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Wednesday 31 August 2011

Back on track!

With scrumptious food consumed at the weekend and a leaving lunch at work today which consisted of every naughty food you could possibly think of, I seriously need to get back to the diet tomorrow!!!

Will be doing the early shifts tomorrow and Friday which means I will be finishing early - could be quite handy for any rares turning up! South East winds forecast for tomorrow and North West and rain on Sunday!

Wryneck remains at Wells today.
Pectoral Sandpiper at Cantley Beet Factory.
Good numbers of Bonxies and Curlew Sandpipers seen in Norfolk today.

Monday 29 August 2011

Bank Holiday Birding!

Don't get excited – this has got to be one of my shortest birding posts ever!

First of all, most of the day was ruined as had to go to work!

Evening - went to Walsey Hills to find the Red-backed Shrike again, but couldn't find it anywhere. A lone chiffchaff called along the bottom path. From the top of the steps I could see the spray of the rolling waves crashing down onto the shingle beach at Cley. The sea looked exciting. Went seawatching at Coastguards and saw 3 Manx Shearwaters and 1 Gannet!!! Yep, thats it..... then it was dark. I don't like the nights pulling in again already. I can't believe its September on Thursday!

I heard later on that I had missed a MEGA at Cley in the morning - typical!!!! MG, RM etc had seen a YELKOUAN SHEARWATER at Coastguards, early this morning - WOW!!! Congratulations!!!

Sunday 28 August 2011

Manxies galore!!!!!!!!

Walsey Hills NOA

Arrived here early morning, but wasn't lucky seeing the Red-backed Shrike today, even though it was there and seen by a few others!

Pete Snook sent me a lovely video of the Red-backed Shrike – thanks Pete!

Bishop's Hide, Cley NWT

34 Curlew Sandpipers, 8 Spoonbills, Red-necked Phalarope, Common Sandpipers, Green Sandpipers, 8 Little Stints, tons of greylags, ruff, dunlin etc. Eddie, Andy J. and Pete Snook also in the hide.

Cley Visitor Centre

Tea and Cheese Scone and met up with friends to pass on lens cloths I had collected for them from the Rutland Bird Fair.


After yesterday's dip on the Greenish and Bonelli's Warblers I had no intention of going again today. But Pete, Graham and Andy fancied a trip over there, so on mass including Eddie and John F. we descended on Cromer in hope that we might be lucky. There were lots of birders there and some people appeared to be ticking a pale Chiffchaff as the Bonelli's. After lots of time spent here, we gave up, neither bird was seen by any of us. Several of us thought there was definately a bit of stringing going on today! But, it was seen by someone I know as a very competent birder, so was there somewhere I am sure. It was an absolutely stunning day. The sea below the cliffs was a glimmering turquoise in the glorious sunshine, it was an exceptionally beautiful day. Days like these make you feel very lucky to be living in Norfolk.

Foxglove Tea Rooms at Priory Maze & Gardens, Beeston Regis

Eddie and I went for a late lunch at The Foxglove Tea Rooms. It was the first time I had been here and I was VERY impressed. We sat outside in a very pretty garden. The service was first class and I had a perfect lunch of nut roast, with new potatoes, roast potatoes, yorkshire pudding, calibree, cauliflower, carrots and vege gravy, followed by Summer Pudding and home-made ice-cream. Everything was absolutely scrumptious and beautifully presented!!! I would highly recommend this cafe. But definately not ideal at all if you are dieting!!!

Coastguards, Cley – 5pm-7.45pm

Eddie and I had a very productive sea watch! In half an hour between 5pm and 5.25pm we counted 21 Manx Shearwaters and 10 Arctic Skuas! I texted RBA to alert others that there was a good passage going on. The list below was just my sightings, as I did not see all birds that were seen distantly on the horizon with my Nikon ED50!

56 Manx Shearwaters, 28 Arctic Skuas, 2 Bonxies, 3 Guillemots, 12 Gannets, 1 Common Scoter, 1 Dunlin, 1 Little Gull, 155 Sanderling, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Fulmer and 1 Eider.

An excellent end to the day!


Saturday 27 August 2011

Burrowing Owl sunning itself and Red-backed Shrike feasting on wasps!!!

Burrowing Owl, East Runton.

Bishops Hide NWT, Cley

8.05am - tip off from Eddie - the Red-necked Phalarope had been, note I say 'had been', right in front of the hide, but when I arrived 10 minutes later it was very much distantly on Pat's Pool, but lovely to see all the same! Dull, rainy and chilly! Other birds seen: a Common Sandpiper, several Green Sandpipers, a Wood Sandpiper, 22 Curlew Sandpipers! and a Spotted Redshank amongst a huge selection of waders.

Walsey Hills NOA
9.00am - Sun now out thank goodness and warming up. Blackcaps, chiffchaffs, common whitethroats and lesser whitethroats and a single goldcrest. Eddie and I stood by the willows at the end of the public footpath and by the corner of Snipe's Marsh for ages watching whitethroats etc in the elders and brambles. I saw 'something' different briefly fly across the reed bed but didn't see it again. 8 Spoonbills flew across and landed on Arnold's Marsh.

