Sunday, 6 November 2011

Two new Tophill bird ticks in one day!

Well we’re still ironing the creases out of the all-time Tophill list (we’re still checking out a few historic records to finalise the official site list), but Martin’s long vigils at the gull roost have finally turned up what was always hoped to be the next ‘Tophill tick’ – Caspian gull. This Eastern European species has finally made it to the roost and after careful evaluation and photographs Martin was prepared to make the call for which a full description will follow for the County Recorder. All the details are to follow on his blog. In addition were a yellow-legged gull and lesser black-backed.

A bit of a blast of north-easterlies today saw the anticipated arrival of further redwing and good numbers of fieldfare too. Early morning saw around 140 pink footed geese over south, along with 4 whooper swans which flew off in the direction of Brandesburton pits. However this goose was found on Watton NR this morning – initial thoughts were that it was a ‘blue-morph snow goose type’. Big thanks to Dave Ruffles for sending this pic across this evening which suggests it may be more along the lines of a ‘blue-morph Ross’ goose type’ instead:

There is a possibility it could be a hybrid of both too – check out this page on Surfbirds for more info on ID’ing the two. Whilst snow geese are generally regarded as ‘dodgy’ provenance wise, Ross’ geese have yet to be proven as genuine vagrants though evidence suggests a few could be – this blog entry has a useful run down of their recent history. The ‘blue-morph’ is even rarer – so this reduces its credibility more – so unfortunately whilst the pink-feet could well have been a carrier for the bird it is unlikely to be the genuine article and more likely to be feral. Undoubtedly it will be tracked in the UK and with such a distinctive colour combination it will be interesting to see where it goes next (and what others think of it). Finding credit goes to Mr & Mrs Barwick – and at the time of writing we think this is another Tophill tick (but currently in the ‘plastic’ section!).

Also seen were a black-tailed godwit on Watton, and a drake pintail there yesterday. A few migrant hawkers and common darters were still enjoying the warmish weather today too.

The walk for the Robert Fuller Gallery turned up some nice sightings again tonight – barn owls on North Scrub (with 3 seen later today). Subsequently we had a possible record breaking 140+ curlew roosting on South Marsh East, along with 2 redshank and a ruff in the darkness. To finish the day though we had the otter again – this time apparently duck hunting at 17:15. If you are thinking of looking then you need to be stealthy – if only to avoid disturbance to the curlew and ducks who are the best warning of its approach. Please note the BBC InsideOut featurette has now been put back to Novemer the 21st.

An impressive day all round...