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Sunday, 30 June 2019

Dawn 'til' Dusk Birding & Squacco Heron On My Norfolk List!

Yesterday was so insanely hot, I refused to leave the house. It was bad enough just changing the bird drinking pools twice for all my hot birds in the garden. Birds were queueing up to have a cool down and splash in all my little baths, wonderful to watch. The result of me not leaving the house was missing out on a Squacco Heron of which I have seen in Lesvos, but not in the UK. I had full intentions of seeing it later in the afternoon when the temperatures dropped a little, but news of it flying off over Blakeney Point, made me regret not going earlier. So today I decided to make a massive effort in trying to refind this spectacular heron.

I arrived at North Point Pools, Wells at 5am (you did read that correctly) as my hunch was it would be as good a place as any for a Squacco Heron to drop in. I was completely wrong, but it was beautiful light first thing and I had the entire place to myself for 55 minutes! 13 Spoonbills were the highlight, but other birds seen were: 2 Curlews, 4 Mute Swans, Marsh Harrier, Egyptian Geese x 6, lots of Avocets, a Blackcap singing, House Sparrows in the bushes along the track and a Sedge Warbler, Cormorant on the furthest most eastern pool, Redshanks, Oystercatchers, Lapwings, Black-headed Gulls, Teal, Black-tailed Godwits, Shelducks and a Ringlet butterfly. At 5.55am a lady turned up in the car park with a car full of very loud barking dogs, there seemed to be a least four dogs waiting to be unleashed from their car! I managed to get back to my car and inside before there were released thank goodness, they didn't seem like they were going to be friendly once out of the car – the tone of barking sounded very aggressive.

Parked up at Old Woman's Lane, Cley and at 6.30am I was sitting in Daukes Hide NWT, to search for the Squacco Heron, again no sign here either. The light is not good at this time of the day, but managed to see several Black-tailed Godwits, Little Egrets, Lapwings, Avocets, Teal, Redshanks, Ruff, Shelduck plus 25 young in tow (must have been from several broods/adults!), Swifts, House Martins, Swallows, Greylag Geese, Sedge Warbler, Common Terns x 3. Bumped into Eddie as I was leaving.

Parked up at Coastguards for my fried egg sandwich breakfast and sat in my deckchair in the sunshine, lovely! Suddenly the pager bleeped up with 'Squacco Heron on flood south of A149 at Stiffkey'. I did not hang about, chair bundled in car, ignition on, go! I even beat Steve G – that rarely happens!!! Parked up at Stiffkey Fen and walked along the narrow hedge-lined footpath, through the copse and came out on the bottom most eastern corner at the junction/path that runs south (very overgrown this path) of the Stiffkey Flood and there it was! One stunning beautiful Squacco Heron!!! Refound by "Paul" who had made me day and I thanked him. Wow, what a spectacular bird! Too far for my 300mm lens, but managed to get some video footage.

Walked along the road/verge towards Stiffkey, when the heron flew off west over the marsh, but unbeknown to me a bit later, it had doubled back and returned to its favoured pool where I first saw it. I saw loads of Banded Demoiselles and just as I was photographing one, my camera came up with a message 'card full' NO it wasn't!!! Turned camera off, took card out, put back etc etc and still the same message. Oh dear! Walked back along road to where I first stood and watched the Squacco Heron again with others. Tons and tons of police on motorbikes came streaming past, then loads of support cars hooting horns and loads of cyclists – this was a crazy moment and it flushed the Squacco Heron and even the highland cattle were startled and ran across the marsh – you don't often see them do that! Returned to my car and waited for the Black Stork to cruise overhead, no luck there.

Went to Natural Surroundings at Glandford to discover they had an open weekend, so obviously it was very busy indeed, but got lucky with a shady car parking spot that had become available. Sat in the shade in my chair to have my lunch and fruit salad. Headed down the hill and walked alongside Bayfield lake. It was beautiful here and there wasn't a single person here either! Tons and tons of damselflies skimming over the water, a 4-Spot Chaser was seen and Banded Demoiselles were in good numbers. I had such a lovely time here. I spotted a Kingfisher sitting on a fence in the water distantly and also had fairly close views of a cracking Grey Wagtail sitting on a dead branch in the middle of the lake by the weir! Lilies growing by the water's edge, enhanced the beautiful scene. Quick visit to CleySpy and then headed west.

I returned to North Point Pools at Wells where it was very hot and I didn't stay here long. I couldn't gain enough height to accurately count, but counted a possible 20 Spoonbills on the eastern most pool. Continued west to Titchwell, but change of plan, led me going to Holme first to water plants and change the bird ponds at mother's house and also met up with my sisters here, who had come to the coast for a little trip. The garden is like a jungle now and will need some serious cutting back!

At Titchwell RSPB I managed to see the Lesser Yellowlegs with assistance from 'Graham' and he also found the cracking Black Tern sitting on a scrape. To be honest I was more excited about seeing the Black Tern than the Lesser Yellowlegs. Also 2 Little Gulls were seen along with huge numbers of waders: several Dunlin feeding, Redshanks, Black-tailed Godwits, Ruff, Black-headed Gulls, Avocets, Teal, Med Gulls + chicks, Reed Buntings, Swifts, House Martins, Swallows, Little Egrets. It was 9pm when I left, so I had been birding for 16 hours!!! Arrived home, changed all my bird baths and put hedgehog food out. I feel a little tired now!