Pot of tea etc at Cley VC.Phone call from Steve Beal to say he had found and was watching a juv. Red backed Shrike by the feeders at Walsey Hills!!!!!!! Typical - we had just come from there!!!

Flew back to Walsey to hear that a couple and two dogs had flushed the Red-backed Shrike!!! Several birders walked round trying to relocate the bird and eventually it was spotted sitting in the bramble/elder bush in the corner of the field by Snipe's Marsh at 11.45am. The shrike was catching beetles in the sunshine and looked quite happy. Rubbish for photos though, as couldn't really get close in case the shrike moved on etc! A male bullfinch was also seen flying across the reed bed.

Cromer - Warren Hill Wood
This journey was a complete waste of time and energy. Stood with lots of familiar faces to see absolutely nothing - I got bored and faced the opposite direction and picked up an nice Arctic Skua at 2pm going east below the cliffs. Saw a Hobby and a Chiffchaff and that was about it. Stood there for what seemed like hours. Got soaked in the rain, went back to the car for short lunch and then went back. Connor had arrived and kindly led us to where he had seen the Greenish Warbler. We stood looking up into the tallest trees ever - to see a movement amongst the sycamore leaves, at the highest point. I certainly didn't see the Greenish or hear it - I could only see a Chiffchaff. We gave up and left!

East Runton
5.30pm - stunning views of an escaped female Burrowing Owl sitting on a bank on the edge of the field next the first caravan - opposite the 'Citrine Wagtail Field' for those of you that saw it. It was just sitting there amongst some flowers and was the cutest thing ever. Thanks to Simon for pointing it out. Who cares that its an escape!!!!! Its still a bird, incredibly cute, made my day and was VERY photographical!!!!! I sneaked round the side of the caravan and got some frame filling shots. Seeing this bird cheered me up no end! We heard that both the male and female Burrowing Owl had escaped from Cromer Zoo, but the male had decided to stay and sit outside the cage - the female obviously decided that life was much more interesting further afield! This was almost, the highlight of the day!

West Runton
6pm - 10 Gannets going east, a Whimbrel flying west and a Med. Gull sitting very obligingly for my camera on a post in the carpark!!! Beautiful sunny evening and now high tide and the beach below looked stunning.

Sheringham Cemetery
House sparrows and common whitethroats, but nothing else spectacular.

Red-backed Shrike, Walsey Hills NOA.

Walsey Hills NOA

7pm-7.50pm - awesome views in the evening sunshine of the juv. Red-backed Shrike sitting on the railings going up the steps catching wasps. Using excellent (smiley face) fieldcraft, I got some frame filling shots! This just tipped the Burrowing Owl for 'Bird of the Day'!!!

Cracking day in the end!

Other birds seen in Norfolk today: news this evening of a juv. Red-backed Shrike and a Wryneck at Holme NWT (this morning), 2 Black Terns, 2 Pied Flys and a Whinchat at Scolt Head Island.


Friday 26 August 2011

Hot Weekend coming up!!!!

Looking good for the weekend!!!!!!

Feeling alot better today after having two days of anti-biotics! I should have been out socially last night and tonight, but cancelled both to save energy for birding tomorrow!

In Norfolk today:

Red-necked Phalarope on Pat's Pool, Cley along with 3 Black Terns.
Western Bonelli's Warbler (Stuart White) and Greenish Warbler (Simon Chidwick) at Cromer.
juv Red-backed Shrike remains at Holme NWT.
28 Black Terns west through Sheringham!!!

See: for all the latest Norfolk birding gossip/discussion/debates!!!

Also for those of you on facebook see:

Looks good for seawatching in the morning:

High Tide: 5.30am - see here
Sunrise: 5.57am

Have a fab weekend everyone!!!
BIRDGUIDES have used my grey partridge picture to illustrate their "Farmland birds in Europe fall to lowest level" article: - thanks!

Nature Notes - Peter Clarke- Lynn News

Nature Notes - Peter Clarke - Lynn News

26th August 2011.

"AT this time of the year we always see a small robin-sized bird craftily hopping about our garden.

Its legs are longish and its beak is sharp, while its breast is speckled. It is in fact a juvenile robin, not having acquired its red breast, which will gradually appear as the bird begins its first moult.

This phase of its plumage often excites comments from novice garden owners who may question the identity of this strange bird, whose mannerisms nonetheless are very much those of an adult robin.

Another creature that sometimes causes great interest is a large caterpillar, which can be seen leaving its food plants of willow herbs and/or plants of willow herbs or fuschia from which it often crawls for a considerable distance, trying to find a suitable patch of earth in order to construct a flimsy cocoon on or near the ground surface in which it will pass the winter months.

If encountered it arouses great interest because of its large size and life-like eye markings near the front end of its long trunk-like head (hence its name: “elephant hawk moth”). The adult moth flies from May to July but it is not seen so often as its larva. If seen at dusk it may be visiting the tubular flowers of honeysuckle. Its pink and olive green forewing and pink and black hindwing are unmistakable.

Our buddleia bushes have given a most splendid show of blooms in pink, blue and yellow, but where, oh where, are the butterflies?

Red admirals have ever been present since early summer and these have been boosted by a few cabbage whites, up to a dozen gatekeepers, six meadow browns, three to five commas, but never more than three peacocks and two small tortoiseshells.

