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Sunday 30 June 2013

Tigers in the Dunes!!!

Titchwell RSPB Reserve

I spent a wonderful day at this top reserve and didn't leave until just before 10pm!

Firstly it was extremely hot birding today, like REALLY HOT!!! Too hot to be out in the sun with no cover, but hey ho! After reading Warden, Paul Eele's fascinating account HERE of his recent count of 265 Dune Tiger Beetles at Titchwell, I was looking forward to finding some myself.

There were huge numbers of birds here today, hundreds of Black-tailed Godwits and Bar-tailed Godwits, Spotted Redshanks of which I counted 6 at least, Little Gulls, Common Terns including one with big fluffy chick, Little Terns, Sandwich Terns, Red-crested Pochards, Ringed Plover, flocks of Starlings swarming through the skies, Marsh Harriers, a juv. Chiffchaff, young Jays who were quite tame, Avocets, Redshanks, Knot, Oystercatchers, Lapwings, Cetti's Warbler and a Bittern flew over east. Also lots of cute ducklings around and loads of other birds! Swifts and Sand Martins flying over the bank, Reed Buntings singing on top of sueda and also Sedge and Reed Warblers.

I teamed up later on with John F. and Eddie M. to search for Dune Tiger Beetles! We walked along the main path and then headed west towards Thornham Point. On route Eddie informed John and I that he had split his trousers after walking up a dune – I was in stitches – made my day! Sorry Eddie but it did! John's jokes increased ten fold after this amusing event, as you can imagine! We had to walk as far as Thornham Point before I found some. I knew that if there were any, they would be in this particular spot, an area of shingle and sand at the far end of the sea buckthorn. I fondly remember my father photographing some in this exact spot, many years ago. My goodness, they moved like grease lightning! There were about 12 Dune Tiger Beetles all scurrying around and they were a real challenge to photograph, but managed to get some shots both with the 300f4 and Macro 100 f2.8 lens. John and Eddie walked on ahead of me whilst I got the macro lens out.

I walked back along the beach amongst the razor wreck and found a massive razor shell, which I wish I had picked up now, it was twice the size of the other shells! It was so hot, that I struggled even to walk back along the beach! Back at the 'Feeding Station' I joined John and Eddie for refreshments and I couldn't resist having a Magnum ice-cream, yummy!

I spent absolutely ages in the picnic area photographing a Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, bees, damselflies and other insects. Also a tame robin here who was in a very poor state – all of his neck feathers were missing on one side, maybe he had had a lucky escape!? Eddie and John had departed east. Went back to my car to have tea and a snooze.

Walked round the Fen Trail, loads of orchids out and also Ragged Robin. The star of the day was a exceptionally cute Water Vole who swam across the pool and then sat on the grass next to the board walk and proceeded to have a wash 'n' brush up right in front of me!!! Awesome! Unfortunately though, because of the angle of the fence I was unable to photograph this event! Managed also to get a photograph of a very noisy young Jay sitting in the nearby willow tree.

I spent the rest of the evening photographing Spotted Redshanks, Black-tailed Godwits and Avocets etc from Island Hide. The light was spectacular this evening and I had the hide all to myself. There was so many birds and so much action here. Loads of starlings flying round and Terns twisting across the skies. Also I have never seen so many black-tailed godwits together here before! A wonderful day even though it was far too hot. I left just before 10pm!


Norfok Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Spoonbills x 3 at Cley NWT
Redwing at Winterton
White Stork (esc.) at Breydon Water
Osprey at Hardley Flood
Spotted Redshanks x 12, Little Gulls x 11 at Titchwell RSPB
Raven at How Hill
Manx Shearwaters x 2 at Trimingham

Other News
GOLDEN ORIOLE at Gibraltar Point NR

Saturday 29 June 2013

Watch Glastonbury Live Now!

EXAMPLE is on 'The Other Stage' from 9pm until 10pm tonight – really looking forward to that.

10.10pm – Brilliant, watched Example live on livestream and now watching it again on BBC3!!!! Should have gone out with the girls from work tonight for the start of 'Festival Too' and Kudos (club) afterwards, but this is just too good, can't leave the house!!! Just had texts from Sarah and Jules who tell me the group now on is playing Calvin Harris and 'you've got to come out Penny'.......

Norfolk Bird News etc!

