Ring RARE BIRD ALERT with your sightings to: 01603 456789 or Hotline: 0207 0382820 or Text: 07520 634324
All Bird News & Megas via The Rare Bird Alert Website – Subscribe To RBA For Detailed News & Much More!

OVER ELEVEN MILLION VIEWS! If you would like to advertise here, please contact me at []

Tuesday 30 April 2013

Guidelines for Reporting Rare Breeding Birds

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
White Stork x 2 at Great Yarmouth
Spoonbill at Berney Marshes RSPB
Woodchat Shrike at Barton Bendish
Red-crested Pochard, White Wagtail, Long-tailed Duck at Tichwell RSPB
BLACK KITE, Whinchat, Garganey at Burnham Norton (yesterday)
Spoonbill x 2 at Cley

Monday 29 April 2013

Bee Deaths: EU to Ban Neonicotinoid Pesticides

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
BLACK KITE flew west over Brancaster
Spoonbill, Blue-headed Wagtails x 2, Whinchat at Cley
Woodchat Shrike at Barton Bendish
Short-eared Owl at Hardwick
White Stork at Aylsham
Yellow Wagtails x 317 roosted at Burgh Castle!!!
Crossbills x 3 flew south over Hunstanton Cliffs
Black Redstart and Redstart at Holme NOA

Also see HERE for migration passage at Hunstanton Cliffs.

Sunday 28 April 2013

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Whinchat at Thetford
Ring Ouzel at Blakeney
Blue-headed Wagtails x 2 at Cley
Short-eared Owl, White Stork at Breydon Water
Firecrest, White Stork at Great Yarmouth
Woodchat Shrike remains at Barton Bendish
Dotterel x 2 at Ringstead
Redstarts x 2 at Holme NOA

Also see HERE for migration passage at Hunstanton Cliffs.

Bee campaigners march on Parliament

Malta calls in army to control controversial hunting season

Saturday 27 April 2013

Burnham Norton and Holme

 Burnham Overy Staithe Windmill.

A moody day, with black clouds one minute and brilliant sunshine the next. It was very chilly with the north winds.

Whilst ironing this morning (exciting stuff) I was trying to decide where to go birding this afternoon – I wanted to go somewhere different and decided that Burnham Norton would be quite nice. This area is good for yellow wags if there are cattle on the marshes and it would be a change from my usual haunts. Also there hasn't been any news out from here for ages. Just before I left home, news came on the pager for a male Montagu's Harrier between Burnham Norton and Burnham Overy!

 Jackdaw nesting in the chimney pots of the cottage by the carpark.

It was a beautiful drive on route and as I pulled up into the carpark at Burnham Norton there was a birder looking for the Montagu's Harrier. 2 mistle thrushes on the marsh and lots of hirundines whizzing about. I walked the whole circular walk along the marshes and then up onto the sea bank and back to the car. Heard a sedge warbler and cettis's warbler singing. Saw a Whitethroat which I attempted to photograph with poor shots. At least 20+ avocets on the pools, along with shoveler, shelducks, teal, mallard, black-tailed godwits, redshanks, oystercatchers, canada geese, greylags, and a few pied wagtails. A few marsh harriers were floating around and at least 3 little egrets and 1 grey heron. A reed bunting bombed over the path towards the end of my walk. Jackdaws nesting in the chimney pots of the stone cottage adjacent to the carpark. I had the briefest view of what looked good for a Montagu's Harrier just before I left. The bird was over the fields along the back road that I was just about to drive along – I searched in vain. Parked the car up in a field entrance and waited for the harrier to appear again, but only saw a kestrel, lapwings, 2 grey partridges, pheasants and hares boxing.

 Common Whitethroat at Burnham Norton.

Water Dock at Burnham Norton.

Holme Marsh Reserve – Very little seen: little grebe, greylags, cettis's warbler heard, teal, mallard, gadwall, chaffinch. That was about it really. Went to visit my parents before going home.

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Wood Sandpiper x 2 at Rush Hill Scrape, Hickling Broad NWT
Woodchat Shrike at Barton Bendish
Whinchat at Breydon Water
Ring Ouzel x 2 at Northrepps
Little Gull x 2, Red-crested Pochard at Titchwell RSPB
Whinchat at Thetford
Montagu's Harrier at Burnham Norton
White Stork at Great Yarmouth
Whinchat at Gramborough Hill

Friday 26 April 2013

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Nightingale at Whitlingham Country Park
Woodchat Shrike at Barton Bendish
Purple Heron at Ormesby St Margaret
Osprey at Thorpe Marshes, Haddiscoe
Osprey at Narborough
Purple Heron at Thetford
Little Gull x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Spoonbill, Garganey x 2, Blue-headed Wagtail at Cley
Garganey at Strumpshaw Fen
White Stork x 2, Whinchat x 2 at Great Yarmouth

Other Bird News: ROCK THRUSH remains at Spurn.