Holly blues and speckled woods have commonly frequented shadier areas of our woodland type garden, while up to the present time we have recorded humming bird hawk moths almost daily since early July.

Interestingly the often maligned globosa buddleia, although flowering too early for most butterflies, was alive with bumble and flower bees during its entire flowering period from late May to late June.

Why are the usual visitors to our buddleias so scarce? It was not unusual to see scores of peacocks and small tortoiseshells taking nectar. Was it the very hard winter followed by a dry spring? We hope it is only locally scarce.

I have heard that good numbers of chalk-hill blue butterflies have been introduced to a grassy Norfolk hill. According to Richard South’s “The Butterflies of the British Isles” first published in 1906, only one small isolated colony of this species could be found in Norfolk. Elsewhere, it was more commonly found on the downs of southern England and at a few places in north Suffolk close to the Norfolk border.

Some 60 years ago I heard from an old entomologist that the Norfolk colony was at Ringstead Downs. One day I made the long cycle ride from Sheringham to see this beautiful butterfly flying on the grassy slopes. I obtained several photographs. Sadly this colony became extinct at about the time of the first myxomatosis outbreak in rabbits. It is thought that the lack of grazing contributed to the extinction of the chalk-hill blue.


Wednesday 24 August 2011

Rare natterjack toads re-introduced at Grimston Warren, near King’s Lynn - News - Eastern Daily Press

Rare natterjack toads re-introduced at Grimston Warren, near King’s Lynn - News - Eastern Daily Press

Migrants continue, but too ill to escape!

I wasn't able to go birding last night as the tonsillitis that I had a short while ago has started up again and today I felt even worse, to the point where I can hardly eat again. Spent the evening curled up and feeling aged a hundred. So frustrating when there are some good birds to be seen! Started on my second lot of anti-biotics for another 7 days and on paracetamol and iboprofen to relieve the pain. Here's hoping it will finally disappear by next week - permanently. I HATE being ill - such a waste of life!

NEED to spend a day at the weekend, moving my entire photographic collection onto my two new external hard drives, which I still haven't done yet, which will then enable me to off load tons of photos including bird fair photos off my 32gb card and sort/add to blog!!! Apologies to blog readers for being seriously behind with adding photos - it will be resolved soon!

Same birds around as yesterday in Norfolk with the added addition of 2 Ravens seen at Holkham, Greenish Warbler stayed all day at Halfway House (BP), male Red-backed Shrike 200 yards west of Coastguards, Cley.

Two bombs were discovered on Blakeney Point today! Bomb squad off down the beach late evening to detonate!!!

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Disappearing Summer Migrants!

Rain and easterlies brings excitement today!

Well - typical really that birds turned up today! At work, some of my colleagues looked mystified when I was cursing the rain today and ranting on about 'why didn't it do this yesterday on my day off'. After explaining why, they understood a little more of my madness!!!

I felt exhausted and ill when I got home, otherwise I would have gone out birding locally to find some goodies.

Birds seen in Norfolk today included:
Icterine Warbler and pied flycatcher at Waxham, Greenish Warbler, 2 Red backed Shrikes and a wryneck at Blakeney Point at Halfway House (typical!), 2 Wrynecks at Gramborough Hill, Salthouse, Wryneck, 8+ Pied flys, Redstart, 5+ Whinchats at East Hills, Hooded Crow, Salthouse, Black Redstart by Daukes Hide NWT, 2 Pied Flys at Holme NOA, Buff breasted Sandpiper reappeared at Titchwell and escaped Flamingo also.

Bird Fair TV - Interview - Simon King and Me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I sound silly and giggly - ha ha!!!

Simon King talks to Charlie from Digital Spring on Vimeo.

Monday 22 August 2011

Migration hotting up!!!!

Walsey Hills NOA - 8.45am

Beautiful, sunny day. I spent over two hours here, skulking round, hoping to find something good. Found two Garden Warblers, several Blackcaps, Common Whitethroats, 1 bright Willow Warbler and several Chiffchaffs. Walked along the field edge to the corner of North Foreland Wood and watched a young kestrel sitting in a tree.

NWT Visitor Centre - Cheese Scone and a pot of tea!!! I had intended on walking Blakeney Point today, but changed my mind - too hot!!! Excuses, excuses!!!

Gramborough Hill

1 skulky Reed Warbler and 3 juv Stonechats in the brambles and sycamore and 3 Wheatears on the fence wires.

Walsey Hill NOA

Huge increase in bird numbers from this morning. The biggest surprise was a Treecreeper in a hawthorn along the bottom path - can't remember the last time I saw one in here (if at all)! A male bullfinch flying over the bottom willows, several linnets, willow warblers, common and now lesser whitethroats, greenfinches, increased number of chiffchaffs and blackcaps, party of long tailed tits, hedge sparrows, robin, great and blue tits.

Blakeney Point - 6pm!

Crazy idea of mine to start walking Blakeney Point at 6pm but hey ho!!!! Even more crazy Eddie agreed to walk with me!!! With the wind having turned NE at around 4pm I felt lucky! The list of birds seen will take forever to write - here goes: 4 grey partridges, 1 Reed Bunting and 1 Skylark!!!!!!!!! We got as far as Halfway House and walked back with the sun setting - beautiful skies though! At least we tried!!!!!!