Main Highlights – RBA
Spoonbills x 2 at Cley NWT
Osprey at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRDpossible, reported yesterday, 4 miles NW of Aylsham between Itteringham and Matlaske, flew over road near Wolterton Park at 2.30pm
Black Redstart at Winterton Dunes
Short-eared Owl at Breydon Water

Other News
PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER reported Orford Ness National Trust

I had a really lazy day today, got up late, surfed the net, watched Example at Glastonbury and more, danced, ate and now going to bed. I will be out tomorrow though!

Friday 28 June 2013

James Hanlon Speaks on Newsnight Scotland about the White-throated Needletail!

First broadcast on 27th June

On iplayer now for the next six days – starts at 14.52 minutes into the programme. James spoke really well I thought – Wow, Congratulations on your new celebrity status James! Enjoy your family holiday – you might find one on the Suffolk coast!!!

A beautiful but very, very sad photo HERE

Glastonbury Festival

Going 'Bonkers' to Dizzie Rascal on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury. Well not actually there in person, but dancing in my kitchen to 'Holiday', 'Bonkers', 'White Noise', 'Goin Crazy' and more.....

Dizzie Rascal's new album 'THE FIFTH' is released this Monday 1st July!

FESTIVAL TOO Kicks Off This Weekend!!!

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Spotted Redshank x 4, Little Gulls x 10 at Titchwell RSPB
Spoonbills x 3 at Cley NWT

Other News
Red-necked Phalarope at Ouse Washes RSPB

UK wildlife and nature hit hard by erratic weather

Wednesday 26 June 2013

White-throated Needletail's Tragic Death!!!

For the third and terribly sadly, its last day!

From Mark Golley's RBA Review "STOP PRESS: After delighting birders throughout the day, the Needletail was picked up dead after being seen to fly into a wind turbine"

How awful that this incredible bird has died, poor thing

The most INCREDIBLE pictures of this bird by Josh Jones HERE
and the most views and comments of Josh's picture I have ever seen on Birdguides 

As I commented 'Spectacular is an understatement Josh! Your picture will go down in history!!! WOW!!!' – I just can't believe the sheer beauty of this bird, the picture Josh has taken and the awful end to what must be one of the most incredible birds to ever grace our shores!

Chris Batty's picture on back of camera HERE
Video from Dan Pointon HERE 

More pictures and account HERE

RBA Weekly Round-Up 19th-25th June!

including picture of the incredible
White-throated Needletail!!!

Norfolk Bird News etc!

Main Highlights – RBA
Spoonbill at Welney WWT
Spotted Redshanks x 17, Little Gulls x 12, Spoonbill at Titchwell RSPB
Temminck's Stint, Little Gull, Continental Black-tailed Godwits x 3 at Cley NWT

Other News
Had to go into town after work and stopped briefly to look in the Fisherfleet, Boalquay in King's Lynn and had fabulous views of a Kingfisher flashing along the riverbank below me!

The Eagle Owl seen yesterday in Nelson Street, King's Lynn is not there today, but I am sure is around somewhere still!

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Norfolk Bird News etc!

Main Highlights – RBA
Continental Black-tailed Godwits x 2, Arctic Skua, Spotted Redshanks x 2, Little Gull, Spoonbill at Cley
Stone Curlew (on beach), Spoonbill, Spotted Redshanks x 5, Little Gulls x 11, Red-crested Pochard at Titchwell RSPB
Little Gull at Breydon Water
Crossbills x 7 at Northrepps

Other News
Red-necked Phalarope at Easton Bavents, Suffolk

The EAGLE OWL which was recently in King's Lynn is STILL around. After my photo and blog address was published in the Lynn News on Friday a lady kindly emailed me this evening (Tuesday) to say the Eagle Owl was sitting on a roof in Nelson Street, King's Lynn all afternoon. Nelson Street is close to Boal Quay and The Maltings/Fisherfleet. Anyone who isn't local to the area, also look in the Fisherfleet for Grey Wagtails and Kingfisher.

RIP MJJ  29.11.1958 – 25.06.2009


Tarbert, Harris, Outer Hebrides

Information here:


Found by Mark Cocker and Adam Gretton

The most INCREDIBLE pictures of this bird by Josh Jones HERE

Discussions and accounts etc HERE

Sunday 23 June 2013

Not a 'Rosy' Day really!

I had intended on arriving at Wells at first light again, but woke up at 8am with my phone in hand ready to set the alarm for 3.45am and the bedside light on!!! Bother!!! Flew downstairs to look at the pager to read that the Rose-coloured Starling had not been seen. So, obviously I was not mean't to go! I was very disappointed at hearing this news and yes I know I have seen the bird several times and other people still have not been able to see this bird yet due to work commitments etc, but it was such a beautiful bird in a spectacular setting and I was simply looking forward to watching it again today and hopefully obtaining a better photo. With that plan out of the window I couldn't decide what to do next. With strong westerly winds I didn't expect to see any new birds today anyway. My parents were way over due for a visit, so stayed fairly local today.

