THE FIRST NORFOLK BIRD FAIR – 17th & 18th May 2014 at Mannington Hall, Norfolk

CLEYSPY, Glandford & Cley, Norfolk – UK SPECIALISTS IN OPTICAL EQUIPMENT – "A First Class Service"

Ring RARE BIRD ALERT with your sightings to: 01603 456789 or Hotline: 0207 0382820 or Text: 07624 800479


Saturday, 19 April 2014

Birding Blues!

I can't believe I feel so rubbish, that I couldn't go out of the house and look for migrants! A rotten start to Easter birding.

I didn't get up until after 11am and have felt crap all day. I was determined not to waste the day completely and have been selecting photos for recent posts, but even that was hard work. All now done, but need to edit them in photoshop and add to posts yet. Feel so run down. Don't know if I will get out tomorrow either!

Chris Packham In The Firing Line

Please see my earlier posts HERE and HERE and HERE

Norfolk Leads in Big Farmland Bird Count

"Norfolk returned the highest number of returns for the first “Big Farmland Bird Count” organised by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust."


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert' 
Ring Ouzel, Redstart, Whimbrels x 2, Cuckoos x 2, Grasshopper Warbler at Snettisham Coastal Park

Ring Ouzels x 5 at North Dunes, Winterton 
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILL Males, at Lynford Aboretum
HOODED CROW flew west and then out to sea at Holme Bird Observatory NOA
Spoonbill on marsh at Holme
Little Gull at Holme NWT
flew west over Freshmarsh, Blakeney

Spoonbill, Little Gull, Spotted Redshank at Titchwell RSPB
Velvet Scoter at Sheringham
Spotted Redshank at Rush Hill Scrape, Hickling Broad NWT
Ring Ouzels x 3 at Roydon Common (S.B.
Short-eared Owls x 3 at Thorpe Marshes, Haddiscoe

Other News
The Baikal Teal at Pymoor is playing hard to get again today, having only been seen early morning and no sign again for the rest of the day. Perhaps its re-locating to Welney, which means I will then have to leave my sick bed for my Norfolk list, which is what R.M. and M.A.G were probably hoping for when they went to see the bird this week!

News from Holme HERE. News from Titchwell RSPB HERE

MEGA! BAIKAL TEAL – remains, NE of Pymoor, on the Hundred Foot Washes at Four Balls Farm, Ouse Washes, Cambridgeshire

MEGA! PIED-BILLED GREBE – still at Balranald RSPB. North Uist, Western Isles, Scotland

Friday, 18 April 2014


Feel really ill with this cold, temperature virus – had to lie in. Got to Pymoor at just before 10am. It was freezing cold and raining on and off, which the BBC did NOT forecast today! It took me until 11.55am to see the Baikal Teal and my viewing was very brief and distant indeed – incredibly close to being in Norfolk! A Yellow Wagtail also flew overhead. Pintail, Shoveler, Wigeon, Teal, Cormorants, Grey Herons, Little Egrets, 2 Swallows and one Marsh Harrier also seen here. Feeling steadily worse and needed to go home, but also needed to help my mother out who has the same virus and much worse than me. The holiday traffic to Holme was atrocious, but got there in the end and delivered a few requested items and also went to the supermarket for parents and did a few minor chores around their house for them. Mother refused point blank to have a doctor out to her which I feel she needs but, well what can I do!!! Made both parents hot water bottles etc etc and left at 4pm.

Feeling worse, I needed to go home, but had a quick walk round Hunstanton lighthouse and had a look at the pitch 'n' putt for wagtails, but only found Woodpigeons and one Mistle Thrush.

Good night!


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert' 
Whinchat at West Runton
Common Scoter at Breydon Water
Ring Ouzels x 5 at North Dunes, 1 at South Dunes, Winterton
Ring Ouzels x 2 at Snettisham Coastal Park
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS x 2 (both males), Brambling at Lynford Aboretum
Ring Ouzels x 2, Whitethroat at Waxham
Spoonbill at Cley NWT
Spotted Redshank at Titchwell RSPB
Ring Ouzel at Holme Bird Observatory NOA
Ring Ouzels x 5 at Holme
Great White Egrets x 2 at Welney WWT
Arctic Tern at Colney Pits, Norwich
Redstart at East Wretham Heath
Honey Buzzard (unconfirmed report) NW over Little Ryburgh
Garganey x 10 at Stoke Ferry
Ring Ouzel at Beeston Common, Sheringham
Ring Ouzels x 2 at Horsey
Short-eared Owls x 2 at Thorpe Marshes, Haddiscoe

Other News
News from Holme HERE

MEGA! BAIKAL TEAL – remains, NE of Pymoor, on the Hundred Foot Washes at Four Balls Farm, Ouse Washes, Cambridgeshire

Springwatch presenter Chris Packham attacks Malta's bird slaughter which has seen 'at least' 24 protected species killed

"Chris Packham, the nature programme presenter, has criticised television producers and bird charities for turning a blind eye to the mass slaughter of migrant birds in Malta....."

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Thursday Update & The Easter Weekend!

Another sore throat/temperature virus developed last night, struggled through at work today and feel crap this evening, so no early morning birding for me tomorrow. My mother has the same virus, but is a million times worse than me – I am really worried about her.

No mental energy to add pictures to blog yet, sorry! I suppose going twitching and losing a whole night's sleep didn't help my immune system!

Easterlies forecast for the weekend, so things should start hotting up and hopefully I'll feel a whole lot better, before something mega turns up!

Good Friday: Sunshine and northerlies all day.
Saturday: Sunshine and East North East all day.
Easter Sunday: Cloudy, rain, colder and North East all day.
Bank Holiday Monday: Cloudy and showers, East and then veering East North East
Tuesday: continuing east for my holiday!
Wednesday: and east again for the end of my holiday!

