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Sunday 30 September 2012

Camera Saga Continues!!!

I have been in a very bad mood today, which is perfectly understandable really after the week I've had with camera equipment and had more problems today! I pre-warned Eddie when I bumped into him this morning, that anyone that crossed me today would regret it!!!

Last night I googled "Canon 7D error 20" and found to my horror that there was tons of stuff on this problem. Basically there is a 'small batch' of Canon 7D's (Firmware 2 Version) that have the error 20 problem. One person on a forum said the message came up on his camera, stopped the camera working, then it was fine for a few weeks and then it came up again and again! I found so much on this error 20 problem, I decided that I NEEDED to take this camera back to Wex Photographic in Norwich asap.

As I drove to Cley, the sun was rising, it was such a beautiful light. This was slightly spoilt however, by a man shaking his fists in a rage, because a female in a Skoda had overtaken him on a long straight road – get over it! Its much funnier overtaking people in a my new car, than my previous sports car, as people don't expect to see a skoda whizzing past them! Makes me smile! I overtook a BMW later on and the man driving just simply couldn't bare it, I mean its not cool to be overtaken by a little old skoda is it! He overtook eventually!

I had planned to walk Blakeney Point first thing and then drive to Norwich to sort/exchange camera. I hardly ever do BP in the morning, as birds don't tend to fall there until afternoon/late in the day and with a south west wind, it was unlikely that any rares would be dropping in anyway. I wanted to be there in the morning sunshine, just for a change. The sun had just risen totally by the time I arrived at Coastguards and it was a beautiful, sunny morning. Linnets flying round and several house martins skimming through. Pied wagtails were flitting about on the carpark. The NEW 7D (with error 20 on it) was attached to my 300mm lens, so I dismantled it and put the camera body in the box ready to return to the shop later. I attached the old 7D (the one that got wet and then dried and turned on ok) to the 300mm lens and switched it on to find in my disbelief that it WOULDN'T turn on!!! For goodness sake!!! (that's not what I said out loud). Switched it off, switched it on, changed batteries, swopped lens's about, off, on, bla bla bla. STILL not bl**dy working. I leaned against the car and put my head in my hands in absolute despair! I was so p*sssed off by all this, that I didn't have the heart or the will to now walk Blakeney Point. So to sum things up – I had a brand new camera with an error problem and and old camera that wasn't working, then it was, paid £40 odd quid for the sensor to be cleaned, was working and then this morning it died.

Eddie turned up at Coastguards and I seawatched with him for a short while, along with another birder who arrived on holiday in Cley for a week from Berwick. The camera shop didn't open until 10am so couldn't leave until 9am anyway. Eddie picked up a male Snow Bunting at 9.30am that flew past us going west and off up the 'Point' which was lovely. 3 Shags flew west, loads of guillemots and auk sp, 1 razorbill sitting on sea, several cormorants, a few red-throated divers and a few gannets sailing past. Eddie did me a huge favour, in fact we helped each other out – Eddie directed me to Wex Photographic in Norwich (highly likely I would have got lost if I had gone alone) and this allowed Eddie to get a lift to buy something he wanted from the shop.

Arriving at Wex Photographic, I was READY for a huge argument in the shop, if they even dared to suggest that they wouldn't give me another replacement. It couldn't have been more perfect, there was unusually a big queue of people. A big queue of people waiting to buy cameras – they of course would not be happy to hear a disgruntled customer! Fortunately the manager was very nice, and quite sheepish. He didn't look me in the eye and muttered and mumbled when I asked if anyone else had returned any 7D's with the error 20 problem. Its often a good indication that someone is lying, when they can't look you in the eye! The manager changed the camera immediately and I unpackaged it and attached my 300mm lens and fired off some shots in the shop. No error 20 messages came up.

Returned to Cley and had lunch in the visitor centre. I discovered that the old 7D now turned on again! Since getting this camera wet, it's obviously now very unreliable and I am glad I bought a new one, even though I had to return it again today! I then went off and spent a long time skulking round Walsey Hills NOA. I had heard there was a YBW in there yesterday, but all I could hear today was a chiffchaff calling. Caught brief glimpes of  two goldcrests along the bottom path and that was about it really. Bumped into John F. in the carpark and we both went to Gramborough Hill at Salthouse to find only a Parasol Mushroom at the base of the hill, a black-headed gull having a wash and brush up in the pool, and a redshank who posed beautifully for pictures after I had spent a long time stalking him (John left whilst I was doing this). Bumped into John M. just before I left and we discussed 7D's!

Parked at the bottom of Old Woman's Lane and walked to Teal Hide, NWT to sit with Eddie, M.A.G and the man on holiday we met earlier this morning. Heard a bearded tit on route to the hide. A med. gull was seen along with several yellow leg gulls amongst the huge numbers of gulls on the pool.

Back to work tomorrow. Need to ring David at ACS about my old 7D not working properly.


Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
Snow Bunting, Cley
Sacred Ibis, Salthouse
Yellow-browed Warblers at various locations.
Pied Flycatcher still at Titchwell RSPB (see my post yesterday)
Barred Warbler at Blakeney Point
Lapland Buntings x 5 at Winterton
Black Tern at Waxham

Saturday 29 September 2012

Bird of the Day!

Summary of the day:
Found a Pied Flycatcher (Smile).New camera has 'error 20'. (Angry)

Holme Reserves
Driving through Hunstanton this morning I saw two wheatears flying in front of me by the 'corner of Norfolk' on the clifftop. Lots of starlings feeding near the Golden Lion Hotel on 'The Green'. Spent some time with my parents this morning. Whilst with them, the Pager bleeped up that a probable Whiskered Tern had been seen at Holme at Gore Point'. I said goodbye to parents!!! Off I went and decided to go to the main beach gap at Holme in hope of catching the tern making its way west along the shoreline. I searched for a good while but no luck. No other birds seen really. Went down the Firs Road to the reserves and stopped at the Barred Warbler spot, just in case it was still around - it wasn't. Had lunch in the carpark and then went down to HBO. Also chatted with staff in the NWT Firs house who informed me that the Whiskered Tern had first been seen by birders at 8.30am(ish) and they weren't 100%. Garry Hibbard then saw it at 11.30(ish) opposite the Firs House and then the tern flew back west towards Gore Point. As far as I know, it wasn't seen again.Walked round the back of the pines and found nothing. Walked around the NWT Forestry and saw nothing. Scanned for the tern again from Gore Point - saw sanderling, knot, turnstones, redshanks, oystercatchers, 2 ringed plovers and loads of gulls, but no tern. Went to NOA Redwell Marsh and only saw tons of teal.

Titchwell RSPB
Looking in the visitor book someone had seen 4 brambling in the carpark in the morning and also somene had seen a Sooty Shearwater (not in the carpark!)