Holme Marsh Reserve NWT – 2 Marsh Harriers and very little else. Islands overgrown and I could hardly see the pool from the first hide.

Redwell Marsh Reserve, Holme NOA produced a Green Sandpiper which flew off the front of the pool as I carefully (honest) opened the hide flaps. Not too much else here really.

Inspected the new tarmac along the Firs Road down to the reserves at Holme. I can report back that the ramps STILL remain, but the road has been re-laid with a tarmac substance, which means that the rollercoaster ride in-between the ramps is now pretty smooth (ish). So overall its considerably better, but it all stops at the pay hut. You still have the orange/white dusty and shingle road all the way down to the reserves, but I was told that they have levelled out most of the pot holes in this section, which they had. There are pro's and con's to tarmacking the whole road I can see that – it would be very costly indeed, holiday makers would drive even faster than they do all ready in their over-sized vehicles and the noise levels would increase for local residents. On the plus side it would mean twitchers would be able to get down and back along that road a whole lot quicker (smile!!!), car suspensions would stay intact and your body wouldn't feel like it had just done a full gym work out by the end of the road!!! Oh and you would be able to watch birds on route without them jumping up and down!

With rubbish, rainy weather I decided to visit my parent's for a while. Mother gave me the Lynn News (which was published on Friday) with my Eagle Owl picture in. Father was dozing when I first arrived, so didn't really get to chat with him very much but mother made up for it!

Titchwell RSPB – 4 Little Gulls amongst loads of Knot, Black-tailed Godwits, Avocets etc etc. Met birder/photographer Steve Plume and a friend in the Island Hide who had travelled up from Suffolk to look at the Rose-coloured Starling this morning which was obviously very disappointing for them. We had a good chat about cameras, lenses etc. I took a video of the Avocets, but I couldn't see any Spotted Redshanks. Loads of Swifts and House martins swooping low over the bank.

Choseley Drying Barns – a lovely surprise of 2 Turtle Doves along with Yellowhammers, Corn Buntings, Chaffinches, Stock Doves, Wood Pigeons, Collared Doves and a Pied Wagtail.

Wells Quay – bought a portion of chips and sat in the car eating them, in front of the Canopy tree, just in case the R.C.S. appeared. A very high tide this evening along with the very strong winds! I also had a good look round the allotments in case the starling had re-located, but alas nothing of note. If anyone has lost a black, cute looking scotty dog in Wells it was running along the bottom of the sea wall, I couldn't see owners anywhere. I have a bad feeling someone might have dumped this little fellow. I know I am not a dog lover, but I did feel sorry for it. I did try to call it over to me to look at its collar, but it carried on at great speed and didn't take any notice of me. As I drove along the road, a group of local people were also concerned and were trying to catch it in vain. We all lost sight of it, so don't know what has happened to it.

As I pulled up into my drive I was reminded that I really do NEED to cut my hedge and weed the front garden – probably a good week to get this done.


Norfolk Bird News etc!

Main Highlights – RBA
No sign of Rose-coloured Starling today.
Spotted Redshanks x 14 at Titchwell RSPB
Little Gull at Breydon Water
Honey Buzzards x 2 at Swanton Novers Raptor Watchpoint
Great White Egret flew SW over Beeston Common, Sheringham
Little Gull, Spotted Redshank, Continental Black-tailed Godwit at Cley NWT

Other News
RED-FOOTED FALCON reported yesterday SE of Cattawade, Suffolk

It doesn't surprise me at all, that the Rose-coloured Starling has gone. Obviously it was going to leave at some point, but it was really crowded out yesterday evening and with being flashed at as well before it flew into its roost tree it probably decided enough is enough. I do hope very much that it reappears today though. Perhaps its just found a different selection of food in a more peaceful garden close by? Who knows!

The Firs Road to the reserves at Holme has been improved apparently, I will have a look later and report back.

My photograph of the Eagle Owl in King's Lynn was published in the Lynn News on Friday so my mother informed me, though I haven't seen it myself yet. It was ages ago that I sent this picture to them, I had almost forgotten about it!

Saturday 22 June 2013

Rose-coloured Starling at Wells!

