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Monday 30 August 2010

Red Backed Shrike and Long Tailed Skua highlight the last day of my holiday!

juv. Red backed Shrike at Walsey Hills.

When I woke up this morning I could see that I had left the light on and was about to set the alarm to get up to go seawatching - the clock said 8.30am! Obviously I hadn't set the alarm, still felt tired, so went back to sleep!

Arrived at Walsey Hills, late morning for a general look round and had fabulous views of a male bullfinch who posed perfectly on a knotted piece of wood, but not quite long enough for my camera! Sat in the back stubble field for a good half an hour waiting for a good bird to appear from the willows, but nothing apart from a female blackcap and 1 chiffchaff. Pager goes off: Red backed Shrike between Walsey Hills and Salthouse - fabulous to be in the right place at the right time again this week! Flew back to car and relocated to the other end of Walsey where the bird was initially sitting in the hedge line, roadside that leads up to the main part of Walsey Hills, whilst standing there it flew over our heads to the other side of the long hedge that runs up from the roadside which is where I think it remained the rest of the day - got another one of my distant records shots! Left here and went back to Walsey to continue looking round. Someone had found a redstart, but I couldn't see it anywhere. Saw a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Linnets, another chiffchaff and watched Swallows twittering away sitting on a tree at the end of the bottom path.

Elderberries, Walsey Hills.

Went to visitor centre. Wryneck up on the pager at Wareham, Waxham and a Wood Warbler at Holme NOA created silly thoughts about walking [B]Blakeney Point[/B] to find something hot! I then drove to Coastguards and bumped into Pete S. and Richard and Eddie M. M.G on his way to North Hide called me to say a [B] [B]juv. Long Tailed Skua[/B] was flying towards and over the Eye Field[/B]!!! Alerted Eddie, Pete and Richard and we had splendid views of it flying right across us, but only got a picture when it was a bit too far away really!

Juv. Long Tailed Skua flying over the Eye Field, Cley.

Decided to walk the Point - packed rucksack and set off for the Point at 5.30pm! I only got as far as [B]Halfway House [/B]and sensibly decided to come back, bit of a waste of time really, only saw reed buntings, wheatears, meadow pipits, Teal going past on the sea and a single Kittiwake also The Red Arrows Display team flew past!!! Back at Coastguards I wished I had seawatched instead as missed a Pom Skua and 2 Sooty Shearwaters! I sat and had my tea, soup and bread whilst chatting to Eddie M., Simon and James M.

Back to work tomorrow.

Sunday 29 August 2010

Seawatching at Cley!

Short post as shattered.

Arrived Walsey Hills, nothing much doing and went round again later and apart from a couple of lesser whitethroats, nothing else of note.

Had lunch in the visitor centre. Spent time chatting to a lovely couple about islands, Fair isle, Foula, Orkneys etc. Spent the rest of the time seawatching. Also had another look for the Short toed lark to obtain better picture - rather silly to even attempt to look for it in those winds!!!!

Too many holidaymakers about in shorts and light weight tops, they must have been freezing! I had loads of layers on and was still cold!

Seawatching at Cley along with others, produced LOADS of Arctic Skuas, Bonxies, Manx Shearwaters, 1 Grey plover, 1 golden plover, an Arctic Tern, 3 red throated divers, 1 Kittiwake, good numbers of teal and common scoter, 1 guillemot sitting on sea, loads of gannets. It was beautifully sunny for most of the day, with incredible winds, but rain lashed down early evening. It was very difficult to hold the car door. I had a job to stand up in the wind (yep even me). I missed 2 Sooty Shearwaters - one Eddie M. (of course!) picked up and Pat the other. Also a snipe was watched coming in off the sea, which I couldn't pick out either! Some good old banter and humour from Eddie to keep us entertained.

I realised it wasn't safe to drive at my normal speed home, as the wind was rocking the car!

Saturday 28 August 2010

Another awesome day at Cley!

It was a job to get up this morning - I ached all over from walking Blakeney Point yesterday, but it had definately been worth it!

