In a sycamore tree between the Wimpy and Boots in King's Lynn!
Urban Birding, Look Up!
On my arrival home from a very hot day at work, I got a text from Norfolk birder Jim S. (not currently in Norfolk) to tell me his daughter had seen a 'big owl' sitting in the middle of a tree between the Wimpy and Boots the chemist! Lots of people had been watching it all day. This worried me slightly – what if no birders had actually seen this and well.... it could have been a Scops Owl couldn't it!!! So I had to go! As I approached the tree I got really excited, what if....... I peered up into the branches of a very tall sycamore tree to find a Tawny Owl looking very relaxed in the upper most branches of the tree. It was wonderful to see, but I was slightly disappointed! How awesome it would have been to ring RBA with news of a Scops Owl in the middle of King's Lynn town centre – that would have been mega!!! Mind you, after my 1st April joke, would anyone have believed me I wonder! Maybe, maybe not!
I had some interesting conversations with passerbys. including two teenage girls all dressed up for a night out on the town. They seemed slightly interested in why I was pointing a camera up into the branches of an empty tree, so I told them all about the Tawny owl and they genuinely looked excited when I pointed out the bird to them. I explained that birding was not boring and wasn't all about fuddy duddy men in glasses and hats etc. I tried to sell it them by saying there were some very dishy young men that go birding! Also said that there still isn't that many females that go birding and we needed more! I finished off by saying that the Tawny Owl would be more active later and that he would look even better after a few drinks, especially when he started to cruise down the High Street looking for a takeaway!!! They laughed their heads off and carried on to their venue, wherever that was! I wonder if they returned later? Maybe not!
A young lad who worked in the amusement arcade said 'the owl is there regularly', but he '....doesn't usually see it in the daytime, it usually turns up in the evening.' This seems quite an unusual place for a Tawny Owl to be, but the tree is more than big enough for him to be out of harms way from people. There was a decapitated jay beneath him in the middle of the metal circular seat, which surrounds the tree! I also spoke to a man whom I recognised from working at the QEH – I had no idea he was a birder and he had no idea that I was 'Penny' from 'pennyshotbirding....' he then went on to say that he knew '...hundreds of people' that read my blog – made me smile!
King's Lynn is obviously a popular hotspot for owls. My last siting of an owl, was of the magnificent escaped Eagle Owl perched in a tree in William Street, King's Lynn. We'll have the Scops next please!
Millfleet, which is opposite Boal Quay car park. I have seen Kingfisher here in the past, but not visited for a while. As soon as I reached the wooden railing that overlooks the water, I had spectacular views of a female Kingfisher balancing on a willow branch and then diving into the water to catch a fish and zooming off – a stunning flash of turquoise! I couldn't believe my luck! But, naturally when I got the camera out of the bag, it never returned so close again. I also watched 2 Goldfinches, a juv Blackbird, a Moorhen and some Mallards. The Kingfisher was shooting up and down the stream and returned to the massive willow which overhangs the water to fish again. I didn't once manage to photograph it in full view though. My only picture is a dreadful achievement, but all I could manage, before the rain exploded out of the skies at 9pm and had to sprint to the car, before I got drenched.
Millfleet, King's Lynn