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Saturday, 30 June 2012

Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve & Titchwell RSPB

Work was tough this week, with several people off sick and the intense humid weather, I was exhausted by Friday evening and slept in late today. So late, that I had lunch at home and went out in the afternoon.

A beautiful sunny day with blustery south west winds and showers.

Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve
I had not been here for ages and I knew my membership had expired, so re-joined this fabulous reserve. The nature garden next to the visitor centre was a mass of colourful flowers, but with no butterflies! A few honey bees were around, but best of all were two Wasp Beetles on the tree stump. I was disappointed to find earlier this morning when I looked on the Sculthorpe Moor website that the sightings list was way behind - the last sightings being October 2011! I pointed this out politely to the staff.

The lack of butterflies around is very sad indeed – I only saw a single Ringlet, Red Admiral and a Speckled Wood! Azure Damselflies were mating in the first pond on the way to the Woodland Hide. Next to this pond a single Southern Hawker was flying - my first this year. Heard chiffchaffs and blackcaps on route to the 'Whitley Hide'. Had lovely views of a Hedgehog who was making his way along the board walk path - got some cute pictures before he disappeared into the undergrowth. From the hide I had fabulous views of a pair of Bullfinches feeding on the bird table, along with chaffinches and a Marsh Tit with yellow colour rings on each leg. A marsh harrier was also seen over the reed bed.

The long dyke didn't produce any dragonflies, BUT it did produce a Kingfisher and juv. perched on an upturned tin bucket!!! Unfortunately though, they were quite a distance away so no pictures. From the 'Paul Johnson Hide' I saw 4 Black-tailed Skimmers and got a photograph of one resting on the wooden fence. Also 2 reed warblers, sedge warbler, 2 reed buntings, mallard and young, marsh harrier, kestrel, common buzzard, heron, house martins and swifts. On the way back I photographed a Silver-ground Carpet Moth. I had tried to open the RBA Website on my phone several times, whilst on the reserve, but there wasn't enough bars to open the internet, so I text Pete S. to ask him if I had missed anything and he replied with Red-vained Darter Dragonflies at Kelling...... hmmmmm..... wouldn't mind seeing these, but a bit late in the day now.

When I got back to the carpark I was able to open the internet to find that at 3.27pm a message had been added to RBA about a Squacco Heron at Welney - had I seen that message I would have made it before the reserve closed at 5pm. Just as annoying was the fact that both Pete S. and Eddie M. didn't get that 3.27pm message on their pagers as they were out of range – if they had, they would have text/rung me on my other phone! Working all tomorrow, BOTHER!!! I have seen Squacco Heron in Lesvos, but I dont think/can't remember having seen one in Britain, never mind Norfolk!!! Just looked Squacco Heron up in previous records on RBA - since I was born, there have only been three records in Norfolk: one in 1966 at Rollesby Broad, one in 1998 at Pensthorpe and one at Brograve Levels/Horsey Mere in 2001.

Sculthorpe Mill
An 18th century mill set in beautiful gardens. A really pretty spot and had lovely views of a Grey Wagtail bobbing on a rock in the cascading River Wensum. See here for details of the Mill which is a Greene King Inn and has a very good reputation.

Titchwell RSPB

I noticed that Warden Paul Eele had mentioned on Birdforum last night that an Otter had been spotted in the pools alongside the main path. It was a beautiful evening and there was no one else here! I walked very slowly along the main path searching for Squacco Heron number 2 and otters!!! Just before the Island Hide at 8.15pm a Hobby flashed past me - stunning, although brief view – this had occurred so quickly I hadn't even been able to react in time to lift the camera! Loads of birds on the pools including loads of Canada Geese, black-tailed godwits, avocets, shelduck, mallard, coots, black-headed gulls and young etc. There were 2 Common Terns on an island and a few pied wagtails were flitting about. I could also hear bearded tits pinging and a Cettis Warbler. I walked back along the main path and through the Meadow Trail to Fen Hide - every single window, top and bottom had been left open - people are so lazy! I closed every window when I left. Open windows/hide flaps means wet seats for people the next day if it rains during the night - shut the windows please! (sound like Eddie now!). Nothing of note from the hide. A few moments after getting back to my car a fox trotted towards me and then diverted through the hedge and across the fields.

