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Saturday, 31 May 2014

Gwen Guthrie - "Aint Nothing Going On But The Rent"

One of my favourite tunes – timeless. Released in 1986. I would fly round the dance floor to this now! Anyone else remember this being released?
 

"THE AMERICAN soul diva Gwen Guthrie is best remembered for "Ain't Nothin' Goin' On But the Rent", one of the biggest dance anthems of the Eighties...."

Kiesza - Hideaway!

LOVE THIS TUNE – just been flying round the kitchen to this!

Lyrics if you want to sing along here

Today Was a Write-off!

Last night I had done sandwiches and everything was ready for a full day's birding!

This will be a very short post, I don't want to bore you all with another rant about technology, but....... my internet stopped working late last night and wasn't back on again until 2pm today. My Router packed up. Luckily I had another new one here, that was sent to me a year ago and I never installed it (long story why). It took from 9am to 2pm with completely incompetent, stupid, crap TalkTalk Technical Advisors (that knew less than me). They hadn't got a clue what they were doing and kept asking the same stupid questions eg: 'Is your landline phoning working ok? "Yes" I replied, "already told you that and we are talking on it now!!!" How thick can someone be?!!! I was cut off five times and not phoned back. By the time I got to speak to the fifth person I was in a wild and angry state to put it mildly! I eventually got to speak to a 'Fault Manager' who spent another hour assisting me to install new router and then eventually the internet was working. I was so mentally exhausted by the end of it, that I fell asleep on the sofa. Dossed about for the rest of the day. Very, very upset that I have not been birding today.

I will be making up for it tomorrow, I can assure you!

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'BLACK-HEADED BUNTING Female 1/3 of a mile east of West Runton, just north of A149 Cromer Road at disused pig farm
Whinchat at Horsey Corner
Spoonbills x 3 at Titchwell RSPB
Spoonbill, White Wagtail, Curlew Sandpiper at Cley NWT
Siberian Chiffchaff at The Plantation, Blakeney Point

Other News
• Holme News HERE. Titchwell News HERE
 
MEGA NEWS! 

MEGA! SHORT-TOED EAGLE at Morden Park, Dorset

A very short Norfolk list for May! Hope it improves for June! The Short-toed Eagle will draw the crowds tomorrow – how exciting! Hope it stays for birders going.

MEGA! SHORT-TOED EAGLE!!!

Morden Park, Dorset – WOW!!!

Wareham Forest in tree at Morden Bog NNR
"Park only in field west of B3075 opposite Sherford Bridge layby and walk west for 500 yards, then left at metal 5-bar gate. Do NOT approach along other paths to avoid flushing the bird. (RBA)"

Important directions and information HERE

Found by Paul Morton at 10am and still showing up until 8.39pm!

Discussion HERE
Pictures HERE, HERE, HERE, & awesome flight shot HERE!

THIRD FOR BRITAIN!

Previous two records were:
7th-11th October 1999, Isles of Scilly
16th October 2011, Dawlish Warren, Devon.

Stunning pictures HERE!

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert' 
FRIDAY 30th MAY
 
BLACK-HEADED BUNTING Female 1/3 of a mile east of West Runton, just north of A149 Cromer Road at disused pig farm
Garganeys x 4, Spoonbill at Titchwell RSPB
Little Gulls x 3, Garganey at Rush Hill Scrape, Hickling Broad NWT
Garganey x 2, Spoonbill at Cley NWT
BEE-EATERS x 2 flew over Lifeboat House, Blakeney Point
Siberian Chiffchaff, Redstart, Black Redstart at Blakeney Point
RUSTIC BUNTING at Happisburgh
Black Tern at Pentney Gravel Pits
RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER Male at West end of Holkham Pines
ICTERINE WARBLER at Hungry Hill, Northrepps
Spoonbill at Brancaster

Other News
GREENISH WARBLER at Donna Nook, Lincolnshire
• Holme News HERE
 
MEGA NEWS! 
None.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Snettisham Coastal Park!

Snettisham Coastal Park – eastern most end.

I ached with tiredness from last's night's mega excitement and all I wanted to do when I got home from work was sleep. But I forced myself to go birding. With these easterlies winds and continued rain, there must be loads of exciting birds still to find, surely?!

I stayed local and went to Snettisham Coastal Park. It had stopped raining, but skies cloudy and dull. I walked miles and miles and ended up at Heacham before I turned back! Scanned every hawthorn bush all the way along for a Red-backed Shrike, nothing. Several Blackcaps singing, Sedge Warbler feeding young, Reed Warblers singing, a Cetti's Warbler burst into tune, a single Chiffchaff flicking about, Cuckoo's calling, Goldfinches, Blackbirds, Whitethroats and Hedgesparrows. As the evening progressed, so did the hirundine movement – mostly Swifts, but a few Swallows also flying through.
Yellow-horned Poppies.

Rose-Hip.

