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Friday 30 November 2012

Bird News

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
Waxwings at Hunstanton, Old Hunstanton, Long Stratton, Surlingham, Great Walsingham, Salthouse, Holt, Titchwell, Stibbard, Ludham, Holme, Honing
Velvet Scoter x 6 at Kelling
Great Northern Diver, Hen Harrier at Titchwell
Bramblings x 40 at Choseley Drying Barns
Short-eared Owl at Breydon Water
Med. Gull x 40 at Great Yarmouth
Short-eared Owl, Slavonian Grebe, Water Pipit
Little Auk, Water Pipit at Titchwell
Velvet Scoter at Sheringham

Thursday 29 November 2012

RBA Weekly Round-Up 21st to 27th November

Bird News

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
Waxwings x 2 at Langham
Great White Egret, Little Auk x 2, Pom. Skua, Snow Buntings x 12, Waxwings x 4 at Cley
Little Auk at Kelling
Great Northern Diver at Salthouse
Velvet Scoter at Hemsby
Waxwings x 40 at Titchwell RSPB
Hen Harriers x 7 at Wareham Greens
Waxwings x 20 at Holme
Common Crane x 6, Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl at Hemsby

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Bird News

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
Lapland Buntings x 3, Waxwings x 3 at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
Long-tailed Duck x 4, Manx Shearwater, Black-throated Diver x 3 at Holme
Great White Egret, Water Pipit, Bittern, Waxwing at Titchwell RSPB
Waxwings x 8 in Norwich
Waxwings x 4 at Haddiscoe
Waxwings x 2 at Fakenham
Black Redstart at Martham
Long-tailed Duck, Black Guillemot, Pom. Skua, Great Northern Diver x 2 at Cley

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Bird News!

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
Leach's Petrol, Manx Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Great Skuas x 20, 2 Arctic Skuas, Little Auk, Glaucous Gull, Great Northern Diver, Red-necked Grebe x 2, Velvet Scoter x 7, Sandwich Tern, Purple Sandpiper, Little Gulls x 20 at SheringhamSacred Ibis, Black-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Great Skua x 20, Red-necked Grebe, Long-tailed Duck, Shag at Cley
Little Auks x 2 at Cromer (one eaten by GBB Gull)
Smew at Hardley Flood
Waxwing at Little Barningham
Yellow-legged Gull at Titchwell
Snow Bunting x 40 at Caister-on-Sea
Waxwing x 3 at Wiveton


Lost 2.5 lbs today.    Total loss so far 7lbs.

I didn't expect to lose more than 2lbs this week, so an extra half pound was good. You tend to lose several pounds the first week and then an average of 2lbs every week after that, hopefully anyway!

Monday 26 November 2012

40 Waxwings in Holme!

My mother watched 40+ Waxwings for a short while in the garden opposite her house this morning at Holme.

I have just won a bet with Hilary at work, who thought she was safe with her bet of £5.00 that I wouldn't lose half a stone before the 1st December - I have won the bet early!!! Two weeks tomorrow on W.W. I have not gone over my 'pro-points' once and sticking to the diet, which is easy to maintain, when you know you're paying out each week!

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
Great White Egret, 32 Waxwings, Long-tailed Ducks x 7, 2 Water Pipits, Hen Harrier at Titchwell RSPB
Hen Harriers x 3, Red Kites x 2 at Thornham
Shorelark at Gramborough Hill, Salthouse
Waxwing at Wiveton and Titchwell
Waxwings x 8 at Snettisham Coastal Park
Hen Harrier, 2 Waxwings at Attleborough
Black-bellied Dipper at Thetford
Firecrests x 5 at West Acre
House Martin at Winterton
Waxwings x 4 at Holme NO
Lapland Bunting, Great Skua, Little Gull at Titchwell
Shorelark x 3, Snow Bunting x 32, Twite x 23, Red-necked Grebe x 2, Long Tailed Duck at Holkham
Waxwings x 5 at Attleborough

Sunday 25 November 2012

Bird News!

I was only able to get out birding for a ridiculously short amount of time this morning – half an hour!!! Mind you, half an hour was better than nothing, or was it?

More chores this morning and then delivered shopping to parents. Went to Holme Marsh Reserve for 30 minutes and had a wonderful surprise of a Lesser Redpoll sitting in the willows. A cormorant flew in and sat on the far fence and a sparrowhawk was seen. The sun was now out and everything looked beautiful, then I had to leave which was very difficult indeed! I had to be at work at 2pm. I'm now back to doing Sunday shifts, which I really need to do throughout the winter months.

Got home and watched X-Factor results (yes, I know I'm sad). I still can't believe Chris is still in the running! The highlight (besides James Arthur) was Rihanna who performed 'Diamonds' from her new album – she owned the stage and it was one of the most spectacular performances I have seen for a long time, with rain pouring down on the star towards the end of the song SEE HERE. There are few women that would have had the guts to do that, for fear of ruining their make-up and hair!

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
Black-throated Diver, Velvet Scoter, Short-eared Owl at Winterton
3 Long-tailed Ducks, Water Pipit, Hen Harrier, Red-crested Pochard at Titchwell RSPB
Great White Egret at Horsey Mere
Swallow at Beachamwell
10 Waxwings at Cromer
Great Skua at Hemsby
35 Snow Buntings at Caister-on-Sea

Also news from E.T.M.: a White-cheeked Pintail at Warham Greens at dusk this evening (an escape, one would presume of course!)


Saturday 24 November 2012

Bird News!