This evening, I have been a busy bee, making a camouflage cover for my camera lens – its not too bad at all, even though I say so myself!

Thursday 25 April 2013

Roydon Common NWT

 Roe Deer at dusk, Roydon Common.

Had a nice evening at Roydon Common after work. A lovely yellowhammer sat singing on a gorse bush along with a linnet. Found a Dor Beetle (geotrupes stercorarius) crawling across the sandy path. A Cuckoo called distantly across the heather, which brought a smile to my face – my first this spring and managed to find it sitting in a birch tree. Also saw a common buzzard soaring over the ridge, kestrel, barn owl hunting, pair of jays, carrion crows and 5 roe deers. A flock of linnets and goldfinches also in a tree.

As I walked back, a fox charged through the heather, across my path and off into the undergrowth – it was so close I could hear it panting! The fox flushed a snipe out for me too which was an added bonus!

MEGA!!! ROCK THRUSH!!! at Spurn!!!

ROCK THRUSH (fem.) at Spurn today!

Discussion and pictures HERE Will it hang on for a second day?
Good Luck to those hoping it stays until tomorrow!

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
White Storks x 2 at Great Yarmouth
Whimbrel x 112, White Wagtail at Breydon Water
Ring Ouzel x 2 at Northrepps
SERIN flew over Hunstanton Cliffs (G.H.)
Mealy Redpoll x 5 at Snettisham Coastal Park
Ring Ouzels x 6 at Friary Hills NT, Blakeney
CITRINE WAGTAIL at Kelling Water Meadows (and seen at the Eye Field, Cley)
WOODCHAT SHRIKE at Barton Bendish
Spoonbill, Blue-headed Wagtail at Cley
Redstart at Snettisham Coastal Park
Great White Egret at Welney WWT
Ring Ouzels x 3, Firecrest, Whinchats x 2 at Holme
Osprey at West Acre Trout Farm
Waxwings x 2 at Langham
Whimbrel x 12 at Acle
Black Tern x 5, Arctic Tern at Barton Broad
Whimbrel x 4 at Roydon Common
Hobby at Gramborough Hill, Salthouse

Other News: a ROCK THRUSH (fem.) at Spurn Point today! Discussion and pictures HERE

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Spoonbill, Red-breasted Merganser at Cley
White Stork x 2, Whimbrel x 28, Yellow Wagtail x 3 at Breydon Water
Black Redstart at Great Yarmouth
Common Cranes x 2 at Thorpe Marshes, Haddiscoe
Short-eared Owl at Loddon

Another short list!

Monday 22 April 2013

Norfolk Bird News etc!

Main Highlights – RBA
Osprey at Wormegay
Whimbrel x 2 at Holme
Wood Warbler at Blickling Hall NT

A very short list for April, even for a Monday!

Picture of the new viewing platform at Holme Bird Observatory on the front page of their website HERE – looks good!

I escaped this evening after work and went birding at Holme.  A cold evening and no sun, but a few birds seen including a male Ring Ouzel in a horse paddock (very distant and not photographable!), couple of marsh harriers, chiffchaffs calling, cettis's warber singing, male blackcap and lots of hirundines late in the evening around 8pm.

Went to visit my parents for awhile. Father had got his shorts on again and he made me feel cold, as its not exactly hot this evening. Spent some time as I usually do, attempting to encourage my father to carry on with life and suggested help with all kinds of things that need sorting – but the only reply I got was 'NO', 'NO' and 'NO' etc – the most stubborn man I have ever come across! I love him dearly, but he is impossible and gets worse with age!

Drove home via Chapel Bank at Old Hunstanton in search of owls, but none seen. It was raining steadily all the way back.

Sunday 21 April 2013

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Firecrest, Redstart (fem.) at Snettisham Coastal Park
Ring Ouzel at Northrepps
Whinchat at Winterton
Pied Flycatcher at Hemsby
Bar-tailed Godwits x 10 at Hockwold Washes
Whinchat, Tree Pipit at Felbrigg Hall NT
Whinchat at Tichwell RSPB
Great White Egret at Bowthorpe
Glaucous Gull at West Runton
Great White Egret at East Dereham
Redstart at Norwich
Waxwings x 29 at Taverham
Black Redstart, Redstart, Tree Pipit, Firecrest, Ring Ouzel at Holme
Slavonian Grebe at Filby Broad
Tree Pipit x 7, Crossbill x 2 at Hunstanton Cliffs
Arctic Tern at Rockland Broad
White Storks x 2 at Acle
Redstarts x 2 at Holkham

Migration Watch at Hunstanton Cliffs this morning HERE.

