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Sunday 27 February 2011

Sunshine, Woodlark, but no Turtle Dove!

Marsh Harrier over Holme Marsh Reserve.

Holme Marsh Reserve and Thornham
A beautiful, gloriously sunny day - typical when I had to be at work at 1pm.

Phoned the ward I was working on today to make sure they definately needed me. They did - bother!

After delivering shopping to my parents I went to Holme Marsh Reserve and sat in the second hide. The path to the hide was incredibly slippery after the deluge of rain yesterday, but I made it without falling over, just! Sitting in the hide, the first thing I heard was a Cettis Warbler in full song. With blue skies and the reed mace wavering in the sunshine, it looked and felt like spring was in the air! With the first sand martins arriving back in the UK this week, shouldn't be too long now before we see them in Norfolk. There seemed to be a good movement of birds this morning. Large numbers of woodpigeons scattering in all directions. I counted 200+ lapwing in the skies along with 100+ Curlew when a light aircraft put up every bird up on the marshes. Watched a Marsh Harrier fairly close to the hide. Other birds seen: kestrel, 2 canada geese, coots, 3 egyptian geese, long tailed tits, the usual tufted duck, mallard and a pair of gadwall. As I left the hide a barn owl flew out of the tree by the first hide. I could also hear a tawny owl calling distantly.

Re-located to Thornham Harbour. Never know I might actually see the Northern Harrier again - ha ha, not! Counted 52 Shelduck around Thornham Point along with a good number of curlew and a couple of little egrets. Redshanks around the harbour area.

Stopped at Titchwell RSPB to buy a vege pasty. On the way back home I stopped at the concrete pad on the Brancaster to Docking road to eat my pasty and have a coffee. The views of the coast and Scolt Head Island are wonderful from here. But bad memories here also of the Bee-eater that I dipped! That reminds me, Paul K. still hasn't emailed me the photo that he took of that!

Got home and changed with seconds to spare to arrive for my 1pm shift to find they didn't really need me after all. So I asked if I could go at 2.30pm, which saved them money and gave me some valuable time in the sunshine! By the time I got home though and changed etc it was late in the day. Very annoyed as if I had known this, I could have stayed on the coast and walked round Titchwell or maybe gone to Cley again.

Pinkfooted Goose over Holme Marsh Reserve.

I ended up going to Roydon Church again to look for the Turtle Dove and STILL coudn't find it! Went to Roydon Common where bird of the day was a wonderful singing Woodlark right by the gate entrance. I find this reserve so incredibly boring though and very rarely go there. Its quite bleak and a bit too close to a main road - too many dog walkers here also. Semi dusk now, I thought I would see some raptors, but nothing. Another birder arrived and was also disappointed at the complete lack of raptors seen.

Went home and collapsed in the chair.

Saturday 26 February 2011

THE MART, Tuesday Market Place, King's Lynn


After cooking dinner, I went back to The Mart in King's Lynn. Part of my camera assignment was to take pictures on 'bulb setting'. Had a fantastic time taking tons of funky colourful pictures of the dodgems, waltsers, flashing lights etc etc. A group of girls pleaded with me to take their pictures by the dodgems, which I did and said I would put it on facebook - I think they thought I was a press photographer! They are now on an album on my facebook link.

For those of you not familiar with 'The Mart' here is a bit of information and history:

Great White Egret!!!

Quite an exciting day really considering the weather!

Started off at Roydon Churchyard to look for Ashley Banwell's Turtle Dove. I walked around the church three times, but sadly no sign. Nice little selection of other birds though including goldfinches, greenfinches, chaffinches, house sparrows, collared doves, rooks, robin, great tit and big black rabbit!

Left Roydon and continued along the A148. Went to Bintree Mill as needed to take fast flowing water on a slow shutter speed (part of assignment for camera course). It was dull, rainy miserable weather. In fact when I parked along the road towards the mill, I delayed even bothering to get out of the car it looked so dull! Dodgy duck swimming in the river along with a buzzard distantly. Got some pictures here, but no life in them at all with the bad light.

