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Thanks for taking time to visit the 2008 Happisburgh Bird Diary, we hope you enjoyed reading it. To find out what Ossie and I see this year please visit the Happisburgh Parish Bird List 2009 ...

31st August - 6th September

The start of the week looked promising with a light SE'ly wind and hazy sunshine which was broken by a heavy shower during the afternoon. Several spells of rain and heavy showers followed almost daily until late on Friday from when it remained dry through to the weekend. Apart from a brief time in the NW onTuesday, the wind remained off the land, returning to the SE during Friday where it stayed. Monday to Wednesday were rather breezy.

Optimistically, I set off along the track to the Coastwatch early on Sunday morning. It was the last day of August and the wind was a light SE'ly; there ought to be something about, even if only some common migrants having arrived overnight from mainland Europe. As I reached the cottages half way along the track some movement in the large Willow there drew my attention. My suspicions were soon confirmed when a young Pied Flycatcher flitted back into view. Moving my position slightly, two more darted out of the tree onto the roof of the first cottage where they perched briefly before seeking out the safety of more foliage. A classic drift migrant in such weather conditions at this time of year Pied Fly's, as they are referred to by most birders, are captivating little birds with their dark eye staring out from a rather plain face as they flick their wings and tails before sallying off to snatch an unsuspecting flying insect. The males in spring are striking black and white birds but are, sadly, infrequent visitors. The gardens and hedgerow along here were quite productive and by the time I had continued along the clifftop and back through the caravan site and churchyard I had seen 2+ Willow Warblers, 5+ Chiffchaffs and 3 Wheatears to add to the tally. On the ground behind the Cricket Club were 5 Yellow Wagtails whilst another 2 flew over head to the south-east. A Hobby shot through too; not the usual bird I see around for this was a juvenile bird. Calling from overhead, but unseen, were single Golden Plover and Common Sandpiper, their positions high in the hazy sky impossible to locate. A text from Andy told me he had been up to the Decca site during the morning where he had seen 2 Whinchats and a Tree Pipit.

During the week Wheatears were seen on several days, peaking at 5 on Friday morning, the same day that a dark juvenile Arctic Skua was chasing Terns right over the beach. It was also this day I became aware that the number of Swallows around the houses at home had increased quite dramatically and in the region of 50 birds were present, spending time sitting on the wires and rooftops as well as noisily flying around. It's a wonderful sound to behold and one I revelled in for a while, wholly aware that they would soon be gone and only stragglers would be seen until their return next spring.

Classically an English association with summer, Swallows are most numerous in early autumn as birds flock up in preparation for the long, hazardous journey south.

An early seawatch until 8am on Saturday produced a Manx Shearwater south and 2 returning Fulmars offshore as well as 3 Shags and 4 Golden Plovers north, with 2 Sanderlings and a single Grey Plover south. Letting the cat out after her breakfast coincided with the adult Hobby patrolling the lane and 5 Chiffchaffs and a Willow Warbler were around the paddocks when I ventured out with Ossie...

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