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
Black-bellied Dipper back at Thetford
Snow Bunting x 47, Red-crested Pochard, Red-necked Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, 9 Long-tailed Duck at Titchwell
Shorelark, 30 Snow Bunting, Short-eared Owl at Gramborough Hill, Salthouse
Sacred Ibis at Salthouse
3 Waxwings at Heacham
Eurasian White-fronted Geese x 30, Barnacle Goose at Holkham
Water Pipit, Yellow-legged Gull at Titchwell
Waxwing at Cockley Cley
Water Pipit x 2, Jack Snipe at Cley
Goosander at Wells
Waxwing at Hunstanton
Hen Harrier at Thornham
Waxwing at Roydon
Waxwing at Thetford
Leach's Petrol and Pomarine Skua at Horsey

Hot Shop!

Sadly no birding today as too many other things and errands to do, including shopping for christmas party outfits etc! Raining all day here, rubbish weather.

I ended up spending the evening in the new enormous £40 million pound Sainsbury's Superstore which has just opened this week, on Hardwick industrial Estate. The store is 72,000 sq ft. I have never seen a store that vast, it took ages to walk round. The store had everything you could possibly think of and is now far superior to either of the large Tescos Stores in town. It has a phone shop, sells computers, pharmacy, dentist, nail bar, opticians, huge cafe (upstairs), vast clothes and homeware section, stationary, craft stuff and the list goes on!

I got a shock a few day's ago when I returned home to find a message on my landline phone from the 'Admissions' Department at the QEH asking me to ring them. I rang the next day to find they had been offering me a cancelled operation slot for that day!!! Whilst I was talking to them I requested that it is not carried out until January, as I don't want to think about this before Christmas!

Friday 23 November 2012

Bird News!

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
Long-tailed Duck, Shag, 3 Scaup at Gorleston
Slavonian Grebe at Cromer 
Whooper Swan at Sheringham
Short-eared Owl at Kelling
Shorelark and 2 Short-eared Owls at Gramborough, Salthouse
8 Lapland Buntings, 2 Twite, Hen Harrier at Thornham
Waxwing x 12 at Holme NOA

Thursday 22 November 2012

Great Tit Virus Spread by Insects!

Bird News!

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
2 Great White Egrets at Horsey
Water Pipit x 3, 10 Snow Buntings at Cley NWT
Waxwing, Hen Harrier, Great Northern Diver, Slavonian Grebe x 2, Red-necked Grebe, Long-tailed Duck x 4, Scaup, Little Gull x 6, Snow Buntings x 25 at Titchwell RSPB
Sacred Ibis at Salthouse
Slavonian Grebe and Waxwing at Holme

Wednesday 21 November 2012

RBA Weekly Round-Up 14th to 20th November

Bird News!

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
Slavonian Grebe and Hen Harrier at Blakeney Point
300 Brambling at Choseley, Titchwell
Water Pipit, Long-tailed Duck x 6 at Titchwell RSPB
Waxwing at Thetford
Waxwing x 14 at Norwich
Shorelark at Gramborough Hill, Salthouse
Snow Buntings x35 at Caister-on-Sea

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Bird News!

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
Long-tailed Duck x 6, 30 Snowbuntings, Hawfinch, Little Auk at Titchwell RSPB
Hen Harrier at Thornham
Waxwings x 27 and a Snow Bunting at Hunstanton Cliffs
Black-throated Diver at Gramborough Hill, Salthouse
Hen Harrier at Weybourne
Rough-legged Buzzard at Holkham


Lost 4.5 lbs today at the end of my first week.

Monday 19 November 2012


I bought  example    the evolution of man  today, another brilliant album from London Rapper Elliot Gleave.

Bird News!

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
Ross's Goose at Haddiscoe
Great White Egret, 6 Common Cranes, Hen Harrier at Horsey
Water Pipit, Long-tailed Ducks x 4, Hen Harriers x 2 at Titchwell
Sacred Ibis at Cley
Waxwings and Snow Buntings at various locations

Andy Brown reported 60 Shags roosting at Hunstanton Cliffs again this evening

Sunday 18 November 2012

Waxwing kicks off the day!!!

I was up early this morning – it was very frosty and it took ages to defrost the car. I could see that it was going to be a beautiful day with glimmers of sunshine starting to appear from the horizon. I was torn between going to Thetford, in hope that the Black-bellied Dipper would reappear or to head East to take another look at the Surf Scoter in better light. As it happens neither birds appeared today and neither did the Rose-coloured Starling at Northrepps! I made the decision to head East which was the right choice.

As I started to drive along the A148 from the Knight's Hill roundabout, the light was incredibly beautiful – shimmers of yellow sunlight appeared through the mist and silhouetted hedges and trees created a stunning scene. I pulled off the road along a single track, dead end road (the first one off the A148) to stop to take a picture. I crossed the road to take a few pictures and then returned to the car. I then turned behind where I had parked to watch several goldfinches in a tree and also some greenfinches. I then spotted a much larger bird sitting on a oak tree - a Waxwing silhouetted against a perfect blue sky – Wow! I was so excited to find my first WAXWING of the autumn (7.45am)!!! What an excellent start to the day! I couldn't really get close enough to photograph this bird well, but got a half decent shot. The bird flew across to the hawthorn berries to feed – quite unusual to watch a single bird, I couldn't find any more though. I also found two bramblings and a mistle thrush sitting in a tree.

I continued along the A148, through Holt and on to Weybourne. I parked up by the cemetery and walked along the track by the windmill down to the coastguard cottages and then walked east. It really was a spectacular day, the light was just beautiful. The sea looked amazing and I just knew I was going to have a good day, even if I didn't see many birds. I soon clocked several birds on the sea – a little gull flew east, at least 2 red-throated divers, including one sitting on the sea almost next to the shingle! A nice surprise of a Slavonian Grebe, guillemot x 2, a raft of 35 common scoter which I carefully looked through – they were all the same! Several skylarks overhead and also meadow pipits. 5 Snow Buntings appeared on the shingle beach just below me! Further along I had a male and a female colour-ringed Stonechat. Also 5 more little gulls (going west this time). I heard from other birders that the Richard's Pipit was pretty elusive due to the fact that it was being flushed continuously from walkers, birders, joggers etc, so I didn't bother going any further along the coast path. There were huge numbers of walkers and dogs around – the sun had bought everyone out in force today.