I had my first Brimstone of the year in the hospital grounds this morning at work. A beautiful day whilst I worked until 9pm, but at least I didn't miss anything major this Sunday, thank goodness!

Saturday 20 April 2013

Cley and Salthouse

 Chiffchaff at Walsey Hills NOA.

A beautiful sunny day, but the east wind made it feel chilly.

Parked up at the Beach carpark at Salthouse and bumped into Julian B. and K. who had just returned from Gramborough Hill and seen very little of note.

Little Eye – a Yellow Wagtail flew west and a Wheatear was seen on the hill. A redshank posed and paraded in the pool of water at the base of the shingle bank.

Redshank at Little Eye, Salthouse.

Breaking all the rules, flying low over Cley NWT flushing all birds.

Walsey Hills NOA5 Blackcaps (4 fem. and 1 male), Bullfinch (heard), water rail calling, cettis's warbler calling, lots of Chiffchaffs and a heron flew over the carpark, which to me (smile) looked for a split second like a crane – funny really I was thinking this.

Chaffinch at Walsey Hills NOA.

Cley Visitor Centre NWT – whilst in here, several people suddenly rushed outside, so I followed suite and with others we watched 7 Common Cranes overhead making their way west at 11.10am!!! These had first been spotted at Northrepps this morning and then steadily made their way along the coast as far as Titchwell RSPB and then crossed 'The Wash' to the Lincolnshire coast. I ran to my car to get the camera but annoyingly the camera played up – it was black when I looked through the viewfinder and there was all sorts of funny messages coming up, when I eventually had the sense to turn the camera off and back on again, which then cleared it, the cranes were specs in the sky, so only achieved out of focus, distants shots. It was a real pity, as the cranes were directly overhead and would have made a spectacular picture.

 Common Cranes over Cley NWT Visitor Centre.

Cley Coastguards – lunch and a very long doze. I was going to walk Blakeney Point, but changed my mind – couldn't be bothered and felt in a very low mood.

Walsey Hills – Popped in here again just in case something more exciting had turned up, it hadn't.

Sewage works, CleyGrey Wagtail and 2 White Wagtails.

Gramborough Hill – Reed Bunting, meadow pipits and lots of hirundines hurtling through. 

Daukes Hide NWT2 Little Ringed Plovers, 3 Snipe right in front of the hide, 1 Pintail, 2 Marsh Harriers, good numbers of shelducks, avocets and lapwing. Also teal, pochard, gadwall, carrions crows, redshanks, pied wagtails and the highlight as I was leaving the hide at 8.30pm was a Spoonbill on Cricket Marsh.

 Snipe at Daukes Hide NWT.

 Lapwing at Daukes Hide, Cley NWT.


Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Sacred Ibises x 2, Arctic Terns x 11 at Breydon Water
Hobby at Colney Gravel Pits
White Wagtail x 8, Arctic Tern at Rush Hill Scrape, Hickling Broad NWT
Firecrest at Waxham
Ring Ouzel's x 2 (south of), Redstart at Walsey Hills NOA
Common Cranes x 7 seen at Northrepps, Cromer, Beeston, Kelling, Cley, Blakeney, Stiffkey, Burnham Norton, Brancaster Staithe, Titchwell (no sighting reported after Titchwell)
Redstart at Snettisham Coastal Park
White Wagtail at Snettisham
Great White Egret at Horsey
Whinchat, Common Crane, Hen Harrier at Titchwell RSPB
Garganey x 3 at Hockwold Washes
Ruddy Shelduck at Gressenhall
Ring Ouzels x 3, Redstart at Holme
Black Redstart at Great Yarmouth
Common Cranes x 2, Garganey x 2 at Welney WWT
Common Crane, Firecrest, Crossbills x 2 at Holme NOA

Migration Count at Hunstanton Cliffs this morning HERE

Other Bird News: not too far away, a Western Subalpine Warbler this evening at Gibraltar Point Nature Reserve.

