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Monday, 29 November 2010

Snowed in and Waxwings at Old Hunstanton!!!


Very heavy snow today in King's Lynn, so much so that I have had to leave my car at work and walked home this evening!!!

My mother had 16 Waxwings flying towards her as she cycled round the 'corner of Norfolk' - along the main road going into Old Hunstanton this morning.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Northern Harrier, Thornham



NORTHERN HARRIER, THORNHAM.





Birders waiting at Thornham Boat house in arctic conditions
for the Northern Harrier to show.

Andy W. stands out from the crowd in his bright orange coat!!!



Well I certainly got up earlier than yesterday!!

Arrived Thornham Coal Barn at 8am and it was seriously arctic conditions. I felt like the Michelin man, I had so many layers on! Everything was sparkling white with frost and snow, but the morning was dull with no sun at all. Around 20 people waited for the Northern Harrier to show. I could see Andy W. and Justin L. standing with other people near the carpark at the far end, so I phoned Andy to say he was standing in the wrong place 'you mean we standing on high ground so we can see everything' he said - 'yep, its best seen from here' I said. Anyway time went on and standing here for even an hour and a quarter was torture. At one point I saw what was probably the harrier for a split second over the field by the houses to the left of The Lifeboat Inn, another quarter of an hour later at 9.15am it showed itself again and was indeed the NORTHERN HARRIER. Shortly after this Andy and Justin had relocated themselves to the Coal Barn! I got some records shots of The Northern Harrier as it glided over the reed bed. It then disappeared from view, so I decided to walk down the road and follow the path through the reed bed to the large copse. On the way I had awesome views of a pair of Bullfinches (not quite long enough for the camera though) and several blackbirds eating sloeberries. I crossed the bridge and walked right and along Green Lane and then left along the track and back along the path around the copse and back to the bridge again. It was now snowing heavily and had to put the camera in the rucksack liner bag. The snow blizzard was so heavy I could hardly see to walk! I didn't see the harrier again. Walked back to the car and the few people that were standing by the barn had not seen the harrier since I had last seen it. I drove to the far field, reached by the 'The Lifeboat' lane and watched the field for a while, but no luck.


Little Egret in Thornham Harbour.


Titchwell RSPB - I only stopped here for one thing - FOOD!!! Sat in the Feeding Station and had Jacket Potato, Vege Lasagne and wait for it.... Sticky Toffee Pudding and Custard - all good for the waist line, BUT it did warm me up, in fact it was incredibly difficult to leave - it was lovely and warm in there and it was very enjoyable watching the video screen listening to Golden Orioles calling at Lakenheath etc etc. Loads of birds at the feeders including chaffinches, robins, hedge sparrows, robins, greenfinches, pheasant, blue and great tits and of course woodpigeons trying to balance themselves on the feeders! I eventually dragged myself out of there and walked back to the car. I was just trying to decided whether to go back to attempt to get better pictures of the Harrier or go to Wells to try and see the Northern Bullfinches, but when I checked the RBA website on my phone, there was a Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler at Burnham Norton.

Burnham Norton - no sign of the bird at all on arrival sadly. People searched everywhere to find this bird, but it didn't show again. Bumped into R.M here who initially didn't realise it was me under all my layers! and also John F. who pointed out 5 Whooper Swans going over our heads, south.

Five Whooper Swans - Burnham Norton.


Choseley Barns - loads of corn buntings, yellow hammers, greenfinches, robins, hedgesparrows, fieldfares and 2 Mistle Thrushes all from the car window! Tons of pinkfeet flying over aswell.



Snow scenes at Choseley Barns.


Thornham - parked the car in Green Lane and walked to the bridge and along the path again for a short distance where I had brief views of the Northern Harrier again as it flew across the reed bed and round the corner of the copse out of view. Had spectacular views of a Barn Owl by the bridge when I walked back which was flying low across the reeds and then landed on a post in front of me briefly!

X-Factor - thank goodness Vagner had gone!!! But I did feel sorry for Katie. Very frustrating though as I will miss the semi-final next week as I'm at another christmas party!