Chatting on the phone to Eddie we decided to meet up for lunch at Cley NWT Visitor Centre, but on arrival the whole carpark was full, so I managed to persuade Eddie to go to the Art Cafe at Glandford next to CleySpy. I had the same scrumptious soup and roll I had last time (I have counted it into my WW Points!). Eddie said the food was 'reasonable' – his favoured description of most food!

I wanted to go to Northrepps, just in case the Rose-coloured Starling was still about and Eddie decided to join me, so off we went. Parked up by the church and walked round the village. We did find a fairly big group of starlings sitting on telegraph wires, but no pale ones were seen.

Ended the day at Cromer Pier to count SHAGS and found 15. Several turnstones running around on the pier amongst loads of people! The shags were very difficult to count, as you couldn't walk right to the end of the pier, but we counted at least 15. Took some naff photos. It was tantalising smelling fish 'n' chips! Walked back up some steps to get back to the car, flushing blackbirds and a robin on route. Dropped Eddie off at Cley V.C. to retrieve his bike!

Back at home I watched X-Factor results – I wished I hadn't, couldn't believe that James and Ella were in the bottom two – something seriously wrong there.

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
Black-bellied Dipper at Thetford – no sign
Surf Scoter at Weybourne – no sign
Rose-coloured Starling at Northrepps – no sign
Great Northern Diver at Hockwold Washes
Long-tailed Duck x 4, Velvet Scoter, Water Pipit at Titchwell
Richard's Pipit, Slavonian Grebe at Weybourne
Taiga Bean Goose x 19, Eurasian White-fronted Geese x 37 at Cantley
Jack Snipe at Kelling
Hen Harrier at Strumpshaw
Firecrest in Norwich
Crossbills x 4 at Hunstanton
Great White Egret, 26 Common Cranes, Hen Harrier at Hickling
Snow Buntings and Waxwings at various locations

60 Shags roosted at Hunstanton Cliffs tonight, Andy Brown reported


MEGA - Asian Desert Warbler!!!

At Samphire Hoe Country Park, Kent

Saturday 17 November 2012

Hot Birding in Sheringham!

Got up late and still in pain from my throat/ear examination (see previous post) and to be honest I didn't even feel like leaving the house. I had to go to Cley anyway as my Swarovski 8.5 x 42 bins were now ready for me to collect from Cleyspy. Swarovski had put new casing on the bins, new strap and well, they looked like a brand new pair of bins!!! You would never have thought they were 8 years old! I am so pleased with these binoculars. I left my Leica's BN 8x32's with Cleyspy to send off to Leica and hopefully they will sort out/put right the lens's that don't have any coating on them – we'll see! Andrew who works in Cleyspy told me that they have had more 'hits' on their website via my blog than from google!!!!! How cool is that!!! On that note, I would just like to say a big thank you to all my readers – it means alot, that people seem to enjoy my ramblings!

News of a Surfscoter at Sheringham that Dave Appleton found, bleeped up on the pager, so off I went. I made the mistake of parking at Sheringham initially and started to walk west along the cliff top, when Phil advised me to walk back and park at Weybourne. I carried on for a while, but a second person said it was another 45 minutes walk, so I gave in and walked back. I wouldn't have minded the walk at all, but I had just grabbed scope, tripod and camera and hadn't realised how far it was. These items are heavy to carry over that distance. So walked back and re-parked the car at Weybourne and carried camera/rucksack and monopod. I parked at the cemetery by the windmill and walked along the track to the coastguard cottages and then walked east until I reached the National Trust sign for Sheringham Park. The Surf Scoter was approximately another few hundreds from here. I passed a male colour-ringed Stonechat on route – it had a red ring on left leg and a yellow and green one on the right leg. Joined a couple of other birders, one of whom kindly let me see the SURF SCOTER through his scope, just before if flew away further away and east. The bird was unsettled a few times by a helicopter searching for a missing person, low over the cliffs. I was lucky to see it when I did. A few birders walked a little further east to try to re-locate it. Another birder and myself picked up the bird again distantly. I then walked east to join Jacquie and Dave Bridges, Jim and another man who were also watching the bird with common scoter. Just before I reached them all I very luckily saw the Richard's Pipit bound from the path over the cliff top edge and out of sight at about 3.30pm.

By the time I got back to my car, it was dark – I really wish that evenings were light until 9pm 365 days! Getting dark at 4pm is really rubbish! Obviously I didn't get to see the Rose-coloured Starling.

I have just given my Sunday job away to another Therapy Assistant tomorrow. I feel emotionally drained from my hospital appointment and felt like I needed the whole weekend. So tomorrow I am free!

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
SURF SCOTER (juv.) found by Dave Appleton at Sheringham
Black Guillemot, Red-necked Grebe, Velvet Scoter at Sheringham
Richard's Pipit at Sheringham (and possibly a second at Weybourne)
Rose-coloured Starling at Northrepps
BLACK-BELLIED DIPPER – no sign, shame about that!
Black-throated Diver and Slavonian Grebe at Salthouse
Sacred Ibis at Salthouse
Water Pipit, 74 Little Gulls at Cley
Short-eared Owl at Gramborough, Salthouse
Firecrest at Blofield
Shoreklark, 3 Velvet Scoters at Holme

SURF SCOTER at Sheringham!

SURF SCOTER at Sheringham found by Dave Appleton - congratulations!!!

Friday 16 November 2012

Bird News etc!