Had a slow morning. I felt compelled to go to Cley again, my new patch! On route stopped off at The House on the Hill at Blakney to find MY Mega, and also the track the otherside of the road, but alas nothing at all! Then went straight to the Cley Visitor Centre and had jacket potato with cheese and coleslaw, salad etc. Really sunny weather, but windy. I did not have the energy to walk BP again to see the bluethroat that was showing throughout the day at 'The Hood'

Went to Walsey Hills where I bumped into Pete S. Had a walk through the centre path which was extremely busy with birds, including 2 lesser whitethroats, 1 garden warbler, fem blackcap, 2 chiffchaffs and a chaffinch all in one small area. No sign of the Icterine that I saw yesterday.

Pete and I then went to Kelling Quags in hope of a Barred Warbler or something anyway! It was teaming with rain when we arrived, so sat in the car for a nap. A bit later the sun shone again and off we went. Nothing of note until we got to the metal gate - the Common Crane was sitting in the field just right of the pool! 4.15pm. It then took off and flew in the direction of Salthouse - got some pictures too! Got some fabulous pictures of a fem. Ruff very close to the fence/path. Few reedbuntings and common whitethroats about. Walking round the corner from the pool we had stunning views of a Turtle Dove flying across the black skies in the sunshine!

Common Crane at Kelling Water Meadow, heading off to Salthouse.

Ruff at Kelling Water Meadows.

Started to walk back and I got a call from Andy Wilkinson that he, Justin Lansdell and Chris Mills had found a Short toed Lark a few hundreds yards west of Cley Coastguards! Walked as fast as I could back to the car. Pete couldn't go, prior engagement. Arrived at Coastguards and walked the few hundred yards to the area. Cutting a long story short it took a very long time to see it, in fact I nearly gave up as some people had already. I stubbonly walked a lot further than a few hundred yards in hope of seeing it and also the rain was now lashing down. When I looked back I could see a group of birders not far from the carpark and it was obvious they were watching something! The crowd then started to walk towards me, excellent I thought someone's flushed it in my direction. Eventually it did show itself to probably half the original crowd including John F., Robin A., Andy J., Eddie M., Carl C., and others I know by face but not by name. Saw the Short toed Lark at 7pm and got some records shots too. Walked back to car, sandwich and coffee and then drove home.


I think I can safely say these are only record shots!!!

Time to go!!!!!

Friday 27 August 2010



I eventually arrived mid morning(ish) at Walsey Hills which was perfect timing (thanks John!). Up on the pager Icterine Warbler and Pied Flycatcher, both of which I saw 11.45am - thanks Eddie for allowing me to look through your scope! Nice little party of birders including Eddie M., Andy J., Dave H., Robin A. and of course John F. to name but a few, all standing from a sensible distance and much too far for me to get a photograph.

Watching the Icterine Warbler and Pied Flycatcher at NOA Walsey Hills.

Had a good look round Walsey and didn't find anything else of note.

Went to the visitor centre to remove thermal top - much too hot I decided to be wearing for 'The Point'! Whilst I was there I bought a buttered cheese scone to take away.

Parked at Coast Guards and started walking Blakeney Point at around 1.20pm. All I had was loads of Reed Buntings and a few Meadow Pipits up to Halfway House. Sat on the seat next the house and watched 3 Wheatears on the grassy area. Walked all round the sueda bushes and had lovely views of a Whinchat. Also had 2 Willow Warblers in exactly the same sueda bushes as Connor, his dad and I had the Icterine Warbler! You know when you are thinking, you wished you hadn't walked the point! I went through so many sueda bushes in hope of finding something good!

Reed Bunting.

Whinchat at Halfway House.

Continued on, half thinking about walking back, especially when 2 birders coming back said they had had nothing and also no birds in the plantation at all! I am sooooooo glad I didn't, anyway reached the Plantation and sat down having a cup of coffee and cheese scone when James McCallum appeared with another man. James very kindly told me where to find the Lapland Bunting at Long Point. He then got a very exciting phone call. Even before his finished the conversation I started to throw my half cup of coffee away and stuff things in rucksack!

Off we went to Long Hills to see a BOOTED WARBLER! And I did see it too, at 5pm and watched on and off (EXTREMELY ELUSIVE THOUGH) until 6.30pm. And to top it all I got some pictures too!!!!!! Found by Joe Cockram, Paul Nicholls and Eddie Stubbings at 4.30pm. Seriously though my photos won't win any prizes! Joe also got a flight shot (see Think we were the only ones to get any pictures. Steve G. came along but I dont think he got any shots - I may be wrong though. R.M and Andy S. also arrived later to view the bird.