Update - see John's Furse's very amusing picture of me as the Michelin man on the Norfolk thread!!! (see top sentence of this post)
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=59348&page=418

Northern Harrier, Cley 1958

When chatting to my father about the Northern Harrier at Thorham, he told me that he 'saw the Cley Marsh Hawk in 1958' and dug out Richard Richardson's 'Check list of the BIRDS of CLEY' which shows the entry for Marsh Hawk from 26th October 1957 to 13th April 1958. The copy of this below belonged to the late Geoff Want who also sketched a drawing of 'the hut at Walsey Hills' on the inside front cover.






---------------------------------------------

This is taken from the Birds of Norfolk by
Moss Taylor, Peter Allard, Michael Seago and Don Dorling.

Paradise Whydah found by my mother and ID'd by Richard Richardson!

My mother told me a wonderful story this evening. In early September, 1975 my mother found an amazingly beautiful bird, along a back road somewhere near the Ringstead Mill, she can't remember where exactly now. The bird was so vibrant and stunning and she remembered all the details of the bird and drew a wonderful drawing and description of the bird (see below). She couldn't find the bird in any of the bird books that my parents had, so posted this picture to Richard Richardson at Cley to see if he could ID it for her. Richard replied on the 9th September (see copy of the letter below) saying that he 'recognised it immediately as a Paradise Whydah'. The bird was obviously an escape, but still a wonderful, exciting find! Richard's letter is fascinating, as it also mentions how he had 'a great day with Barry Sheene at the Mallory Park races on Sunday'

My mother's amusing, but accurate drawing of her exciting find.


Crop of above - Paradise Whydah.


RAR's letter and ID to my parents of the bird.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

A "chilled" Day!

Little Egret flying east over Gypsy Lane to roost at Holkham.


Black tailed Godwit in Thornham Harbour, late afternoon.


Well after last night I didn't bat an eyelid until VERY late. In a very sleepy state I looked out of the window half way through the morning at the snow covered world and very quickly dived back under the duvet and finally rose at 12pm!!! Had brunch (sounds posh doesn't it!) and finally got out of the house around 2pm.

Destination - Thornham Coal Barn - yep I was too late.... all the action had been in the morning, with the Northern Harrier giving splendid views whilst I had been sleeping - which serves me right - early bird catches the worm and all that. Around 20 people standing there including Connor, Simeon and Irene. A bit later on Irene, Connor and I sidled off to Gypsy Lane and were then joined by a few others - not alot of point announcing loudly that you're going to Gypsy Lane, as there's only parking for 4 cars max! Walked up the track at Gypsy Lane and watched several Marsh Harriers and 1 ring tail Hen Harrier and several Little Egrets going east to roost at Holkham but no sign of the Northern Harrier coming in to roost. It was bitterly cold, even with gloves on. Trudged back to car and then went to my parents.

Had a wonderful time reminiscing at my parents - will post some fascinating pictures and stories tomorrow night, including info on the Cley Northern Harrier in 1958 and my mother's find of a male Paradise Whydah in 1975!!!

OMG!!!!!!

James on birdforum has just pointed out that I have been included in a Punkbirders tune!!!

One is very amused!!!!!!!!

http://www.freewebs.com/punkbirder/news.htm

Christmas Party and Clubbing!

Just back from work's Christmas Party. Its snowy in King's Lynn and freezing cold. Now back home and having a cup of hot chocolate and two hot waterbottles - lovely!!!

