September started hopeful with a few birds starting to move around. Buzzards were starting to pass overhead and a Juv Peregrine was seen hunting around the clifftop and fields on a couple of days. There were a few groups of Swifts still passing through, but the numbers were lessening. On the 3rd whilst walking the dogs, Sarah and I watched 5 Wheatear move from the undercliff to the field adjacent.
Seabirds and wildfowl were moving through slowly, Red throated divers were returning, flocks of Teal and Scoter increased and a few Arctic Skuas headed up the coast. I managed to get a new patch tick when a single Purple Sandpiper flew past on the 5th. House Martin numbers increased with large groups feeding over the main clifftop wood.
B2 Stealth Bomber
The 11th of the month was to be the last day I would see Swifts with 2 past, but something I did not expect to see "fly in off the sea" was a B2 Stealth Bomber!!! Quickly running for my camera I was able to get a couple of shots before it banked and headed towards Overstrand, this was the first time I had seen one and it definitely left us all buzzing after watching it fly past.
Mid month and the geese had once again started to return, a group of 50+ was just the start and every day we heard them pass over and in ever increasing numbers, so nice to be hearing them again, makes up for loosing the swifts in the sky.
The 17th to the 22nd turned out to be a rewarding time, on the 17th I added a truly unexpected new garden tick....a Great Skua flew high over the house!! I couldn't believe it, the bird was then seen over Sidestrand before heading out to sea. Hummingbird Hawkmoth was becoming daily on the verbena and I watched 2 feeding together on one day. The 18th added another unexpected garden tick, whilst in the garden I noticed something shoot across the paddock behind and then it called as it flew off.....a Kingfisher!!
There was a large movement of Jays going on and groups could be heard making a racket all over the place, 6 over the house together was the largest flock I saw but well into double figures of birds passing through.
The 22nd was a manic day from the garden, during the morning I stepped out of the house to find Sarah and my Dad looking at a bird in the Holy tree outside the door, having just flown into the tree it then took flight and landed in a neighbours tree....Redstart!! what a welcome garden tick that was and unlike previous Redstart on the patch this one kept still long enough for a couple of photos. There was obviously a lot of flies on the wing as the gulls seemed to be filling the sky feeding on them, a large number of Med Gulls passed over the house, all I had to do was sit on the bench and photograph them flying over, this seems to be a regular event as I have the photographed the Med Gulls doing the same the first year we moved here. Sarah alerted me to a flock of large birds starting to gather high over the church amongst the gulls, a loud raucous calling started and a circling group of 17 Grey Herons appeared all of a sudden, I have never seen a large group of herons like this before all together.
But the 22nd hadn't finished yet!! Scroll down for the next bird species.
With reports of Great White Egrets on the move, a group of four were seen heading east past Cley, they were then reported moving east past Sheringham towards Cromer....fingers crossed. ( I had seen 2 GWE's the year before but did not have a camera with me at the time) Then the report came through to me that they were passing Overstrand and still heading this way...time to grab the big lens and head round to the front, well I actually ran, meeting my Dad there we started to scan the skies and sure enough they came into view passing Overstrand and then Sidestrand, I then got plenty of photos before they gracefully passed down the coast.
Great White Egrets
Great White Egrets
Great White Egrets
As the month progressed, on the 26th whilst out walking the dogs along the coastal path, all of a sudden Sarah frantically alerted me ( I was checking the mobile at the time) to a Short eared owl that shot up from the undercliff only to be confronted with us standing there, it flew along the cliff edge and proceeded to hunt the grasses, unsuccessfully diving at something it moved further along, as we carried along the path we again watched it hunting but this time it managed to catch a vole, it then flew out over the sea and proceeded to eat it in flight before heading back to the cliffs. A fantastic sight to end the month on.
Mothing during the month on the other hand was dire, the weather just wasn't good enough on most nights here or I trapped the same previously recorded species, but I did manage to get 2 new year and garden ticks, the Black Rustic and Lunar Underwing of which I trapped quite a few, hopefully October is not a wash out as I try to add new species still on the wing.