Photos of Booted Warbler are cropped only, not sharpened, edited etc.

Pic 1.

Crop of Pic 1.

Pic 2.

Pic 3.

Pic 4.

Crop of Pic 4.

Pic 5.

Pic 6.

Anyway I then decided to walk back to Long Point to see the Lapland Bunting which with the help of Eddie S. (thank you!) I did and also photographed it drinking from a puddle in the last of the sunshine! at 7.30pm - it then disappeared near a creek.

Juv. Lapland Bunting, Blakeney Point - the earliest Autumn BP record!

Juv. Lapland Bunting, Blakeney Point.

Sat down and had a coffee and a sandwich. I looked at the sun going down and you just know that you're going to be walking back in the dark, so whats the hurry!!!

Started walking at 7.45pm from Long Point and it seemed to go for ever and ever and ever! Also misjudged a few waves and got soaked feet to add to the already soaked feet from crossing creeks earlier to see the Booted Warbler.

7.45pm - just crossed over from Long Point and took this with iphone and the video below.

Got a partial message on pager 'Bluethroat...' Phoned RBA who told me Steve G. had a Bluethroat between the Hood and Halfway House - I smiled to myself and thought would I be that lucky to see that aswell!! On reaching that area, it was dark, so no hope there! Battery on phone almost run out, so had to turn it off for emergencies. Good job it was a full moon! I could just about see the triangle shape of the roof of the hut at Coastguards! It was such a relief to open my car door at 9.20pm!!! The drive home seemed almost as long as the walk back! Got home 10.30pm.


Bad Start to the day!

Absolutely livid with myself - was supposed to be out at dawn - bashed the sleep button down when it rudely awakened me and the next minute it was 8.30am!!!!!!!!! BOTHER, BOTHER, BOTHER and I have already had a call to say Holme Bird Observatory have caught and rung an Icterine Warbler!!!

Woooo - I've reached 80 in the Birding Top 1000!!!!!!!!!

The plan is to be No.1 (ha ha) should I add something raunchy and scandalous to boost it up!!!

Out of the door NOW!

Thursday 26 August 2010

You never know, now I am on a run sorting photos, I might actually go through my 2 weeks of Fair Isle photos and add to my posts in May, June!!!!! But I think after doing the thread of BIRDFAIR, which I have yet to do, I might be a little burnt out!!!

North Easterlies with Rain - Top Birding coming up?!!!!

This morning I had a very important appointment which I will reveal what it was etc next week.

Came home and had soup and bread and now working on Day 3 of my Bird Fair Photos. Done!!!

Strong North Easterlies with rain currently!!!!! Really should be walking the point (Blakeney Point) but today I am going to be a pager birder - have bags and flask ready by the door just in case!!!! As I want to finish my birdfair photos.

Will be out early tomorrow!!!

7.15pm - EXACTLY - RBA Pager: Bluethroat on Far Point this afternoon, Blakeney Point!!!!!

Wednesday 25 August 2010





Moth Day at Titchwell with my parents and Gypsy Lane

Joined my parents for the Titchwell Moth Day at 9.30am.
Mother got cross with me for taking photos (she HATES having her picture taken!). So I didn't dare post a close up picture of them, which is a pity, because I have a lovely one of them sitting on the seat!

RSPB Titchwell Moth Morning. (see RSPB website for dates)
Father, centre - in his shorts (think these shorts are about 50 years old! - only joking!?
Mother is immediately right and just behind him.

Later in morning walked along Gypsy Lane (runs adjacent to Titchwell Reserve) and saw a Green Woodpecker (heard only), 1 Whimbrel, 1 Little Egret, 2 Little Grebes, 1 Common Whitethroat, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Grey Plover and 1 Greenshank, oh and tons of greylag geese, mute swans, canada goose and a marsh harrier. On arriving at the beach all I saw were tons of holidaymakers and out of control dogs!

Not a good afternoon, families!!!!!!! Got home at 3.30pm and fell asleep, had an early tea and then started the MASSIVE job of re-sizing, correcting my Bird Fair photos to add to this blog and to Birdforum.