I made sure I flew out of work dead on time tonight as straightening my hair takes forever and I had to pick my friend Ines up at 7pm - it was really nice to see Ines who is a work colleague who is currently on 'adoption leave' - she is such a sweet person and incredibly funny.We had a lovely meal at 'The Dabbling Duck" at Great Massingham including all the usual christmas trimmings of crackers, candles etc. I had leek and potato soup to start, followed by a vegetarian rissotto and gooseberry and orange crumble with ice-cream - no alcohol though as I was driving. Everyone enjoyed their food, the presentation was excellent too. Would definately eat here again. Some people went home and other party animals including myself went clubbing in King's Lynn - well I say clubbing, there isn't a decent club in King's Lynn, they are all rubbish really, but we ended up in "The Globe" initially and then walked in a snow blizzard round the corner to "KUDOS" in Norfolk Street - there was a live band downstairs which was naff, so we went upstairs to the club and danced there til it closed at 1pm. We were then going to Chicagoes but everyone changed their minds and were persuaded to go and party round someone's house, so I opted out at this point and drove home.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Wildlife Trusts President is King!!!!!!!!

http://www.birdguides.com/webzine/article.asp?a=2423

"Simon King OBE — renowned wildlife programme-maker, cameraman, photographer and presenter — was today [24th November] appointed President of The Wildlife Trusts."

http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/index.php?section=news&id=3544

CONGRATULATIONS SIMON!!!!!!!!!!!!! XXX

Unique and unbelievable aerial photograph!!!!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/nov/23/flamingos-in-formation

More stunning pictures of THE Harrier!!!

More pictures of the probable Northern Harrier on the Norfolk thread on birdforum.net - well done to John Miller!

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=59348&page=417


Also a lovely picture of a Northern Bullfinch taken on Holkham on the 21st November by Steve Gantlett:

http://www.cleybirds.com/Norfolk%202010.1.htm

AND also STUNNING close up pictures of the probable Northern Harrier by Steve Gantlett

http://www.cleybirds.com/Norfolk%202010.1.htm

and the discussion goes on........
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?p=1988426#post1988426

and also on http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=185248&page=4


After having 2 hours sleep, having been up most of the night/morning to complete 'evidence' required for e-ksf (incredibly boring and tedious) for my appraisal today I can't now breathe a sigh of relief!!!! All done and completed for another year!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

RSPB at Sex Fair!!!!!

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3237711/Bird-stall-at-adult-entertainment-fair.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/8148443/Bird-lovers-flock-to-erotic-show.html

Burnham Norton

Had a chilled day at home yesterday, because I still felt ill - highlight of the day was watching X-Factor! Katie for me, was the performance of the night, although I don't like her new cropped haircut which is also now dyed brown, it makes her look like a boy - she should have stayed blonde.

Got up late today and even though I still didn't feel right, I felt like I needed some air. This virus is leaving me exhausted. Can't believe I wasted time again looking for the now 'probable' Northern Harrier, but I did! Arrived Burnham Norton and got the last place in the small carpark and walked out to the sea wall with SLR in hand (ha ha). I should have brought the scope out with me and left the camera behind. Had close views of a Marsh Harrier on route out there, but very little else of note. Joined Stuart W. and a few others on the sea wall. Saw a Merlin, Peregrine, 2 Rough legged Buzzards, another Marsh Harrier, a ring tail Hen Harrier going west and several little egrets. As Stuart said, its just pure luck connecting with THE harrier - it covers such a vast stretch of the coast, its impossible to actually look for it. I think it will be virtually impossible for anyone to get a photograph of it, even if they are lucky enough to see it, as its always seen a fair distance away. I felt too cold to stand here as long as everyone else, so walked back a different route, along the sea wall and back to the carpark. Thousands of pinkfeet flying along the horizon. Watched 6 Little Egrets flying high east, presumably going to roost at Holkham I guess. Surprisingly I didn't see a barn owl around the carpark area. Had a cup of tea and drove home.


X-FACTOR

I can not BELIEVE the Wagner is still being voted in!!!!!! How can the public keep on voting for him and then have Cher and Paije in the bottom two - what the hell is going on, get rid of him for goodness sake! I mean he's a nice man and all that and to a degree is entertaining, BUT he can't sing and its called X-Factor, hellooooooooo!!!!!!!!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Have been off work all week with a flue virus. So little energy I could barely muster up enough strength to heat up soup for myself. Temperature, sore throat, cough etc. Have slept most of the time. The worst thing about it all is the loneliness of being by yourself. Its done wonders for my figure though, as have gone off all sweet foods! I have had two bars of chocolate sitting in the draw all week! Watching the video below last night really cheered me up, its absolutely brilliant! Don't think I will be out birding this weekend - might go somewhere local on Sunday just go get some air for a short while. Tons of stuff to write, in preparation for my yearly appraisal next Thursday.

