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Tuesday, 31 October 2017

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Richard's Pipit x 2, Russian White-fronted Geese x 3, Hawfinches x 10, Shorelark, Water Pipit, Hen Harrier at Titchwell RSPB
Black-throated Diver, Red-necked Grebe, Little Auk, Lapland Bunting at Cley
Hawfinches x 15 flew over Hunstanton
Hawfinch flew over Thetford
Hawfinch flew over South Lopham
Hen Harrier, Twite x 15 at Thornham
Pallas's Warbler, Snow Buntings x 4, Great White Egret (probable) flew over at Waxham
Great Northern Diver, Little Gulls x 21, Snow Buntings x 28 at Eccles-on-Sea
Great White Egret at Holkham
Cattle Egrets x 2 east of Stiffkey
Shorelark, Black Brant at Salthouse
Taiga Bean Goose at Burnham Overy Staithe
Scaup at Weybourne
Hawfinches x 2 flew over Hingham
Hen Harrier at Fritton Marshes
Great White Egret at Gapton Marshes
Lapland Buntings x 2 flew over Kelling

MEGA NEWS 
ROCK THRUSH 1w 
Blorenge, Gwent
WILSON'S SNIPE
St Mary's, Isles of Scilly

Monday, 30 October 2017

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Bittern at Whitlingham Country Park
Water Pipit at Titchwell RSPB
Hawfinch flew over Titchwell
Surf Scoter fem/juv. drake flew past, Little Auk, Overstrand
White-billed Diver, Sabine's Gull at Walcott
Sabine's Gull x 5, Surf Scoter fem/juv. drake, Shorelark, Grey Phalarope, Short-eared Owl, Caspian Gulls x 3, Snow Buntings x 4, Pale-bellied Brent Goose at Cley
Little Auk x 2, Caspian Gull at Cromer
Little Auk at Mundesley
Little Auk, Sooty Shearwater at Great Yarmouth
Little Auk at Sheringham
Short-eared Owl at Burnham Overy Dunes
Taiga Bean Goose at Burnham Overy Staithe
Short-eared Owl at Scratby
Glaucous Gull, Black Brant at Salthouse
Little Auk x 2, Snow Bunting at Winterton
Lapland Bunting, Snow Bunting at Weybourne
Little Auk x 2, Short-eared Owls x 2 (probable), Pale-bellied Brent Geese x 4, Little Gulls x 2 at Sheringham
Long-tailed Ducks x 2 yesterday on River Yare, Cantley
Hawfinches x 6, Snow Bunting, Water Pipits x 3 Cantley Marshes RSPB
Ring Ouzel at Cantley
Pallas's Warbler, Little Auk, Velvet Scoters x 2 at Waxham
Cattle Egret east of Stiffkey
Hawfinches x 20 flew over King's Lynn
Pomarine Skua, Scaup, Snow Buntings x 2 at Holme
Snow Buntings x 5 north of Kelling Water Meadows
Hawfinches x 2 flew over Hingham
Black Guillemot, Black-throated Divers x 2 at Eccles-on-Sea

MEGA NEWS 
ROCK THRUSH 1w 
Blorenge, Gwent
FEA'S OR DESERTAS OR ZINO'S PETRELS x 2
North Ronaldsay, Orkney

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Sea-Watching at Cley and Salthouse!

update tomorrow night after I return from work!!!

but in brief...... I DIDN'T see a Leach's or Storm Petrel!

Blimey! I've had well over 6,000 views of my blog today!!!

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Hawfinch flew over Whitlingham Country Park
Storm Petrel, Leach's Petrels x 2, Long-tailed Skua, Pomarine Skuas x 5, Little Auk, Grey Phalaropes x 2, Red-necked Grebe, Black Terns x 3, Sooty Shearwater, Long-tailed Duck, Velvet Scoter, Snow Buntings x 4 at Cley
Leach's Petrel x 2, Little Auks x 2, Pomarine Skuas x 5, Grey Phalarope, Great Skuas x 25, Red-necked Grebe, Purple Sandpipers x 2, Black-throated Diver, Great Northern Divers x 3, Little Gulls x 20, Black Guillemot, Velvet Scoters x 2, Long-tailed Duck at Sheringham
White-billed Diver (possible), Pomarine Skuas x 2, Sooty Shearwater, Red-necked Grebe, Grey Phalarope, Great Northern Diver, Long-tailed Duck at Winterton
Storm Petrel (probable), Leach's Petrel, Caspian Gull at Cromer
Pomarine Skuas x 4, Great Skuas x 49, Arctic Tern, Great Northern Diver, Common Crane, Spotted Redshank, Water Pipit, Hen Harrier at Titchwell RSPB
Black Brant at Salthouse
Snow Buntings x 3 at Gramborough Hill, Salthouse
Cattle Egret east of Stiffkey
Pomarine Skua flew past, Purple Sandpiper at Hunstanton
Hawfinches x 17, Ring Ouzel, Jack Snipe, Hen Harrier, Water Pipit at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
Jack Snipe at Kelling Water Meadows
Little Auk, Pomarine Skuas x 10, Great Skuas x 66, Little Gulls x 2 at Holme
Puffin at Hopton-on-Sea
Leach's Petrel, Little Auk, Pomarine Skuas x 2 at Weybourne
Great Northern Diver at Sidestrand
Spotted Redshank at Snettisham RSPB
Common Cranes x 16 at Stubb Mill, Hickling Broad NWT

MEGA NEWS 
ROCK THRUSH 1w 
Blorenge, Gwent

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Shetland 8th-20th October Posts With Pictures, Now Complete!