Visited my parents for a short while and then went home and watched the rest of Andy Murray's match against Marcos Baghdatis. The match finished at 11.02pm and Andy Murray won taking him through to round four!!!!


Highlights in Norfolk today:


SQUACCO HERON
seen from Reedbed Hide at Welney WWT
Alpine Swift seen at Blakeney Point, Walsey Hills and Salthouse.
6 Red-veined Darter Dragonflies seen at Kelling Water Meadows, see pictures here
Sacred Ibis remains at Cley.

PHOTOGRAPHS TO BE ADDED

Island Fit for a King goes on sale for 3 Million!

See HERE

If only I had 3 million – a dream come true!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

At work all day today, just caught up with my post from yesterday in my lunch break. Will just catch the end of the football when I get home tonight! England are going home.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

A Spectacular Day!

A beautiful sunny day, with strong south westerlies.

Cley Coastguards
Got up very early and arrived at Coastguards, Cley just before 7.30am. Walked to North Hide to find that the Pacific Golden Plover had not been seen. Lots of avocets with young. A spotted redshank was also seen along with several ringed and little ringed plovers, good numbers of redshank, shelducks, dunlin, teal etc. A moulting Gargeney was also seen (spotted by ETM).

Walked back to Coastguards and sat on the shingle next to the sea's edge. It was so beautiful and peaceful sitting here, watching the sandwich and common terns fishing, which resulted in me taking loads of pictures! Saw a fulmar going west – left here at 9.50am.

Cley Visitor Centre – joined Eddie for a cheese scone.

Kelling Water Meadows
Very little here really, but a lovely walk. A grey partridge was calling in the field adjacent to the beautiful display of poppies wavering in the sunshine. A chiffchaff and a common whitethroat were calling and a speckled wood was seen. Nothing of note on the pool. Walked back to the cafe and browsed through the birds books. If anyone is missing any reports, they had several NOA, Scilly, Birding World and other old bird reports here.

Walsey Hills NOA

I was horrifed to find that I could not walk along the bottom path, as bracken is now intermingled across both sides of the path. The council is responsible for maintaining this path – they have been informed by NOA staff that it needs a number 1 hair cut and it should be done within the next few days. I walked along the roadside verge east from NOA carpark to look at the Sacred Ibis (of unknown origin).

Blakeney Harbour

Walked here with Eddie in hope of re-finding the Pacific Golden Plover, but no luck, in fact no birds of note were seen at all, but a lovely walk. We bumped into a lady who Eddie knew and she kindly informed us of a massive display of Bee-orchids behind the back of Blakeney garage/petrol station. Directions: facing the garage, walk to the right side, past the houses and turn left into a open, long grassy meadow, which has had a path mown through. Follow this path all the way round to a cordoned off area with official National Trust signs reading 'Bee-orchid Bonanza '– Eddie reckoned there was approximately 3000 Bee-orchids here!!!! It certainly was an amazing spectacle. I can't remember ever seeing that many in one spot! Pete Snook called me to say the Pacific Golden Plover was back on North Scrape!!!

North Hide, Cley NWT

At last!!!! I can't remember what time it was exactly, but I think it was around 5.30pm when we first watched the magnificient Pacific Golden Plover. A striking bird, but very distant and a tiny smudge on the camera! I phoned several updates through to RBA. I left Eddie in the hide with others and walked back. On route, I realised after a quick search through scope that I could see the plover from the grassy path and pleased several birders hurrying along the path who needed it for their year list! 3 spoonbills on Billy's Wash also along with several black-tailed godwits and also a ruff and a spotted redshank.

Kim and Sue's Video here of the Pacific Golden Plover


Dauke's Hide NWT
Sat here alone. 5 Spoonbills were seen flying across to Billy's Wash. A green sandpiper landed momemtarily before flying off. 2 Grey herons, shoveler and young, little ringed plovers (inc. 1 juv.) and ringed plovers, tufted duck right in front of the hide, gadwell, 2 bearded tits flew across, several redshanks, oystercatchers, pied wagtails, shelduck and 7 fluffy young, avocets and young, teal, 2 marsh harriers, swifts, reed bunting, lapwings, 2 little egrets, a flock of approx. 2000 starlings spiralled across the reeds and a barn owl as I was walking back to the car at 9pm.

