Posts Tagged ‘Winterton


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)


Humpbacks and Hoopoes

After receiving information from Ryan Irvine last Wednesday morning I had the time to pop down to Winterton and take a look at the Humpback he’d been watching off Winterton.

An entourage of gannets were feeding above the animal and although the whale was distant their presence always gave the Humpback’s location away. The bushy water spout shot above the waves and was periodically followed immediately by a stubby fin atop an arched hump. All classic signs of a Humpback . Such a wonderful animal and  although it was quite distant I was so pleased to see it on what presumably (if it’s the same individual) was its third consecutive year of visiting the Norfolk coast.

I was out. So why not make the most of it. A deviant route back home via Crostwick saw me standing on tip toe looking over a fence into grassy paddocks. It didn’t take me long to find the reported Hoopoe which was trying to hide among a distant weedy patch. Photographing it though was a different matter. However, it eventually came a little closer for a record shot or two.

I wonder how many people in the UK have seen a Hoopoe and a Humpback on the same day?




Rubber-necking Wrynecks

Three very reluctant Wrynecks at Winterton earlier this month. This particular one favoured Rowans and sat out in the sunshine … for just an instant.




Christmas Pudding

Did I say it was all over? Well it certainly isn’t. Winterton proved once again it can pull in the migrants with this beautiful male Desert Wheatear being found on the beach and dunes north of the car park on Friday evening. The second for Norfolk this autumn. I popped along to get acquainted with it on Saturday morning. What a little cracker.

Desert Wheatear

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Jun 2023


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