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Saturday 29 October 2011

Friday Night clear out!!!!

There was so little to see today. I didn't even bother writing any sightings into my notebook until the end of the day! The Pallas's Warblers had disappeared and the Daurian Shrike also had done a bunk overnight - so annoying when this bird had been there since last weekend.

Cley Coastguards
A few little gulls, a red throated diver, lapland bunting.

Walsey Hills NOA
Nothing at all of note.

Kelling Water Meadows
Cattle Egret at 10.35am.

Muckleborough Hill
Bullfinch, but little else.

LUNCH - whilst having lunch Pete S. phoned me to say he had had a juv. Sabine's Gull, a Black Guillemet, Grey Phalarope and a Great Northern Diver from Gramborough Hill in 45 minutes - 'the best seawatch I have had' - all I can say is Wow!!!

Coastguards, Cley

Little Gulls and Kittiwakes.

Walsey Hills, NOA

A Brambling was heard, a long tailed tit flock. John F. was the highlight in here!

Warham Roost

Short-eared Owl, 2 Ring tailed Hen Harriers and a Peregrine on the beach.

Very sad news to hear that Jimmy Savile has passed away I remember 'Jim'll Fix It' very well. I vaguely remember sending in a request as a little girl, but can't remember what it was now!

Friday 28 October 2011

Exciting Weekend ahead!!!

Its been difficult at work this week and I have felt tired and fed-up. I have not even turned the computer on since Sunday! Sadly the evening light does not allow time enough to go birding after work and from Monday it will be total darkness when leaving work - I will look forward to the spring!

Went to the optician's yesterday for an eye test and yes I need new lenses - more signs of aging!!! Mind you, I needed to replace the lenses anyway, after chucking the glasses out of the car a while back - remember?

BUT the good news is - its Saturday tomorrow and I WILL be out at dawn - hardcore birding until dusk - the bad news........ I am working all day on Sunday.

Pity the Pallid Swift seen at Beeston and Cley didn't hang around!

Daurian Shrike at Horsey.
Pallas's Warblers at Holme NWT, Burnham Overy Staithe and Winterton (yesterday).
Probable Siberian Chiffchaff at Titchwell and Wells and also one seen at Blakeney Point.
Several Yellow-browed Warblers along the coast.
Sabine's Gull at Cley.
Black Tern at Waxham.
Balearic Shearwaters seen at Salthouse and Sheringham.
Little Auks seen off Cley, Kelling and Sheringham.
Large numbers of Little Gulls seen along the coast.
Red-necked Phalarope at Holkham.
Black Redstart at Salthouse.
Pomarine Skuas seen at Blakeney and Cley.
Cattle Egret at Blakeney.
Jack Snipe at Titchwell.
Rough-legged Buzzard at Holkham.

Sunday 23 October 2011

Yellow-browed Warblers - birds of the day

Beautiful sunny day!

Holme NWT Marsh Reserve – 9.50-10.50am
Watched the heron again in front of the first hide. We had spectacular views of a water rail. A sparrowhawk swooped low in front of the hide and landed in the big willow tree for a brief moment. Other birds seen here were: kestrel, fieldfare, chiffchaff and usual mallards and tufted ducks.

Titchwell RSPB
Yellow-browed Warbler along the Fen Trail - good views, but was flittng about in the tops of the trees and absolutely refused to be photographed - all I managed was a tail shot, which I promptly deleted! Heard a bullfinch here and a couple of cetti's warblers. Lots of red admirals around the ivy covered tree along the Fen Trail just before the hide - same as yesterday. Nothing from the hide. We got back to the carpark and had to walk all the way back again to the fresh marsh and we were told there was a Dotterel sitting amongst the golden plover. We scanned for ages with no joy and then we heard it had flown off earlier!

After lunch we left and went and had a look in Burnham Deepdale Churchyard for Pallas's Warblers and also along the track leading to the copse behind the church, but no birds of note apart from a goldcrest.

Warham - West Track or Garden Drove
Nothing along the track at all, but I did find the Yellow-browed Warbler (found by someone else earlier today) at the very bottom in the trees just beyond the gate. It almost looked Pallas's like for a moment, in the now dimming light! It behaved in the same manner as the one at Titchwell earlier and did not wish to be photographed - couldn't even get a tail shot of this one! When returned along the track, Eddie walked up the field side and I walked along the track - about half way along I could see someone flapping their arms up and down, attempting to represent a bird - on closer inspection, it was of course none other than John F.!!! All three of us then went to the next track to watch roosting hen harriers. Lots of little egrets flying east. I saw at least 2 ring tail hen harriers, 1 male hen harrier and 1 Short eared Owl. Eddie saw more than me as I went off to the 'Pit' with John in attempt to find something good, but it only turned up a blackbird, robin and a few chaffinches.


Saturday 22 October 2011

Heron is star of the day!!!

Grey Heron, Holme Marsh Reserve NWT.

Beautiful Sunny Day!

Yellow-browed Warbler in a private garden at Holme.

Holme Marsh Reserve NWT

I spent a long time watching and photographing a heron fishing from the first hide at Holme NWT Marsh Reserve. It caught a Rudd - and also caught and gobbled a pair of dragonflies in tandem!!!! This was so quick, that if you had blinked, you would have missed it! A water rail ran across the cut reeds and two marsh harriers were seen over the marsh. Other birds of note were: little grebes, teal, mallards, wren, blackbirds, a party of long tailed tits, goldcrest and flocks of pink footed geese over the marsh and a sparrowhawk over our heads by the third hide.