My hayfever was so bad this afternoon and evening. I used to suffer badly with hayfever, but not really been affected by it all the last few years. But today was really bad, itchy, streaming eyes. I was very pleased to find some tablets when I got home.

PICTURES TO BE ADDED

Friday, 22 June 2012

PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER!!!

North Scrape, Cley NWT

Found by Steve Gantlett this evening!!! Congratulations Steve!


Rare Bird Alert Weekly Round up 13-19 2012

http://www.rarebirdalert.co.uk/RealData/Articles.asp

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Yellow-spotted White faced Darter - first for UK!!!

http://www.freewebs.com/suffolkbirding/june2012.htm

"Dunwich - A male Yellow-spotted White faced Darter (dragonfly) a potential first for the UK, was seen early morning in Docwra's Ditch Dunwich Heath NT at the Western most pond dipping platform and present c3 days."

Result!!!

ENGLAND WON!!!

Highlights in Norfolk today:
Bee-eater flew east over Hunstanton Lighthouse at 7.30pm.
Red-backed Shrike in The Plantation, Blakeney Point.
117 Crossbills flew west over Titchwell this morning.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Weekend Update

Very sadly no birding whatsoever this weekend. I spent nearly all day Saturday editing 53 pictures to put onto a DVD for selection for a forthcoming publication. In the early part of the evening I picked my sister Lucy up and joined baby sister Vivien at my parents for 'Father's Day' get together. I then drove alot of miles to deliver the DVD and got back to King's Lynn around 10pm.It was a pretty hectic weekend really which was totally my own fault as I should have sorted the pictures ages ago. Couldn't get together for Father's Day on Sunday as I had to work a hardcore double 11 hour shift. When I got home Sunday night I then put together another DVD for another forthcoming publication and collapsed into bed!

NOW I can concentrate on selecting, editing and adding blog pictures to all posts!

The 'Unnatural History of London' on BBC2 this evening was brilliantly filmed - enjoyed watching this immensely, especially the chilli seeds tip to deter squirrels!!! Watch it on iplayer here if you missed it.

Here is a juv. Black Tern that I took last year at Salthouse on 31/7/11.

Friday, 15 June 2012

'Adder' a Scary Surprise today!!!

Its been a difficult week with continued ear infection and toothache combined. Been to the dentist and had a re-filling, antibiotics for next five days - long boring story and more dentistry next week.

I did the early shift today and finished at 3.15pm. Incredible thunderstorm and torrential rain around lunch time. I ended up doing some really weird things this evening. On my arrival home from work a family in my street were extremely distraught, because their dog had crashed its way through the garden fence whilst they were out and had escaped. As I'm sure most of you have realised by now, I am not exactly a lover of dogs, but the lady of the house was so upset, I felt compelled to join in the search. Pumped up the tyres up on my bike and off I went in search of the dog who had been seen down by the old 'dairy crest' by the Gaywood River/cycle path area a couple of times this afternoon by members of the public. It was hard going over the rough, grassy paths alongside the river, but kept going. Suddenly I realised that an Adder was stretched full out across my path and I screeched to a stop just in time - I was soooooo close to cycling over it - goodness knows what would have happened to me or the Adder had I not stopped in time!!!!!!! Annoyingly though, I had no camera with me - typical! The Adder watched me up momentarily as if to say 'you were lucky' and then slithered away into the long grass. Another neighbour in my street had always told me there were Adders around here, but I didn't quite believe her and presumed they were grass snakes, now I do!!! I ended up in Reffley Woods, which I have never actually been to because of vandals, fires etc etc. Didn't see any birds in here of note, good job I didn't really with no bins! I hadn't realised how large this wood was and I after a while I came to the conclusion that I was completely and utterly lost! It took me ages to get out of there, but eventually discovered a gate next to a road - I felt so silly asking a lady by her house for the directions back to a main road - I was a long way off I discovered. Anyway, I eventually got back home after detouring around different sections of river on the way back etc to look for the dog and returned again to where it was seen this afternoon, but no sign. When I got back home an hour and a half later, the dog still hadn't been found. I don't like giving up, but I was really tired now. The dog is micro-chipped, so I hope someone is honest and kind enough to hand it in to a vets, so that it can be returned to the family.