PICTURES AND VIDEO TO BE ADDED

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  
Black Stork flew east, Lesser Yellowlegs, Black Tern, Wood Sandpipers x 2, Little Gulls x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Squacco Heron on flood NE of Stiffkey
Cattle Egrets x 3 at Burnham Overy Marshes
Green-winged Teal, Little Gull, Spoonbills x 8, Garganey at Cley NWT
Hen Harrier reported at Welney WWT
Large Tortoiseshell Butterfly in garden in Lakenham, Norwich
Turtle Dove at entrance to Redwell Marsh NOA, Holme
Spoonbills x 3 at Breydon Water
Quail flew over Northrepps
Garganey at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB

MEGA NEWS
BAIKAL TEAL 
Druridge Pools Nature Reserve, Northumberland

Saturday, 29 June 2019

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  
Lesser Yellowlegs, Black Tern, Wood Sandpiper, Spotted Redshanks x 7, Little Gulls x 2, Spoonbills x 2, Caspian Gull at Titchwell RSPB
Spoonbills x 17, Garganey x 4, Wood Sandpiper at Potter Heigham Marshes
Squacco Heron, Green-winged Teal at Cley NWT
Honey Buzzard flew between Wells and Stiffkey
Vagrant Emperor Dragonfly, Spoonbills x 16 at North Point Pools, Wells
Black Tern at Holme Dunes

MEGA NEWS
BAIKAL TEAL 
Druridge Pools Nature Reserve, Northumberland

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  
FRIDAY 29th JUNE
Green-winged Teal, Spoonbills x 5, Continental Black-tailed Godwit at Cley NWT
BEE-EATER unconfirmed report at Spout Hill Pond, Holt
PURPLE HERON, Spotted Redshanks x 4, Spoonbills x 12 at Titchwell RSPB
Puffin flew past Sheringham
Quail singing at New Buckenham Common
Spoonbills x 23 at North Point Pools, Wells

MEGA NEWS
BAIKAL TEAL 
Druridge Pools Nature Reserve, Northumberland

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Peregrine Chicks & Green-winged Teal!

I've been on holiday this week, but its been for sorting loads of important jobs out, not really for birding, but I have to escape some time! Had to go to KEYS Auctioneers at Aylsham today to collect two LOTS that didn't sell over two sales and I didn't want them going into a third auction as there is then no reserve. Vivien and I decided it would be better to keep the items, rather than let them go for pennies!

I then headed north to pay a little visit to Cromer church. I've been meaning to do this for ages – ever since I heard about the news of the Peregrines breeding at the top of the spire. I managed to find a free 30 minute parking spot a couple of streets away and then speed walked to the church. It was well worth a visit as they have a huge viewing screen, just inside the church and there they were, three very chunky Peregrine chicks! Fabulous footage and worth going to see. I also saw one of the adults flying around outside. I even managed to have enough time to walk along a little street adjacent to the church to view the sea and pier, before returning to my car 30 minutes later – I didn't want a parking ticket!

Headed west and spent the evening in Daukes' Hide, Cley NWT. Every flap in the hide was open when I walked in. Don't people know how to shut hide flaps?! Also an empty glass 'Harrogate' water bottle had been left in the hide – someone was capable of carrying a full bottle to the hide, surely it must have been considerably lighter to take back to their car? I sound like Eddie!!!

I searched hard for the Green-winged Teal, but couldn't find it, although plenty of Teal to be seen on all scrapes. Saw a Spoonbill flying west over North Scrape, a Little Ringed Plover was on Simmond's Scrape and there were big numbers of Black-tailed Godwits, Shelducks plus young, a pair of Mute Swans right in front of the hide, two cracking Ruff, lots of Avocets, Redshanks, a few House Martins and Swallows skimming over the water. Eddie then walked in the hide, closely followed by Andy J – neither of them could find the Green-winged Teal either, but eventually Eddie found it towards the back of Simmond's Scrape – it wasn't in that spot earlier, so don't know where it had sneaked in from – maybe it had been having a doze out of view, or come from North Scrape, who knows, but it was nice to see even though it was a bit distant. Eddie also found a striking Water Rail at the back of Pat's Pool. A Little Gull flew west across Simmond's Scrape and landed at the back of the pool. A Whimbrel was heard and more Black-tailed Godwits turned up. Two Spoonbills appeared on Whitwell Scrape and a Little Egret was seen here. Andy pointed out a Lapwing with cute chicks sheltering underneath her!
Green-winged Teal, from Daukes Hide, Cley NWT

Now, as most of you know, I'm not a hot weather person and I would rather be chilly than too hot, but this evening in Daukes Hide was FREEZING and I'm not exaggerating at all. Eddie had sensibly walked in with a big coat on, Andy had not and nor had I! My hands were white with cold and I could hardly operate my scope and tripod I was so chilly! As Andy and I discussed, it was coat, hat and gloves conditions in that hide! It was great to get back to my car and put the heating onto max, as I drove home to King's Lynn! Took me ages to warm up. I'll be complaining its too hot on Saturday, when the heatwave hits us all!