Bintree Mill, Norfolk.

My mobile starts 'barking' which means Andy W. is ringing me! "Justi's found a Great White Egret at Marlingford" (Justin Lansdell). Apparently it was only about 12 miles from where I was, so off I went on a mini twitch! I wished I hadn't, when I found myself sitting in loads of traffic at Dereham. Got onto the A47 and turned right at the second roundabout for Easton. In Easton at the pub/restaurant, turn right for Marlingford. After going through Marlingford, turn left at the T-Junction and the GWE was 400 yards along here, viewed from the high bank on the left. A few familiar faces were there including Ian, David Norgate and of course Andy. Justin had left by the time I got there. Andy had told me it was 200 yards away - very funny 200 yards! It was a smudge on the camera. But at least it won't get flushed if it stays in the same area! Followed Andy in his car to get back to Holt - much easier than me getting lost!

GREAT WHITE EGRET, Marlingford, Norwich.

Continued on to Glandford where I spent 20 minutes photographing the weir by the bridge at 'Natural Surroundings'. Took camera bag out of car which I thought was zipped up, but it wasn't and to my horror dropped my macro lens in the mud!!! Got most all mud off with wet wipes and sorted it later when I got home - didn't get any on the lens or the connecting end thank goodness! Left here and went to Cleyspy where I collected my Nikon ED50 with lovely new footplate!

Glandford, Natural Surroundings.

Whizzed over to Cley where I photographed tons of brent geese on the marsh next to Beach Road. Drove up to Coastguards where I walked part way to North Hide and back in hope that I might get the first wheatear for Norfolk, but nothing. Skeins of pinkfeet flew overhead towards Blakney Point. Had a coffee and drove home. Watched 'An Audience with Ken Dodd' - a brilliant comedian.

Brent Geese along Beach Road, Cley next Sea.

Surf, Coastguards, Cley next Sea.

Sunset from Coastguards, Cley next Sea.

Ken Dodd (photographed from TV!)

Friday 25 February 2011

Restoration of River Nar heralds return of wildlife

The Weekend!

Even though I have enjoyed my photography course, I am very much looking forward to having a normal Saturday back again. 'Normal' meaning going out birding and photographing what I want, when I want. Tomorrow I have two assignments to carry out which have to then be printed out and mounted in my A3 workbook along with the previous two assignments to present next Thursday which is the last day of the course. I will be cruising round Norfolk tomorrow just about everywhere! Looking forward to picking my Nikon ED50 from Cleyspy too!

Collins Birds | Home

Collins Birds | Home

Vandals put future of rare birds at risk - Environment - Eastern Daily Press

Norfolk Ornithologists' Assoication's Hempton Reserve is targeted by mindless vandals!!!

This is so sad. I don't understand why people do this. What is wrong with youngsters that they are so bored, they have to wreck things. When I was bored as child, I would read a book. Vandalism didn't exist when I was young - not that I can remember anyway.

Its also sad because I never did feel totally safe walking along the boardwalk to the hides and now this will probably put me off visiting in future.

Vandals put future of rare birds at risk - Environment - Eastern Daily Press

Thursday 24 February 2011

Nikon ED50 Update!

See previous post 2nd paragraph down.

Very good news with my Nikon ED50 Scope that needed mending. Dodgy footplate broke and needed replacing. Cleyspy had kindly sent the scope off to Nikon. Someone who works there said I would be very lucky if Nikon mended the scope under warranty and that Nikon were 'very difficult to deal with' – I replied 'so am I'!!!!!!!!

Initially Nikon wanted to charge me, but after speaking to them on the phone they agreed to replace the footplate free of charge. It has now arrived back at Cleyspy for me to collect this weekend!!!!!!! Fantastic! Thanks to Cleyspy for assisting with this.

Cleyspy are specialists in optical equipment and are based in Glandford near Cley, Norfolk and also have another shop adjacent to the Cley NWT Visitor Centre.

Camera Course - Week Four

Without Reflector.

With Reflector.

Hand held Macro Shot*.