I am not into football at all really, but tonight I was completely enthralled by the England/Sweden game - and England won!!!!!

Highlights in Norfolk today:
Black-winged Stilt
at Welney WWT.
Long-tailed Duck
at Blakeney. See picture here.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Monday, 11 June 2012

Good News!

Photos from 19th May of the posing Spotted Flycatcher here I will be adding photos to all posts that should have them over the next few weeks, now I have sorted out the space issue on my Mac!

"About time too", I hear some of you say!!!

Also some Red Kite pictures added here

Main Highlights in Norfolk today:
Icterine Warbler at 'Long Hills', Blakeney Point (I was there yesterday!)
See picture here

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Blakeney Point!

Black Guillemot Twitch!

I have been in my house since Friday night up until about 1.30pm today - sorting and editing pictures. I couldn't stand it any longer and decided I just had to get out for a short while to do some birding. My plan was to walk East Hills. I had to go to my parents first to deliver some stuff. Father was asleep in his deckchair in the garden. I was there for approx 45 minutes which meant no vodafone signal - another 20 minutes along the coast road with no signal until bars appeared on my phone when I arrived at Burnham Overy Staithe. I stopped the car to look at RBA website on the phone and there were two messages for Black Guillemot west of Coastguards at Cley!!! Bother! I was an hour behind, because of no phone signal, no one had phoned me on my Orange phone either. Phoned Eddie, just in case he didn't know - he didn't. Phoned Pete S. who was watching it as we spoke, but said it was drifting steadily west and further out. Can't remember what time I arrived at Coastguards, but I arrived a few seconds before Eddie. I could see birders and scopes way down the beach and decided that I wasn't going to rush down there without bring a rucksack with drink and snacks, because I might have to walk further than I thought and I might end up walking Blakeney Point aswell. So Eddie was probably 15 minutes ahead of me. I started walking along the beach and every time I looked in my bins I could see only a couple of birders with scopes distantly in the heat haze. Several little terns went by east. I didn't have a hope in h*ll of seeing this Black Guillemot now, but I carried on speed walking as best I could with my ear infection that I still have and also now toothache - poor me! Anyway Eddie phoned me to say it was going further and further west and that I needed to run. There was no way I was going to run, I felt rough enough as it was. I had passed Halfway House and was now opposite 'Long Hills' - I couldn't believe how far I had just walked to see this bird! I could see Eddie kindly lowering his tripod and scope a foot lower for me to look through and YES I saw the BLACK GUILLEMOT - Wow! at 4.30pm!!! Not close enough to photograph though, but I was very, very lucky indeed! See pictures of this bird on the Norfolk thread on Birdforum here

I had no intentions whatsoever of walking Blakeney Point today, but being as we were so far up there, we decided to carry on! 'The Plantation' held nothing apart from a meadow pipit and also there were a few linnets in the 'Lupins'. Walked to 'Near Point' and only saw more linnets. Walked back via 'Long Hills' where we flushed two grey Partridges and a few more meadow pipits. I agreed with Eddie that it was sensible to walk back along the beach again as I didn't feel great anyway. Beautiful light walking back - got back to Coastguards at 7.45pm. Eddie left to go home and watch football. I decided to go to Daukes' Hide, just in case the Black-winged Stilt happened to be sitting by the hide flaps - it wasn't. The light was beautiful. Tons of avocets and chicks, shelducks, redshanks, tufted duck, pochard with young, greylags with goslings, two ringed plovers, a barn owl, marsh harrier. Loads of swifts low across the scrapes. A lovely surprise of a Short-eared Owl at 8.50pm and also a Spoonbill landed on 'Cricket Marsh'. A beautiful sunset as I walked back along the boardwalk listening to reed, sedge and cettis's warblers singing.

PHOTOGRAPHS TO BE ADDED

A Hot Day!

That's what it looks like outside anyway, as I sit here editing pictures.

