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Saturday 28 January 2012

A Beautiful Day!

Our intention was to arrive at Holkham at first light to watch and photograph Firecrests in the sunshine. But news of 17 Cranes yesterday at Titchwell changed our plans.

Driving through Ringstead along the 'Thornham Road' by "Blue Stone Farm" we watched 2 Corn Buntings on wires at 8am which was a good start to the day. It was a beautiful morning, with early morning mist, making beautiful landscape scenes.

The message to RBA yesterday at 6.01pm of 17 Common Cranes being seen at 9am east of Chalkpit Road, Titchwell was enough to get several birders out looking in the area this morning. Several birders, who had travelled quite alot of miles to get here - that's petrol, money and time. Time is something very precious to most of us nowadays. It certainly is very precious for me - I work most Sundays doing an 11 hour split shift, aswell as working a full 37.5 hour week, Monday to Friday. Birding time for me on a Saturday is very precious indeed. We searched and scanned along with several other birders around the roads and fields, but no sign of any cranes. Obviously they have moved on I thought? We saw a ring-tailed Hen harrier at 9am between Ringstead and Thornham and also a sparrowhawk. After much searching, we ended up at Choseley Barns and had lovely views of 9 fieldfares, a mistle thrush, song thrush and a common buzzard.

Titchwell RSPB - a Siskin was feeding on the alders next to the main feeders. We didn't see the Coues's Arctic Redpoll this morning. We were sitting having breakfast in the feeding station when I noticed on RBA via my iphone that the cranes had been seen again! This is what the message at 10.10am read: "19 Common Cranes south of Titchwell in field at 8.30am then flew off" - bit selfish I thought to watch them at 8.30am and then put the message out an hour and a half later and also why didn't they say which direction they cranes had flown? THEY DIDN'T SAY, BECAUSE THERE WASN'T ANY CRANES ANYWHERE AT ANY TIME!!! I phoned RBA to find out it was the same person who had reported them yesterday. I did some homework and asked around to find out that the person who reported the cranes is a hoaxer. Very sad really, because besides wasting alot of people's valuable time and money, if they do ever find anything good, no one will ever believe them!

Brancaster Staithe harbour - stopped here briefly and photographed turnstones and dunlin. One of the turnstones was colour ringed (got photo of).

Burnham Overy Staithe - 11.45am. 5 Lapland Buntings flew over the stubble field adjacent to the A149. 2 Rough-legged Buzzards with 2 Marsh harriers distantly over Holkham pines.

Wells Quayside - there were 6 little grebes by the quayside. Holkham - north west corner, 3 common buzzards circling overhead.

Holkham Pines - how things have changed. Twenty odd years ago, there would have been hardly any cars at this time of the year parked in Lady Ann's Drive. It looked like a bank holiday weekend! Dogs barking, children screaming and general mayhem - not a peaceful scene. Walked west along the path through the pines and eventually had good views of at least two Firecrests in the Holm oaks by "Salts Hole". Several goldcrests about too and a lovely view of a Chiffchaff which I managed to photograph (back end of!) high up in a Holm oak only 50 yards west of Lady's Ann's on the way back to the car.

Cley NWT - Visitor Centre - scones and jam with a pot of tea! Daukes's Hide - Eddie saw the Western Sandpiper distantly - it flew off and we couldn't refind it again. Several marsh harriers cruised round, scattering all the wildfowl.


17 Cranes my Ass!!!

Done a bit of homework on the person reporting the cranes at Titchwell yesterday and today and very sadly, it looks like it was a hoax. I could name and shame them, but I won't be that cruel. They have wasted mine and others valuable time this morning. When they grow up and get a job, they will realise how precious time is. This person's blog gives so much away about them - birds apparently photographed in the wild, when in fact they are photographed in captivity and in a very well known place!

Friday 27 January 2012

17 Cranes at Titchwell today!!!

On RBA - 17 Common Cranes SE of Titchwell in field east of Chalkpit Road at 9am. Y'day 10 Common Cranes (for 3rd day).

It would have been really nice to have known about these in daylight hours and to have seen those on my birthday, would have made my day. Oh well - nice for whoever saw them.

Update: HOAX

Its My Birthday!!!

21 Today!!!

Have a day's holiday and going birding!!!

A beautiful sunny, but cold day.