All my photographs are now added to my posts for my Shetland Trip, from 10th-19th October!
This trip report has taken many hours to complete and is my biggest report to date! I have also amended and updated most posts, but I'm sure there will still be a few errors, which I'm sure a few of my personal proof readers will let me know about in due course! Hope you enjoy reading my posts and the many pictures I have added!
To save you searching/scrolling, click on the links here:
  1. Sunday 8th October DEPARTURE!
  2. Monday 9th OctoberMAINLAND BIRDING & ABERDEEN FERRY!
  3. Tuesday 10th OctoberFIRST DAY'S BIRDING ON SHETLAND!
  4. Wednesday 11th OctoberRAIN, OTTERS & A BLYTH'S REED WARBLER!
  5.  Thursday 12th October OTTERS & FLURRY OF MIGRANTS!
  6. Friday 13th OctoberTRAVELLING TO UNST & THE BLUETHROAT!
  7. Saturday 14th October A STUPENDOUS DAY!
  8. Sunday 15th OctoberRAINING HEAVILY AND THE SNOWBALL!
  9. Monday 16th OctoberFETLAR TRIP & AN OBP ON UNST!
  10. Tuesday 17th OctoberLAST DAY ON UNST!
  11. Wednesday 18th OctoberEAST WINDS & RARITY HUNTING
  12. Thursday 19th OctoberLAST BIRDING DAY!
  13. Friday 20th OctoberTRAVELLING HOME!

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Yellow-browed Warbler, Little Stint, Lapland Bunting at Titchwell RSPB
Snow Bunting at Breydon Water
Hawfinch flew over Whitlingham Country Park
Pomarine Skua (probable), Snow Buntings x 3 at Winterton
Little Auks x 2, Sooty Shearwater, Great Skuas x 6, Grey Phalarope, Great Northern Diver (probable) at Cley
Black Brant, Snow Buntings x 2 at Cley NWT
Black Brant at Salthouse
Twite x 3, Spotted Redshanks x 2 at Thornham Saltings
Russian White-fronted Geese x 22 at Buckenham Marshes RSPB
Snow Bunting flew over Holme
Grey Phalaropes x 4, Little Gulls x 650 flew over Eccles-on-Sea
Cattle Egret east of Stiffkey
Hawfinches x 11, Snow Bunting, Sooty Shearwater at Sheringham
Hawfinches x 2 flew over Beeston Common, Sheringham
Hawfinches x 14 flew over Hunstanton

MEGA NEWS 
MEDITERRANEAN FLYCATCHER
possible, Cloughton,Yorkshire
COMMON YELLOWTHROAT
Toe Head, County Cork, Ireland
WILSON'S SNIPE
St Mary's,Isles of Scilly
ROCK THRUSH 1w 
Blorenge, Gwent

Friday, 27 October 2017

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Hawfinches x 3 at Lynford Aboretum
Leach's Petrel off Gun Hill, at Burnham Overy Dunes
Spotted Redshanks x 4, Little Stints x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Leach's Petrels x 2, Arctic Skuas x 2, Great Skuas x 9, Pomerine Skua, Shag x 2, Hawfinch at Sheringham
Cattle Egret east of Stiffkey
Pomarine Skuas x 2, Lapland Bunting at Winterton
Great White Egret, Lapland Bunting at Holkham Freshmarsh
Black Redstart at Holkham Pines
Black Brant at Salthouse
Leach's Petrel flew past Snettisham Coastal Park
Little Stints x 2, Curlew Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank, Jack Snipe at Kelling Water Meadows
Yellow-browed Warbler in garden at North Creake
Long-tailed Duck at Holme
Long-tailed Skua, Pomarine Skuas x 4, Little Gulls x 241 at Hemsby
Hawfinch flew over Sparham Gravel Pits
Snow Bunting at Brancaster Staithe
Caspian Gull, Little Stint, Snow Buntings x 2 at Cley NWT
Caspian Gull at Cromer
Scaup at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
Water Pipit at Cantley Beet Factory

MEGA NEWS 
ROCK THRUSH 1w 
Blorenge, Gwent
GREY-CHEEKED THRUSH
Red Strand, County Cork, Ireland
WILSON'S SNIPE
St Mary's,Isles of Scilly

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Crazy Day With......

My Mother!!!

Ok, so I didn't get out birding, but had a crazy, fun, productive and lovely day with my mother! Met my mother at King's Lynn bus station and took her to the hospital for an appointment, where she did her usual thing of embarrassing me in front of patients and staff with all kinds of eccentric nonsense! We then went to the town, so mother could buy some new clothes from the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Shop – she refused to go anywhere else, as she detests clothes shopping. Mother is way overdue to buy clothes, but won't leave the house and go on the bus, because of the spoilt and pampered cat – she doesn't like to leave it too long..... the elderly cat that sleeps all day, that has a choice of beds, food etc all around the house, the cat that rarely goes out at this time of the year, oh dear – poor cat!!! Anyway, after the usual scenes in the shop of 'I don't like that Penny, put that back etc' in a very loud voice for everyone in the shop and beyond to hear, we then made our way to Barclays before returning to the car, just before the parking ticket ran out.

