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Thursday 31 May 2012

Flitcham and Gun Hill in rain and sun!

Red-legged Partridge at Abbey Farm, Flitcham.

Raining all day and grey skies here in King's Lynn. I cooked my first meal for ages at lunchtime. I have been far too busy birding to be cooking! I wasn't going out today, but I couldn't stand it any longer. Hardly anything on RBA website for Norfolk, either because there wasn't any good birds to see or because no one could be bothered to go out in the rain and look - more the latter I think! So off I went!

Abbey Farm Hide, Flitcham - 3.45pm
I have not been here for ages - the last time I came, the water levels were seriously low, but today they were considerably higher. A kingfisher flashed past the hide, calling. Other birds seen were: 4 shelduck, song thrush, mistle thrush, 2 lapwings, 2 gadwall, 1 fem. tufted duck, egyptian goose, 1 common buzzard and 1 stock dove. I noticed in the log book that someone had seen a spotted flycatcher in the tree in the carpark yesterday. I didn't see the little owl or the red kite that are being seen daily. As I left, I spotted a red-legged partridge standing on the old stone wall, which made fanstastic pictures from my car as I was about to drive past it!

Gun Hill, Burnham Overy Staithe - 5pm
The sun was now out, hadn't expected that today! Everything looked so beautiful after the rain and there seemed to be lots of birds about. Greenfinch sitting on the bush as I started to walk down the path. Two marsh harriers over the marsh, lesser and common whitethroat in the hawthorn hedge, skylarks singing high in the skies and swifts, swallows and house martins filled the air. Hundreds of juv. starlings and adults feeding along the track in front of me and on the marsh either side of me - they were a joy to watch, especially three youngsters who pestered their parent to feed them and squabbled furiously when food was passed in their direction! A stunning evening and not another birder in sight - its May, come on!

As I climbed the sea bank I spent awhile scanning the large pool on the east side of the bank. I hate carrying my tripod as well as camera gear and rarely do nowadays unless it's essential, but I had bought the scope in my rucksack - I balanced this on a convenient fence post to look at an interesting grebe, which turned out to be a little grebe, along with a mute swan and three cute cygnets, a grey heron, coots, tufted ducks, greylags, cormorant, gadwall, shovelers and redshanks. Supporting cast in the reed beds and hawthorn bushes were reed bunting, 2 bearded tits flying across 'pinging', linnets, goldfinches, wren, 2 grey partridges. I was bombarded by a pair of redshanks who I presume had a nest close by as I continued walking along the seabank. I 'pished' the bushes at the end of the sea bank which only revealed a few linnets. I walked west along the sueda bushes and dunes to Gun Hill. Linnets, linnets and more linnets - in fact in one huge flock there must of been 100+ and there were some very bright ones, some were so red, that I had to check them again! Several meadow pipits also about. Saw 2 cinnabar moths and also a Wall Butterfly on the path. A greenshank was in Burnham Overy harbour along with several ringed plovers. Little Terns were flying over my head with glittery, silver fish in the sunshine - a stunning evening. I sat on the edge of the dunes watching the low bushes, north of Gun Hill and hoped that something magical would appear as I enjoyed my picnic: coffee, cheese and beetroot sandwich and a piece of ginger and pear cake that a friend had recommended from Cley deli - scrummy! As you can see I am not dieting at all at the moment! Little terns were constantly flying over my head with fish - it was a perfect evening.

As I walked back I saw more linnets, but little else. At the large pool east of the sea bank two new birds were added to the list - a Spoonbill 'spooning'!!! also a pair of pochard. Shortly after this the spoonbill took off and flew to Gun Hill, circled round and landed at the end of the sea bank on the west side. The skies over the sea were now black with rain clouds and looked very atmospheric. Time to walk faster! 5 little egrets flew across me going west. 17 egyptian geese were on the east side of the marsh along with lots of greylags. 6 grey partridges plummeted away across the marsh, as I walked along the wide grassy track before the stile. Along the track which leads up to the main road, a hairy caterpillar looped across the path, as did a snail and a slug. I could hear grey partridges calling as I got in the car to go home.

Main highlights in Norfolk today:
Montagu's Harrier, Titchwell
Blue-headed Wagtail, Cley
Red-footed Falcon, Rockland Broad
Osprey, Norwich
Great Reed Warbler - no sign (bet its still there though)


Wednesday 30 May 2012

Rare Bird Alert Weekly Review 23rd-29th May 2012


Singing at Cley NWT 100yds north of East Bank in elder west of the bank!!! This bird was first heard by two local birders (separately) this morning and then confirmed as definate a bit later on.

After the torture of being in the hairdressers this morning, I finally got to Cley and walked in blistering heat to the East Bank from the NWT Visitor Centre. No sign or sound of the Great Reed Warbler whilst I stood there, so left and walked around Walsey Hills NOA to pish out an orphean warbler, but only managed chiffchaffs, male and female blackcaps! Went to Coastguards to look for this morning's Great White Egret but no sign. Sat in the car in the sunshine and had my evening meal of sandwiches!! I can't remember the last time I cooked a meal - no time for this at the moment! I then drove to Walsey and managed to get my car parked there! Walked along the East Bank to join others and finally had several views of the Great Reed Warbler on and off at 6.40pm and then it seemed to disappear. At 8pm it showed again briefly sitting in a bush with a reed warbler, just after Julian B. and Pete S. turned up - they were lucky! Also 3 Spoonbills and 2 Med. Gulls flew east over the East Bank.

Paul Bishop actually managed to catch a flight shot of the Great Reed Warbler as it flew closer and south of the bank!!!

Main Highlights in Norfolk today:
Great Reed Warbler at Cley
Great White Egret at Cley
Red-rumped Swallow at Cley
Red-backed Shrike at Horsey
Red-footed Falcon at Rockland Broad

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Blakeney Point!

A cloudy, cold day. Perfect weather for a mega!

Arrived Cley at 6.50am. I heard a nightingale singing, pair of bullfinches, great spotted woodpecker feeding young, common whitethroats, song thrush, mistle thrush, long tailed tits.

Bishops Hide NWT
At least 22 avocet chicks, marsh harriers, several bearded tits flying around, little ringed plover, common sandpiper. I stopped looking really after this as Pat who was in the hide got a call from her husband to say that there was a ORPHEAN WARBLER at Hartlepool!!!!!!! OMG!!!

Phoned Andy W. to see if he was going - he was driving to work at this point. Phoned someone else....... did I really want to go? I had planned to walk Blakeney Point to find my own mega. Hmmm.......... couldn't decide what to do, so I decided to wait and see if I got a lift or not. Drove round to Coastguards as this is the only good place for my vodafone signal. Guess who had just pulled up into the carpark before me? James McCallum - oh dear, decisions, decisions!!!!! He is bound to find something massive down the 'Point' and I would regret leaving Cley. My instinct told me to do BP. I was very kindly offered a lift from a Cley birder and also another lift later on. I decided not to go.