ROSE-COLOURED STARLING at Wells Quay, 8.58am by Penny Clarke

Wells Quay
I watched the sun rising as I drove to the coast and arrived at Wells Quay at 5am. There was only one birder there, who had arrived last night and was sensibly sitting in his car in the rain! I set up my scope a good distance from the feeders and waited. It rained and it continued to rain, heavily at times for quite a while. I had loads of waterproof covers over the camera on the tripod, so that at least was dry!

The Rose-coloured Starling flew from its roost tree and into the small tree with the feeders at 5.55am, fed for about 5 minutes and then flew back up the big tree again! I don't blame it, the weather was dire to say the least and that's where it stayed, until it flew out again at 6.50am for a short time. As people started to arrive, everyone behaved perfectly and were very courteous. No one stood in front of anyone, it was all very civil and generally quiet. The bird didn't show again until 8.20am where it appeared on the feeders and then three minutes later it went back in its tree! Its amazing how much time it spends in the small tree! I got some nice pictures of other birds, but not much good of the R.C.S as the light was too poor. There were spells of sunshine, but the starling was not showing in those spells!

At 8.40am someone spottted a Spoonbill sitting on the marsh which then flew east and also 2 Med. Gulls flew west. I counted 5 Little Egrets in a feeding frenzie with gulls in the channel and it was lovely to watch Common Terns fishing in the quay. I managed to take a video of the Rose-coloured Starling which is actually better than all my photos so far!

It was nice to meet some new people this morning including Barry Woodhouse who stood next to me with a friend of his for most of the time I stood there. Also nice to meet some other people who read my blog. Lots of regulars here including Eddie, M.A.G., Graham E., Dawn B., Steve W. and others!

At 10.30am I just had to go. I had stood here drenched for four and a half hours, mostly dried out now, but I was beyond desperate to visit the 'ladies' (you really wanted to know that!). If you are with someone else, they can look after your gear/spot while you go off. But if you are alone, once you've taken your stuff, you've lost you spot! So that was it! I was really cold aswell, it was great to get in the car and warm up.

West Track, Warham Greens
Had a ginger and marmelade sandwich with a coffee, which made me feel loads better. Walked along the track to the copse at the bottom and only found chaffinches and a great tit, very poor show.

Holt Lowes
Had my lunch and then a twenty minute power nap! I walked for what seemed like miles, in hope that the Roller might still be here. I scanned all the valleys and every distant tree. I sat and waited and went to the all the spots where it hung out, but sadly nothing. This is such a beautiful place though, even without the roller! I could hear a Woodlark singing, but couldn't see it. The ponies were grazing amongst rich grasses, mixed in with masses of yellow flag irises – it was a very tranquil scene and I was the only person here, well apart from a couple with two dogs distantly. I had a nice surprise of a Red Kite drifting south at 1.20pm. When I got back to the dragonfly pond I bumped into and passed three cheeky faces: Connor, Keiran and Robert! After chatting about rollers, starlings, owls, orchids and all kinds, I continued back to my car and had a second and final look in the clearing on the opposite side of the road and saw a Common Buzzard gliding through the black clouds.

Stopped in Holt to buy ginger cake and to look in a shoe shop for 'work' shoes, but didn't find any I liked. Bumped into Richard B. on route back to the car who was telling me all about his Scottish trip he has just returned from. The sun was now fully out and it felt loads warmer than this morning.

Walsey Hills NOA
Nothing of note at all.

Cley Coastguards
It was beautiful here with the sun shining and blue skies. Sandwich Terns streamed overhead with beaks full of sand eels, heading for Blakeney Point. Swallows feeding young, but little else. Cley didn't feel quite the same today, there was a distinct lack of birds and birders around, but then I suppose its that time of year now! I wonder if there will be any more June rares before we hit July?

I had a good snooze in the car before heading back to Wells.

Wells Quay
It was around 6.45pm when I arrived at the quay. It was a totally different scene from this morning. The garden was surrounded at all angles by birders and photographers and one man with a big lens had a massive flash which was going off and this definately disturbed the bird and was completely unnecessary in my opinion. Yes the bird did seem to be feeding happily with people at close proximity, but the flash was uncalled for. If only I had stood anywhere near that distance this morning, I would have more than probably got some decent pictures, but hey ho! It was nice to bump into and have a chinwag with LGRE and Joan whilst I was there. As Lee was saying, there seems to be alot of photographers with no binoculars nowadays – how things have changed!

Update: Someone sent me a message this evening: '.....the traffic warden turned up giving out parking tickets it was so funny, never seen so many birders run so fast.....