Grey Heron, Holme Marsh Reserve NWT.

On route to Titchwell we noticed Dave Holman going the opposite direction - my detective brain soon tuned in to something going on - looked at Eddie's borrowed pager (which doesn't bleep) and noticed a Glossy Ibis had been seen going west past Titchwell at 2.20pm - it was now around 2.40pm - my guess was that Dave was trying to catch up with the Ibis further west. We spun round and drove to Thornham Harbour, which is exactly what a few other birders had opted to do, in hope that the Glossy Ibis would cruise past. After about 5 minutes I phoned Sophie Barker, Warden at HBO to get any inside info - she had just heard the someone at Holme NWT reserve had seen the Glossy Ibis flying through west - so no point in standing at Thornaham any longer to look for it! So we headed back to Titchwell.

Titchwell RSPB

Along the Fen Trail, several red admirals were sunning themselves on the ivy covered tree just before the hide. Little else was seen around the trail though. Along the main path: Cettis Warbler singing, bearded tits 'pinging', flock of goldfinches came down to drink in the freshwater lagoon, a Redpoll flew over south west, a few linnets, several teal, wigeon and a little egret. On the sea were gannets and great crested grebes and along the shore were sanderlings, turnstones, grey plovers and loads of gulls. From Parrinder Hide: a Jack Snipe, one Spoonbill and more gulls etc. Male Hen Harrier towards dusk.

Ended the day with an indian takeaway!


Friday 21 October 2011

Another Crap Day!

Walked to garage after work to collect car, which took an hour. They were still working on the car at 5.45pm and told me that the car was not safe to drive very far and that I either needed to leave it with them or bring it back tomorrow!!!!! Did the Tescos run on the way back home as the cupboards are bare!

Got home to find that I had a Speeding Fine!!!!! BOTHER, BOTHER, BOTHER!!!

Now don't feel very well. Anything else?

Thursday 20 October 2011

Crap Day!

A seriously crappy day at work followed by more crap later when I finished.

Drove into town after work, which takes around 25 minutes in the atrocious traffic at night. Just made it into M&S to return an item and then returned to car to notice an almost flat tyre! Now 5.30pm. Phoned my garage who close at 5.45pm. Just made it to them by 5.45pm after queueing in more traffic and they very kindly put the spare tyre on for me and then I needed to come back tomorrow to collect the mended, punctured tyre. After putting the spare on, they discovered that this was also flat!!!!!!!!!!!!! FOR GOODNESS SAKE!!!!! They also pointed out that at least two of my tyres needed changing anyway as they are close to being illegal. So had to leave the car at the garage and walk an hour and a quarter home, through the dodgy streets of King's Lynn. I consumed chocolate on the way home to drown my sorrows. Arrived home to listen to next door's new dog barking and howling all evening. Its a good job I don't drink - if I did, I think I would be an alcoholic! GET ME OUTTA HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now in very low mood and going to bed. Long walk to work in the morning and another hour and quarter walk back to garage tomorrow night and a nice bill aswell. Going to have to go back to work on Sunday's again permanantly, which is very frustrating. I have tried to get away with not working Sundays since June and its being extremely enjoyable having whole weekends. I also bought a lottery ticket on the way home - you have to live in hope!

ONLY good news today is that my parents had a Turtle Dove in their garden.

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Main Bird News in Norfolk today!

Sabine's Gull at Sheringham this morning.
Rough leg buzzards seen at Caister and Winterton.
Great Grey Shrike remains at Dersingham Bog.
Jack Snipe at Titchwell.
50 Little Gulls off Happisburgh

Looks good for seawatching tomorrow!!!

Nature Notes - Lifestyle and Leisure News - Lynn News

My father always submits three pictures. Sometimes they use all three, usually two though and only ever publish one on line - saving space I suppose. Please note the picture in the following link is not his picture!

Nature Notes - Lifestyle and Leisure News - Lynn News

Autumnwatch star in Parrinder Hide, Titchwell - Lifestyle and Leisure News - Lynn News

Autumnwatch star in new hide - Lifestyle and Leisure News - Lynn News

Antlion larvae colony thriving at Holkham National Nature Reserve!!!

"Staff at Natural England’s Holkham National Nature Reserve have discovered what is thought to be only the second established breeding area in Britain for the mysterious yet savage antlion, an insect whose larvae excavate cone-like pits and lurk in wait for other insect prey. And its numbers on site appear to be increasing......."

Rufous-tailed Robin - James McCallum's Account

Whilst chatting to James yesterday - he seemed very distressed and upset - he told me his account, which I suggested he email to LGRE to post on his blog/birdforum etc, somewhere high profile for birders to see HIS take on events that afternoon. Here it is:

Also read from page 10 - post 245 on:

Monday 17 October 2011

The Last Day!

The last day of my holiday.

My plan was to arrive at Weybourne at first light to try and nail the Radde's Warbler. I was updating recent posts into the early hours of this morning, which resulted in getting up very late. I didn't even leave my house until after lunch!