PICTURES TO FOLLOW

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  
Black Redstart at Westlegate, Norwich
Green-winged Teal, Spoonbills x 4, Continental Black-tailed Godwit at Cley NWT
Quail singing yesterday at Royal Norfolk Showground, Norwich
Corncrake singing at Welney WWT
PURPLE HERON, Spoonbill, Spotted Redshank at Titchwell RSPB

MEGA NEWS
BAIKAL TEAL 
Druridge Pools Nature Reserve, Northumberland

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

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  
Corncrakes x 2 recently at Welney WWT
Subalpine Warbler sp. fem. reported yesterday in garden briefly at Emneth Hungate
Green-winged Teal, Little Gull at Cley NWT
Spoonbills x 12 at Potter Heigham Marshes
Puffins x 2 flew past Sheringham
Spoonbills x 20 at North Point Pools, Wells
Spoonbills x 6 at Stiffkey Fen
PURPLE HERON, Turtle Dove, Spoonbill, Spotted Redshank at Titchwell RSPB
Quail at Silfield Nature Reserve, Wymondham

MEGA NEWS
GREEN WARBLER
On 10th June in garden at The Lizard (ID confirmed from DNA analysis), Cornwall
LITTLE BUSTARD 
Slimbridge WWT, Gloucestershire
BAIKAL TEAL
Druridge Pools Nature Reserve, Northumberland

Festival Too!!!

https://www.festivaltoo.co.uk/

Can East Anglian Cuckoos Help Shed Light On Why Their Numbers Are In Sharp Decline?

https://www.edp24.co.uk/business/east-anglia-cuckoo-study-from-thetford-1-6126648

Conservationist Urges 'Irresponsible' Dog Owners To Keep Their Pets Under Control

https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/environment/conservationist-s-warning-to-irresponsible-dog-owners-1-6124571

Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve Triples In Size!

https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/environment/bright-future-for-sculthorpe-moor-nature-reserve-1-6123283

RBA Weekly Round-Up 19th to 25th June!

By Jon Dunn
https://www.rarebirdalert.co.uk/v2/Content/WeeklyRoundup2019_26.aspx?s_id=396871470

BIRD SONG RADIO APP!!!

https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/campaigning/let-nature-sing/birdsong-radio/

https://www.rarebirdalert.co.uk/v2/Content/RSPB_launches_free_Birdsong_Radio_app.aspx?s_id=396871470

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

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  
Quail singing at Northrepps
PURPLE HERON, Spoonbills x 6, Curlew Sandpiper, Spotted Redshanks x 4 at Titchwell RSPB
Garganey at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
Green-winged Teal, Continental Black-tailed Godwits x 2, Little Gull, Spotted Redshanks x 3 at Cley NWT
Spoonbills x 19 at North Point Pools, Wells
Spotted Crake, Cattle Egrets x 2 at Welney WWT
Black Redstart in garden at St Albans Road, Norwich
Spoonbills x 17, Garganey x 4, Little Gull at Potter Heigham Marshes
Garganey at Buckenham Marshes RSPB

MEGA NEWS
LITTLE BUSTARD 
Slimbridge WWT, Gloucestershire
BAIKAL TEAL
Druridge Pools Nature Reserve, Northumberland

Monday, 24 June 2019

Birds Galore In My Garden and Painted Lady Influx at Titchwell RSPB!

Currently, my garden has more birds than I can ever recall! I've been spending a fortune on all kinds of bird seed and putting out dried mixed fruit, apples, mealworms and all kinds, its obviously become a magnet for local birds. The birds have a choice of four drinking pools, my newest edition, a Shenstone Bird Bath was purchased from Titchwell RSPB on Saturday – I also have another RSPB bird bath I purchased earlier in the year. However, the favoured bird bath is my very old and heavy concrete bath, which I purchased in Colchester (when I lived there) many years ago – birds were queueing up to have a splash in this bath today! There are loads of youngsters appearing in the garden, with a least 2 juv. Robins, a juv. Goldfinch, juv. Blackbirds, juv. Starlings x lots! Plus all the adults! Collared Doves, Wood Pigeons, Hedge Sparrows, House Sparrows and Chaffinches. My favourite female Blackbird is incredibly tame and will be in the kitchen before too long if I leave the patio doors open unattended! I had a Painted Lady in the garden today which was lovely.

I've spent a small fortune on revamping my patio over the last few weeks and I am so pleased with how it looks now. Lots of colourful plants in pots, solar lights and lanterns, cleaned up some statues I had, plus some I have brought back from my mother's garden, including stones, rocks and a lovely old tree root that my mother carried back from the beach on her bike once! I have also stood lots of mother's charity shop german vases randomly around the plant pots and it all looks quite arty farty! The Hedgehog corner has now been finished with feeding station box, house for hoglets/hibernation, water bowl and an owl statue on watch! I have two huge pots full of runner beans, which are creeping up the canes apart from two which have been stripped by slugs (I don't use pellets or poisons of any kind in my garden) and 4 pots of 'Gardener's Delight' tomatoes (the variety my father always bought) which are coming along nicely.

All of above is on my patio area, which is fenced off with high trellis and gate to access my very wild and overgrown back garden, which needs sorting out big time – currently I'm not touching it, as several birds have probably nested in there and I don't want to disturb it, until I am absolutely sure all youngsters have flown. This area used to have a greenhouse and was fairly neat and tidy until a neighbour's tree demolished the greenhouse in a gale and since then, I started this blog, plus parent's failing ill health and lack of time mean't I had let this part of the garden go completely. I also made the mistake of planting elder cuttings! So currently the 'wild' garden is full of very tall and mature elders, stinging nettles, a holly tree and a tall bay tree. On the left hand side of the back garden, I have two six foot fence panels down (which ETM put up!), which means I am exposed to the neighbour that lives that side (he and his family have a very large garden), but because of the 'jungle' I can't see this huge gap in the fence at all now!!! This probably explains why I have seen a muntjac deer in this part of the garden through my gate several times this Spring!

