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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 ...

28th September - 4th October

In comparison to the previous seven days, the wind had a westerly element to it all week, and from Tuesday it was quite windy at times during daylight hours. Conversely, the air was still enough overnight to give us the first frost of the autumn on Friday morning. Most days saw some rain, albeit patchy at times, and the week ended with heavy rain after dark on Saturday.

As a part of her school curriculum, Matilda has to keep a nature diary, visiting her chosen site at least once a month and writing about what she sees there and accounting the changes she notices. For this project, we chose the part of East Ruston Common to the north of School Road where some of the scrub has been cleared to encourage heathland and a lake and reedbed habitat has been created to hopefully serve as a wintering ground for Bitterns. We visited on Sunday morning as cloud steadily built up, armed with notebook and camera to see how things had changed from September. Siskins were evident, with c.60 zipping around in between time spent feeding in Alder stands and we recorded Marsh Tit, Chiffchaff and Cetti's Warbler too. But it was birds of prey that were the main feature for we saw single Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Marsh Harrier, 2 Common Buzzards and best of all, I glanced up as an Osprey drifted low down, directly overhead. I was hoping it may fish in front of us but it flew beyond the lake, where a Buzzard 'buzzed' it, before gaining a bit of height and heading towards Honing. Oswald's walk didn't take place until mid-afternoon; after patiently waiting in he was more than pleased to be going out. We only did the lane as far as the paddocks, and in the light breeze small birds were easier to find. Because the wind was generally W-NW, the migrants we did see had undoubtedly made landfall last week and were either still feeding up before moving on or were gradually reorientating south-eastwards. Where a ditch had recently been cleared was proving to be attractive habitat for 3 Redstarts and along the lane were 2 Stonechats, a Whinchat, 2+ Chiffchaffs, 6+ Song Thrushes and several Robins and Dunnocks. A 'spizzik' call from above was given by a Grey Wagtail which appeared to drop down somewhere by the paddocks, perhaps in the water filled ditch there. At least 1 Redstart was still present at the end of the week.

Since the creation of the open water areas at East Ruston, passage Ospreys have stopped by to feed on several occasions.
© Ron McIntyre

On Thursday, the pager reported Great Northern Diver and 27 Shags past Walcott in a stiff NW'ly but the highlight of my day was 3 House Martins over the garden, and whilst driving home from work I had seen my first returning Redwings as a flock of c.10 went over at Beeston St. Lawrence. The wind was stronger the following day and had a bit more north to it, but being at work until 5:30pm meant I couldn't get to seawatch until past 6 c'clock. In the half hour I was there I saw a Great Skua, 2 Arctic Skuas, 5 distant 'Commic' Terns (not specifically identified but either Common or Arctic Tern), a few Gannets and 30 Kittiwakes and on the sea sat a female Eider. As I stood there a chap stopped to question me about a bird he had seen earlier on the grass between the RNLI and the caravan site. Describing a Thrush sized bird with white wings and black wingtips, he had me stumped, but the following day I bumped into him again and he told me he had seen two more of the same bird that morning on the beach at Eccles. He showed me a photo he had taken on his camera and, zooming in on the brown blobs, I realised that yesterday's bird was obviously a Snow Bunting...

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