As soon as I started walking, I regretted my decision, but I had made that choice, so tough! Nothing on the way out, apart from lots of Reed Buntings and Meadow Pipits. Walked all round the 'The Hood', right up to the end of 'Yankee Ridge' and back. Just as I reached the tamerisk near the Plantation I bumped into James and Paul who told me there was a female Bluethroat in the suada by 'Long Hills'. So before looking in the Plantation, I returned to 'Long Hills' and spent over an hour searching for the Bluethroat and failed miserably! Feeling really p*ssed off now, I trudged back to 'The Plantation' and watched two Spotted Flycatchers, several linnets and a song thrush. Walked to 'Near Point' and bumped into James who had seen a male Grey headed Wagtail fly over. I covered this area pretty well and saw a wheatear and several more linnets. I then crossed the dunes to search for the Bluethroat again - luckily James arrived at this point at the same time and together we managed to flush out the Bluethroat at 6.40pm. It landed on a sueda bush for a nano of a second and then dropped and vanished. I know they can be skulky birds, but this one was impossible. James then continued his walk back and I stayed for a good 45 minutes to attempt to photograph this bird - it wasn't having any of it! No pictures obtained, not even a smudge on the viewfinder! I walked back alone as the red sun was setting. Arrived back at Coastguards at 9.15pm.

Main Highlights in Norfolk today:
Black Kite over Blakeney
Red-backed Shrike at Holme NWT
Bluethroat, Blakeney Point
Quail, Choseley
Great White Egret, Burgh Castle
Golden Oriole at Colney (heard only)
Nightjars x 2 at Winterton



Hartlepool!!!!! Western Orphean Warbler, caught, rung and released this morning and seen throughout the day by many birders, including lots from Norfolk!

Roller at Spurn.

I turned down two offers of lifts to see this bird today and stuck to my plans - I must be mad!

A one day only bird! Not seen the second day.

Monday 28 May 2012

Sunday 27 May 2012

Cley in the sunshine!

I just couldn't get going today, but eventually ended up in Cley. A beautiful, sunny day, but too hot inland, nice easterly breeze on the coast though.

Grey Wagtail in Cley village along with a purring Turtle Dove, great spotted woodpecker, 2 Med. Gulls, barn owl, common whitethroats, chiffchaffs and blackcaps.

5 Wood Sandpipers west of Beach Road, Salthouse.

Dauke's Hide NWT
With Eddie M. this evening: 18 Ringed Plovers, 2 Dunlin, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Temminck's Stints, 4 Common Sandpipers and a fem. Pochard with 9 fluffy youngsters! Lots of avocets with cute chicks running around looking very vulnerable.

My mother had a Spotted Flycatcher in her apple tree early this afternoon.

Saturday 26 May 2012

Holme Reserves

Part 'family day' and part birding, although I might aswell have missed the birding bit out! Took Lucy to my parent's house.

Holme NWT Forestry
Male Bullfinch, linnets, goldfinches, hedge sparrows, reed buntings, common whitethroats, 2 gatekeepers, small copper, several little terns going east along the shore and a ton of holiday makers - it looked like a bank holiday weekend.

I was horrified to see that the 'standing caravan' (Collared Fly spot) has been removed and foundations now laid for a building of some sorts - I was told later, a wooden lodge is going to be built there. More trees cut down around the site, not many left now. Another monstrous modern looking house has been built along the Firs Road, which looks completely out of place amongst the other houses. I also heard through the grapevine that a Red-backed Shrike had been seen in the NWT Forestry on Thursday evening.

Holme Bird Observatory NOA
2 Goldcrests round the back of the pines. The A.W. and another birder had heard a grasshopper warbler along the Thornham Bank and a Spotted Flycatcher was seen around the obs. although I didn't see it whilst there.

Loads of 'beach' people with their picnic rugs on the NOA carpark (PLEASE READ THE SIGNS!!!)

Redwell Marsh NOA
Not alot really, but did see 2 mistle thrushes fly across the path and a cuckoo was calling.

Went back to my parents, sat and had strawberries and ice-cream - yummy! Took Lucy home and then spent nearly 2 hours washing off all the thick orange dust on my car from driving along the Firs Road at Holme.

No shifts tomorrow, so I am expecting some good birds, PLEASE!

Best birds seen in Norfolk today:
6, yes 6 BEE-EATERS!!!! seen at Waxham, Sea Palling and Bradwell (presumably the same ones that were seen yesterday)
Also 2 Bee-eaters over Hickling
Bee-eater heard only at Glandford (ETM)
Firecrest, Great Yarmouth (A.W. and J.L)
Montagu's Harrier at Breydon Water
Serin flew over Colkirk

Friday 25 May 2012

Too Hot!!!

I know I shouldn't complain and its a stunning day, but its too hot for me, don't do hot weather. Stayed at home to get some important jobs done. FINALLY unpacked my external hard drives and plugged in so I can shift a ton of photos off Macbook, which in turn will allow me to take thousands of photos off cards onto the Mac and start adding to my blog! Only nearly a year behind - I need to add photos to blog from July 2011 - terrible state of affairs!

Can't see many rares landing in the sunshine and blue skies, but you never know!

Highlights in Norfolk today:
Black Kite over Blakeney Point
Honey Buzzard over Cley
6 Common Cranes over Swanton Novers
Temminck's Stint at Burnham Norton
and LATE News at 6.26pm of 6 BEE-EATERS!!!!! at Bush Estate, Eccles 'this morning then flew south'.

Holkham reserve set for new era - Farming news - Eastern Daily Press

Holkham reserve set for new era - Farming news - Eastern Daily Press

RSPB angered by Defra proposals to control buzzards - Environment - Eastern Daily Press

RSPB angered by Defra proposals to control buzzards - Environment - Eastern Daily Press

Cream-coloured Courser in 'The Mirror'

I HAD to comment - 2,000 Twitchers - my a**!!!!!!!!! and 'Carnage'!!!!!!

Thursday 24 May 2012

Stiffkey Fen to Burnham Overy Dunes!

Had to help my parents out with stuff this morning so didn't start birding until late. Very foggy for most of day, but hot!

This was a very long walk, I estimate at least 10 miles. Parked the car at Burnham Overy Staithe - (the pull in on the main road). Flagged down a Coasthopper bus and got off at Stiffkey Fen. The original plan was to walk from Stiffkey Fen to Gun Hill and back to my car, finding lots of goodies on route - yeah right!!!

Going to make this post short as I am very tired.

Stiffkey Fen - 12.45pm - chiffchaffs, reed buntings, jay, blackcap, linnets. Too foggy to see the Fen, especially when I hadn't bought my telescope!

Campsite Wood - 1.35pm - chaffinches, goldfinches, blackcap.

Campsite Carpark -2pm - common whitethroats, blackcap, jackdaws, blackbird, peacock butterfly.

Whirlygig - 2.20pm - linnets, goldfinches. Sat and had a sandwich.

The Pit - 3.05pm - common whitethroats, reed buntings, linnets, garden warbler, blackcap, goldfinches, blackcaps.

West Track - 3.30pm - Painted Lady, Common Blue and a Green Hairstreak! along with Orange Tips and lots of bees. In the copse by the path a chiffchaff and a blackcap were seen. More linnets and goldfinches on route to Wells and also a common buzzard sailing over a rape field.