Sunday 21 August 2011

Hot Birding tomorrow?

I have Monday off too, which could be exciting as its North West in the morning and then turning North east in the afternoon, so there could be some hot birds around!

I note on the NOA Website that there was a Pied Flycatcher at Walsey Hills this afternoon. Also Whinchat on the NWT Reserve at Holme and good numbers of general migrants.


Another fabulous hot and sunny day at the Bird Fair with Eddie.

Queued up at the Carl Zeiss Stand for Simon King to sign last year's Bird Fair tea-shirt and was spotted by Charlie Moore's (Digital Spring/Bird Fair TV) who asked if he could film me with Simon when I got my tea-shirt signed. I asked Simon to write "For Penny, One of my biggest FANS!!!!! Peace and Light, Simon King xxx" and he added a heart!!!!! Simon wrote on the teashirt with silver pen - I don't know if I dare ever wash it!!!

Took loads of pictures today of exhibitor stands, more celebrities and birders. Eddie went off and did his own thing as was not as interested as me in the following!!! After not being able to get anywhere near the event marquee for Simon King's Lecture yesterday, I was determined to get in there today, so went to the event before, which was Johnny Kingdom's. I really enjoyed listening to him and he really made the audience laugh, especially with the video he showed which featured him filming a hare. The hare was completely overshadowed by a bull, which suddenly appeared from nowhere and was much too close for comfort and Johnny's commentary throughout had everyone in stitches! I was sitting about half way to the front at this lecture and moved again nearer to the front when I spotted a single seat. As people left at the end of the lecture, a couple started to get up from the front row - its amazing how quickly you can move when you want to!!!!!! Within seconds I was sitting in the middle of the front row, ready to listen to Simon King!!! Another lady, incidentally called Penny also did the same as me and moved to sit in the seat next to me (nice to meet you). Simon entertained the audience as always.

Lunch in the food marquee with Eddie. Clive Byers joined us as well and entertained us with fascinating stories including one about thousands upon thousands of Pacific Swifts that he had watched.... can't remember where now though (please email me details Clive, if you are reading this, thanks).

Spent most of the afternoon photographing exhibitor stands. Went to David Lindo's first Bird Fair lecture in the afternoon. He was a good speaker and made the talk both interesting and entertaining.

The Art Marquee was as usual full of stunning art works.

I did not bump into Steve Kirk or Andy again today - where were you!? I also realised I had not seen Lee Evans at all this year - usually a familiar face a Bird Fair.

For the first time this year, I did not buy a single book!!!! In fact I only bought two items, a "LensPen kit" from Park Cameras (very innovative and works well) and a fancy binocular strap which I now regret buying! I wanted to buy David Lindo's new book, but couldn't find a signed copy.

Photographed the now famous Bird Fair Mural at the end of the day.


Simon King and Me!!!!!

Simon King talks to Charlie from Digital Spring on Vimeo.

Saturday 20 August 2011


Fabulous day at the Bird Fair with Eddie M.

I am glad I went birding yesterday, but I seriously regret missing "Just a Linnet" yesterday as it was absolutely hilarious last year!

Arrived on site at 9am.

Spent a long time in the optics marquee chatting to various people including Paul Hackett (nice to see you) and Paul Lee (nice to meet you) who sells the Scopac's (tripod carrying system) see website/info HERE. Walked into Marquee 7 to check out Wildlife Whisperer stand/Simon King and there was the man himself!!!! Simon very sweetly gave me a hug and two kisses!!!!!!!! I was now in a silly, giggly state! Simon said he was now signing photocards at the Carl Zeiss stand so I nipped across and was almost first in the queue! Had my yearly photo taken with Simon by Eddie which was very sweet - thanks x. Loads of good freebies acquired! Managed to squeeze several free lens cloths from the main optical exhibitors including my best freebie yet - a stunning, Swarosvski Bird of Paradise crystal and silver brooch!!!!! I wore this on Sunday (on pink top on video)! Saw several Norfolk birders including Chris and Jacki Mills (Norfolk Birding), Pete Dolton, Oscar (what a character!), Justin and Chris Lansdell, Andy Wilkinson, Pat Dwyer, Irene and Tim Loseby on the Fair Isle Stand, Brian Bland, Richard Porter etc etc. Lovely to see Steve Kirk and Andy Bright from Birdforum!!! Got some cool photos of Steve! A really good social event today!

Took pictures of Simon King with me as usual;), Bill Oddie, Nick Baker, David Lindo, Johnny Kingdom, Keith Betton, Tim Appleton, Derek Moore, Dominic Couzens, Clive Byers, Charlie Moores, Alan Davies & Ruth Miller, Paul Hackett, Digital Spring crew, Robert Gillmor, Steve Kirk and Andy Bright (BIRDFORUM Chiefs!), BF's Adrian (who recommended my Canon 300 f4 lens to me), Justin and Chris Lansdell, Andy Wilkinson (my long distance twitching crew!), Eddie Myers, etc etc and loads of other pictures.

A massive arty farty Osprey in flight made out of bags was in place adjacent to the Art Marquee.