The day didn't start well - I missed the first two coastliner buses - eventually arriving at Holme at 10.15am. Walked through the village and went to Holme Marsh Bird Reserve. From the first hide there was a grey heron, loads of teal, mallard and tufted duck. A water rail called and two bullfinches were seen. A marsh harrier was seen from the second hide, but little else.

Walked to my parents house and sat chatting for a while. Father was chuffed to bits with, as he called it 'a fan mail letter' in the EDP complimenting his dedication etc as warden at Holme Bird Observatory in response to last week's front page article (January 17th) in the EDP and double page spread on the 50th year anniversary of Holme Bird Observatory. The anniversary is actually on 6th September this year.

I caught the bus to Titchwell RSPB where I met Eddie. Had my best views ever of the Coues's Arctic Redpoll feeding on alder catkins almost above our heads in the sunshine along with Lesser Redpolls. An incredibly sweet, fluffy robin posed every possible pose for my camera by the seat on the Fen trail. Had lunch at the Feeding station.

Flight views of 23 Lapland Buntings in the stubble field adjacent to the A149 at Burnham Overy Staithe and a lone Common Buzzard sat on a tree. Barn owl at Burnham Overy Mill and another one near Wells.

Went to Holt and bought a new pair of sealskinz waterproof gloves. Now back in King's Lynn and out birding early tomorrow.


Saturday 21 January 2012

Raining Redpolls!!!

Fabulous Day's Birding!

I was speed walking along the road from my house to catch the coastliner bus and had intended on walking Burnham Overy Dunes and Holkham, when Eddie unexpectedly cruised along the road beside me! So change the plan and went to Fakenham to see the Great Grey Shrike, which obliged straight away - as soon as we got out of the car it flew up from the hedge, but I was not able to capture it on my camera at all.

Salthouse - wonderful scene of 50+ turnstones feeding in the carpark along with a flock of around 30+ snowbuntings, which were very mobile due to wind and flushing photographers with exceptionally bad fieldcraft! I lay down and stayed motionless on the west side of Beach Road waiting for the snowbuntings to return to a favoured spot - they flew back near me and were gradually getting closer for some decent shots, when several big lens photographers walked straight towards them and flushed them without a thought for anyone else. I suppose being female and only having a baby lens I don't really count or matter in the slightest! I was not a happy bunny (Eddie was even less happy), but remained calm and just left - can't be doing with it.

Kelling - the two Coues's Arctic Redpolls showed beautifully in the garden near the teashop, along with an unbelievable scene of at least 70+ Lesser and Mealy Redpolls all feeding on the lawn and on the niger feeders. Goldfinches and house sparrows added to the scene. I got a frame filling picture of one of the 'Coues's just by the wall! Bumped into a few familiar faces here too! It felt so cold, it felt like it was going to snow!

Cley NWT Visitor Centre for warm up, lunch and catch up with several good friends - nice to see you all.

Kelling - again for more views of the Redpolls. The Coues's showed again and sat in the tree with now failing light, but did not feed on the ground this time - too late in the day. Had a nice surprise and bumped into John (BF Reader) The owner of the garden, kindly requested that a maximum of two people stand by the wall at any one time and the others stand on the other side of the road to view. Eddie gave us all a laugh - he was standing on the turf lining the stream and stepped back into it - I received one of Eddie's 'you are going to die' stares for laughing - couldn't help it x!!!!!!!

Mid Norfolk - waited in the dark to see a Long-eared Owl and we were just about to give up when the Long-eared Owl flew over the hedge at 5.30pm, across our car headlights and sat in the tree next to us briefly before flying off again - fabulous end to the day!


Monday 16 January 2012

Hot Winter Birding!

Good selection of birds in Norfolk today including:

Great White Egret flew over Belton Marshes, Rough-legged Buzzard at Holme NWT and also at Chedgrave Marshes and Holkham, Snowbuntings at Cley, Titchwell and Caister, Shorelark, Tundra Bean Goose and Lapland Buntings at Holkham, Coues's Arctic Redpoll remains at Titchwell (note a french birdwatcher on Saturday confimed that it is pronounced 'Coos') and also the Western Sandpiper is still at Cley. Great Grey Shrike still at Fakenham, Waxwings in Norwich, Lesser White-fronted Goose at Buckenham. Most notable being Whinchat on Friday between Heacham and Sedgeford!! Even more notable - apparently a Willow Warbler seen at Holkham by a few people now - a county first for this time of the year, surely!!! See here and here

Year of the Dragon!