After work this evening I flew over to Watton to Advanced Camera Services to pick up my repaired Canon 7D. The reason the camera was not working properly was due to the fact the rain deluge had corroded the battery compartment and this had to be replaced. The camera was also serviced. I am going to keep this camera for a spare and to use with the macro and other lenses.

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
BLACK-BELLIED DIPPER at Thetford still
Little Auk, Water Pipit at Cley
Snow Buntings x 100 at Holme
Black-throated Diver at Salthouse
Waxwings at Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Woodbastwick

Thursday 15 November 2012

RBA Weekly Round-Up 7th to 13th November

Diagnosed at last!

Trying to make light of this, although it's not funny in the slightest, I was slightest amused about the title of my condition!!!

I have had a painful left ear and throat for many months now. It's been so long, I can remember when it first started. I have had anti-biotics from the GP for suspected ear infection several times. I have seen consultants at the hospital and had an ultrasound scan, MRI Scan and X-ray. The X-ray was the last procedure I had and I received a letter saying that I would be sent an appointment in due course to discuss the results of the x-ray. Alot of weeks went by and I didn't receive the letter. The pain has increased over the last few weeks and was starting to worry me.  I phoned and nagged the ENT Clinic (Ear, Nose & Throat) and eventually got an appointment for this morning at 9am.

I sat in the waiting area at the clinic and was called in to see a different consultant. Well he wasn't a consultant, he introduced himself as a 'Speciality Doctor' working for the Consultant. This doctor was Portuguese and was well, simply brilliant. Within 2 minutes of me sitting in the chair and him carrying out an assessment (which was painful) he had diagnosed me! Now why didn't other consultants pick up on this, after all these months!!! To be fair I suppose, the condition I have, is very difficult to diagnose. The doctor told me that although he was working under a consultant here at the QEH, he was actually a Head and Neck Consultant in Portugal. I have a rare condition called 'Eagle Syndrome' (The condition was first described by Watt Weems Eagle in 1937). It is is so complicated to explain. I haven't really got my head round this yet myself. Currently googling information. But basically it is an elongated styloid process which is behind my left tonsil. "A group of symptoms caused by calcification of the stylohyoid ligament and an abnormally long styloid process. The styloid process is a bone at the base of the skull which is attached to muscles and ligaments connected to the throat and tongue. If this bone is too long then actions such as swallowing and turning the head can cause pain and discomfort" The doctor sent me for a pre-assessment with a nurse as I will have to have an operation, involving removing my left tonsil and the styloid and 10 days off work to recover. I was told it could be done in day surgery, but after finding out I have no one to take me to hospital and back and stay with me for 24 hours at least, they decided to change me to an in-patient. I was also prescribed Amitriptyline, which I collected from the pharmacy, but am not going to take until I found out more, as this is a serious drug. Not looking forward to this operation at all!

This is all scary stuff, especially as I expected my 9am appointment to be over within minutes after telling me that they hadn't found anything on the scans etc. I didn't get back to the ward to carry on with work until 11am! I felt very emotionally drained with this unexpected rollercoaster of information, procedures and operation information etc.
I wish I hadn't watched this: made me feel physically sick!

Bird News!

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
BLACK-BELLIED DIPPER still at Thetford – picture HERE
Little Auk at Cley, Salthouse and Kelling
Snow Buntings x 50 and Hen Harrier at Titchwell
Short-eared Owls x 4 at Haddiscoe
Water Pipit at Strumpshaw Fen
Shorelark and a 100 Snow Buntings at Holme
Waxwings in Norwich and Cley

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Bird News!

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
Red-breasted Flycatcher, Siberian Chiffchaff at Cley
Velvet Scoter, Scaup x 3 at Scolt Head Island
Velvet Scoter x 5, Snow Buntings x 4 at Hunstanton
Snow Buntings x 200 at Holme!!!
Ross's Goose, Barnacle Goose x 5, Short-eared Owl x 2
Snow Buntings x 8 at Snettisham
Rough-legged Buzzard at Holkham
Jack Snipe and Firecrest at Strumpshaw
Waxwings at various locations throughout Norfolk
Black-throated Diver and Hen Harrier at Blakeney
Shag x 55 roosted at Hunstanton Cliffs

Bird boxes installed around Norwich - Environment - Eastern Daily Press

Bird boxes installed around Norwich - Environment - Eastern Daily Press

"In Pursuit of the Ridiculous"

Rob Lambert explains "Twitching" to Matthew Oates, Naturalist and Ecologist with the National Trust – BBC Radio 4 – second part of a new five part series.

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Bird News!

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
Waxwings at various locations along the coast
Sacred Ibis at Cley
Ross's Goose, 6 Barnacle Geese, 2 White-fronted Geese, 4 Short-eared Owls, Hen Harrier at Haddiscoe
Red Kite at Burnham Overy Staithe
Snowbuntings x 110, Whooper Swans x 2, Short-eared Owl at Holme
Velvet Scoter x 4, Long-tailed Duck, Red-necked Grebe, Crossbilss x 6, Snow Buntings x 5 at Hunstanton
Rough-legged Buzzard at Holkham
Short-eared Owl at Holkham
Short-eared Owl x 4 at Chedgrave
Jack Snipe, Yellow-legged Gull, Med. Gull x 2 at Titchwell


The beginning of a new me. I decided enough was enough, tired of being overweight. Every time I look in the mirror I see someone else, not the Penny that was. I have tried to do Weight Watchers at home with the old 'points system' and failed. I decided I need to be more regimented and take it seriously. Paying out money every week and being weighed, makes you serious about dieting! So this evening I joined Weight Watchers. It now works on the 'Pro Points System' which is similar to the old system really. I have been allocated 26 Pro Points per day and everyone gets 49 on top of that per week. Just to give you an idea fish and chips is 30 Pro Points – so being clever with the points, you could still have fish and chips each week! No more cheese scones from Cley VC! I will report each week how much I have lost. By Spring next year a new Penny will emerge, hopefully!