Had a lovely lunch in the Food Marquee with Eddie. Managed to see all stands by the end of the day, just!

I went to Simon King's Lecture, but after seeing a seriously massive queue to get in the events marquee - I walked away - even I'm not that mad!!! Will try again tomorrow.

Lovely sunny weather, going again tomorrow!!!! See videos of yesterday and today here:


Friday 19 August 2011

Gun Hill, Burnham Overy Dunes, Holkham and Titchwell!

This should have been titled BIRD FAIR - DAY ONE!!!!! But was scrapped to find 'rares'!!!!!

A gloriously sunny day and a tons of birds early morning.

Burnham Overy Staithe

Along with Eddie M. started off at Burnham Overy Staithe at 7.15am. The hedges either side of the track not far from the main road, were riddled with common and lesser whitethroats and supporting cast of meadow pipits, wrens, linnets, a robin, blackcap. 62 Golden Plover and a kestrel flew over west. At the bushes at the end of the seawall there was a Garden Warbler and lots more linnets and meadow pipits.

Gun Hill

At Gun Hill a Wheatear appeared. On the shore on a sand bank were common terns, sandwich terns, dunlins, 27 ringed plovers, oystercatchers and sanderling - 2 gannets going west and east. We walked through the low bushes on the seaward side of Gun Hill (directly below) and I used my 'Audubon Bird Call' and flushed out what look like a Wryneck - it bounded away incredibly quickly over the top of Gun Hill. Eddie and I climbed the hill to see the same bird dive back to where it came from at great speed! We climbed back down and waited...... nothing - we walked down to the bush were it went in and out it came and flew off over the dunes to reveal itself to be a WRYNECK on the seaward side of Gun Hill at 9.40am!!!! It was incredibly elusive and did not show again, with much searching as I wanted to photograph it - but sadly not to be! Walked back and through Overy dunes. 10.30am - saw at least 3 more wheatears perched on the fence wires. I felt very excited after finding the wryneck and just presumed we were on a roll and would see lots more goodies today. Several more linnets and meadow pipits about and whitethroats. Searched the dunes thoroughly and looked in all gullys.

Holkham Pines

Migrant Hawker, Common Darters by the gate at the beginning of the pines. In the pond east of Joe Jordons Hide Eddie spotted a Small red-eyed damselfly sitting on a stem on the surface of the water. Along the track, a few chiffchaffs and 3 Bullfinches, but sadly little else. Walked down Lady Anne's Drive and sat and had a mango ice-cream - lovely! We then made our way through tons of holidaymakers to the bus stop on the main road and very luckily only had to wait 4 minutes for a Coastliner bus to turn up, to take us back to our cars at Burnham Overy! Next stop was going to be Blakeney Point, BUT news of the Buff breasted Sandpiper at Titchwell enticed us west!

Titchwell RSPB

Parrinder Hide - 4pm - 4 Curlew Sandpipers. Dave Holman kindly (in other section of hide) kindly alerted us to a Red Kite giving spectacular views, going west at 4.20pm. juv. Spoonbill at 4.45pm. I found/saw a Turtle Dove flying across us and heading south/west at 4.53pm. A ruff (looking very buff breasted sandpiperish!!!) flew in right in front of us and then later on flew south towards the fields at Choseley! Other birds seen: Yellow leg Gull, a Yellow Wagtail right in front of hide posing for pictures, several Greenshanks, several dunlin, black tailed godwits, avocets etc etc. A Hobby flew west at 6.09pm. Highlight was watching 5 Yellow Wagtails that came down to bathe before flying off! A Cettis Warbler burst into song along the main bank on the way back and a sparrowhawk was seen. Left at 6.45pm. No sign of the Buff breasted Sandpiper whatsoever!!!! Oh well, seen several before, but it would have been nice to photograph close up! Several local birders (and from afar) had also missed it and had sat there for hours waiting for it to reappear!

Another day tomorrow!


Nick’s at one with nature - Lifestyle - Eastern Daily Press

Nick’s at one with nature - Lifestyle - Eastern Daily Press

Thursday 18 August 2011

Dawn to Dusk Birding tomorrow!

Will be doing some serious birding tomorrow, now I have made the decision not to go to the Rutland Bird Fair. But will be going to the Bird Fair on Saturday!

Titchwell RSPB this evening for Buff-breasted Sandpiper!

At lunchtime there was nothing on RBA. As I left work tonight and arrived at Tescos to do a mini shop pre Bird Fair tomorrow, I was mortified to read of several good birds via RBA including Buff breasted Sandpiper at Titchwell, Greenish Warbler and Wryneck at Blakeney Point!!!!! I then received a phone call to say that the buff breasted sandpiper was showing down to 1 metre in front of Parrinder Hide. Enough said, I flew home, dumped shopping and sped to Titchwell, arriving and walking along the bank by 6.50pm. Was extremely annoyed to hear that the Buff breasted Sandpiper had not been seen since 5.45pm and flew south towards fields at Choseley. What is even more annoying is that people with pagers and phones (and there must have been a few) are quite happy to go and see birds, but not happy to let others know that birds have not been seen for ages. The 'Buff breasted Sandpiper add till 5.45pm....' message on RBA was from me (when I finally got a signal). Why had no one else bothered!!!!! If I had known, I wouldn't have left the house, as seriously busy with loads of stuff right now, but hey ho!!!! A greenshank landed in front of the hide resulting in a half decent photo. Walked back along the bank in the pouring rain and only just arrived home at 8.40pm. Not a happy bunny!

