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Friday 31 August 2012

Bird News in Norfolk Today!

Few birds trickling through I see!


Barred Warbler at Blakeney Point
Red-backed Shrike at Salthouse
Whinchat at Gramborough Hill, Salthouse
Black Redstart at Northrepps
Turtle Dove at Kelling
5 Long-tailed Skuas, 2 Poms at Blakeney Point
Long-tailed Skua at Holme
5 Sooty Shearwater, 2 Manx Shearwater, 24 Arctic Skua,
16 Great Skua and 10 Arctic Tern at Sheringham.

An expensive Date!!!!

I'm feeling very sorry for myself and also very cross with myself. I will never, never again eat a stoned in date without removing the stone first! Last night I did what I do regularly, eat a date and remove the stone whilst eating (you know what I mean). I crunched on the stone and the second I did this I knew I had done some serious damage to my tooth. Looked in the mirror quickly to discover to my horror that I had split a bottom tooth (which already had a filling in) completely in half and it was loose! I hardly slept all night, worrying that I would swallow a bit of filling or that the tooth would catch and cause me chronic pain. Went to work this morning - phoned dentist and luckily got an emergency appointment - sit and wait at 10am. I was so pleased when I walked in to see a different dentist and the nurse working with him said 'I am sorry this is not your usual dentist, this is an emergency appt.' I replied 'that's ok' - it was more than ok, it was a massive relief that I was not seeing my usual lady dentist who is crap! I was injected with pain relief. The dentist sadly informed that the split was too deep to save the tooth - proceeded to remove tooth, excruciating pain - more pain relief and sat outside in corridor waiting for total numbness. Felt like death and the waiting was pants. Went back in and went through the awful procedure of that feeling of your head being pulled off. Left dentist with compact dressing to stop bleeding. Walked back to my car in a daze and went back to work. Bumped into friends in corridor on the way back to my ward – nice to see you M. and E. - sorry I couldn't talk! Bleeding continued, but no pain as still dosed up. Later in afternoon, pain started to kick in, but managed to control it with double dose of ibuprofen and paracetemol. Sitting at home, feeling rubbish and can only eat soft food! Boo hoo!!!

That DATE cost me £48.00 and am now toothless – can't laugh too much either!!!


Holme Bird Observatory Open Day to Everyone!!!

This year HOLME BIRD OBSERVATORY is 50 years old!!!
Open Day on Saturday 1st September
from 9am-5pm

Tea coffee and soft drinks will be available.

MOTHS (traps emptied 11am), KIDS BIRD HUNT,

"Celebration Time, Come On"!!!
with Sophie B. & Crew!

Can't believe its fifty years since my father founded and started HBO!!!

Hoping very much to spend the day there with my parents, although father probably won't be up to it sadly, we'll see.

High Tide on Saturday is 7.29am and is a 7.8 metre tide (that's high!)
Hopefully it will be a massive celebration of rarities aswell!

I am also VERY excited as I felt very honoured to be asked by Sophie Barker (Warden) if my Desert Wheatear could be used for the NOA Front Cover for the 2011 Annual Report. I also have the back cover too! Report will be out in the autumn - not sure when though.


"Flew past The Mullet, Co Mayo at 10.00am!!!"

"This represents the first Western Palearctic Record of this American Species."

What a bird - my goodness, I can hardly believe it!!!!!!!

Thursday 30 August 2012

Cley and Sheringham after Work!!!!!

Cley – Coastguards
Seawatching was going to be awesome today I decided - why does work get in the way!!! With North West winds all day and gales of up to 50mph this afternoon, I couldn't wait to finish work. I shot out of the door dead on time and bombed home to pick up birding gear. I was out of the house 15 minutes later and munched on toast and vegemite on route to Cley. I arrived just after 6pm! Lots of cars in the carpark on my arrival and a good number of people seawatching. I was rewarded immediately with 2 Arctic Skuas flying across the beach and over the Eye Field even before I got out of the car! I opened my door and it felt like it was going be ripped off the hinges, the wind was that strong and the same when I opened the boot. I was nearly blown over (that's a laugh!) anybody lighter would have been for sure! I struggled just to get things out of the car! To my annoyance, even though I had had the sense to dress for a serious winter's day, with all thermals and water proofs on etc I had forgotten something very important - my step!!!! Yep, I had forgotten my brilliant wrought iron seawatching step – so as I stood there, I could only see a few inches of sea in my view. It was far to windy to stand up on the shingle. Saw a few arctic skuas and bonxies going by and just caught a glimpse of one of the Manx Shearwater's that Eddie had picked up, but most of the passage had tailed off by the time I got there. R.M. had seen a long-tailed skua earlier I heard. News of Sheringham's seawatch came across the pager and I decided to relocate. At least I would have a better view I decided. So off I went.