Monday 12 November 2012

Richard Hammond's Miracles Of Nature

Fascinating three part documentary series

Bird News etc!

I am doing the early shifts this week, so got home at a decent time and was intending to sort emails and add some pictures to blog, but I made the fatal mistake of having a quick nap. I woke up at 9.30pm!!!

Main Highlights in Norfolk
Waxwings at various locations
Snowbuntings x 36, 6 Twite, Water Pipit at Cley
Bewick's Swans x 3 at Thornham
Water Pipit x 2 at Strumpshaw Fen
Shorelark at Holme
Water Pipit, Jack Snipe, Slavonian Grebe at Titchwell
Great White Egret, Ross's Goose at Breydon Water

Sunday 11 November 2012

Happy Birthday Vivien!!!

It was my baby sister's Birthday today. We had a lovely lunch at The Three Swallows at Cley. It was a good job we got there early as people were almost queueing for tables by 1pm. Cruised along the coast to Titchwell and walked to the beach and back via the East Trail. Vivien isn't a birder and I didn't want to spoil her day, so didn't really bird very much. Tons of waders on the beach including huge numbers of sanderling and turnstones feeding along the tide line, along with oystercatchers and a few knot and other waders. Big flock of golden plover on the fresh marsh with usual waders and huge flocks of starlings swirling in the setting sun. A couple of jays were seen on the East Trail with loads of coots on Patsy's Pool.

Went to visit our parents for the evening, where I found mother attempting to saw branches from a tree in the dark – told her her off, but there's no stopping her doing crazy things. She shouldn't be cutting trees down at her age anyway, never mind in the dark. She got a massive ticking off! Not that it made the slightest bit of difference! Mother was fascinated by an article in The Times today about blogging and how to create a successful blog – don't think I do too badly! It was interesting reading about bloggers who make an absolute fortune with advertising etc which made me think about looking into this more seriously. The trouble is I didn't want to spoil my blog with adverts, but it is very tempting financially. Anyone else made any money out of Adsense or similiar?

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
THREE OTTERS at Cley this morning!
Waxwings all along the coast today.
Ross's Goose at Haddiscoe
Black Brant, Great Northern Diver, Great Skua, 7 Lapland Buntings at Burnham Overy Staithe
Ring Ouzel, Velvet Scoter, Short-eared Owl, Caspian Gull at Cley
Long-tailed Duck x 4, Velvet Scoter, Scaup, Water Pipit at Titchwell
Snowbuntings x 30 at Caister
Jack Snipe, Water Pipit at Strumpshaw Fen
Short-eared Owl, Snowbunting, Velvet Scoter at Trimmingham
Crossbills x 11 at Stiffkey
Eurasian White-fronted Goose x 5, Water Pipit at Holkham
Woodlark, Snowbuntings x 70 at Holme

Some cracking pictures of the Shags at Hunstanton Cliffs this evening – see HERE

Saturday 10 November 2012

Hunstanton Cliffs

Raining nearly all day.

I started to count Shags at around 4pm (Hunstanton), but the 20+ that had gone to roost were disturbed by late walkers underneath the cliffs and then intermingled with others arriving! So my totals went completely to pot!!!! I would guess at least 30+ probably more like 50 to be honest, but who knows!!! Also I couldn't stay as long as I wanted, as there were several angry looking dogs about.

Main Highlights in Norfolk - RBA
Waxwings at various locations throughout the county
Snowbuntings at Holme and Cley
Hen Harriers at Thorpe Marshes
Jack Snipe at Strumpshaw
Water Pipits at Cley and Titchwell
Tundra Bean Goose at Choseley
SWIFT sp. at Hemsby
No sign of the Black-bellied Dipper at Thetford or the Red-backed Shrike at Weybourne

Friday 9 November 2012

The Amur Falcon Massacre!!!


Bird News!

Main Highlights in Norfolk - RBA
Red-backed Shrike at Weybourne
Water Pipit x 3, Jack Snipe, Bittern and 2 Otters at Strumpshaw Fen
Great Northern Diver x 2 at Cley
Hawfinch x 2 at Lynford Arboretum
Crossbills x 8 at Hunstanton
Jack Snipe, Slavonian Grebe, Red-necked Grebe,
Long-tailed Duck x 2, Velvet Scoter at Titchwell
Hen Harrier at Brancaster
Waxwings all along the coast

I received an email on Monday from the RSPB/Paramo informing me that if I purchased the Halacon Coat from Paramo I would receive a free Torres Gilet FREE (RRP £80) – now understandably I was pretty gutted, having already bought this coat and had just missed out on this fabulous freebie, so I emailed Paramo and I explained that I was upset that I had missed out on their fantastic offer, only days after I had purchased my jacket and they very, very kindly posted me a free Gilet anyway!!!! I received this today, so very pleased indeed!!!

I am also very pleased, because ITS FRIDAY!!! Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday 8 November 2012

Bird News!

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
Richard's Pipit at Holkham
Water Pipit and Jack Snipe at Strumpshaw Fen
Great White Egret at Horsey
Slavonian Grebe and Velvet Scoter at Titchwell
Barnacle Goose at Choseley
Black-throated Diver at Salthouse
Snowbuntings, Hen Harriers and Waxwings at various locations

Wednesday 7 November 2012

RBA Weekly Round-Up 31st Oct to 6th Nov

Bird News!

