Sep 1st Strumpshaw &Sheringham
September started grey, dull and slightly drizzly and at Strumpshaw, it was another unexciting day. The early morning walk provided only one highlight, a red-legged partridge running away from me along Sandy Wall. At Reception Hide, 2 bearded tits proved to be a small crowd pleaser as they both popped in and out of the bottom of the reedy islands for much of the latter half of my shift. Buzzards, marsh harriers, a brief water rail, a cormorant, a heron, a few ducks, moorhens and coots and a basking lizard as I was leaving the reserve were the best of the rest.
|Guillemot (Sep 1st), My new scope (Sep 5th), |
Kingfisher and Willow Emerald Damselfly (Sep 8th)
The waves were rolling hard, slightly rough conditions, perfect for sea birds to be blown into my way. There had been some brilliant sightings of late, from skuas to shearwaters. This form of birdwatching was my weakest, so my confidence levels were low now that I was alone finding these sort of birds. The sea is vast and always moving and hiding the birds constantly. More pairs of eyes would have came in handy. However, I didn't do too badly as I found plenty of gannets, a guillemot, some cormorants and sandwich terns, 4 common scoters flying past near the shore, dunlin, a great black-backed gull and something that may resemble a shearwater, but I wasn't 100% sure.
Sep 5th Cley & Sheringham
Another visit to the coast for another session of sea watching. That was what I was intended to do any way. What happened instead was a new purchase. You see, when I got to the beach car park at Cley and joined the group of sea watchers that were already at the shelter there, I set up my scope and peered into the lens only to discover that the focus was not working at all. Try as I might, I just couldn't see out of it. It was frustrating. So, Mum and I popped back to the visitor centre and ended up buying a brand new one. A very late birthday present as I finally spent my birthday money that was given to me back in March.
After a short, disappointing visit to the hides (seeing ruff, curlew, little egrets, marsh harriers, godwits, teal and avocets), we went to Sheringham to test out my new scope. The zoom and the focus was a vast improvement to my previous scope (in which I had since 2003) and I could see for miles out at sea much, much clearly. There wasn't too much about though due to calmer waters. I managed to spot a few gannets, a small flock of scoters, cormorants, a guillemot and a fulmar.
Sep 8th Strumpshaw Fen
I had to get a lift into Strumpshaw this morning as my bus never showed up, possibly due to the lack of drivers that were probably Covid bound or something. Thanks to that, I missed my train and had no time for my morning walk before my shift. I went straight to Reception Hide. Unfortunately, it was the morning that Ben (one of the Strumpshaw wardens, if you are new) decided to strim the front of the hide, scaring a water rail in the process. The noise of the strimmer didn't last for too long, thankfully. Though the noise was replaced with a fairly quiet scene besides the odd bearded tit, marsh harrier, moorhens, 3 herons and a few groups of ducks.
After my shift, I decided to walk over to Tower Hide to make up for the morning walk that I missed earlier. A good choice as there was more to see here than at Reception Hide. When I arrived, I had just missed out on a red kite that had apparently just spook everything up. Saying that, there were still ducks galore. Teals, gadwalls, shovelers and mallards making up a large mass of waterfowl. Try as I might, however, I could not find the three long-staying garganeys that were reportedly somewhere amongst them. The star of the afternoon was a kingfisher that perched right in front of the hide for quite some time. I ended my day finding a willow emerald damselfly on the walk back.
Sep 15th Strumpshaw Fen
September at this point was becoming like a summer we've barely had. Hot, sunny and very pleasant. However, the wildlife at Strumpshaw was on the quiet side. Perhaps they were having a siesta? The stand out highlight of the day turned out to be a great white egret that kept flying around the back of the broad outside Reception Hide from one side to the other, often obscured by reedbeds and the reedy islands. Other than that, there were the usual marsh harriers, buzzards, herons, cormorants and ducks. Very quiet!
Great White Egret (Sep 15th), Sandwich Terns (Sep 19th),
Bearded Tits (Sep 22nd) and Water Rail (Sep 29th)
Sep 19th Sheringham
My parents decided to take me out to sea watch at Sheringham again. The sea was calm and I thought it wasn't going to be very productive at all. I was glad it wasn't the case. It wasn't bad at all. Gannets, flocks of brent geese, a few red-throated divers, cormorants, 4 oystercatchers, turnstones, herring, black-headed, lesser and great black-backed gulls, sandwich and common terns and a guillemot floating near the shore.
Sep 22nd Strumpshaw Fen
Bearded tits were very visible this morning with about 10-20 of them showing well at the top of Sandy Wall and later at Reception Hide sitting on the tops of the reeds. Other than that, it was another not very memorable day. The other minor highlights include swallows, herons, marsh harriers and a parasitic wasp with a long ovipositor (possibly Gasteruption jaculator).
Sep 23rd Potter Heigham Marshes
A long-billed dowitcher (which is like a godwit from America) has been hanging around Potter Heigham since about July, but only seen on and off since then. Today, Dad and I went to try our luck. I only know the way to the reserve by following the river from Potter Heigham itself. Unfortunately, this was a bad decision as reed beds obscured the pools and everything was quite distant. We just couldn't figure out how to get to the other side of this place. So, in the end, we missed out and the trip was a big waste of time, though we did spot a kingfisher, a kestrel and a ruff.
Sep 29th Strumpshaw Fen
The weather has turned once again and it has become more autumnal. It was very blustery and chilly. A water rail and 2 wigeon was a welcoming sight at Reception Hide when I arrived to the reserve. Bearded tits braved the winds at the top of Sandy Wall and gave me great close views just as they did the week before. The wind got stronger as the morning went on and everything seemed to be sheltering from it, providing with very little to see for the rest of the day.
Sep 30th Catton Park
My 9th dawn chorus of 2021 and it was a short one at Catton Park. Not a very exciting one, but the sky was fantastic in a pallet of golds and pinks. The birds were on the quiet side and were mostly robins, wrens, great and blue tits, the odd blackbird alarm call, a brief outburst from a song thrush, a dunnock, jackdaws and several noisy gulls that were flying by. The most interesting thing that I've discovered during this walk was that there are now 11-12 wood sculptures dotted around the park. They definitely weren't there when I last visited.