On route to Wells I saw two Common Buzzards west of the B1105 near Barsham.

Warham Greens - West Track (Garden Drove)

Someone has posted a very helpful post on birdforum naming the four tracks at Warham:

Walked down the track in the blustery winds and it felt decidedly wintery today. No birds were seen at all in the hedgerows until I got to the little copse at the bottom where a skulky bird flew from bush to bush. I followed it and it kept eluding me - it eventually turned into a chaffinch!!! How exciting was that!!! In fact this summed the day up nicely. I continued walking east and climbed down into the 'Pit' and squeaked and 'pished' and made lots of attempts to see something!!! Only birds in here were a female blackcap, 1 great tit, 1 blue tit and 1 blackbird. Annoyingly I had left my scope in the car, which I now needed as I could see a buzzard sp. floating around the east end of East Hills, I couldn't magic it into a Rough leg with my 'bins'. I saw a ringtail Hen Harrier and also a stunning male Hen Harrier whilst chatting to James McCallum who was telling me what happened on the afternoon of the Rufous-tailed Robin - his account will be forthcoming soon.

Drove over to Thornham Boat house in an attempt to see the reported Pallid Harrier, but no joy.

Some good birds in Norfolk today including: a juv. Pallid Harrier seen at Brancaster and Thornham, the Radde's Warbler remains elusive at Weybourne, a Great White Egret was seen going west along the coast, Snow Bunting at Morston, Great Grey Shrike at Dersingham Bog (seems to be a regular spot now), Rough leg Buzzards seen at Waxham and Holme, a probable Blythes' Reed Warbler at Stiffkey, a few Yellow-browed Warblers and news of a Red-flanked Bluetail in a private garden at Blakeney!

Sunday 16 October 2011

Searching for rares!

I felt exhausted today from walking East Hills twice in three days, but it was worth it, as its such a magical place. At least you don't get 'shingle' hip ache from walking East Hills, unlike Blakeney Point!

Walsey Hills NOA

A brambling flew over. 3 Fieldfares landed in the tree in the corrner of the wood adjacent to the bottom willows. A couple of goldcrests flicking about along the bottom path and 2-3 Crossbills were heard calling overhead. Massive flock of golden plover over the NWT hides distantly. Little else was seen and seemed generally much quieter today.

Cley NWT Visitor Centre

Whilst Eddie and I were having our cup of tea, we watched a Peregrine at 10.50am scatter all the birds in front of Dauke's Hide along with a Sparrowhawk.

Holme Reserves
A young kestrel posed on the hide roof next to Holme Bird Observatory and was very obliging for the camera, flying down to the ground only feet away and on to fence posts to pose! Had a lovely chat with John Sheldrake who has known me longer than my age! - he reminded me today that he remembers my mother pregnant with me!!! John was Chairman of the NOA for many years and a good family friend. He was wearing his NOA enamel G.G. Shrike badge which are much sort after, as there as very few in existence now - his badge had turned green as they did when exposed to the light over a period of time. I am probably the only person to have this badge still in its original blue state, as I have always kept it out of the light.

Anyway, I also chatted to Sophie (Warden) who proudly showed me some fabulous pictures on her computer of the now 2nd Red-flanked Bluetail for Holme that was ringed yesterday (my picture of the first one last year, in the recently published NOA Report and also in the 'Norfolk Bird and Mammal Report' also just hot off the press - see previous post). Round the back of the obs. a Lapland Bunting flew over calling. At the end of the board walk by the seat on Thornham bank a Ring Ouzel was feasting on elderberries. Tons of people were walking past with tons of dogs and dogs off leads out of control - my temper was rising at the scenes and left promptly. Walked round the back of the obs and searched hard in the pines for something good, but only found a few goldcrests. Back at the NOA carpark we watched several Fieldfares fly over. Also back at the carpark was a very neatly placed, small, white plastic bag, knotted up and left for someone to pick up - you can guess what it was..... dog cr*p. Why the h*ll should anyone else have to pick this up and dispose of it - its a tiny bag...... place in car, take home and place in bin - simples!!!!! If people can't manage this - then don't have a dog in the first place and believe you me, I am writing this politely! Sorry to rant, but I see so many of these bags dumped, hidden in bushes (they can't even hide them properly) or adorning a tree like a christmas bauble - looks really pretty doesn't it!!!

Along the Firs Road on the way back we saw a male Stonechat sitting on a hawthorn. Stopped by the standing caravan opposite 'Sandy Ridge' and saw a few goldcrests in the large sycamore and a flock of long tailed tits, but nothing else more exciting.

Please note I have updated the previous few posts re: the Rufous-tailed Robin etc.


Saturday 15 October 2011

East Hills - err, no the Saltmarsh, no Garden Drove, no, no East Hills!!!!!!

Today's title is written by E.T.M. & approved by me!!!

I notice there is a massive debate going on about the releasing of news on the Rufous-tailed Robin on Birdforum. I have hardly read any of it, as don't have the time right now. I have heard several things, which if true are very sad indeed. BUT I am not going to say on here what, OR state my opinion for the reasons below.