Its going to be my year!!!!!! Didn't realise that 2012 was 'Year of the Dragon' - rock on!!!

"dragons move like lightning and whirlwinds - - all powerful yet totally unpredictable" - that's sounds exactly like me!!!

A Very Sad Day!

Some people you meet in life are so lovely and so, well just simply amazing. I wish that I could write here, of the events that have occurred over the past three weeks, but for confidentiality reasons I can't. But what I can say is, that I met and cared for an amazingly brave and wonderful person, who was a patient on a ward on my Sunday shifts and very, very sadly is with us no more. It can be extremely difficult to detach yourself from some people, however many years you have spent caring for patients. I suppose its the same for us all - there are just some people you bond with and even though you have only known them for a short space of time - those people become a treasured memory in your journey through life.

My sincere condolences to their family and friends.


Happy Birthday Malcolm!!!

Your card is in the post today - apologies, its late!!!!!!

Hope you had a lovely day! X

Saturday 14 January 2012

A Beautiful, Frosty Day!

A beautiful, frosty day. Arrived in Hunstanton on the bus and walked towards the lighthouse. Starlings feeding on the green by the Golden Lion hotel, but no turnstones with them today. A big flock of house sparrows were chirping away in the pitch 'n' putt area next to the bowling green along the cliff top. Several goldfinches in the Millennium garden along with at least 50 mallards in the round ornate pond! Tons of birds feeding amongst the seaweed covered rocks below the cliffs including turnstones, oystercatchers, redshanks, sanderlings, brent geese, herring gulls etc. Fulmars were gliding through blue skies over the cliffs and a pair were sitting on the cliff edge in courtship! Met Eddie at the lighthouse and we watched a single Red-necked Grebe.

Titchwell RSPB
5 Lesser Redpolls in the alders. A siskin feeding on the ground with chaffinches, goldfinches and hedge sparrows and also several cute looking robins. Water Rail in the usual ditch at beginning of the main path. Wonderful scope views of the male Red-crested Pochard. Loads of golden plover, few pintail, good numbers of lapwings, pochard, great crested grebe, 2 little grebes. On the sea: 4 Long-tailed Ducks, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers. I left Eddie seawatching and walked off in the distance to attempt to photograph the Long-tailed Ducks, but this was not very successful! When I got out there, I realised they were still too far away to photograph - I could have walked closer, but the tide was coming in, the sun had just set and I would have disturbed a whole mass of gulls and other waders, so didn't bother. The sunset was very beautiful - red rays mirrored across the wet sands and I got some lovely photos on the iphone.

On the way back we saw a Short-eared Owl hunting over the reed bed, west of the main path at 4.45pm.

"The Big Year"

DVD Release for this film is 26th March 2012.

Rumours rife that megastar Johnny Depp has bought a Burnham Market house - News - Eastern Daily Press

Rumours rife that megastar Johnny Depp has bought a Burnham Market house - News - Eastern Daily Press

UPDATE: Had an email from someone after they read this post, that they bumped into Johnny Depp going for a walk at Burnham Norton last summer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Note to self: visit Burnham Norton every weekend!

"Hampshire Spanish sparrow attracts scores of twitchers"

Saturday 7 January 2012

Fenland farmers boost for wildlife and farmland birds - Farming news - Eastern Daily Press

Fenland farmers boost for wildlife and farmland birds - Farming news - Eastern Daily Press

Turquoise Delight!

Felt loads better this morning when I woke up - decided to go back to sleep - half an later, an unexpected visitor awoke me - thought it was the postman knocking on the door, wrong it was a knight in shining armour! I had to go into town for a few bits and pieces this morning, so on route I showed Eddie the "Millfleet" by the quay in King's Lynn which is a favourite spot for both kingfisher and grey wagtail. We luckily found a free parking spot close by and we walked up to the Millfleet. Looking down into the stream we had instant views of a flash of turquoise speeding along the stream and then landed on the wrought iron ladder to enjoy his silvery fish - a beautiful kingfisher! The kingfisher continued to fish - his favourite perch seemed to be from the low bows of the willow tree next to the small reed bed. We didn't see any grey wagtails though. There used to be loads of turnstones sitting along the quay wall feeding on the grain from the working grain silos, but they are no more since the silos have ceased and have also now been demolished. Anyone interested in the history of the "Millfleet" see here. Or pictures of the Millfleet that I took a year ago here.