A moorhen was clambering on the wooden cross bar over the bird feeders, trying to work out how to balance on the bird feeders and looking most frustrated as it paced back and forth! Most amusing to watch. I couldn't decide whether to go along the main bank where the evening light was better or walk along the new East Trail. I opted for the new trail. As I walked through the path to Fen Hide I noticed a small bird flicking about catching flies near a sycamore tree. I was so excited to find that it was a lovely Pied Flycatcher! Phoned news out to RBA. I know its not a rare bird, but there may have been someone at Titchwell who has a pager and would like to look at this pretty little bird, especially as there is hardly anything else too exciting around at the moment – plus I had actually found something myself! I started to fire off pictures with the new Canon 7D and would you believe it, the message came up on the viewfinder 'error 20' and something about 'remove battery.... turn camera off and on.... bla bla bla.!!! This lost me the only good shot I would have got of this bird – most annoying. I did get two or three pictures of the Pied Fly but they were rubbish. Showed four birders the Pied Fly as they walked from the Fen Hide – they were very pleased. The camera then continued to work, but came up with the message again. I continued using the camera to photograph cormorants, little egrets and sunset and it didn't come up any more, BUT I only bought this camera on Wednesday for goodness sake! Looking on forums etc, it looks like several people have had this error 20 message with firmware 2, onwards. THIS CAMERA is going back tomorrow!!! More wasted birding time, not that there's anything to miss really at the moment. Also heard two Cetti's Warblers at Titchwell and also a Great Spotted Woodpecker. A wonderful sight of 5 blackbirds and 2 song thrushes all sitting on one dead tree stump at the back of the trees on the southerns side of the East Trail path (opposite the row of roosting trees). Beautiful sunset as I walked back. Near the spot where I had seen the pied fly, a huge commotion was going on – blackbirds, robins and jays were all screeching away at something. It sounded like two jays murdering one another, it really sounded vicious! Could have been a tawny owl I suppose, but it sounded like cold blooded murder to me! I'll end on the note!


Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
Very Little really!
Fly over Tawny Pipit, Salthouse.

Friday 28 September 2012

Dripping wet at Gun Hill AGAIN!!!

Parked up on the main road at Burnham Overy and walked down the track towards Gun Hill. It was beautiful and sunny when I started off but with uninspiring south west winds! I had my new walking boots on and they were heaven to walk in. Also had my new camera backpack with double rucksack cover - never again will I get that camera and lens wet!!! Very few birds about, nothing along the hedge lined track, before I climbed up on to the sea wall – how very different to the deluge of birds seen here on Monday! As I walked along the seabank I could see good numbers of redshank in the creek and a grey plover was of note. I joined a couple of birders from Nottingham to look for the elusive Booted Warbler – we walked slowly along the bank, scanning the sueda below. Good numbers of linnets, reed buntings and a few goldfinches were seen, but no sign of the Booted Warbler at all. Further along the bank I spotted a warbler flying back away from us and got excited, but quickly realised that it was just a willow warbler. Richard 'The Hat' as he is affectionately known (Cley birder) then joined us and both Richard and I slowly walked through the sueda to see if we could find the bird – only birds that appeared were a wren, reed bunting and a willow warbler. I showed Richard were I saw and photographed the Red-breasted Flycatcher on Monday and then I walked on alone to Gun Hill. Richard returned along the bank to continue searching for the Booted Warbler. It was now raining, oh joy!!! Took ruck sack off and put two rain covers over the ruck sack. The rain continued and although it was not anywhere near as torrential as Monday it was still pretty heavy. Only birds of note at Gun Hill were two Wheatears and a couple of robins. There were no birds at all in the bushes seaward side of Gun Hill. My original plan was to continue walking through the dunes, onto Holkham and then catch the coastliner bus back to my car, but in this rain and in a south westerly wind, I couldn't see the point! I returned along the seawall. I passed a birder on route who said that a few birders had seen the Booted Warbler – lucky them! It was driving rain now, head-on as I walked back. My hair dripped around my face and the mascara ran (you've got to laugh!) Met several blog readers today – nice to meet you all. It was SO lovely to eventually get in my car and sit and have a cup of coffee. As I sat with dripping coats etc in the car, the sun swept across the dunes and Gun Hill and all was sunny again – WHY did it wait until I got back to my car. There wasn't a hint that the sun was going to shine, as I had walked back! Had I known this I would have hung on to look for the Booted Warbler again. I WASN'T going back again!

The afternoon seemed to disappear very quickly. News came through of Buff-breasted Sandpiper in a field by the lighthouse at Happisburgh – I seemed to remember one there before. My recollection was correct when John F. told me later that yes there had been one there and that it was our dearly departed Robin Abel that had found it. I wanted to see the B.B.S. but decided it was too far to travel. My next stop I decided was The West Track at Warham. As I drove along the track up to the concrete pad, I immediately noticed loads of broken tree branches all the way along, including one huge broken branch precariously dangling above me as I drove under it! My first thoughts were of a mini tornado, until I saw loads of deposited straw strewn about by the concrete pad, obviously a very large piece of farm machinery had travelled along here. The west track produced more rain, a big tit flock of long-tailed, blue, great and chaffinches, but nothing exciting with them. The copse at the end only produced one chaffinch. Bumped into John F. along the track. Two botanists had walked East Hills and a birder behind them. We didn't bump into the birder so had nobody to quiz about what was out there – not very much I presume from no news on the pager. But 'one' shouldn't presume!

Drove to CleySpy to see if they could service my tripod as I can hardly undue the clips to extend the legs on it - corroded with sea/salt/spray. I can't remember his name, but one of the staff who works there, said that the clips just needed losening, which he did for me there and then, job done and the tripod now works brilliantly! Excellent service! The old CleySpy shop is now an art gallery/cafe and the new main CleySpy Shop is at the back of the carpark - first time I have been in here since they moved. I dreamed about owning a Swarovski scope and then left!

Went to Holt to look in two countrywear shops for a new waterproof coat, but didn't like any I saw. Delivered a late birthday card to a friend and then went home early.

I heard through my 'Hot Line' that a Barred Warbler was in the 'Lupins' at Blakeney Point today.

Didn't take a single photograph today, so there are none to be added! Still got tons to loads to other posts though as I am sure you are all aware!

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
Richard's Pipit from John's F's bedroom! - see his account HERE
Sacred Ibis at Salthouse
White-rumped Sandpiper at Breydon
Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Happisburgh
Glossy Ibis at Welney
Citrine Wagtail (2.05pm on pager) 'possible...' at Titchwell RSPB and then flew off
Citrine Wagtail (came on pager at 8.44pm) on fresh marsh from Parrinder Hide, Titchwell RSPB at 11.45am!!! Again, same old..... would have been nice to know about this in the morning or even early afternoon would have been nice!

Extraordinary Surprise in Father's Moth Trap!!!

My mother told me this morning that yesterday, father had gone to empty the moth trap as normal and shouted to mother to come and see what was in the trap. In the bottom of the moth trap, happily feeding on moths was a PIED FLYCATCHER!!!!! Can you believe that! Finding a bird in a moth trap is one thing, but a finding a pied flycatcher in there, how amazing is that!!!

Thursday 27 September 2012

No Birding Today Either!

I might aswell have gone to work this week!

Got up late and then packed new camera bag and assembled new 7D and spent awhile changing the settings on the camera etc. The freebie (see yesterday's post) Manfrotto monopod is absolutely awesome! Flew to Tescos to buy party food and flowers and then to Lesley's Retirement Party at work. A good number of people there and Andrea's speech was absolutely incredible – she started off with 'Are you are all sitting comfortably?' - then I'll begin....' she told the story of Norma's (Lesley's real name, long story) career both in the NHS and personally in a magical, comical way that I have never heard in a speech before – had me in stitches! Everyone was talking about it afterwards. Lots of food was consumed by all. Lydia had made a beautiful 'Retirement' cake and it was good to see and chat with lots of people, some of whom have left and had come today to help Lesley celebrate. I tied all the balloons to Lesley's bags etc at the end just to amuse her and myself! We also made the Retirement banners into a sash and made her way them as she walked out of the hospital! I think she had a good send off. I will miss her so much, but fortunately she only lives a short distance away so hopefully I will still see her every now and again. The girls have also organised our christmas party - dinner and disco - brilliant! Last year's Murder Mystery thing was not my cup of tea. You can't beat a good boogie at christmas! Blimey, can't bellieve I am talking about Christmas - STOP!