Friday 19 April 2013

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
White Stork, Black Redstart x 2 at Great Yarmouth
Montagu's Harrier at Northrepps
Firecrest at Great Yarmouth
Bearded Tits x 2 flew over Overstrand
Arctic Tern x 2 at Whitlingham Country Park
Long-eared Owl, Firecrest, Tree Pipit, Redstart at Winterton
Slavonian Grebe at Filby Broad
White Stork x 2 at Berney Marshes RSPB
White Wagtail x 4 at Cley NWT
Arctic Tern x 3 at Hardley Flood
Common Cranes x 2, White Stork x 2 flew over Halvergate Island
Common Cranes x 3 flew over Bradwell
Ring Ouzel at Burgh Castle
Pied Flycatcher at Horsey
Garganey x 3 at Hickling Broad
Whinchat at Titchwell RSPB
Redstart at Shereford
Long-eared Owl at Hemsby
Osprey x 2 flew over West Winch on Tuesday
Pied Flycatcher, Firecrest at Wells Woods
Redstart, Whinchat x 2 at Gramborough Hill, Salthouse
Redstarts x 4 at Holme NWT and Ring Ouzel at Holme Marsh Reserve
Common Cranes x 2 at Welney WWT

Nice selection of birds at Holme Bird Observatory – see HERE

Also some lovely pictures of birds today HERE

My mother said she has never seen so many chiffchaffs as she did this morning, when out birding at Holme.

My bird of the day at work was a lovely male Blackcap with a great tit at the top of a fir tree right outside the window. Collared Doves, blackbirds and robins feeding on the grass below the window and several Chiffchaffs singing at lunchtime in the wood as I sat in my car.

Looking forward to birding tomorrow. Several things in life right now making me angry, cross, frustrated, sad and unhappy – caused by other people. I am going somewhere to escape most of the human race tomorrow – I need solitude, fresh air, blue skies, birds and the sea – all of these give me peace and happiness.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Thursday 18 April 2013

GREAT BUSTARD in Suffolk!!!

Lavenham, Suffolk!!!

Taken by Robert Rush, Farmer in Lavenham last night. Sadly not relocated today.


I lived in a cottage next to the church in Lavenham for many years, when I worked at The Lavenham Press. I know this village and area very well and recognise the field where the bird was taken. Lets hope it keeps going north and ends up in Norfolk. I predict the fields around Choseley Barns!

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Arctic Tern, Hobby, Whimbrel at Hunstanton Cliffs
Waxwing x 25 at Norwich
Arctic Tern at Bawburgh Lake
Arctic Tern x 18 at Whitlingham Country Park
Arctic Tern x 2 at Colney Gravel Pits
Garganey x 2 at Welney WWT
Dotterel, Lapland Bunting, Iceland Gull, Glaucous Gull at Scolt Head Island (on Tuesday)
White Stork at Great Yarmouth
Arctic Tern x 3 at Hardley Flood
Blue-headed Wagtail, White Wagtail x 7 at Salthouse
Spotted Flycatcher at Hemsby
Osprey at Sculthorpe (picture HERE)
Crossbill x 2, Tree Pipit x 4 at Hunstanton Cliffs
Blue-headed Wagtail and White Wagtails x 40! at Kelling Water Meadows
Arctic Tern x 2 at Wroxham Broad
Little Gull, Arctic Tern x 8 at Barton Broad

Migration Count at Hunstanton this morning HERE

Wednesday 17 April 2013

BIRD FAIR – 25th Anniversary Celebrations!!!

Friday 16th , Saturday 17th, Sunday 18th August 2013
Rutland Water Nature Reserve, Egleton, Rutland, LE15 8BT

RBA Weekly Round-Up 10th-16th April

Bird News in Norfolk!

Main Highlights – RBA
WHITE-TAILED EAGLE at Trimmingham (on Monday)
White Stork, Spoonbill, Hen Harrier at Breydon Water
Garganey x 3 at Burnham Overy Staithe
Bittern x 2 at Whitlingham Country Park
Ring Ouzels x 4 at Holme NWT
Firecrest at Wells Woods
White Wagtail at Salthouse
White Wagtail x 3, Continental Black-tailed Godwit (yesterday) at Cley
Jack Snipe, Water Pipit, White Wagtail x 5,
Pale-bellied Brent Goose x 3 at Cley
Rough-legged Buzzard at Horsey Gap
Common Cranes x 3, Hooded Crow, Hen Harrier x 2, Woodlark
at Winterton
Great White Egret at Holkham
Waxwings x 20 at Norwich
Firecrest at Beeston Common
Ring Ouzel x 3 at Sidestrand
Snow Bunting at Salthouse
Red-crested Pochard at Titchwell RSPB
ALPINE SWIFT at Lopham Fen
Waxwings x 7 at Bradwell
Blue-headed Wagtail at Waxham

Also via Facebook NARVOS: Black Tern at Pentney Gravel Pits this morning and Osprey flying south over West Acre (Ashley B.)