Tuesday 24 August 2010

Cley all day!

RBA: no sign of the Marsh Warbler on BP this morning!

After not waking up particularly early I arrived at Cley late morning and had a walk round Walsey Hills, which only produced a few common whitethroats and the usual blue/great tits, long tailed tits etc around the bird feeders.

Left here and went to Sarbury Hill (my Pied fly spot!) and all I got here was soaked! - it rained on and off all day.

Cley Visitor Centre for lunch: Jacket potato with cheese and coleslaw and nothing sweet! Met a very interesting couple with a very sweet 4 year old daughter who showed me her nature notebook with drawings in of birds she had done - pretty good for a 4-year old! They had come to England from Chicago for a wedding!!! It was their first time in England and although they thought the area was beautiful, the lady (Anne) could not understand why there were not more 'hawks' about - she said that 'back home' there would have been several birds of prey in the air in the same type of habitat.

Parked at Coastguards, now lashing down with rain, had a cup of tea and a snooze! Eventually got out of the car in between showers and walked to North Hide - on route saw at least 5 Wheatears on the fence wires and posts which was lovely. From North Hide 2 Little Stints, amongst dunlin, loads of cormorants with one spoonbill in the middle of them, 3 Yellow wagtails bounded over the far island, several ringed plover, avocets, redshanks, teal, black tailed godwits and one green sandpiper etc. On route back to the carpark I had a very interesting LBJ dive into the Yellow Horned Poppies amongst the shingle - I kept my eye on the spot where it had flown in to and as I approached the spot, nothing, nothing at all, disappeared with a puff of smoke!!!!! Don't you just hate that! Just got back to the car in time for the next downpour! Several sandwich terns going west along the sea.

Parked at Old Woman's Lane and walked to Dauke's Hide and this was the best part of the day, the sun was shining with blue skies and everything looked beautiful! Andy J. joined me in the hide and then, when the door opened again I expected someone like Eddie M. or Mark G. (the usual evening crowd) to walk in BUT instead a very glamorous blonde walked into the hide who was very interested in birds and whilst chatting to me said she loved birdwatching but her children got bored which made it very difficult - I think she really enjoyed her time this evening as she saw several really good birds including the following: one Hooded Crow at around 7.10pm flying across the marsh towards North Fallen Wood, 1 Common Sandpiper sitting directly in front of the nearest island looking stunning in the sunshine, 1 Barn Owl which flew right in front of the hide, 1 Sparrowhawk zoomed past and also later the same or different one sitting on the fence next to Bishop's Hide, 1 Hare directly in front of hide, 2 marsh harriers, 3 spoonbills flying towards East Bank, 3 Green Sandpipers, tons of Dunlin, massive flocks of starlings, redshanks, avocets, 1 Med. Gull 7.45pm (picked up by M.G. who walked in hide later), black tailed godwits, 1 heron and tons of gulls and a full moon set the scene.

Left the hardcore gull watchers in the hide and walked back to my car to have my final philadelphia cheese (loveleeeeey!) and stem ginger roll and a cup of tea and then drove home.

Monday 23 August 2010

Marsh Warbler

RBA: Marsh Warbler on near Point - Blakeney Point this evening.

Chilled first day to my week's holiday!!!

Had the most wonderful sleep in today - 12.30pm!!!!!!! Shows how tired I was!

Its been raining all afternoon solidly (don't know about the morning!).

Currently going through all my Bird Fair photos and selecting which ones to add to my blog and

Just added my very short Swallows video to Day Two at Rutland on my blog and onto

Copying 14 parts of my Simon King Video to my computer - its taking ages!

Watch for latest videos at the Rutland Bird Fair!!!

Sunday 22 August 2010

BIRD FAIR - Day Three - More Simon Mania and an expensive Day!

Mr & Mrs King again!
Really must stop saying this - its sounds too good!!!

Hmmm.... Mrs Penelope King - sounds good to me,
what do you think Simon?

I seem to be leaving a little later each morning, probably due to the fact that driving 67 miles twice a day is getting a bit much now! Definately going to stay next year.

Arrived at Birdfair at 9.30am - beautiful blue skies and hot temperatures all day!