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
Ross's Goose at Horsey
Great White Egret at Waxham
Velvet Scoter at Hunstanton
Lapland Buntings x 2 at Holkham
Common Crane x 10 at Horsey
Caspian Gulls x 3, Yellow-leg Gulls x 4 at Aldeby
Barnacle Geese x 2 at Choseley
Hen Harrier x 3 at Stiffkey
Lots of Waxwings at various locations along the coast
Snowbuntings and Crossbills at Holme and Hunstanton

Huge numbers of waxwings through Norfolk today with  a flock of 30 being seen at Snettisham alone!!! On the subject of Waxwings, this youtube film of a Waxwing feeding on an apple from young Henry Hyndman's  hands on Fair Isle is just so lovely!

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Bird News!

Went to a Jamie Oliver Party at Sarah's house this evening. Not really into J.O., but it was lovely spending quality time with the girls from work and catching up with Lesley who has recently retired. Thanks to Sarah and Claire and everyone else for a lovely evening.

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
DIPPER at Thetford
Hoopoe at Old Hunstanton
Jacksnipe at Strumpshaw Fen
Black-throated Diver, Long-tailed Duck x 2, Lapland Bunting x 4, Water Pipit x 3 at Cley
Little Auk, Great Skua at Scratby
Black-throated Diver, Slavonian Grebe, Long-tailed Duck x 3 at Titchwell
Ross's Goose at Waxham
Great Northern Diver at Holkham
Ferruginous Duck at Welney WWT

Rarely-seen sea bird flocks to Norfolk - News - Eastern Daily Press

As I was the only person counting these Shags on Sunday evening, I presume my count of 112 Shags has been published incorrectly!

Rarely-seen sea bird flocks to Norfolk - News - Eastern Daily Press

Hurricane Sandy Blows Migrating Birds Off Track!

Monday 5 November 2012

Bird News!

I wish I hadn't bothered telling my work colleagues today about the record number of Shags I recorded at Hunstanton last night – it only resulted in fits of giggles, uncontrollable hysteria and silly behaviour all round! Oh well at least I made people laugh this morning! One particular lady was laughing so much, her mascara ran and another had to get tissues to mop up the tears rolling down her cheeks! I ended up laughing just as much as them! Well, they shouldn't have made the fatal mistake of asking how my holiday was and asking 'did I see any good birds?'!!!! They only ask to be polite bless them and I know they hope very much that I don't run on tooooo much about birds I have seen – its dead boring to non-birders, all this bird talk. One day though, maybe, possibly, one of them might just get hooked!

I had a lovely surprise today when a lady I used to work with at the Lynn News joined us this morning. I worked alongside her for seven years and have not seen her for a long time. She is now training as Occupational Therapy Student and will be working with us on placement for six weeks.

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
Waxwings all along the coast
Sacred Ibis at Salthouse
Ross's Goose at Waxham
2 Long-tailed Ducks at Titchwell RSPB
2 Black Redstarts at Hunstanton
Velvet Scoter and Short-eared Owl at Hopton-on-Sea
Ferruginous Duck at Welney WWT
2 Jack Snipe, 4 Water Pipits at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
2 Caspian Gulls, 6 Yellow-legged Gulls, 3 Water Pipits at Cley
Great Northern Diver at Holme
Great Northern Diver at Hemsby
Velvet Scoter, Puffin, 3 Shags at Walcott
Short-eared Owl at Burnham Overy Staithe

Andy Brown recorded 40 Shags roosting at Hunstanton Cliffs this evening.

Sunday 4 November 2012

112 Shags at Hunstanton Cliffs!!!


A dull, rainy and uninspiring day. I started off at Hunstanton Cliffs to see if any of the Shags that roosted last night had left the cliffs yet, I could only see three distantly. The incoming tide was lapping the rocks at the base of the cliffs, so it was not possible to walk along the beach. There were good numbers of turnstone feeding along the shore, one fulmar and several blackbirds in the sea buckthorn. Further along the promenade there were 30+ turnstone huddled together on the pebbly beach with a solitary sanderling amongst them at the water's edge. Every time a wave splashed across them they scurried a few inches away to drier ground, re-positioned themselves and then tucked their heads under their wings to settle again. Spent quite a long time here, photographing these magical birds. Walking back along the cliff top gardens I had a surprise of a little egret flying east over the bowling green at 8.45am! A few blackbirds sitting looking cold in bushes and three house sparrows were having a scrap with two pied wagtails on a roof top!

One redwing at Beach Road, Holme. Stopped at Choseley to see if any of the bramblings remained – there were a good number approximately 50+ but nowhere near as many as yesterday. Thousands of pinkfeet filled the skies east of the drying barns.

I then went to a friend's house at Brancaster to view their leucistic female Blackbird. The bird was hopping about in their garden and was very striking indeed! A mostly white bird with hints of black and a yellow beak. It only allowed me a few initially photographs and didn't return again whilst I was there. This was the most exciting bird in my holiday! The blackbird has been in their garden since about Wednesday last week. See HERE for information on leucistic and albino birds.

Titchwell RSPB for lunch. It was pouring with rain and looked set for the rest of the day, so I decided the best thing to do was to sit in a hide somewhere. I spent nearly three hours in the hides at  Holme Marsh Reserve and only saw 2 marsh harriers, 1 little grebe, a pheasant, mallard, teal and blackbirds. I was so bored I almost went home early. I decided I would make the effort to count the shags coming in to roost this evening.