In the afternoon I went to a outdoor wear shop at Hardwick and bought a new pair of my favourite ever walking boots – a pair of Zamberlan Boots - the second I put them on, it was as though they were made for me personally. I owned a pair of Zamberlan Boots in the 90's and had those boots for 15 years! After that I bought a pair of Scarpa Boots which leaked after 3 years and then a pair of Northface Gortex Boots when I went to Fair Isle (3 years ago) which were my current boots and the soles was flapping off and they leaked. To have another pair of Zamberlan boots is heaven - will test them out on Blakeney Point this weekend! They don't need testing out though, the second you put a new pair of Zamberlan's on, you can walk any distance with no discomfort or blisters – I can't recommend them enough.


Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
Booted Warbler, Barred Warbler Burnham Overy
Balearic Shearwater, 2 Sooty Shearwaters, 37 Bonxies,
8 Arctic Skuas etc at Sheringham
Sabine's Gull at Salthouse
Yellow-browed Warblers and Redstarts at various locations
Richard's Pipit and Firecrest at Holme
Black Guillemot, Sooty Shearwater, Manx Shearwater, 35 Bonxies,
5 Arctic Skuas, Arctic Tern, 2 Puffin at Cley Coastguards
2 Balearic Sheartwaters at Walcott

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Lesley's Retirement Party!

Even though I now have camera and lens in my paws, I STILL can't go birding all day tomorrow! I promised Lesley at work who is retiring tomorrow that I would join in with her lunchtime party celebrations. I wouldn't normally go to work to any leaving do's when I am on holiday, but Lesley has been like a big sister to me and helped me enormously throughout my time working on the Stroke Ward. So I obviously would like to be there for her. I did warn my work colleagues that I would be in birding attire! Will be out birding straight afterwards though!

Hot Bird News!

Main Highlights in Norfolk - RBA
Possible PALLID SWIFT at Holme this morning see info HERE
Rose-coloured Starling at Holme and also seen at Titchwell RSPB
Booted Warbler and Barred Warbler at Burnham Overy Dunes
Balearic Shearwater at Sheringham
100 Bearded Tits at Cley!!! (M.A.G.)
Richard's Pipit at Sheringham
Sabine Gull at Salthouse - see pics HERE
Sacred Ibis at Salthouse
Pectoral Sandpiper at Titchwell RSPB
Yellow-browed Warblers and Redstarts at various locations.
Sadly no news on the pretty RBF at Warham which I have not seen yet!
Also no news on the Holme RBF which I wanted to see again and get better photos!

OMG – I WON!!!!!!

My day is improving no end!!!
I have just won the 'People's Choice Catagory for the WWT Welney summer heat competition – Blimey!!!

I just opened a email which read the following:

"Thank you very much for your entry into the Summer Heat of the WWT Photography Competition 2011-2012.

I am delighted to inform you that your photograph entitled ‘Sedge warbler’ has won the people’s choice category for WWT Welney for the summer heat of the competition.

Your prize is a coveted place on the WildArena photography course at WWT Welney on Wed 10 October. Please reply to this email  to confirm your place and receive further details.

Your winning photograph will go through to the National Finals in Autumn 2012 and be in with a chance of receiving the national prize of a weeks’ narrowboat holiday for four in the UK, to the value of £1000, courtesy of Kate Boats, for this category..........."

I want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone that took the time to vote for my picture –

RBA Weekly Round-Up 19-25th September

An Expensive Day!!!

Got up late this morning as I was editing RBF pictures late last night, didn't have the heart to go out with no camera. Got very worried when a 'possible Pallid Swift' came up at Holme!

Lucy from Advanced Camera Services called me about 1pm to say my lens was ready and that David had been working on it all morning. Absolutely brilliant news!

The only thing I have achieved today is spending LOTS of money. Whizzed over to Watton and picked up the lens. It was a good job I got it looked at quickly, as one droplet of water had leaked in several vital places within the lens. All cleaned out and like new (as good as) and the work is guaranteed for 6 months. The £120 fee was actually £144 (VAT added), excellent price considering I could have lost the lens altogether! When David opened up the back of the Canon 7D yesterday it was only to look at the most 'expensive' bit which he said looked fine. He said without stripping the whole camera apart, there is no way he could say if all the camera's functions etc will be working ok.. hmmmm......

I then drove to Wex Photographic in Norwich. Got lost on the way – thank goodness for the iphone, googled mapped it and sat the phone on the dashboard and followed directions! I bought another 7D, and traded in the Canon 40D which I have been meaning to get rid of for ages. The quote I was given over the phone a week ago of £215 trade-in went down to £205 when I was face to face with the manager, even though I argued the point! He did agree that the 40D was in excellent condition, but the price reflected how many they had already to sell on etc. Had a wonderful surprise as there was two amazing FREE gifts with the 7D purchase: A Manfrotto 681B Professional Monopod, Head and a Stile Agile I Sling Bag!!! (normal price £78.95) and with the £80 Cashback offer aswell, I think I did quite well! So now I have two 7D's – one to keep the 300mm lens on and the other for back-up/macro, wide angle lens etc – what more can a girl want! I feel so happy right now. I also bought a new LowePro Pro Runner 350 Camera Backpack and a heavy duty waterproof camouflage rucksack cover. My North Face gortex walking boots that I bought about 3 years ago are leaking and the sole is flapping off, need some new boots really – oh dear. Oh and my 'waterproof' coat is NOT waterproof.

Drove home via Fakenham, couldn't face the traffic getting out of Norwich when I left at 6pm or the boring A47. Picked up fish 'n' chips in Lynn on the way home.

Just turned on my laptop and looked at emails and had an AMAZING Surprise!!!! See next post!!!

MEGA!!! Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler!!!

1.5 miles north of Hartlepool!!!

and a 'possible' PALLID SWIFT at Holme Reserves!!!

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Canon 7D Update!!!

What a waste of a day and with the sun out too. Anyway when I was speaking to Wex Photographic earlier, they recommended a company at Watton (south of Swaffham) called Advanced Camera Services Limited who repair and service cameras and lenses etc. I gave them a ring and spoke to a very nice man called David who was unbelievably calm, considering he had to listen to a hyper, unhappy, distraught female on the end of the line! David very kindly said he wouldn't charge me to have a look at the camera to see what the damage was. So I drove over to Watton which was 27 miles from my house. The company is based on an industrial estate and with David's clear instructions I found the place ok. I was very pleased and assured on meeting David when he told me that Chris Knights, David Tipling and found out later too that Julian Bhalerao are clients of his. Can't get much better references than that! Other clients are the: MOD, Police Forces, Newspapers, Colleges, Major Photo Retail Outlets and other Professional Photographers.

David took the camera body apart and informed me that he couldn't see any serious damage and that it seemed to be working ok, so that was good news! The lens however was a different story. Since leaving King's Lynn the lens had fogged again and had become increasingly foggy whilst we were discussing the camera and lens. David pointed out a rim of water in the lens and said in his professional opinion it needed taking apart and cleaning and drying out properly. He didn't think it would dry out of its own accord. I was absolutely thrown by this, as this mean't another day, possible another two with no camera on my holiday. I almost felt like going back to work for the rest of the week! Part of me wanted to take the lens home and hope it dried out so that I could use it tomorrow and the other part of me knew that David's recommendation was the most sensible thing to do. So I left the lens with David to sort out. He said that after he had taken it apart tomorrow and cleaned it out, it may not need drying time aswell, which mean't I would be able to collect the lens late afternoon tomorrow. If it needed drying time, we are talking Thursday, plus! I am just going to pray it will be all perfect again by tomorrow. The lens is going to cost me £120 to put right. While I was there I had the 7D Sensor cleaned (a while you wait service) which cost £43.00 inc. VAT – this is something I have been meaning to do for awhile now, so glad to get that done.