Now watching Children in Need.

The funniest video EVER!!!!!!!!!

This had me crying with laughter!!

I hope very much that Lee sees the funny side to this!!!! I think the creator has made him quite a cool dancer!!!

Congratulations to the creator!!!!


Wednesday, 17 November 2010

At home this week and not very well and have been unable to reply to emails, facebook and Birdforum messages. Apologies for this - hopefully will be well enough soon to reply.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

World Exclusive TAKE THAT - First Live Performance in 15 years!!!

Highlight of my day was watching "Take That" perform with Robbie Williams for the first time in 15 years on X-Factor. They were absolutely awesome and stole the show. They sang their newest single “The Flood” from album “Progress” which is out tomorrow.

http://www.unrealitytv.co.uk/x-factor/take-that-wow-with-the-flood-on-the-x-factor-video/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_9HswlI_uo

Rough legged Buzzards, Hen Harrier and an exciting find possibly!!!

Moorhen by the feeders at RSPB Titchwell.


Still didn't feel well, but went out anyway!

The early morning mist with the sun streaming through was very atomospheric as I drove along the A148. Arrived Burnham Overy Dunes at 7.45am. Parked on the main road and walked down to the sea bank and viewed the marshes, searching for the possible Northern Harrier again. Fantastic views of a Rough legged Buzzard sitting on the marsh which then got up and flew north, landed in the dunes and then took off and went west over Gun Hill at 9.20am. Bearded Tits and Cettis Warbler heard. Stood here for nearly 2 hours which didn't do me any good whatsover. No sun now, the rest of the day stayed dull, dismal and grey skies. Later on saw a second Rough leg sitting in a bush on the way back to the car. When I got as far as the Stile (just before the main road) I saw a 'dark' Ring tail Hen Harrier flying low along the hedge line which goes west from the stile in the next field, but annoyingly it went out of view towards Burnham Overy much too quickly. Seconds after this I realised there was a Rough legged Buzzard, literally over my head at 10.45am- a group of birders were walking down the track, oblivious to what was going on above them - they were very pleased when I pointed it out to them! The light was rubbish, so didn't bother getting the camera out of bag. Also met another blog fan (thanks!) On reaching the car I felt really ill and just wanted to curl up - reclined the seat back in the car and tried to snooze.

Arrived Titchwell RSPB for my lunch of vegetable lasagne with a jacket potato inside the 'Feeding Station' - normally I would sit outside but I felt shivery. Outside I saw Eddie M. queueing again!!! After my lunch I meandered around the Fen Trail and up as far as Island Hide where I chatted with Eddie Myers, another couple (can't remember their names) and a lovely surprise of Norman Sills! Two marsh harriers were seen, usual waders, and greenfinches, chaffinches, tits on the feeders and also a Great Spotted Woodpecker. I couldn't be bothered or feel well enough to walk further, to see the very distant smew.

Arrived NWT Holme Marsh Reserve (the 3 hides and pools in the village) and was very pleased to see the first hide roof is now mended. I noted in the log book that someone had seen 6 Waxwings by Holme Church this morning - lucky them! Its been very frustrating lately seeing the massive numbers of Waxwings in Norwich and Great Yarmouth - send some our way! I would really like to get a half decent picture of a Waxwing. Flocks of starlings came in to roost in the reed beds and I saw two sparrow hawks - one of them spent most of its time in the large willow tree and every so often dived into the roosting starlings, but I didn't see it catch any. Then - suddenly in the line of reeds behind the cut area directly in front of Hide 1 I could see a warbler messing about in the bottom - the light was fading fast, but managed to get some shots. I really thought I had got something exciting! It didn't call at all. When I phoned father, he said on my description that it was probably a Cettis' - bother, it hadn't even crossed my mind at the time. Couldn't take my camera to parents as didn't want them to catch my cold virus, so here are the shots, below.





