1st - A very bright rainbow was seen this morning, one of the best I’ve ever seen. There was also a very good sunset today, and the day was unseasonably warm.
Bratt Wood - Walked at Bratt wood this morning, which was looking wonderful as it was decked out in autumn colours. The autumn colours have been very good this year infact, with Beech particularly colourful. This is a most splendid time of year. Also seen this morning was a flock of Bramblings, with about two dozen seen, a few Bullfinches, and winter thrushes. A fine autumns walk.
2nd - At least two Redwings seen in the garden in late afternoon, one of which bore a silver ring on its left leg. Very mild still with a high of 17 C today.
4th, Robin Hoods Bay & Ravenscar - Went on a bike ride between Robin Hoods Bay and Ravenscar, following the old course of a railway line. It was a lovely morning and the surroundings too were particularly pleasant too. Along the route we saw a Marsh Tit, and a Stonechat was also seen on the moors edge. After our cycle we went to Whitby for fish and chips.
8th, Watton Lagoons - A quiet morning here at Watton, but still plenty of interest nevertheless in this tranquil little area. Winter thrushes were seen in the hedges, Plovers & Waders in the fields, and wildfowl in the lagoons. A single Barnacle Goose was seen amongst the two hundred plus Greylag geese, possibly the same one that was seen at North Cave on the 26th of September. The Wigeon now have their golden crowns back, and the Pochards were looking particularly striking. Two Kingfishers were seen in the local drains, with one seen within metres of us, perching on a branch. A good morning.
9th - A bright and breezy day, wind chill down to -7 C.
11th - The temperature remained below 10 C for the first time this winter. Cold overnight with a grass frost.
North Cave Wetlands - Visited North Cave this morning where the main highlight was a female Goldeneye, my first of this winter. The Bar headed Goose is still present amongst the Greylag geese, and other highlights included increased numbers of Wigeon & Teal, as well as Golden Plovers & Curlews. Forty two species recorded.
12th - Chilly again with a high of just 7 C.
13th - A lone Redwing seen in the garden at noon.
14th - First air frost of the winter overnight with a low of just under 0 C.
15th - Another air frost overnight, down to -1 C.
15th, Wash & Fenland Trip - Dad and I set off early this morning at 6am for a two night birding trip to the Wash and Fenland areas. We had a trouble free journey and arrived at Titchwell shortly before 10am. We got off to a great start as we saw a Bittern flying low over the reedbed, not just once but indeed twice. Certainly the best sight I’ve had of a Bittern yet. A skein of Brent Geese flew in low over our heads shortly afterwards, their barking calls filling the quiet marsh air, and then they settled down on the lagoons, allowing us to get some good views from the hides. On the reserve there were also good numbers of Pintails, and a pair of Egyptian Geese were present. A good variety of waders were present, with some late Avocets, but other observations included Godwits, Curlews, Ringed Plovers, Grey Plovers, Golden Plovers, Dunlin, Knot, Oystercatchers, Common Redshanks, Spotted Redshanks, Snipe, Lapwings, Ruffs, Sanderlings, and finally Turnstones, sixteen species in total. Out on the sea Eiders and a Red throated Diver were spotted, as was a lone Goldeneye which flew past. Little Egrets were seen out on the Saltmarshes, and a couple of Whinchats were seen in the scrub on the dunes. On the return to the Visitor Centre we saw a Siskin in the Alders. A great start to the day with sixty two species seen, and we also enjoyed a tasty bacon sandwich.
From Titchwell we went eastwards on to Holkham Gap. Loads of Pink footed Geese feeding on the wet grassland on the landward side of the wood, and there were also large numbers of Wigeon. Lots of Goldcrests in the woods, and a Green Woodpecker and a Jay were also spotted. However the big highlight of the afternoon and evening was the sight of thousands of geese coming into roost, a fantastic spectacle of both sight and sound and something I will never forget. A few Marsh Harriers also passed through on their way to roost, and a gathering of Starlings added to the scene as the golden setting sun went down over the Norfolk fields. As the light failed a Barn Owl came out to hunt, ending a wonderful day. Forty one species seen in the Holkham area, and through the day up to seventy three species were recorded. Spent the night at Long Sutton.