Nipped into Tescos on the way home and got a few essentials and a non-essential item. I needed cheering up, excuses, excuses – I bought and consumed two apple, cream turnovers and ate one straight after the other. Hope no-one at work reads this post (ha ha) as I am supposed to be dieting with another lady – we are having a weekly weigh-in. I think this Monday's weigh in will be absolutely disastrous!

We often get so excited about seeing and photographing birds, that we forget about looking our gear. Camera gear that costs a fortune to replace and often isn't covered by insurance companies as I found out today – see Graham Clarke's experience, similiar to my own HERE 

Main Highlights in Norfolk Today – RBA
Rose-coloured Starling at Holme
Booted Warbler and Barred Warbler at Burnham Overy
Richard's Pipit at West Runton
Sabine's Gull at Waxham
Pectoral Sandpiper at Titchwell RSPB
Sacred Ibis at Salthouse
Red-breasted Flycatcher singing at Warham Greens
Red-breasted Flycatcher at Holkham
Red-breasted Flycatcher at Holme
Greenish Warbler at East Hills
Pied Flycatchers, Redstarts and Yellow-browed Warblers at various locations.

Canon 7D not working!!!

My camera STILL hasn't dried out this morning and I am absolutely gutted. The lens has de-fogged though. I have worked so hard in the rain to find birds the last couple of days and the first sunny morning appears when I should be out birding. This is the day when something mega WILL appear. I was going back to Gun Hill first thing this morning to take a look at an interesting warbler I saw glimpses of in the deluge, but I will be driving to Norwich instead to buy another camera. I know the camera will possibly dry out, but reading forums and stuff late last night tells me that sometimes some of the functions on the camera stop working. A friend of mine said this morning (who doesn't do photography) 'you can still go birding without your camera' - yes I could, BUT NO I CAN'T. Bins and camera are now one package as far as I am concerned. I left the lens on the camera for the last hour and a half and the camera then turned on but the lens was fogged up again! So maybe the dampness has migrated to the lens, so in turn allowing the camera to turn on? I have now taken the lens off and positioned by the radiator, as I need this clear again before I leave my house this morning. Its no good going to Norwich to buy a new camera if my lens is fogged!

I have a 40D and recently was offered £215.00 part exchange at Wex Photographic in Norwich (formely Warehouse Express) and with the £80 cashback offer brings the price down to £784.00. I was thinking of getting another 7D anyway for back up. I love this camera and don't ever use the 40D anymore. Don't really want to spend the money though. I charged the 40D up last night, but when I had a look at the camera to remind myself how it worked, I can't obtain aperture priority for some reason!!!!! I give up, I really do!!!!! Sorted this now after speaking to a Canon advice centre - the camera needed re-setting to get the aperture to work. So I have the 40D but the lens is still fogged up!

Any advice on the drying out of my Canon 7D will be very much appreciated please?

UPDATE - Also just found out from my insurers that I am NOT covered for accidental damage - crap day indeed. Wish I had been dishonest now and said I had dropped it, doesn't pay to be honest!

Spoke to a Canon repair centre re checking the camera out – far too costly, but they couldn't understand why I couldn't claim for the camera as they saw it as accidental damage.

Thanks to all who have posted on here, sent me messages on Birdforum and emailed me with kind words and advice, it is much appreciated and also reminds me that people are reading my blog! On that note I don't understand why I have progressed in a couple of days from having an average of between 600-800 views a day to 1,500 odd each day!!! Stats must be wrong......!!!

Monday 24 September 2012

Raining Birds at Gun Hill!!!

Burnham Overy Dunes.

My plan today was to tick the Booted Warbler and then go and see the Red-breasted Flycatcher at Warham. But I never reached Warham!

Parked the car on the main road at Burnham Overy and started walking down the track to the Booted Warbler. Within a couple of minutes, birds were scattering from the hedges including willow warblers, robins and a posing redstart on the metal farm gate!!! Several song thrushes were flying overhead. This was the beginning of an awesome afternoon!

 Willow Warbler, Burnham Overy at the 'Booted' site.

 Willow Warbler, Burnham Overy at the 'Booted' site.

I reached the Booted Warbler and saw the bird fairly quickly. At one point it flew just a few yards past me and landed on a dead dock stem. I was just about to take a photograph, when an annoying man ran past me with his camera, he was that desperate to get a picture and instantly flushed the bird. No fieldcraft and no consideration for fellow birders – I was not amused to say the least. He didn't even achieve anything, as he didn't even get a picture, upset the bird and me!!! It was now raining heavily. Lee Evans was here and he wandered off up ahead. I really wish I had joined him now as he found several good birds after I saw him including a Little Bunting by the brick building at the far end of Gun Hill. There was also a Barred Warbler, Wood Warbler, Ring Ouzel, tons of redstarts and wheatears, song thrushes, pied flycatcher, robins, lesser whitethroats, willow warblers and chiffchaffs.

Update: 30-9 - a lady called Joan very kindly emailed me to say that Lee didn't find the RBF (as I thought that day), so have amended my paragraph above accordingly.

Burnham Overy Dunes.

I walked to the end of the track and took photographs of the Red-breasted Flycatcher which I had all to myself when the only three people watching it, legged it for the Little Bunting! I too then went off down to Gun Hill, but the Little Bunting had not been seen again. I suspect as birds do at Gun Hill, it had carried on over Scolt Head. I didn't see the Wood Warbler or the Ring Ouzel, but I did have a brief view of a Barred Warbler that bombed out of a bush and then back in again! Even though it was raining I took my coat hood down as this restricted my viewing and I didn't want to miss anything. There were redstarts and wheatears everywhere, I didn't know which way to look first! The rain continued and then got heavier and heavier. My waterproof coat and walking trainers are NOT waterproof I quickly discovered and I could feel my feet squelching as I walked. The same with my two waterproof bags that allow me to carry my camera at my side in readiness to take a picture when its raining. My camera got the wettest its ever been. I stayed by the bushes on the seaward side of Gun Hill for quite a while, as this seems to hold the most birds. There were at least 4 redstarts in this bit alone along with willow warblers and chiffchaffs and a goldcrest. It got so cold and windy I sat down under a bramble bush to get a bit of protection from the atrocious conditions. My dripping wet hair was making me very chilly and my hands were painfully cold. I watched hirundines hurtling overhead including house martins and swallows. Several birds dropped into the bushes just in front of me. I risked getting the camera out of the wet bags to take a picture of a redstart sheltering under a bramble in a beautiful pose and couldn't work out why the picture was so blurred, until I looked at the lens to discover it had fogged over! I put the camera away for the last time. As I walked back I saw very little, obviously the huge fall of birds had either moved on or were hunkered down in the rain. I was seriously cold and wet now. It had been worth getting wet for – I have not seen a fall of birds like that for many years – a very exciting afternoon.

Got back to the car and poured a nice hot cup of coffee. Turned camera on to look at pictures and it wouldn't turn on. I was horrified. My camera had obviously got too wet. The lens was also steamed up. I felt quite sick. This had now spoilt my spectacular afternoon. I took the battery and card out of the camera and left all compartments open and sat the camera on the seat next to me with the heating on full blast to attempt to dry the camera out as I drove home.

Took me ages to sort all my wet gear out (again) and have sat the camera and lens next to the radiator. I was going out at first light. I can't go anywhere without my camera, really I can't. I WILL find a mega if I don't have the camera, that's for sure! I do have a Canon 40D for back-up but still no good with the lens fogged up. I don't have another 300mm/+ lens spare!!!

I was going to add pictures tonight, but too tired now, so will add them tomorrow.

