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Saturday, 19 September 2015

Titchwell RSPB, Burnham Norton & Holme!

Delivered some shopping early morning to my parents, father was eating his breakfast, so I only stopped for 10 minutes and visited properly later. A beautiful sunny day, but it was dire for birds and I have never seen so many fed up looking birders as I did today!

Titchwell RSPB
I started my birding off in the Titchwell RSPB carpark, in hope of finding a Yellow-browed Warbler, but best I could do was: 2 Blackcaps, 1 Whitethroat, a Wren, Robins, Goldfinches, Chaffinches, Magpies and Woodpigeon! Oh and four Siskins flew over west.

I spent a long time around The Fen Trail where I found a Goldcrest (a Firecrest would have been nicer!), Cetti's Warbler, Long-tailed Tits, Great Tit, Blue Tits, Greenfinches and on to The East Trail to the furthest point, where I found 3 Spoonbills on the main pool. Met some nice people who had walked in from Briarfields Hotel via the new walk that links up with the East Trail path and chatted to them about birds at Titchwell and Binoculars etc. Very pleased to see there are now benches and seats all the way along the East Trail to the furthest viewing point. On Patsy's Pool there were 2 Little Egrets, 1 Heron, Snipe, 1 Pochard, Little Grebe, Mallard, a good number of Lapwings, another Cetti's Warbler singing and a Marsh Harrier glided over the reed beds. Ambled back to the 'Feeding Station' and had lunch outside and was joined by some local birders. Met a nice lady who introduced herself as 'one of your blog readers' in the shop. There was a Binocular and Telescope event going on, so it was extra busy at Titchwell RSPB today.

I left to go to Burnham Deepdale to buy another one of those scrumptious peanut butter Cornetto's, topped with dark chocolate. There were some beautifully attired wedding guests walking around the car parking area, who's outfits looked like a year's worth of my wages! They looked like they should be getting into a Rolls Royce's at the very least for their departure, but to my amusement all piled into a coach for their next destination!

Burnham Norton
The weather remained beautiful, but the bird situation today was dire to say the least. 4 Curlews on the marsh, Greylag Geese, 2 Mute Swans, 1 Marsh Harrier. It was so birdless, I didn't walk the normal full circuit round.

Memory Lane!
Returned to Holme to visit my parents and spent a good while with them. Father looked loads better on his new medication and a whole lot calmer. I was reminiscing with him about things we could remember at Holme Bird Observatory, to try and bring a smile to his face. I tried to recall all the NWT wardens before Gary Hibbard, who included Bill Boyd, John Newton (remember Ethy the goat that used to eat the tyres from visitor's cars in the car park!?), Peter Singleton, Major Cotter (his children Margaret and Patrick when to Holme Primary School with me) and Group Captain Christie. We talked about our fond memories of the chestnuts on the tortoiseshell wood burner, that would suddenly explode and scatter over the concrete floor and the jacket potatoes cooked in silver foil. We remembered characters that have remained in our memory banks, including twitcher Big Jake who always appeared at every twitch, he wore a long black trench coat and had long black hair (bumped into him since moving back), Ron Longstaff (RIP) who would mimic a Cuckoo brilliantly and you always knew of his arrival, especially in mid winter when you would hear a cuckoo calling somewhere along the main bank!!! Jim and Beryl Jolly who lived at Snettisham who made (Beryl) lots of craft type goods for the NOA to sell and were the funniest people ever and always had everyone roaring with laughter on the weekly Saturday visits. John and Mary Dixon who were the first members (I do believe) of the NOA and wonderful people – John assisted to build the Sea-watching hide, which is still in place today. Malcolm and Eileen White who also visited most Saturday's and remain good family friends. Malcolm was an excellent photographer and I used to find lizards for him to photograph. I didn't bring up the subject of Richard Richardson as I knew this would upset Father. We remembered dear Geoff Want (another RIP) who lived in Norwich and would also visit with his collie dog called Sandy – Geoff was an excellent birder and also artist. Geoff painted a wonderful watercolour of a Pekin Robin that visited the reserve, a wonderfully colourful cage bird – I still have that picture. Also Dave and Eve Pond who lived in Hertfordshire, but regularly came up on the train, then bus to Thornham and would walk along the Thornham bank to HBO – they were one of my favourite couples from the good old days. Our Great Aunty Ile who lived in Hanover Gardens, Hunstanton made the best coffee sandwich ever and she would bake one for us weekly – father would visit her once a week with one of his daughters on the back of his vespa scooter (some of you may remember this) and bring back a coffee sponge – but he never bought the tin (with cake in) into the house – he would put it straight into his work bag and it would get taken straight down to the observatory the following morning – that way, the cake lasted much longer and if you wanted any, you had to come down to the obs!!! I can understand why he did this with four females in the house – it would have been consumed in minutes! We could have talked all day about memories at the observatory, but I could see the Father could only take in so much. I was going to return to Titchwell to walk along the main path and photograph waders etc, but the day had disappeared and not much time left, so decided to nip to the village hides, know officially as Holme Marsh Reserve NWT.

Holme Marsh NWT
I have not been here for ages. You can tell that my Mother hasn't been here for a long time. She used to sweep the hides out with dustpan and bush, wash the cushions that she supplied for the hides and generally keep everything tidy. The hides didn't look like they had been swept out in months, there was rubbish in all three hides and generally looked neglected – I felt quite sad seeing it like this. Some lazy, selfish person had left a discarded paper hot chocolate cup on the shelf – wonder how long that had been there! A couple whom I met in the second hide, said the first hide view had been non-existent and had been overgrown for months, but had recently been cut only a couple of weeks ago. But the second hide was a complete waste of time – I have never seen so much reed growth in front. You could hardly see any of the water in the pool, needs a massive trim back – hopefully this will be done soon by NWT staff. I didn't get as far as the third hide to investigate the state of affairs there. Whilst in the second hide I saw a Short-eared Owl, Barn Owl and a Common Buzzard over the marsh. I don't know if there were any birds on the pool, as I couldn't see the pool!!! Walked back to my car as the sun was setting and then drove home via Ringstead.

PICTURES TO BE ADDED

1 comment:

  1. " who's outfits looked like a year's worth of my wages!".... rented Penny, rented!!
    And, thinking about it...
    a coach makes sense on the roads of North Norfolk...
    don't tell your Mother about the state of the hide...
    she's enough on her plate!
    Coffee sponge would probably go down well!!

    One of our local Supermarkets does a special dieters' chocolate...
    it isn't labelled as such...
    but it has taken me five minutes to get into the multipack!!

    I know they weren't megas....
    but I would have been quite happy to see a Barn Owl back here...
    our guest was walking round our meadow and saw one hunting...
    Pauline's heard one...
    but I've not... if you see what I mean!!
    Following on from "Osprey" the buzzard... still around, but moved about 500mtrs down the road....
    we've now got one that loks like a female Harrier...
    a very clear white ring at the rump...
    then it passes by and is very clearly a buzzard....
    wings the wrong shape!
    But a male Monty was quartering the field next door and flew over the potager and verger [veg garden and orchard]....
    and on across our meadow...
    at least I couldn't confuse that with a buzzard!
    Keep well,
    Tim

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