I walked back along the top coastal path and estimated 300+ Oystercatchers roosting on the shoreline – fantastic spectacle! Ringed Plover also on the beach. Several Sandwich Terns flying over inland. The highlight of the evening was two very cute fluffy white bunnies feeding on the large short turfed area. Got home shattered at 9pm.

Good news about my RBA pager, its now working again!!! I think it got damp after walking Burnham Overy Dunes the other day. I took the battery out last night and left it to dry all day and its working fine again this evening.

Andy W. told me he went to have a second look at the Black-headed Bunting this evening and said there was only about 10 people, when he was there!

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert' 
BLACK-HEADED BUNTING Female 1/3 of a mile east of West Runton, just north of A149 Cromer Road at disused pig farm
Red-backed Shrike at Beeston Regis
Golden Pheasants x 2 at Wolferton
Little Gull, Manx Shearwater, Spoonbill at Cley NWT
Spoonbill at Warham Greens
GREENISH WARBLER, Icterine Warbler, Black Redstart, Snow Bunting Adult Male, Shorelark at Blakeney Point

Other News
None.
 
MEGA NEWS! 
MEGA! COLLARED FLYCATCHER still, Fair Isle, Scotland!

RBA Weekly Round-Up 21st to 22nd May

By Mark Golley
http://www.rarebirdalert.co.uk/v2/Content/weeklyroundup2014no21.aspx?s_id=760635801

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

MEGA!!! BLACK-HEADED BUNTING TWITCH!!!

BLACK-HEADED BUNTING

West Runton – Found by Ian Prentice
Photo taken in rain and dire light at 8.39pm.

WHAOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

I got home from work and felt shattered – my birding gear was all round the house from where I left it all to dry last night, from walking Burnham Overy Dunes and I was still in my uniform. There was no news on the very rare Eastern Subalpine Warbler found at Blakeney Point today and in any case, I had no energy to walk BP late in the evening. I thought about going to Snettisham Coastal Park, but decided to be sensible and stay in, as I felt so tired. Save my energy for tomorrow night.

Suddenly,  I got a text about a Black-headed Bunting, female found at West Runton!!! WHAT!!!!! OMG! I couldn't have been less ready to go on a serious twitch if I'd tried. Massively stressful trying to get all my gear together. Coat pockets were still wet from yesterday. Uniform off, trousers on, grabbed top, flew downstairs, bundled stuff into car and was off like the wind.

Arrived at West Runton at about 7.30pm – bird gone, having been flushed by a birder (makes a change there!) Accidentially from what I heard though. I broke some of my own rules this evening and I'm sure some people weren't happy, but tough! I had driven a long way in a tired state and was now in a grumpy mood. The light was dire anyway and with rain and the clock ticking, it was becoming increasingly frustrating. Cutting a long story short, Ashley, myself and one other birder decided to carefully and quietly walk along the outer edge (only) of the garden on rough ground adjacent to the field, to see if we could see this bird. No-one in the house I hasten to add - builders doing the house up by the looks of it. No sign of the bird. Trudged back. Trousers and inside of boots completely drenched, but I didn't really care, I just wanted to see this bird.

BLACK-HEADED BUNTING

Ashley B., Lee G. and myself decided to cross the road to where the bird was first seen. It's always good to return where the bird was first found and more than often this pays off. Well it certainly did, Ashley suddenly spotted the Black-headed Bunting flying across (distantly) and then landed in a hedge!!! Wow!!! At last!!! Thank you Ashley, so much! It was a distant view, but nevertheless, there it was! We stayed still, as another 15-20 people came rushing over from the other side of the road (garden side) and there were some very happy birders, including Stuart W., Trevor D., Mike S. etc and obviously Lee G. and Ashley B. The bunting then flew into the middle of the field. We walked a bit further up, but it remained in the middle of the crop. We returned back along the hedge and round the other side of the field, so that it had a chance of returning to favoured hedge and also hopefully giving us all another chance of seeing it. This worked fabulously and the bird returned to the hedge giving everyone distant but good scope views in the failing late at around 8.30pm. Mike Sidwell was so happy he hugged me! I managed to get some poor, but decent record shots considering the disgusting weather, dire light and time! The bird then flew (not flushed in case anyone is thinking this) the whole length of the hedge to the garden on the opposite side of the road at 8.40pm. No one actually saw the bird in the garden after that, obviously gone to roost.

Walked back to my car, my boots were squelching with water inside, my trousers dripping, camera damp, bag wet. My car was screaming for fuel, I was in the red and I was hungry! Found garage at Sheringham, filled up, bought dinner: cheese and onion pasty (rubbish) and 4 toffee muffins! Ate these on route home, arriving back at 10.30pm.

If I had the energy I would return at 4am tomorrow, but I haven't and I have to be at work at 8am, so if the bird is there tomorrow, I'm sure there will be some stonking photographs. Good luck if you are going. We are on a roll now – more birds to come! The bad news is, my pager has stopped working – what a time for that to go wrong!