Another MASSIVE migration count at Hunstanton this morning, see HERE

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Bird News in Norfolk

Main Highlights – RBA
Glaucous Gull at Happisburgh
Serin (yesterday) at Happisburgh
Long-eared Owl, Ring Ouzels x 4, Purple Heron,
Rough-legged Buzzard at Winterton
Firecrest at Holme Bird Observatory
Redstarts x 2 at East Wretham Heath
Firecrests x 4 at Cley
Ring Ouzel at Wighton
Ring Ouzel x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Nightingale at Whitlingham Country Park
Firecrest, Bluethroat (singing on undercliff below golf course)
at Hopton-on-Sea
Ring Ouzels x 2 at Hunstanton
Waxwings x 30 at Norwich
Ring Ouzels x 3 at Kelling Water Meadows
Arctic Terns x 2 at Pentney Gravel Pits
Bean Geese x 2, Short-eared Owl at Snettisham RSPB

Monday 15 April 2013

Dawn 'til Dusk Hot Birding!

Konick Pony at Holme Marsh Reserve.

Incredible Migration at Hunstanton Cliffs
Gary Hibberd, Andy Brown, Chris Mills and Penny Clarke
6.30am until 10.30am

I struggled to get up this morning, but was determined to get out early. It was a beautiful sunny morning with a south westerly wind. I arrived at Hunstanton Cliff Top at just before 6.30am. The first bird I saw was a sparrowhawk zooming along the cliff top. I joined Andy Brown, Chris Mills and Gary Hibberd who had already been logging migration from 6am. It was an incredible morning indeed and very exciting. At times there were so many birds passing through we were unable to log them all! The light was perfect and it was magical watching tree sparrows, siskins, meadow pipits, yellow wagtails and hundreds of goldfinches bounding along the cliff top in all their beautiful colours against a perfect blue sky. The highlight was most definately 11 Ring Ouzels which we saw going overhead in three flocks (3, 4 and 4) – one flock of four flew directly over our heads, awesome!

Besides overhead migration we had a count of 17 Wheatears on the pitch 'n' putt along with at least 100+ meadow pipits feeding, pied wagtails, a red-legged partridge, starlings and woodpigeons. A tortoiseshell butterfly was also seen.

I stayed on an hour after the others (9.30-10.30) and continued to record, but the passage had slowed down considerably by the time I left at 10.30am.

Birds I personally logged were:

Greylag Goose – 2
Golden Plover – 19
Redshank – 2
Green Sandpiper – 1
Stock Dove – 1
Woodpigeon – 437
Collared Dove – 2
Skylark – 1
Sand Martin – 147
Swallow – 173
House Martin – 26
Tree Pipit – 4
Meadow Pipit – 156
Yellow Wagtail – 28
Pied Wagtail – 17
Ring Ouzel – 11
Blackbird – 1
Blue Tit – 1
Great Tit – 4
Magpie –3
Jackdaw – 26
Rook – 5
Carrion Crow – 8
Starling – 8
Sparrowhawk – 1
Tree Sparrow – 23
Chaffinch – 23
Brambling – 1
Greenfinch – 8
Goldfinch – 776
Siskin – 195
Linnet – 189
Redpoll sp. – 13
Reed Bunting – 4
Chiffchaff – 1
Mallard –  2
Sandwich Tern – 2  

The full account from 6am is here: 

Went to visit my parents at Holme briefly. My mother had been to Holme Marsh Reserve early morning and seen a Garganey, a couple of Yellow Wagtails and heard a Willow Warbler singing by the second hide.

Holme Marsh Reserve
Lots of hirundines passing through, but no sign of garganey or willow warbler. Several marsh harriers around, gadwall, little grebes x 3, tufted ducks, coots, teal, long-tailed tits and a couple of chiffchaffs.

Titchwell RSPB
Stopped here briefly, mainly to look at the sightings book, before continuing along the coast. A Lesser Redpoll was on the feeders which was nice and also a Brambling along with the usual chaffinches, greenfinches etc. I walked around the 'Fen Trail' where I heard my first Willow Warbler of the Spring and there were several Chiffchaffs around. Continued to walk around the 'East Trail' but didn't really see anything of particular note – apart from lots of hirundines, usual coots, teal, greylags, tufted duck etc on 'Patsy's Pool'. I sat on the seat overlooking a small flooded/pool next to the last screen overlooking Patsy's Pool – this looks a particularly good spot for a Citrine Wagtail! I didn't stop at the 'feeding station' for lunch as I would normally do, as I had already made some scrumptious egg and vege sausage sandwiches.