The last time I stated my opinion about a rare bird on my blog, (how dare I write my opinion on my own blog!!!) I got ripped apart on a 'private' discussion group (you know who you are) - not only ripped apart, but written about in such a sick way, it made me want to throw up. It was hugely distressing to read, and I was at a complete loss as to why people I had never met, had written such things (I've got a pretty good idea who lit the fire though). The sad thing is - those people don't even know me. They have never met me. What have I ever done to any of these people? Nothing, nothing at all. Remember - everything you write on the net is public, absolutely everything. Several people informed me of what was being written including a female I know, (was surprised she was on such a group, but each to their own). To those people - I was going to send you all a message/email personally to ask you why?, but as I know you all read my blog, it was less effort on my part, to write here for you all to read on mass. Oh and don't worry I won't ever name 'names' publicly - not my style. Just imagine for a moment, that those words had been written about YOUR wife, girlfriend, sister or daughter - how would you feel? Angry, yep - bit of a understatement, the word 'angry' don't you think?!!! Please feel free to apologise by email - lets see if any of you are man enough to do this. If you don't think you should apologise, then please seek help immediately.

I have received two emails on 17/10 so far.


Parked up at Stiffkey Campsite carpark pre dawn and walked along the coastal footpath with torch!!! It was absolutely freezing and I decided I must be completely bonkers, walking in the pitch black alone, to attempt to see a first for Britain that more than probably wouldn't be there now anyway. It had been a clear night, which was good for the bird, but not good for anyone else! It killed me to get up so early on very little sleep, but I was determined to be there first thing this morning. I arrived at the end of Garden Drove (Eddie joined me later). A sensible organised search was carried out first, with two people walking down either side of the field and three people along the main path and then everyone searched, but alas no sign of the bird. Huge thanks to LGRE (just read his website) who organised the masses etc on site. It was nice to see "Big Jake" and his wife here! Exciting news came through of a Red-flanked Bluetail at Holme Bird Observatory and also a Bluethroat at Stiffkey Fen!!! We decided to give up seeing all these birds to find our own!

with Eddie, Simon C. and James G. - 12pm
2 Lapland Buntings
on the way out. Few blackbirds, 3 male and 1 fem. Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaffs, robins, linnets, goldfinches, wrens, goldcrests. Nowhere near as much action as our last visit. Highlight of the day was a Short-eared Owl just as we were leaving. James Mc. Had a YBW but we didn"t see it. It seemed to take forever to walk back - it's been a long day!!!

Also in Norfolk today was a Radde"s Warbler ringed at Weybourne, a Ring Ouzel and Black Redstart at Holme and several Richard Pipits along the coast.


Friday 14 October 2011


MEGA!!!! OMG!!!!!!

Found by Rob Martin along with James McCallum - see account here


First one being on Fair Isle 23rd October 2004

Initial news was that the bird was on East Hills, but found out later that it was actually along the west track at Warham - very sadly too late for many local birders.

Eddie and I were at Holme where I had just found a stunning male Black Redstart in the NWT Forestry at 5pm - sorry Gary - only a few nano seconds over closing time! I was just attempting to photograph it, when Eddie shouted across 'we need to go Pen - there's a Rufous-tailed Robin at East Hills' - I could hardly take in what he was saying, 'a what?' I shouted back. I ran across to join him to read those words on the pager as if in disbelief! Yep there was the MEGA message clearly on the pager at 5.05pm - "MEGA Norfolk RUFOUS-TAILED ROBIN north of Wells at East Hills this a'noon. Access details to follow" - OMG!!!! Our excitement quickly faded as we worked out that we could probably just about get out to East Hills, but most definately wouldn't be able to get back with the tide, so we dismissed any ideas about racing off. I sulked and said s*d it, we'll find something good here. I proceeded to attempt to photograph the Black Redstart. Eddie had walked off up another path. We had intended on going to the observatory after this (open to members to sunset) - who knows, we might, just might, have discovered the newly arrived Red-flanked Bluetail caught the following morning! Anyway at 5.22pm (2 minutes after the second pager message, which Eddie missed as his pager is borrowed from someone and its on silent mode and we can't get it to bleep!) a friend rang us to alert us to this second message and that it wasn't on East Hills and that it was somewhere on the west track!!!!!!!! I could not believe it!!!!!

We ran and ran - it half killed us to run from where we were to my car. Neither did it do my car any good, belting down the bumpy Firs Road. Flew along the coast road as fast as I could get away with and flew up the west track, right up to the concrete pad - got the last space. I don't actually know what time we got there, as didn't look at my watch. I ran down the field to stand with several other Norfolk birders - some looked pleased and some looked massively sad/p*ssed off. The third and correct location pager message came out at 5.31pm (26 minutes later than the first message). In the now diminishing light, several people said 'there it goes' as I watched a short tailed, small bird in silhouette fly from one tree to the other side of the track into another tree. Can't really tick a bird with those views, can you?! If only we had been able to get there earlier!!! I am not saying we would have seen it, but it would have certainly increased our chances!

It's going to be crazy in the morning!! !!!!!!!!!

Rare Moth in Norfolk!!!

My father Peter Clarke trapped a Hymenia Recurvalis - Pyralid Moth this morning at Holme-next-Sea!!!!! He was very excited and it really cheered him up. I was commissioned to take photos to put on my blog!!!!

This moth is a FIRST for Norfolk!