Sheringham - The Leas
Parked up and battled my way down to the shelters. It was exhilarating. I just love this place! Massive rolls of surf were crashing down onto the shingle and I almost hesitated about walking down there to be honest. But I couldn't resist! I wouldn't say the shelters were quite full, but my goodness anyone going down there in the morning will have to get there mega early to get a seat!!! As I walked into the shelters Stuart W. informed me with a smile that I had just missed a Leach's Petrel 'by 5 minutes' - story of my life that, missing Leach's Petrels!!! But it did make me feel slightly better when he then added that it had only been seen by one observer. I saw very little whilst here - too late now and the light ws going, did see some fulmars, a guillemot close in, a few arctic skuas and bonxies, but nothing else. I also discovered that my new 'Orange' phone doesn't have a signal here either! So no 'Vodaphone' or 'Orange' - what the hell does work in these shelters?!!! The sunset was stunning and the waves were awesome and even though I didn't see much I was really glad I came - I especially love Sheringham and even more so when there is a chance of something special. I stayed until around 7.40pm (I think) then flew back to Cley to try and see a Red-necked Phalarope that had appeared on the pager. Rang Eddie on route to see if it was still there and luckily it was.

Cley NWT

Parked the car in the semi-darkness and ran across the road and along the board walk in pouring rain and winds. As I ran I asked myself what the hell I was doing, running in the rain in what was almost dark now, to see the silhouette of a bird!!!!! Complete madness!!! Anyway, I dived into the hide, puffing and panting like an old lady, to see Eddie - or at least I presumed it was - yep it was and he had the scope on the bird for me - I was lucky enough to see the Red-necked Phalarope at 8.04pm!!! Very lucky indeed. Heard a Common Sandpiper. There were also two Spoonbills very closer to the hide. Tons of gulls and other waders, but they were all just images now!

Cruised home and then found out about some incredible bird news - see next post!

Bird News in Norfolk today (RBA):
Havn't got time to list all birds seen today on sea passage but briefly:
94 Great Skuas, 138 Arctic Skuas, Long-tailed Skua, Leach's Petrel at Sheringham.
4 Pom. Skuas, 50 Great Skuas, 78 Arctic skua at Blakeney Point.
6 Sooty Shearwaters, 60 Arctic Skuas, 15 Great Skuas, 2 Arctic Terns, 16 Skua sp. at Holme.

Also see Norfolk thread on Birdforum here.

Osprey seen at Holkham, Blakeney and Cley.
Red-necked Phalarope found by ETM at Cley NWT.
Common Rosefinch reported at Holme NWT.


RBA Weekly Round up 22nd-28th August

A Favour Please?

To all my blog readers and friends

Please vote for my Sedge Warbler picture in the WWT Competition if you like it - only one day to go before the competition ends. Thank you so much!

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Bird News Today!

The GREENISH WARBLER remains at Blakeney Point along with two Pied Flycatchers.

A Wryneck was seen this morning at Kelling Water Meadows.

Blakeney Point was on Country File last night including interviews with staff!!! Watch it on BBCiplayer.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

'Clot nets' help stroke recovery

Monday 27 August 2012

Hot Birding this Bank Holiday Monday?

A big fat NO!!!

I would love to have been seawatching in the Sheringham shelters on Sunday - but hey ho. My little Nikon ED50 isn't exactly awesome for seawatching, I don't have the pennies for a decent scope at the moment, but love the excitement of a good seawatch. I have always been working on the best seawatching days at Sheringham, but have had some good days nevertheless. My best birds seen there were two adult Sabine Gulls flying west, close in over the surf in brilliant sunshine - won't forget that day ever. I was sitting with Andy W., Justin L. and usual faces inc. dear Robin Abel who incidently, always seemed to be there before anyone else on a potentially good day - I recall arriving at the shelters one morning in the dark at some crazy time, along with Andy and Justin and we were surprised to see Robin already sitting comfortably on the benches and reported that he had been there since 5am!

Thinking about it - hmmmm..... I wouldn't mind living in Sheringham. I do know one thing, I have to get out of King's Lynn, can't stand it much longer - been here since 2001, much, much too long. Never wanted to be here in the first place, had no choice at the time. Feel imprisioned here. As I write the dog is howling next door, no change there! I have been trying to decide which path to follow in life over the last few weeks - I can see myself re-locating in the not too distant future. Anyway enough waffling!

Work all day today. Didn't miss too much, thank goodness, although I wouldn't have minded seeing the Greenish Warbler on Blakeney Point, which is still there today I see - Joe's picture is here on Surfbirds. Can't open Joe's blog this evening, don't know why!?