Very dramatic skies as I drove home. Watched 'The Voice' and was shocked that Leah McFall didn't win – her voice and range is off the scale and she will be a superstar anyway, even without winning.


Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Spoonbill at Wells
Honey Buzzard at Salthouse
Spotted Redshanks x 2 at Titchell RSPB
Spotted Redshanks x 2 at Hickling Broad NWT

Other News
Roseate Terns x 2 at Minsmere RSPB

Friday 21 June 2013

Norfolk Bird News etc!

Main Highlights – RBA
Little Gulls x 13, Spotted Redshanks x 4 at Titchwell RSPB
Quail, Little Gulls x 4, Spotted Redshanks x 3 at Breydon Water

Other News
Great White Egret at Ouse Washes RSPB, Cambrideshire
Roseate Tern at Minsmere RSPB, Suffolk
Roseate Tern at Landguard Nature Reserve

Still no news on the Roller at Edgefield, but the weather has been dire and my hunch is its still there, keep looking!

I actually stayed at home this evening and did normal things like cook dinner!

I am not going where people think I will be going tomorrow, I intend to disperse the crowd with news of a Mega!!! Watch this space!!!

Weather looks rubbish for Saturday:

Thursday 20 June 2013

Wells and Edgefield!

The first thing I did when I got home from work was to wash-up. If you are a single birder and you're out in the field alot, there is no one else at home to do the washing-up and chores! Its been so hectic with birds and twitching over the last week that I have got seriously behind with washing-up and all kinds of stuff. I have not cut the hedge yet this year and the neighbours are going to start complaining soon if I don't get it cut! Don't know when I am going to do that though, I haven't any intentions of doing it this weekend!

This evening I decided it would be jolly nice to see that wonderful Rose-coloured Starling again. Yes I know the light was awful and it was foggy, but I went anyway! There were a handful of birders there including Eddie, Andy J., Steve B and others, but the Rose-coloured Starling did not show at all this evening. Apparently it was last seen at 5.30pm flying into the large tree and had not come out again. I don't blame it really with this rubbish, dull weather! I did some loud coughing attempting to coax it out, but that didn't work this evening! I didn't stay here too long as I wanted to search for the roller.

Parked the car up at Edgefield and went to look for the Roller. I only passed two birders who had searched and found no sign of it. I don't know how many people had been looking today, but if there wasn't many, then there is no reason why it can't still be there. My instinct says it is still there. I predict that a message will come up on the pager tomorrow saying 'Roller still at.....' Saw a Yellowhammer and not much else, not really an evening for birds at all with this fog! Walked back to the car and crossed the road to stand by the clearing.

Heard and watched three Nightjars churring and flying right over my head which was absolutely magical and I had them all to myself! Managed to get some silhouette shots in flight too! Midges having a whale of a time,which was not so good!

Some of best pictures of the Rose-coloured Starling I have seen are HERE and HERE


Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
No news on the ROLLER yet, oh dear!
Honey Buzzard at Swanton Novers
Honey Buzzard at Blakeney
Common Crane at Horsey (yesterday)
Little Gulls x 10, Spotted Redshanks x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Spotted Redshanks x 4 at Breydon Water
Unconfirmed report of the ROLLER at 11.30am
Little Gulls x 2 at Cley

Other News
MARSH WARBLER at Gibralter Point

RBA Weekly Round-Up 12th-18th June

A couple of my pictures featured this week - thanks!

Wednesday 19 June 2013

Norfolk Bird News!!!

Main Highlights – RBA

ROLLER remains at Edgefield
ROSE-COLOURED STARLING, Adult at Wells Quay (for second day)
Spotted Redshanks x 9, Little Gulls x 11 at Titchwell RSPB

Other News
Ravens x 2 at Nayland, Suffolk
BLACK KITE near Bar Hill Golf Course, Cambridge
Red-necked Phalarope at Bluntisham, Cambridge

What a colourful selection of birds, a Golden Oriole and a Bee-eater would add nicely to the collection please! Over 6,697 views of my blog again today!


Wells, Norfolk

Another Awesome Twitch!!!
I seriously needed to go straight home after work and go to bed, I am so tired. But at lunch time news bleeped up on the pager of an Adult Rose-coloured Starling on the quayside feeding on fatballs in a garden!!! I was secretly hoping that it wouldn't stay, but of course it did. Finished work and flew home, birding gear and a bottle of water in car and I was off again! Spoke to Connor who said he also had no intentions of going out this evening. Robert and Connor were on route behind me! I had already planned my tea: fish 'n' chips at Wells, what could be better! Andy W. also went straight from work. Arrived on site and parked the car up. The bird was of course not showing and things looked gloomy. Several people walked up all the little lanes to search for the bird, including myself. The light was dull and got really cold later. The bird had been coming down to feed off the fat balls in an ornamental tree. Suddenly the ROSE-COLOURED STARLING appeared on the fat balls, OMG that was a colourful bird! Wow!!! A stunning bird – can't remember the last time I saw one as beautiful as this – a spectacular bird. I am having an amazing week for rares!!!

