The first quality bird of the month was a mere glimpse - Norfolk's third Blyth's Pipit, at Stiffkey Binks, shortly after dawn on 3rd. No photos and, almost, no bird. It now seems a very long time ago. Also that day was the first of 17 Yellow-browed Warblers seen during October, of which I calculate that I found (or, at least, didn't knowingly twitch) 15.

Moving away from passerines, I managed distant views of two American waders in Norfolk - Lesser Yellowlegs and American Golden Plover - plus an underwhelming Black Brant.

Then let's throw in some 'padders'. A couple of Hen Harriers, Spoonbill, Great White Egret, half-a-dozen Short-eared Owls and dozen Ring Ouzels. My only regret is that I did not find anything special, despite ample effort. I didn't even lay first eyes on the Flamborough Red-breasted Flycatchers that were team-found. What was I doing wrong?  To finish with, the bird of the month. No doubt about it, Constant Goldcrest takes the crown. The swarms that started arriving on our Flamborough Sunday, and didn't stop for the next fortnight, will take some beating in any year. And what if some of them were from further east than any of the rarities I've mentioned above...?

My notebook records that I spent some or all of 15 days birding on the east coast, looking for migrants. Add to that two days of inland birding and four days involving moth-ing, and it's astonishing that I managed to write or parent or work at all. The month started and ended with a quality raptor: respectively, an Osprey near Lyng and a Rough-leg at Holkham.

James Lowen 

Of the two Isabelline Shrikes, the one at Beeston Common showed superbly. So here are a few more images of that beast that I have not previously shared.

Let's stay with warblers, take a deep breath and tot them up. My fifth Blyth's Reed, my third Hume's Leaf, my seventh(?) Dusky, and my 20th (or so) Pallas's. Phew. Throw in a handful of Firecrests. Then chats and other stuff that perches up top. Two Red-flanked Bluetails (taking me to nine in Britain, I think), two Isabelline Shrikes (now four), only my second Siberian Stonechat and one or two Red-breasted Flycatchers. Here are some Bluetail images that haven't previously featured on this blog.


1 Nov 2015  So that was October

I have said this before, but in October... I go birding. This year I took a fortnight off work to split between parental care (half-term, after all), book-writing (A Summer of British Wildlife, out March - if I finish it in time; see cover below) and ... birding.