As it was raining, I broke all rules and drove down past the Sailing Club at Hunstanton, along the prom to the furthest point you can drive at the base of the cliffs. Only sailing club members are supposed to drive along that section! I couldn't be bothered to walk all the way down the flights of steps in the rain and it was freezing cold aswell. I sat in my car and could see shags gathering on the sea ready to fly in to roost on the cliffs. I could only count just over 30 initially and at that stage presumed my count would be far less, than the 41 I saw last night. I left the warmth of my car and got ready for the big count. Minutes later more shags appeared and then took off and flew to the east side of the cliffs, I counted 47. I thought this was it, but they kept appearing, some flew in from far out to sea and a whole line of them came from the west!!! I kept counting until I couldn't see any more and the staggering result was 112 Shags flew in to roost on the cliffs!!! I just couldn't believe that I had seen this many! This a record count for Norfolk I have found out this evening, so I am over the moon about this. What a fabulous way to end my holiday!

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
Waxwings at various locations along the coast
Lapland Bunting and 20 Snowbunting at Salthouse
Richard's Pipit at West Runton
60 Snowbuntings at Holme
5 Long-tailed Ducks, 2 Slavonian Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Velvet Scoter at Titchwell
Water Pipit at Strumpshaw
Sooty Shearwater at Cley
Rough-legged Buzzard at North Wootton
112 Shags at Hunstanton Cliffs

Update: 83 Shags at Cromer Pier this evening, see HERE


Saturday 3 November 2012

A Top Draw Day!!!

An unexpected day – filled with birds, lunch with a celeb, awesome afternoon and an incredible evening!!!

"Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin........."

Titchwell RSPB
Firstly it was cold, really cold this morning. I decided that I was going to see lots of birds today – not looking for any more rares – lets face it, 'autumn' migration is over.  I have accepted that we are now into winter birding, live with it, love it and embrace it! As I walked along the main bank I saw two strikingly pretty Redpolls land in the trees by the Island hide, they immediately took off again and followed the bank seaward – nothing more than 'common' but a nice start to the day. A Cettis's Warbler burst a few notes. The water seemed quite high on the fresh marsh and I couldn't see anything too exciting – there were a couple of pintail and a grey heron on the pool west of the main bank. But the sea was exciting! There were quite a few birders seawatching including Ray Kimber, Tony Gray et al. Birds seen from 9am until just after midday on the sea were:

4 Red-necked Grebes
5 Slavonian Grebes
4 Great Crested Grebes
5 Red-breasted Mergansers
1 Red-throated Diver
5 Long-tailed Ducks
4 Eider
9 Golden Eye
1 Velvet Scoter
21 Common Scoter
4 Gannets
6 Brent Geese
1 Shag
1 Guillemot
1 Razorbill

On the shore there were several oystercatchers, turnstone, sanderling, 8 knot, 1 curlew and 12 Snowbuntings on the strand line. A herring gull wore a yellow ring 2Y2B on left leg and a small silver metal ring on the right leg. A Red Kite flew directly over our heads west at 11.25am! It started to rain – they didn't forecast that! It was supposed to be sunshine for most of the day! It rained pretty hard, tested the new coat out anyway. A birder told me he had a 100+ bramblings at Choseley earlier this morning! I trudged back to the carparks, dumped all my gear in the car and then came back to have lunch in the 'Feeding Station'. I ordered cheese and onion potato skins, coleslaw, salad and a cup of tea. It was nice to sit in the warm and enjoy some good food. Mark Avery was signing his books today, both at Cley Visitor Centre and here at Titchwell, which I had completely forgotten about, otherwise I would have plugged the events for him yesterday. While I was having my lunch, Mark Avery walked into the Feeding station and came to sit at my table for his lunch. He only sat there because there were no other vacant seats though! We chatted briefly before Mark went into the shop to sign his books 'Fighting for Birds'. I left Titchwell just after 1pm.

Choseley Drying Barns
Along the road up to the barns there were 12 red-legged partridges along the verge. In a ploughed field I stopped to count 132 Lapwing mixed in with loads of woodpigeons and a few curlew and a marsh harrier flew across the road. Passing the drying barns in the hedgerows either side of the steep decline, tons of finches exploded in all directions! I parked the car up in the next field entrance and spent a couple of hours here. There were at least 200+ Bramblings!!! A huge flock – I can't remember even seeing a flock this big - they were just magical to watch and the sun was now out, which showed off their plumage beautifully. Mixed in with this huge flock of bramblings were linnets, chaffinches, greenfinches, one bullfinch and a yellowhammer. There were several robins and blackbirds about too. I spent a long time here, trying to photograph the bramblings, which proved very difficult indeed. Every time a car drove passed, the whole flock flew up, they were very nervous. The only potentially brilliant picture I could have had, was timed with my sister trying to ring me! I did get a few record shots though.

Hunstanton Cliffs
Parked near to the bowling green and then walked down the steps by the cafe to the rock pool beach below the cliffs. I walked close to the sea's edge, so I could view as much as the cliffs as possible. I had come here to attempt to see the incredible numbers of Shags that have been seen flying in every evening to roost on the cliffs recently. Andy Brown who has been monitoring them, said that they were gathering close to the sea's edge and then just as it turned dark, they fly to the cliffs to roost. I was not disappointed! There was another birder with scope standing a bit further away, I walked across to join them. The birder was here on holiday with his wife and small daughter and this was the final day of their holiday. The man had been told about the shags roosting here by Tony (volunteer at Titchwell). I was so pleased for him as he was in awe, (as I was) at the incredible numbers here. Lots of Shags were gathering on the sea, fairly close in. It was frustratingly difficult to count them in the failing light. Suddenly they took off and it was so exciting when we realised that they were heading straight for us! As they flew we were able to count 41 Shags coming into the cliffs to roost! They continued to fly towards us and as they neared, they spread out filling the air space and sailed right over our heads! They looked like pterodactyls flying over in the darkness!!! This spectacle was the icing on the cake to a fantastic day's birding.