Gun Hill and Burnham Overy Dunes
I think it was about 3pm when I parked up in the layby just outside Burnham Overy – and although I felt tired from my early start, I felt excited about finding something good.

Along the hedge lined track, a party of long-tailed tits were flitting about. Lots of Swallows, Sand Martins and House Martins overhead, several Wheatears on the marsh  and large numbers of both meadow pipits and woodpigeons. Several skylarks singing high up in the skies and a couple of Marsh Harriers were seen. I saw 24 Wheatears altogether in this area (including Gun Hill). Also several blackbirds about. Good selection of birds on the pool east of the sea bank including several Avocets, tufted duck, mute swan, teal, coots, tufted ducks. At the end of the sea bank where the bushes are, I saw a couple of hedge sparrows dive under a bush trying to pretend they were something more exciting, but no other passerines here. I had a massive count of 93 Golden Plover in the field east of the path – they were were very difficult to count, after each re-count I found more, eventually giving up when I got to 93! 2 Yellow Wagtails bounded over my head. At Gun Hill there were at least 4 Wheatear and a nice male Stonechat perched on a stem. I sat and had a coffee and sandwich by the bushes on the seaward side of Gun Hill whilst watching a few chiffchaffs. Another 2 Yellow Wagtails flew over.

 Cormorants flying over Gun Hill, Burnham Overy Dunes.

Wheatears at Gun Hill, Burnham Overy Dunes.

I had planned to walk through the dunes and Holkham to catch the bus back to my car, but the time was running out to catch the last bus at 6pm, so had to re-trace my steps back to the car. On the way back I had 10 Yellow Wagtails feeding on the marsh not far from the farm gate (that you walk through) along with a couple of pied wagtails – they were beautiful to watch in the sunshine. Further along at the stile – on the field west of the main track I had a lovely selection of birds – amongst the huge numbers of woodpigeons, I could see Wheatears, blackbirds, 4 mistle thrushes and also close views of a pair of Bullfinches in the small oak by the ditch.

I spent ages stalking two Hares in a field and got really close to them, close enough for some decent pictures – the eye was crystal in my view finder! Hares are fascinating to watch – one of them was quite contented to just lounge in the long grass with his eyes closed whilst soaking up the sunshine and the other was busy feeding and was much more alert and soon cottoned on to the fact that I was not too far away and off they both ran. Luckily I got some shots before they escaped! Back at the car, 2 grey partridges were in the field on the other side of the road.

 Hares in evening sunshine at Burnham Overy.

Holme NWT
Parked up at the 5-bar gate, half way along the Firs Road. A Sparrowhawk flew out of the sea buckthorn. Cettis's Warbler singing. Bumped into Gary Hibberd who told me there had been around 20 Yellow Wagtails in the field with the Konik Ponies and about 12 Wheatears. When I looked in the same place, all the Yellow Wagtails had either moved on or retired for the night. I did count 8 Wheatears amongst the ponies though. I walked up to Gore Point, but didn't see anything of particularly note. A huge amount of hirundines, mostly swallows flew south, low over the marsh. Back at the car park area I could see a Barn Owl sitting on a post out in the middle of the marsh. I Met birder and photographer Bob Cobbold just before I left who told me something fascinating – he had seen 5 Red Kites around a week ago at Bacton all sitting on the ground – he said he had 'never seen five on the deck before'!!!

2 Tawny Owls sitting in a tree in a garden along the Firs Road as I left at 8.30pm and a few bats (pipistrelle I think) flying around. A Fox ran across the road at Chapel Bank, Old Hunstanton as I drove home to King's Lynn. I was so tired when I got home, I couldn't even write my blog!

Total number of Wheatears today: 49!

Bird News in Norfolk!

Main Highlights – RBA
Black Redstart, White Wagtail at Northrepps
Ring Ouzel, Med. Gull x 2, Garganey at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
Black Redstart, Yellow Wagtail at Hopton-on-Sea
Ring Ouzels x 11 flew over Hunstanton Cliffs
Redstart, Crossbill x 6 at Thetford
Ring Ouzel at Snettisham Coastal Park
Hen Harrier at Breydon Water
Grasshopper Warbler, Wheatear, Whitethroat at Denver Sluice
Black Redstart at Sheringham
Firecrests x 3 at Holme (HBO) and near NWT Pay Hut
Long-tailed Duck at Titchwell RSPB
Blue-headed Wagtail at Cley NWT
Black Redstart at West Somerton
Short-eared Owl x 3 at Winterton
Woodlark, Black Redstart at Sidestrand

Migration Bonanza!!!

