Monday, July 31st, 2017

Another relatively busy few days, with lots of variety and quality on offer as early autumn migration continues to entertain. The unseasonal female Red-backed Shrike remains faithful to the eastern end of Long Hedge and has been present for a week now, while the season’s first Tree Pipit and 150 Swifts went south at the Gap this morning; an Arctic Skua and 600 Puffins did likewise there yesterday, with a Sooty Shearwater and 650 Puffins south there on 29th. 

Mediterranean Gull, East Lea (Mark Pearson)

A male Merlin flew east over East Lea and hung around the Top Fields on 28th (MJP, YP et al.), with an adult Mediterranean Gull also at East Lea on the same morning, when a Marsh Harrier went south over the Country Park and a Hobby and an Arctic Skua went south at the Gap; five Black-tailed Godwits also went south there, with a further five at the Dams. 

The Dams has held a variety of waders in addition to the godwits, including up to 35 Lapwings, three Green Sandpipers and two Common Sandpipers, as well as a regular Little Egret. Otherwise, warblers are on the move generally (with 12 Reed Warblers ringed at the Dams on 27th), and odd Yellow Wagtails are also beginning to pass through. 

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

Red-backed Shrike, Long Hedge (Mark Pearson)

A pleasingly busy week in the recording area, culminating in the finding of an unseasonal and unexpected adult female Red-backed Shrike this morning (MJP et al.) towards the eastern end of Long Hedge. Passage through the Gap included a Little Gull, 132 Knot, 16 Dunlin, 21 Redshank, a Bonxie, two Shovelers and 125 Puffins (all south), with two Green Sandpipers, 40 Lapwings, 12 Golden Plovers and a Little Egret at the Dams, a Whinchat at the Tip and a report of a Quail near Reighton. A male Ruff sheltered on the Country Park yesterday, with an Arctic Skua south on 24th and a Balearic Shearwater south on 23rd (CW et al.).

A summer-plumaged Knot which dropped into the Dams on 22nd was colour-flagged and ringed, and we soon established in had been originally ringed (way up in the Arctic Circle) in Parsanger, Norway in May last year, and was then seen in the Netherlands four months later. This is the first time it’s been seen this year. The same day produced a Pomarine Skua, 29 Little Gulls, 34 Sanderlings, 73 Knot, two Bonxies and three Arctic Terns south on the seawatch. 

Red-backed Shrike, Long Hedge (Mark Pearson)

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

Arctic Skua heading north (Mark Pearson)

A busy day of early autumn passage, particularly concerning Whimbrels, with a total of 244 recorded heading south through the area during the day. Other highlights included a Blue Fulmar south over Carr Naze (MJP), totals of 652 Common Scoters north and 96 south, 119 Manx Shearwaters south and two north, 31 Sanderlings south (among smaller numbers of other common waders), 136 Sandwich Terns north, plus five Arctic Skuas, two Bonxies, a Yellow Wagtail and two Little Egrets on the Brigg.

One of many parties of Whimbrel noted through the day (Mark Pearson)

Waders at a busy and productive Dams included no fewer than 15 Common Sandpipers, four Green Sandpipers, 60 Lapwings, five Redshanks, four Dunlin and the Black-tailed Godwit. 

Common Scoters heading north (Mark Pearson)

Yesterday (18th) was notable for nine Little Terns south and a Minke Whale (BP et al.).

Monday, July 17th, 2017

32 juvenile Lapwings were an encouraging sight at the Dams today, with wader passage generally becoming slowly more prevalent of late; other records have included a Black-tailed Godwit at East Lea and the Dams from 14th to today, the first two returning Sanderlings south on 15th, and 22 Dunlins south on the same day – when other reports included a single European Storm-petrel trapped overnight, a Velvet Scoter and a Quail reported from near Reighton.  

Ruddy Darter (Steve Bowden)

A Red-veined Darter and a Little Egret were at East Lea on 12th (DL), when a Hobby was reported over the Top Fields (TGD). 329 Swifts went south over Carr Naze on 11th, when 10 Manxies went north and the continuing strong Puffin passage totalled 270 south and 201 north. 

Monday, July 10th, 2017

The season’s first Minke Whale (BP) was reported off the Brigg today, while Little Egrets were at the Dams yesterday and south at the Gap (two) on 8th. Wader passage was heavy at sea on 6th, when 141 Redshanks and 93 Dunlin were the most numerous of a decent cast; Whimbrels, Curlews and others are southbound most days in small numbers.

Marbled White (Ian Robinson)

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

A quiet few days dominated by strong Puffin passage, with 601 south and 288 north on 1st and 542 south and 245 north on 3rd. Two Bonxies and 15 Manx Shearwaters also went north on 3rd, while two Little Egrets north and seven Black-tailed Godwits south were additional seawatch records on 1st. Today, a Velvet Scoter, a Bar-tailed Godwit and 8 Manxies went north.