Fed up of wearing my khaki green birdy clothes the last two days, so decided to go in black today and wore my 2009 Birdfair Tea-shirt which I adapted last year with a v slash in the neck with a red jewel attached, which I remember Tim Appleton was impressed by when I showed him my adaption/creation - whatever you want to call it! I am soooo glad I wore this tea-shirt as you will hear about shortly!

Took my camoflage lens kit back to Stealth Wildlife quite simply because I decided it wasn't what I wanted, when I fitted it onto the lens - nothing wrong with the product though - they happily allowed me to return it and instead I bought a brilliant, small bean bag (fits in your pocket) for camera/lens - perfect for hide use - see - very friendly people on the stand.

Quick dash to the Events Marquee for 10.30am to hear Simon King's talk again - yes again!!! but my intention was to video the whole thing with my Canon 7D!!! When I realised there were no front seats anywhere with a clear view for videoing I cheekily sat myself extreme right of the stage on the side seats where staff sit! Brilliant, I had a perfect seat! Sat in a very uncomfortable position, should have bought tripod really - sat with one foot on a box, camera bag on knee and camera positioned on top of bag to gain the height I needed! It was all going really well until the video stopped after 15 minutes and I soon realised that it did this every 15 minutes and I had to be quick off the mark to start it again! Twice towards the end, it came up with a horrible message that the camera had overheated and it automatically stopped the video, which was incredibly annoying to say the least! Managed to start it again by turning camera off/on a couple of times and then just when Simon was about finish, you know the big build up and lots of laughter at the end and applause, close up of Simon as he leaves the stage next to where I was sitting, the camera came up with 'card full' - 2 minutes after this it was all over!!!! I was gutted, how dare the camera stop with only two bloody minutes to go and also Simon why oh why did you go over time!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was gutted, sat there a whole hour in an uncomfortable position (also didn't take one picture either) to miss the finale!!! Now most people would have been happy with this I suppose, but me being a perfectionist was not! And to top it all my 16 GB sandisk card was now full and I had no others with me. So cross was I that the card could not take one hour of videoing I very extravagently went and bought a 32 GB Sandisk card from Park Cameras to ensure this never happens again! Financially I wish I hadn't even thought about doing that video in the first place! Oh well, lessons learn't.

Battled my way through the crowds to queue with the other SK fans who were queueing to get 'Shetland Diaries' book etc signed. Chatted to a Canon rep whilst in the queue about my videoing experience and he explained that the camera would stop videoing if in extreme/humid temperatures, which I suppose it was. The queue was massive as always, but I was chatting away to people so it didn't seem too long. The lady standing in front of me was 'Sal North' and her mother from the Simon King website. I was very envious when she told me she had booked to go on Simon's Shetland Holiday this year - I would give the world to do that - have not got a couple of grand to spare right now though and as I said to Sal - if people are prepared to pay that sort of money to be with Simon for a week then he will obviously continue doing them, so may be, just maybe one day, I will have enough pennies to spend time with one of the sweetest, most genuine, down to earth human beings I have ever met. Oh and by the way Simon, I hear that you don't like the fact that you don't have much hair and thats why you like to wear your hat most of the time - well I can assure you - you DO NOT need to wear a hat, in fact you look better without it - hmmmm..... 'better' not a good description.... but I don't really want to bring down the tone of my blog by putting what I really want to put!!!! Ditch the hat Simon! When I got to the front of the queue I bought Simon's 'African Skies' DVD which he kindly signed for me and also, spur of the moment I asked him to sign my Birdfair Tea-shirt!!! (see picture) - sweetly asked a man standing nearby to take my yearly 'Mr & Mrs King' photo - I wish! (Top Picture) Marguerite is a very lucky lady (Simon's very beautiful wife).

My 2009 Bird Fair Tea-shirt, now signed by Simon King!

Detail of signing on tea-shirt! (how sad am I!!!)

Needed some chill time, so escaped into the Food Marquee and found a small table all to myself in the very far right hand corner where I had the cheesy pasta and salad option again - scrumptious! How I wished a certain person would walk in and join me for lunch - not going to mention their name again, as I am sure you are all getting totally fed-up with it!