High Tides for King's Lynn Docks HERE
High Tides for Wells Bar HERE


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert' 
Ring Ouzel at Northrepps
Ring Ouzels x 2 at Horsey Corner
RED-RUMPED SWALLOW flew south over carpark at Horsey Gap
Ring Ouzels x 2, Redstart at Winterton
Common Cranes x 2 at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
Spoonbill, Whimbrels x 17, Little Tern at Breydon Water
Ring Ouzels x 3, Whimbrel, Grasshopper Warbler, Whitethroats x 3 at Snettisham Coastal Park
Yellow Wagtail, Hybrid Blue-headed Wagtail x Yellow Wagtail in Eye Field, Cley NWT
Ring Ouzels x 5, Yellow Wagtails x 13, Spotted Redshank, Spoonbill, Short-eared Owl at Burnham Overy Dunes
Firecrest, Garganey x 2 at Holkham
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS x 2 at Lynford Aboretum
Great White Egrets x 2 at Welney WWT
Dotterel x 4 at Felmingham
Swift at Stiffkey Fen (MAG + GE)
Ring Ouzel on east side of village, Holme
SERIN flew west over clifftop, Sidestrand
Shag at Wells Harbour

Other News
DUSKY WARBLER remains south side of Oulton Marshes SWT, Lowestoft, Suffolk

• Titchwell RSPB news HERE

MEGA! BAIKAL TEAL – remains, NE of Pymoor, on the Hundred Foot Washes at Four Balls Farm, Ouse Washes, Cambridgeshire

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

RBA Weekly Round-Up 9th to 15th April

By Mark Golley


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert' 
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS x 2 (male +1w), Crossbills x 70 at Lynford Aboretum 

Great White Egret at Welney WWT
Ring Ouzel at North Dunes, Winterton
Common Cranes x 9 at Horsey
Great White Egret at Snetterton
Little Gull at Barton Broad
Garganey x 2, Little Gull at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
Garganey x 2 at Hockwold Washes
Ring Ouzel behind Walsey NOA at Cley
Redstart at Redwell Marsh NOA, Holme
Slavonian Grebe at Pentney Gravel Pits
Purple Sandpipers x 2 at Sheringham

Other News
DUSKY WARBLER remains south side of Oulton Marshes SWT, Lowestoft, Suffolk
• Titchwell RSPB news HERE and Holme NOA news HERE MEGA NEWS!
MEGA! BAIKAL TEAL – remains, NE of Pymoor, on the Hundred Foot Washes at Four Balls Farm, Ouse Washes, Cambridgeshire
MEGA! PIED-BILLED GREBE – County Mayo, Ireland

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Roll on Friday!

I am exhausted from twitching the Crag Martin on Sunday! Took hours to write up my post last night and only added one gannet picture so far,  rest will be added later.

Spent most of the evening in the hairdressers after work, which I could have done without to be honest.

The weather looks pretty exciting, with easterlies over most of the Easter Break!!!


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert' 
Garganey x 2, Little Gull, Common Cranes x 2, Bittern at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
Ring Ouzel at Burnham Overy Dunes
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS x 2 (both males) at Lynford Aboretum  
Common Cranes x 2 at Rockland Broad
Ring Ouzel, at Choseley Drying Barns 
Black Redstart at Horsey
Short-eared Owls x 3 at Burgh Castle

Other News
Titchwell RSPB news HERE
MEGA! BAIKAL TEAL – again, NE of Pymoor, on the Hundred Foot Washes at Four Balls Farm, Ouse Washes, Cambridgeshire
MEGA! PIED-BILLED GREBE – remains at Balranald RSPB. North Uist, Western Isles, Scotland

Monday, 14 April 2014


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert' 
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS x 3 (1 male, 1w, fem) at Lynford Aboretum
Ring Ouzel at North Dunes, Winterton
Little Gull at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
Ring Ouzels x 3, at Choseley Drying Barns
Ring Ouzel at Burnham Overy Dunes
GOLDEN ORIOLE (heard only) this morning, reported at Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve

Other News No sign of the Crag Martin at Flamborough Head today.
MEGA! BAIKAL TEAL – again, NE of Pymoor, on the Hundred Foot Washes at Four Balls Farm, Ouse Washes, Cambridgeshire
MEGA! AMERICAN COOT – remains at Loch Flemington, Highland, Scotland

Sunday, 13 April 2014


Gannet at Bempton Cliffs RSPB

I have had a crazy, crazy top draw day!

Flamborough Head, Yorkshire

I needed some excitement – Saturday had been pretty boring. Going on a big twitch outside Norfolk is always exciting, gets the heart racing, the journey and banter (A.W. & J.L), breakfast in MacDonalds at a bizzare hour, seeing the bird (only dipped once), the lack of sleep (not) – I just love it, every single minute of it!

So...... Andy and I discussed on Saturday evening about twitching the Crag Martin. The way I saw it was, that to have any chance of seeing this mega bird, we needed to be there at first light – in hope of seeing it leave its roost site. 'Early bird catches the worm' and this certainly paid off today! As Andy says 'If you snooze you lose'! Sadly J.L was not able to go, but had already seen Crag Martin in UK anyway, so the crew consisted of just Andy and I. For a change, I decided to drive. Initially Andy was undecided, but phoned me back at midnight when I had just finished writing my blog for Saturday, to say he was having a quick shower and he would be over in an hour and a half. OMG!!! This was crazy, no sleep then!!! I got all my gear together and bundled it in the boot. I had already made sandwiches, as I had planned to see the Red-rumped Swallow at Felbrigg and then do Blakeney Point, so just flasks to make. Flew in the shower, fresh clothes on and then Andy turned up with a 'morning' greeting! A very quick coffee for both of us and then out of the door at dead on the planned departure time of 2am.

I was shocked at how awake I felt driving with no sleep whatsoever, adrenalin and excitement I suppose! We had planned to hit MacDonalds for breakfast before we got there, but unbelievably we didn't pass any, so had to make do with my chucked together ginger & marmalade sandwiches. Two loo stops on route – my god it was cold out there! Fantastic seeing the Humber Bridge lit up! The toll charge was £1.50 each way.