This evening was about photographing indoors, lighting, flash etc etc. I didn't realise how many different pieces of equipment there are available to assist photography indoors! I am so glad I photograph outside!!! I spent all last night mounting my photographs in the A3 workbook which we have to present next Thursday on the last day of the course. We were given two weeks to do last week's assignment which most people havn't started yet I found out, when chatting to others this evening. We were given our final assignment this evening, so now have two assignments to carry out, print and mount the rest before next week! Nigel our tutor seemed impressed with my hand held macro shot*. "I don't breathe when I take the picture" I explained. When the course finishes it will be nice to then have time to go to the Camera Club meeting which is held every week.

Norfolk bird-breeder accuses RSPCA of intimidation - News - Eastern Daily Press

Norfolk bird-breeder accuses RSPCA of intimidation - News - Eastern Daily Press

Tuesday 22 February 2011

Very disappointed. I wanted to go and listen to Chris Knights' NARVOS talk this evening in Swaffham, but after a night of very little sleep and starting work at 7am today (much earlier than I normally start) I am far too tired to drive to Swaffham and back.

Monday 21 February 2011

Don't forget!

RSPB South Wootton Village Hall

*RSPB West Norfolk Local Group

Wednesday 23rd February – 7.30pm

*Small fee for non-members - used to be around £2.00 approx.

“India, its Birds, People and the Taj Mahal” – Richard Pople
DIET — Week Seven - Oh dear!!!
Total loss = Oh dear again!

Note to self:
No will power - this is no good at all Penelope. Try harder!
No will power - this is no good at all Penelope. Try harder! No will power - this is no good at all Penelope. Try harder!

Sunday 20 February 2011

Long eared Owl at Thorham!

Gutted to have missed this whilst doing a double shift today!!!

Brilliant video by Pete Snook.

Saturday 19 February 2011

NarVOS now on Facebook!

Nar Valley Ornithological Society (NarVOS)

You have to be a member though to access the facebook group.

They have not updated the calendar yet though - still has 2010 events on there!

"Founded in 1976, the Nar Valley Ornithological Society (NarVOS) is the premier society for birds, birders and bird watching in north west Norfolk and the north Breckland region."

Turnstone flys 27,000 km round-trip on migration!

The first Turnstone to be tracked with geolocator technology has been shown to fly a 27,000 km round-trip on migration.

Rubbish Weather!

Phoned Andy W. this morning just confirm where I knew he would be - as soon as he answered the phone, I knew where he was - could hear lots of others voices all around. Yep he was twitching the THE Oriental Turtle Dove in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire!

If someone had offered me a lift, I might have gone. There is no way I could have afforded/justified the petrol to go by myself. I keep trying to convince myself that I am not a twitcher. But then I did twitch the American Bittern and Green Heron in Cornwall on a day trip!

Had very late breakfast and been doing photography stuff all morning.

Its been pouring with rain all day, no incentive to go out whatsoever, but going to have to go out somewhere for a while locally, as working all day tomorrow and I will lose my mind if am indoors for two weeks!

Sat in the car at Thornham Coal Barn and outside in the rain looking for the Northern Harrier, but no sign in the dull, rainy conditions. Re-located to Brancaster Staithe Harbour where I counted 21 Pied Wagtails.

I am so looking forward to lighter evenings, spring time and walking Blakeney Point!

Friday 18 February 2011
Pictures now added to 12th and 13th February.

Our Forests Saved!!!!!!

From David Babbs at 38 Degrees via email.

"WE'VE WON! The government has just confirmed they're totally scrapping the forest sell-off. The phoney consultation has been cancelled. The sinister legal changes to pave the way for privatisation have been dropped.

We did this together. Next time someone tries to tell any of us that signing petitions or emailing our MPs doesn’t work, we’ll know exactly what to say: “People power does work. Just look at the Save Our Forests campaign”.

Over half a million of us can feel very proud of what we've achieved together today.