This evening I went to Titchwell RSPB in the sticky heat to attempt to see the Purple Heron – I failed again. A Grey Heron and Cormorants were chilling on the dead trees beyond Patsy's Pool, Marsh Harriers were cruising over the reedbeds and there were several birds on the pool, including Red-crested Pochards, Little Grebes, Mute Swans, Mallard and Teal. The highlight of the evening was huge numbers of Painted Ladies – which were all along the East Trail, a wonderful sight. Also a very cute baby Muntjac was standing on the path for a few moments before it spotted me. No sign of any Turtle Doves. I was very disappointed to see the puddle area in the coach car park has been filled in with black tarmac and does not look pleasant at all either. I had a serious hayfever attack with uncontrollable sneezing which exhausted me, so had to leave earlier than expected. Away from the grasses and pollen and back in my car, I felt a little better, so headed up to Choseley Barns. Sat in the car and watched 4 Red-legged Partridges, several Pied Wagtails, 2 Hares and a Marsh Harrier before returning home to King's Lynn. A cracking thunderstorm and heavy rain is to follow in the early hours of tomorrow morning and all day on Tuesday!

PICTURES TO FOLLOW

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  
PURPLE HERON, Curlew Sandpiper, Spotted Redshanks x 2, Spoonbills x 10 at Titchwell RSPB
Green-winged Teal, Wood Sandpiper, Little Gull, Spotted Redshanks x 2 at Cley NWT
Cattle Egrets x 3 flew over Blakeney Point
Spoonbills x 19 at North Point Pools, Wells
Spotted Crake, Garganey at Welney WWT
Lesser Emperor Dragonfly at lake, Felbrigg Hall NT
Red-veined Darter Dragonflies x 25 at Kelling Water Meadows
Lesser Emperor Dragonflies x 2 at North Dunes, Winterton
Caspian Gull at Cromer
Spoonbills x 10 at Stiffkey Fen
 
MEGA NEWS
SOOTY TERN
Bempton Cliffs RSPB, Yorkshire
LITTLE BUSTARD
Slimbridge WWT, Gloucestershire
BAIKAL TEAL
Druridge Pools Nature Reserve, Northumberland
EASTERN OLIVACEOUS WARBLER
Still, on Fair Isle, Shetland

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Lucy's Last Concert Of The Season!

Visited Dobbies garden centre this morning to buy more plants for my patio and a bag of white stones. Re-potted new plants, finished patio revamp, finally! Quick clean round the house before Vivien arrived at my house at 1pm. We had lunch together outside in the very hot sun, but we were slightly shaded by my new parasol. Lucy was playing her last concert of the season at St Nicholas Chapel in King's Lynn this afternoon, which Vivien and I were both going to.

Vivien drove me into town (scary! LOL!) and we parked up near to St Nicholas Chapel. This is a beautiful church and has a huge stained glass window. The Norfolk Symphony Orchestra hold quite a number of their concerts here, as well as the Corn Exchange theatre. It was wonderfully cool sitting in the pews, but we both regretted not bringing a cushion, as sitting on hard wood for two hours is not funny at all. I felt extremely emotional as the concert started – beautiful violin music always reminds me of how much my dear mother loved to hear Lucy play her violin.

The Leader Philippa Barton broke her finger recently, so today's leader was the brilliant violinist Paula Muldon. The music was beautiful and the two hours seemed to finish too quickly. It was a very emotional ending, as this was the last concert that Phillip Hesketh would conduct and also Claire a flautist, who had been with the NSO for 20 years and Leader Phillipa Barton have both left too! Gifts and bouquets were given, farewell speeches made and everyone departed.

Lucy, Vivien and I went back to my house and sat outside on the patio and had strawberries, grapes, cherries, mini profiteroles and ice-cream to celebrate Lucy's last concert of the season – they commence again in November.

PICTURES TO FOLLOW

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  
BEE-EATERS x 2 flew east over Shrieking Pit, Hungry Hill, Northrepps
Spoonbills x 17 at Potter Heigham Marshes 
PURPLE HERON, Curlew Sandpipers x 3, Spoonbills x 10 at Titchwell RSPB
Little Gull, Spoonbills x 2 at Cley NWT
Quail at Snettisham RSPB
Spoonbills x 16 at North Point Pools, Wells
Lesser Emperor Dragonflies x 3 at North Dunes, Winterton
Spotted Crake at Welney WWT
 
MEGA NEWS
BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER
On wires at Achnahaird, NW of Ullapool, Highland, Scotland
LITTLE BUSTARD
Slimbridge WWT, Gloucestershire
SOUTH POLAR OR BROWN SKUA
Yesterday, at sea110 miles south of Mizen Head from RV.Explorer, County Cork, Ireland
BAIKAL TEAL
Druridge Pools Nature Reserve, Northumberland

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  
SATURDAY 22nd June
PURPLE HERON, Turtle Doves x 2, Spoonbill, Curlew Sandpiper, Spotted Redshanks x 6 at Titchwell RSPB
Green-winged Teal at Cley NWT
Spoonbills x 11 at Holkham Freshmarsh
Lesser Emperor Dragonfly, Red-veined Darter Dragonflies x 2 at first toad pools, North Dunes, Winterton
Garganey, Spotted Redshank at Buckenham Marshes RSPB
Quail singing at Holme
Spoonbills x 17, Garganey at Potter Heigham Marshes
 
MEGA NEWS
BAIKAL TEAL
Druridge Pools Nature Reserve, Northumberland

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Little Tern Eggs Stolen at Winterton!!!

CRUEL AND WICKED!!!

https://www.norfolk.police.uk/news/latest-news/21-06-2019/rare-birds-eggs-stolen-winterton?fbclid=IwAR0hQGIIMuPw73oRwdKvLj6lJm0v2U1VaGHNcE7cc8cacgQ5B__i0WDr6Rk

https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/crime/little-tern-eggs-stolen-winterton-1-6119184

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-48718680

Hedgehog House Project!!!