Video of the Buff-breasted Sandpiper here from Kim and Sue on the Norfolk thread on Birdforum:

Definately going birding tomorrow. Bird Fair will have to wait until Saturday!!!!


Bird Fair may be scrapped tomorrow!!!

'Rares' dropping into Norfolk!!!

Looks like I will be probably be giving the Bird Fair a miss tomorrow and go on Saturday only!!!!! Just home from work and now going birding (not what I had planned this evening!) Buff breasted Sandpiper at Titchwell and Greenish Warbler and Wryneck at Halfway House as well!!!! Rares are not supposed to turn up until AFTER the Bird Fair!!!

Monday 15 August 2011

A good start to the week.

Weather turning north east on Thursday - I hope it doesn't produce anything too exciting, being as I will be at the Rutland Bird Fair on Friday!!!

An excellent day at work - took a patient home this morning and not only did my team receive a thank you card, but a card was kindly written to each of us, along with a large box of scrumptious chocolates each!!! I have hidden the chocolates in the cupboard and will try very hard to forget about them, until I have reached my goal weight. Lost another 3lbs over the last 2 weeks and only 2lbs to go now to reach the first stone! Its a slow process!!!

Black Kite seen at Strumpshaw Fen this evening.
The White rumped Sandpiper remains at Snettisham RSPB.

Sunday 14 August 2011

Great Snipe in 'Tern'

I had completely forgotten about the Editor of NWT 'Tern' asking for my Great Snipe pictures ages ago, until I saw it published in the Summer edition of 'Tern' today!

Cley Birding

Walsey Hills NOA

After news of pied flycatchers yesterday at Blakeney Point, I hoped to find something equally exciting here. Also heard there was a whinchat and a redstart at BP on Friday too. Along with Eddie M. we found two skulking Lesser Whitethroats in the bramble just right of the feeders. A large bird flew so quickly in the middle of the bramble where the whitethroats were, I didn't see what it was until it errupted out again - a Sparrowhawk, which fortunately for the Lesser Whitethroats was unlucky! There was also at least five Blackcaps around the reserve a single Chiffchaff and 5 Whimbrel flew overhead west. Red Admirals, a peacock, speckled wood, small copper and a gatekeeper also.

NWT Visitor Centre for mid morning indulgence - a shared cheese scone!


Beach Road - Two Wheatears were in the Eye Field at 12.05pm along with linnets and several pied wags. 6 Whimbrel flew west over Little Eye and another 6 also going west over Gramborough Hill a bit later. In the brambles at Gramborough (1.30pm) I get very excited over a very elusive warbler, which eventually turned out to be a Reed Warbler!!!

NWT Visitor Centre for lunch followed by a gooseberry ice-cream (oh dear!). Gooseberry was always my favourite until Stem Ginger appeared on the scene, so today I had gooseberry for a change. The gooseberry was ok but Stem Ginger is most definately still the favourite!

Dauke's Hide NWT

1 Yellow leg Gull on Pat's Pool along with 1 Little Stint, 1 Wood Sandpiper on Simmonds. 2 Egyptian Geese along with loads of greylags and Canada Geese. Good numbers of both ringed and little ringed plovers, several ruff, 7 Spoonbills, 1 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 3 juv. Pochard, 1 Golden Plover, 2 Common Sandpipers, black tailed Godwits, redshanks, avocets, marsh harriers teal, shelduck, avocets etc.


Saturday 13 August 2011

Cley Birding

East Bank

Arnolds Marsh - 47 Curlews flew inland from sea pool. A Hobby flew east at 12.50pm. Several yellow wagtails this morning. 1 Spoonbill, 1 Greenshank, 10 Whimbrel west at 1.20pm. A Grayling along East Bank.

Bishops Hide

6 Common Sandpipers, 7 juv. Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Snipe, 2 Yellow Wags, 2 Bearded Tits (heard only)

Dauke's Hide NWT

7.30pm - Juv Gargeney this evening at 7.55pm along with Yellow leg Gull, Wood Sandpiper, Little Gull, Whimbrel, 11 Spoonbill.


Friday 12 August 2011

The Weekend!!!

Had today off (time in lieu), but not able to go birding as in the hairdressers for three hours and other stuff to sort!!!!!!

Looking forward to birding tomorrow.

Wednesday 10 August 2011

Marsh Warbler in Norfolk today!

Marsh Warbler caught and rung in an area with no access - see

Osprey seen at Cley, but no sign of the Pectoral Sandpiper today - little else of note.

Nine day's to the Rutland Bird Fair!!!!

So looking forward to the Bird Fair! —

I will be going on the Friday and Saturday. Its a fantastic buzz - bumping into people you haven't seen for a while, seeing all the exciting new things on offer, amazing artworks, watching artists at work on the now famous bird fair mural throughout the three day event, listening to entertaining lectures and 'Just a Linnet' and 'Bird Brain of Britain', a good range of food on offer, bar, live music, dancing (if you feel like it!), the Auction, and one of my favourite pastimes at Bird Fair, photographing the celebs! For those of you who did not go last year - the main lecture marque is now completely transformed, masses bigger, stage, the works, see my pics here from last year and also there is now Birdfair TV.