11 Ring Ouzels at Hunstanton Cliffs - a glimpse of what I have seen this morning!!!! Thousands of birds passing through. 17 Wheatears on pitch and putt. Full update later.

Sunday 14 April 2013

Graham Clarke's Blog: Blue magic at Horsey Gap

Graham Clarke's Blog: Blue magic at Horsey Gap: I guess this will go down a 'red-letter' day, or better still 'red-flanked' day! I already had the first two Swallows of t...

Bird News in Norfolk!

Main Highlights – RBA
RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL (fem.) Firecrest, Hen Harrier at Horsey Gap
Garganey at Hockwold Washes
Ring Ouzel at Weybourne
Ring Ouzel x 2, Redstart, Black Redstart, Long-eared Owl x 2, Common Cranes x 2, Short-eared Owls x 5, Swift at Winterton
Iceland Gull at Sidestrand
Iceland Gull at Kelling
Iceland Gull at Titchwell RSPB
Ring Ouzel at West Runton
Ring Ouzel at Weybourne
Long-eared Owl at Gorleston
Firecrest at Walsey Hills NOA
Blue-headed Wagtail, White Wagtails x 2, Purple Sandpiper at Cley
Ring Ouzels x 2 at Bradwell
Waxwings x 2 at Sheringham
Waxwings x 19 at Thetford
Waxwing at Beeston Regis
Hawfinch at Gorleston
Black Redstart, Ring Ouzels x 2 at Holme
Ring Ouzel at Great Yarmouth
White Wagtail, Whimbrel, Whitethroat at Breydon Water
Little Gull at Barton Broad
Blackbirds x 5000 east over Cromer this evening!

WHAT A LIST!!! A very frustrating day to be working an 11 hour shift!

Finder of the Red-flanked Bluetail Graham Clarke's pictures HERE, blog write up HERE and video HERE
Looking forward to my day's holiday, birding tomorrow!

Saturday 13 April 2013

Spring Migrants Pour in at Holme!

Holme Marsh Reserve and Holme Dunes NWT
Holme Bird Observatory and Redwell Marsh NOA
An massively heart lifting day, with glorious sunshine and migrants flooding in on the south westerly winds. I can't remember the last time I saw Swallow, House Martin and Sand Martin all on the same day! Today was just fabulousSpring has Sprung!
Quick summary: Swallows, House Martins, Sand Martins, Ring Ouzel, Black Redstart, Redwings, 14 Yellow Wagtails, White Wagtail, Wheatears, Blackcap, Chiffchaffs, Common Buzzards, Water Rail, Cetti's Warbler, the list goes on........
It was a beautiful, sunny day and it was the first time since last year, that I didn't bother putting on my rain trousers automatically when I left the house. In fact it was so warm that I had to peel several layers off throughout the morning! Stopped to get newspapers for parents and then a bag of sticks at the farm house at the top of the Ringstead hill and delivered them. Father was in his shorts!!! I kindly pointed out that it was not that hot this morning!
Holme Marsh Reserve NWT
singing in the parking area.
Several teal on the flooded marsh just before the kissing gate to the first hide. Sat in the hide alone – gadwall, teal, mallards, coot, moorhen, wood pigeons, marsh harrier, robin, jackdaws etc. My mother had added three new cushions to her current collection and I was disappointed to see that two of them were on the floor of the hide in the dust. I don't quite understand why they were on the floor – if people don't want to use them, then just pile them up on the bench seat at one end, simples!
A lovely couple then joined me in the hide who came from Dersingham (nice to meet you) – they were pleased when I pointed out that the bird flying straight towards us was a stonking male Ring Ouzel at 10.20am. You know that moment when you have to duck to look under the hide flap to ID a bird quickly? This was one of those moments! Unfortunately we only saw this bird for seconds before it flew over the top of the hide, so no photos! My first 2 Swallows skimmed over the water at 10.30am. 2 Common Buzzards spiralling high in the blue skies along with 2 Marsh Harriers. A Water Rail ran across from a clump of reeds, just in front of the hide. I walked round to the second hide and watched 5 Common Buzzards high up in the thermals. 2 Sand Martins flew past. Cetti's Warbler singing, 2 more Swallows. Chiffchaff feeding at the bottom of the bullrushes in front of the hide, but obscured behind vegetation, so no pics. Good numbers of blackbirds around.
Walked back to my car where I saw Gary Hibbard, Holme NWT Warden who informed me that whilst I had been in the second hide, he had seen a Red Kite.
Holme Forestry NWT
Lots of blackbirds along the Firs approach road. Parked up by the 5-bar gate and had early lunch, then walked to the Forestry. Skylark on route and a Tortoiseshell and Peacock Butterfly also seen. On the large, short turfed grass there were two Wheatears, 12 Linnets, 2 Meadow Pipits and my first House Martin at 12.15pm. Other birds seen in this area: Bullfinch (heard only), reed bunting, kestrel, little egret, at least 3 Chiffchaffs, 2 more Sand Martins, another Swallow. Bumped into Connor, Billy and Andy B. which was great, not seen any of them for ages. Connor could not believe I hadn't seen the black redstart yet – ho hum! Stock Dove flew through. Several more chiffchaffs in the hawthorn bushes at the back of the paddocks as I walked towards the village carpark. I headed this way, as I was thinking about the citrine wagtail that occurred here last spring. Nothing in the carpark really, but a few blackbirds feeding in the grassy, seated area opposite the toilet block. Continued walking along the road past the reserves 'Firs Road' and in some rough ground I saw two Redwings and more blackbirds. A couple of lady birders informed me that they had seen the black redstart at 'Pepperpot' (blue house) a little while ago. There were several toads sitting on the road and also three together recently squashed – what a sad end! Maybe we could have a 'SLOW TOADS CROSSING' sign? I followed the river path from the bridge by 'Brook House' and flitting about near a pond in the horse paddock was a stunning White Wagtail – I was just about to fire the shutter on the camera when it flitted off, high up and away south! Another swallow was seen.

