Posts Tagged ‘Norfolk


Vagrant or Escapee

There had been talk of an escaped Eagle-Owl at Winterton for a number of days. Twitter was alive with the fact it had a ring on it’s left leg, someone had lost one locally and it wasn’t a Eurasian Eagle-Owl. RBA (Rare Bird Alert) were reporting the bird as an escape and confirmed it as sporting a ring on it’s left leg; in fact they still are at the time of writing.

I was intrigued by the fact an awful lot of people should want to go and see an escaped bird and I was flicking through a good number of photos of the bird on twitter and not one of them showed it to be ringed. So this last week you know what, I decided to go and take a look at the bird myself. … just to satisfy my own curiosity.

I’ve seen Eurasian Eagle Owl before in the UK at the Forest of Bowland as well as abroad in France.

We went to see the Winterton bird on Sunday and although I saw it I didn’t see it clearly, but I did hear it call continuously for around 20 minutes or so. There are several Eagle Owl species in the world. Visit and listen to them all. The Winterton bird is without doubt a male Eurasian Eagle-Owl.

I met a chap at the site who told me the Owl was sure to be an escape as he knows the woman who owned the bird before she lost it from ‘just up the road’. When pressed further she apparently lost the bird over four years ago! I think it’s safe to say it’s likely we’re looking at a different bird.

A second visit to Winterton was warranted. I wanted a much better look at it so we went again. Luckily it was showing much better. We watched this impressively large bird for a considerable time. Eagle Owls have a cloak of feathers that drown the leg area. Seeing if it was ringed required a lot of patience but we hung it out for a good number of hours. We saw it stretching, scratching, preening and all number of activities. IT IS NOT RINGED on it’s left leg or it’s right leg. So I’m not sure where that idea came from. Does anyone know?

None of this proves it is a genuinely wild bird of course. However, I’d ask you this: which is more likely to reach a coastal site in the UK … an Eagle Owl from Scandinavia 450 miles away … or a Paddyfield Pipit* from India 6000 miles away?

(*DNA analysis has recently confirmed a bird likely to have some genetic content of a Paddyfield Pipit visited Cornwall in October/November this year. Paddyfield Pipit is a non-migratory species)


Laying Fallow

We watched the Fallow Deer the other week. Between the rutting this fawn was having a good old drink from his mum.



Gone Fishing

This Red throated Diver came into Wells Harbour the other day and gave us really good views and photo opportunities.


Roughing it

The sun was out the wind was down. A quick late afternoon visit to Wells was on the cards for the Rough legged Buzzard that had been seen there quartering the fields.

Stood looking North overlooking the eastern pines a Swallow flew through; an amusing distraction. I can’t think what it was feeding on as there were few flies. It was also good to see a ploughed field heaving with Lawing, Golden Plover and a few Snipe.  Pied Wagtails were gathering to roost seemingly ignoring the hanging Marsh Harriers that were steadily working the field borders. Out from grass tussocks flapped a buteo obviously of some size. The white uppertil and the solid black belly were dead giveaways as to it’s ID. It never did come close but it had a regular hunting circuit. It eventually went back to its favoured bush, presumably to roost.

Always attractive these visitors from the Arctic. Such powerful birds. We always seem to get a splattering each Winter.



Licking lips

Well! I was licking my lips at the thought of the hoards of migrants that would trip onto the Norfolk coast from the continent this Autumn. The situation can be summed up by telling you the total number of Fieldfare I’ve seen so far totals no more than a score … it appears lip-licking was unwarranted.



Riverbank Tales

Apologies for not posting for a while. Things have been hectic here for reasons I’ll explain another time.

During a tour the other week I’d seen this rodent sneaking about in the undergrowth on the walk to the beach but didn’t get any good shots. It was far too quick for me. On the walk back in poorer light it was slightly more accommodating. I’ve never seen a Water Shrew with dark underparts before. It through me a little. Normally they have white underneath. However, the white ear tufts are conclusive enough.

Charming little creatures these. I think the ladies that stepped over me as I was photographing it laid flat out on the ground thought I was a bit loopy. Maybe they’re right.


Six Stripe Sprite

There’s something quite special about living on the east coast, a stone’s throw from the sea. Migrating birds apart, living in West Runton is very nice indeed; but especially so when the autumn wind is in the east and I can walk out of my front door and within 400m be watching three Yellow Browed Warblers, a handful of Redstarts and a Little Bunting. So it was last week. Well, I say ‘watching’ a Little Bunting. When asked ‘were we watching the Little Bunting?’ friend Bob replied … “It’s that little we can’t bloody see it” It was probably the most elusive individual of the species I’ve seen. It sat tighter than an Extinction Rebellion activist, hardly shifting from it’s field of Sugar Beet. When it did move it exploded from one patch of mugwort to another low and fast; as if it were on a zip wire. It did show for me eventually … but not well.

It was however the Yellow Broweds that made my day. I absolutely love seeing these little Siberian migrants. I’m not sure if it’s their bright plumage or the way they jauntily flit about picking-off every small insect they find. Maybe, it’s the fact they have travelled all the way from Northern Russia and crossed the North Sea that I find so incredible. Anyways, I really do think they are enigmatic and worth seeking out in the few weeks each year they pass along our coast. Terrific birds.



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December 2019
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