We then went to my house, where I cooked mother some lunch and produced a microwaved bread & butter pudding too – just to prove a point that mother can have her usual little puddings she buys cooked in just over a minute, when she cooks them for 18 minutes in the conventional oven – she refuses to buy a microwave – why? 'Because of all the radiation they emit...' I can't remember the last time mother spent time at my house or have lunch together, I really can't, it was really nice and I got a compliment for the main course! Whilst sitting at the dining room table, mother thought she could see a cat on the bird table – it was in fact a Blackbird! She doesn't think she needs her cataracts done – I beg to differ!!!

After lunch we got some jobs done – mother wants a new oven, but nothing in the Clarke household is simple! She only has a 50cm width gap for her oven and it needs to be LPG ready and ideally wants one direct from Calor Gas. There is no mains gas in Holme and mother has been using propane gas cylinders since year dot. Mother has a serious phone phobia and will do anything to get out of phoning people, so she writes, doesn't get any replies and wonders why – I explain to her over and over again, that you have to phone or email to get anywhere with anything nowadays. So, after looking at the Calor Gas website and their choice of two ovens at the dimensions we required, I phoned up, paid for the oven and sorted it all out, including ringing a 'Gas Safe Registered Engineer' (who mother knows anyway) to fit it and dispose of old one etc – job done! Tick!

I have had a long standing issue with trying to find my mother wellingtons that fit – I could write a book about it all! She desperately wants some wellies, but every pair I have purchased, both on-line or not, have not fitted and I have had to return them all. She has small feet: size five and a half, but unfortunately has really bad bunions both sides (through wearing ill-fitting shoes as a child). I thought I had nailed it with my latest purchase for her, when I bought her the same (but shorter version) 'Muck' Men's Arctic Sport wellingtons that I bought for my holiday – they are the best wellingtons I have ever bought, so comfortable and warm – another league from your average wellington and highly recommended. We were just about to leave my house, when the new wellingtons arrived by courier! Mother huffed and puffed and got cross, as she wanted to get back to the 'poor cat', but she agreed to try them on – good! We were in hysterics – she couldn't even pull them over her ankle! I refused to believe that these boots would not fit and made her put them on properly – they were 'too tight and too heavy'. We had a job to get that one boot off again! Back to the drawing board!!! Another little job for me: post wellies back to Muck Boots Company tomorrow! I have noticed they sell a very short, lace-up welly – I wonder of they will fit?!

Took mother home – now dark, so no birding! The cat sat on the stairs with a puzzled expression – it was promptly greeted with 'oh, poor pussy cat...' 'being left all this time...' 'how wicked...' – this conversation continued for some time. I felt completely exhausted and nearly fell asleep, but managed to return to my house in one piece! Watched some of Autumn Watch and then started to edit a few more pictures. Day 5 of the Shetland trip will added before I retire for the night.

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Sabine's Gull, Black-throated Diver, Hawfinches x 16 flew past Sheringham
Hawfinches x 19 and a Great White Egret flew over, Ruddy Shelduck, Little Stints x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Yellow-browed Warbler in clifftop scrub at Trimingham
Hawfinches x 9 flew over Denver Sluice
Hawfinches x 46, Woodlark, Glaucous Gull flew over Hunstanton Cliffs
Hawfinch flew over Whitlingham Country Park
Lapland Bunting at North Beach, Winterton
Great White Egret, Scaup at Holkham Hall Lake
Little Stints x 4, Curlew Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank, Jack Snipe at Kelling Water Meadows
Black Redstart at South Beach, Heacham
Snow Bunting at Horsey Gap
Snow Bunting at Snettisham RSPB
Russian White-fronted Geese x 15 at Buckenham Marshes RSPB
Snow Bunting at beach car park at Cley
Curlew Sandpiper at Breydon Water
Black Redstart at North Denes, Great Yarmouth
Ring Ouzel at Aylmerton
Ruddy Shelduck with Pink-footed Geese x 2,000 south of Brancaster
Cattle Egret east of Stiffkey
Caspian Gull, Shag at Cromer
Snow Bunting at Brancaster Staithe
Honey Buzzard flew off sea at Warham Greens
Hawfinch flew over Wells
Hawfinches x 2 flew over Thorpe St Andrew
Russian White-fronted Goose, Pink-footed Geese x 5,000 west of Burnham Market

MEGA NEWS 
ROCK THRUSH 1w 
Blorenge, Gwent
GREY-CHEEKED THRUSH
St Martins, Isles of Scilly
GREY-CHEEKED THRUSH
Red Strand, County Cork, IrelandForster's Tern
Renmore, Galway, Ireland
TWO-BARRED GREENISH WARBLER
Possible, Titchfield Haven NNR, Hampshire

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

A BIG TASK!

I've spent the last two days trawling through thousands of Shetland photos! I have chosen all the photos for the trip and now editing and adding to posts, have done Day 1, 2, 3, 4 and now working on Day 5! Its taking a million times longer than I expected! I have already added all my videos to youtube, just need to link them to all posts – PHEW! Blogging is hard work, but its brilliant working on a massive 21" screen!