A friend in north west Norfolk posted a picture on facebook late this evening of a 'humongous moth' - it was a CONVOLVULUS HAWK Moth!!!

GOOD NEWS – I have a week's holiday in September and in October - roll on!

Sunday 26 August 2012

Awesome Seawatching in Norfolk today!

Not by me sadly though!

From RBA:

Balearic Shearwater, Great Skuas, GREAT SHEARWATER, Long-tailed Skuas, Sooty Shearwaters, Manx Shearwaters, Arctic Skuas.


Great Skuas, Long-tailed Skuas, Sooty Shearwater, Manx Shearwaters, Arctic Skuas, Black Tern, Puffin.

Long-tailed Skua, Great Skuas, Arctic Skuas, Black Tern, Arctic Tern.

Blakeney Point

GREAT SHEARWATER?, Cory's Shearwater?, Long-tailed Skua
GREENISH WARBLER on Near Point. Also Pied Flycatcher and Whincats.

Lynn Point

Roseate Tern, Black Terns and an Arctic Tern

Bird Fair Photos now added!

Photos added to Bird Fair Day One and Two. Scroll down to view. Not added Day three yet though.

Saturday 25 August 2012

Please vote for my Sedge Warbler!!!

This is one of my pictures which was shown at the "Portfolio Review" presented by Johnathan Scott and Mark Carwardine at BIRD FAIR.

I entered this picture into the WWT Photography Competition before the Bird Fair and it closes on the 31st August, so not long to go before voting stops!

Please vote if you like my picture, thanks!

No birding today, still recovering from last couple of days. Such a boring day. Thunderstorms, torrential rain and sun all day. I decided I needed some air and a short walk to include photographing the Fulmars from Hunstanton Cliffs. The sun was shining when I left King's Lynn, but on my arrival at Hunstanton it was pouring with rain and black skies. The only picture I took, was of a moody seascape with the iphone!


Main Highlights from Norfolk – RBA:
Dotterel, 2 Roseate Terns and 2 Pied Flycatchers at Blakeney Point
Pied Flycatcher at Cley NWT
Spotted Crake? heard at Cley by West Bank this morning.
Spoonbills at Cley NWT and at Titchwell RSPB

Friday 24 August 2012

Spanish Sparrow at Felixstowe!

Found and photographed by John Richardson
First for the county! - see pictures HERE

Also see Here and on John's Blog Here!
Have been off work for the last couple of days. Woke up on Thursday with pounding head, felt sick (but wasn't). Slept until 3.30pm! Still didn't feel too good today either, although better than yesterday, and my ear infection I have had for approx 3 months now, seemed worse. I have been seeing a consultant about this and have had ultrasound scans etc, but they have found nothing yet. Latest was an x-ray which I will be getting an appointment for soon to discuss results.

Wednesday 22 August 2012

Please vote for my picture!!!!!

Please vote for my ALPINE SWIFT picture in Birdforum competition as I quite fancy the winning prize!!!!!! (smiley face) Thanks in advance!

Rare Bird Alert Weekly Round-up 15-21 August #birding via @RareBirdAlertUK

UK 'Sporting Agency' advertising Turtle Dove Shooting weekends!!!!!!!


Phil Baber on BIRDFORUM highlighted this here:

PLEASE ring or and email all the people associated with this company to express your horror at the Turtle Dove shooting 'long weekends' they are advertising!!!!!!!!

PLEASE highlight this on your website and email it all friends and associates, add to social sites: facebook, blogger, twitter, stumbleupon etc and to the RSPB. Also note that SAVILLS!!!!! is linked at the bottom of their website - email them too!!!

I cannot believe that a UK company is advertising long weekends away in Morocco to shoot a bird which is in serious decline throughout Europe - absolutely sickening beyond belief!

Here is my email to them:

22nd August 2012

Dear Sirs/Madams

As I am sure you are aware by now, there are alot of unhappy conservationists, ornithologists and birders who are shocked and deeply saddened at what they are reading this evening and I too was horrified by trips being offered on your website.

I read the following on of your intention to run a trip to Morocco to shoot Turtle Doves. I quote from your trip on offer "Numbers shot are carefully controlled to maintain a healthy wild population" – that's the point - there isn't a healthy wild population ANYWHERE!!!!!! These birds are in serious decline and the RSPB consider that without urgent action it could be lost as a breeding bird in the UK in less than 10 years.

In reaction to this the RSPB and partners launched "Operation Turtle Dove". See the following links. and also see the following:

To read that a UK company is offering trips to shoot the very birds, that we as a country are trying to protect is beyond all belief! EVERY bird that is shot, brings this bird closer to extinction. Reading in your 'Shoot Organiser pdf" that one of the items you suggest to bring is a "Clicker to count your birds although as they are retrieved the birds are laid out by your position in an individual tableaux" turns my stomach!!!