135 miles later we arrived in the carpark at North Landing, Flamborough Head at 5am. There were a few other birders here already. We reclined the seats down and snoozed until first light. Lots of other birders continually arriving, banging doors, loud talking, no more snoozing! Got out of the car at 5.50am. It was wickedly cold this morning and the wind cut through you. It was so cold, it was like getting out of the car in your pyjamas! I spent far too long getting my coat and waterproof over trousers on.  Several familiar faces here including LGRE. My fingers were in so much pain with the cold that I had to swop them for mittens (always warmer). The scenery before us was stunning beyond belief – high cliffs, tons of seabirds swirling below us and the excitement of potentially seeing a new mega bird – a CRAG MARTIN! Birders were lined up and ready. It was eyes to the skies, searching for this mega bird. As the sun rose, we decided it would be better to stand near the cafe so that the light was better. Moments later someone had clocked onto the CRAG MARTIN coming in over the cliffs at 6.29am, nearer to where we were standing originally. We all ran over to get the best views on the cliff edge. I only watched this awesome bird for less than a few minutes and was just about to start taking pictures, when it sped off with Sand Martins and disappeared from view. I was over the moon that we had seen this awesome bird, but gutted that I didn't get a single photograph! It was such the briefest of views – I know this sounds greedy, when other people dipped out, who arrived later, but I would have loved to watch this awesome bird for longer, to study and enjoy it properly, but I should count my blessings that I actually got to see it all! There were lots of relieved and smily faces! Several other Norfolk birders were here, including Dave Holman, Richard 'the hat', Will Soar and others.

I wanted more of this bird, so we followed the cliff path to re-search for the Crag Martin. We then heard that the recent Tawny Pipit had been re-found a bit further along the path in a field. We walked to the spot at a fairly decent pace and stood with Will Soar (RBA), LGRE etc and had good views of the TAWNY PIPIT at 7.20am in a grassy field. The usual conversation then ensued, about people getting too close when others hadn't seen it yet, so I walked away, having only achieved smudgy out of focus shots on my camera. We then heard news that *people had got the Crag Martin again and that it had also been seen sitting on a cliff edge – we could see were they were watching the bird..... it was between us and North Landing carpark – it was only seen for a few minutes and then lost to view again. We had been standing in the same area only a short while ago. *Read about this and see cracking pictures HERE. I walked back to try and get some pictures of the Tawny Pipit, but by the time I had walked around all the other birders/photographers the bird had just flown, unluckily for me. Cracking pictures of this bird taken today HERE.

Not long after this, news broke of the Crag Martin flying round in the Lighthouse area. As Lee said, as we all looked at the distant lighthouse – it was further to walk there, than the long walk we had just done from the North Landing carpark. So the choice was, leg it to the lighthouse or walk back and get the car. Andy went off to the lighthouse. My gut feeling was that this Crag Martin would be hanging about all day now and I am a great believer that birds have their favourite spots – I didn't want to walk to the lighthouse and then hear that it was back at North Landing, so I opted to stay put – this more than often pays off. Now most people had left, I sat myself next to the Tawny Pipit field in hope that it would return – it didn't! Andy then appeared and said he didn't go as far as the lighthouse as news came out that it had disappeared again at 7.50am and that was the last time it was seen that day.

We then decided to return to the carpark and re-locate to the lighthouse in case the Crag Martin showed again. Still a good number of birders waiting patiently at North Landing carpark and late comers arriving. On arrival at the lighthouse, it was clear from the relaxed state of birders lined up, that the Crag Martin was not currently on show! I felt close to collapse now and we needed to eat, so we had a full breakfast and opted to sit outside, even though it was bloody freezing, yards from other birders so we didn't miss anything! My vegetarian breakfast didn't score a 10 out of 10 with the bean burger being rock hard around the edges, but the eggs, beans and toast were yummy and it made me feel a whole lot better afterwards. Aside from the freezing temperatures, it was a glorious sunny day. No further signs of the Crag Martin. Decisions, decisions, what to do next? I really didn't want to leave here at all, but Andy suggested we go to Bempton Cliffs RSPB for a while and then return. As he said, if the Crag Martin appeared again, we would only be 3 miles down the road, so off we went. Unbelievably I have never visited Bempton Cliffs, so I was really excited about visiting this reserve.

Gannets and Kittiwakes at Bempton Cliffs RSPB

Bempton Cliffs RSPB
Parked up in the carpark and had a wonderful time watching loads of resident Tree Sparrows: on the roof of the visitor centre, bird feeders, on the grass, in the bushes – I reckon there must have been at least 30+. We watched 13 together feeding on the grass alone, wonderful views and lots of pictures taken! Other birds seen with them were: Hedge Sparrows, Chaffinches and Goldfinches. The visitor centre supplies basic snacks and coffee & teas.

Walked down to the cliffs to the viewing points – absolutely incredible views. I hadn't had cliff and seabird views since I went to Fair Isle in 2010. This lifted my spirits massively. It was awesome standing here watching and listening to thousands of sea birds swirling round the cliffs – Gannets, Kittiwakes, Guillemots, Razorbills, Fulmars and Herring Gulls. We also found 2 Puffins sitting on the sea which was an added bonus! We moved to a different viewing point where the gannets were much closer. I had a fabulous time taking hundreds of Gannet pictures and also Fulmar and Kittwakes! It was fascinating watching the Gannets landing, to gather grass for their nest sites – got several shots of this. Andy said a bit later 'when you have finished taking your one millionth picture of gannets, shall we go and have a coffee? Andy doesn't get the photography thing! I love taking birds in flight – its more challenging and very rewarding and I got some cracking shots – well I think I have..... I haven't looked at them all yet! Apart from a couple of skylarks we didn't see any passerines on the cliff tops.

Back at the visitor centre we had a coffee and shared a chocolate brownie, whilst watching the Tree Sparrows again. We desperately needed a nap. Andy wanted to nap here, I wanted to nap back at North Landing. Napping at Bempton mean't a 3 mile race if the Crag Martin came up again.

North Landing, Flamborough Head
Back in the carpark, we reclined the seats and snoozed for an hour. We felt loads better afterwards. There were still birders sitting on seats, waiting and hoping. We ate the cheese sandwiches that I had made and had coffee from the flask. I left Andy sitting here whilst I trekked back over the cliff top path to try and see the Tawny Pipit and get some decent photos. I passed a birder on route who said it was not showing and the last he had heard, was that the Tawny Pipit was last seen around the lighthouse area. So I didn't walk to the field where I saw it this morning and instead turned back and walked over to the edge of the cliffs to sit, photograph and watch distant seabirds. Got some arty farty shots of Razorbill sitting on the sea and some Kittiwake gliding past. Panoramic views and arches in the cliffs  – it was so beautiful here, so much scenery to take in and I didn't want to go home.