Also photographed by Peter Tilley

Thursday 13 October 2011

50 Short-eared Owls in off the sea at Titchwell!!!

50 Short eared Owls!!!!!!!!!!! between 1.30-4.30pm.

This has got to be a record of some sorts surely!!!


East Hills!!!

Treated myself to a new pair of 'Le Chameau' wellingtons from a large country walking shop at Hardwick Industrial Estate in King's Lynn. I hate wellingtons, they are horrible to walk in, but I needed to find a good fitting pair of wellies that didn't come off when i jump creeks and find myself in quick sand!! These new wellingtons are the rolls royce of wellies!

Drove to Warham to meet up with Eddie to walk East Hills at 11am.

Eddie had watched a Grey Grey Shrike fly in off the sea at Coastguards Cley this morning at around 9am and land on the beach momentarily and then flew across to the fence on the Eye Field. Wish I had seen this - what an amazing sight!

Anyway - the first bird found was a Yellow-browed Warbler at 11am in the oak tree next to the concrete pad (west track) Warham right next to our cars! Managed to get a photo, but a crap one as the light was awful and it was moving around continuously at the top of the oak tree.

With my new wellies on, we set out for East Hills. The walk out was exciting and we hoped to find a mega. 2 Lapland Buntings flew over on the way out. Greenshank calling overhead. My mother phoned me to say that whilst looking through her diaries last night that 'October 13th was a classic day for great grey shrikes' - how right she was - several turned up!!! Eddie found a dead barn owl which had been there a while looking at it. Several thrushes started appearing including blackbirds, song thrushes, redwings and fieldfares. The further we walked towards the east end, the more thrushes scattered from pines and brambles everywhere - there were tons! 4 Grey herons flew high west. A good selection of birds, certainly alot more than our last visit out here. We flushed a Woodcock, at the west end which was a nice surprise, 2 Bramblings, 2 Chiffchaffs, loads of Goldcrests, wrens, chaffinches, robins, meadow pipits. Whilst eating lunch we had close, but brief views of a ring tail Hen Harrier. After lunch we walked back and found several more fieldfares and again more thrushes feasting on blackberries. We looked in the sycamores again, but nothing exciting was found, not even a YBW out here! News of Red-flanked Bluetails in Suffolk and other counties spurred us to look harder! Met up with Stuart W. who gripped us off with two Short-eared Owls and also a Long eared Owl - so envious of the LEO! Meeting up with Stuart again a bit later, he had also seen a redstart. Stuart was approx 45 minutues after us - we should have gone out a bit later! I saw a Merlin flying on the seaward side of the dunes. Loads of goldcrests in the pines at the east end as we left.

We could not believe news coming out from Titchwell RSPB '19 Short-eared Owls in off sea' - it was almost unbelievable - news kept coming and the number of Short eared Owls being seen kept climbing, totalling 50 - yes 50 Short-eared Owls!!!!!!!!!!! between 1.30-4.30pm - this has got to be a record of some sorts surely!!!

1 Lapland Bunting on the way back, a few meadow pipits, but little else of note really.

Few Goldcrests in the oak tree by the concrete pad, but no sign of the yellow-browed warbler we had seen earlier.

Roll on tomorrow!!!


Main birds of the day were Yellow-browed warblers, Grey grey Shrikes and Short-eared Owls all over Norfolk! Too many places to mention!!! 2 long-eared owls, Richard's Pipit, a Firecrest, a Black Tern, grey phalarope, lapland buntings, ring ouzels, crossbills, bramblings, tree pipits, yellowhammers, water pipit and the list goes on! Good selection at Holme Bird Observatory today.

included an ISABELLINE WHEATEAR at North Denes, Lowestoft see here, RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL at Minsmere. RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL and a LITTLE BUNTING at Orford Ness.


Wednesday 12 October 2011

Weather for the next few days

Awesome Eagle Owl Video!!!

Found this on David Lindo's 'Wall' on FACEBOOK.

EAGLE OWL reported!!!

EAGLE OWL reported between Titchwell RSPB and Brancaster flew in off sea towards Titchwell Church at 12.45pm!!!! (RBA)

This would be FANTASTIC if it was - my cynical nature says it was probably a short-eared owl, but lets wait and see!

3.05pm - I just phoned Titchwell RSPB who did not know anything about it! I will await news "eagerly" whilst editing photos!!!!!

Discussion here:

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Norfolk Bird and Mammal Report 2010

Andy Stoddart has written the following on BIRDFORUM - See link below:

"The 2010 Norfolk Bird and Mammal Report is now published. Copies can be obtained from 12th October for £12.00 (including p&p) from the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists’ Society website Contributors of content and members of NNNS will receive their free copy shortly......"

Blue Rock Thrush Update!

See 10th October entry.

UPDATE 13th October from East Ruston Gardens:

"The blue rock thrush hasn't been seen since Monday. I'm afraid that the garden here is only open between the hours of 2.00 pm and 5.30 pm Wednesday through Sunday.


Strong Westerlies continue, but North East forecast for tomorrow afternoon!!!

Pom. Skua going west very close at 12.45pm from Cley Coastguards, a couple of Red throated Divers, a Guillemot on the sea and a few Common Scoters. Miserable weather and strong west winds.

Tomorrow afternoon though, winds are at last changing to NORTH EAST!!!!!! Well according to they are - we shall see!