Your intention of these organised shooting parties is being sent by hundreds of people and highlighted all over the internet on websites, blogs, facebook, twitter etc etc and is being sent to RSPB, MP's, authoritative figures and to all conservationists.

I urge you to withdraw this trip and any future trips to shoot Turtle Doves and any other wild birds immediately.

Yours Sincerely

Penny Clarke

Barred Warbler and Dartford Warbler at Stiffkey!

There was I thinking there weren't any good birds in Norfolk today!
Just noticed this on the Norfolk thread on Birdforum see HERE

Tuesday 21 August 2012

The Anglia Co-operative Regional Wildlife Calendar Competition 2013

The Anglia Co-operative Regional Wildlife Calendar Competition 2013

Saving the Spoon-billed Sandpiper!

Spoon-billed sandpiper film released

"Shot guerrilla-style, in the field by its stars, saving the spoon-billed sandpiper shows the real-life human drama behind the conservation.

The film features stunning footage of the spoon-billed sandpipers as the last few remaining pairs attempt to breed in the fleeting Arctic summer.

It also follows the small conservation team tasked with finding and safely transporting tiny, fragile eggs from the Russian wilderness to Gloucestershire.

The film is available to buy at WWT centres and on their online shop, priced £9.99. Read more here.

Monday 20 August 2012

Out birding at last!

Last day of my holiday!

I didn't get up particularly early this morning - driving to Rutland back and forth for three days has drained me! Went to my parents to deliver the Micro Moth book that mother requested and also gave her a little present which I purchased from the Swarovski stand - a pair of miniature crystal binoculars. Mother pointed out a large hoverfly on the applemint (forgotten the name of it now, will ask her tomorrow). Father's not well at all and stubbonly refuses to see a GP. The hoverfly was not on the applemint when I returned with camera!

West Track, Warham - nothing at all apart from two chaffinches.

Walsey Hills NOA
- nothing of note, BUT the path has been cut, although not enough in my opinion as I was brushing against nettles at the far end.

Cley Coastguards
- full of beach dudes and dog cr*p on the shingle! Good points were a huge flock of goldfinches feeding on the thistles on the Eye Field - the pool is dried out, so no waders there. Lots of hirundines gathering on the barbed wire fence. Took some pictures of cute baby Swallows.

Dauke's and Teal Hide, Cley NWT - loads of waders including a very photogenic Snipe just under the hide flap. 8 Common Sandpipers together from Teal Hide. Several wigeon also. A beautiful evening and sunset. Stayed out too long and arrived home late! Its difficult to leave Cley on a sunny evening! I wish I lived there - one day maybe.


Sunday 19 August 2012

BIRD FAIR - Day Three!

I had already paid for an e-ticket for all three days, so decided I might aswell spend the last day at Bird Fair. It was incredibly hot - it was reported as the hottest Bird Fair day on record.

Very tired right now, falling asleep as I type, so apologise for any errors etc. Will corrrect, amend tomorrow when I am more awake!

Went to the Events Marquee to listen to Mark Carwardine's talk:
" Whale Photographer on the Loose" at 10.30am.

Mark chatted about his passion for whale photography world wide including the now extinct Yangtze River Dolphin to blue whales from the air. He was a very entertaining speaker, fabulous sense of humour and had the audience roaring with laughter. See article here. Made a quick exit at the end and started my photography quest in Marquee 1 and 2.

I then returned to the Events Marquee for:
"Celebrity Wild Brain of Britain" at 12.15pm

"Mike Dilger our reigning Celebrity Wild Brain will battle against three other celebrities to retain his title of Wild Brain of Britain by answering questions on their own specialist subject. We’ll be testing their knowledge to find out how much our wildlife presenters really know! Stephen Moss will be chairing."

This was very entertaining as always, but sadly Mike Dilger didn't retain his title - Dominic Couzens won with 31.5 points, Dr Rob Lambert coming a close second with 29.5 points, Mike Dilger third with 22.5 points and Nick Baker in fourth place with 22 points. I miss Derek Moore being on this panel - he is VERY funny - bring back Derek!

I didn't see Chris Packham at Bird Fair this year - don't know if he was there or not?

I really wanted to see Johnny Kingdom as he absolutely hilarious last year and was on next in the events marquee, but I just had to get out of there because of the heat and also I needed to have some lunch. I had the same salad lunch today and found a nice corner table by the bar. Simon King followed Johnny Kingdom in the events marquee and I didn't see him again either! Listening to people's comments about Johnny's talk later on indicated that his talk was as entertaining as last year!