Highlights in Norfolk today:
Blyth's Reed Warbler - no sign this morning.
Black-winged Stilt still at Cley.
Woodchat Shrike remains at Winterton.
Quail singing east of the Whirligig, Warham.
Black Guillemot, west of Coastguards, Cley.
Honey Buzzards at Swanton Novers and Great Ryburgh.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Blyth's Reed Warbler!!!

Found by Joe Taylor from Cambridge (Congratulations) at 'The Pit' (known as the 'Blyth's Pit') at Warham Greens today. I resisted going as I'm too busy at the moment. Spent all day sorting photos. So no bird news from me today!

Black-winged Stilt still at Cley NWT and the Woodchat Shrike remains at Winterton.

Gary White's video of the Blyth's Reed Warbler singing and birders on site!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Black-winged Stilt at Cley!!!

A 'first' for Cley!!!

I first heard about this at lunchtime and flew home to get my birding gear for this evening - I don't know why I didn't prepare pre work, as it was to be expected that something good would turn up on my first day back at work. I was lucky enough to have a dentist appointment today at 4.15pm - got out by 4.45pm and was on the road to Cley by 4.50pm (slightly sooner than I would have been, had I not had the appt.). Thanks to Pete S. for updating me on route as to where the bird had relocated to.

Wonderful to watch the Black-winged Stilt this evening from 6pm until 7.45pm from Avocet Hide NWT distantly on Cricket Marsh (updated RBA several times throughout my time here). I was only saying to Eddie the other day, how I couldn't understand why there has never been a Black-winged Stilt recorded in Cley before and now there has! Lots of banter in the hide with Eddie, Andy W. and Justin L.! Also lovely views of 3 Spoonbills.

Just made the Holt fish 'n' chip shop before it closed at 8pm. Cracking evening and a cracking thunderstorm with flash flooding which resulted in a slow drive home this evening.

I did get some pictures, but they are absolutely rubbish!

Highlights in Norfolk today:
Bee-eater flew north over Winterton
Woodchat Shrike remains at Winterton
Black-winged Stilt at Cley this evening
Osprey west over Cley and Wells this afternoon

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The Last Day of Diamond Jubilee Celebrations

and the last day of my holiday!

BANK HOLIDAY TUESDAY

The Queen greets the crowds from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.


A Million people fill the Mall to join in the
Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.



Not the day I had planned. I was going out early, but an ear infection that I have had on and off for a while now seemed worse today and I didn't feel well enough to go out sadly. Although I enjoyed enormously watching all the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations on TV today – very emotional and amazing scenes in London. A procession through London and service of thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral and a balcony appearance in front of a million people filling the Mall, ended the celebrations today. I really wish I had gone to London now. Also watched the highlights of the Jubilee Concert last night - Jessie J's voice is just awesome. The unbelievable lighting show to accompany Madness's performance on the roof of Buckingham Palace was something else – streets from around the country were projected on to the front of the palace. A row of terraced houses were shown with a red bus and a black tax cab driving past it - just incredible! The Diamond Jubliee song that Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber produced 'Sing' was performed on stage with all the artists that Gary had discovered from all around the world - a beautiful performance - the little girl who starts and ends the song is the star though:

'Sing' has gone straight to No 1 in the charts!
'

Monday, 4 June 2012

The Big Puddle and Brancaster rediscovered!

BANK HOLIDAY MONDAY

Spent nearly all day shifting thousands of photographs from my old 'G4' and current Macbook Pro Lap Top onto two external hard drives - now finally completed and all Sansdisk cards containing 20011/12 photos now added to Mac - at last! Next job: to select photos from 2011 for an forthcoming publication and then finally to select, edit and add photos to tons of my blog posts! Busy, busy bee, no more TV for me!

Late afternoon - couldn't take anymore, had to get out of the house. Beautiful sunny day, wicked to be indoors really.