On the 38 Degree Facebook page: members are celebrating. Fiona, for example, says "Fantastic news! And great for letting people see that actually there IS something they can do when they don't like what the government does, and their protest can make a difference!" Even Sky News seems to agree: "This is a great example of people power".........."

Thursday 17 February 2011

Sun Flare Eruptions set to reach Earth!

High Tides at the weekend!

7.7 metre tide at 7.02am this Saturday and 7.8 metre tide at 7.42am on Sunday.

Camera Course - Week Three

Spent half of last night printing out loads of photos for both my assignments for the course and took them along this evening. I am really enjoying the course and there are lovely people there which of course is an added bonus. We have to mount the photos in an A3 Work book which I still have to do! Busy busy bee!

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Frantically trying to print and present my assignments for week three of my camera course tomorrow night!

Monday 14 February 2011

Oxon Bird Log: Oriental Turtle Dove Chipping Norton

Oxon Bird Log: Oriental Turtle Dove Chipping Norton: "Absolutely fabulous and many thanks to Steve and Sharon for allowing us into their home to view this mega. Also single Brambling, Siskin..."

Valentines' Day

No different from any other day!!! No Knight in shining armour. No Card. No roses. No chocolates. No. Candlelit dinner for two. No Chanel No.5. No trip to Paris. No Diamonds. No Swaroski telescope!!!!!! Dreaming again!!!

Didn't go to camera club tonight as too busy sorting photos!

Hairdressers tomorrow night - perhaps I should go brown again to save sarcastic, bitchy remarks about bleach in my hair from all and sundry........ funny really because I WAS naturally blonde: Aged one: White blonde. Teens: Golden blonde. Age 27 (married) Mucky brown colour (said alot for my marriage!) 30's: added highlights to revert back to blonde and it worked! Tried 'brown' colour a year or two ago - it doesn't work - it aged me by 10 years - not good! I always fancied having jet back hair and I remember once trying on a beautiful long black wig in a department store in Colchester (where I used to live) and very sadly that didn't work either - skin too pale! So conclusion, stay bleachy blonde - thats me, thats how its going to be! If anyone has a problem with that - TOUGH! If I don't have any highlights, hair will be mucky brown colour mixed with grey strands - who that hell wants that! Life's far too short!!!

DIET — Week Six -
Lost nothing.
Total loss = 6.5lbs.

Note to self:
No will power - this is no good at all Penelope. Try harder!

Sunday 13 February 2011

Fair Isle: Rev. Stewart Wilson - Remembered

Fair Isle: Stewart Wilson - Remembered:

Fair Isle resident and descended
Artist & Leader of the Kirk - Church of Scotland

I met Stuart a few times on my visits to Fair Isle. He always seemed to be the life and soul, such a contented, happy man. The last time I saw him was my trip in June 2010 - see my account of my visit to Stuart's house and his wonderful cat Thomas on:

Condolences to his family and friends - RIP.

Wolverton, Sandringham and Shernborne

River by Babingley Bridge.

Photography Day for Camera Course.

An amusing morning!

Spent a while at Wolverton taking shots of the old railway platform and some other macro shots and then moved on to Sandringham.

Shortly after taking macro shots of the Queen's front gate to her Sandringham empire, I received a text from a work colleague who said 'You'll have security after you!'

Had to work in the afternoon.

Detail from a lantern at Wolverton Railway Station.

Wolverton Railway Platform.

Friends of the Earth: Incineration case studies : Waste : Natural Resources

Friends of the Earth: Incineration case studies : Waste : Natural Resources

I also found this:

Saturday 12 February 2011

Hunstanton Cliffs

Fulmars at Hunstanton Cliffs.

Photography Day for Camera Course.

It was a glorious sunny day. Stayed at home doing jobs in the morning.

Went to Hunstanton Cliffs to take pictures for my second Assignment for course. Had a wonderful time taking an awesome sunset, fulmars gliding past and loads of arty farty rock pictures.

Hunstanton Cliffs.

Shells, Stones, Hunstanton.

Hunstanton Cliffs - Sunset.

Cliff Top Gardens, Hunstanton.