Wells Quay - 5.20pm - little egret x 2, herring gull eating a crab. Chips for me on the quayside at 6pm! Hmmmm..... my original plan of including Gun Hill was not looking good! Scanned the Putting green along beach road thoroughly for Cream-coloured Coursers but only found woodpigeons and 2 grey partridges. Further along there were 3 mistle thrushes.

Wells Harbour Office - 3 little terns flew over and a common whitethroat called in the gorse/scrub by the office. This area of scrub looks awesome for migrants, when we get some!

Wells beach carpark - 2 swallows sitting on fence.

The Dell - 6.40pm - 2 cracking male bullfinches and a few chiffchaffs calling.

Holkham - 7.15pm - nothing of note apart from a muntjac fawn.

Burnham Overy Dunes - 7.50pm - thick fog, linnets, woodpigeons and natterjacks calling. Two martians appeared in the near distance in the fog - that's what they looked like anyway. Who on earth could be crazy enough to venture out in the fog? I know I was, but at least I was returning to my car. The two figures really did look spooky and almost looked like they had no clothes on!!! As they got nearer, I realised they were two men wearing wet suits!!! Still strange - very odd to be walking to the dunes in the fog and wearing wet suits - each to their own!

Arrived back to my car at 8.40pm.

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Rare Bird Alert Weekly Review 16th-22nd May 2012

Recovery Day!

I am ashamed to say I didn't crawl out of bed until 12.30pm!!!! I was so tired from having so little sleep two nights running and yesterday's twitch finished me off!

My mother had a Red Kite over her house at 1.15pm (text sent to RBA).

I am sitting here sorting photos and its freezing in my house and looks gloriously sunny outside. I am tempted to go out, but need to re-charge batteries. Looks like the Cream-coloured Courser has done a bunk, which is unfortunate for those that have not been able to see it yet - last seen flying west at 11.38am.

Out birding tomorrow!

Main highlights in Norfolk today:
Several Red Kites were seen in north west Norfolk.
Late news of a Subalpine Warbler at Weybourne
Great White Egret at Hickling
Great White Egrets x 2 east over Warham Greens
Honey Buzzard at Dickleburgh
Black Kite over Kelling Heath

Bird Identification - an International Web Study

Natural England - Great White Egret nests in Britain for the first time

Natural England - Great white egret nests in Britain for the first time

Tuesday 22 May 2012



TWITCH to Kington Golf Course, Bradnor Hill, Herefordshire to see a MEGA Cream-coloured Courser and then on to mid-Wales!!

If a mega turns up somewhere in the UK I know that Andy W. and crew sometimes have a spare seat! Luckily for me they did!

I was supposed to drive to Andy's house arriving at 5.45am, but was absolutely horrified when I had turned alarm off and woke up at 5.47am!!! So had to have a very quick re-plan and instead I drove to a village near Thetford, where I left my car to meet and join up with Andy and others who were travelling south on the A11. I was slightly worried about leaving my car, but it was fine when I returned! Obviously it would have been better to have turned up at first light, but it wasn't possible for any of us to do today. We left Thetford/A11 at 7.20am. I had dressed for a cold day, but had bought lighter clothes in case it got hot. On route at a loo/petrol stop, I had no choice but to change my clothes - it was baking hot - a huge contrast from fog and cold yesterday in Norfolk!

The scenery in this area is spectacular - we arrived at Kington Golf Club, Bradnor Hill at about 11.45am. We drove approximtely half a mile past the club house and parked on a wide, grassy verge further up the hill. (don't park at the Golf Club house carpark unless of course you want a very long up hill walk). I just couldn't believe the views from here and it was unbelievably hot! Within a minute of getting out of our car we saw a Red Kite and a Redstart sitting in a tree! I realised I wasn't as fit as I as I thought, as we walked up the hills to the 8th fairway known as 'Hill Top" where the bird was. All the golfers were extremely nice and seemed fine about us birders traipsing over their golf course, so a huge thank you to them! But, be warned, watch the golf balls! There is a seat on one of the hills in memory of someone that was killed by a flying golf ball! As we got to the top of the hill, there were about 50 birders, lined up with scopes. We first saw the CREAM-COLOURED COURSER at 12.03pm precisely! My goodness this bird was something else - an outstanding bird. The black eyestripe and white supercilium against the sandy, orangy coloured body was just simply striking - this bird was AWESOME! I didn't see it fly, but it did have a few wing stretches, which revealed the black underwings. It ran like a roadrunner - spectacular to watch. This bird is the first UK Spring record! Most of the time the bird remained on the edge of the bracken and only occasionally came out onto the grass. The heat haze, time of day and distance of the bird was a nightmare for photography and I only obtained out of focus, distant shots. But, even though it was hopeless for photos, as a birder the views were stupendous. Everyone was perfectly behaved apart from one photographer who walked and joined golfers to get a very close picture and has posted his pictures on a well known website - people are congratulating him on his pictures - they are indeed top notch pictures, but many of us could have obtained the same, had we also walked that close to the bird, perhaps we all should have done! Other birders/photographers were cursing etc at the fact he had walked way out in front of everyone. You have to be courteous to everyone else in this situation. We were hoping that the golfers would walk behind it to assist it run in our direction, but this was not to be! I might hire some clubs for the day and go back!!! Most certainly the best bird I have ever seen and on the highest golf course in the UK - the most spectacular setting you could possibly imagine - awesome views for miles and it was an incredibly hot day to boot! An unforgettable experience! We stayed until about 2.30pm if I remember rightly - very difficult to leave. Walked back to the car and had a quick sandwich and left.

Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, Powys, Wales
Red Kite Feeding and Rehabilitation Centre

This place was something else! Red Kites are fed daily at 3pm. With aerial acrobactics the Red Kite's compete with Common Buzzards and Ravens in a feeding frenzie in front of several hides. A Photographer's dream! I was awestruck at this spectacle - I didn't know where to look next. The birds soared only feet away from me as I sat in the hide! There was also two Leucistic Red Kite's. I got a ton of photos on the camera! The light was perfect with blue skies. See the website here. Would loved to have stayed longer, but we had to move on to our next and final stop before returning home.

Red Kite at Gigrin Farm.

Elan Valley Estate
This place was stunning – what a day! "The Estate consists of rounded hills dissected by steep valleys, many of which are covered in deciduous woodland dominated by Sessile Oak" The website is here and link to the section on birds is here.

We parked in the carpark adjacent to the Visitor Centre and Cafe and had a wonderful walk alongside the wide, fast running river searching for woodland birds. The scenery was breathtaking and the light was beautiful. As we walked along the edge of the river, water sprayed and trickled over boulders and fallen tree trunks and it looked magical. We saw some spectacular birds here, the best for me being a Dipper.

List of birds seen were: Dipper, Pied Flycatchers, Spotted Flycatcher, Redstarts, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Sisken, Wood Warbler, Garden Warbler, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaffs, Grey Wagtails, Pied Wagtails, Common Sandpipers displaying, Red Kites, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Muscovy Duck, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Cuckoos, House Martin and Swallows. The Wood Warbler was the hardest to find, but we did have brilliant views eventually after climbing up one of the higher level paths.

Can't remember what time we left exactly, think it was about 6pm. We bought chips in the village of Rhayader and then travelled home. My car was still there when we returned, thank goodness! I then travelled home, arriving about back at 12.30am.