The Big Puddle – Brancaster
I drove to Brancaster, via Docking (B1153) and parked up on the concrete pad on the right hand side of the road at the top of the hill, to eat an ice-cream and enjoy the wonderful views of the coast. This spot has bad memories of a Bee-eater 'dip' when Paul King phoned me to say his friend Chris Everitt had found a Bee-eater swaying on the telegraph wires, yards from where I was parked now. I have since come back and parked here many times and live in hope of seeing a bee-eater here before I die! Only birds swaying on the wires today were greenfinches, goldfinches and a fat woodpigeon. The views are spectacular – you can see the whole of Scolthead Island from here – the sea was rolling in, high tide was around 7.30pm I think. I ended up staying here much longer than intended. Several birds were coming down to the big puddle at the edge of the field to drink, including greenfinches, goldfinches, pied wagtail, wood pigeon and swallows also skimming over for a quick drink. I re-positioned the car, opened the window and propped the camera on a cushion and sat there for over an hour photographing birds drinking at the pool. Unbeknown to be me – 4 Storks flew North East over Titchwell village at 5.50pm!!!! I am gutted I didn't see them – I couldn't have been located in a better place either, high up and with the whole coastline before me!!! Typical! Think I left here about 7.15pm.

Brancaster Coastal Path to Brancaster Staithe
Parked the car along the Broad Lane (adjacent to the church) and walked east along the coastal footpath, which is mostly made up of railway sleepers. I have not walked this path for a very long time and I had forgotten how potentially brilliant this is for migrants and how very beautiful this walk is. I had a good selection of birds including: common whitethroats, male Blackcap, wren, hedge sparrow, house sparrow, linnets, chaffinches, goldfinches, greenfinches, sedge and reed warbler, jay, cuckoo, kestrel, little egrets etc. The very high tide had covered the salt marsh between the golf course and the reed beds which lie adjacent to the coastal footpath, creating a beautiful scene. There are many different species of trees here, hawthorn, privet, holly, brambles etc all the way along, intermingled with fascinating old cottages and houses, some with huge gardens and lawns. Most of the old stone walls that line the gardens are low, enabling even someone as short as me to view over them for hoopoes etc that may be around! The walk is one and a quarter miles each way, although it didn't seem to take that long really – it was such a lovely walk, I didn't really notice the time - returned the same way. I left at just after 9pm, missing most of the Jubilee Concert that I wanted to watch this evening.

Managed to catch the last 45 minutes of the concert with Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney and the Queen escorted on to the stage by Gary Barlow, Prince Charles's speech and the grand firework finale – it looked of course, spectacular. But I felt very sorry for the Queen – my mother and I were discussing this earlier – the hours she has had to put in for this 'celebration' - 6 hours standing yesterday alone, there's not many 18 year old's that can do that!!!! Four day's of celebrations is too much for a teenager, never mind someone age 86 – poor Prince Phillip couldn't cope with it all obviously, poor man! She'll be glad to get her slippers on and sit down with the corgies with a nice cup of tea! Only one day left to go Ma'm!

Highlights in Norfolk today:
4 White Storks, north east over Titchwell village!
Temminck's Stint at Titchwell RSPB and Welney WWT
Black Tern at Rockland Broad
Black Terns x 3 at Breydon Water
Woodchat Shrike still at Winterton
Quails x 2 at North Walsham
Puffins x 4 and a Great Skua at Cley

Just noticed the BEST picture of the Cley Bee-eater by Craig Shaw on the Britain and Ireland Scarce section on Surfbirds: HERE

PICTURES TO BE ADDED

Sunday, 3 June 2012

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee!!!

See all events here: http://www.thediamondjubilee.org/

I feel sad that my mother wanted to go to Holme Jubilee party in the village hall today, but when the 'Link' magazine arrived a few weeks back with form to fill in, to ask if you wanted to attend, my father was taken seriously ill at the time and she forgot to fill it in. The 'tea-party' is now fully booked. My parents have lived in the village for 48 years. I know the form had to be filled in on time, as understandably the organisers need numbers etc, but I still really feel for her. She doesn't normally attend the village events nowadays, but does like to attend sometimes. I think she feels that she doesn't really know many people in the village now, as there are so few families left now that live here permanently - the same all along the coast and in many places nowadays - how times have changed.

