28 January 2013


An abortive attempt to prove that the Great White Egret that has been in the Horsey area for some time occasionally penetrates Winterton airspace did however result in finding a Short Eared Owl perched on a fence post.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

27 January 2013

Five Waxwings attended Josh the Hamster's funeral in our garden this morning. RIP Josh.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

1 Jan 2013

The big patch effort kicked off today with some half-hearted attempts by members of the collective to get off to a flying start. Little Egret and Hen Harrier seem to have been the top birds of the day, although not all news is in as I write... Outrageously Ryan has told us we have to all have separate lists, which goes entirely against our collective spirit, but what can you expect in this acquisitive, individualistic era. Worse still, it means we will all have to leg it to see the birds Pete and Tim find, rather than stick to our preferred method of sitting at home and relying on them to preserve the patch reputation. Bah!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

2 December 2012

A Short-eared Owl flew south by Swift Bomb Hill this morning. Nearby on the beach nine Snow Buntings were busy feeding and avoiding dog-walkers.





Saturday, 1 December 2012

Patch Map Update

I got some feedback from the Committee about my previous patch map and consequently have amended it to include the crucial cowshed on the Holmes Road, the hedge in the middle of the corn patch on the western edge of the parish, half of the chalet park, and Bullfinch corner.  By the entirely honorable method of tracing around the edges of the Pallid track footpath rather than including the fields next to it (which can be seen from the patch, so we can include birds on them, but which are out of bounds to walkers) we have technically kept our patch well below the stipulated 3km2 max - it is now coming in at 2.706km2. I cannot state with absolute certainty that this will be the final instar of our patchmap, but this version should really allow us to sock it to the competition.



Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Patchwork Challenge

Well our friend and honorary Collective member Ryan from down in Hemsby is organising a national (or even international, or maybe even Pan-Galactic) year-listing competition for next year.

See the details here:  http://patchworkchallenge.blogspot.co.uk/.

So we are keen to have a crack, but there was some debate about our patch being unfairly large (all patches have to be 3km square or under).  So we took to the internet, and using the web 2.0 tool that Ryan himself provided (http://www.freemaptools.com/area-calculator.htm) we have conclusively proved that our parish, or at least the birdable bits, come in at just under 3 square kilometers.

Here's the map that proves it.

We will therefore be aiming to whup the young Scottish upstart's birding backside.  We will, of course, fail miserably to do so. After all, we've been looking for an Ortolan for years, and he just breezes into town and finds one after a few weeks... How can we compete with that?

We also believe that certain top-drawer birders from just north of us will be taking part.  Our patch is doomed to become a thorn between two roses... At our next Collective meeting I will propose that to keep in with a chance to save face we become a sort of birding Tour de France Sky team, all supporting our very own Bradley Wiggins, Mr C (our version of Mr T), to take the prize...
.


Sunday, 25 November 2012

24th November 2012





Spot the Garden Mega

Also on 25th Short-eared Owl over North Dunes and Velvet Scoter south.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

18 November 2012

Eight Waxwings flew south towards the village this morning.  Several Snow Buntings are around.



Saturday, 27 October 2012

27 October 2012

Fieldfare in the garden. Photo taken through wet windowpane.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

18 October 2012

A friend sent me this. What a birdbrain! Make sure you watch to the end...

video

Monday, 15 October 2012

14 October 2012 update - Steppe Lesser Whitethroat?

Just received a message from someone with experience of central asian races who says that the Lesser Whitethroat mentioned in the previous post "looks very good for Steppe Lesser Whitethroat [Sylvia curruca halimodendri - also known as Central Asian Lesser Whitethroat]. Quite sandy-grey looking contrasting with greyer hood, whiter throat and dirty buff underparts. Probably Steppe Lesser Whitethroat will be found to be a regular late autumn visitor to the UK in some years, like this year, once they sort out the systematics. It is also a potential split."

Here is another pic of the bird.  Feel free to comment!



Sunday, 14 October 2012

14 October 2012

It felt like proper autumn today and there were more birds around, in between bouts of heavy rain.  A fair few Song Thrushes were moving through, and various members of our merry band connected with Firecrest and Brambling in the morning. Lots of Goldcrests around too.  There were a couple of Lesser Whitethroats playing around together below the Hermanus, allowing the odd photo.  Feels like there might be more out there to find, but it's raining heavily again at the moment.

Friday, 12 October 2012

12th October 2012

A quick seawatch before work off Hemsby saw 10 little gulls fly north and 5 south. There was also a bit of wildfowl passage, 81 brent geese, 32 common scoter, 21 wigeon, 14 teal, 2 shoveler and 2 pintail all mainly heading south. Adult med gull over the dunes. Ryan

Later in the afternoon a lone Brent Goose (maybe injured?) was feeding at the top of the beach just north of the cafe. Sean


Wednesday, 10 October 2012

9th October 2012.

Firecrest in the small oaks, south dunes.Lapland Bunting on the north beach.

7th October 2012.

3 Bearded Tits through the south dunes this morning Tim.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

6 October 2012

Lots of Mediterranean Gulls flying around the village and dunes this morning.



