15 Nov 2022 October birding

My mantra is clear: "in October, I go birding". If there's a sniff of an easterly, I walk the coast searching for Sibes. And I'll twitch what needs twitching.

At least, that's the theory. This year didn't go according to plan. 

I was in the field on a majority of days. I walked well over a hundred miles, very largely off path. I searched for phylloscs and warblers and flycatchers and pipits and buntings at Spurn and Wells and East Hills and Blakeney Point and Great Yarmouth and Holkham and Stiffkey and Burnham Overy Dunes. And probably other places I've temporarily forgotten. My total finds haul was, frankly, pathetic: a Wood Warbler at Holkham (actually a pretty scarce bird in Norfolk nowadays, deservedly a county rarity) and two or three Yellow-browed Warblers.

​My twitching blew hot and cold. Despite spending hours on Scilly travel websites, I didn't see the biggest bird of the autumn - Blackburnian Warbler - for a hotchpotch of reasons including cancelled transport, family holiday, parental responsibilities, ill health and building work. This hurt at the time - and I suspect that hurt will only increase with the years... and decades... Locally, things were better, with three county ticks - Rustic Bunting, Alpine Accentor and Blue Rock Thrush (although I ran the last two very close indeed) - plus a showier Alpine Accentor in Suffolk and only my second Norfolk Long-billed Dowitcher. But I didn't try for any of the region's Pallid Swifts (preferring to try and find my own instead) and dipped Norfolk's Pallid Harrier a couple of times. So: a mixed bag. Time for some photos...



James Lowen