After work this evening, I returned the BOSCH jigsaw I purchased last week to cut out the doorway in my hedgehog home, as my lovely neighbours Ann and Lewis (Lewis to be precise) very kindly offered to cut the hole out of the box for me with his jigsaw! I popped round at 7.30pm and within about 10 minutes, Lewis had cut the doorway out of my hedgehog box!!! Huge thanks to him, made my night!

Took the box back to mine and rasped the edges smooth, put some newly purchased hay in the box and started to put it all together. I stood the box on rows of bricks and then made a porch out of bricks leading up to the entrance door. Covered the entire box in plastic sheeting and then placed large pieces of concrete on top of and around the plastic covered box. I then covered all of this with old leaves, branches, logs etc to make the hedgehog house look natural and inviting for any hedgehogs looking for a potential hoglet home or for winter hibernation. I havn't quite finished it and want to put a piece of slate over the porch entrance and more branches over the roof and sides, so will finish this properly tomorrow. Below are the stages of making my fabulous new hedgehog home!
Hole cut in and hay placed in box

Lidded box for access and cleaning out

Rows of bricks placed to stand box on

Box placed on rows of bricks

Porch made with bricks, ensuring they are butted up tight to box/entrance

Plastic sheeting covered over entire box and then wedged down with concrete

Leaves, twigs, logs, branches placed over top and around box

Hedgehog Box complete, well almost!

Friday, 21 June 2019

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  
PURPLE HERON, Spoonbills x 2, Spotted Redshank at Titchwell RSPB
Green-winged Teal, Little Gull, Continental Black-tailed Godwits x 2 at Cley NWT
Spotted Crake, Garganey, Cattle Egret at Welney WWT
Black Redstart in Surrey Street, Norwich
Common Cranes x 6 at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
Spoonbills x 12 at North Point Pools, Wells
Great White Egret at Hickling Broad NWT
Pratincole sp., possible, flew NW at 4.40pm over Holt
 
MEGA NEWS
SLATE-COLOURED JUNCO
Abbotsbury Swannery, Dorset
BAIKAL TEAL 
Druridge Pools Nature Reserve, Northumberland

Thursday, 20 June 2019

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  
PURPLE HERON at Titchwell RSPB
Green-winged Teal, Spoonbills x 5, Little Gull at Cley NWT
Quail singing north of windmill at Weybourne
Great White Egret, Spoonbills x 18, Garganey at Potter Heigham Marshes
Garganey at Buckenham Marshes RSPB
Great White Egret at Hickling Broad NWT
Spoonbills x 11 at North Point Pools, Wells
Garganey at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
Black Redstart singing at All Saints Green, Norwich
Garganey at Welney WWT
Eagle sp. probable ESE of Southrepps

MEGA NEWS
BAIKAL TEAL 
Druridge Pools Nature Reserve, Northumberland

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

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  
PURPLE HERON, Spoonbills x 6, Spotted Redshanks x 7 at Titchwell RSPB
Spotted Crake at Welney WWT
Green-winged Teal drake, Spoonbills x 3, Continental Black-tailed Godwits x 4 at Cley NWT
Spoonbills x 10, Spotted Redshanks x 2, Garganey x 6, Knot at Potter Heigham Marshes

MEGA NEWS
BAIKAL TEAL 
Druridge Pools Nature Reserve, Northumberland
EASTERN OLIVACEOUS WARBLER
Fair Isle, Shetland

RBA Weekly Round-Up 12th to 18th June!

By Jon Dunn
https://www.rarebirdalert.co.uk/v2/Content/WeeklyRoundup2019_25.aspx?s_id=232008348

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

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  
Caspian Gull on beach at Cromer
Great White Egret, Spoonbill at Breydon Water
PURPLE HERON, Spoonbills x 3, Spotted Redshanks x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Spoonbills x 2, Little Gull, Continental Black-tailed Godwit at Cley NWT
Garganey at Buckenham Marshes RSPB

MEGA NEWS
RIVER WARBLER
Fair Isle, Shetland
BAIKAL TEAL 
Druridge Pools Nature Reserve, Northumberland
BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS
Wholly unconfirmed report, NW of Colwyn Bay, Conwy

Monday, 17 June 2019

Monday Evening Extravaganza!

HOLME BEACH

After a particularly crazy day at work, I could have easily fallen asleep when I got home, but decided I needed to escape to make up for my boring weekend. It was a beautiful sunny evening and I had a jam packed evening to say the least! Put all the birding gear in the car and then headed to my WW group and was very pleased to have lost another 2lbs in weight this week – stayed to the group meeting, which I don't often do and then headed to Hunstanton.
Hunstanton along the Promenade


Bought fish 'n' chips from 'Fishers' in Hunstanton and then parked up on the cliff top to enjoy my tea. It was a very high tide at 7.30pm and it was so lovely sitting here in the sunshine by the cliffs. Gulls waited close by, impatiently waiting for scraps – a mass hysteria of flapping wings ensued, when I emptied out the remains of my fish and chip box! Re-parked the car by Thomas's Showboat Family Leisure Centre and walked across the car park to the seafront in search of my dessert! I was SO pleased to find the doughnut stall sold Mr Whippy '99' ice-creams! One delicious ice-cream with flake was enjoyed, whilst watching the waves lapping against the sea wall. There were quite a few people walking along the promenade and several people enjoying drinks and meals on the veranda of the Waterside Bar next to Johnson's Gift Shop. So many happy memories walking along here with my grandmother Hester (my father's mother) and Lucy (Vivien was too little) to the fairground and going on the Helter Skelter for 8p a ride with several free rides thrown in, because my grandmother knew the man that operated the Helter Skelter – I can remember sliding down that on the round cornered coir mats like it was yesterday and oh how we loved to go in Johnson's Gift Shop to buy some trinkets –  I recall a pink and white plastic tambourine I bought with my pocket money – happy days. I also recall a very rare and special day, spent with my mother and sisters in a little motor boat on the boating lake (that is no more) and I'm really going back in time now!
Holme Beach