Went to Titchwell RSPB in the late afternoon - 5 Marsh Harriers in the roost along with 1 Barn Owl.

Friday 6 January 2012

Birding in Norfolk this weekend!

A selection of birds seen in Norfolk today - RBA:
  • Western Sandpiper at Cley NWT
  • Coues's Arctic Redpoll, Scaup, Water Pipit,
    White-fronted Geese x 3 at Titchwell RSPB
  • Grey Grey Shrike remains at Fakenham.
  • Snow Buntings x 23 at Holme opposite main beach gap.
  • Lesser White-fronted Goose at Buckingham Marshes RSPB.
  • Common Crane flew over NOA Hempton Marsh.
  • Shorelark x 4, 2 Rough-legged Buzzards, 2 Ross's Geese,
    15+ Barnacle Geese, 75+ Eurasian White-fronted Geese,
    16+ Tundra Bean Geese at Holkham.
  • Smew (drake) at Pensthorpe.

Silver linings for our wildlife - Lifestyle and Leisure News - Lynn News

Silver linings for our wildlife - Lifestyle and Leisure News - Lynn News

Note: Few typo errors in father's article this time!

6lbs lost in 3 Days!!!

Yep, 6lbs lost in three days!!! Being off work for the last three days with a stomach bug was not a good way to start the new year, but has assisted tremendously with the diet!!! I feel so guilty, I have only been at work one day this week!!! Nothing I could do about it though, its not like a cold, you can't physically come into work with...... well I won't spell it out!!! Wednesday I ate nothing, Thursday I had 2 dry cream crackers and lemonade (enormous thanks to Sarah B. for getting me some lemonade and delivering it - my angel x). Today I had a piece of toast with margerine and late this afternoon had vegetable soup and 2 slices of brown bread. I hate being on my own for what seems like such a long period of time - the first day I felt so ill, I didn't even want to watch the tv - I needed silence, but next door's dog didn't allow it! Slumped on the sofa for day two and three - dog seemed to bark less, but that's because owner was in most of the time. Only so much rubbish tv you can watch. I could have done loads of jobs, but had no energy to do so, dozed, slept and so on.

So while I am on a roll - might as well start dieting again! New Penny, new car, new year!!!

Monday 2 January 2012

A song thrush appeared at the bird bath this morning - where was it yesterday morning when I needed it?!!! Had a nice lie in this morning and then cycled to my sister Lucy's to deliver some of my home-made fruit cake, banana cake and flapjacks. It was a beautiful sunny day. After I left Lucy's, I went to feed the ducks with the remainder of my pizza from new year's eve - flew home, had lunch and then went to work for 6 hours. The ward was so busy they asked me to do another hour, but I couldn't - I was burnt out! Good night!

Sunday 1 January 2012

New Year's Day Bird Race!


King's Lynn Castle Rising Wolverton Sandringham Almer
Hunstanton Holme Choseley Titchwell RSPB

Penny Clarke and Eddie Myers

7.45am - started off with robin and blackbird in the garden. Stopped along the old Castle Rising road to attempt to see treecreeper by the Babingley River bridge, but no luck. Continued onto Wolverton and passed several cars of birders looking for golden pheasant - as we drove along the north east side of the triangle we stopped to look in a clearing on our right side and within seconds a stunning male golden pheasant appeared - if only the camera had been in the car instead of in the boot!

We continued on to the Sandringham bird table to find very little - no marsh tit or treecreeper to be found, in fact all we had here were blue, great and coal tit, wren, nuthatch and a jay! We had a better selection at the Sandringham Sawmill which produced a good tick of goldcrest, redwing, fieldfare, stock dove, common buzzard, egyptian geese, kestrel and common gull.

At Manor Farm we had house sparrow, starling and greenfinch and further along the road we had two grey partridge by a field entrance. At Amner we had several yellowhammers in the hedges and on someone's bird table we had chaffinch and brilliant views of a nuthatch on the table! In a ploughed field on route to Flitcham, we had an unusual find of a carrion crow, greater black-backed gull and a common buzzard feeding together on a dead rabbit! A sparrowhawk zoomed low along the hedge line.