Back at the carpark Andy and I had a coffee from the cafe and I bought us some scrumptious buttered cheese scones for only £1.20 each (far cheaper than certain places in Norfolk!) to eat later on the homeward journey. We sat on a seat overlooking the beach and cliffs drinking our coffee. More birders were now turning up – maybe they were thinking about yesterday's afternoon sighting – would this bird return again? With more people turning up, I didn't want to leave, but we had to, with no sleep since Friday evening and over 3 hours before home (and another hour for Andy), we sensibly had to leave. So we set off at 3.50pm.

We stopped once for our cheese scones and coffee. I had to stop once more when we had reached Sutton Bridge – I just had to, I was losing concentration. Shut my eyes for a few minutes and then carried on, reaching King's Lynn at 7.30pm. Filled up with diesel which cost £39.90 – we had done 293 miles in all, cost was better than I had expected, so that was good! Andy transferred all his gear into his car and went straight home. It seemed to take forever to unpack my car. Got straight into the shower. Finished my fruit salad. Wrote up the Norfolk bird news up on my blog and then started to write up today's twitch, but started falling asleep, so had to stop. A cracking day out with, as always excellent company, but missed Justin's banter! I'm usually lucky getting photos of rare birds, so its massively disappointing to get nothing at all. I think I might have a distant shot of the Tawny Pipit on a post, but will look at pictures properly later.

Looking forward to the next twitch!!! Easter Weekend? I still might have a chance of photographing the Crag Martin if it turns up in Norfolk – here's hoping!



Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert' 
RED-RUMPED SWALLOW still, over lake at Felbrigg Hall NT
Hooded Crow, Ring Ouzel at North Dunes, Winterton 
Garganey at Breydon Water
Ring Ouzels x 2 at Snettisham Coastal Park
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS x 4 (2 males, 1w, fem) at Lynford Aboretum 
WHITE-TAILED EAGLE, possible, flew SW over Lynford Aboretum
Ring Ouzels x 5, at Choseley Drying Barns
Wood Sandpiper at Stiffkey Fen
WHITE-TAILED EAGLE, possible, NW of Beccles, flew north over Gillingham
Little Gull at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
Velvet Scoter x 6, Spotted Redshank, Red-crested Pochards x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Purple Sandpiper at Sheringham

Other News 
DUSKY WARBLER remains south side of Oulton Marshes SWT, Lowestoft, Suffolk
• Holme news HERE
MEGA! CRAG MARTIN – remains, 1.5 miles NNE of Flamborough village at North Landing, Yorkshire
MEGA! AMERICAN COOT – remains at Loch Flemington, Highland, Scotland

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Ringstead Downs NWT and Holme Reserves

 Swallow by the entrance to Redwell Marsh NOA

Cold, grey and cloudy for most of the day. I headed for Ringstead Downs NWT. Along the 'Ringstead Road' I had a lovely Yellow Wagtail bounding across the road and then disappeared through a hedge.

Ringstead Downs NWT
As I parked up in the small carpark, a mistle thrush was in the field behind me. I had hoped to find some Ring Ouzels here, but no luck at all. At least 6 Blackcaps singing and seen all through the downs and 1 Willow Warbler singing in the Chalk Pit. Several Chiffchaffs also singing, a Great Tit collecting nesting material near the barn, Blue Tits, Robins, Red-legged Partridges, Blackbirds, Chaffinches, Hedgesparrow, Female Green Woodpecker, another Mistle Thrush, Jackdaws and some Guinea Fowl were seen! Big numbers of Wood Pigeons flying over. Carpets of blue 'Ground Ivy' and the blackthorn out in flower, made the downs look very picturesque. 'Lady's Mantle' was growing in the same place as it always has done, since I was knee high to a grasshopper! A few bumble bees about. If the sun had been out, I am sure I would have seen some butterflies. These dull grey skies and cold did not inspire me at all.

I spent several hours helping my mother with jobs. Took her to Wards Nurseries at Ringstead to get two big bags of compost and plants, then went to Hunstanton to buy fish 'n' chips (not for me though!) and back to Holme. Then off we went again to the supermarket to help her stock up on some heavy items. By the time I left my parent's house it was 4pm!

Holme Reserves – NWT & NOA
As I drove along the Firs Road, the sun came blazing out and before the entrance to Redwell Marsh hide I saw a beautiful Swallow perched on a telegraph wire (where the wires end). It looked stunning in the sunshine and I got some half decent pictures of it before it flew off. I REALLY miss those telegraph wires running through the marsh to the 'Firs' House – I know I 'go on' about it, but they were so good for so many birds over the years..... Bee-eaters, Kestrels, Shrikes, Swallows....... the list goes on – its not the same without them, at all.
Swallow by the entrance to Redwell Marsh NOA.

Parked the car by the 5-bar gate and walked down to the reserves via the NWT Forestry through the reserves and back along the road. In the Forestry I saw 2 Greenfinches and heard a Willow Warbler and a Blackcap singing, 3 Swallows flew overhead, nothing else of note. No Ring Ouzels here either, which was a surprise, as this is another good place for them. Passed Sophie walking home who kindly told me there was a Grasshopper Warbler reeling in the NOA carpark and when I got there, sure enough there was (5pm)! I love that 'reel', such a magical sound! Photographed a rabbit eating 'spring beauty' beneath the canopy of the sea-buckthorn adjacent to the NOA carpark. I looked for the Firecrest which is also still in the buckthorn, along the main bank, just before the observatory but no luck. Walked back through the pines, crossed over to the Firs Road and walked back to my car. Gloomy and cold again now. Apart from 2 Greylag Geese there were no other birds of note in the horse paddocks, not a single wheatear either. I did have my first House Martin of the year though!
Rabbit nibbling on 'Spring Beauty'.