Whelk's Egg Case, Holme Beach

The Broadwater, Holme Bird Observatory


I left here and headed east, it was toss up between Holme beach and Titchwell RSPB. I opted for Holme and it was now about 8pm and the tide had already peaked at 7.30pm and I fancied a stroll on the beach. It would be too late to walk the 3/4 mile to the beach at Titchwell. Drove along the Firs Road, opening and closing the 5-bar gate (which is closed at 5pm to everyone unless you are a NOA member) and cruised very slowly along the road. The field adjacent to the road was partly flooded because of all the rain we have head and this held Lapwings + fluffy offspring running round, 2 Oystercatchers and some Mallards. Cracking views of a juv Stonechat sitting on one of the new metal speed barriers – stopped to take a picture through my car window, but the Stonechat nipped off to the Forestry!
Holme Beach

Sunset – Firs Road at Holme


Parked up on the NOA car park and walked straight across to the dunes and beach. I had made the right choice – there wasn't a soul here, not a person, not a dog, no screaming children, nothing but the sea tumbling on the white sands, the birds and me – pure magic! I ambled along the beach and searched the tide line for any interesting flotsam and jetsam – I found a dead Dog Fish (possibly) amongst the seaweed, but nothing else of note. I couldn't believe I had the entire beach to myself! I sat on the sand for a while and thought about my parents. As I continued my walk, I suddenly realised I could hear a Whitethroat singing – a quick scan with the bins discovered a Whitethroat singing away in a dead pine tree on the beach! A Sandwich Tern flew past along the sea and there were a couple of Oystercatchers distantly with loads of gulls. I headed south over the dunes and come out at Post 10 (the old NOA nature trail that is no more), which is where the curved seat is along the boardwalk, that overlooks the Broadwater. I then walked west and to Holme Bird Observatory to sit in my father's seat and sat a while to reminisce. I was serenaded by a wonderful chorus of Natterjacks across the marsh – it sounded like a musical concert! The spectacular tamarisk has now lost its vivid display of pink flowers, but there were several clumps of beautiful blue borage plant around – this plant is particular loved by bees. Walked back to the NOA car park past the NWT Firs House.
Sunset from the garden of our family home at Holme, looking across the horse meadow


Stopped at my parent's house briefly to see if the Monday bin collection had been done. This is the third week, the refuse lorry has left the bins full. It is so annoying, that my sisters and I have to pay full council tax for an empty house, but the council is not providing a full service for us – Vivien is going to ring them this week to have a moan about this. Took a lovely sunset picture from the garden, looking across the horse meadow. On route back to King's Lynn, via Ringstead, I had bird of the evening!!! A Little Owl was on the long stretch of road between Ringstead and Heacham – what a cracking find! Too late in the evening at 10pm for photography though!

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  
LESSER GREY SHRIKE at Nelson Head Track, Short-eared Owl at Horsey
Turtle Doves x 3, Spoonbills x 6, Spotted Redshanks x 5 at Titchwell RSPB
Great White Egret, Cattle Egrets x 4 at Burnham Overy Staithe
Quail, Spoonbill at Weybourne
Great White Egret at Hickling Broad NWT
Spotted Crake, Garganey x 3 at Welney WWT
Spoonbills x 6 at Potter Heigham Marshes
Garganey at Buckenham Marshes RSPB
Spoonbills x 6, Little Gull at Cley NWT
Spoonbill at Morston Quay

MEGA NEWS
BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER
Possible, reported yesterday (by non birder) at Winchcombe, Gloucestershire
EASTERN OLIVACEOUS WARBLER
Fair Isle, Shetland

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Weekend Update!

I didn't bother posting on Saturday, as there really wasn't anything exciting to write about. I spent Friday evening trying to sort out soggy bird food on the bird table, from the torrential rain we've had and decided my aging bird table was not in a good state anymore. The wood has partly rotted on the table and its not hygienic now. I spent ages trying to clean it, but it smelt horrible and I gave up.

So on Saturday (after catching up on sleep from a busy week at work) I emptied my car and drove to Holme to collect my late mother's RSPB bird table from the family home – it just fitted in my car! I knew it would go in the Skoda, as I purchased it from Titchwell RSPB for my mother last year. I managed to squeeze two big plants in pots into the car too! There are still three big plants in pots to bring back to my house, I will pick those up over the next few weeks.

Popped into Titchwell RSPB to buy two more feeders, bought more bird food from Moulham and Horn at Heacham and headed back to King's Lynn. By the time I had emptied my car and cleaned everything up and put stuff back in the car, it was late afternoon. Moved the old bird table into the back garden, which took ages to do as its very heavy and moved the new bird table (with removable plastic tray, so simple to clean) into place. Put new silver metal cup hooks underneath table and hung all my feeders up – phew, finished! I really wanted to go to Kelling Water Meadows to see the Marsh Warbler, but I felt exhausted and was working on Sunday, so preserved my energy and stayed at home for the evening.

