Sunday, 18 October 2015

Sharp eyes, all weekend

The last few posts have looked east, to the coast and beyond, towards the homelands of rare and scarce vagrants.  With winds assisting migrants moving across the North Sea the coastal woods of North Norfolk have accumulated a smorgasbord of top notch migrants, more than enough to lure us out of the 10 and to the coast again.  A relaxed but focused walk from Wells to the western end of Holkham produced the finest quality days birding, in terms of rarities, I've had on the east coast.  Spryte's with stripes completed a flush with 2 Pallas's Warblers, Humes Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, Siberian Chiffchaff and 2 Firecrest all being found within the canopy foliage along the 3 miles of sheltered woodland edge.  A Red-Flanked Bluetail added to the wow factor, perching motionless within an Oak by the Drinking Pool but not for long enough to get the camera and scope working together.  This picture from the compact camera alone.

Between Sprytes we enjoyed a beautiful, peach scalloped Isabelline Shrike moving between favoured perches.  Bramblings wheezed overhead, Redwings poured through, Jays screamed and freshly arrived Goldcrests fed from the floor by our feet, unconcerned about anything but immediate calorie intake. 
A Great Grey Shrike arrived once a shower had passed through and took up brief sentinel.
We walked back through the woods and spent the last hour of the day locating and finally enjoying good views of a skulking and occasionally vocal Blyth's Reed Warbler.  This finished a dreamlike day of great birds, enigmatic views, sharp eyes and heightened senses.  Unforgettable.
Back on home turf I took the little one to get up close to bird or two at a ringing session this morning.  She was excited by seeing Goldcrests up close but not as excited as Rich was when he saw a male Sparrowhawk had propelled itself into the net.  Up close a magnificent beast, eyes of a killer, talons sharp as razors except upon the hind claw where an extended growth had formed.
Beneath the gold, the flame - Goldcrest crown


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