The unsound approach

Late April
Parachute Key, Fl (JG)
You'd think with all those crazy colours and patterns going on, Parulids would have a half decent chance of recognising their own kind. Apparently not...

Presumed F2 'Brewsters' backcross. Still haven't come across either parent...

Any ideas here? It acted sounded like a Prairie, so maybe just a plumage aberism? Or some crazy hybrid combo?


Reptles are much more straightforward...

Yellow rat contemplating the inscrutable nature of damselfly.

Baby cottonmouth giving it some attitude.


30th April
Blakeney Point (AL)
I wrote a brilliantly articulated account of my 'stochastic' adventures and misadventures at Norfolk's most exciting ornithological venue, complete with some hilarious anecdotes and amazing facts and figures. Unfortunately Rich was updating PB at the same time and this fabulous piece of prose was lost for all eternity into a parallel internet universe. Damn.... There follows an abridged version without any of the preceding amazingness.
Basically I got up really early in the morning and the first bird I saw after getting out of the car (actually that's an exaggeration, there were loads of birds flying around) was a male Montagu's Harrier west over the reserve and then the Eye Field (@0630). I took a series of stellar images, only to realise that the dial on my camera had slipped to 'fully manual', this was after the bird had flown on over to the Harbour. Fortuitously I managed to rush up the Bank and take some poor record shots.... The next few steps produced 3 Wheatears, by which time my heart was in my mouth (does that really happen?). The next several thousand steps to the Hood produced precious little however, just 1 Willow Warbler and 12 Wheatear on the deck and loads of Swifts and hirundines (plus smaller numbers of finches and flavas west. A thrash around the Point proper showed up 1 Black Redstart, 4 Willows, 15 Wheatears and 2 Shorelarks but no Subalp. The potter back was equally quiet but an Osprey went west through the Coastguards on my arrival, complete with Shelduck entourage. I also met up with Richard Porter who had similar tallies but we had somehow managed to fail to detect each other despite a 6 hour overlap... mmm coverage... A brief look at Friary produced a Blue-headed Wag and the day ended with a drive-by Red Kite south of Saxthorpe @ 1600.  
Monties digitally remastered using Paint Shop Pro. Woops. Fortuitous it wasn't a Pallid. Actually not fortuitous come-to-think-of-it (AL)
Monties over the Freshes (AL)
Wheatear on the Mary Jane (AL)
B-red (AL)
Horny (AL)
Osprey and fan-base (AL)
Waxham (RDM)
Apologies for lack of updates, too busy birding. Nipped over to Waxham late pm hoping for a fly through Red-rumper - no joy. Wheatears were cloaking the coastal fields with quite literally an unexpected amount in one particular field. By the time I hit the dunes, the cloak was unceremoniously tossed off and trampled upon, with a unreasonable lack of migrant action, both 'throats, plenty of hirundines but little else to sir the loins.
Bring on May....
29th April
Acle Straight (RDM)
Did my first bit of lizard catching along the Bure this year and promptly scored big when an adult male Monties did a hunting flypast down to 30 metres. Had I had my camera upon my person, you would now be gasping at my shots.
27th April
The S.H.I.T
Possibly the crappest day I've ever experienced on the island with Gropper, Chiff and a few Yellow Wags just about making it into the notebook.
Station Marshes (last 10 days)
Movers and shakers down the marshes in recent days include the first small gangs of Common Sands, Turtle Dove, Gropper, Common Terns but little to really get the pulse going.
25th April
East (AL & RC)
In an attempt to recreate the “good ‘ol days” it was onto the Hills with Ross and a latent hangover (following a swansong LCR appearance) and straight into lashings of migrants on the Greens. Phylloscs and Sylvias lined the avenues, more of the same out in the scant vege on Lodge Marsh did nothing to dampen expectations. A cock Ouzel tumbled out of the sky into the easternmost pines and we were amidst more Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and both Whitethroats. Overhead, coasting passerines included Yellow Wagtails, Yellowhammer (good out there), Redpolls, Siskin and a representative hirundine selection whilst the raptor fauna included the expected 2x Peregrine, 2X SEO and Merlin. A Gropper sang briefly and later showed even more fleetingly, and further quality came in the form of a flyover Tree Pipit, and after a shower a fine pair of Common Redstarts. The channel delivered a few Wheatears and some early-ish Little Terns and back in amongst the pines we were surrounded by Willows; a cool 45 easily the most I’ve ever seen on there.  Gazing skywards didn’t deliver more than the typical Schedule 1 fayre but we certainly weren’t complaining...

Tree Pipit 1, Yellow Wagtail 3, Robin 1, Wheatear 6, Redstart 2, Ring Ouzel 1, Redwing 1, Blackbird 1, Grasshopper Warbler 1, Blackcap 15, Lesser Whitethroat 5, Common Whitethroat 7, Chiffchaff 4, Willow Warbler 45, Siskin 1, Redpoll sp, 2, Yellowhammer 1   

23rd April
West (RDM)
Took a trip out west to a couple of old stomping grounds before hitting the sea.
Now that dear old Tom Lowe is living in my old house in Shropshire, it was only right that I went back and skored with a mega Shrops goose.
It seems that Ospreys have become so common on the mainland, many pairs are forced to live 50 nautical miles out to sea. This one (there was another), tried to bring mackerel to the captain's table, the captain was having none of it.
This boy took a liking to my head, upon which it perched for a while
Manx Manx
6th April 
Yarmouth Railway Pools (RoMa)
OK, a bit late, but I did take a look at and some photos of this harbinger of spring that conveniently turned up as I was arriving on the Isle of Wight. At this point I felt it just be the start of a deluge of nice things that would process through my field of view in the week, but a switch to a nor'easter and debilitating Bangla revenge rather floored this rosy view. Still, look at that...

12th April
Thetford Brecklands (RDM)
Carrion x Hooded Crow in field west of road between Thetford and Croxton - do birds get any better than this?
11th April
Station Marshes (RDM)
Highlight of the year so far and migration at its best - a brute of a male Goshawk headed east just over my head! Whitlingham tick!!!
10th April
Station Marshes (RDM)
Back down to the marshes for a seventh day straight and at last things are starting to pick up. A Green Sandpiper was probing about amongst a handful of Common Snipe, 3 LRPs were getting busy on the spit and a Common Buzzard was circling high to the east. Best of all though was my third Whitlingham Avocet that dropped in and promptly fell asleep in the spit.
9th April
Parachute Key, FL (JG)

Having become increasingly fed up of my 29 year-long self found yank passerine drought, I've decided it's time to cut my losses and move to the states. So I've traded Blakeney for Sandy Hook, Cape Hills for Cape May. First task for my new job was to fly down to Florida and spend a couple of months in the Everglades, bothering the sparrows in the name of conservation. The field season seems to be coinciding nicely with migration, so the trees are pleasingly full of crazy stripey yellow things. All free time is now being spent getting the chip calls wired into my brain, ready for Inishmore 2010...

Study species of choice. Nine out of ten grassland bird researchers prefer Ammodramus...

7th April
Norfolk (RDM)
You've gotta love Great Yarmouth. Despite being a patch of rough ground no bigger than my back garden and being surrounded by development, my survey site still managed to pull in a Tree Pipit.
Station Marshes have been quiet of late, with the best bits of action being limited to flyover Little Egret, LRP, the first Sedgies and a Stonechat. I have been fully expecting not to find Penduline Tit, so far, I haven't been disappointed...
A bit like a dream I have...