I parked up near the NWT pay hut to listen out for a Sedge Warbler singing (heard here earlier today by others) whilst eating my tea, but too late in the day. Chatted with a birder who was passing, about lots of interesting things! Nice to meet you. 'Sandy Ridge' has been sold apparently – my parents rented that for a while when I was a toddler.

Back at home I was thinking and pondering about the Crag Martin at Flamborough Head......... its only 135 miles from my house!


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert' 
Ring Ouzels x 3, Redstart at Snettisham Coastal Park
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS x 3 (male+1w+ fem), Crossbills x 55, Hawfinch at Lynford Aboretum 
Ring Ouzels x 3, Redstart at North Dunes, Winterton
Ring Ouzels x 2, Crossbill flew over South Dunes, Winterton
Crossbills x 48 flew SW over Sheringham
Garganey x 2, Little Gull at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
Ring Ouzels x 3, Garganey x 2, Velvet Scoter x 19 at Titchwell RSPB
Hooded Crow at West Runton
Ring Ouzels x 2 at Burnham Overy Dunes
Hooded Crow at Trimingham
Garganey x 2 at Breydon Water
Hooded Crow at Horsey
RED-RUMPED SWALLOW over lake at Felbrigg Hall NT
Crossbill west of Walsey Hills NOA
Firecrest at Holme NOA
BLACK KITE (unconfirmed report) south over Holme at 9am

Other News 
DUSKY WARBLER remains south side of Oulton Marshes SWT, Lowestoft, Suffolk
• Grasshopper Warbler reeling at Holme NOA carpark at 5pm.

MEGA! CRAG MARTIN – remains, 1.5 miles NNE of Flamborough village at North Landing, Yorkshire
MEGA! AMERICAN COOT – remains at Loch Flemington, Highland, Scotland
MEGA! PIED-BILLED GREBE – Balranald RSPB. North Uist, Western Isles, Scotland 

Friday, 11 April 2014


Will the Crag Martin seen at Flamborough Head today, grace the skies of Norfolk tomorrow? Who knows! Will keep my fingers crossed.

I didn't go birding after work this evening, as I wanted to catch up with jobs and get to bed early. Dawn 'til' dusk birding tomorrow! Can't decided where to start the day yet though.

Weekend Weather for Norfolk: HERE

SATURDAY – Winds: South West South
"Low cloud may linger near coasts. Otherwise a dry and bright or sunny morning. Cloudier through the afternoon with a few spots of light rain. Still occasionally bright in places."

SUNDAY – Winds: West North West
"Dry on Sunday with variable cloud and bright or sunny spells"

High Tide – King's Lynn Docs
Saturday: 5.39am and 17.46. Sunday: 6.16am and 18.24.

Tides – Wells Bar
Saturday: High Tide 5.24am, Low Tide 11.33, High Tide 17.28.
Sunday: High Tide 6.01am, Low Tide 12.14. High Tide 18.06.

Save Burgh Castle Marshes!

I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS!!! Surely they can't get away with this – spread the word, get the petition signed please. Sickening to read this. Need to get this stopped now.

What the hell is going on?!!! A shooting syndicate from Italy? Go back home. We don't want you killing our wildlife HERE or anywhere else thank you very much!

"Burgh Castle marshes in Norfolk are under attack from a large foreign shooting syndicate that has purchased property on the marshes in Back Lane Burgh Castle and immediately built a large industrial barn (without planning permission). It has also dug out large holes in the marsh with the intention of luring migrating birds away from Breydon water SSI  to be shot.

Burgh castle residents are no bunny huggers and are used to traditional shooting, but this is shooting on an industrial scale taking place in an Environmentally Sensitive Area where many thousands of pounds of public money is paid out to landowners  to support wildlife, not to destroy it."


MEGA!!! CRAG MARTIN at Flamborough Head!

CRAG MARTIN around SE corner of headland at Flamborough Head, Yorkshire. Message via RBA at 8.56am. Found by Andrew Allport.

No news, then seen again at 9.38am and no further sign after 9.40am. Seen again at 10.36am and up to 12.36pm, when it then flew west over 'South Landing'. No further sign since.

Discussion HERE. Pictures HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE

Norfolk tomorrow PLEASE!!! 

Previous Records
2008 Sussex, 1 day only. Upper Beeding, Truleigh Hill, 21st September.
2006 Surrey, 1 day only. Badshot Lea, 22nd October.
1999 Orkney, 1 day only. Davey's Brig, Finstown, Mainland, 3rd May.
1999 Yorks, 1 day only. Pugney's and Angler's Country Parks, 18th April, photo.; presumed same as Leicestershire.
1999 Leicestershire, 1 day only. Swithland Reservoir, 17th April, photo.; also in West Yorkshire.
1995 Sussex, 1 day only. Beachy Head, 8th October.
1989 Gwynedd, 1 day only. Llanfairfechan, 3rd September.
1988 Sussex, 1 day only, Beachy Head, 9th July.
1988 Cornwall, 1 day, Stithians Reservoir, 22nd June.


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert' 
Ring Ouzels x 2 at North Dunes, Winterton
Black Redstart at Sheringham
Cuckoo at Snettisham Coastal Park
Ring Ouzel at South Beach, Heacham
Ring Ouzels x 2 at Roydon Common NWT
Ring Ouzel at Happisburgh
Garganey x 2, Red-crested Pochard x 7 at Titchwell RSPB
White Wagtails x 3 in Eye Field at Cley NWT
Ring Ouzels x 3 at Burnham Overy Dunes
Garganey x 2, Little Gull at Strumpshaw RSPB

Other News 
DUSKY WARBLER remains south side of Oulton Marshes SWT, Lowestoft, Suffolk
• Osprey over-flying Wootton Road, King's Lynn this morning via NARVOS. That's yards from my house!!!
MEGA! CRAG MARTIN – around SE corner of headland, Flamborough Head, Yorkshire
MEGA! SNOWY OWL – yesterday, SE of Glenshee Ski Centre at summit of Glas Maol, Angus, Scotland
MEGA! FORSTER'S TERN – County Galway, Ireland
MEGA! AMERICAN COOT – remains at Loch Flemington, Highland, Scotland

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Prime Minister: Norfolk people have been listened to over King’s Lynn incinerator decision

50+ Harbour Porpoises Off Hemsby This Evening!