Cettis' Warbler

99% anyway - please let me know asap if I am wrong!!!!!!!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Possible Northern Harrier possible seen!!!

Sunset near Burnham Norton.


The day started with an early morning phone call from Andy Wilkinson 'would I like to go and see the Pied billed Grebe?' As Andy and Justin had already left Norwich at this point, I would have to rush around and wasn't feeling too good this morning so I declined their very kind offer. After hearing later that they had also seen 15 Red Grouse and a Richard's Pipit I wished I had gone!

Did some shopping for parents and then went to Titchwell. Photographed a very tame robin with the iphone! Had a good look for the Pallas's Warbler but no luck. Great spotted woodpecker on the Meadow Trail, bramblings, greenfinches etc on the feeders. Paul Eele showed us a dead Little Auk which had been found at Snettisham beach. Today turned out to be more of a social day - sat and had lunch with Pete Snook, Graham, Glyn and Ron and also Eddie Myers was also in the queue for lunch, as last week! Pete very kindly treated me to a cheese and pineapple baguette. Bumped into several other birders including Julian B. and also Steve W. Because I felt ill today, I was in a very can't be bothered kind of mood.

Robin - taken with iphone!


Blackbird near the RSPB Titchwell Visitor Centre.


Birders walking along the new path at Titchwell RSPB.


Calf at Burnham Overy.


I left Titchwell and went to Burnham Overy to look for the possible 'Northern Harrier'. Walked down to the sea bank with John F. Saw a ring tail hen harrier and a large flock of linnets, also 11 Snipe flew over. Had VERY distant views of an 'interesting' Harrier along with John Furse, James MaCallum etc- this bird is becoming very frustrating as no one has had close enough views for a photo! I continued on alone to the dunes, thinking I would get closer, but sadly didn't see it any more. I was horrified to find that the two large sallow bushes which are either side of the lower path just before my "Pallas's Warbler" bushes have been chopped down completely!!! Walked back to the road - saw 3 barn owls in the area and then drove back to King's Lynn.

Barn Owl near Burnham Norton.


Was supposed to go to Ely this evening to visit my sister, but I have a temperature, feel shivery and ill, so wasn't able to go.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Another whole weekend!!!!!!

No shifts on Sunday again, which is not good for my bank account, but good for my soul!!!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

http://www.wrg.co.uk/page.php?article=669&name=Chris+Packham+all+of+a+flutter+at+%A310+million+funding+boost++++

This is awful news!!!

http://www.birdforum.net/showpost.php?p=1976690&postcount=10258

Vivien's Birthday

HAPPY BIRTHDAY VIVIEN!!!

Feel so sorry for my baby sister today, its her birthday, she got a stinking cold and sore throat/cough - is off work and at home on her own!

Late birthday celebrations this Saturday/Sunday when hopefully she will be feeling better.

Funky!!!!

DAVID LINDO'S updated website definately portrays birding as COOL and Hip Hop!!!

http://www.theurbanbirder.com/
PICTURES NOW ADDED TO SUNDAY 7th NOVEMBER POST

Autumn Watch tonight!

Tommy Hyndman was contacted by the BBC Two ‘Autumn Watch’ team about his waxwing pictures see:

http://fair-isle.blogspot.com/2010/11/waxwings-oct-25th-2010-day-well-always.html

Tommy’s Waxwing images will be on Autumn Watch Unsprung BBC tonight from 8.30pm

David Lindo interviews Lee Evans!



Monday, 8 November 2010

Pallas's Warbler in 'Birding World'

Steve Gantlett asked me if he could use my Pallas's Warbler picture (that I took on 12th October) in this months BIRDING WORLD. Have not seen it yet - looking forward to receiving my copy.

http://pennyshotbirdingandlife.blogspot.com/2010/10/pallass-warblers.html

Received Birding World on Wednesday (thanks Sue).