It was boiling hot now and after lunch I found a seat right next to the marquee in a strip of shade - heaven! and people watched, which I love to do. Dean Eades and his friend Craig Jones (both photograghers) came and chatted for a while and Dean very kindly checked all my Canon 7D setttings for me. I went to have a look at Craig's photography stand and his photography was stunning.

Craig Jones and Dean Eades, both top photographers. and

Food court area.

I spent the rest of the afternoon photographing stands and celebrities around the marquees. Got a brilliant picture of Nick Baker and I (see below). I was very disappointed that for the first time since coming to Birdfair that I had not seen Bill Oddie at all - I always manage to catch him on camera smiling and this year, no sign of him anywhere - I know he was here somewhere though! Also disappointed not see Birdforum's Steve Kirk or Andy Bright today - bother - no smiley picture taken of Steve either!!! Bought Stuart Winter's 'Tales of a Tabloid Twitcher' signed - looking forward to reading that.

Nick Baker and Me!

Nick Baker talking gadgets!

More Hippo's!

The BIRD FAIR AUCTION turned manic as it always does as it approached closing time at 3pm for final bids. There was only one item there that I seriously wanted, yep you can guess - a framed, signed photo of a young otter amongst seaweed taken by Simon King - last bid I saw was for £250! (see pic below)

Browsing the many donated items at the auction.

Inside the Bird Fair Auction Marquee.

Simon King's signed photo of an Otter cub in the Bird Fair Auction.

Some of the items kindly donated for the auction.

Some of the items kindly donated for the auction.

As the auction comes to a close, people queue up to place last minute bids!

Bumped into crew again and met Rob Llewellyn who had contacted me for an interview and also found out that the young man I spoke to yesterday in the team was 'Robert Jolliffe' who's father Robin, was a long time NOA (Norfolk Ornithologists' Assocition) member and friend of my father's!!! (see comments they added to my post on here yesterday) Rob and Robert are business partners at 'Digital Spring'. They said my video would be posted on on next week and added to Day Two's round up video.

Rob Jolliffe of Digital Spring - part of the brilliant crew!

Also bumped into Norfolk birders Justin Lansdell and wife Sonia and Andy Wilkinson. Justin and Sonia walked on ahead to go to a lecture and Andy paused to pose for a picture (see below).

Andy Wilkinson - Top Norfolk birder, twitcher, netfugl King,
Ceroc God (he thinks)!!!! Twinkly eyed Tart, the list goes on.....

Bought a necklace from a jewellery stand in Marquee 5 which had several beautifully crafted pieces at realistic prices - an opening there for someone as yes, you can buy designer silver jewellery at a price in the Art Marquee but apart from this one stand I found in M5, there was no other jewellery at the cheaper end of the market. Also bought a wooden hippo going cheap at end of day. Freebies acquired towards end of day: Several free Leica and Swaroski lens cloths, several Lowepro pens, another china bird whistle, a beaded lizard, a parrot, RSPB DVD 'Invaders of the UK overseas territories'.

Took lots of pictures of the Birdfair Mural - stunning art work created by several of the top bird artists. Oh and earlier on, artist Chris Rose very kindly allowed me to take a picture of two of his paintings that I mentioned yesterday (pictures below).


BIRD FAIR MURAL - in detail

Had to enlarge this - I LOVE bee eaters!


Chris Rose - Artist, who very kindly gave me permission to photograph these two beautiful paintings and to add them to my blog.

Said goodbye to Jerry, Debbie and Gill on SK stand, but no sign of Simon to kiss goodbye (I mean 'say' goodbye!!!!) so thank you again Simon for the most wonderful birding walk I will probably ever have! and to Birdforum and Carl Zeiss for making this possible and for making this the BEST Birdfair weekend EVER!!!

Finished the day with watching Four Ospreys at Lyndon from Wader Scrape hide and the furthest hide away. It was a long walk from the carpark after walking round the fair all day, but most certainly worth it.

Ospreys at Lyndon - rubbish shot though, too far away for 300mm lens!

The sun was setting in a rainbow of colours as I left the carpark at 8pm. Arrived home shattered at 9.30pm, but with so many exciting, memorable moments of the Rutland Bird Fair - looking forward to Bird Fair 2011!!!