Too tired to add other bird news, but the hottest news came from East Hills (typical) see Dave's excellent haul HERE.  Congratulations! Generally there were redstarts, pied flys, ybw, ring ouzels along the coast and barred warblers. Wryneck at Snettisham. The RbFlys at Holme and Warham remain.

Common Redstart
an interesting bird, sheltering under a bush at Gun Hill.
Rubbish picture taken with fogged lens!
Note to self: don't let camera or lens get wet EVER again!

Hot Birding?

I didn't set the alarm last night - desperately needed a proper night's sleep. I am now feeling wide awake and rearing to go. Car packed up, just having 'brunch' and then off out to find something good. I may twitch a few birds on route, don't want another day like yesterday!

Sunday 23 September 2012

Anglia Co-operative 2013 Wildlife Competition

The closing date for this competition was midnight tonight. I have just added a photo with minutes to spare!!! Talk about leaving things to the last minute!!!


Found by Jason Moss, on Fair Isle - WOW!!! 

Second for Britain, First for Shetland.
The first Magnolia Warbler was on 27th September 1981 on St.Agnes, Scilly,31 YEARS AGO!!!


My first solo expedition to East Hills!

I left the house before dawn and watched the sun rising as I drove to Warham Greens. Parked the car on the concrete pad. Searched for the Red-breasted Flycatcher along the West Track, but it was a bit too early I think for it to appear. Started walking out at 7.40am. Half way to East Hills, the Red-breasted Flycatcher appeared on the pager! I wasn't over concerned that I had missed this bird, as I felt that I would find something equally if not more exciting, especially as I would be out there all day. It was high tide at 12.28pm so this mean't I had to start early before the tide started to fill the creeks in.

Walking out to the hills I saw several curlew, little egrets, meadow pipits and 2 jackdaws. At the tidal pool a snipe took off. I felt so excited when I realised I was the only birder out there! I found a single goldcrest, a wren and a sparrowhawk that was perched on a branch of a tree at the far end and later on a single blackbird. I tried all the usual techniques in finding a good bird, sat in silence overlooking the sycamores, pished, squeaked and played ybw, rbf, bw etc to entice something out. None of it worked. This was the least amount of birds I have ever seen in one day EVER! Of course I expected something to turn up on the 'mainland' while out here and it did – a BOOTED WARBLER at Burnham Over Dunes found by Carl Chapman (Congratulations). The expected rain started at 4pm and I continued searching and saw absolutely nothing. Another birder then joined me called Adey Long (I think he said) who had just walked out to see what had dropped in – he was disappointed! Not as disappointed as me, I can tell you! A chiffchaff would have been good or maybe a yellow-browed warbler or better still a Magnolia Warbler!!!

Walked back in pouring rain. Got very muddy crossing one of the creeks. Drove straight home and took an hour to sort all my wet clothes and gear, now all drying on radiators. Still pouring with rain at 11pm.

On a positive note, I didn't fall over, or sink in the quick sand – that's the only positive thoughts I have today!

Hoping tomorrow will improve. Mark Golley told me this evening, that the weather looks awesome for rares everywhere over the next few days. I hope he's right! When the rain stops, get out there!!!

Blimey, I have had 1,034 views of my blog today!!! Average is between 600-800 views of day. Posting pictures probably helps!!!

A birder told me today that he had seen 2 whinchats and 3 redstarts at Brancaster Golfcourse this morning. He also said this area is very underwatched, very true. Maybe because you have to pay to park here!

Main Highlights in Norfolk Today – RBA
Red-breasted Flycatcher at Holme and also the West Track, Warham.
BOOTED WARBLER at Burnham Over Staithe.
Yellow-browed Warblers at Warham, Holkham, Blakeney, Titchwell and Thornham.
Barred Warbler at Blakeney Point.
Pectoral Sandpiper at Titchwell RSPB
Leach's Petrel, Gorleston.
Long-tailed Skua, Pom Skua, Waxham.
Mandarin at Cley NWT.

Saturday 22 September 2012

Red Hot Birding!!!

Easterlies all day Sunday and Monday with increasing winds and rain. What more could we ask for!!!

NOA Report Hot off the Press!!!

Picked up my copy of the 2011 NOA Report from Sophie today. Very pleased to see my Desert Wheatear on the front cover, Grey Heron on the back cover and loads of pics inside!

Holme Reserves All Day!

6.50pm – Holme Bird Observatory.

 WRYNECK - Holme.

WRYNECK - Holme.

 Painted Lady Butterfly.

  Comma Butterfly.

 Wheatear - The Paddocks, Firs Road, Holme.

Fabulous day at Holme - nice to see both carparks full of birders for a change!

First stop was the Barred Warbler which was showing very nicely in the sunshine. At Holme Bird Observatory I had one good view of the RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER in the hawthorn tree. Lots of birders here – not seen that many people here for ages. LGRE was here and also 'Big Jake' as he is affectionately known, Sue Bryan, Dave Holeman etc etc. I didn't see the Pied Flycatcher or the YBW, or the redstart! Did a bit of seawatching, but only saw loads of gannets. Spent ages round the back of the pines trying to find something good but failed. Loads of butterflies today including a comma and a Painted Lady.

Photographed the Wryneck at 5.25pm round the back of the bungalows behind the NWT pay hut. This was incredibly frustrating as the bird fed on the sandy path and was continuously interrupted by dog walkers and loads of noisy people. Loads of pinkfeet flying over. Two barn owls hunting over Holme Marsh.

Went back to Holme Bird Observatory at 6pm and photographed the Red-breasted Flycatcher in the large sycamore tree by the pond at 6.50pm,  but sadly there was a branch in the way! Also saw a wheatear in the paddocks along the Firs Road.

 This is a short post as need to go to be bed early, big day tomorrow.

Main Highlights in Norfolk Today
Ortolan Bunting, Red-breasted Flycather, Barred Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Redstarts at Blakeney Point.
Possible Little Bunting seen at Holme briefly by D. Roche (seen and heard flying overhead near obs)
Leach's Petrel (Gore Point), Barred Warbler, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Yellow-browed Warbler, Wryneck, Pied Flycatcher and female Redstart at Holme.
 Red-breasted Fly found by Stuart White, Warham.
YBW found by Pete Snook at Walsey Hills NOA
Grey Phalarope, Waxham
YBW's, Pied Flys, Lapland Buntings at various locations (not got time to list them all)
Baird's Sandpiper at Titchwell
Sabine's Gull at Snettisham
Black Guillemot at Salthouse
3 Leach's Petrol, Walcott
Sacred Ibis, Salthouse

Friday 21 September 2012

Autumn Migration Begins!!!

and so does my holiday!!!

Main Highlights Today – RBA
Red-breasted Flycatcher, Yellow-browed Warbler,
Barred Warbler at Holme
117 Bonxies, 11 Arctic Skuas, 17 Manx Shearwaters,
3 Puffin at Sheringham
Pom Skua, Pectoral Sandpiper, Jack Snipe and 2 Gargeney at Titchwell RSPB
2 Great White Egrets flew over Poringland
Sabine's Gull, Long-tailed Skua x 2, Pom. Skua, 27 Bonxies,
Black-throated Diver, Pectoral Sandpiper at Cley
Pectoral Sandpiper x 2 at Welney

The Norfolk Records Committee

New website here:

Have added this to my 'Recommonded Websites and Blogs' list.

Badger activists map setts and get ready for all-out fight to stop the cull guns

Thursday 20 September 2012

Watch This Before Updating to iOS 6!

If you have any 'Apple' products don't update to the new iOS 6 without watching this video first:

Bird News!