Waxwings feeding from hand!!!

http://fair-isle.blogspot.com/2010/11/waxwings-oct-25th-2010-day-well-always.html

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Tragic - 33 Whales found dead in Ireland!!!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-11705622

Holkham - Sun, Sea and Shorelarks!



Got up early and arrived at Holkham at 7.45am. Parked on the main road near the bus stop, which saves paying to park in Lady Anne's Drive! It was freezing cold this morning. The plan today was to attempt to see the Shorelarks that were seen recently and then walk to Wells. Reaching the main beach gap, I followed the path east. I spoke to another birder who had seen 50+ Twite and a Rough-legged Buzzard, but he had not seen any shorelarks. It was high tide and the creek to my left was lapping across the sandy path - to my right the sun streamed through the pine trees. It was a beautiful sunny day with fluffy white clouds and blue skies, but with a strong north east wind - it was only spoilt by too many out of control, yelping dogs. A huge flock of 70+ Snow Buntings could be seen distantly, near the dune side of the saltings. I walked as far as Wells Lifeboat station and then crossed over to the dunes and then followed the path inland of the dunes looking over the saltings. Suddenly I came across the Shorelarks, all 17 of them at 10am!!! But sadly they were very difficult to photograph as there was a large area of water between them and me! They looked spectacular in the sunshine. Several skylarks also about. When I reached the end of the dunes I realised I couldn't get back to the main beach gap path at Holkham because of the creek that runs from the sea to the saltings - walked out to the edge of the sea and crossed over the rippling waters. It was at this point I realised there was hardly any difference between walking back to the main beach gap or walking to the west end of Holkham pines. So I walked to the west end of the pine belt. I didn't have my telescope with me, so couldn't really do any sea watching, but did note a red-throated diver, shelduck and lots of brent geese all going west. Left the beach and followed the dune path, seaward side of the pines and on route I found several different toadstools and also some hibernating wasps in a dead pine tree. The only birds of note along here was a wren and a blackbird. Crossing over through the pines I had a good look round the dune hollows and although it was tempting to walk Burnham Overy Dunes, I decided to follow the path back through the pines. I could see a buzzard distantly sitting on a fence post out on the marsh, but it was too distant and hazy to see ID it correctly. Lots of starling flocks going west today I noted. Found a tit flock not far from the start of the walk back along the pines which included long-tailed tits, blue tits, and several goldcrests and also a female blackcap. I watched these for quite a while as didn't want to miss out on seeing any LTT's with white heads! Heard a green woodpecker and several fieldfares 'chacking', saw a sparrowhawk and also a small raptor which I attempted to photograph as it flew over my head, not sure what it was! Two little grebes were in Salt's Hole. At least 10 goldcrests in the sycamores by Washington Hide and I noted several more on the way back. Excellent views of a treecreeper not far from the end of the path, just before the top of Lady's Anne's Drive which I got some decent photos of. Got back to my car at 3.45pm.





HOLKHAM BEACH.


Meadow Pipit.


Female Blackcap.


Long tailed Tit.





Salt's Hole, Holkham.




Treecreeper.


Attempted to get to Titchwell to see the Pallas's Warbler, but on arrival I realised the light had gone completely, so gave up and headed home. After leaving Holme I turned left after the Hun Bridge (just after the Ringstead turn off) past Old Hunstanton Church/pond and had fantastic views of a Woodcock (5pm) which got up off the road and relocated itself in the alexanders in the verge to give me awesome views right next to the car window. The camera was of course in the boot! A bit further up the road a Little Owl sat in the middle of the road which forced me to do an emergency stop!!! This road then joins up with the main A149 in Hunstanton. I absolutely hate the clock being changed - the day now ends much too quickly!

Gutted that I have again missed out on seeing the possible Northern Harrier that was seen again today at Burnham Overy Marsh south west of Gun Hill! See thread now started on birdforum.net http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=185248

Roll on Saturday!