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert' 

TURTLE DOVE at West Beckham
Spoonbill at Titchwell RSPB
Long-tailed Skuas x 2 (probable), Manx Shearwater, Spoonbills x 2, Little Gull at Coastguards, Cley
Black Redstart at Horsey
EASTERN COMMON TERN (possible) on 19th May, Scolt Head Island
Red-backed Shrike at Kelling
EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER at 'Fairway', Icterine Warbler at 'The Plantation' at Blakeney Point
Black Kite (on Monday) flew over Caston
Bittern, Turnstones x 2, Sanderling at Rush Hill Scrape, Hickling Broad NWT
Red-backed Shrike at Weybourne
Red-backed Shrike at Beeston Regis
BLACK-HEADED BUNTING Female just north of A149 in grass strip by disused pig farm at West Runton

Other News
None.
MEGA NEWS! 
MEGA! COLLARED FLYCATCHER Fair Isle, Scotland!

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

GUN HILL & BURNHAM OVERY DUNES!

As I'm sure most of you are aware – well certainly those birders in Norfolk, its been lashing down with rain and strong North Easterly winds, from dawn to dusk and still raining now at 23.00. Ideal conditions to drop in some rare birds, hopefully anyway! So, with the very disappointing news of 'no sign of the Black-headed Bunting...' in finder's Sue Bignell's garden at Cromer, I decided to go and find my own birds. So off I went to one of my favourite places to find migrants, Gun Hill and Burnham Overy Dunes!

I sometimes ask myself what the h*ll am I doing, walking in pouring rain to find birds, but one day, just one day, it might pay off! Parked up in the layby on the A149 and set off down the track, still pouring with rain. There was one birder just returning, who said the wind was blowing so much, he didn't think it was worth walking the Gun Hill side – this was my chance! I didn't see anyone else out there after that.

A Cuckoo erupted from a tree by the first stile. Saw the odd Meadow Pipit, Skylark and Reed Bunting along the top path and also a Marsh Harrier flew west. A few Little Egrets were dotted about on the marshes. When I reached the bushes and scrub at the end of the path it seemed pretty dead. But, when I 'pished' next to the small apple tree, there was at least three birds flicking about in there, but I could not get them out to ID, however hard I tried, so frustrating!

Walking west to Gun Hill, I flushed two different birds in the sueda bushes, but they disappeared just as quickly as they had appeared and I couldn't find them again! A Meadow Pipit was feeding in the large expanse of short turf next to Gun Hill itself. Then the excitement started – in the bushes on the seawards side of Gun Hill, there were several birds flicking about and teasing me. The first one was sitting in a bramble and appeared to have a pale, streaky breast – as soon as I got the bins on it.... it dived in, out of sight – possibly a Spotted Flycatcher, who knows! Several more birds flew out of bushes, landed in others and I couldn't get on any of them, incredibly frustrating. Very difficult birding conditions, with rain filled binoculars, wind and poor light. Walked back and didn't see anything more until I reached the bottom path on the last stretch back – a bunting landed in a puddle which I managed to see through bins before it flew off over the marsh... no more than a female Reed Bunting!

The path back was even more water logged now than it was on the walk out! Got back to my car at 9.15pm. So many wet clothes and stuff to sort out! The drive home was pretty scary to be honest – I had to slow down considerably, lots of flooding to contend with. Got home just after 10pm.

It should be teaming with birds when the sun eventually appears! This weather is forecast to continue with rain and NE winds through tomorrow and Thursday with no let up in the rain. Friday will be the day with the sun appearing at 1pm!

Springwatch at Minsmere this Evening!

The second episode is now on BBC iPlayer.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b045grl1/springwatch-2014-episode-2

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert' 
Spoonbill, Little Gulls x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Redstart fem. on east side of Burnham Overy Dunes
Long-tailed Skua (possible) flew west at Coastguards, Cley
Quail singing in field at Choseley Drying Barns
Garganey Drake at Redwell Marsh, NOA

Other News
GREENISH WARBLER & COMMON ROSEFINCH at Languard Nature Reserve, Suffolk
GOLDEN ORIOLE Minsmere, Suffolk
• News from Holme HERE and Titchwell HERE

MEGA NEWS! 
MEGA! COLLARED FLYCATCHER Tiree, Argyll and Bute, Scotland

Monday, 26 May 2014

Springwatch at Minsmere this Evening!

If you missed this first episode as I did, its on BBC iPlayer now.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b045g3y8/springwatch-2014-episode-1

Bank Holiday: Chasing MEGAS After Work!!!

In my 15 minute tea-break at work, I managed to open the RBA website on my phone and was excited to see, that a probable BOOTED EAGLE was been watched in Norfolk!!! I finished work at 2pm, a later time than normal, drove home, showered, changed and was half way through cooking a proper lunch (not done this for ages!) when the pager bleeped up with MEGA SLENDER-BILLED GULL Adult reported at Titchwell RSPB at 3.28pm. My god, which way and what to do!!!? Before this came up, I was going to spend the evening sitting high up on Muckleburgh Hill to wait for the Booted Eagle to sail pass. Slender-billed Gull said 'reported', so carried on cooking my lunch. Next message was 'no sign' at 3.40pm, message after that said 'again at 3.52pm, then 3.58pm and finally at 4.02pm when it then flew east. Even if I had left on the first 3.28pm message, I wouldn't have quite made it, even with my driving record (whoops, must remember a policeman reads my blog!!!).