Today was my scheduled Sunday to work and I was too tired to go out this evening. The hedgehog is visiting my garden daily and enjoying my meat based cat food and biscuits – wonderful to watch and especially when it scurries over the patio at great speed! I managed to get a free wooden wine box on Friday evening from a shop in King's Lynn to make my hedgehog house and then purchased a BOSCH Jigsaw to cut a hole out of the box – so my hedgehog home is going to cost more than me buying a ready made one!!! I have yet to cut the hole out, which I'm a little worried about, having never used a jigsaw before! A flock of Starlings are demolishing all the bird food daily and dominating the bird table! My tame female Blackbird is getting a bit too familiar and nearly came into the house yesterday! I needn't have bought my new parasol for the garden to shade me from the hot Summer sun!!! I havn't used it yet and it remains redundant in its waterproof cover! Hopefully it will get some use this year!

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  
LESSER GREY SHRIKE, Red-backed Shrike fem. at Nelson Head Track, Short-eared Owl at Horsey
Spoonbill at Breydon Water
PURPLE HERON, Spotted Redshanks x 2, Spoonbills x 5 at Titchwell RSPB
Great White Egret at Hickling Broad NWT
Spoonbills x 10 at North Point Pools, Wells
Black-winged Stilt flew west, Cattle Egrets x 6 at Burnham Overy Staithe
Black-winged Stilt flew east over Burnham Norton
Great White Egret at Holme Dunes
Garganey x 2 at Buckenham Marshes RSPB
Spoonbills x 5 at Potter Heigham Marshes
Spoonbills x 2, Little Gull at Cley NWT

MEGA NEWS
RIVER WARBLER
Fair Isle, Shetland
EASTERN OLIVACEOUS WARBLER
Fair Isle, Shetland

Father's Day

My dearest father – in my thoughts today and always. Treasured memories of you never fade and remain etched in my mind forever xxx

Saturday, 15 June 2019

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  
LESSER GREY SHRIKE at Nelson Head Track, Short-eared Owl at Horsey
Spoonbill at Breydon Water
Spotted Redshanks x 2, Spoonbills x 10 at Titchwell RSPB
Spoonbills x 2, Little Gulls x 2, Spotted Redshank at Cley NWT
Wood Sandpiper, Spoonbills x 6 at North Point Pools, Wells
Marsh Warbler at Kelling Water Meadows
Great White Egret at Welney WWT
Quail at CleySpy, Glandford
Garganey x 7, Curlew Sandpiper, Spoonbills x 2, Little Gull at Potter Heigham Marshes
Turtle Dove, Great White Egret, Spoonbills x 7 at Holme

MEGA NEWS
None

Friday, 14 June 2019

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  
LESSER GREY SHRIKE at Nelson Head Track, Horsey
Red-backed Shrike fem. in valley at Winterton Dunes
Spoonbill at Breydon Water
Black Tern, Little Gull, Spoonbills x 4, Curlew Sandpiper, Continental Black-tailed Godwit, Quail at Cley NWT
Turtle Dove, Cattle Egret, Spoonbills x 3 at Titchwell RSPB
Garganey x 4, Little Gull, Spoonbills x 6 at Potter Heigham Marshes
Spoonbill flew over Stiffkey
Turtle Doves x 3 at Golf Course, Holme
Black Tern, Spoonbills x 8 at North Point Pools, Wells
Puffins x 3 flew past Sheringham

MEGA NEWS
None

Thursday, 13 June 2019

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  
LESSER GREY SHRIKE at Nelson Head Track, Horsey
Spoonbills x 3 at Breydon Water
Quail at Poplar Farm, Waxham
Black Tern, Honey Buzzard flew past Sheringham
Scaup at Barton Broad
Spoonbills x 2, Little Gulls x 2 at Cley NWT
Great White Egret at Hickling Broad NWT
Garganey x 2 at Buckenham Marshes RSPB
Spoonbill at Titchwell RSPB
Garganey at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB

MEGA NEWS
None

Rain, Rain Go Away, Come Again Another Day.....

I know we need the rain but this much in one go?!!! It’s getting very depressing now. I can't remember the last time it rained for so many days without a break! All my new plants in pots will die from too much water if this carries on! Blackbirds have been sheltering on the rungs underneath my new garden table, just to get a break from getting drenched. I have had to raise my new hedgehog feeding station off the ground, as my patio is flooding and I live on a hill!!!

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

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  
LESSER GREY SHRIKE, Marsh Warbler at Nelson Head Track, Horsey
Cattle Egrets x 3, Continental Black-tailed Godwit, Spoonbill, Little Gulls x 2, Spotted Redshank, Great White Egret, Shag at Cley NWT
Red-backed Shrike male at The Plantation, Blakeney Point
Turtle Dove, Spoonbills x 2, Spotted Redshank at Titchwell RSPB
Great White Egret, Short-eared Owl, Spoonbills x 3 at Breydon Water
Spoonbills x 2 at Burnham Overy Staithe
White-tailed Eagle reported in tree by River Bure at Horstead
Turtle Doves x 2, Spoonbills x 2 at Holme
Little Gull flew past Mundesley
Red-backed Shrike female NE of Thornham

MEGA NEWS
EASTERN WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW
In garden WSW of Port Ellen, Islay, Argyll and Bute

RBA Weekly Round-up 5th to 11th June!