Last year I won a wildlife walk and lunch with Simon King along with five others, courtesy of Birdforum and Carl Zeiss - which was an amazing experience I will never forget. This year my moment with Simon will be the usual queueing up for a signed photo card.....unless of course Simon is reading this and would like to meet for lunch?....... in your dreams Penny...... wake up!!! Seriously now, this year I will be having lunch with someone very special on the Friday. Hmmm...... checking diary....I may be able to do lunch on Saturday though Simon?

I am still looking to complete my signatures I have been collecting for my "Blokes and Birds" book by Stephen Moss.
Signatures still needed for: Bill Oddie, Carl Buttle, Tim Cleeves, Simon Cox, Chris Harbard, Andy Jarrett, Justin Lansdell (can't believe I havn't got yours yet!), Tony Marr, Neil McKillop, Derek Moore, Neil Morris, Dave Nurney, Martin Palmer, Tony Smith, Brian Unwin, Chris Watson and Robbie Williams. Anyone that can help me out with meeting up with any of the above to sign my book, I would be very grateful.

Looking forward to seeing you all there!!!

Wensum Valley Raptor Watchpoint Closes

Wensum Valley Raptor Watchpoint closes at Great Ryburgh from 12th August.

Killer plant 'eats' great tit at Somerset nursery!!!!

Titchwell wildlife on the record - Features - Lynn News

Titchwell wildlife on the record - Features - Lynn News

Incinerator plans hit a new hitch over flood fears - Business - Eastern Daily Press

Incinerator plans hit a new hitch over flood fears - Business - Eastern Daily Press

Norfolk hit by earth tremor? - News - Eastern Daily Press

Norfolk hit by earth tremor? - News - Eastern Daily Press

Tuesday 9 August 2011

LONDON RIOTS - way, way out of control!!!!

I really don't understand why out of control teenagers and children have been allowed to riot, wreck, destroy and put so many lives at risk for so many days!!!!!! If there weren't enough police to cope with the situation, then the army should have been bought in on the second day of violence. But I don't suppose the goverment wanted to be seen that they didn't have enough police for the job. Don't want to frighten the tourists off do we!!!!!!!! Don't want people to think we don't have enough man power in a serious situation - so never mind about all the people's houses and lives that have been destroyed, all the local business that have been destroyed, all the buildings that have stood for several decades, all the terrified people out there right now!!!!! 16,000 police present tonight, is a few nights too late!!! The scenes on the news and on the net are horrific. The picture shown on the news of a woman leaping for her life from her burning flat to people standing below with outstretched arms to catch her, will be a picture that will be etched in my mind and I'm sure many others for a long time - here is the link. I watched some of the youtube videos today - these teenagers need to go to boot camp for a bloody long time!!!!! This video shows cruel teenagers pretending to help an young lad who is injured and on helping him to his feet, then rob him - sick and cruel beyond belief. What the hell is going on with the human race!!!!!

What sad times we live in.......

I need a new hoover - when I have saved up enough pennies I will go out and buy one. Or shall I go and smash a window and help myself!!!

Still at home

I felt shattered most of the day. Although my throat and glands are improving to what they were thank goodness. The penicillin is starting to kick in now.

Monday 8 August 2011

An ill Penny!

I stayed at home today as throat no better than yesterday and have slept most of the day. I feel exhausted and still have a slight temperature. Can't see me going to work tomorrow either. Tonsillitis IS contagious I have just found out. I suffered alot with tonsillitis as a young child and had alot of time off school, so my mother tells me. But it hasn't really affected me in adult life very much, not until I started working for the NHS anyway!

Sunday 7 August 2011

I don't know quite how I went to work today, but I did and just prayed for the end of the day. My throat is so swollen and sore that I have hardly been able to eat. Every mouthful of food is crippling to eat. Ears and glands agony. Not slept for two nights properly. I couldn't even swallow my own saliva this evening, the pain was that bad!! Went to emergency GP this evening who diagnosed me as having tonsillitis and prescribed penicillin and codine to take along with paracetemol and iboprofen. I was told to rest and drink tepid water. Does that mean I am supposed to take time off work? See I feel in the morning.

Cley all day!

Saturday 6th August

Since its now Monday evening as I write this, I can't remember too many details about Saturday now, which is why I always try and write my day's account up on the actual day, but wasn't able to due to illness.

Dauke's Hide NWT

6.30am. 1 Spoonbill flew west over the boardwalk as I walked to the hides. 4 Green Sandpipers, 2 Common Sandpipers, 4 Egyptian Geese amongst approx. 195 Greylag Goose that landed on Pat's Pool. 4 Curlew, 1 Little Gull and several Spotted Redshanks.