I remember as a family attending the 'Silver Jubilee' party at Holme and entering the fancy dress competition as Queen and my two sisters were dressed as page boys
! All the children were issued with a silver jubilee medal, which I still have somewhere. It was a spectacular day and I remember it fondly as I do of all my day's living in Holme, especially of my primary school (now weekend cottage) with Mr Mick Ramsey (sadly now deceased last year) who was the Headmaster and Mrs June Story who taught the 'Little Class' and all of the children and of course (goes without saying) spending every day I could being with my father at Holme Bird Observatory.

I was just looking at the Holme website when I noticed that this Tuesday you can climb the church tower - Wow! I have always wanted to climb that tower! (adjacent to the primary school that I attended)

I haven't really organised myself at all for the jubilee celebrations. I have just sent a congratulatory message to the Queen via her website and received a thank you email in return. I think she is an amazing lady - its bl**dy hard work, smiling for 60 years!!! Well actually 86 years!!! My father was born the same year, he will be 86 in November. The celebrations on TV look spectacular and the Queen looks amazing for her age.

I am very much looking forward to the concert organised by the BBC and Gary Barlow on BBC1 at 7.30pm on Monday. Confirmed acts are: Gary Barlow, Shirley Bassey, Alfie Bo, Renee Fleming, Jools Holland, Jessie J, will.i.am, JLS, Elton John, Grace Jones, Tom Jones, Lang Lang, Annie Lennox, Madness, Paul McCartney, Kylie Minogue, Cliff Richard, Ed Sheeran, Robbie Williams and Stevie Wonder.

Sorting Photos!!!!!

Yes, I am really!!!!!!

I am itching to go out - never mind about the rain! Can someone please find a 'rare' in Norfolk so I have a valid excuse to leave the house?

Highlights today in Norfolk
Temminck's Stint at Titchwell

ALL PICTURES TO BE ADDED!!!

Saturday, 2 June 2012

EAST HILLS!

A spectacularly, sunny morning with easterly winds.

Bird of the day: Quail!


Met Eddie at 7am and as we walked along the west track, we could hear blackcaps singing. A Barn Owl flew east at the end of the track and a Cuckoo was calling. On the way out to East Hills we had spectacular views of 3 Spoonbills flying east. After crossing and leaping over the creeks and the wide one at the end with quick sands (just to keep you on your toes!), we arrived at the main dune ridge just after 8am. Had close views of a Short-eared Owl hunting over the marrams at 8.15am. We watched an amusing encounter - the short-eared owl dive-bombed something in the grass, which turned out to be a pheasant, who exploded into the air resulting in the two birds crashing with feathers flying!

As we started to walk through the first lot of pines, we were startled to see people camping, which is illegal to do here anyway! Further up in the flat grassy area, we were horrified to see what looked like tents collapsed, a small rowing type boat, full beer cans lying about and a huge pile of rubbish which included empty larger cans, party poppers, metal lighter fluid containers, cardboard, foil food trays and loads of general rubbish - all freshly dumped there - I was absolutely fuming. As Eddie said, if people are capable of carrying out all this stuff out here, then surely they can take their rubbish back!!! The whole scene somewhat spoilt everything really and I was hopping mad to say the least. Anyway we carried on through the sycamore glade, pines and brambles and only managed to rustle up 2 goldcrests, a single chiffchaff, 9 shelduck, goldfinches and a greenfinch. We sat at the west end overlooking Wells harbour and had a hot drink and snack. I then spent quite awhile and alot of phone battery finding out who to ring about these crappy people camping with all their rubbish. Holkham Estate Office wasn't answering, a couple of other people just had answerphones and I left messages, but I eventually got hold of a very helpful man (can't remember his name) at Wells Beach Cafe who sounded like he would speak to all the right people and get it/them sorted. Didn't see much else really on the way back. Eddie and I had walked seperately for a bit and he phoned me to say he could hear a Quail calling (10.30am) - I sped through the pines and past the rubbish heap to where Eddie was standing and listened to the wonderful calls of a Quail calling from the grassy/thrift area near the large dune ridge - it sounded so incredibly close! Our moment was spoiled slightly though by a man on the dune edge waving politely at us as we walked past. I just HAD to say something and asked if the larger cans were his - of course he replied that 'no they weren't theirs and he had noted how much rubbish there was about and how he was thinking about getting a large bag and collecting it all up' - yeah, right!!!!!!!! I then added that it was 'pretty disgusting leaving rubbish in a place like this.....' Eddie had walked on a bit further ahead of me at this point. After a pause I added 'did you know its illegal to camp here?' 'Yes' he replied and just stared at me. I was so annoyed, but didn't say anymore - didn't really want any serious confrontations out here, even with Eddie with me! At this point I wanted to go back and open all the cans of larger laying about, puncture the boat and slash the tents!!!! But my sensible head told me to let Holkham Estate sort them out! The weird thing is, I don't quite understand the boat being there - my detective head says they pinched the boat from Wells to carry all their gear with them - there is no way they would have been able to walk there with all that stuff, there were at least 4 Carlsburg cardboard cases strewn about and that was without all the other stuff! (saw them walk back later - see two paragraphs down.)