The whole evening was just perfect. But the bird then didn't show again for a long time – Andy W. went off to get us both fish 'n' chips. He was gone ages in the queues and on his return he still hadn't missed seeing the bird. We sat on a seat on the quay enjoying our fish 'n' chips, whilst chatting with Connor, Robert, Kieran, Leila and others. Common Terns fishing in the quay, a couple of Little Egrets and House Sparrows were chirping along the quayside. I also had a nice chat with the lovely lady who found the bird two days ago – her cottages is dead opposite her little garden on the opposite side of the road. She was saying how she had met some really nice people today. Connor and Robert had still not seen the bird and the light was fading. As Connor said, its pretty amazing that a Pacific Swift can be relocated, but a big bright colourful bird can not be found in a tiny ornamental tree. I spent ages peering under and over every leaf in the tree and I couldn't find the tiniest glimpse of bright pink or black anywhere. The lady who found it said she didn't think it was in there and that she was sure it had flown up into the big tree to roost. I knew it hadn't left as I hadn't taken my eye off that tree once. I decided to help things along a little bit and coughed a few times as I stood next to the tree and out flew the Rose-coloured Starling – I shouted to Connor and Robert who got a few seconds glimpse of black and pink as it flew up into its roost tree for the night. Robert also spotted a Spoonbill flying east over East Hills in the setting sun. The sunset was beautiful, everyone was happy, the bird had gone to roost and we all left elated.

I said to the others, I'll see you all tomorrow!!! Seriously though, I can't hack the pace much longer!

A top draw evening, with laughter, excellent company and a pretty awesome bird! Norfolk's on a roll now – bring on the next rare!

Wells, Norfolk

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Norfolk Bird News etc!

Main Highlights – RBA
ROLLER – Day Three – at Holt Lowes all day!
Spotted Redshanks x 6, Little Gull x 10, Red-crested Pochard at Titchwell RSPB

Other News
AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER at Needingworth, Cambridge
Eagle Owl at Nacton, Suffolk (yesterday)
GULL-BILLED TERN at Kirkby-on-Bain Gravel Pits, Lincolnshire

I only wish I had the energy to go and see the Roller again this evening. That bird is seriously addictive. I so wish I was not at work this week. Can't believe its still there today, but I hope it stays tomorrow and the next day and day after that and.... well it would be perfect if it stayed until Saturday pretty please Mr Roller X.

Currently I am copying thousands of files from my macbook to two external hard drives. I have run out of space on Mac and can't offload any more pictures from camera until I remove files!!! So my Roller and Pacific Swift pictures will not be added early this evening!

I am having a rubbish evening to say the least. Lead on external hard drive failed and it took me a while to realise this and then pinched the lead off the second hard drive. Eventually copied off thousands of pictures onto two external drives, but whilst it was copying I was typing up my Sunday blog post. I had just about finished it when my firefox browser crashed. The curser was just wheeling round and round and it was exasperating to see all the paragraphs I had typed and not being able to save them. I had no choice but to re-boot the computer and have now lost almost the whole post. It is now 12.20am and I to re-write the whole bl**dy thing!!! Still not added pictures yet either!!!


Monday – 3,533 views on my blog today – OMG that's a record!!!

Tuesday – 6,245 views when I just looked at stats – don't know what's going on but thanks!

I thought yesterday's was good with 1,929 views for the day! The average views per day is around 1,300+. I can only presume its because of the Pacific Swift and Roller postings!

Monday 17 June 2013


Edgefield, Holt, Norfolk.

I am now beyond exhaustion – twitched the Roller again after work. Well I just had to. After doing what I did yesterday, I should have gone straight to bed when I finished work tonight. BUT a Roller in Norfolk – I don't care about the fact that I saw it yesterday, I NEEDED to see it again, truly I did! Last night I didn't see it until just before 8pm and the light was rubbish for photography etc. I wasn't going to miss an opportunity of seeing this bird a second time for anything, however tired I felt. My body and head aches right now. as I type at 11.15pm and I can't possible even think about looking through pictures and adding them to the various sites, will do this tomorrow evening.