Carl Chapman writes on Facebook:

"Tabitha Pearman watched a very large movement of HARBOUR PORPOISE off Hemsby this evening comprising of over 50 individuals heading north in small groups at varying distances of 200 to 1000m offshore. At one point 18 were in view at once. A fantastic record for Norfolk *** unprecedented in recent times"


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert' 
Little Gull at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
Garganey x 2, Velvet Scoters x 12 at Titchwell RSPB
Ring Ouzel, Mealy Redpoll at Sidestrand
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS x 3 (2 Males, 1 Fem.) at Lynford Aboretum
Common Cranes x 2, White Wagtails x 2 at Cley NWT
Black Redstart at Great Yarmouth Cemetery
Common Cranes x 2 at Breydon Water
Wryneck, Ring Ouzels x 3, Hooded Crow, Jack Snipe at North Dunes, Winterton
Garganey x 2 on pools east of inner sea wall at Snettisham Coastal Park
RAVEN flew east over Beeston Common, Sheringham
News just on the pager at 10.06pm that the RAVEN was seen again early morning only and also BLACK KITE reported again at Holme
Velvet Scoters x 9, Common Scoters x 6,000 at Holkham

Other News 
DUSKY WARBLER remains south side of Oulton Marshes SWT, Lowestoft, Suffolk
50+ HARBOUR PORPOISES watched off Hemsby this evening!
• Main highlights seen at Titchwell RSPB TODAY
MEGA! PIED-BILLED GREBE – still at Edith Weston in bay west of sailing club, Rutland Water, Leicestershire
MEGA! PIED-BILLED GREBE – Balranald RSPB. North Uist, Western Isles, Scotland
MEGA! AMERICAN COOT – remains at Loch Flemington, Highland, Scotland
MEGA! SORA – remains at Lower Moors, St Mary's, Isles of Scilly

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Raven Twitch!

The Saltings, Gore Point, Holme.

I had to do some errands in town after work and the supermarket run afterwards. But after seeing a third message about a RAVEN at Holme and a BLACK KITE seen earlier at Scolt Head Island and Holme, I just had to go! So the supermarket run was scrapped.

Flew home, grabbed birding gear and whizzed along the A149. At the 'corner of Norfolk' as its known locally, which is the very sharp corner at Old Hunstanton by the pitch 'n' putt, I glanced over at the short turf (as I always do here), and spotted a male Ring Ouzel only a few yards from the fence! Magic! There seemed to be several birds on here, but I wanted to see the Raven, so I carried on to Holme to join Sue Bryan and Robert Smith at Gore Point. Both Sophie Barker and Gary Hibbard had seen the Raven earlier, so at least we know it was one! The Raven had been seen distantly over the marsh near a big red barn. Crows and Jackdaws were seen, along with several Marsh Harriers and 2 Sand Martins and a Swallow flew over our heads straight into the sun. 2 Linnets also landed on a sea-buckthorn by the dunes. We could see a single larger corvid with two small ones either side, but as we mused.... this could have been a carrion crow with 2 jackdaws either side of it! Very difficult to tell at that distance – all three were a spec, even in the scope! Time was ticking and so was the light. I left and drove around the Choseley roads to get closer to where this Raven might be – but no luck at all. But found lots of Grey Partridges, Red-legged Partridges, Pied Wagtails and even more Hares!

Fish 'n' chips in Sunny Hunny and did the supermarket run in Tescos, Hunstanton – home!

RBA Weekly Round-Up 2nd to 8th April

By Jon Dunn


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert' 
Ring Ouzels x 2, Hooded Crow, Short-eared Owl at North Dunes, Winterton 
Osprey at Berney Marshes RSPB
Ring Ouzel at Nunnery Lakes NR, Thetford
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILL 1w Male at Lynford Aboretum
Ring Ouzels x 3 at South Beach, Heacham
RAVEN at Choseley
Ring Ouzel, Tree Pipit at Sidestrand
Little Gulls x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Osprey over Beeston Common, Sheringham
BLACK KITE west over Scolt Head Island NNR
BLACK KITE east over grazing marsh, Holme
RAVEN over Holme Bird Observatory, NOA midday
RAVEN again over Holme grazing marsh at 4.55pm
Rough-legged Buzzard over North Tuddenham
Common Crane, Spotted Redshank at Welney WWT
Ring Ouzel at Choseley
Spoonbill, Hooded Crow at Horsey
Ring Ouzel at Felbrigg Hall NT
Ring Ouzel at Old Hunstanton (PAC)
Ring Ouzel at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB  

Other News 
DUSKY WARBLER remains south side of Oulton Marshes SWT, Lowestoft, Suffolk
MEGA! PIED-BILLED GREBE – at Edith Weston in bay west of sailing club, Rutland Water, Leicestershire
MEGA! AMERICAN COOT – remains at Loch Flemington, Highland, Scotland
MEGA! SORA – remains at Lower Moors, St Mary's, Isles of Scilly

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Hot Birding at Holme!

Wheatear in the horse paddocks, Firs Road, Holme

Yesterday, something unexpected happened at work which mean't another colleague and myself did not finish work until 6.45pm. So this mean't I could finish much earlier today than I normally would!

With a beautiful sunny day, there was only one thing to do – go birding! I haven't been to Holme Reserves for a while, so decided to spend the entire afternoon and evening searching for migrants.

Along Beach Road I stopped by the first horse paddock and saw loads of Wood Pigeons, a couple of Pied Wagtails and 2 Curlews feeding.
Shelduck at Redwell Marsh Hide NOA.

Avocet at Redwell Marsh Hide NOA.

Mallard Duckling looking cute at Redwell Marsh Hide NOA.
Moorhen strutting about at Redwell Marsh Hide NOA.

Redwell Marsh Hide, NOA
I spent about an hour in the hide – it was so beautiful to sit here peacefully with no interruptions. Birds seen: Heron, Marsh Harrier, 3 Little Grebes, Mallards and cute, golden ducklings, Shovelers, 2 Shelducks, 2 Avocets panning, several Black-headed Gulls, Teal, Coot and Moorhens.