By Jon Dunn
https://www.rarebirdalert.co.uk/v2/Content/weeklyRoundup2019_24.aspx?s_id=67118212

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  
TUESDAY 11th JUNE
LESSER GREY SHRIKE at Nelson Head Track, Horsey
Puffin flew past Sheringham
Spoonbill at Holme Dunes
Spoonbills x 3 at Cley NWT

MEGA NEWS
BAIKAL TEAL 
Druridge Pools Nature Reserve, Northumberland
SCOPS OWL
Found dead on Isle of Bressay, Shetland

Monday, 10 June 2019

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  
LESSER GREY SHRIKE at Nelson Head Track, Horsey
Quail yesterday at Reedham Ferry
Spoonbills x 3 at Titchwell RSPB
Cattle Egrets x 2 at Burnham Overy Marshes
Spoonbill at Breydon Water

MEGA NEWS
BAIKAL TEAL 
Druridge Pools Nature Reserve, Northumberland

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Hedgehog Update, Birding & Shopping at Titchwell RSPB & CleySpy!

I have a couple of helpful emails from concerned Hedgehog advisors, who recommend that you should only feed meat based cat or dog food (not fish based) and not to feed any meal worms, nuts or sunflower hearts as "these cause metabolic bone disease in mammals, horrendous suffering and a painful death....." Leave a shallow bowl of drinking water too and this is enough to supplement the hedgehog's natural diet. See all hedgehog advice here: https://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/feeding/

This morning I started the day off at my parent's house in Holme. Completed my usual chores of watering plants, changing and cleaning out bird baths and general checks. Also loaded up the car with some garden ornaments that mother had in pots and some other odds and ends. Today was boiling hot and sunny, the complete opposite of yesterday's rainy day! I would have liked to have seen the Lesser Grey Shrike at Horsey, but that's a lot of miles from King's Lynn and its not as if I havn't seen one before, it was tempting though.

Purchased an 'Ultimate Suet Feeder', 'My First Nature – Let's Go Exploring' (a wonderful book) for my friend's Sarah's little boy who is aged 1 tomorrow, and a box of 10 suet blocks from the shop at Titchwell RSPB. Attempted to see the Spotted Flycatcher that had been seen in the apple tree in the car park this morning, but no luck. I had not got time to go birding here, as had lots of things to get done today.

Had a quick stop at North Point, Wells and had lovely views of loads of birds, including 6 Spoonbills, several Little Egrets, loads of Black-tailed Godwits, Egyptian Geese with young, Avocet with young, Lapwings with young, Redshanks, Black-headed Gulls, Mallards, lots of Shelducks, Heron, Oystercatchers, House Sparrows, Whitethroats, Reed Buntings, Pied Wagtails etc.

At CleySpy I treated myself to a lighter tripod, the "Manfrotto MT190 CX Pro3 Carbon Fibre Tripod" and also the "Opticron BGA 8x42 Monocular", which I'm going to keep in my work bag, for when I'm out and about in the community etc – this is brilliant quality and has a 30 year guarantee – in my case probably a life guarantee! Also useful if you want something extremely light and can't carry binoculars, excellent for the 'older' person.

Parked up at Beach Road, Salthouse and had to phone the NT office at Blakeney, as a large family group were having a barbeque at the base of Gramborough Hill!!! Nothing at the 'hill' apart from Meadow Pipits, Linnets and one Starling. Went straight home after this, as had loads of things to sort this evening. Back in King's Lynn it rained for a short while. The Hedgehog is going to be disappointed with the lack of meal worms and nuts this evening, but need to follow advice on keeping my new visitor healthy.

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  
LESSER GREY SHRIKE at Nelson Head Track, Horsey
Little Gull, Spoonbill at Cley NWT
PURPLE HERON, Curlew Sandpiper, Spoonbill at Titchwell RSPB
Spoonbill at Breydon Water
Spoonbills x 6 at North Point Pools, Wells
Garganey x 2 at Buckenham Marshes RSPB
Garganey, Spoonbills x 7 at Potter Heigham Marshes
Spoonbills x 2 at Holme Dunes

MEGA NEWS
BAIKAL TEAL 
Druridge Pools Nature Reserve, Northumberland

Saturday, 8 June 2019

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  
Spoonbills x 3, Little Gull at Cley NWT
PURPLE HERON at Titchwell RSPB
Turtle Dove at Cockley Cley
Cattle Egrets x 5 at Burnham Overy Marshes
LESSER GREY SHRIKE at Nelson Head Track, Horsey
Bittern at Welney WWT

MEGA NEWS
None

Hedgehog News Update!

Late Evening – Friday
My Hedgehog seems to have a very accurate time that he likes to visit my garden! It is the third evening that he has scampered in through the new entrance/exit hole at 10.20pm. I was so excited to see him inside the new feeding box for the first time this evening! My hard work cutting the hole out has paid off! Its pouring with rain right now and tomorrow looks atrocious, with predicted 47mph winds and heavy rain! I have been invited to a barbecue at 1pm, could be interesting!

My New Hedgehog Feeding Station

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  
Friday 7th June
PURPLE HERON, Turtle Dove, Spoonbill at Titchwell RSPB
Ring Ouzel on cliffs at Sidestrand
Honey Buzzard at Coltishall
Little Gull, Scaup, Spoonbill at Cley NWT
Quail singing at Walsey Hills NOA
Garganey, Spoonbills x 4 at North Point Pools, Wells
Cattle Egrets x 6 at Burnham Overy Marshes
Cattle Egrets x 7, Spoonbill by Beach Road, Brancaster
Great Northern Diver flew past Mundesley
Spoonbills x 3 flew over Holme Dunes NWT
Osprey flew over Bawburgh
Garganey x 4, Little Gull, Great White Egret, Spoonbills x 4 at Potter Heigham Marshes

MEGA NEWS
BAIKAL TEAL 
Druridge Pools Nature Reserve, then at pools near Bell's Farm at Hemscott Hill, Northumberland