Thank you very much to Andy for driving all day!



Monday 21 May 2012

BEE-EATER at last!!!!!

I think I had about 3 hours sleep last night and now feel wrecked!

Arrived at Cley at 5.30am to look for the Bee-eater. Had lovely views of a fox running alongside the river. Lots of birds singing on my arrival including a Turtle Dove etc. Grey, foggy start which didn't lift all day. The Bee-eater appeared on the wires opposite the sewage works at 6.30am - so exciting to see this bird, my second one in Norfolk. Even though the light was atrocious all day, this magical bird performed for many birders throughout the day – catching bees, preening and generally looking the 'bees' knees!!! (look out J.F.!) I was spellbound and just couldn't leave - how can you possibly get bored watching a rainbow of colours cruising over lush green grass catching bees! I stayed until about 10.15am I think - well I stayed until I realised my camera compact flash card said 'FULL' and I realised I hadn't got another card with me.

Wasted alot of time going to Holt and Cromer to buy another card. No one sells such a card!!! So I spent awhile deleting all naff pictures on camera just to give a bit of space for anything else I might need to photograph today.

I sacrificed the Icterine Warbler found by Ian Prentice at Gun Hill and also seeing the Red-breasted Flycatcher at Warham to find my own birds.

I will keep this brief and you will see why. Trimmingham Cliff Top Wood - not a single bird, Beeston Bump: common whitethroats, blackbirds and a hedgesparrow. Sheringham Cemetery: not a single bird. West Runton Cliff top: skylarks, housesparrows and linnets. Walsey Hills NOA: nothing of note. Wish I had twitched other people's birds now! I have been told the end of the week is 'looking good'

Went back for another look at the Bee-eater - still there on the same wires and catching bees. It amazed me that no-one had bothered to update bird information services that the bee-eater was still there - a massive gap between 12.06pm and 4.36pm!!! The Bee-eater flew from the wires high, in the direction (roughly) of Glandford Ford at about 6.45pm and wasn't seen again as far as I know. I sat by the Ford and finished my sandwiches and coffee. Watched a Great Spotted Woodpecker and also a Green Woodpecker and then drove home.

Other bird news today in Norfolk: a Rose Finch at Blakeney Point.

What shall I do tomorrow? Hmmmmm..........decisions, decisions!!!


MEGA!!! Cream-Coloured Courser!!

Still there for second day. Found late last night. Stunning pictures of this bird on RBA, Birdforum, Surfbirds etc.

Sunday 20 May 2012

Bird News in Norfolk Today!

Pete Snook's Video of the Bee-eater at Cley!!!

ANOTHER Bee-eater
at Cley most of the day (see above)!!!!
Red-backed Shrike at Cromer
Red-backed Shrike at Stiffkey
Red-backed Shrike at Thornham Point
Fem. Bluethroat still this morning by North Hide, Cley
Red-breasted Flycatcher at Warham Greens
Fem. Bluethroat, Quail and a probable Dusky Warbler at Blakeney Point
Savi's Warbler remains at Strumpshaw Fen
Black Kite (possible) at Overstrand

So frustrating to have been at work all day until 9pm – looking forward to tomorrow and the next 2 weeks!!! As I walked from the carpark back to my 2nd shift of the day at 3pm there were hundreds of swifts (mostly) and house martins feeding in the air, quite low – I have never seen that many together! I noticed on the NARVOS site that other people have also seen large numbers of swifts today.

has been found late this evening on a golf course at Bradnor Hill, NE of Kington, Hereford!!!

Saturday 19 May 2012

Blakeney Point All Day!!!

Spotted Flycatcher in The Plantation, Blakeney Point.

Arrived at Cley Coastguards and started walking Blakeney Point at 11.15am. Overcast day, but no rain.

I was rewarded with very little, in fact I didn't even see a wheatear until I got to 'The Hood'! My lunch break at 'Halfway House' was not to be – people were staying in the house. There were also 50+ very noisy, life jacketed people on a tour round the Point. I worked hard and covered just about everywhere – went round 'The Hood', walked 'Yankee Ridge', crossed creeks, muddied boots and all I saw were a few wheatears, linnets, reed buntings and hedgesparrows. It was very disheartening to keep hearing messages about a Red-spotted Bluethroat and Red-backed Shrike at Stiffkey, Hoopoe somewhere else, Night Heron at Ranworth and then later another fem Bluethroat at North Hide, Cley etc etc! But hey ho, I plodded on and hoped. I saw a Small Copper amongst the Thrift and Sea Campion. Lots of terns and swallows flying through.

The Plantation

My reward was a beautiful Spotted Flycatcher who was a joy to watch. A photographer's dream – I had this bird all to myself! Got some cracking shots of this bird sitting on dead tree trunk and on a branch surrounded by very green sycamore leaves. The sun even broke through the clouds for a short while! Several chiffchaffs in here too and also linnets. Also of note, quite a few bumble bees. Birdsfoot Trefoil was out in flower. I went and sat at 'The Lupins' but this only produced linnets and meadow pipits. I spent a couple of hours at 'The Plantation' having a late lunch at 2.40pm and hoped that something more exciting would drop in!

Spotted Flycatcher in The Plantation, Blakeney Point.

Near Point
A second Spotted Flycatcher was seen, as I bumped into Eddie Stebbings (Warden). Eddie said 'they had had 3/4 Spotted Flycatchers today, but nothing else really of note. We watched a male Kestrel carrying a small bird, which then landed a short distance away and settled down to eat its prey. I walked east to the basin area of small sueda bushes and found more linnets and meadow pipits – no bluethroats here! Crossed over the dunes and went back to 'The Plantation' to watch the Spotted Flycatcher and Chiffchaffs again. One of the staff from the Lifeboat House had just seen a Short-eared Owl, but I didn't see this on the way back. I left 'The Plantation' at 6pm.

On the way back I followed the sueda bushes the whole stretch and also walked all around 'The Hood' again – surely I would something? A few more wheatears and that was it! As Coastguards came into view, I realised that I might be in with a slim chance of seeing the Female Bluethroat that had appeared on the RBA website (via iphone) earlier. Also thank you to my friends who have sent me updates/messages today.

As I walked into the carpark at about 7.45pm I saw Julian B. who kindly gave me directions where to look for the bird, although sadly he had not seen it. It has been very elusive I hear. I dumped my rucksack in the car, had a quick drink and was just about to start walking when Steve G. turned up and said it was unlikely that I would see it now. I walked to North Hide – what's another half a mile (ish)!!!! As I walked along the grassy path, a birder passed me saying he had seen it briefly from the hide at 7.50pm – brilliant! I speeded up and ran over part of the shingle (don't how I had the energy for this!) Walked in the hide and there were several people in there. Someone directed me to where the Bluethroat was, which I watched with others from 8pm to 8.10pm. It wasn't exactly awesome views and it wasn't even worth lifting the camera up to, as it would have been a brown smudge in the viewfinder, but I had seen it! Nice end to the day.

As I walked back alone, I could see three Spoonbills on 'Billy's Wash' at 8.30pm. Got back to the carpark and had the rest of my sandwiches and coffee and left at 9.15pm. As I drove along Beach Road a Barn Owl sat on a post. Work all day tomorrow, so there will be a spectacular list of birds and probably even a first for Norfolk/Britain!