In the afternoon, after a tipoff by Colin, Ted and I took our cameras down to photograph a Lapland Bunting in the South Dunes.  This gave me the opportunity to compare the difference between the FZ150 which Ted used and the GH2 which I used.  I am currently agonising over whether to crack and buy a Canon DSLR with the 400/5.6 lens to lump around instead of the diddy micro four thirds or superzoom setup.  I would REALLY like to be able to photograph flyover passerines better, but I do enjoy not having backache too.  The GH2 is a good camera but it is not much cop for birds in flight.  Here are the Bunting shots - can you tell which camera is which?



Wednesday, 3 October 2012

2 October 2012.

3 Lapland Buntings 1 male on the north beach,2 Med Gulls in the chalet park,Wheatear Tim.

1st October 2012.

3 Lapland Buntings in the south dunes,Spotted Flycatcher below restaurant,4 Med Gulls in chalet park Tim.

30th September 2012.

 3 Lapland Buntings in the south dunes 2 Med Gulls in chalet park Tim.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

26 September 2012

1 yellow browed warbler at Hermanus 1 willow warbler at least 3 common redstarts  2wheaters blackcap and lesser whitethroat all in the valley

26th September 2012

The bushes held far fewer birds this morning but luckily interesting things were going on up above.  All heading south were one Grey Wagtail, 12 Jays and three Great Spotted Woodpeckers.  The woodpeckers were in a group, quite high up and virtually over the beach.  It definitely didn't look like a daytrip to Hemsby.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

25 September 2012

5 Wheatear north dunes

25th September 2012.

2 Yellow-Browed Warblers,Redstart,Pied Flycatcher,3 Med Gulls,all in the south dunes,Tim.

Monday, 24 September 2012

24th September 2012.

Yellow-Browd Warbler below restaurant ,2 Redstarts,Ring Ouzel ,5Wheatears,4 Med Gulls,all in the south dunes.Tim.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

23th September 2012.

.3 Med Gulls in chalet park.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

18th September 2012.

2 Spotted Flycatchers this morning south of public steps,Little Gull 2nd winter in chalet park Tim.

17th September 2012.

Spotted Flycatcher this evening,4 Med Gulls in chalet park,Lesser Whitethroat Tim.

16th September 2012.

5 Med Gulls in the chalet park this morning Tim.

20th September2012

The intensity of the birdlessness in East Norfolk continues to deepen and was only relieved this morning by the comforting presence of 41 Med Gulls and 18 Golden Plovers on the fields south of the village.

Monday, 17 September 2012

15th & 16th September

1 Crossbill heading south over South Dunes on 15th & 2 on 16th. Reed warbler and 2 willow warblers, South Dunes (15th). Yellow wag and whitethroat, South Dunes on the 16th. Out at sea a Manxie flew south early on 15th and a sooty shearwater flew north early on 16th.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

9 September 2012

A quite exciting day morning with a Red-backed Shrike in the North Dunes, along with a Redstart and quite a lot of Whinchats. Then in the afternoon Ryan, our new neighbour down in Hemsby, found an Ortolan Bunting in the South Dunes. Colin and I rushed down for it, but it proved to be pretty flightly and we only had a rather brief, though close, view of it before it flew high into a tree on the bank and then, presumably, off on its way. Well done to Ryan on his first decent bird on his new patch, and thanks for getting the news to us so quickly - it was a patch tick for both of us.

Friday, 7 September 2012

5th September 2012.

3 Yellow Wagtails in chalet park,Tim.

4th September 2012.

Whinchat,Lesser Whitethroat,7 Yellow Wagtails,White Wagtail,2 Med Gulls,Arctic Skua,south dunes,Hobby North dunes Tim.

3 September 2012.

Common Redstart ,Whinchat,Lesser Whitethroats 2,Yellow Wagtails 7,Wheatear,Med Gull,all in south dunes, Tim.

Monday, 3 September 2012

3rd September 2012

Once the sun came out there were several Southern Emerald damselflies (Lestes barbarus) at the pool north of the blocks.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

13th August 2012.

Pied Flycatcher in south dunes by small oaks,8 Med Gulls.Tim.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

4th August 2012

A female Crossbill spent 5 minutes in the garden this afternoon.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

30 June 2012

Red Veined Darter on Blocks pool this afternoon. Pair of Broad Bodied Chasers (female ovipositing) + Emperor on large pool 300 meters south.


Monday, 18 June 2012

17th June 2012.

Velvet Scoter south,Short-Eared Owl north dunes Tim.

Friday, 1 June 2012

1 June 2012 - double Shrike!

A lovely male Red-backed Shrike in the North Dunes this evening.  I cycled up to see it and on my way back bumped into Ted, who had also cycled up.  He then saw it, and on his way back bumped in turn into another birder, a friendly Glaswegian, who had just seen a Woodchat Shrike! They went back and refound it together, and then Ted cycled back to my house to tell me the news, and we both hacked back up on our bikes in the fading light. After a while Ted (superbly) found it again in the distance, and we sneaked up and secured a couple of record shots, as you can see below.  A very nice way to kick off the half term holiday, and our thanks go to the unknown birder from Scotland!