Spent the rest of the afternoon photographing people and stands. I met some really lovely people on the Guyana stand who very generously gave me a wonderful bird sculpture which was sitting on top of a bottle of 'Guyana Rum'. The sculpture was fascinating, it was made from a coconut and was of parent bird feeding offspring - a wonderful and treasured gift. I confess I am not sure what bird it is - I will ask them when they email me. They also very kindly offered me some rum, which I initially declined because of driving, but gave in to a couple of sips in the bottom of a glass - now I don't normally like rum, but this was heaven, very smooth and a minute or two later a glowing warm sensation enveloped me!!! I declared that I could easily drink more! I spent some time taking some pictures of their stand which I will email them. Their website is: and email: Thank you so much for both the rum and the beautiful sculpture.

Rare Bird Alert was dead opposite the Guyana stand - took some pictures here too.

Managed to obtain photos of Tim Appleton, Johnny Kingdom, Clive Byers (with two pairs of glasses on his head!), Paul Hackett, Bryan Bland and a few more snaps of SK! Got some wonderful shots of 'interesting' and beautiful people! I didn't see Lee today, so sadly missed out on a different 'suited' picture!

I bought a raffle ticket at Wild Wings to win a trip to Antarctica - I didn't win, BUT later this afternoon I heard that Mark Golley did - WOW - CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!

Mike Watson, Client Manager from Bird Quest invited me to their stand for a drink - thank you very much!

The Bird Fair Mural sadly still had a few birds to be painted by the end of the show, but took pictures of all the ones that had been, as always brilliantly portrayed.

I always go birding in the evening after Bird Fair and thoroughly enjoy watching the Ospreys, but I just headed for home at the end of the show, far too hot to get out of the car and walk in this heat!

The incredible temperatures did not stop people attending Bird Fair this weekend - I felt that numbers were up on last year, may be wrong though. Congratulations to all involved, especially with the headache of deciding whether to go ahead or not with all the flooding! Huge thanks to all the volunteers who worked so tirelessly - I noticed a young man collecting glasses and even with the incredible heat each day, he always looked happy. Lovely to bump into so many old friends and fabulous meeting some lovely new people. See you all next year!


Saturday 18 August 2012

BIRD FAIR - Day Two!

BILL ODDIE and me.

Today was the BEST BIRD FAIR EVER!!!!
and no, Simon King didn't propose!!!! In fact it was much more exciting (sorry Simon! X).

Firstly it was hot, very hot indeed, so hot my clothes felt as though they were on fire! I wore my new 'blog' teashirt (which I designed) today which I ordered off the net from a site called "Zazzle":

People I bumped into today were: Dave and Jacquie Bridges (Norfolk Bird Recorders) and had a lovely chat with Jacquie, thank you so much for your support x - Simon King (goes without saying), Sue and Paul Bryan, LGRE (white suit today), Steve Seal, Di Stone, Dean Eades, Mark Golley, Steve Beal, Paul Lee, Bill Oddie, Andy W. with his hot chick Mandy, David Lindo, Paul Hackett, Tim Appleton, Ian Wallace, Alan Davies and Ruth Miller and the list goes on....... Saw Bill Oddie several times today, he looked much happier and relaxed I thought - I just LOVE Bill - an incredibly funny man, see last nights 'Celebrity Event'.

Dave and Jacquie Bridges, Norfolk Bird Recorders.

David Lindo and me.

Sue and Paul Bryan.

Lee Evans.

Lee Evans on the Birdguides stand.

Sir Ian Wallace with Editor of B.B. Roger Riddington.

Johnny Kingdom chats with visitors on his stand.

The only thing missing from Bird Fair this year was music and dancers. There always seems to be amazing musicians every year, but I haven't seen any yet!

Had an early lunch and sat in the main food marquee and had a wonderful salad for £4.95 and a naughty dessert!

Courtyard area adjacent to the Food Marquee.

I sacrificed rushing to the Carl Zeiss Stand to get Simon King's photo card and usual yearly picture, because it coincided with the following event:

A Portfolio Review with Mark Carwardine and Jonathan Scott – 1:00pm-1:45 pm
"Mark Carwardine, and Jonathan Scott cast their eye over wildlife photos as taken by willing members of the audience and generate a lively and entertaining debate. " On the Bird Fair website it suggested to email your pictures to them for this event for selection, which I did - I sent about six pictures. I never, never expected to see my pictures on the big screen in the Events Marquee!!!