I'm taking my mother to a hospital appointment tomorrow and will hopefully go birding later, so will have a break tomorrow – thank goodness! I've not even been food shopping yet, since I returned from Shetland, the fridge is pretty empty! High pressure hits us on Friday, so there may be a few birds to find or see! With strong north west winds on Sunday, I may actually have a slim chance of seeing a Leach's or Storm Petrel – or more likely.... a flying pig!!!

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Yellow-browed Warbler, Little Stints x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Firecrest at Wells Woods
Cattle Egret east of Stiffkey
Lapland Bunting at North Beach, Winterton
Jack Snipes x 2, Curlew Sandpipers x 3, Little Stints x 4, Spotted Redshanks x 2 at Kelling Water Meadows
Yellow-browed Warbler south of Trimingham
Snow Bunting at Snettisham RSPB
Black Redstart, Twite x 2 at Waxham
Great White Egret at Holkham
Black Brant, Dark-bellied Brent Geese x 40, Caspian Gull at Cley NWT
Great White Egret at Holme

MEGA NEWS 
ROCK THRUSH 1w 
Blorenge, Gwent

RBA Weekly Round-up 18th to 21st October!

By Andy Stoddart
http://www.rarebirdalert.co.uk/v2/Content/WeeklyRoundup2017-43.aspx
Thanks to the RBA Team for including my Surf Scoter video at Baltasound, Unst, Shetland.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

ORIOLE BIRDING – Tour Report, Shetland 9th-20th October 2017

https://www.oriolebirding.com/upload/files/Shetland%202017.pdf

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Yellow-browed Warbler, Caspian Gull, Ring Ouzel, Bittern, Water Pipit, Hen Harrier, Jack Snipe, Little Stints x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Hawfinch flew over Norwich
Cattle Egret east of Stiffkey
Snow Bunting in Beach car park at Cley
Black Brant at Cley NWT
Balearic Shearwater, Pomarine Skua, Little Gulls x 5, Lapland Bunting at Winterton
Common Cranes x 13 at Horsey
Caspian Gull at Cromer
Ring Ouzel at Happisburgh
Ring Ouzel, Black-throated Diver, Scaup at Holme
Swift (probable) at Pier Plain, Gorleston-on-Sea
Great White Egret, Scaup at Holkham Park
Hawfinches x 2, Ring Ouzel flew over Hunstanton Cliffs

MEGA NEWS 
ROCK THRUSH 1w 
Blorenge, Gwent
WILSON'S SNIPE
St Mary's, Isles of Scilly

Monday, 23 October 2017

Wells Woods & Garden Drove, Warham!

I spent a long time skulking around Wells Woods – creeping along all the paths, looking for an Olive-backed Pipit or something equally exciting, but it wasn't to be! However, there were a good number of Blackbirds around, along with Robins, a couple of Goldcrests, Coal, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits and Jays were seen. The car park was pretty packed out, I had no idea that my third week off was half-term – there were far more children and dogs than birds here!

Garden Drove was incredibly disappointing, I didn't see a single bird along the track or the copse at the bottom. A flock of finches were in the hedge that runs west from the concrete area, including several Goldfinches, but nothing else of note at all. Gave up and drove home.

After cooking an early tea, I spent the rest of my time sorting through my Shetland pictures – its going to take a while to select and edit them, but will get them all done this week. I'm very glad I went to Shetland, at least I've seen some good birds this Autumn! Norfolk isn't doing very well so far!

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Hawfinches x 38 flew over Hunstanton Cliffs
Yellow-browed Warbler, Lapland Bunting, Curlew Sandpipers x 3, Little Stints x 3 at Kelling Water Meadows
Black Brant, Snow Bunting, Little Stints x 4 at Cley NWT
Yellow-browed Warbler, Little Stints x 4, Water Pipits x 2, Caspian Gulls x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Great White Egret at Whitlingham Country Park
Hawfinch flew over Fakenham
Pomarine Skuas x 2, Long-tailed Duck, Short-eared Owl, Lapland Bunting, Purple Sandpiper at Winterton
White-billed Diver reported at Winterton/Hemsby
Little Gulls x 1,301, Black Terns x 2,  past Hemsby
MINKE WHALE north past Hemsby
Ring Ouzel, Short-eared Owl at Hopton-on-Sea
Scaup at Holkham Park
Snow Bunting at Happisburgh
Hen Harrier at Morston Quay
Water Pipit at Holme NOA
Red-footed Falcon (possible) flew east past Thornham Point
Great Northern Divers x 2, Little Gulls x 130, Velvet Scoter at Sheringham
Hawfinches x 8 at Lynford Aboretum
Lapland Bunting at Burnham Overy Dunes

MEGA NEWS 
ROCK THRUSH 1w 
Blorenge, Gwent
GREY-CHEEKED THRUSH
Rosscarbery, County Cork, Ireland 
BLACKPOLL WARBLER
Lochmaddy, North Uist, Western Isles
WILSON'S SNIPE
St Mary's, Isles of Scilly
EASTERN ORPHEAN WARBLER 1w 
From 12th-17th Oct + reported on 20th, (not Western), re-identified from photos, St Agnes, Isles of Scilly

NORFOLK BIRD & MAMMAL REPORT 2016 NOW AVAILABLE!