Believing the gull to hopefully still be there, I left the house anyway and headed for Titchwell via Choseley Barns. At Choseley Barns there were several birders, who had headed west for the gull when the last message had said flown east. Steve and Sue G., John F. and Mark G., Dave Holman and wife and others were looking for quail etc, but not heard whilst I spent a short while with them. No turtle dove whilst I was there either! One Corn Bunting on the concrete pad though.

I continued to Titchwell RSPB. Walking along the main path I bumped into Ashley and Claudia Banwell and their beautiful daughter Alice who has grown up so much since I last saw her – she told me that she will be 5 soon! Ashley pointed out a Kittiwake that was on the pool, left of the main track and was looking quite poorly. There were a good number of people lined up on the bank with scopes, all looking fed-up and I heard different stories from glum faces saying 'I only missed it by 10 minutes' and another..... 'only missed it by 2 minutes' etc! At the end of the line of birders were Andy W. and Justin L., so I stood with them to enjoy the usual banter and verbal abuse!!! They didn't get here in time either – having not seen the last ones in Cley 2000 because of being abroad at the time, they really wanted to see this bird. We found out whilst here that the gull had flow 'high' east when it left, so it didn't look too promising! Lovely selection of birds here though: 6 Spoonbills, 2 Red-crested Pochards flew over, 1 Greenshank on far reedbed pool edge, 2 lovely Little Gulls, Little-ringed Plover, Common Terns, Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits etc. Bumped into James H., Pat and Geoff and also met a couple who read my blog (nice to meet you both). We decided that because of the bird flying off high east, it was more than likely to have moved on, so we walked back to the carpark. The Kittiwake was still there, but looking even more sorry for itself than when I saw it before.

I decided that a good place for the Slender-billed Gull to relocate to would be Cley! So off I went along the coast to join Eddie in Dauke's Hide. Sadly, there was very little on the Cley NWT Pools at all. There is a large gull roost at Burnham Overy – I hope that someone had a look there. Left Dauke's hide and then, alone I searched Arnold's Marsh from the East Bank until 9.30pm. Mute Swans on the 'Serpentine'. Little Egrets, Black-headed Gulls, Shelducks, Avocets and the best bird was a Greenshank. I could see quite a number of gulls on 'Sea Pool', but too far to ID with my scope. Whilst here, the third mega came up for the day!!! 'BLACK-HEADED BUNTING on feeder in garden, Cromer' I couldn't believe that I was only a matter of miles away from this bird and it was in a private garden!!! Tried phoning a couple of people to find out if they knew where exactly, but no joy. Another bird lost today!

Holiday now ended, back at work tomorrow. Better make sure I have the car packed up with birding gear ready, as several birders are saying tomorrow and Wednesday should be good with north easterlies and rain coming our way!

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert' 
Spoonbill east over Horsey Corner
Spoonbill, Garganey at Rush Hill Scrape, Hickling Broad NWT
Spoonbills x 2 at Breydon Water
• SLENDER-BILLED GULL, Spoonbills x 6, Little Gulls x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
TURTLE DOVES x 2, Quail at Choseley Drying Barns
TURTLE DOVES x 3 at Snettisham Coastal Park
Spoonbills x 3 at Stiffkey Fen
• BOOTED EAGLE (probable) flew NW over Norwich Cathedral, West over North Walsham, over Whitlingham Lane, Norwich, then Hickling Broad NWT, Northrepps then North over Cromer at 2.40pm which was the last sighting today.
HONEY BUZZARD flew west over Sheringham
Spoonbills x 2 at Gorleston
Common Cranes x 2 at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
Spoonbills x 2, Shags x 2 at Wells Harbour
Yellow-legged Gull at Abbey Farm Hide, Flitcham
• BLACK-HEADED BUNTING Male on feeder in garden, Cromer
TURTLE DOVES x 2 at Holme Dunes NWT

Other News
BLACK STORK seen at Crowie and Keadby, Lincolnshire

 
MEGA NEWS! 
MEGA! BOOTED EAGLE Probable flew north over Cromer, Norfolk

MEGA! SLENDER-BILLED GULL at Titchwell RSPB, Norfolk
MEGA! BLACK-HEADED BUNTING in garden at Cromer, Norfolk

BLACK-HEADED BUNTING at Cromer!

Male, on feeder in garden this evening!

Found by Sue Bignell – she has just joined BF HERE

If the bird is still present tomorrow, then there will be access to the garden after 1pm.

Two previous records in Norfolk:
  • 1989, Blakeney Point September 10th and 11th.
  • 1979, Cley April 20th to 3rd May. 
Pictures on RBA HERE & HERE

MEGA! SLENDER-BILLED GULL!

From Parrinder Hide, Titchwell RSPB!!!