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
Richard's Pipit at West Runton
Little Auk, Velvet Scoter at Cley
Black Redstarts at Hemsby, Salle and Heacham
Waxwings at various locations along the coast
15 Cranes and 2 Velvet Scoter at Waxham
White-rumped Sandpiper at Cley
Ring Ouzel and Hen Harrier at Warham
40 Snowbuntings at Holme
Water Pipit at Strumpshaw


Friday 2 November 2012

Bird News!

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
Great White Egret at Bale
White-rumped Sandpiper at Cley
Common Crane x 2 at Burnham Thorpe
Richard's Pipit at West Runton
Snowbuntings at Hunstanton and Holme 
Waxwings x 2 at Strumpshaw
Hen Harriers x 5 Warham Greens
Long-tailed Duck at Salthouse
Great Grey Shrike flew SW over Holme NWT
Great White Egret at Horsey Mere
Water Pipit at Strumpshaw

Ben Lewis took a stunning picture of an OTTER at Strumpshaw.

75 Shags roosted at Cromer Pier and 37 roosted at Hunstanton Cliffs this evening!

A friend this very kindly phoned me this evening to say they have an albino Blackbird in their garden and I am welcome to go and photograph it tomorrow – so will take that offer up!

Father's Birthday Celebrations!

I was up very early this morning, making a birthday card for father. Why I leave everything to the last minute, I'll never know! I decided to make the card quite big, as father can't see so well nowadays. The front of the card was a picture of a kingfisher I took recently and the back was of a sunset over Hunstanton Cliffs. Here is the card:

I picked up my sister Lucy (youngest sister Vivien at work today) and arrived at Holme mid morning. After father had opened his presents, I took mother to Hunstanton to get some groceries and then we all had a fish 'n' chip lunch, followed by lemon tart – all good for the waistline! Father and I both had an afternoon nap, whilst mother and Lucy were chattering away in the dining room. Sang Happy Birthday with coffee cake and candles later and now back home. I think he enjoyed his birthday, he was smiling more than usual, which was good. He refused all offers to be taken out and said he just wanted a quiet day at home. Well he got the day at home, but with three females in the house, it wasn't exactly quiet!!!

Thursday 1 November 2012

105 Shags in Norfolk!!!

71 Shags roosted at Cromer Pier and 34 at Hunstanton Cliffs this evening!!! See HERE and HERE

Miss Money Penny!

I had another extravagant day. Anyone would think I have won the lottery the amount of pennies I have been spending recently! I surely must be one of Cleyspy's best customers! I bought the secondhand Swaroski 8.5x42 EL's that I looked at recently. I haven't actually got them yet though as they are being sent off to see if I can get something updated on them. I spent awhile comparing them properly with the new 8x32 EL's and the 8x42 SLC's and I still preferred the secondhand ones, they just simply seemed clearer in poor light. Cleyspy will send the Leica's off for me when I get the new bins back and we'll see what Leica will do for their 30 year warranty – will keep you all posted on that. I really like all the staff at Cleyspy they have always been so helpful and take the time to advise and assist you, nothing is too much trouble. My spending spree had now officially stopped and I will have to work very hard throughout the winter months doing bank shifts to keep the bank account healthy!

Went to lunch at the 'Art Cafe' a few yards from Cleyspy - the best cafe ever, see my review in previous post.

Spent the afternoon birding, but pretty dire really. Walsey Hills produced a chiffchaff, robin, coal tit and heard a bullfinch calling.

Dauke's Hide NWT – slightly better here, did see one of the White-rumped Sandpipers and also barn owl, marsh harrier, 2 ringed plovers, 1 chiffchaff (on reeds), 14 pied wagtails, few dunlin, 2 avocets, wigeon, teal, brent geese (on route to hide) and a massive starling flock.

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
White-rumped Sandpiper at Cley
Great Grey Shrike and Black Redstart at Snettisham Coastal Park
Shorelark at Salthouse
Black Redstart at Waxham and Heacham
Waxwings and Snowbuntings at various locations along the coast
Black Guillemot, 2 Little Auks and Red-necked Grebe at Sheringham
Richard's Pipit Kelling
Yellow-browed Warbler at Wells 
Red-necked Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, Great Northern Diver, 4 Long-tailed Ducks and Velvet Scoter at Titchwell
Hen Harriers at Stiffkey and Horsey
Night Heron - unconfirmed report this evening    


Review of the 'Art Cafe' at Glandford!

The best cafe I have been to in Norfolk!

But for you carnivores its vegetarian, so no bacon butties I'm afraid!

The exterior of the Art Cafe is painted and presented beautifully, but for some reason I have never been enticed inside. It's always appeared a bit lifeless when I have driven past it, as though there were no customers. The reason for this I realised is because the front part of the interior is the arts and crafts area, so you wouldn't see the cafe and customers until you opened the door! Maybe this should be reversed? As they say 'don't judge a book by its cover'. As you walk through the door you are surrounded by contemporary arts, crafts and beautiful creations for sale. A huge rocking horse is suspended on the one of the beams at the far end. Several different shaped tables and colourfully painted chairs seat a good number of people in the cafe area. A piano is also situated at the far end where they hold free concerts, monthly before lunch – see the website for details. A wood burning stove adds to the very warm and relaxed atmosphere and jazz music was playing at a comfortable volume. I just knew the food was going to be scrumptious! I ordered sweet potato and ginger soup with granary bread. This was the best soup and bread I have ever eaten anywhere! I could have easily ordered more. The staff were all very efficient and looked professional and unflustered. I had no idea until I studied the menu that this cafe was purely vegetarian which for me was fabulous news. The soup was priced at £4.25 which for the quality was very reasonably priced. The menu is changed every couple of weeks I was told and they cater for special dietary requirements if requested. All the main course meals I saw being served looked amazing. This will be my new lunch venue when I don't have sandwiches. I can't wait to go back again. Highly recommended!

Also note that Cleyspy is a few yards from the Art Cafe.