Main Bird News in Norfolk today:
Bluethroat and Red-backed Shrike at Stiffkey.
Bluethroat and Temminck's Stints, Little Stint, Wood Sandpiper, Gargeney, 2 Black Redstarts at Cley
Hoopoe at Beighton
Savi's Warber at Strumpshaw Fen
Night Heron at Ranworth Broad yesterday
Black Terns x 3 at Lyng
Pectoral Sandpiper at Buckingham Marshes
Black-necked Grebe and Black Tern at Filby Broad
Pied Flycatcher at Holme I see on the website here

Roll on Monday!


Friday 18 May 2012

Bee-eater at Cley and Salthouse!!!

Found by Marcus Nash – Congratulations!

I was at work today – the last day before my holiday, I was doing the early hand-over which mean't I started at 7am and finished at 3pm. As I turned my phone on at lunchtime and saw "Norfolk: Bee-eater just west of Cley by A149 on wires by sluice at 10.43am" on the RBA website, my heart raced, especially as there were several more repeated messages saying it was now at Salthouse on wires near the fish 'n' chip shop!!! – I just love them and will travel anywhere in Norfolk to see one. I have only seen one Bee-eater in Norfolk, at Northrepps on telegraph wires in the rain, catching bees. I have missed several over the years including todays! I sat with Caraline (one of my work colleagues) at lunchtime and my exact words were "I bet you anything you like, that when I switch my phone back on again at 3pm, RBA will read 'flew south' – how right I was "NORFOLK, Bee-eater til 2.30pm Salthouse and then flew south" - TYPICAL!!! I crazily drove to Cley anyway, something told me that something else would turn up there and maybe, just maybe the Bee-eater hadn't quite left! My holiday had started and I was off!!!

CRACKING Picture here:

Salthouse Heath – scanned Salthouse's telegraph wires from the heath in the hope that the Bee-eater hadn't left yet. I knew it had, but I just had to try. I was told by others that it had been raining earlier in Cley – it was now sunny. If only the rain had continued just a bit longer earlier I might have had a chance! I then drove to Cley 'Deli' and got a few snacks for later. I was talking on the phone to another birder when I noticed a bright orange handbag was sitting on the ground next to where a car had just left with two ladies in – I noticed quickly that they were just about to turn right out of the carpark – I sprinted to the car with bag in hand and JUST caught them before they left!!! They were very, very lucky!!!

I then decided to go to Walsey Hills, but stopped to chat to several local birders at the bottom of Old Woman's Lane including John F. Had a quick look round Walsey Hills with John. The weather had deteriorated rapidly to grey skies and drizzle. Only birds seen here were a couple of chiffchaffs and a Cettis's Warbler singing. Drove home in preparation for tomorrow!

Sandwiches done – ready for a MEGA day!!! The bad news is that I am working on Sunday's in my holiday!

Thursday 17 May 2012

Rare Bird Alert Weekly Review 9th-15th May 2012

Dotterel at Ringstead!!!

My mother came with me to look at the Dotterel at Ringstead! We parked the car in 'Green Lane' (the same lane where people parked to see the Black-winged Pratincole a couple of years back) and walked along the lane to the deep furrowed field to view a distant, but beautiful female Dotterel found by Mark Bradbury and his wife/partner – thank you for your directions! This was 6.45pm (phoned update to RBA).

I am so excited, one day to go....... then I'm on holiday for two and half weeks!!!!!!!!!! Wahoooooo!!!!! I will be jetting off in my Skoda to....... NORFOLK!!!!!!

Other bird news today:
Great White Egrets x 2 seen at Burnham Overy Staithe and one at Cley!
Savi's Warbler at Strumpshaw Fen
Temminck's Stints x 2 at Cley
Dotterel at Ringstead

Sunday 13 May 2012

Hot Bird News today!

Red-footed Falcon (male) hawking over fields with hirundines, found by Trevor Girling along the A149 opposite the B1439 – only a couple of miles from where I work – how frustrating is that!!!

Golden Oriole singing at 6am in Thornham village - via Birdguides and RBA. No more details than that though! May of course be in someone's garden and understandably don't want to share details – I wouldn't either!

Black-necked Grebe at Snettisham RSPB and three more at Cantley.
Honey Buzzard at Titchwell.
2 Cranes at Holkham
3 Temminck's Stints at Cley

Finished work late afternoon and then cruised over to Thornham in search of the Golden Oriole – I knew this would be like finding a needle in a haystack, but I went anyway! I parked the car up and walked all around Green Lane and the small copse adjacent to the marsh (seaward side). Several birds seen, but nothing too exciting: common whitethroats, sedge warblers, blackbirds, robins, chiffchaffs, little egrets, hirundines skimming over the marshes, cuckoo heard and a large mistle thrush was seen, which I attempted to photograph, but it got away too soon! I also walked the public footpath through Jameson's wood which is east of Thornham Farm Shop – not much here either apart from blackcaps, willow warbler, chaffinches and long tailed tits. Drove home via a fish 'n' chip shop in 'sunny hunny'!!!!

Saturday 12 May 2012

Ratty steals the show!!!

Got up late – work is exhausting at the moment.

The good news is that I have a wonderful long holiday coming up soon – two and a half weeks in fact – can't wait!!!!!!

After visiting my parents I went to Holme Marsh Reserve.

Holme Marsh Reserve
As I parked the car, I noticed that the hedge that lines the ditch on the right side of the public footpath had been completely hacked down – whoever had ripped this out was not a professional hedge cutter. It was a total mess and sections of hawthorn trunk were just left in untidy heaps and partly across the path. Also why had this hedge been destroyed in spring at peak nesting time!!! I can't actually see or understand the purpose behind the destruction. This hedge has been there since I was a youngster. I remember Mick Ramsey (headmaster) taking us children from Holme Primary school on nature walks along this lane – fond memories of my happy childhood. So sad to see this hedge ripped out along with everything else that was living within it! When I walked into Hide 1, there was a note in the sightings book that read "Neither the NWT or Courtyard Farm authorised the destruction of the hedge on the west side of the reserve and are trying to find out who did this" (can't remember it exactly word for word, but that's more or less what it said).

My first Small Copper this year on the chalky path leading up to the hides. 2 Canada and Greylag Geese on the new scrape/flood just before the first hide. A Peregrine over the pool from Hide 2 put everything up on the marsh! Other birds seen were: marsh harriers, chiffchaffs, common whitethroats, shelducks, shovelers, gadwalls.

Friary Hills
Had to speak in my most authoritative voice to THREE lots of dog owners in the 60 minutes I was there. How many dog owners disobey this 'NO DOGS ALLOWED' notice throughout each day I wonder? Perhaps the notice needs to be enlarged to 6ft high – with a £1000 fine if caught. This is the only public place that I can think of that is canine free – the only place that you can supposedly look up into blue skies without having to check what you're stepping in – well its not is it!!!!! Apart from the dog incidents, Friary Hills was just beautiful – I realised that I hadn't been here for quite a while now. I found a Coal Tits nest whilst here as Mummy Coal Tit gave the game away as she carried food in her beak and impatiently waited for me to move! As I soaked in the stunning views across Blakeney marshes from the hills, I watched loads of birds flying over the marshes: hirundines, rooks, jackdaws, gulls, herons, marsh harriers etc, mute swans, mallards, pied wagtails etc. The beautiful smell of the wall flowers in the old stone wall enveloped me as I walked along the top path and the yellow gorse bushes completed the picture postcard scene. The panoramic view from Friary Hills is one of the most spectacular in Norfolk – you can see Blakeney Point to the west and Coastguards to the east – so much to see.