First reported at 3.28pm – 'mobile'.  Still at 4.02pm then flew high east.

This is the third record for county, last time being two birds in Cley in 2000 and previously to that in 1987 at Cley and Blakeney Harbour, also two birds.

Discussion here: http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=283712

Picture here: http://www.rarebirdalert.co.uk/RealData/gallery_show.asp?galleryid=25561#.U4N_aZ2QPVk.facebook

MEGA! BOOTED EAGLE!

"PROBABLE"

Seen in various places in East Norfolk, last seen going North over Cromer at 2.40pm!!!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Sunday Afternoon!

Worked in the morning, got home, sat on sofa, fell asleep. Later on I went to the vodafone shop who told me that my storage space had indeed run out!!! Ok, so I had alot of pictures on there, but nowhere near as many as what I had on my old 3G phone. It was explained to me that, certain things on a new iphone would take up more space eg: Apps would be now be a higher version than what they were on the old phone and would take up space etc etc. Can't go into it all now, as its boring. I was told that the phone can be tested in an Apple store on a diagnostic machine to check if it is faulty. Re: the internet not working, they couldn't see any problem with the phone!!! They did however say that my sturdy waterproof case around phone might be affecting the signal and to try using the phone without this.... so I will put on the funky, girly case I bought for it aswell and see what happens!

Picked both my sisters up and we all spent the afternoon with my parents which was lovely. We hadn't all seen each other together, since our parent's Wedding Anniversary on 30th March. On route back, we had to kill time before Vivien's train departure, so we stopped at various places on route. At Old Hunstanton duck pond there were several cute little ducklings. Stopped at the old Lynn Road, which is now a track/cycle path that goes over the Babingley Bridge – there was a wonderful field of poppies here – drove up as far as 'Onion Corner' where wild garlic grows in abundance and the aroma was almost overpowering! I take my sister's to such exciting places!!! This area is favoured by Barn Owls but we didn't see any this evening. Sheep in the field opposite the poppies, all looked very pretty, but no birds of note, apart from a Wren and a Pheasant.

Work tomorrow for six hours and then I might actually cut the front hedge tomorrow – well if there are no birds to see!

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert' 
Spoonbills x 3 at Breydon Water
Little Stint, Garganey, Little Gulls x 2,  Sanderling, Grey Plover at Rush Hill Scrape, Hickling Broad NWT
Common Cranes x 5, Little Gull at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
Spoonbill, Little Gulls x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Spoonbills x 3 at Berney Marshes RSPB
TURTLE DOVE at Northrepps
TURTLE DOVE, Quails x 2 at Choseley Drying Barns
TURTLE DOVES x 7, Quail at Snettisham Coastal Park
Common Cranes x 5 at Cantley Marshes RSPB
Spoonbills x 5, Garganey at Holkham
TURTLE DOVE at Holme Dunes NWT
Spoonbill flew over Blakeney Point
Spoonbill flew east over Cley
Spoonbill at Cley NWT
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILL Male at Lynford Aboretum

Other News
GREAT REED WARBLER singing at Saltfleetby, Theddlethorpe NNR, Lincolnshire

BEE-EATERS x 5 flew SW over Helpston, Cambridgeshire
 
MEGA NEWS! 
MEGA! BOOTED EAGLE flew north over Worth, Kent!

Saturday, 24 May 2014

BLAKENEY POINT!

SPOTTED FLYCATCHER
The Plantation, Blakeney Point


It was raining as I left the house and continued to do so. I was first on the carpark at Coastguards, Cley this morning, I can't remember what time it was now, it seems so long ago, but it was early. Sat in the car for a bit, deciding if I was 'man enough' to walk in the rain to search for rares. NWT Warden Bernard Bishop pulled up the carpark and we chatted briefly. Julian B. also turned up and we had a catch up – Julian felt there would definitely be birds around today and asked me not find anything good until he was free later at 5pm!!! Something really funny then happened – a police car pulled up in the carpark (unusual for here) and the window wound down and a policeman started talking to me, like he knew me!!!! I was really taken back!!! My first thoughts were... what have I done!!! He did know me, well kind of, he follows my blog, oh dear!!! I said, I must make sure I don't mention my driving or overtaking etc anymore......he laughed. He told Julian and I that he had seen the White Cockateil (seen at BP recently) at Walsey Hills sitting in a pine tree – can't remember what day he saw this though.

The rain suddenly eased off, time to go! Packed my serious, waterproof rucksack up and off I went. Started raining again, as I had expected, looking at the forecast yesterday, which was rain, rain and more rain! As soon as my boots crunched into the shingle, Reed Buntings and Meadow Pipits scattered – this was a very good sign indeed. Don't normally get much at all before 'Halfway House'. Rain now heavier and the skies were black. Managed to 'tweet' to Twitter for the first time on the iphone. The Reed Bunting and Meadow Pipit theme continued to Halfway House and I also had one Chiffchaff. A few Linnets in the mix along with a few Hedgesparrows. There was a family staying in the house and they were sawing drift wood for the fire. I worked hard today to find something and covered every bit of the 'Point' that I could. A massive thunderstorm with sheet lightening then started – I love thunderstorms normally, when I'm indoors, but its pretty scary being out in one! I was being pelted with rain so hard, I thought for a moment it was hail! As the lightening flashed, I was thinking about the fact that I don't have a will!!!