Along the Firs Road in the horse paddocks I had a wonderful surprise of 7 Wheatears (mostly males) soaking up the sunshine and looking so beautiful.
Wheatears in the Horse Paddocks, Firs Road, Holme.

Hare – ready to run, in the Horse Paddocks, Firs Road, Holme.

Wader Pools, NWT
I parked on the NOA carpark at around 4pm and walked to the NWT wader pools. 3 Ruff, several Black-tailed Godwits, lots of Avocets and Black-headed Gulls, more Wood Pigeons, Shovelers, Teal, Tufted Ducks, Mallards, Oystercatchers, Greylag Geese, Curlews and 2 Red-legged Partridges were seen.
Holme beach from the NWT entrance.

Holme Bird Observatory, NOA
Back at the NOA carpark I chatted with another birder briefly (nice to meet you Colin) and then walked directly across to the dunes. The tide was high and it looked like a summer's day. It was fairly chilly, but a perfect temperature for walking. There wasn't a soul on the beach, which is rare nowadays! No birds seen on the sea and only 3 black-headed gulls on the shoreline. I walked along the path through the pines and up the steps to the observatory. It looked so beautiful here, the gorse was out in full flower, bees were 'buzzing' around the wallflowers and the irises were emerging in the pond. I sat on the seat on the viewing platform and reminisced about the 'good ol' days'! Father had made a rope swing for my sisters and I – this was suspended from a large pine branch, right where this viewing platform is now – it was obscured from view and no one else knew it was there – it was our secret! Or so we thought.....! Anyway back to birds, 3 Linnets landed in a tree briefly. A Chiffchaff was calling in the bottom willows and 3 Avocets, 1 Little Grebe and 3 Tufted Duck were on the Broadwater. I sat in RAR's hide on the main bank for a short while – a Peregrine zipped past at a great speed (heading towards the Firs House), which was lucky! Back at the carpark I had a coffee and then drove back along the Firs Road where I counted 9 Wheatears in the horse paddocks!!!
Holme Bird Observatory NOA.

Taken from the viewing platform, overlooking the Broad Water.

Hide 8 (as it was known) overlooking Broad Water, Holme NOA.

The Forestry, NWT
I parked up by the 5-bar gate and walked along the boarded, coastal footpath to the Forestry (as it's known) in hope of finding more wheatears. The short-turfed area in the forestry is a favoured area for wheatears, but I was surprised, when I couldn't find a single bird there! I walked back along the Firs Road to my car, passing the 9 Wheatears again.

Holme Marsh Reserve NWT
From the first hide I could hear a Cettis's Warbler singing and a Chiffchaff. On the pool was a Swan and some Mallards and that was it. From the second hide I watched 2 Marsh Harriers, a Muntjac Deer in the reeds and a Swallow graced the skies as the sun was setting. Met an elderly birder who hadn't been to Norfolk for 25 years and he was saying how much things had changed, especially when he visited Titchwell RSPB yesterday. It was sad to see that for some reason unbeknown to me, that all of the ivy has been stripped off the old stone wall opposite the small carparking area. This is such a pity, especially for the robins that always nested there! Why do people see the necessity to tidy everything – makes me cross. An old stone wall should be rambling with ivy and plants – my mind is now rambling and I am now thinking about the classic book and film 'The Secret Garden'.

Ended the day visiting my parents. My mother bumped into a birder (Don) in Hunstanton today (who she knows) who had seen a drake Garganey at a coastal pool at Heacham. Don't know the exact location, but my guess would be that it was the small pool west of the green scout hut – maybe!


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert' 
Ring Ouzels x 2, Hooded Crow, Short-eared Owl at North Dunes, Winterton
Crossbill at Winterton
Mediterranean Gulls x 5 at Wells Harbour 
Little Gull at Colney Gravel Pits
Spotted Redshanks x 3 at Burgh Castle
Little Gulls x 3 at Barton Broad
Common Crane at Horsey
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS x 2 (male and 1w male), Crossbills x 2 at Lynford Aboretum
Rough-legged Buzzard at Cockley Cley

Other News 
DUSKY WARBLER remains south side of Oulton Marshes SWT, Lowestoft, Suffolk

Number of birds of prey found dead in Ross-shire rises

More Death!!!



THREE MILLION birds are being shot or trapped, by thousands of hunters yearly. These are OUR birds. Birds that we are seeing less and less of, as each year passes. I really just don't get it. Why, why does someone want to stand and shoot a living creature for fun.

"Malta has one of the world's highest number of hunters per capita, who shoot and kill any bird that flies. The skies over Malta and the surrounding sea are devoid of birds. Each year, 3 million birds are shot or trapped on Malta while migrating between Africa and Europe in the spring and autumn, leading to a gradual decline of these beloved European birds that traditionally seek refuge in Malta. "

Open the links to read more.

Monday, 7 April 2014

IT’S ALL OVER... Norfolk County Council Votes to Ditch King’s Lynn Incinerator!!!



Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert' 
Hooded Crow, Common Cranes x 2, Ring Ouzels x 2 at North Dunes, Winterton
Little Gull at Titchwell RSPB
Spoonbill at Cley NWT
Mediterranean Gulls x 15 at Holkham
Mediterranean Gulls x 12 at Wells Harbour

Other News 
DUSKY WARBLER remains south side of Oulton Marshes SWT, Lowestoft, Suffolk
MEGA! AMERICAN COOT – remains at Loch Flemington, Highland, Scotland
MEGA! SORA – again, Lower Moors, St Mary's, Isles of Scilly

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Sutton Gault & Lynford Aboretum

Sutton Gault, Ouse Washes
I arrived at 'The Anchor Inn' at 6.50am. It was cold and rain was looming. I had not been here before – it looked pretty bleak. The marshes and wetland were vast and I could see it was not going to be easy searching for the Baikal Teal. There was only one other birder here, who arrived just before me and he had started walking north of the 'Inn'. Last night it had said on the pager that the bird was viewed from 'south' of the 'Inn' – going by my compass on iphone, south was the path following the river on the same side as the 'Inn'. I must admit, I don't take my telescope unless I need it, but I realised I would most definitely be needing this today!