Left at 5.20pm – ate my dinner on route: a egg and tomato roll bought at lunchtime from the hospital shop. Lorries poodling along in front and then someone else doing 40 in a 60mph - get out of my way!!! On route Eddie told me that the Roller had not shown for a while. As I pulled up in the carpark, Eddie and Andy J. were walking across the road and indicated to me that the Roller was now showing. Shot out of the car and across the road to hear that the bird had just flown over the tall copse of pines. I was chilled about it. My hysteria last night was not required this evening, I had already seen the bird. Several people arrived who had not seen the bird including Connor, Billy and Chris M. I decided to take the risk of missing the bird showing at this spot again and went off alone across the other side of the road and searched the heathland thoroughly, as this is where it also spends alot of time and where it was yesterday. Connor desperately wanted to see this bird and I just hoped I could re-locate it for him. I couldn't see the point of everyone standing in one spot and nobody searching the other side of the road. We obviously all agreed to phone each other if any of us saw/found the bird. Walking through the carpark I spotted a very well turned out Andy W. in his royal blue shirt straight from the office!

I walked along the long grassy path over the stile, down the hill, round the dragonfly pond and walked what seemed like miles. I covered every hill, path and copse in all the areas I walked yesterday and alot more. Several Yellowhammers seen, Woodlarks singing high in the sky and a surprise of a Turtle Dove! In an oak tree which stood on a hill right next to another one, I saw 6 mistle thrushes perched up (take note about these two trees!). This place is so beautiful and I really do intend to birdwatch here more often in future. I was shattered walking round here, but persevered. Eddie amused me with a 'seen briefly' text message along with a picture of a cake he had partly eaten! I eventually ended up back at the stile. At this point I met a birder coming out to search the area that I had. He asked me where I had looked and I indicated everywhere. I asked him if he had a pager or if he was in contact with anyone in the group by the Edgefield sign in case he found it. He replied that he wasn't but would come back if he found it. I left him to look and climbed the stile. I had only got as far as the oak tree, yards away when I could hear a loud whistle. I shot back when I heard the man say he had found it. Over that stile I went like it wasn't there! There was the roller distantly through his scope in the same bl**dy two trees that I had stood next to whilst watching the 6 mistle thrushes. Now, why after all the work I put in was it not me that re-found that bird! Don't get me wrong it was fabulous that he re-found it for all the people that had not seen it yet, but I just wish it had been me! Rang Eddie, Andy, Connor and then RBA. When I rang Connor I quickly realised he was not with the main group and had come out to search and was actually only 50 yards from me. The excitement in his voice when I told him it was here - he charged down the hill and up the next to look in the birder's scope who re-found it and looked so happy and relieved! I re-lived my same moment of euphoria last night when I saw his face! It took a while for the other birders to join us – its a long walk from the other viewing point – I know, I did it twice last night! What I love about a twitch in Norfolk aswell is seeing loads of people you know all at the same time, its brilliant. Nice to see Tim A. here and also James H. had nipped over! Even M. Gilbert (who I have never seen at a twitch), Andy Stoddart, Julian B., David N., R.M, etc etc. Lots of other people, too many to name. Goodness knows how many people have ticked that roller since yesterday. I had much better views in better light of this stupendous bird than I did last night. The bird flew over further back after a young (non birding) couple appeared not far from where it was. A few of us circled round at a different angle and watched the Roller sitting on a bare branch in perfect evening light, still very distantly though, but managed to get a much better record shot than my smudgy turquoise blobs taken last night! Tim A., Pete and I were the last ones left. It was cold walking back to the car, no midges this evening though. Heard a nightjar on the way back. Left at 10pm and home again at 11pm!

Fabulous video from Norfolk birder Peter HERE

Map HERE of Holt Lowes.

Yesterday's double twitch is a big post to write up and I can't possible write it now, will have to wait until tomorrow evening I'm afraid as will the pictures, sorry!


Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
ROLLER still at Edgefield showing all day and evening until dusk!
Hawfinch, Caspian Gull at Edgefield
Spotted Redshanks x 4, Med. Gull, Little Gulls x 6, Red-crested Pochard at Titchwell RSPB
Kittiwakes x 2 at Pentney Gravel Pits
Crossbill at Sheringham

Other News
Raven at Nayland, Suffolk

Sunday 16 June 2013


Trimley Marshes SWT

The craziest, most exhilarating, nail-biting, euphoric day's birding (ok Twitching) EVER!!!