When the storm finished, the sun came out, magic! That would bring the birds out surely? I got my new iphone out of pocket (see yesterday's post) to take a picture... I was shocked when it wouldn't allow me to take a picture as I 'hadn't got enough storage and I needed to go to settings to manage this'. I don't want to ruin this post with me moaning about the phone again, but it was quite unbelievable what happened today, this is my second new phone for goodness sake! I phoned vodafone and they told me how to re-set the network settings, turn the phone off for 10 minutes, back on again and it would be fine. Did this and it worked and I could take pictures again, BUT I then couldn't open the internet at all and got messages saying I needed to check my internet connection. Phoned vodafone again, they got me change something in cellular data, turn phone off, back on. Didn't work. Phoned again, different instructions, still didn't work. Gave up. Oh and later on I couldn't take any more pictures again (with same message) – my god what a nightmare with this phone business, I could scream, I really could! The last lady I spoke to said she would ring me later to see if was all working again.

Back to birds! Nothing else of note. Walked round 'The Hood' and 'Long Hills' and again nothing of note, just more Meadow Pipits and a few Grey Partridges. A Marsh Harrier flew over the Lifeboat House. At 'The Plantation' things were a bit more exciting – a lovely Spotted Flycatcher appeared! A very mobile one and one that did not want to be photographed – my first picture was a dark smudge on a branch! There was also a second Spotted Flycatcher in there later. A Chiffchaff was flicking about and there were Meadows Pipits and Linnets, but nothing else in there. Sat on the concrete next to the 'Lupins' (next to Lifeboat House) and watched another Spotted Flycatcher, along with Linnets and Meadow Pipits.

Walked to 'Near Point' and searched hard for a Bluethroat or something, but only found a single Wheatear. Chatted to Ajay and other volunteers briefly. Ajay said he had not seen yesterday's Red-backed Shrike this morning. Walked back to the Plantation and found James M. and Ashely who had also seen very little on route. Very disappointing not to find more migrants after the slog in the rain out here, oh well, that's the way it goes I suppose. Sat by the plantation again and watched the Spotted Flycatchers flicking about in the middle of the scrub. It was wonderfully warm now and after having my lunch, I decided a snooze was in order! As I cat napped a voice said 'hello'....... it was Paul the warden – we chatted and even he said, that something would be found here today. Paul left and then James and Ashley appeared again – we sat and gazed into the Plantation again. They both left just before me. I managed to get some half decent shots of a Spotted Flycatcher in the big Tamarisk shrub just before I left at 5.30pm.
Spotted Flycatcher, Blakeney Point.

Chiffchaff in 'The Plantation'

Walked back through the single and sueda, hoping to find something on the way back. 2 Gannets flew east along the sea at 6pm. Nothing else of note at all. Legs starting to ache and it had started raining again! After passing Half Way House, I had had enough, after reaching the end of the roped off area for nesting, I made a bee-line for the hard sand of the beach and walked back to Coastguards. Every time I looked up (as is usual) the boats on the shingle, never looked any bigger! That last 1/4 of a mile always takes forever! Eventually plodded over the shingle at 7.30pm. So many wet clothes to sort. Collapsed in the car with coffee and a cheese roll. Vodafone lady phones me up, to ask if everything is working now? 'No' I reply. She sounded very very nervous when she said I think your handset might be faulty!!!!!!! Long and short of it, I am going into the Vodafone shop in Lynn tomorrow afternoon after work. I will remain cool this time and just plonk phone on the counter and explain that I can't use the camera or the internet when I am out and see what they say or do about that! The tehnical team at Vodafone couldn't solve it.

A hard day's searching today and was hoping for a good smattering of migrants. Mike Sidwell had bird of the day with his find of a Red-backed Shrike at Burnham Overy Dunes. I really hope nothing too exciting is found when I am work tomorrow morning!

PICTURES TO FOLLOW

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert' 
Quail singing at Choseley Barns
Curlew Sandpiper, Spoonbills x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Little Gull x 4, Garganey x 2 at Rush Hill Scrape, Hickling Broad NWT
HONEY BUZZARD at Holt
Spoonbills x 5 at Horsey
Spoonbills x 5 flew SW over Hickling Broad NWT
Spoonbill flew west over Wells
Spoonbill, Whinchat at Stiffkey Greens
Spoonbill x 2 east over Blakeney Harbour
RED-BACKED SHRIKE fem. Burnham Overy Dunes, 100 yards west of west end of Holkham Pines (Mike Sidwell)
Spoonbills x 10 on pond by Decoy Wood, Holkham
Little Gull, Spoonbill at Breydon Water
TURTLE DOVE at Choseley Drying Barns
Spoonbill flew west over Great Yarmouth

Other News
• 3 Spotted Flycatchers, Blakeney Point (PAC)

 
MEGA NEWS! 
None!