A beautiful obituary written by Peter Allard and much appreciated by all my family, thank you so much. Thank you also to Andy Stoddart for including a picture of my father in the report and for publishing my Great Knot and Little Bunting picture too! Fantastic front cover picture of a Hoopoe by Carl Chapman!

The report can be purchased from several places in Norfolk, including Titchwell RSPB, Cley Visitor Centre NWT etc. Not very good scans as I did them in a hurry this evening on my iphone!

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Strong Winds & Family Meet Up!

Very strong and chilly winds today in Norfolk. Picked Lucy up and spent the day with mother and Vivien and Ray popped in later too, which was lovely – its not often we are altogether nowadays. Vivien managed to avoid my little laptop show of all my Shetland photos and turned up just as I had finished, well timed Vivien!😉

Mother has been working hard since I have been away and has had a massive 'trim' of the buddleias outside the front gate, to the point that you can cycle to the end of the road if you wanted to now. Mother seems to think that a car can drive through to the end of the road, which Vivien and I laughed about, it would have to be a children's toy car – alot more needs to be removed to get an actual car through! The 'cat' has now taken over the house even more – its now being fed on father's (was) desk, which I was furious about. Basically the cat doesn't even need to move its backside – a plate of food is now placed in front of it, wherever it decides to sit – this has gone too far!!! I de-flead the cat whilst it was sound asleep and caught it unawares, resulting in a smooth experience for me and the cat!

I still feel very sleepy and not fully recovered from the travelling back from Shetland yet, but so many fantastic memories from this wonderful holiday. I'm really going to enjoy going through the photos on my new Apple iMac – sitting here typing on a 21.5" screen is a joy, when I have been used to using a 15" laptop!!!

I have still have another week off – which I can see I will need, as I have so many photos to go through, so many other jobs to do and hot birding (hopefully) in Norfolk! Having time off after a holiday is such a sensible idea. People often return to work after a holiday looking shattered – you need a holiday to rest after the holiday and that is exactly what I am doing!

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Yellow-browed Warbler, Little Stints x 4, Slavonian Grebe, Water Pipit at Titchwell RSPB
Yellow-browed Warbler at Kelling Water Meadows
Hawfinch, Arctic Terns x 2 at Denver Sluice
Leach's Petrel, Pomarine Skuas x 5, Black Redstart at Sheringham
Great White Egret, Scaup at Holkham Park
Black Brant at Cley NWT
Pomarine Skuas x 2, Velvet Scoter flew past, Lapland Bunting, Little Gulls x 20, Short-eared Owl at Winterton
Hawfinches x 4 at Lynford Aboretum
Taiga Bean Goose at Burnham Overy Staithe

MEGA NEWS 
NUTCRACKER 
Unconfirmed report, Studland Heath, Dorset
CLIFF SWALLOW 
Flew south past Spurn, Yorkshire
ROCK THRUSH 1w 
Blorenge, Gwent
GREY-CHEEKED THRUSH 
Galley Head, County Cork, Ireland
WHITE-WINGED SCOTER fem./juv.drk
Loch of Belmont, Unst, Shetland

Saturday, 21 October 2017

John Furse's Choral Work "Fall, leaves, fall" Is Being Premiered by the BBC Singers!!!

If you wish to avoid your ears being assailed by a ghastly din, then don’t listen to BBC Radio 3, next Tuesday evening (7.30pm, Tuesday, 24th October). This is because local Limerickicist John Furse, in addition to being a terrible poet, is a composer. (all John's words!)

One of his choral works is being premiered by the BBC Singers, in a concert curated by the Master of the Queen’s Music, Judith Weir CBE: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b099x2h2. Apparently, she specifically asked for his piece to be included.

It is a setting of the Emily Brontë’s not incandescently joyous (!) poem, “Fall, leaves, fall”:

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.

I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night's decay
Ushers in a drearier day.


A plentiful supply of tissues is highly recommended for those unwise enough to listen. The time to switch off is around 9.10pm. Those who wish further to torture themselves can, of course, use the iPlayer to listen again, for 30 days after the broadcast.
This is a scan of the programme, which was recorded on 13th October and is to be broadcast on Radio 3 next Tuesday, as above
 BBC singers rehearsing John's piece at
St Paul's Church, Knightsbridge!

CONGRATULATIONS JOHN!!!

In case you missed it, here is the link on iplayer:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/0740398b-204f-4a26-801c-eef58d578c8d

Recovery Day!

My mind was itching to get out birding in Norfolk, but my body wanted to rest, so rest I did! I really wanted to visit my mother today too, but I felt too tired. I've nearly done all the washing, put everything away and spent a lot of time typing all the bird news for Thursday and Friday and writing up the last two day's Shetland posts on the blog. No energy left to go through pictures today, will start that big job tomorrow!