10.00am - At Flitcham Abbey Farm we only saw a red-legged partridge - Abbey Farm was a complete waste of time, there was almost no water in front of the hide and I have never seen it so birdless!!! No sign of little owl, kingfisher or tree sparrows or anything else, oh apart from four common buzzards distantly.

10.50am - Hunstanton Cliffs - Oystercatcher, turnstone, fulmar, goldeneye.

11.30am - Holme Bird Reserves - Magpie, shoveler, wigeon, grey plover, redshank, linnets, barn owl, tufted duck, teal, coot, heron. Seawatching produced: cormorant, red throated diver, red-breasted merganser, great crested grebe, razorbill and a huge flock of bar-tailed godwits. On the way back down the Firs Road, Eddie was understandably furious when he discovered his passenger rear tyre was completely flat - but changed it much quicker than I would have done.

1.45pm - Choseley Drying Barns - Nothing!

2pm - Titchwell RSPB - Loads of birders looking at the feeders! Lesser Redpoll and Coues's Arctic Redpoll together in the Alder tree next to the visitor centre - thanks to Dave Holman for allowing me to look through his scope! Eddie found a frog! Water rail in the ditch. Got several ticks here including mandarin, yellow-legged gull, hen harrier. Walked to the end of the board walk and saw sanderling, knot, dunlin, long tailed duck. Walked back along the bank and into Parrinder hide to see a single avocet and mute swan. Stood by the Fen Trail path (off main path) and watched and waited - woodcock flew across us! This was the last bird of the day. Attempted to find a tawny owl but failed.

Had fish 'n' chips at Sunny Hunny and then went home.

Disappointingly, we did not see a single pied wagtail! We expected to see the following birds: great spotted woodpecker, treecreeper, eider, ringed plover, little owl, short-eared owl, snow buntings, stonechat, reed bunting, song thrush, mistle thrush, Cetti's Warbler, brambling, bullfinch, bittern.

Besides Eddie's very unusual find of a frog, we also saw a stoat, muntjac deer, hare, squirrel and a large bull with nose ring staring right in the hide window at Abbey Farm bird hide!

93 birds seen - listed in the order we saw them:
  1. Robin
  2. Blackbird
  3. Woodpigeon
  4. Mallard
  5. Herring Gull
  6. Collared Dove
  7. Jackdaw
  8. Rook
  9. Pheasant
  10. Hedgesparrow
  11. Pink-footed Goose
  12. Greylag Goose
  13. Black headed Gull
  14. Goldfinch
  15. Curlew
  16. Long tailed Tit
  17. Golden Pheasant
  18. Blue Tit
  19. Great Tit
  20. Coal Tit
  21. Wren
  22. Nuthatch
  23. Jay
  24. Redwing
  25. Fieldfare
  26. Goldcrest
  27. Stock Dove
  28. Common Gull
  29. Common Buzzard
  30. Egyptian Goose
  31. Kestrel
  32. House Sparrow
  33. Starling
  34. Greenfinch
  35. Grey Partridge
  36. Yellowhammer
  37. Moorhen
  38. Chaffinch
  39. Greater Black-backed Gull
  40. Carrion Crow
  41. Sparrowhawk
  42. Red-legged Partridge
  43. Oystercatcher
  44. Feral Pigeon
  45. Turnstone
  46. Fulmar
  47. Goldeneye
  48. Magpie
  49. Shoveler
  50. Wigeon
  51. Grey Plover
  52. Redshank
  53. Linnet
  54. Barn Owl
  55. Tufted Duck
  56. Teal
  57. Coot
  58. Heron
  59. Cormorant
  60. Red-throated Diver
  61. Red-breasted Merganser
  62. Great Crested Grebe
  63. Razorbill
  64. Bar-tailed Godwit
  65. Lesser Redpoll
  66. Coues's Arctic Redpoll
  67. Water Rail
  68. Marsh Harrier
  69. Black-tailed Godwit
  70. Little Egret
  71. Shelduck
  72. Golden Plover
  73. Pochard
  74. Pintail
  75. Gadwall
  76. Brent Goose
  77. Scaup
  78. Ruff
  79. Snipe
  80. Spotted Redshank
  81. Mandarin
  82. Yellow-legged Gull
  83. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  84. Canada Goose
  85. Hen Harrier
  86. Little Grebe
  87. Sanderling
  88. Knot
  89. Dunlin
  90. Long-tailed Duck
  91. Avocet
  92. Mute Swan
  93. Woodcock

Happy New Year!!!