Wheatear at Holme NWT Forestry.
Redwell Marsh Hide NOA
7 Avocets, 1 Grey Heron, 4 Sand Martins, 13 House Martins, 2 Swallows, Shoveler, Teal, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe.
Continued walking along the river path and just by the standing caravan that was (now modern, wooden chalet with landscaped garden) was a red-legged partridge standing on bright green grass, backed by a clump of daffodils – that would have been a stunning picture if it hadn't sprinted off across the road! I walked back along the Firs Road to look for the black redstart at 'Pepperpot' but no luck. A couple of houses down at 'Seabank' there was a fantastic collection of birds on the well stocked up bird table and feeders including a male Blackcap feeding on the fatballs! Also goldfinches, 2 greenfinches, robin, blue tit, great tit, hedgesparrow, chaffinches, blackbirds, pheasant. Continued to look for the black redstart around the payhut area, but no sign. As I stood leaning over the gate of 'The Saltings' house, a couple of people in a car stopped behind me to smile and say 'it was here this morning'....
Holme NWT and Holme Bird Observatory
Drove to the NOA carpark and had the second half of my lunch. The sun had disappeared, it was now dull and rain was imminent. My eyes were closing, I needed a nap. Had a lovely snooze — a magpie was making a racket right next to my car but soon disappeared when I awoke from my slumber. It felt alot colder when I got out of the car and the wind had picked up.
There are now two weirdly shaped, wooden type buildings adjacent to the NWT Firs House which I found out later are toilets!!! At last!!! But they are not open yet and I was told that they will be for NWT members only and for people paying to park for the beach. Bumped into Sophie, Warden at HBO just as she was leaving. We had a brief catch up, not seen her since 2012! The weather was pretty horrible now and didn't really see any birds of note here. Although there was a male pochard on the broadwater and 2 Swallows skimmed through. There is now a fantastic viewing platform with decking and chairs on the bank to the left of the observatory – brilliant for viewing over the marshes! I notice there has been quite a bit of clearing, pruning and coppicing work carried out since I last visited. Walked over to the beach, but the tide was out – lots of oystercatchers along the shore line. Walked through the pines and back to my car.
NWT Pay Hut
Back at the NWT pay hut I could see Connor's Nan photographing the Black Redstart – at last!!! It was now raining steadily. My first two pictures were naff and out of focus. Shortly after other birders disappeared, I positioned my car in adjacent to the short wooden posts, which the black redstart seemed to favour. With camera positioned on bean bag, I eventually got some frame filling shots which I was very pleased with. I spent at least an hour and a half here and was still watching this beautiful little bird at 6.50pm
! Then I had a lovely surprise – 5 Yellow Wagtails flew over! Also had 4 Sand Martins here.
Redwell Marsh Hide NOA
I decided to have a quick look in this hide again and saw several House Martins, Sand Martins and Swallows skimming over the water. 2 Mute Swans also landed in the pool. Just as I was about to leave at 7.30pm I had another 9 Yellow Wagtails fly over the pool magical end to the day! Popped in to visit parents briefly before driving home.

Toad along the path next to Redwell Marsh.

House Martin skimming over the pool at Redwell Marsh.