Monday, 24 September 2012

Saturday 22nd & Sunday 23rd - Thorpeness

With the forecast of something other than westerlies I was up and about early to catch the worm at Thorpeness, surely the forecast easterlies would deliver. The morning started well with my first Brambling of the year calling from trees in the middle section, whilst a smattering of Blackcaps and Lesser Whitethroats gorged on blackberries. A few Yellow Wagtails passed overhead as I walked along the beach and two Grey Herons also made their way south. After an hour or so it soon become apparent to myself and the other birders that had arrived that the place was not crawling with migrants and if anything was a little disappointing. The small field to the south had a good flock of Meadow Pipits with some 50+ birds but nothing else could be found in their ranks, but 4 jays heading north together was noteworthy. I decided to head to Margrets wood, having another 2 Bramblings on the way nut other than a lone Spotted Flycatcher here too seemed to be surprisingly birdless.
An hours seawatch provided a lone Manx Shearwater heading south but little else. With over night rain and strengthening winds forecast overnight I headed home in the hope of tomorrow bring more birds.

Another early morning and the forecast rain stopped just as myself and Lee arrived and the wind was a moderate easterly so a seawatch was first on the agenda whilst we gave the passerines time to wake up. Almost the first bird we spotted was a dark phase Long-tailed Skua heading north relatively close, this was shortly followed by a lone Sooty Shearwater tracking in the same direction. Two large shearwater were picked out heading north and  it soon become apparent they were Cory's Shearwaters! these superb birds were also picked up by other observers along the coast as they headed north. Lee soon found a Sabines Gull also heading north showing its tricoloured upperparts well.
Another observer alerted us to the presence of a Hawfinch that he had seen feeding ion the middle section, so being a patch tick I was keen to see it. After a few minutes of fruitless searching the bird was relocated and showed relatively well if a little concealed and seemed happy to gorge on the ripening fruits.
Back to a seawatch and over the next couple of hours I found a juvenile Sabines Gull, whilst more Sooty Shearwaters, Fulmars, Eider, 3+ Long-tailed Skua, Bonxie, Manx Shearwater, and a couple of Arctic Skuas kept us entertained. However with reports of Leache's PEtrels from up and down the cost I was keen to get a second patch tick for the day. After what seemed like ages I finally found one heading north as it sheared and glided over the rough sea, a superb end to a cracking weekend.

Spot the Hawfinch! 1of 2 patch ticks.

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