Eddie and I sat down in the grassy/flower area listening to this magical Quail calling so close to us, but we couldn't find it at all! We also watched the short-eared owl flying around us, unaware of our presence. We then retraced our steps through creeks and mud and back to the West Track where we bumped into Ashley M. and Richard M. Ashley had seen a Spotted Flycatcher in the small copse, but we weren't lucky enough to see it whilst there. Eddie spotted a green hairstreak on the alexanders.

We walked back to our cars, Eddie went home and I sat and sorted my gear out, had a coffee etc. In the distance I could see the four people that we had seen camping out on East Hills walking back the same way we had walked and they then continued towards Stiffkey Campsite direction - hmmm......Hope they don't return with more beer and rubbish!!!

PLEASE NOTE: Don't venture out to East Hills without being shown out by someone who goes out regularly, as the quick sands are dangerous – people have died out there. Also even before the tide comes back in, some of the creeks start to fill up, so if you've taken the wrong path, you've had it!

I decided to spend the rest of the day around Cley (should have stayed where I was!). So off I went to the Cley V.C. where I met Eddie for a cup of tea and we then heard news of a Rosefinch (brown job) just east of the cockle sheds at Wells. I gave Eddie a lift and off we went to Wells to dip, along with others on R.M's Rosefinch. Well, you can't see very bird can you! Spent quite a bit of time searching, but no luck! It was really cold now and the sun had disappeared. Did see a Red Kite and Marsh Harrier whilst here though! We left and decided to get some chips from Wells, but didn't even bother to park up when we saw the queues outside every chip shop along the front - tons of people everywhere!

Eddie and I walked the Warham west track again, just in case anything exciting had dropped in - it hadn't, but we did have 2 Spoonbills flying east at 7pm. Dropped Eddie back home. I do have a habit of birding 'til dusk, but was really tired now, so left in daylight, unusual for me!

Back at home, I spent the rest of the evening watching the Finale of 'The Voice'.

PICTURES TO BE ADDED

Main Highlights in Norfolk Today:
Woodchat Shrike at Winterton
Honey Buzzard at Swanton Novers
Rosefinch at Wells

Friday, 1 June 2012

Titchwell RSPB and Thornham Point

A cold, uninspiring day with grey skies and cold north winds.

Titchwell RSPB and Thornham Point
Cettis's, willow, reed and sedge warblers singing, bearded tits flying about. Red-breasted Merganser from Parrinder Hide along with several cute little gulls. I counted 100+ oystercatchers, also knot, bar-tailed and black-tailed godwits, pochard, shovelers, avocets and chicks etc. I heard a man saying that he had watched a magpie fly in and take every egg from an avocet nest this morning! Loads of swifts flying across the main path, sometimes so close I thought they were going to collide with me!

Walked all the way to Thornham Point and only saw meadow pipits, a red-legged partridge, magpie and linnets! 2 great crested grebes were on the sea opposite the viewing platform.

Bird of the day was a juv. cute robin who was being fed by mummy in the picnic area - a couple of chiffchaffs and a blackcap also here.

Hoping that tomorrow will improve!

Hardly anything of note in Norfolk today, but two Red-backed Shrikes at Horsey and another at Winterton along with a Woodchat Shrike (late this evening).

PICTURE TO BE ADDED