Friday, 23 May 2014

Barn Owl Chicks Stolen from Haddiscoe Island Mill, Norfolk!

There are some nasty, cruel people out there, I hope they are caught. How could someone do such a thing! To take these chicks from the nest and not feel some kind of guilt, totally wicked!!! Unbelievable! All for money.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-27524641

Bank Holiday Weekend Birding!

Should be a good weekend for birds with 4 Red-backed Shrikes turning up at Spurn Point, Red-backed Shrikes, Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Red-breasted Flycatchers, Wood Warbler, Bluethroat and numerous Bee-eaters turning up at Flamborough Head and other east coast spots, hopefully we might strike gold with a few goodies in Norfolk, hopefully anyway!

Winds have been SE today and continue SE tomorrow with heavy rain and thunder thrown in – all looking good!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/2652856

I WILL be birding from dawn until dusk tomorrow, as its my last full day birding. Working Sunday and Monday shifts that finish early afternoon, so a chance to get out there late pm if I need to!

Have a good bank holiday weekend everyone!

ANGRY BIRD!!!

No, not the App, ME, angry, frustrated, p***ed off and a whole load of unmentionable words!!! Yesterday I realised that my wonderful new iphone 5s was in fact a faulty handset, texts have not been getting through to me, when I'm talking on the phone, my voice fades out to nothing and then back to normal again, certain aspects of the phone not working. SO, I phone Vodafone who say they will send a new phone out to me. I asked if it can be delivered to my local V. Shop so that if eg a mega turns up, at least I can collect it when I want to! They agreed to this and said it would arrive tomorrow (Friday). After this phonecall I get a text message, confirming the order, but the old phone needs to be exchanged at the same time! So I phone them again (was in Cley at this point) and my phone is playing up so much that the customer service lady can't even hear what I am saying, so has to phone back on my orange pay-as-you go phone. The lady I was speaking to (not english, sorry to say this but....) did not understand what I was trying to explain, that the phone needs to be copied onto the new one before its taken away. Eventually she seemed to understand this and said it would be fine for the shop to return the old phone after I collected the new one..... everything will be fine she laughed. I phoned my vodaphone shop FOUR times (answerphone) to ask them to ring me, to make sure I was doing all the right things and to ask them to ring me back to discuss them ringing me tomorrow when the phone was delivered. On the fourth phone call at 5.28pm yesterday I threatened to close the account if they didn't ring me back – they didn't, I was fuming.

This morning I get a text saying the phone will be delivered to the store between 9.50am and 10.50am, not too bad I thought...... not long after that I get an email saying item has not been delivered as there was a problem and would I like Tuesday or Wednesday re-delivery..... and to contact the 'sender'. Couldn't believe this!!! I phone Vodafone and speak to an advisor who says that the phone had to be exchanged for the old one at the time of delivery. I then explain angrily that the lady I spoke to yesterday, said it didn't have to be exchanged at the same time. The lady repeated the same thing again and I put the phone down.

Stormed into town, found free parking place, long walk and stood in the queue in the vodaphone shop. I then find out that yes, the phone was delivered and promptly taken away again as no phone to exchange with! The shop apologised for not ringing back – NOT good enough!!! They then tell me that because I bought the phone from vodafone direct, rather than them, that they can't exchange the phone for me. But, I pointed out, that they are all the same company, I don't understand why. I was asked if I would like to speak to customer service again at Vodafone, which I then did and said I would be closing my account if I didn't go out of here with a new phone. This tactic seemed to work and they had to do lots of special things (oh dear, note sarcasm) involving speaking to the regional manager, faxing stuff, emailing stuff, getting codes and so on. Then I had to wait for stuff on old phone to icloud across to new handset and all the rigmarole that normally then happens.

Left the shop after 3pm! Then realised I had to re-set the phone into the car again, which seemed to take longer than last time. Meanwhile, birds are turning up at Blakeney Point and I'm not happy.

When I got home, passwords had to be put in again, some worked, some didn't etc etc. One good bit of news, I found out why my blogpress app hasn't been working for ages, so I will test it out tomorrow in the field when I find that mega!!!

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert' 
Little Gulls x 3 at Hickling Broad NWT
Garganey, Little Gull, Spoonbill at Titchwell RSPB
Grey-headed Wagtail, Wood Sandpiper at Kelling (MAG)
BEE-EATER in garden (then flew south) at Winterton (I could cry, a Bee-eater in your garden!)
Little Stint, Little Gull, Garganey at Rush Hill Scrape, Hickling Broad NWT
RED-BACKED SHRIKE, Snow Bunting, Stone Curlew at Blakeney Point (see pictures of the RBS and SB here on the BP Blog)
TURTLE DOVE at Snettisham Coastal Park
Bufflehead (esc) at Bayfield Hall Lake
Whinchat at Gramborough Hill, Salthouse
RAVEN flew east over North Creake
TURTLE DOVE at Choseley Drying Barns

Other News
BEE-EATERS x 4 flew south over Bawdsey Cliffs, Suffolk
Red-rumped Swallow at Felixstowe, Suffolk
GREAT REED WARBLER at Gibraltar Point NNR, Lincolnshire

• News from Holme HERE
• News from Titchwell HERE
MEGA NEWS! 
MEGA! SNOWY OWLBenbecula, Western Isles!
MEGA! BAILLON'S CRAKEstill, Oare Marshes Nature Reserve, Kent!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Searching for Rares!