Highlights in Norfolk Today – RBA
Pectoral Sandpiper, Pom Skua, Titchwell RSPB
Long-tailed Skua, Pom. Skua x 2, Arctic Skua x 3, Great Skua,
Great Northern Diver
, Pectoral Sandpiper, Cley.
Pectoral Sandpiper, Hickling
Barred Warbler, Pom Skua, Holme.
Pectoral Sandpiper x 2, Ruddy Shelduck x 3 at Welney WWT.

RBA Weekly Round-Up 12-18th September

Wednesday 19 September 2012

A lovely evening!

A work colleague and her partner very kindly invited me round for dinner this evening and for a grand tour of their new house. It was a lovely evening and I enjoyed tremendously looking at all their recent fascinating photographs on their recent trip to Canada.

Bird News!

Highlights in Norfolk Today – RBA
Pectoral Sandpiper, 2 Lapland Buntings, Cley.
Baird's Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Jack Snipe,
7 Bonxies, Titchwell RSPB.
Leach's Petrel, 35 Bonxies, 2 Arctic Skuas, Barred Warbler, Holme.
Pectoral Sandpiper, Welney WWT.
Pectoral Sandpiper, Hickling.
2 Long-tailed skuas, Black Guillemot, Pom Skua,
16 Bonxies
, 10 Arctic Skuas, 6 Manx Shearwaters, Cley.


Badgers, Ruddy Ducks – the list goes on and on....

Millions of birds and animals are being culled in the UK - what the hell is going on and what a wicked waste of our money!!!

Culling, unnecessary use of pesticides, food additives, air pollution, dioxins etc are killing us all!

We are also on the list, slowly being destroyed by the modern age of pesticides both in the food that we eat, dioxins, the alcohol that people consume (full of pesticides and other crap) etc. I preach about the dangers of alcohol to people I know, but nobody listens to me 'little and in moderation with everything Penny' is the answer I receive. Did you know that alcohol raises oestrogen levels? High oestrogen levels can develop into Breast Cancer, Endometriosis etc etc. See article HERE about oestrogen. I used to drink in my twenties and I paid for this dearly – it took SEVEN years to be diagnosed with Endometriosis and I suffered with this excruciating illness for 12 years in all. I was in hospital more than I was at home for the final two years, leading up to a hysterectomy at the age of 33. The alcohol wasn't totally to blame, but it does raise oestrogen levels and if you are someone who has a higher than normal level of oestrogen, alcohol certainly doesn't help. I could write about endometriosis all night, as I do consider myself an expert on this particular illness - I know more than the doctors or consultants as I had to research this myself out of desperation at the time - been there, done that! A typical account of endometriosis written in January this year HERE in the Daily Mail.

Bees dying through pesticides that we don't need!

Our government is not very 'Green' or wildlife friendly at all, is it!!!!

Albert Einstein had a theory about bees. He once said, “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live. No more bees, no more pollination … no more men!”

The ladies will be ok though!!!!

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Kill the Cull, Not the Badgers!

Sign this now if you care about Badgers please!

Science advisor says badger cull plan is a 'crazy scheme'

Also see:

Leach's Petrel, Original Framed Drawing by Martin Elliott, 1984

Beautiful picture of a Leach's Petrel painted at Cley Coastguards!!!

Wish I could afford to buy this! Several Norfolk birders with healthier bank accounts than mine, may be interested in this beautiful picture. For sale on Ebay HERE

Nature Iraq donates hundreds of pounds to National Wildlife Trust’s £1m Cley Marshes land purchase appeal - Environment - Eastern Daily Press

Nature Iraq donates hundreds of pounds to National Wildlife Trust’s £1m Cley Marshes land purchase appeal - Environment - Eastern Daily Press

Bird News!

Highlights in Norfolk Today - RBA
Barred Warbler remains at Holme.
Pectoral Sandpiper at Cley NWT.
Pectoral Sandpiper at Titchwell RSPB.
Pectoral Sandpiper x 2 at Welney WWT.
Spoonbills, everywhere!
Pom. Skua, Gramborough Hill.
Black-throated Diver, Cley.
Sacred Ibis, Holkham.
Sooty Shearwater, Holme.

Incredible picture!!! HERE

Easterlies on the way this weekend!

Wahoooooooo!!! And guess what, I am on holiday for a whole week starting Saturday - how lucky is that!!!

The bad news though, is that I am still working in my second job on the Sundays!

Looking forward to a spectacular Autumn with no suppression and news put out asap – that would be lovely PLEASE!

Sunday 16 September 2012

Bird News!

Highlights in Norfolk Today - RBA
Barred Warbler remains at Holme
Pectoral Sandpiper at Cley NWT
Pectoral Sandpiper, 2 Slavonian Grebe at Titchwell RSPB
Spoonbills, 8 at Cley and 19 at Titchwell

Saturday 15 September 2012

Cley, Salthouse and Sunshine all Day!

Very chilly first thing, but warmed up by mid morning.

Arrived at Holt at 9am to go to Bakers and Larners, which is an amazing store that sells everything. I only went in to buy a gas lighter for my mother, but came out with 2 hot cheese scones, Rick Stein's Oat Cakes (my fav. oatcakes), box of coffee creams (for father) and the gas lighter!!! I'm having a binge this weekend before the diet starts on Monday (again, boring, boring). To help Sarah at work to give up smoking, I promised I would diet, she has now been 10 days (I think now) without cigarettes, so I need to keep my promise - WHY did I say that!!!

Went straight to Walsey Hills NOA. Tons of butterflies here, the most I have seen on one day this year so far! Mostly Red Admirals, approximately 30+, 1 Tortoiseshell, 2 Commas, 3 Peacocks, 3 Small Coppers, 2 Common Blues and loads of bees and hoverflies buzzing around the Ivy at the end of the bottom path. Dragonflies also whizzing about. Chiffchaff calling and a male Blackcap was seen, but little else here. All the paths have been cut which is good, ready for autumn migration. A good job has also been done of cutting back the vegetation just below the seat at the top, so that we can have better views of any rosefinch that may appear again on the ground!

Went to the Cley NWT Visitor Centre briefly and chatted with two lovely people who asked after my father. Bought a card for Pete S. (his birthday tomorrow). Walked to Bishop's Hide and had wonderful views of marsh harriers fairly close and got some pictures and also a fly by heron. 1 Spoonbill on the scrape along with loads of greylags, brent geese, redshanks, teal, wigeon, mallards, godwits etc. 2 bearded tits were bombing around too.

Went to Salthouse for my picnic lunch and sat with Eddie and John F. on the shingle - felt like a holidaymaker rather than a birder sitting here! Very few birds were seen although E. and J. had good views of some bikini clad 'birds' and we all unfortunately had VERY good views of a grotesque builders bum, which was squashed into a much too small deckchair and much too close for my liking whilst I was trying to enjoy my lunch! Eddie escaped.

John and I walked round Gramborough Hill. The walk up to the hill produced nothing but dog crap (CLEAR IT UP PEOPLE!!!) A couple of goldfinches and linnets in the brambles at the end and a couple of Sand Martins over. On the way back we were rewarded with a Wheatear on the shingle bank not far from the carpark. John then departed.

I went back to Walsey Hills and had a snooze for half an hour. Walked round Walsey again to see loads more Red Admirals, but no birds of note apart from the chiffchaff again.

Parked up at the bottom of Old Woman's Lane and walked to Teal Hide NWT. Several bearded tits pinging on route to the hide. R.M., A.J. and E.M also joined me in the hide. 5 Spoonbills on Pat's Pool and then another 5 came and joined them later – all 10 Spoonbills were still there when I left at 7.10pm. 2 Yellow-leg Gulls were found. Tons of gulls here, all having a wash 'n' brush up in beautiful light. Couple of pied wagtails, ruff, redshank, shoveler, greylags, teal, wigeon etc. I left before the others as I needed to go to Holme before returning home.