16th - Set off early again this morning, arriving at Snettisham at first light. Very frosty and cold this morning, and the breeze coming in off the Wash was bitingly bitter. Nevertheless it was a beautiful dawn and as we walked out to the hides vast flocks of thousands of Pink footed Geese passed over our heads, heading inland to feed in the fields of Norfolk. A fantastic spectacle, not only for the eyes but also to the ears. On the reserve we saw ten species of wader out on the muds, including quite a few Turnstones, and indeed some of them were actually seen ‘turning stones’. On the lagoons were a few Goldeneye and out on the estuary there were loads of Shelducks. There were also a good number of Little Egrets, though this species is always quite abundant in this part of the world.
After a good start here, where we saw forty four species, we moved south into the Fenlands, and firstly visiting the RSPB reserve of Ouse Washes at Welches Dam. This reserve is one of my favourites as it’s always nice and quiet with good quality hides and fantastic winter spectacles to behold. In the reedbeds a number of Stonechats were seen, and out in the local fields, and on the floods, Whooper Swans were observed. There wonderful and evocative calls are a sound never forgotten. On the floods there were also good numbers of Wigeon & Pintails, and over nine species of wildfowl were spotted. Quite a few Snipe were seen chasing each other about, and a Marsh Harrier was seen quartering over the area frequently. A Grey Wagtail was later seen at the Pumping Station, and in total forty one species were recorded.
From here we travelled north and across to the other side of the floods to the WWT reserve at Welney, where we went to see the Swans being fed. However the Swans were infact outnumbered by Pochards, which seemed to be everywhere. There were good numbers of Whooper Swans though, and amongst them we managed to pick out a lone Bewick Swan, the first I’ve seen for at least five years. However the undoubted highlight of the day, and indeed the trip, was repeated fly bys by a Common Crane, my first ever sighting of one of these magnificent birds. It circled around the reserve a number of times, giving some great views, and even calling from time to time. This was a fantastic way to end our most enjoyable trip, and on our birding tour we saw up to eighty seven species of bird and saw spectacles which will remain with me always. Stayed the night near Ely and returned home the next day.
16th - Third air frost in succession, with a minimum of around -2 C.
17th - Two Redwings seen in the garden today.
18th - A hen Pheasant seen in the garden, arriving around 8am and staying until Billy tried to hunt it around 3pm. The Pheasant took advantage of the seed I put out for the wild birds, and it was nice to see a bird that you usually see out in the fields in our sub-urban garden. Also seen today was a pair of Treecreepers, the first time I’ve seen two together in the garden, and there was also a Redwing.
Millingtondale - Walked around the top of Millingtondale this morning, with spells of moderate sleety rain. Lots of Fieldfares about in the fields.
19th - A Treecreeper seen in the Hawthorn.
21st - The hen Pheasant was seen in the garden again today, and at dusk a lone Redwing was seen. The day had begun foggy, and remained dull and grey all day.
22nd - The birds were very busy this morning, with lots of activity around the garden and at the feeding station. Five Redwings seen as well.
23rd - A couple of Redwings in the garden. In the morning there were some wintry showers, mostly of ice pellets. Overnight the temperature fell to -1 C.
24th - A couple of Redwings seen again.
25th, Kiplingcotes - Andy, Jenny, and myself cycled in the Kiplingcotes area this morning, setting off from the old railway station and up to Goodmanham, and coming back along the Hudson Way. Very muddy in places but very enjoyable nevertheless and along the railway line there were loads of winter thrushes amongst the Hawthorns. A very enjoyable morning.
26th - The temperature only reached 6 C today.
27th - A male Bullfinch seen in the garden today, and the Treecreeper was also seen briefly in the Swedish Whitebeam.
28th, Huggatewold Wood, & Millingtondale - Did this fine walk down through the valleys, probably one of my favourite Wold routes. Lots of Fieldfares about, as well as a few Bullfinches, and a Buzzard was also seen soaring high above the Wold. A good walk, despite cloud and drizzle.
29th - A Mallard was seen flying over the house at 11.30 am.
30th - A mild and unsettled day, up to 13 C, and becoming increasingly windy as the day wore on, especially during the showers, with the wind gusting to a peak of 46 mph, the strongest gust recorded since early March.