I arrived at Cley to walk Blakeney Point – surely there had to be something of interest down there today? I parked in the NWT Visitor Centre carpark and walked to Bishop's Hide. The clouds were looming, but the sun was currently out. Nothing of note on the pools, the usual Avocets, Redshanks, Greylags, Shovelers, but water levels high, so not going to see much on there at the moment.

Parked at Cley Coastguards and got my rucksack sorted and ready to walk Blakeney Point. I heard through the grapevine that James M. was on BP and was seeing diddly squat! Hmmmm...... well if James was seeing nothing, I couldn't see the 'point'!!! I heard later via FB, that there was a Mega Bird down the 'point'..... a White Cockatiel, which has been there for a couple of days apparently!

Stiffkey Campsite Wood
Re-located to Stiffkey Campsite Wood. The dark clouds had been gathering for a while and a massive thunderstorm started with lashing rain, so I sat in the car until it passed. The only birds I saw in the wood were: Blackcap, Chaffinch, Wren, Robin, Hedgesparrow, Blackbirds and Wood Pigeons. On the ploughed field at the east end of the campsite there were Red-legged Partridges x 2, Blackbirds x 2, Oystercatchers x 2, Pied Wagtails x 2 and a few Wood Pigeons. Back at my car whilst having a coffee a Barn Owl flew past east. Little Egrets on the marsh and that was about it.

West Track, Warham Greens
No one else here and no birds either, well I say no birds..... few Chaffinches, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Blackcap. Feeling bored, I photographed arty farty cloud and tree pictures! Walked east, up to the barn and watched hares playing as the sun was setting. Back at the car on the concrete pad, a Marsh Harrier flew low past me. 3 Swallows landed on the dead tree along with a Chaffinch. I saw another Barn Owl as I was leaving carring prey (looked like a rat).

Note: a new picture has been added to my Terek Sandpiper post, taken by Dean Eades!

PICTURES TO BE ADDED

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert' 
Grey-headed Wagtail at Overstrand
Spoonbill at Stiffkey
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILL Male at Lynford Aboretum
Little Stint at Cley NWT
Wood Sandpipers x 4 at Kelling Water Meadows
Wood Sandpiper, Black Terns x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Garganey, Little Stints x 4, Knot, Sanderlings x 2, Turnstones x 2, Little Gulls x 3 at Rush Hill Scrape, Hickling Broad NWT
TURTLE DOVE at Horsey Gap
Woodlark a Hemsby
 
Other News
BEE-EATER flew north over Corton new sewage works towards Hopton, Suffolk
MEGA! White Cockatiel at Blakeney Point. See pictures


MEGA NEWS! 

MEGA! CALANDRA LARKFair Isle, Shetland!

MEGA! BAILLON'S CRAKEOare Marshes Nature Reserve, Kent!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Birding at Burnham Norton!

Sedge Warbler at Burnham Norton

Spending far too long blogging and editing pictures of late and not enough time out in the field!!! At 2am this morning, I just couldn't carry on looking through over 500 pictures of the Terek Sandpiper! So gave in and went to bed. With refreshed eyes this morning I sorted through them all and added to blog and usual RBA, Birdguides, Surfbirds and Birdforum sites.

I don't what happened to the forecast rain and cloud with east winds, that the BBC had clearly stated yesterday, as it didn't happen here! Its been sunny all day – well until 9pm when it started raining.
Reed Bunting at Burnham Norton.

Greylags at Burnham Norton.

Lapwing at Burnham Norton.
You can hear this same bird on the video below.


This afternoon I walked the three miles around Burnham Norton Marshes hoping to find my own Terek Sandpiper in the marshy pools or something anyway! I had the entire place to myself and not a dog in sight – magical!

Birds seen: Marsh Harrier, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Shelducks, Tufted Ducks, Shovelers, Redshanks, Avocets, Sedge and Reed warbler, Swallows, House Martins and Swifts late afternoon, 2 Mistle Thrushes on roof of house in carpark, Reed Buntings, Whitethroats, Blackcap singing, Wood Pigeons, 2 Cuckoos, Cormorants, Lapwings, Little, Common and Sandwich Tern, Black-headed Gulls. So just the usual birds, well I say usual, they were lovely don't get me wrong, but WHERE was my Terek Sandpiper! Oh well, another day tomorrow! Beautiful sunset as I was leaving.

  SUN SETTING AT BURNHAM NORTON