Highlights in Norfolk Today:
Barred Warbler remains at Holme
Pectoral Sandpiper at Cley (found by E.M)
Pectoral Sandpiper still at Titchwell (am only)
Pectoral Sandpiper at Hickling
2 Common Cranes flew NE between Heacham and Hunstanton
Sabine's Gull, Balearic Shearwater, 2 Little Gulls and 12 Arctic Skuas at Overstrand this evening
10 Spoonbills and 2 Yellow-leg Gulls on Pat's Pool, Teal Hide NWT, Cley


Friday 14 September 2012

Still need Votes!

Please vote for my Sedge Warbler picture in the WWT Competition, if you like it. Although the competition has closed for entries on 31st August, people can still vote up until the 24th September for the 'People's Choice photo. I noticed that someone else has over 400 votes, so don't think I have much chance! Anyway here is the link again. Thank you so much!

Seawatching at Cley this evening!

Luckily I was on the early shift this morning, which mean't I finished earlier than normal. The roads around where I live were being re-tarmaced and I was informed that I could not re-park my car until after 7pm this evening, so I had packed my birding gear in the car this morning and went birding straight from work. I had no intention of going to Cley this evening, but after finding out it was a north, west wind and that the pager said that someone had had a 'probable Great Shearwater' this morning at Cley, mean't I just couldn't resist! I arrived at Coastguards, Cley at 5pm. Obviously there were a few birders there already and Eddie arrived too shortly after me. Loads of gannets going past, several red-throated divers, a bonxie, 7 arctic skuas, guillemots, auk sp. and later on a ton of sandwich terns going west. Everyone left when it all tailed off and I was left by myself. A squall appeared east with black skies and this brought tons of birds going west including a single Arctic Skua close, a continuous stream of sandwich terns, herring gulls, great black-backed gulls and black headed gulls. There were so many birds hurtling through at this point and it all looked potentially exciting! I photographed what I swore was a juv. Black Tern and another man I spoke who had just arrived said he thought it was too when he looked at my camera. Phoned Eddie and he kindly met up with me after he had been to the hides to look at my picture – even Eddie's first thoughts were black tern, but after studying the pictures before and after the best one and to be fair none of them were brilliant, he decided it was a common tern, with very dark wings – interesting bird though. Several swallows flying around Coastguards.

Main Highlights in Norfolk Today
Probable Great Shearwater, Pom. Skua, 2 Long-tailed Skuas, Cley
Sabine's Gull
, Sheringham
Pectoral Sandpiper, Sheringham
Sooty Shearwater at East Runton and Hemsby


Wednesday 12 September 2012

RBA Weekly Round Up 5th-11th September

Bird News Today

Main Highlights in Norfolk today:
Pectoral Sandpiper remains at Cley NWT
The 'elusive' Barred Warbler remains at Holme
Two Lapland Buntings flew over Blakeney Point

Had my Twitter Account hacked into again this evening – had to change password again and delete loads of dodgy direct messages - how borish!

Sculthorpe Moor Book Sale this Weekend!

Book Sale 15th & 16th September.

Sale of books on wildlife and related topics at the Visitor Centre from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th of September. There will also be light refreshments, (tea and coffee, cold drinks and cake).

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Baird's Sandpiper for more photos?

I realised when I left work that there had been no news on the Baird's Sandpiper since 3.30pm, but just presumed it would be seen again. Never presume anything! I hadn't intended on going again this evening, but the skies were so beautifully blue and with brilliant sunshine, I couldn't resist going again! I find that you eat terribly when you are trying to fit work and birding in together – I munched on peanut butter on toast on route!

Arrived at Titchwell just before 6pm to find several people looking for the bird from the main bank just past Island Hide, but it had not been seen for quite a while. Sadly for some people they had not seen it at all yet. Huge numbers of waders all round, including 11 Spoonbills, loads of gulls, black-tailed godwits, ruff, redshanks, curlew sands, a few dunlin (not as many as last night), wigeon, teal, avocets, little egrets etc. It was beautiful light, just perfect for photographing the Baird's Sandpiper that sadly did not appear! News on the RBA pager that a Balearic Shearwater had been seen off Titchwell made me abandon standing here any longer and I walked out to the sea. I phoned RBA on route to find that the shearwater had not been seen recently. Tons of waders and gulls on the shoreline including lots of sanderling, turnstones, oystercatchers etc. It was very windy and I could see three Eiders sitting on the sea and then decided to walk out to the sea's edge to photograph them. There were no exciting birds flying past! Beautiful sunset over the wet sands. Walked back in semi-darkness, by which time tons more gulls had arrived to roost.

Main Highlights today:
Pectoral Sandpiper and Balearic Shearwater at Cley NWT
Baird's Sandpiper at Titchwell RSPB - not seen in the evening though
Wryneck at Bowthorpe
Red-backed Shrike at Kelling
Black Tern at Holme

Andy Murray Wins US Open Final!!!

Congratulations Andy!!!

The first British man to win since 1936!!!

Monday 10 September 2012

BAIRD'S SANDPIPER at Titchwell!!!

I was lucky I did the early shift at work today, so was able to get away at a decent time.

Wonderful scope views this evening of the Baird's Sandpiper at 5.30pm at Titchwell RSPB, found by Alan Davies (Biggest Twitch). You need an 800mm lens (see Steve G's picture here) at least or digiscope if you want decent pictures though! Didn't even need to go in Island Hide, walked just past here and viewed from the bank. Best views I have had of one. It flew up with the flock of dunlin, curlew sandpipers and ringed plovers several times whilst I was there, but was fairly easy to pick out again, being much smaller than the dunlin, with longer body and very long wings. Head on it could be mistaken for a pectoral sandpiper for a second. I also heard through the grapevine that someone had seen a possible Pec Sand at Holme NWT Wader pools last night!!! Could this have been the same bird maybe? I was showing a lady the bird through my scope who wanted to know what it looked like - it was her first visit to Norfolk - whilst I was doing this a whole sheen of light and sunshine bathed across the waders and the Baird's - the best photo opportunity I had and I missed it! Took loads of pictures, but none any good really. It was absolutely freezing cold there this evening with strong, chilly winds and this did not help my still sore tooth - more painkillers when I got home and an early night.

Looks like it was first seen on Sunday!!! - See HERE

UPDATE: Late news of a stunning Dotterel on Holme beach at midday - see picture HERE


Sunday 9 September 2012

Severe traffic delays and the Barred Warbler!

I decided to leave my house at 6pm to go to Holme to attempt to see and photograph the elusive Barred Warbler. As I turned onto the A149 at Knight's Hill roundabout I was shocked to see a queue of traffic coming from Hunstanton (south bound). As I continued along the road, the traffic back log was the worst I have ever seen here, even worse than a bank holiday – I could not believe that this queue continued as far as The Methodist Chapel on the main road at Hunstanton!!! Unbelievable!

Parked up just past the pay hut at Holme and looked for the Barred Warbler. It was in here, no doubt and I saw it bomb across a couple of times, but not once did I see it posing anywhere, not even for a nano of a second! Stood on the Hun Bridge in the dusk in the vague hope of seeing an otter maybe, well you never know! Visited my parents and chatted with them until 9.30pm as no point in going home early, the traffic jams I saw would take hours to disperse.

The traffic had cleared but was stationary when I reached the Dersingham bypasss, so turned round and went through Snettisham on the old road, through to Dersingham and at the traffic lights turned left, through West Newton and then came out on the A148 at Roydon, and up to the Knight's Hill roundabout and straight home – this was an excellent move!