Glandford Ford
The cutest, most accommodating Water Vole EVER was working its way along the stony river bank and twice swam across the Ford, under the bridge and back again! The first time it swam under the bridge it kept its eye on me and my camera lens and then stopped directly below by a strut on the bridge, looked up and posed as if to say 'well take it then, quick, if you miss this shot, I'm not hanging about, you've got a couple of seconds if that'...... seconds later ratty had shot under the bridge. Penny had not changed the lens to 1.5 metres – every shot of ratty under the bridge was blurry!!!!! But I did get some decent shots of ratty swimming across. Couple of Pied Wagtails here also.

Walsey Hills NOA
Cettis Warbler, chiffchaffs, not much else of note.

Coastguards, Cley
2 Little Terns flew east over the sea – my first ones this year. Several swallows sitting on the fence wires, a single wheatear on the Eye Field and skylarks singing – a real summery scene. John F., Pete S. and Eddie were here – I had just missed a Short-eared Owl.

Daukes Hide NWT

With Eddie M. and Andy J. and also a bird race team came into the hide who were on 136 when they walked in and left with 140 species for the day by the time they left! Temminck's Stint, 3 Little Ringed Plovers, Little Gull, Pied Wagtails, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper x 2, Greenshank, Marsh Harriers, Spoonbills x 2, Water Rail. I left here at 9pm!


Friday 11 May 2012

Bird News in Norfolk

Main Highlights today:
Temminck's Stints x 2 at Cley
Pacific Swift? at Strumpshaw turned out to be an aberrant Common Swift
Probable Black Kite NE of Thetford
Red-rumped Swallow at Cley
Black Redstart at old visitor centre, Cley

Thursday 10 May 2012

Rare Bird Alert Weekly Review 2nd-8th May 2012

Main Highlights in Norfolk today:
Red-rumped Swallow Cley
Red-rumped Swallows x 2 at Blakeney
Wryneck at Snettisham RSPB
Temminck's Stints x 2 at Cley
Pallid Harrier (probable) at Stiffkey Fen
Grey-headed Wagtail, Cley
**LITTLE SWIFT - unconfirmed report on Monday, over Buckingham Marshes
Kentish Plover flew west over East Bank, Cley

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Possible Golden Oriole at work!!!

This afternoon as I was walking back to my ward from my lunch, a staff nurse on a ward adjacent to the one I work on said 'Penny I was trying to find you this morning - a patient on our ward said he saw a Golden Oriole sitting on the big fir tree sitting just outside the window'!!!!!!!!! I immediately went to chat with the patient and he insisted it was a golden oriole that he saw. I don't know what to think. The fir tree the patient was talking about is only a matter of yards from the main window of the area that I work in!!! Hopefully what ever this bird is, puts in an appearance again tomorrow and its me that watching it!!!

Monday 7 May 2012

Cley all day!!!!


Cley, Blakeney Point and Salthouse

I had planned a dawn start, but you know me, I didn't quite, make it!

Arrived in Cley at 6.40am. It was a beautiful, sunny morning with south easterly winds. As I drove through the village I saw a flock of house sparrows dust bathing by the edge of the road. I parked in the Cley NWT Visitor Centre carpark and there were already half a dozen cars in the carpark.

Bishop's Hide NWT
As I walked along the path to the hide I was serenaded by sedge and reed warblers and a cetti's warbler burst into song. Marsh harriers were cruising over the reedbeds. There were a few people already in the hide, including Trevor D. and a bit later on Julian B. also joined us. I was hoping to see the recent Temminck's Stint, but sadly it didn't show. I had wonderful views of a female White Wagtail which steadily made its way across the front of the hide which resulted in lots of picture taking! Another white wagtail was seen here also. Main highlights were: 3 Common Sandpipers, 1 Spoonbill, a single Wheatear landed momentarily, reed bunting, two little ringed plovers, a Little Gull, 3 marsh harriers, bearded tits pinging, avocets. A pochard swam right across in front of us. I spent at least a couple of hours in this hide, much longer than I had intended to!

Walsey Hills NOA
Willow warbler, chiffchaffs, bullfinches, cetti's warbler, common whitethroats here, along with the usual greenfinches, goldfinches, hedge sparrows, blue and great tits, robins. At the end of the bottom path I had some lovely views of a cute Bank Vole clambering over an ivy covered, fallen tree trunk – every time it showed, I just wasn't quick enough to get a picture! Also saw a Peacock and Orange Tip butterfly. I walked round the whole reserve and in the pine copse on the hill I could hear a Tawny Owl calling, but I couldn't find it! I watched an attempted murder on Arnold's Marsh from the hill – 2 greylag geese were entwined in a serious fight and had gripped into each other's necks in a frenzied attack, whilst other greylags watched on – it was both fascinating, yet disturbing to watch. The commotion resulted in other greylags flying in to gather and watch the fight! There must have been at least a 100 geese – it really was a spectacle – it reminded me of crowds of people arriving to watch a public hanging!!! A few of the geese attempted to break it up, but did not succeed. One of the geese eventually weakened its grip and the other managed to get away and seemed unhurt, although shaken up. The other geese then seemed to relax and disperse and almost looked disappointed that there had not been a grander finale!

Cley NWT Visitor Centre
I walked back to my car and saw Eddie M. and Andy J. who had been in the V.C. and were about to leave, but had heard news from someone, that a couple of birders had seen a possible Pallid Harrier flying east from Blakeney. So I joined them and we scanned the skies for about an hour from the viewing point at Cley Spy shop (old V.C.) and hoped that we would be lucky – of course we weren't! But we had fabulous view from up here and there seemed to be so much bird action going on over the marshes – huge numbers of swifts and swallows were whizzing about over the pools – it was very relaxing here just standing and watching. Star birds seen here were a Peregrine and a Hobby. The only worrying thing about being at the V.C. for a long time is the fact that I have no vodafone signal and therefore can't access the RBA website via my iphone (I don't have a pager) and nobody can't get hold of me either, unless of course they remember to ring my 'orange' pay as you go phone (no internet access on this one) and Eddie and Andy don't have pagers either.

Cley Coastguards
I arrived in the carpark to walk Blakeney Point, but my walk was delayed somewhat! As soon as I turned up in the carpark I could see a photographer with camera balanced on fence post, taking pictures of something in the Eye Field. I parked my car in a space which was directly behind the photographer. I quickly realised there were some wagtails literally yards away from the fence line just in front of me! Three stunning Yellow Wagtails and also a Blue-headed type which really was beautiful with a sky blue head. I phoned them through to RBA and then called a few friends and John F. turned up 10 minutes after my call – he ID'd the blue-headed as a 'Channel' Wagtail (a yellow x blue headed). I took far too many pictures when I should have been walking the 'Point'. People were alerted to the wagtails here by my phoning RBA and several people turned up to watch and photograph these very pretty little birds. Had my lunch here whilst chatting to John F. and Pete S. A birder I know, but can't remember his name (sorry) wrote 'clean me' in the dust on my new car - yes I know its washing! Too busy to be washing cars! I packed up my BP bag and set off down Blakeney Point alone at 2.30pm.