Walking along the river path, I didn't feel hopeful at all. I bumped into another birder up ahead who was scanning the marshes in the spot, where other birders had been watching the Baikal Teal last night – a local dog walker had informed him of this. I set up my scope and spent a long time scanning every single bird here including beaks peaking out behind tufts of grass! This wasn't the most exciting place I had ever been to, but there was a surprising number of birds here. My best bird was a Swallow that hurtled over my head – my second one of the Spring this weekend. The river bank had masses of Cowslips all the way along, as far as the eye could see – a very impressive site indeed. Not so impressive was the amount of dog crap – this was obviously a major dog walking path. Birds seen on the marshes were: 4 Herons together, 6 Little Egrets, Marsh Harrier, Crows, Swallow, 2 Oystercatchers, several Shovelers, 2 Teal, Mallards, Gadwall, Wigeon, Tufted Ducks, Coots, Cormorants, Great Crested Grebe, Mute Swans and alot of Black-headed Gulls. More importantly though – there was NO Baikal Teal – I was not a happy bunny. Twitching doesn't do you any good at all, but I have never seen a Baikal Teal and this was a bit to close to home, to not go and see. I didn't want to wait on news via the pager this morning – I wanted to be here first thing, to maximise my chances of seeing it. Oh well. I spent over two hours here, looking in vain. A few other birders turned up. Shortly after I returned to my car it started raining. I sat and had a coffee and my second breakfast of the morning and then found myself having a half an hour nap, before leaving at 9.30am.
 Nuthatch at Lynford Aboretum.

Treecreeper at Lynford Aboretum.

 Siskin at Lynford Aboretum.

Lynford Aboretum
Mission: Two-barred Crossbills. These were not easy to see at all. In fact I walked round the entire Aboretum before I eventually got a brief glimpse of a male Two-barred Crossbill, very high up in a pine tree, along with a female (poor view) and also several Common Crossbills – Gary Elton (Holme NOA AW) very kindly helped me to see these and also to recognise their call. I saw very little on my walk round, no hawfinches, firecrests or anything of note. Back at the visitor hut I noticed that two photographers were standing by a small pond, poised ready to take shots of anything that appeared at the pond to drink. I eventually did see a Firecrest in the main carpark. I spent several hours by the small pond with the other two photographers in hope that I would get really lucky with a Two-barred Crossbill coming down to drink. There was a good selection here including Siskins, Goldfinches, Chaffinches, 2 Treecreepers, Nuthatch, Blackbirds, 2 Common Crossbills and a Blackcap were singing. Both photographers left and then returned a bit later to show off their pictures of a male Two-barred Crossbill they had photographed in a larch. I eventually gave up and whilst sitting in my car having tea, the owner of Lynford Hall came across to chat and very kindly showed me where a goldcrest's nest was – it was so beautifully created in the bow of a larch and very well concealed, I would never have noticed it! The light was rubbish now and it was time to go home. Unusually for me, I didn't get any pictures of the Two-barred Crossbills, not even a smudge on the camera and didn't get any spectacular shots of any other birds really either. Oh well, next time!

Back at home, there was discussion on the 'net' about where the Baikal Teal might be. I was hoping it would stop somewhere in Norfolk – maybe Titchwell RSPB. Now, that would be grand – to see that on home ground!


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert' 
Ring Ouzels x 6, Short-eared Owl at North Dunes, Winterton
Ring Ouzel at South Dunes, Winterton
Hooded Crow, White Wagtail by pine plantation, Winterton
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS x 3 (male, fem. & 1w male) at Lynford Aboretum 
Ring Ouzel at Hemsby
Hooded Crow at East Somerton
Garganey at Welney WWT
Common Scoter at Barton Broad
Garganey at Titchwell RSPB
Rough-legged Buzzard at Haddiscoe Island, viewable from Waveney Forest

Other News 
DUSKY WARBLER remains south side of Oulton Marshes SWT, Lowestoft, Suffolk
MEGA! AMERICAN COOT – remains at Loch Flemington, Highland, Scotland
MEGA! SORA – again, Lower Moors, St Mary's, Isles of Scilly

Saturday, 5 April 2014

East Coast Birding!

Rabbit in garden at Beeston Bump, Sheringham

Written very quickly in note form as very tired! I didn't go out until the afternoon. Wanted to see the Baikal Teal, but there was a 'no news' message from RBA..... until later when it relocated to the Ouse Washes! Congratulations and thanks to the birder who re-found it this afternoon!

Beeston Bump, Sheringham
Chiffchaff, 2 Robins, Blackbirds, Greenfinches. Catch up with Giles Dunmore who had seen a Ring Ouzel here this morning.

Sheringham Cemetery
House Sparrows, Jackdaws, Carrion Crow and 2 Common Buzzards cruising distantly over Sheringham Park. Had a nice chat with a man working there about the increasing number of dogs everywhere.

Cley Churchyard
Mistlethrush, Goldfinches, no sign of the recent Black Redstart. Stood for a moment by RAR's headstone.

Cley Coastguards
1 Wheater, 1 Golden Plover, a few Lapwings, Skylarks and Meadow Pipits on the Eye Field. With the payhut back in place and the tractors and boats back on the shingle, its almost looking back to normal since the storm surge!
The new Walsey Hills NOA Information Board.

My photographs on the new Walsey Hills NOA Information Board.

Walsey Hills NOA
New information board up, which includes two of my pictures: Rosefinch and Red-backed Shrike – chuffed! Chiffchaff and Cetti's Warbler singing, 2 Great Tits, Chaffinches, not alot else.

Daukes Hide, Cley NWT
With part of the usual Saturday night crew, Eddie, Andy J., Pete and I, we saw Avocets, Teal, Shelducks, Redshanks, Greylags etc on the pools, also 3 Hares. Bonuses were two Little-ringed Plovers, 4 Sandwich Terns flying along the shingle and my first Swallow this spring! Thanks to Andy for pointing out the Swallow and the Sandwich Terns.