I was sitting about five rows from the front and was ready to watch other people's photographs flash up to be reviewed. The first picture appeared on the screen - bloody hell it was mine!!! A picture I took of a Grey Heron catching a fish at Holme, I was gobsmacked to say the least, the second picture flashed up, also mine! a picture of a Grey Partridge I had taken at Burnham Overy and the third picture also mine, a Sedge Warbler taken at Welney (submitted this shot in a landscape crop). I have been feeling pretty down in the dumps lately with my dear father becoming increasingly unwell and the speed of life and work etc, but this gave me a massive lift and has inspired me. Some of the other pictures were awesome, especially a picture of penguins under an iceberg overhang. They reviewed the pictures very fairly I thought and were very constructive. I was lucky with mine - their comments were very complimentary – Jonathan describing my Sedge Warbler as a 'cracking shot'! I have already submitted this picture to the WWT Photography Competition - see here - please feel free to vote for my picture, thanks in advance!

The first picture to appear was my Grey Heron taken at
Holme Marsh Reserve.

My second picture, a Grey Partridge taken at Burnham Overy.

My third picture, a Sedge Warbler taken at Welney WWT.

I was on such a high after this event that I celebrated and went to the Rare Bird Alert Stand and signed up for a pager again!!! Its all very well kidding yourself that you can open RBA website on the iphone, when in fact you can't - because its Norfolk and vodaphone signal is cr*p!!! So pleased to have a pager again, thanks Brian!


It was so incredibly hot by mid-afternoon. I went to the birdwatching centre and bought a mint magnum ice-cream and shortly after this I gave up with the heat and went and bought a pint of lemonade and lime, filled with ice and sat in the marquee and people watched for an hour and a half! Heaven!

I bought a book from the Subbuteo stand: National Geographic's Field Guide to the Birds of North America by Jon L. Dunn and Jonathan Alderfer and got £5.00 off for being a Birdforum member! Also bought the new Micro Moth Book for my mother.

Simon King picking out the numbers for Wildlife Bingo at the
Wildlife Trust Stand.

Visitors playing Wildlife Bingo with Simon King on the
Wildlife Trust Stand.

The Optics Marquee.

The only picture of Simon King and I this year!

The day ended very well indeed as I spotted Simon King by his stand and managed to get my photo card signed and also another one for a lady at work and also my yearly hug/picture was taken aswell!!!! I'm glad now that I didn't get to his signings earlier, I would have been queueing for ages!!!

All in all, an excellent day!!!

Friday 17 August 2012

BIRD FAIR – Day One!

Lee Evans with Keith Betton, Chairman of the African Bird Club.

Lee Evans with me.

Photographer Richard Brooks, chatting at the British Birds stand.

Richard Brooks and David Tippling, chatting at the British Birds stand.

Winner of the 'British Birds' Photograph 2012 – Edmund Fellowes
See his picture and the runners up HERE

A warm day but with some serious rain and wind on and off throughout the day, which I naturally managed to avoid completely!!!

It was nice to bump into and have a chat with Kit Day who is for me, one of the more awesome photographers around, Roy Robinson (ex NOA Walsey Hills warden), THE Delia Todd (BF Mod. – lovely to meet you!) along with BF's Steve Kirk and Andy Bright, LGRE in black suit, Keith Betton, Chairman of the African Bird Club, Derek Moore, Bill Oddie, Pete Coe, Sue Bryan and also a lovely couple I met in Lesvos a few years ago! I must be feeling ill as I couldn't be bothered to take photos today or queue up to see SK!!!! I was just happy to waltz about and chat to old aquaintances. Why people were wearing wellies I really don't know, I was in walking sandals and didn't get very muddy at all, much too hot to be wearing anything more than sandals!

I bought a Canon 7D strap as the one on my camera is dangerously worn. Collected quite a few lens cloths today! I also bought an amazing turquoise ring from the 'amparo' stand – the ring is made from 'Tagua', which is the hardened fruit of the Ivory-nut Palm Tree.

Because of the rain, it was very difficult to get a seat/table for lunch - a very nice gentleman got up to give me his seat as he 'was going soon anyway' - how kind was that! When the man left with his three friends I moved a chair next to me, to have it immediately snatched from me from a very rude lady who said 'I got this first'. The aggressive way that she said this, didn't even warrant a reply – I let her have the chair that I was going to keep for someone else to sit on. Isn't it funny how you can meet someone so kind and another so rude all in under a few minutes! After my vegetable pasta and calorie counting dessert I hot-footed across to the main Event Marquee to get a seat to listen to Simon King, then straight after that listened to David Lindo's event and then finally the British Birds Photography Awards Ceremony – see the pictures here.