A few Goldcrests in Walsey Hills this morning, 1 Redwing, but little else.

Picked a good afternoon for the hairdressers!

Monday 10 October 2011

Woodchat Shrike, Glossy Ibis and more!!!

Lowestoft - in strong westerly winds!!!

Arrived Links Road, Lowestoft to enjoy stunning views of the WOODCHAT SHRIKE in the glorious sunshine right next to the car - and watched it eating wasps. Watched the shrike up until 12pm. Gripped Eddie with a Yellow-Browed Warbler in the wood next to the carpark - it was in full view, but only for seconds and was with a tit flock. Met Joseph Nichols (who got Bird Photo of the Week on Birdguides for his stunning Sandhill Crane shot - see here) who also saw the YBW the same few seconds as me. By the time we left, the Woodchat Shrike had relocated to its new perch - the notice board by the seawall!!!


Red Admiral, Lowestoft.

Minsmere RSPB
I can't remember the last time I visited this reserve - I love Minsmere and should visit more often really. Eddie and I started off with lunch in the cafe whilst watching greenfinches, goldfinches etc on the feeders. We walked for what seemed like miles to find the Glossy Ibis with no luck initially. We walked a long way past the 'levels', almost up the power station! The wind felt really cold and I wasn't feeling very well, which didn't help. We sat along the top dune path and had fantastic views of 4 red-breasted geese (strikingly beautiful), fem. cape shelduck, 117+ Barnacle Geese and to our surprise at least 100+ house martins skimming over a pool! We then walked back as far as the sluice and continued along the path to East Hide. Along the path we saw 5 Stonechats. From this hide we had close views of a Hen Harrier (ringtail) at 5.35pm. Walked back and watched a Wheatear on the sluice wall at 6pm and a Cettis Warbler was heard. 2 Bearded Tits flew across the reedbed on the way back, just before West Hide. It was semi dusk now and all hopes of seeing the Glossy Ibis had disappeared. Eddie went into West Hide for a quick look. I felt quite ill and cold and just wanted to go home at this point, so sat on the seat outside the hide listening to a Cettis Warbler. Eddie came straight out of the hide and said 2 birders had seen the glossy ibis a few minutes ago. We went back in the hide and a few minutes later saw the GLOSSY IBIS at 6.27pm sitting more or less in front of the East Hide, where we had been earlier! No hope of a picture though at that distance and in the now abysmal light - but at least we managed to see it!

Stonechat near the sluice, Minsmere RSPB.

Wheatear - the sluice, Minsmere RSPB.

Sunday 9 October 2011


Whilst in Cley Visitor Centre for lunch with Eddie, John F. and Pete S. we were told about a man who had seen a possible BLUE ROCK THRUSH in East Ruston Gardens yesterday afternoon sitting on a holly bush - both Eddie and John were thinking it could have been an escapee cage bird. Frustratingly, looking at the time, we realised it was too late to go today as the gardens closed at 5.30pm and cost £7 to get in!!! Also they don't open again until Wednesday morning!! The owner of the gardens knew about it , but had not seen it himself - he said it was seen south of the house.

Birding at Cley and Hot News!!!

Dunlin, Gramborough Hill, Salthouse.

Seawatching - Cley Coastguards
Lots of: Gannets, Brent Geese, Wigeon, Teal, Dunlin. Several Swallows heading west, 4 Red throated Divers, Meadows Pipits going east, 5 Skylarks west and superb views of 2 Velvet Scoters at 10.50am. Eddie saw 2 Pom. Skuas going east.

Tea at Cley VC

Walsey Hills NOA
3 Redwings, 3-4 Goldcrests, 1 Chiffchaff, Blackcap and a Cettis Warbler and a Treecreeper (rare in here apparently - my second this year at Walsey.

Gramborough Hill, Salthouse
More dog crap here than I have EVER seen here before! 1 Dunlin very close on the pool just before the hill, 2 Wheatears, pair of Stonechats, flock of Goldfinches, 2 Redwings, 1 Fieldfare.

Dunlin, Gramborough Hill, Salthouse.

Cley Visitor Centre - lunch with Eddie, John F. and Pete S.
Whilst here we were told about a man who had seen a possible BLUE ROCK THRUSH in East Ruston Gardens yesterday afternoon sitting on a holly bush - both Eddie and John were thinking it could have been an escapee cage bird. Frustratingly looking at the time, we realised it was too late to go today as the gardens closed at 5.30pm and cost £7 to get in!!! Also they don't open again until Wednesday morning!! The owner of the gardens knew about it , but had not seen it himself - he said it was seen south of the house.

Cley Coasguards
Very little.

Dauke"s Hide NWT
36 cormorants, 5 Yellow leg Gulls, good number of golden plover, lapwings, wigeon, teal, masses of gulls, pink footed geese flying west, a few avocets, shelduck, curlew, black tailed godwit, a Cettis Warbler singing.

Saturday 8 October 2011

Huge Cornwall cliff collapse caught on camera!!!!

Incredible footage!!!

A productive day

Although I would have liked to have gone birding today, but there was far more important matters to attend to. A day for sorting stuff I should have dealt with a long time ago.

Its been raining here all afternoon and much colder, I gave in and put the heating on today!