Main Highlights in Norfolk today - RBA
Ortolan Bunting, Red-backed Shrike and 20 Whinchats at Winterton
Barred Warbler at Holme
Pectoral Sandpiper, Garganey and Caspian Gull at Cley NWT
38 Common Cranes, Horsey Mere

Breeding Success on Blakeney Point!

New Blogger Interface!

Blogger informed me that the new interface will be forced on me in the 'next few days' which I am extremely unhappy about. They trialled this a year ago and you had the option of updating to this new design/layout and also the option of going back to the old version. The new version I decided was absolutely rubbish, unnecessarily complicated and takes ten times longer to do. I Immediately reverted back to the old version. Reading blog forums, everyone else seems to feel the same and have requested that they have the option of staying on the old interface, but blogger are forcing us all to use this new version whether we like it or not. The most annoying feature on the new template is that the quick edit icon/option to each post has been removed, so this means that you have to go to into 'Design', then 'Dashboard', then search for the post you want to edit, click edit and open! Now if you are like me and go back and edit your post as soon as you have published it, not having the quick edit icon will be very annoying and time consuming! I often correct and change what I have written several times before I am happy with it!

I am just praying that I will still be able to add all my photographs that I NEED/WANT to add for the many months I am still behind. I know that most people won't even bother looking at them now, but this is my on-line diary aswell and I would like to be able to add them!

I think its a case of Blogger have paid someone alot of money to re-design this new interface and now have to go ahead with it, regardless of what their bloggers think. Well if you are reading this, PLEASE consider our wishes rather than your bank balance!

Too Hot!!!

The alarm went off at 5am - bashed it down again and again and again! I gave into the fact that I needed more sleep and got up much later! I then decided it was too late to obtain 'early' morning photos of the Barred Warbler at Holme and that the traffic would now be horrendous and the weather too hot. I don't do hot weather, I can't bear it. I know one shouldn't moan about glorious weather, but I am! All birding gear is sitting by the door just in case I have to escape quickly, but today I have decided to stay in and edit and add photos to blog – about time too I hear you say!

Saturday 8 September 2012

Barred Warbler highlights the day!

Had my first full night's sleep last night since my tooth was extracted a week ago! Got up very early – beautiful, sunny morning and not a cloud in the sky. Delivered newspapers to my parent's and then continued to Titchwell at just after 8am.

Titchwell RSPB
Parked the car in a nice shady spot in preparation for the heatwave later. A couple of chiffchaffs were in the picnic area and some greenfinches were on the main feeders at the beginning of the Meadow Trail. Just past the Fen Hide along the new boardwalk to the new trails, I discovered an Otter spraint! I passed Richard who works at the centre on route who said that the spraint wasn't there when he had walked out to the trails this morning, so an otter had been there this morning! 8 Egyptian Geese flew over the pool. 2 Sparrowhawks were seen and I could hear a Cetti's Warbler. Mute Swans, coot, mallards and teal were on the pool and also a grey heron. At the furthest viewing point that looks over the fresh marsh I enjoyed fantastic views of loads of Spoonbills including babies begging for food - soooo sweet! Because of my height I couldn't count the spoonbills accurately, but someone else counted 19 whilst I was there. At least 8 Bearded Tits were whizzing around 'pinging', but did not stop for the paparazzi! 2 Little Egrets flew over. A juv Shelduck was close to the viewing point, also a reed warbler was seen fairly close as were goldfinches feeding on thistles. Other birds seen here: at least 6 Golden Plovers, a single Sandwich Tern, loads of black-tailed godwits, redshanks, dunlin, teal etc etc. I would like to make a request for this viewing point please? Although there are many beautiful seats on route on the trail, one is really needed for this viewing point as this is where most people are spending their time, as its such a beautiful view – after a while you just wish you were sitting down! You can't sit on the ground as the screen would then be in the way. A birder standing to my right pointed out a bittern flying low over the reeds, but I was being blonde and couldn't pick it up! I wasn't the only one, which made me feel slightly better! Ray Kimber then joined me and not long after he arrived he got a message from the office at Titchwell RSPB to say a juv. Sabine's Gull was going west from Titchwell!!! I didn't panic, there was no way I was going to get to the beach in time from here!

It was incredibly hot now and still only about 10am. I walked back to the centre and was just about to buy breakfast when I heard from staff that someone had seen 1, possibly 2 Spotted Flycatchers on the Meadow Trail from the new clearing. I knew exactly where this was, I had just passed it moments ago! I returned to the spot, quickly found where they were and enjoyed distant views of 2 Spotted Flycatchers flicking about, from the very top of a dead section of tree – wonderful! Back at the centre I enjoyed scrambled eggs on toast and a cup of tea in the shade.

Went back to my car which was still in the shade and had a glorious nap for over an hour!

Holme - Firs Road
Parked the car up just past the NWT pay hut and stood with others to attempt to see the Barred Warbler. I could see Steve G. here with camera, so went to join him, as this was obviously the best spot to view the bird! Unbeknown to me at the time, I had walked straight passed Sue who had been sitting in their car - sorry Sue! Steve and Sue gave me the lastest issue of Birding World which had in the photo of my Alpine Swift, taken at Beeston Bump, Sheringham. Anyway, shortly after I arrived, I spotted the BARRED WARBLER sitting in a elder for a split second and then it bombed into another bush. Steve said that was the best views he had seen. We all waited and we waited. Every now and again, well I say every now and again, it was anything between 30 minutes or more before you got another glimpse of a head, beak or tail of this very mischievous bird! Even Steve only managed to get a picture of 'its eye'!!! I obtained no pictures whatsoever, not even a smudge on the lens!

Now, I am pretty good at remembering people's faces, but rubbish with names and I saw someone here who I recognised, but just couldn't place them – all was revealed later when Rob Lambert came up to me and introduced himself along with his beautiful girlfriend/wife (I presume), Lucy – Rob was one of the four contestants in 'Wild Brain of Britain' at Rutland Bird Fair on Day Three. Nice to meet you both. I'm trying to remember how he knew who I was, oh yes, something to do with my blog!!! My first Pink footed Geese, 26 of them, flew overhead west.

Struggling to write now, very tired.

I decided to leave and went to look around the NWT Forestry which produced absolutely nothing! Returned to the Barred Warbler, where it was not showing! I walked round onto the coastal footpath, the otherside of the elders where the Barred Warbler favoured and stood and watched from here. I had a brief view of the Barred Warbler along with much longer views of a beautiful, Lesser Whitethroat. A man then joined me who questioned my Barred Warbler sighting with 'are you sure it was?' 'yes' I replied. As he stood there I then pointed out a male Blackcap to him. I was chatting to someone else to my left, when I just caught the man saying to his friend who had just joined him 'can you see a blackcap there?' Obviously females can't ID Blackcaps never mind a Barred Warbler!!!!!!!!!! So obviously I saw neither! This made me determined to obtain a picture and slap this bird on the net this evening in full frame – BUT this was not to be! Although I did have some much closer views later on (up until 7.30pm), as it bumbled about in the elders and generously showed off bits of its body including the eye. Pity it didn't show all the bits in one go – that would have been helpful! 46 more Pink-footed Geese flew over west just before I left.

Redwell Marsh NOA
Common Sandpiper right in front of the hide, set against pink, streaky skies to end the day.

Main Highlights in Norfolk today – RBA
Caspian Gull, Pectoral Sandpiper at Cley NWT
22 Common Buzzards at Cley
Roseate Tern reported off Thornham Point
Barred Warbler at Holme
Sabine's Gull (juv.) seen at Titchwell, Holme and Hunstanton.
5 Turtle Doves and a Whinchat also seen at Holme
469 Med. Gulls!!! at Breydon Water
Quail at Winterton