Walked back to the carpark and moved the car a bit closer to the entrance gates and walked back for Bill Oddie and Stephen Moss's 'Unplucked' event which started at 7.30pm and finished at 9.30pm. Bill and Stephen were brilliant and Bill had the crowd roaring with laughter especially with the tale of the Scottish warden and black grouse - he took off the scotsman brilliantly. There was a fifteen minute interval at half time. I was so tired at this point, I just had to go home, so politely used the interval to exit and go back to the carpark and drive home.

Thursday 16 August 2012


Tomorrow in the start of the Rutland Bird Fair - Friday 17th, Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th August. Looks like it will be like Glastenbury – muddy and muggy! Whatever the weather it will be nice to bump into old friends and enjoy another Bird Fair experience. Enjoy the weekend if you are going.

Bird News today

Barred Warbler, Wryneck and Pied Flycatcher at Sea Palling.
Honey Buzzard at Cley
Pom. Skua at Hemsby

Beautiful Demoiselle in Norfolk!!!

In a private garden yesterday (15th August).

"The Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo) was extinct in Norfolk, with the last record being in the 1970's, until 2006 brought reports from four seperate locations in Norfolk."

Two types of Killer Whale inhabiting UK Waters!

Wednesday 15 August 2012

Hotting Up!

Main Highlights in Norfolk today:
Honey Buzzard, 6 Pied Flycatchers, 3 Whinchats, Redstart, Black Tern, Barred Warbler, Wryneck all at Blakeney Point today!

Baltic Gull at Cley NWT
Purple Heron at Burgh Castle
Pom. Skua at Sea Palling
Long-tailed Skua at Cromer
Pied Flycatchers at Holme, Great Yarmouth.

Tuesday 14 August 2012

Marsh Sandpiper!

at Hickling today!!!

Looks like we're going to have some good birds this week with easterlies and rain. I remember last year I didn't go the Bird Fair on the Friday because it was potentially going to be a top draw day for rares! Will it be the same again this year?

Tomorrow is my last day at work and don't go back until Tuesday next week!

Monday 13 August 2012

Migrants trickling in on easterly winds!

ICTERINE WARBLER at Blakeney Point along with 19 Black Terns and 12 Pied Flycatchers!

2 Pied Flys at Titchwell, 1 at Waxham Sands, 1 at Horsey Gap and 1 at Trimmingham (+ Sooty Shearwater).

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Sunday 12 August 2012

Olympics 2012 Closing Ceremony

Wow what an amazing night!!!!!!
and pictures here

Snettisham Coastal Park - the one that got away!

Nothing of note at all.... until......

The weirdest bird I have ever seen.
All in a moment and gone forever!

After seeing absolutely nothing apart from a wood pigeon and a few goldfinches, I wished I had stayed at home. I walked back along the seawall feeling despondent. Suddenly a brown, large bird came into view and landed in a hawthorn bush. My first thoughts were a massive thrush, that looked fieldfare like. It sat with its back to me but turned to the side briefly to reveal a dark eye stripe and pale supercilium. The back of the bird was ruflous brown with paler brown belly. The most prominent feature was two very distinctive white blobs on the top of the head (either side). Just as my thoughts turned to taking a picture, the bird flew into another bush out of view - a fanned out tail was displayed. The bird had gone. I walked to the lower path to search, but in vain. I actually wished I had stayed at home. I phoned several people for advice and the following birds were suggested "Mistle Thrush", "juv. Cuckoo" and "juv.Sparrowhawk". No, it wasn't any of these. I conclude that it must have been an escape of some kind, if it wasn't I have just lost out on a possible first for Britain!!!!! (I jest!) But seriously, I just can't work out what this bird was! I just hate this situation, gutted!

Ring-necked Parakeet at Titchwell!!!

Seen and photographed at Titchwell, see here and here.

Would be lovely to see this bird, here's hoping!

Migrants dropping in!!!!!

Four Pied Flycatchers at Great Yarmouth Cemetery this afternoon (Justin L. and Andy W.) and at least one at Holme NWT this afternoon.

Been working this morning, but free this afternoon, so popping out for a spot of birding shortly!

Saturday 11 August 2012

Best internet sites for birding attire!

Holme and Titchwell

Very little at Holme this afternoon, but several butterflies including gatekeepers, 2 Walls and a Peacock along the NWT path to the wader pools.

Titchwell RSPB this evening: a single Spoonbill flew through east and also a sparrowhawk. Highlight was at least four juv. Yellow Wagtails from Parrinder Hide. Excellent selection of waders this evening. The water levels and muddy edges all look good for something exciting!

Olympics tonight

Mo Farah claimed his second gold of the 2012 Olympics with a stunning win in the 5,000m.