Looks like Cley and Sheringham etc had some nice birds going through today including lapland buntings, purple sandpipers, long tailed, pom, arctic and great skuas, sooty and manx shearwaters. yellow browed warbler at Winterton, unconfirmed report of a Ferruginous Duck on Pat's Pool, Cley NWT, mid morning. Also good seawatching at Holme, see:

Penguin spotted near Portsmouth!!!

More Pictures Published!!!

My Sandhill Crane picture has been published in a local paper today.

My Holme Red-flanked Bluetail picture is in the newly published NOA 2010 Annual Report, available at Holme Bird Observatory, although I haven't seen it myself, as have not received my copy in the post yet.

Several of my pictures will be published for the first time in the "Norfolk Bird & Mammal Report" (out soon) and also a blog plug in another forthcoming book!!! Exciting times!!!!

Just need a flurry of rares in Norfolk now - soon I'm sure!!!

Have a good weekend everyone.

Monday 3 October 2011


On the Norfolk list, but not mine! Could not believe it when I got home from work to see texts from friends that the Sandhill Crane had been seen in Norfolk at Snettisham Coastal Park at 1pm on Saturday and picture of it on the net!!!!!!!!! I immediately turned the computer on to find that Paul Eele, Warden at Titchwell RSPB had posted the following on Birdforum: (click here to see photo of the bird at Snettisham)

"Unfortunately the sandhill crane was seen in Norfolk!
A couple have been into the Snettisham office with a photo of a bird they couldn't ID but did know it was kind of crane. The bird was on the mud off the Coastal Park at ca 13:00. There were quite a few people who had arrived late for the high-tide spectacular but no-one knew what the bird was. I don't know how long the bird was present or which direction it flew off in.

Hopefully it will do the same as the WTE and head back north soon"

My reply to Paul's post: "Great that its now on the Norfolk list. BUT..... I suppose it was always going to drop into/pass through Norfolk somewhere, but it would have been great to have been found by birders who knew what they were looking at (don't mean this rudely, just stating a fact!). If someone who is not an experienced birder saw a bird they didn't know and as large as that would have looked, standing on the mud flats at Snettisham, you would have thought they would have rung somewhere like Titchwell RSPB to say so at the time!!!! Even people that don't have tel numbers of pagers/hotlines have heard of Titchwell RSPB and most people have a mobile phone with internet on nowadays to find the tel number for Titchwell and considering they were "quite a few people" there..... Very sad that no one else got the chance to see this in Norfolk, but hey ho! You never know, it might come back!!!"

1st one on Fair Isle in 1981.
2nd on Exnaboe, Shetland in 1991
3rd on Orkney in 2009

A quick summary of the SANDHILL CRANE'S Route etc:
Lothian - 16th September
Aberdeen - 22nd September
Northumberland - 29th September
County Durham
- 29th September
- 29th September
- 29th September
Lincolnshire - 1st October 12pm but not known about until 8.10pm! (I am sure if people had known this - there would have been many more birders lined up along the Norfolk coast in anticipation!!!
Snettisham - Coastal Park 1pm, 1st October seen by non-birders and reported Monday morning 3rd October.

North Warren RSPB - 11.43am, 2nd October
Boyton - 1pm til dusk, 2nd October
Boyton - 7.05am until 5.33pm, 3rd October
Boyton - 4th-7th October - flew off high south from Boyton at 10.35am on Friday 7th and not relocated.

Sunday 2 October 2011

SANDHILL CRANE - MEGA!!!!!!! Boyton, Suffolk


Can't remember what time Eddie and I left Holme now exactly. Left my car in King's Lynn and Eddie drove - doesn't trust Penelope Pipstop! We decided to aim for Felixstowe to get ahead of the crane in case it moved south, so took the A134 Thetford road, A14 Ipswich, A12 to Woodbridge and then east to Boyton. We arrived at Boyton around 4.45pm. Parked the car in a designated field (the village carpark now being full). I didn't even think too much about what I needed from the car, grabbed bins, camera bag and tripod and tried to hurry over a lumpy field, down the track, along the road, turned up the hill along the tarmac road. Birders were walking towards us in a relaxed manner having seen the bird.... words of "its ok, its quite relaxed, its not going anywhere......' yeah right, I've heard that before' I was thinking, as I frantically attempted to speed walk up hill! These words in fact spurred me to run, ok I attempted to run every so often, my bag with every lens in it, felt like I was running with a bag full of house bricks!!! It was a good half mile to walk, which seems am awful long time when you want to see a mega bird!!! Arrived at the field very hot and knackered, but massively relieved to see the stunning SANDHILL CRANE in a huge ploughed field at 5.02pm. WOW!!!!! This was one special bird - it really was stunning - could not believe I was watching this!!! Eddie's friend Simon pointed out a Willow Emerald Damselfly sitting on a willow by the river as well!!!!! What a stonking day!!!! Great to see friends there too including Connor, James and friend, who were all beaming away, Stuart White, Steve and Sue and others. The evening light was beautiful but the crane was quite a distance off for my 300mm lens and even with the 1.4 converter on I found it very difficult to get any sharp shots - the light was hazy and the crane blended in too nicely with the field! But later on as the light started to fade the crane walked closer and closer towards us, approximately only 40 yards away! This enabled me to get the above flight shots as it took off to roost. Sadly though I had the camera on the tripod which is very rare for me. Most photographers always seem to use a tripod, I rarely do, as I feel I have more control if I need to move quickly and what happened next proved this. I had a second to realise that this bird was about to fly and as it started to take off, I took too long getting the camera off the tripod and changing it from AV to TV and the stabilizer mode setting '2' for moving objects - BUT as I clicked away and the crane flew off into the sunset, I then realised I had forgotten to put the camera back onto stabilizer mode (had it switched off when on tripod as you are supposed to). Was cursing myself massively about this. Probably the last time I put the camera on the tripod!!! Felt so sorry for a few birders who then turned up and dipped - hope they were able to see it the next day!