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Hawfinches x 3 at Sidestrand
Black Redstart at Watcher's Cottage, Cley
Black Brant, Little Stints x 6 at Cley NWT
Yellow-browed Warbler, Little Stints x 4 at Titchwell RSPB
Scaup x 6 at Hunstanton
Cattle Egret east of Stiffkey
Lanceolated Warbler, no sign of, but Hen Harrier at Thornham Point
White-billed Diver flew south, Pomarine Skua, Black Tern at Winterton
Twite x 7 at Thornham Saltmarsh
Yellow-browed Warbler, Curlew Sandpipers x 3, Spotted Redshanks x 2 at Kelling Water Meadows
Lapland Bunting in field near to Wells Woods
Black Redstart at Weybourne Camp
Curlew Sandpipers x 2 at Breydon Water
Snow Buntings x 3 at South Denes, Great Yarmouth
Hen Harrier flew over Loddon
Grey Phalarope, Great White Egret at Holkham Freshmarsh
Scaup at Holkham Park
Yellow-browed Warbler, Meadow Lane, Salthouse
Caspian Gull at Cromer
Taiga Bean Goose at Burnham Overy Staithe

MEGA NEWS
ROCK THRUSH 1w
Blorenge, Gwent
WILSON'S SNIPE
probable still, St Mary's, Isles of Scilly
YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO
Taken into care last night, now died, St Agnes, Isles of Scilly
GREY-CHEEKED THRUSH
Rosscarbery, County Cork, Ireland
WHITE-WINGED SCOTER fem./juv.drk
Loch of Belmont, Unst, Shetland

Friday, 20 October 2017

SHETLAND HOLIDAY, Day Thirteen!

TOUR WITH ORIOLE BIRDING

TRAVELLING HOME!

I felt a bedraggled wreck this morning, but at least I had not been sick! I wobbled to the 'ladies', cleaned my teeth and sloshed my face with cold water. Speaking to one of the crew this morning, I chatted about my experience of kipping on the floor and how it saved me and the male crew member replied in a wonderful Scottish accent ''aye, you can't get lower than the floor'!!! The ferry was hardly swaying now at around 6.15am. We all met up for breakfast. Unfortunately poor Lyn and John had not been lucky with sea sickness – I really felt for them, there is nothing worse. The rest of our group had got through the night, but no one had had a brilliant night's sleep. The ferry arrived at just before 7am and we had to hurry to go below deck to the mini-bus to depart. As a passenger only, there is no rush, but with a vehicle, you have to depart promptly, so that it is all cleared for on-coming vehicles for the return journey. We set off on our journey south by 7.30am. An hour later, we dropped off John and Lyn at their home in Dundee. I felt quite sad at this point, as they are a really lovely couple and it was so lovely spending the last couple of weeks with them – it would be great to meet up with them again, maybe I will one day!

We continued our journey, stopping off for coffee/snack stops on route. At Scotch Corner, it was complete and utter chaos. The close by roadworks had created a massive congestion with people opting to stop for lunch at the same time. The roundabout into the cafes/restaurants etc was stationary and a single man (who we later noted worked for M&S) was attempting to direct traffic – I felt quite sorry for him. The car parks were full, tempers were frayed and people were getting out of their cars. We eventually got parked and bought sandwiches and tried to get out as quickly as possible. We spent an hour and a half here! On leaving we were in the right turn lane (which everyone wanted to be in), but some people went into the left turn lane and bullied their way into the right hand lane at the end of the road, resulting in no one from the right hand lane being able to get out|!!! There was also a sign saying no caravans were allowed in the carparks that we had just left. A car and a caravan sidled up the left hand lane and when they realised they were not going to be let in the right hand lane, turned left and then attempted a 3 point turn in the middle of the road, crashing into a parked car (at 2.44pm) on the verge (no one in it), which rocked as he hit it!!! The male driver angrily got out of his car and checked his caravan, but failed to go and check out the car he had just hit – this riled me completely and I rang the local police to inform them and give them the reg numbers of both cars involved. At this point, we were in a very difficult queue and I wasn't able to get out and put a note on the windowscreen of the car that had been hit, plus also this could have created a potentially aggressive situation from the caravan/car driver. The lady I spoke to at North Yorkshire police (who cover this area) said that the owner of the damaged car owner would more than probably ring them and she would be able to pass on the details to them, so at least I had done my bit to try and help. We eventually got going and continued home with no more serious traffic jams.

Ashley dropped me off at my home at around 6.30pm and I said goodbye to Ian and John from Watford (John is one of my regular blog readers!), to Nick (who lives in Norfolk and had us continually laughing with his brilliant sense of humour) and to Ashley who has been incredible throughout the trip – his knowledge, his finding of birds, his culinary skills were 10 out of 10, his humour, kindness and passion for birds is second to none. Nothing is too much trouble and his patience and caring nature makes him the perfect tour leader. We saw 118 species of bird on the trip – see 'Entire Trip Here:' link at bottom of this post for the systematic list.

It has been fabulous spending time with everyone and we have seen some cracking birds and had alot of fun and laughs along the way. I hadn't been on a guided birding tour before and wasn't sure how I would feel about spending time with people I had not met before, but I felt we all bonded really well and would be more than happy to go on the same trip, with the same people again. In fact I have asked Ashley to 'pencil' me in for the next Shetland trip in 2018!

Massive thanks to Ashley Saunders and the Oriole Birding team for an incredible Shetland experience and finally a HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Ashley, who's birthday is today!