North Scrape Hide

8.15am Pectoral Sandpiper - re-found by Eddie M. thanks! x. 1 Wood Sandpiper, 4 Green Sandpipers, 3 Yellow Wagtails, 125 Dunlin, 1 Little Stint, 3 Snipe, 1 Spoonbills, Linnets, plus usual avocets, redshanks, shelducks, etc. James M. and other several other birders in the hide. We all stayed longer in the hide than we all wanted to, as it was pouring with rain! As I said .... you look forward to going out in the rain searching for rares in October, but there is no point in getting wet unnecessarily in August!!!

After cup of tea in the V.C......

Bishops Hide

With Eddie M. and Andy J. 11 Spoonbill, 1 Yellow Leg Gull, Whimbrel, Greenfinch, 5 Green Sandpipers, 3 Little Gulls, Shelducks, Goldfinches, Marsh Harriers and 2 Hobbies together at 12.45pm.

East Bank

With Eddie M. late afternoon. Another Hobby, 6 Spotted Redshanks, bearded tits (heard only). A single Reed Bunting was feeding along the path. Nothing else really of note.

Walsey Hills NOA

Went here briefly to see if the middle path has been cut, which joins the public footpath at the bottom – it hasn't.

Friday 5 August 2011

Its Friday at last!!!!!!!!

Its been a tough week at work. Not got very far with sorting photos I'm afraid, but working on it!!! All photos will be added by the following weekend at the lastest as I have next Friday, Sat, Sun off, so no excuse! Plus I need to get this sorted before I take my usual celebrity Birdfair photographs, otherwise I will be seriously behind on adding photos to blog!!!

I have been asleep half the evening, dosed up on ibuprofen and paracetemol due to a tonsilitis/throat infection. Not going to let it beat me though!

Out early tomorrow, on an exciting photography expedition!!!

Pectoral Sandpiper on North Scrape, Cley NWT.

White rumped Sandpiper remains at Snettisham RSPB.

Black Kite at Breydon Water.

Don't Stop the Party!!!!

Tuesday 2 August 2011


A White-rumped Sandpiper was found at Snettisham on Sunday by David Roche and remains on Monday evening.

A Bedstraw Hawkmoth was trapped at Holme Bird Observatory on Sunday.

First Wheatear? of the autumn in Norfolk, found by Robert Williamson at Snettisham on Sunday.

BIRDGUIDES have produced a NEW Dragonfly App - see:

Just over two weeks to the Rutland Bird Fair!!!!

Monday 1 August 2011

Caspian Tern published

My Caspian Tern picture was published in this month's (August issue) of BIRDWATCH - my third picture in the magazine to date, with hopefully more in the future (smiley face)!


Father's Nature Notes published on Friday 22nd July in the Lynn News - see:

"DURING the next few weeks a rich harvest of caterpillars will provide migrant warblers with a good boost to their fat reserves before they take off on their marathon flight to Africa.

However, these offspring of moths and butterflies are equally beautiful in their own right, while many have ingenious devices to protect themselves from predators. As indeed they must in order to perpetuate the species and keep the food chain unbroken.

The long chestnut hairy caterpillar of the drinker moth is unpalatable to most birds, but the cuckoo can devour them with impunity. The smaller vapourer moth larva also has long hair with toothbrush-like bristles on top. One should always be wary of handling hairy caterpillars as they can cause irritation or rashes, especially to youngsters.

A few caterpillars will spend the winter in hibernation sometimes and are only a millimetre or so in length. Most probably pass the winter months as a pupa. These can be a slight chamber made in the earth, attached to a tree or concealed in litter on the ground. The magpie moth larva constructs a silken web to hold the pupa on a plant stem, which hopefully will remain in place for several months.

The pupa of the immigrant convolvulus hawk-moth has a curious bent projection not unlike the handle of a jug and this houses their extra-long tongue with which it can easily sip nectar from nicotiania flowers. Like the other hawk moths it pupates in the ground, but it is unable to survive our winters.

The puss moth caterpillar discovered plastic wood long before man! It eats out a slight hollow in the wood of a tree or branch or even a fence post. It then masticates the wood fragments to form a hard setting chamber in which it will spend the winter months, hopefully unseen by the prying eyes of a tit or woodpecker. How does it escape from its winter prison? In its construction the caterpillar is careful to leave the exit end with a thinner layer of glued together wood. The chrysalis is provided with a cutting tool in the shape of a keel-like implement on the fore part and with this it operates on the weak end until a breach is made. The moth then breaks the head end of the chrysalis and moistens the material with a softening fluid so that the insect can force its way out of the cocoon.

Insects are wonderful! There are roughly 2,000 species of moths in the UK. These are split into two groups known as macros, comprising about 800 species and 1,200 species of minors. Historically, the macro group has received more attention as it includes most of the large moths (but paradoxically it includes many small moths), while the minor group has some larger moths. All very confusing. Also, in the early days, there were not many moth books and most of the minor moths only had their scientific names. All has changed and it is now possible to buy books (or go on the internet) on everything.

This has been, so far, a very erratic season for moths with low numbers of resident hawk moths such as poplar, privet, eyed, elephant and lime hawks. On the other hand there has been good numbers of smaller moths. Since we saw an immigrant humming-bird hawk moth on the early date of April 18, several more have been in or near our garden visiting flowers of valerian. On June 24 we saw another visiting lavender flowers near the Princess Theatre in Hunstanton.