Arrived back home at around 9.30pm and seriously shattered. Wow what a day!!!

Sandhill Crane flying off west to roost.

Barred Warbler at Holme followed by SANDHILL CRANE and a Raspberry & Coconut Slice to finish!

Holme NOA Carpark.

Found by Mark and Tracey Bradberry

Arrived at Holme to seawatch for the possible Sandhill Crane, last seen in Lincolnshire at 12pm yesterday, but not reported to RBA until 8.10pm Saturday evening! It would have been SERIOUSLY helpful to have known this AT 12pm on the Saturday!!!

We were delayed seawatching, by news of a BARRED WARBLER found by Mark and Tracey Bradberry!!! It was showing beautifully in the brambles by the NOA carpark at 9.47am, feasting on blackberries, but not clearly viewable for my camera! I got several sections of the bird on my camera! It then moved a bit further away to another bush with the sun directly behind it (see picture). Best shot I could get I am afraid! With news out to RBA, this resulted in lots of birders coming to enjoy this showy Barred Warbler!!! Fabulous to see both the NWT and NOA car parks being filled with birders cars, rather than extremely annoying beach dudes, out of control children and bounding dogs. Yes, I know it all makes money, but I think it is very sad that these carparks are being used by non-birders. What if (as Eddie said) the Sandhill Crane had landed in the middle of Holme marsh and NOA and NWT members, who have paid their membership could not park because of beach people parked in THEIR carparks that they have already paid to use through membership - there would be carnage!!! I realise its difficult to get the balance right, but this situation has got worse and worse in recent years. Its only going to take one MEGA bird on a hot, sunny weekend to create a serious problem at Holme!

Anyway, back to seawatching! After enjoying views of the Barred Warbler, we crossed over to the dunes for a seawatch. High Tide was 10.20am. Very hot weather now! Several great crested grebe on the sea. A Red-necked Grebe sat on the sea (ETM). A Black throated Diver flew west at 10.46am (ETM). Sisken flew over calling (ETM again!) After putting some of this news out to RBA a few birders came and joined us including Mark and Tracey who found the B.W. 10 Brent Geese flew east, 2 Gannets east, 36 Oystercatchers east, 5 Red-breasted Mergansers (ETM), 2 Arctic Skuas east 10.52am. Red throated Diver west, Guillemot 11.30am on sea. A razorbill was also seen, but I didn't!

We walked back to the NOA carpark to have lunch and a cup of tea. Lots of birders in the carpark now watching the Barred Warbler and Sophie was taking permits on the carpark and directing!

News came through that the Sandhill Crane was at North Warren RSPB, Suffolk at 11.43am!!!! We decided to go and see it, but a couple of messages later it said that it had flown south. We changed our minds and sat and finished our lunch. It carried on going south through Kessingland, Aldeburgh, Sudbourne and finally to Boyton. Messages then came through that looked promising 'in ploughed field'...... so off we went!

See next post for Sandhill Crane Twitch!

Saturday 1 October 2011

A 'hot' night out!!!

I had planned on going to Cley today, but decided we needed a change from watching a couple of yellow leg gulls from Dauke's!!!! After all, that's all that's really on offer at the moment! Plus Eddie needs to get out more!!! Well that's what Paul Lee told him at the birdfair - quote "you need to get out of the Cley rut"

Booked a table at Prezzo's in King's Lynn at 6.30pm with Eddie, had a wonderful meal and shared a tiramisu to die for!

8pm - only booked this late afternoon! Went to see 'Stephen K Amos' at the 'Corn Exchange' who was absolutely hilarious and had everyone crying with laughter. Tried to entice Eddie to go clubbing after, but no chance! Eddie is as likely to go clubbing as I am finding a black and white warbler in my garden!!!

Hard core birding tomorrow!!!

Hottest day?

Paradise in Papua New Guinea - Travel - Eastern Daily Press

Paradise in Papua New Guinea - Travel - Eastern Daily Press

Hot Birding?

No, very sadly not in Norfolk, just very hot weather. Its been a hard week at work and needed lots of sleep so didn't get up early. When I did rise, I realised there would be tons of traffic on the road and no point in queuing in hot weather. So decided to stay in and edit photos! All the 'rares' must be waiting to arrive in my October holiday!

Pity the Grey Catbird didn't reappear and then Norfolk would be have been in the limelight again!

UPDATE: as I wrote and posted the above post at 1.10pm on Saturday a SANDHILL CRANE was sitting 10 bl**dy miles away at Snettisham Coastal Park!!!!!!!!!! See update on Sunday's post (2nd Oct)

Found dead on FOULA, Shetland
See sad fate here and discussion here on BIRDFORUM