SEE TOUR ACCOUNT OF THE DAY HERE:
https://www.oriolebirding.com/birding-diary-news-4.html 

TRIP REPORT FROM ORIOLE BIRDING HERE:
https://www.oriolebirding.com/upload/files/Shetland%202017.pdf

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Yellow-browed Warbler at Stiffkey Campsite Wood
Little Stints x 3 at Titchwell RSPB
Continental Coal Tit by Le Strange Arms Hotel at Old Hunstanton
Black Brant, Yellow-browed Warbler at Warham Greens
Curlew Sandpipers x 2, Short-eared Owls x 2 at Breydon Water
Firecrest at Waxham
Osprey, Scaup at Holkham Park
Great White Egrets x 2, Grey Phalarope, Yellow-browed Warbler at Holkham
Common Cranes x 20 at Horsey
Black Redstart at South Valley, Winterton
Great Grey Shrike, Yellow-browed Warbler at North Dunes Winterton
Black Redstart at Coastguard Cottages, Hunstanton
Northern Bullfinch, Firecrest at Wells Woods
Pale-bellied Brent Goose at Wells Harbour
Black Redstart near CleySpy at Glandford
Little Stints x 4, Curlew Sandpiper at Cley NWT
Curlew Sandpipers x 3, Arctic Skua (briefly) at Kelling Water Meadows
Richard's Pipit at Holme Dunes NWT
LANCEOLATED WARBLER probable, flushed late afternoon at Thornham Point
Hen Harrier at Thornham Point
Lapland Bunting, Yellow-browed Warbler, Short-eared Owl, Little Gulls x 52 at Sheringham

MEGA NEWS
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER
Found dead on cargo ship, Seaforth Dock, Lancashire & North Merseyside
LANCEOLATED WARBLER
Probable, flushed at Thornham Point, Norfolk
TWO-BARRED GREENISH WARBLER
St Aldhelm's, Dorset
GREY-CHEEKED THRUSH
Dirk Bay, Galley Head, County Cork, Ireland 
ROCK THRUSH 1w
Blorenge, Gwent
YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO
St Agnes, Isles of Scilly
WESTERN ORPHEAN WARBLER 
Reported again, St Agnes, Isles of Scilly
WHITE-WINGED SCOTER fem./juv.drk
Loch of Belmont, Unst, Shetland

Thursday, 19 October 2017

SHETLAND HOLIDAY, Day Twelve!

TOUR WITH ORIOLE BIRDING

LAST BIRDING DAY!

Today was the best day for migration of our entire trip! We started off before sunrise and looked for migrants in the gardens around the Sumburgh Hotel. It was immediately evident that there had been a large fall of birds, particularly Redwings (the largest numbers), Fieldfares, Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Robins and Goldcrests. Several Goldcrests were flitting around the gardens and Redwings erupted from all directions. In a quarry nearby we saw Blackcaps, Robins, Chiffchaff, Redwings, Blackbirds and Fulmars on the cliff. The light was pretty poor today, and deteriorated further in the afternoon along with heavy rain!

At Geosetter, there was so much excitement! We parked our mini-bus up and walked up the road alongside the burn. Flocks of Redwings were flying over us in a continuous stream. Most of us could not recall seeing so many Redwings in one place. We also saw good numbers of Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, small groups of Fieldfares, 3 Ring Ouzels (our first of the trip), 2 Woodcocks, at least 5 Blackcaps, 1 Chiffchaff, 20+ Bramblings in a single flock, another on a fence wire along with House Sparrows and Chaffinches. We also had cracking, but brief views of a Common Redpoll in flight and on a fence wire (see photo) along the road. It was alive with birds here, so much so, you didn't know which way to look first! An excellent start to the day and kept our spirits high.
Jason at Geosetter Burn

Geosetter Burn

John F. at Geosetter Burn

Common Redpoll perched for seconds on fence at Geosetter! 

On our journey between stops, every field and garden were blanketed with thousands of Redwings. We checked gardens out at Bigton, but nothing different to what we had already seen. A stunning place – a sandy causeway with sea either side, lead to the Isle of St Ninians, which I attempted to photograph, but with poor light I couldn't portray the expanse and beauty of this unique place.
Sandy causeway leading to the Isle of St Ninians

Another gorgeous tabby cat!


We travelled to Maywick, another beautiful area with a stunning white sandy beach with cliffs – it was here that I picked up a small silvery rock as a souvenir. We parked the mini-bus up and walked down to the the farm area and beach, where we saw tons more thrushes, 1 Ring Ouzel, 3 Blackcaps, Goldcrests, Robins, Chaffinches, a Chiffchaff and a probable Siberian Chiffchaff, which was in the willows in an area by the farm at the bottom of the road, but not close enough for anyone to get brilliant photos. It was raining lightly but steadily now and mist had rolled in.
Scenery on route to Maywick

Farm at Maywick
Maywick Beach

Rock from Maywick Beach


Siberian Chiffchaff (probable) at Maywick


We went to the new cafe shop north of Cunningsburgh, where we bought our lunch and I bought some more of their lentil crisps, oatkcakes and a piece of lemon drizzle cake for Ashley (pre birthday tomorrow). We then drove to Swinister in an attempt to see the recent Siberian Stonechat. We spent a while scanning the fence posts in the now fairly heavy rain and eventually Ashley found the Siberian Stonechat! A cracking little bird, good views were had through the two scopes by all, but far too distant for photography, so only 'blurry shots' obtained. We walked up a very thick mossy slope that had a few of us in fits of giggles, as it was like walking in a bouncy castle – the moss was knee deep and a real job to walk across! Our attempt to get closer views of the stonechat failed. We were all wet and soggy now and the heavy rain looked set for the day and the mist was hanging heavy.
Siberian Stonechat at Swinister 
Siberian Stonechat was behind this house!

