Posts Tagged ‘Migration


Mealy mouthed

Hiding in a corner out of the wind the other week was this Mealy Redpoll. Tired, wet and hungry after his journey south he fed on small seeds from a dock to recoup a little energy before no doubt flying on to the south.

Mealy Redpoll


Like a cork out of a bottle

Today it was spring. Blue skies, a warm southerly wind at last and birds arrived … in their hundreds. Chaffinches piled past us on the clifftop, splattered with Bramblings and Siskins; even a Blue Tit or two couldn’t resist the urge to migrate. A couple of Black Redstarts on the hill and another at Falcon Cottage heralded the start of a movement that was long overdue. Redwings, Fieldfares, Blackbirds and Meadow Pipits flocked over the fields and flew west. Snipe gathered around the local water before bursting upward and Chiffchaff could be heard in the woods to the north of us. Tens of Buzzards poured past, sometimes in company of others sometimes alone, sometimes west, sometimes off the sea. I counted 24 Sparrowhawks through this morning; an unprecedented movement. A single Red Kite then three more flexed and circled their way west. It appears the sun on their backs gave everything the urge to rush … to breed. Magnificent birds, magnificent day.

Black Redstart Red Kite Northrepps Sparrowhawk Sidestrand Sparrowhawks Sidestrand Norfolk


Hard to Swallow

This picture, taken in the rain, of a lone hunched up Swallow resting as it moved north over the hill last week sums up the spring so far – cold and wet!


Cliff of Dreams

The cliffs in the east of north Norfolk are relatively unexplored in terms of birdwatchers. There is a dedicated few that know of their potential for migrants. Hardy souls that watch this area day in and day out; that stare down at the slumped cliffs and dream of Alpine Accentors, Wallcreepers and Rock Thrush.

We took a walk along those cliffs last weekend. Having seen a group of gulls resting on the beach below we decided to go through them carefully, just in case there was an Iceland or a Glaucous amidst them. As we raised our optics, in the periphery of my vision I caught movement. It was a pale contender, flying low over the sand to our right; coming in from the east. It didn’t take us long to deduce we had ‘talked-up’ an Iceland Gull. It landed with the other gulls immediately below us…no Camera. What have I been saying about not carrying a camera?  This was a sub adult bird showing just a few indicators of immaturity. I cobbled together a means of taking a crude photograph; a record shot, and phoned Andy. Andy is one of those dedicated souls and I know he would dearly like to see an Iceland Gull on ‘his patch’. No sooner had I finished the call the creature took flight and headed back from whence it came, perhaps onto the continent and then north.

Andy came later to try his luck and managed to find a compensatory Ring Ouzel hugging the cliff face. I returned myself the following day to photograph it.

I eventually found this amazingly elusive individual and fired off a few record shots. As I lie on the cliff top grass looking through the viewfinder I couldn’t help dreaming. Do you think I could talk-up a Wallcreeper?

Click to enlarge – this highland breeder found a temporary home on Norfolk’s only ‘mountains’

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December 2021


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