Blakeney Point
As I trudged along the shingle I decided I was pretty crazy starting out at 2.30pm, but hey ho! There were good numbers of wheatears flitting about and posing prettily on sueda, reed buntings, meadow pipits and the odd chiffchaff and several LBJ's – you know the sort... dive into small bush and vanish into thin air! Not long after I started the walk it started raining and didn't stop until I was nearly back to coastguards later on. I didn't care too much about the rain, I was waterproofed from top to bottom and my camera was slung in my waterproof bag, but also quickly accessible enough to photograph a mega (ha ha, I wish!) At Halfway House I saw one female Redstart errupt from the sueda cover along with several chiffchaffs flicking about. The redstart was very camera shy! I could hear Whimbrels calling overhead. The moody skies looked set for the rest of the afternoon and evening. When I reached 'The Hood' I saw two more Redstarts (male this time) in the sueda (again camera shy), several wheatears, chiffchaffs and linnets, but little else. I sat on a high dune in pouring rain and and had a coffee and my home made rock cakes (John said yes to a second one earlier so they can't have been too bad!) As rain splatted into my coffee – I smiled and came to the conclusion that its not normal behaviour to sit out in the rain having a picnic!!! It was torture not to carry on any further, but I decided to turn back at this point. I knew I could get to the 'Plantation' and back in daylight (just) but it was the very high tide that was of more concern – I could see where this morning's high tide had come up and it didn't leave much shingle to walk on, before dropping to the soft muddy dykes and this evening's tide was higher than this morning's. I had visions of a difficult walk back in semi dusk, so in my old age and wisdom decided to be boringly sensible! As I turned to walk back I hesitated – what would I be missing further along the shingle? and what would be sitting in the 'Plantation'? – I had visions of messages on RBA later of something amazing posing in The 'Plantation' 'late afternoon' – thankfully (as far as I know) there wasn't anything amazing further along the Point!

I arrived back at Coastguards at 6.25pm. No wagtails in the field now, but 5 Golden Plover were in the Eye Field. Loads of swallows and swifts around.

Sarbury Hill, Salthouse
I had just parked up at the bottom of Old Woman's Lane to go to the NWT hides when Eddie phoned me to say via RBA that a WRYNECK had been seen 400 yards west of 'The Dunn Cow' pub. I scorched off up the road and parked the car opposite Sarbury Hill (which is where it was). I joined a few other birders who were standing watching the path going up the hill – the wryneck had been seen on the path 'but had gone in' – we waited and waited - it appeared on the path for a nano of a second - it didn't even give me time to raise the camera (I tried!) never mind take a picture – that was the quickest view of a wryneck I have ever seen! I didn't see it any more and decided to go to Daukes's Hide for the last light of the evening.

Daukes's Hide NWT

3 Spoonbills flying towards Walsey Hills. A Yellow Wagtail was heard, a cettis's warbler, 1 pintail and a few marsh harriers were seen aswell as the usual waders. As I drove through Wiveton I saw a Tawny Owl sitting on a telegraph pole. I arrived home at 10pm!


Sunday 6 May 2012

Flooding hits nesting wading birds - Regional News - Lynn News

Flooding hits nesting wading birds - Regional News - Lynn News

NATURE NOTES - Lifestyle and Leisure News - Lynn News

NATURE NOTES - Lifestyle and Leisure News - Lynn News

Bird News today!

No birding today sadly. I was offered a shift on Friday for today, which I couldn't really afford to turn down. My shift didn't start until the afternoon, but this morning I needed to recuperate!

Tomorrow will serious dawn 'til dusk birding!

Main highlights today:
Red-spotted Bluethroat at Blakeney Point - see pictures here:
Purple Heron on off the sea at Burnham Overy Dunes
Temminck's Stint still at Cley
Common Cranes x 2 north of Friary Hills, Blakeney

Snettisham Coastal Park Sale!

NEW UK Rarity Gallery!

Birdforum now has a new UK RARITY GALLERY which is much easier to add pictures to than their normal gallery - same as a normal posting on a thread, except all rare birds can be viewed in one section, if people add them of course!

The gallery is listed in the 'Rare' forums section, along with 'Rare Bird Information', the new 'Weekly Round Up' (by Mark Golley), 'UK Rarity Gallery' and 'Map of Rare and Scarce Birds in the British Isles today':

Here is the link:

Just create a new thread in the gallery to post your rare bird shots – simples!
See mine for an example:

Saturday 5 May 2012

Beautiful day with a good mix of birds

A beautiful sunny day with biting north easterly wind and a few showers!

Snettisham Coastal Park
After seeing the Golden Oriole three times this week, I just presumed I would see it again, but a full search of the entire coastal park did not produce this bird today! I walked through the centre paths and then across and back via the inner sea wall. A good smattering of migrants including cuckoos, common whitethroats, blackcaps, chiffchaffs, reed buntings, willow and reed warblers, swifts, swallows and huge numbers of wheatears including one little group of nine sitting close together on a sandy patch in the sunshine! At least two pairs of stonechats and 2 common buzzards also seen. I walked back along the seawall with a couple of birders. Further along the bank another birder very kindly told us about a pair of Garganey further along by the river bank which we saw at 10.30am – they were sitting asleep and were quite camouflaged against the bank. Eddie Myers kindly phoned me this morning to say he had found (along with Kevin Shepherd and Keith Dye) a PALLID HARRIER at Cley flying west – Congratulations!!! This bird was seen throughout the day as it made its way along Blakeney Point (see pictures here and here), Morston, Warham and last seen at Holkham, BUT not by me!

Went to visit my parents and then went for lunch at Titchwell RSPB.


Parked up on the Burnham Market Road and walked along the track just off the main road and then branched off right on the track to join 'Bone's Drift' and eventually caught up with Eddie, Andy J. and others to view the Purple Heron at 3.35pm. Of course it had been standing in full view in the field just before I turned up! I saw it walking along a ditch and took several pictures, only to discover the camera had taken them in black and white - I just couldn't understand what was going on, I had not changed any settings and as far as I am aware there are no short cut buttons on the camera to change colour to mono!!! I had to go into the menu of the camera and change it back to colour in 'Picture Style' – so I have some pictures of a purple heron in black and white, this is both extremely annoying and also hilarious at the same time! Everyone else left..... FA Cup final!!! I stood there for another hour waiting for that bird to reappear so I could take some 'colour' pictures - did it show again? did it h*ll no!!!!!!!!! I saw 2 marsh harriers, 2 common buzzards, several grey herons and good numbers of swifts. The Pallid Harrier was somewhere close by whilst I was here, but it didn't pass me! I trudged glumly back to the car.