We retired to a very nice arty/crafts coffee shop at Swinister and sheltered from the weather with teas and coffees. There were some very nice crafts in here, but expensive – I didn't succumb! We were going to give up on birding, but after nipping outside to assess the weather, Jason informed us that the rain had almost stopped, so off we went for our last search of the trip. The burn at Swinister produced 4 Chiffchaffs, a Blackcap, 15+ Goldcrests and loads of Redwings. We also checked some gardens in this area too.
 Burn at Swinister
 
This was a fungi (not a flower), never seen anything like this before?


Our very last search was at Levenwick, which we had been too earlier in the trip and we all worked hard to find something good. Ashley found a Redstart (which I didn't see), there were again lots of Redwings. I really regret not taking pictures of a wonderful sight of at least 15+ House Sparrows feeding on the wet marram grass heads, on the edge of the beach – I have never seen this before and it was magical to watch. I was reluctant to get the camera out in the rain again. We noted that the last time we were here, there were no rabbits, but today there were tons, including several black ones! It was very gloomy now, with continuous drizzle and mist and the visibility was limited – it was time to go! I did a selfie picture of our group with our background being a white stone cottage – didn't come out too bad at all – although you can see who has been eating the most cakes!
Beach at Levenwick

We dropped Jason off at Channerwick on route to the ferry terminal at Lerwick, as he was staying with a friend before going on Friday night's ferry to mainland Shetland and beyond – we said our goodbyes and thanked him for assisting us all on our trip. Jason is a really nice young man, an awesome birder and very sharp in the field – he sees birds before anyone else and basically is on a par with Ashley. I'm sure Jason will be an fabulous addition to the Oriole Birding team – Jason's first tour with Oriole Birding commences with "Norfolk – Winter Wildfowl Spectacular" on the 8th-13th January, 2018 – see Jason's profile here. Both Jason and Ashley have a massive passion and enthusiasm for birds and are always upbeat and positive – both have an amusing sense of humour and their knowledge is incredible, which they happily share with their clients. Call freephone 0800 999 3036 OR https://www.oriolebirding.com/ OR email: info@oriolebirding.com for their new 2018 brochure or for any tour information/booking.

Anyway, after dropping Jason off, we arrived at the ferry terminal in good time at around 6pm 'ish and sorted out our gear for the journey ahead. I decided not to bother bringing stuff for a shower etc as I could tell it wasn't going to be a fun fourteen hours at sea tonight! I was not wrong! As soon as we boarded the ferry, we went straight to the restaurant for our meal – several of us had fish 'n' chips and I had a dessert too – if I was going to be sick, it wouldn't have made any difference at all! I had taken two Stugeron tablets at 5pm, so I was prepared as I could be, but something happened that none of us were prepared for! Ashley and Nick had left to 'get a shower before the ferry started rocking' and the rest of us still sat in the restaurant. I had my laptop with me and I had full intentions of writing up my post for the day and the Norfolk news on the blog. I might has well have left the laptop in the mini-bus!

Within minutes of the ferry leaving the harbour it was swaying. Suddenly my entire body went into a cold sweat and I was fixed, I couldn't move my head left or right. I attracted the attention of a very nice lady crew member, who came over to me and I asked her for a sick bag and to escort me to the best place to be on the ferry. I couldn't turn to look at the rest of my group, and was fighting not to be sick in front of them, so I simply said 'good night' and 'see you in the morning'. The lady kindly led me over to the lobby area, which is the centre of the ferry and next to the stairs leading to reception and adjacent to the bar area. I couldn't even walk straight – several people were holding on to whatever they could as they walked around. There were two fixed seats, but knew I had to get to the floor. I quickly laid down on my side and curled up – I was so lucky, my quick actions saved me, just! I wasn't sick once thank goodness! I became cold laying here and when I felt a little better I managed to put my coat and hat on and felt a bit warmer. Later I attracted the attention of another crew member and explained that I had a Sleeping Pod booked, but wouldn't be able to get there and asked if they could bring me my blanket and pillow (that is issued with this pod), which they very kindly did. The staff on this ferry as wonderful, they really are. I removed the cushion off one of the two seats and put my bag and the small pillow on this to sleep on and used the small blanket to cushion my hip on the floor! This kind of worked and I did get some sleep, but that ferry swayed the entire 14 hours and there were moments that I felt I was going to roll across the deck!!! What an image that would have created, LOL! I could also hear things crashing and banging throughout the night!

Oriole Birding Tour – October 2017!
John, Jason, Ian, Ashley, John, Lyn, Nick & Penny
 LEVENWICK, SHETLAND

SEE TOUR ACCOUNT OF THE DAY HERE:
https://www.oriolebirding.com/birding-diary-news-4.html