Usain Bolt wins third gold medal of London 2012 as Jamaica claim new world record in 4x100m relay final

Tom Daley wins Olympic diving bronze medal for Great Britain

Ed McKeever powered to victory in the men's 200m kayak to win Britain's 26th gold of the Olympics.

Luke Campbell one gold in the boxing ring with victory over Ireland's John Joe Nevin in the bantamweight final.

Thursday 9 August 2012

Bolt strikes again!!!

Such an exciting race!!!

Usain Bolt becomes the first athlete in history to retain the Olympic 100m and 200m. He is just awesome to watch and such an amusing character, you can see why people love him. Congratulations!
  1. Usain Bolt
  2. Yohan Blake
  3. Warren Weir

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Grass Snake heads out across The Wash!!!

Fascinating tale from Geoff Douglas on Birdforum who watched a grass snake slithering along the beach at Heacham and then swam through the surf and headed out to sea!!! See here

and then a reply from Graeme on BF who watched one swimming in the sea a Winterton! See here

Also see more interesting recent sightings HERE

Sunday 5 August 2012

Andy Murray wins Olympic Gold and Silver!!!

At last he's beaten Roger Federer!!!

Congratulations Andy

WOW what a day!!!!

Double Gold with Laura Robson was sadly not to be though in the mixed doubles, but did result in a Silver Medal for them both.

Usain Bolt defended his men's 100m title in stunning style at London 2012, winning Sunday's final in an Olympic record time of 9.63 seconds. See here

Saturday 4 August 2012

Olympic Gold!!!!!

What an unbelievable evening in athletics!!!! Thank goodness I got home just in time to watch three incredible athletes give everything they had for gold: Jessica Ennis in the heptathlon, Greg Rutherford in the long jump, and Mo Farah in the 10000m all win gold medals. Watching Jessica Ennis race the 800 metres and Mo Farah's race were just incredible and the roar from the crowds were equally incredible. 6 gold medals in all today bringing GB up to 3rd place in the medal table!

We just need Andy Murray to beat Roger Federer tomorrow and that really would be the icing on the cake!

ALPINE SWIFT lights up my day!!!

Beeston Bump, Sheringham

I didn't leave the house early as I was watching the Olympics - I have been enjoying watching this so much from the day it started - it has been enthralling to watch.

I cruised to Sheringham arriving around 1pm. Parked the car and trudged up to Beeston Bump. It was a beautiful sunny day. On reaching the top of the the hill, I discovered that the Alpine Swift had not been seen since about 11am. I wasn't too upset as I felt sure it would be seen again. Pete Dolton was here along with a few other birders and Andy W. also then joined us. Andy had dipped on the bird last night and got soaked in the rain for his efforts! We stood here until the black skies enveloped us. As someone commented 'no point in getting soaked for an Alpine Swift'. I needed my lunch now anyway, so walked back down the hill back to my car for my lunch. I had to run the last few yards and just made it into the car before the heavens opened! It absolutely poured with rain for about 2 hours. Andy W. sent me a text saying he was drenched and still hadn't seen the bird. I sat in my car smugly eating my lunch and drinking tea. There is something very cosy about sitting in the car when its raining. It was going to rain for a long time I decided so wound the seat down and dozed.

I could hear the rain easing off and as I started to awake from my luxurious nap I could see the skies looked much brighter with a hint of sunshine. When the rain finally stopped I got out of the car and could see Andy W. standing at the end of the tarmac road, having returned again for this bird. Another birder who had also been having a nap in his car during the rain said that when he woke up and looked out of his car window, the Alpine Swift was just above him - he showed me the picture on his camera. It wasn't anywhere to be seen now! I plodded back up to Beeston Bump and on route saw and photographed a Comma. Andy W. had left now as he had arranged to meet someone, which mean't I had a good chance of seeing it! Not too long after I got to the top of the hill the Alpine Swift was picked up again by Pete Dolton (thanks Pete!). Awesome views of this bird magestically hurtling over our heads at such great speeds it was almost impossible to photograph. It really was taunting us when it flew over our heads, flying too close to get pictures. The skies were beautiful now and later on the light was just perfect for photography. I stayed watching and photographing this bird until 7pm. Eddie came and joined me later and Andy W. eventually got to see this bird. Unfortunately 5 people flying kites arrived on the hill and this mean't the bird did not cruise over us again until they left. Best views of a Alpine Swift I have ever had and in the most spectacular setting. I left at 7pm and went via Holt's fish 'n' chip shop for vege burger and chips. Got home just in time to watch the most amazing athletes perform at the Olympic Stadium.

Beeston Bump, Sheringham

Comma Butterfly.

Seven Baillon's Crakes recorded this year!!!

Rare Bird Alert Weekly Round Up 25th-31st July

Friday 3 August 2012