Warham Greens - Garden Drove/West Track.
Parked the car on the concrete track and went off down the track to find a mega. First bird I saw had a red breast, no it wasn't an RB Fly! Saw a few chaffinches aswell and that was about it. But I had the most awesome views of the marshes and East Hills. The very high tide this evening had covered most of the marsh and the setting sun radiated glittering rays across the whole marsh – it really was magical. I then had a wonderful surprise of a Short-eared Owl flying east at 7pm and then back west again later. There were also good numbers of little egrets on the marsh and also a hare lolloped across the marsh in the water!

Atlas Flycatcher

Video taken by Paul Hackett, of the possible Atlas Flycatcher.

Friday 4 May 2012

The line-up for King’s Lynn’s Festival Too is revealed - News - Eastern Daily Press

The line-up for King’s Lynn’s Festival Too is revealed - News - Eastern Daily Press

Golden Oriole in The Lynn News!

I was surprised and pleased when I discovered that my Golden Oriole picture was on the front page of The Lynn News AND on Page 3! My little piece I had written and emailed to the reporter had been condensed down to a few words though. I don't know what software they used to sharpen my picture up, but it looked a million times better than on my camera and a whole lot better than my photoshop efforts!!!

My father's "NATURE NOTES" were also in the 'Weekend Live' section of the Lynn News today – 4 weeks late! Can't find it on line yet to link it here. Father wrote this before he was taken ill.

Citrine Wagtail at Holme!!!

In the eastern corner of the village carpark opposite the toilet block in Holme village this morning! Congratulations to whoever the finder was - don't know who. It was found quite a long time before the reported 11.55am, though, I have heard through the grapevine!!! Also that it was flushed by a local bird photographer apparently. It was last seen flying off west along the golfcourse towards Hunstanton. See pictures here:

Purple Heron briefly from Joe Jordon Hide, Holkham.
Temminck's Stint still at Cley.
Little Stint at Titchwell RSPB
No news on the Golden Oriole at Snettisham Coastal Park.

This evening I went to look for the Citrine Wagtail. As I pulled up in the village carpark I could see why the wagtail had favoured this patch - this rough grass carpark was completely water logged and boggy - it looked like a water meadow rather than a carpark! I then went to NOA Redwell Marsh Reserve just in case it had relocated - very little there, only a few teal, shoveler, few avocets, black headed gulls and 3 house martins. I then walked along the permissive footpath that follows the river up to the standing caravan (collared fly site) and was horrified to find a path now blocked off - the one that runs alongside the 6ft wooden panel fence that lines the caravan property, is now fenced off with a wire fence one end and trees planted the other! Also a wooden post which has 'Norfolk County Council' and 'permissive footpath' on it had been removed from somewhere and dumped in the middle of the rough ground/field adjacent to the caravan property (Redwell hide side of the caravan). Also this rough ground/field area has been stripped of all bramble bushes and reeds and very, very sadly looks like it going to be built on. Throughout my life I have watched so many pieces of land being taken in Holme for building. Huge houses are built and the majority if not all of the property owners who buy these houses only occupy them for a small proportion of the year. Much of the same all along the Norfolk coast.

Sunny tomorrow with north easterlies forecast.
High Tide, King's Lynn Docks: 6.20am and 7.3 metres (high!).

Red-breasted Flycatcher!

Some stonking pictures of the Red-breasted Flycatcher on Blakeney Point on Wednesday 2nd May can be seen on Joe's blog here:

Thursday 3 May 2012

Glamorous Bird on "Page Three"

My Golden Oriole picture is on page three of the Lynn News tomorrow!

Bird News in Norfolk

Some highlights via RBA

Golden Oriole still at Snettisham this evening
Temminck's Stint at Cley
Nightingale and Garganey at Salthouse
Wryneck at North Walsham

Also via Birdforum - one of the 'regulars' had a Wood Warbler at Blakeney Point today.

Peregrine Chicks Hatch Out in Norwich!!!

Two of the four chicks have hatched out on the Cathedral spire - see the live video stream here:

Golden Oriole still here!!!

Got home from work and started to doze on the sofa – there had been no news on the Golden Oriole today – but then it had been lashing down with rain all day and had anyone actually been hardcore enough to go out and look? Well somebody had to!!!! I got togged up in waterproofs, grabbed camera and bins and went off down the road to Snettisham Coastal Park.

I arrived at 6.30pm. As I pulled into the empty carpark I felt quite excited - I was the only one here and as an added bonus, the rain had just stopped - lucky me! Lots of wheatears on the large open area of grass, a big flock of linnets on the shingle bank, several cettis's warblers singing, along with willow, reed and sedge warblers. Cuckoos were calling and a common whitethroat was sitting in the same bush that Jim Swalwell had first found the Golden Oriole on Sunday. I walked through the very water logged paths, through the gorse bushes and eventually to the area where I last saw the Golden Oriole. Ahead of me I could see Jim Scott who is Site Manager for Snettisham RSPB Reserve. At 7.15pm a bird suddenly came into my line of focus, bounding past me, back in the direction I had come from - it was the Golden Oriole!!! Jim Scott now joined me and told me that he had just been watching the Golden Oriole only 10 ft away on the ground before it took off - I was absolutely gutted, if only I had not had that snooze earlier, that could have been me!!! I could see where the Golden Oriole had dropped in, but much searching was sadly in vain. I trudged back along the water logged paths to the carpark. A barn owl and a marsh harrier were also seen on the way back. I am mystified as to why this Golden Oriole has stayed so long - unless of course there is a female around, that we don't know about!

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Bird News today

Main highlights via RBA include:

Red-breasted Flycatcher in the The Plantation at Blakeney Point
Golden Oriole remains at Snettisham Coastal Park, also 2 Red Kites.
Temminck's Stint at Cley NWT
Montagu's Harrier at Winterton
Osprey, Breydon Water
Black Terns x 5 at Welney

Golden Oriole makes the headlines!

I wasn't impressed with my Golden Oriole pictures at all really - I mean don't get me wrong, I was pleased I'd got a few shots, but none were sharp by a long way. So it was pleasing when RBA asked to use my pictures for Mark Golley's weekly round up on their site and I also had a couple more surprises. An email arrived from Radio Norfolk asking me to phone them as they were going to be 'talking golden orioles at Snettisham on BBC Radio Norfolk this morning' and could they have a 'quick word on the phone' with me about them? - well by the time I saw this email via iphone it was 1pm in my lunch - of course my phone has to be switched off completely at work and so did not see the message until the broadcast had been and gone! Hey ho! Now the Lynn News have contacted me to use my pictures for their paper! Surely other people must have taken better shots than myself - its been there since Sunday evening!!! I also can't believe its still here today!

Rare Bird Alert Weekly round-up: 25 April - 01 May 2012

25 Days left!!!!!

25 Day's Birding left - wouldn't that be catastrophic!!!

Tracking Cuckoos to Africa.... and back again - unbelievable technology!

I think I highlighted this on my blog last year. This is just amazing stuff - it really is. Open up the above link and read about the tagged cuckoos and where they are now! For example 'Lyster' has just arrived back on 1st May in Norfolk where he was first caught and tagged last year and has travelled 10399.7 miles since he was tagged in Norfolk in 2011!!!

Golden Oriole still enjoying the Coastal Park!


Golden Oriole still at Snettisham Coastal Park!