Last night I made the risky and crazy decision to go to Trimley Marshes for first light and just hoped and prayed that the Pacific Swift had made the sensible decision to wait for me! I couldn't see the point of waiting on news on Sunday morning. It seemed much more sensible to drive down in the peace of tranquility of the night with no traffic problems, rather than the stress of traffic in daylight hours, the stress of a two hour journey knowing the bird might fly off on route and then the big walk from the carpark.

The time just ran away last night and I realised that I hadn't got time to go to bed – I had a shower and got into new set of birding gear, made flasks and sandwiches etc and with no sleep whatsoever, I left my house at 2.45am. Crazy, crazy bird! It was fascinating the things I saw on route – from youths walking through the streets of Lynn with cans of beer in their hands to several foxes, including two running from people's gardens carrying I presume food items from bins and also another large animal that ran across the road that I couldn't identify! I still can't believe now that I managed to drive and do what I did today on no sleep, but I got away with it!

I arrived at the carpark at Trimley Marshes in very good time (smile) at 4.20am. There were a few other cars here already. I arrived at the same time as Neil Glenn and his wife (I presume). It was a very long walk indeed, but was a doddle compared to walking Blakeney Point! On route I heard Nightingales singing and saw several whitethroats zipping about. It was a beautiful walk and the early morning sun was welcoming. It was amazing to be this close to the massive cranes at Felixstowe Ferry and I really wished that I had taken some arty, farty pictures of these now. There was a hide adjacent to the visitor centre and I nipped in here quickly to see if any birders had got the swift before we continued to walk further on – no birders in here, so carried on. Further along the path we could see around thirty birders, mostly standing on the lower path and a few on the high sea bank. I climbed up on the bank to join Norfolk birder Stuart White. I could see why people were standing on the lower path as it was bl**dy freezing and very windy up here, although exhilarating! The waters of the River Orwell were immediately below the bank and it was exciting to be here. The skies were filled with Common Swifts, so many hundreds and in reality probably thousands, an unbelievable sight. I have never witnessed so many swifts, it was a real spectacle! But it was like a needle in a haystack trying to search for the one with the white rump! My eyes were sore with searching for this mega bird, it was nigh on impossible! What I couldn't quite believe was the fact that at least half the birders here were chatting and not even looking for the bird and one was even asleep on the bank! We needed alot more people looking if we wanted to have any chance of re-finding this mega bird. I tweeted, blogged and sent messages with a plea for more birders to help us to look and that there was no news up to 6am. Other birds seen on the river were: 3 Common Terns, 2 Sandwich Terns, 2 Mute Swans, several Cormorants, 4 Carrion Crows and a Herring Gull tucking into a crab. Very sadly Stuart had to leave to be back in Norwich by 7.30am. The clock ticked by 6am, 7am and I was getting seriously cold standing here. Suddenly the pager bleeped up with news the Pacific Swift was being watched from the hide (the one I looked in earlier) by the visitor centre. OMG it was actually still here!!! The mad dash then began. I walked and ran as fast as I could. Every person you pass can make all the difference, there is only so much body space in one hide! I managed to squeeze in at the back of the hide and at 7.52am, although very distant, I saw my first PACIFIC SWIFT!!! I couldn't quite believe my luck. My crazy decision to be here at first light had paid off!!! I sighed with both relief and exhaustion! I left the hide as did most people as now we knew where it was, we realised we would have better views from the high bank. The bleeps of people's pagers were flying now! There was a massive buzz of excitement and relief from all! Telephone's were going and lots of chat and directions to birders on route.

I climbed back up onto the bank to join others and watched the Pacific Swift again, but still distantly. I phoned a few people and sent a few texts as you do and then climbed back down to the lower path. I walked back to where I was standing earlier, as there were lots of birders standing back up on the bank viewing the swift still distantly, which is also dead opposite a hide overlooking a lagoon.  As I got nearer to them I could hear the volume of voices getting increasingly louder and more excited. I could hear the words 'coming closer', 'over the fields now', 'coming closer' and then the shout of 'now over the lagoon' and 'over the hide now'. I didn't waste a second and was in that hide like a shot and was the first person in there! Here was the Pacific Swift was skimming over the lagoon in the sunshine and I had it all to myself for just a moment in time. It wasn't too many more seconds before the hide door opened and a familiar voice said 'where's the bird then Penny?' – it was Coventry birder John Jennings, a really nice man, who I have bumped into on various twitches over recent years. He was joined by several other birders and the hide was packed in under a minute! Fabulous views of this mega bird, but terrible for photographers with 300mm lenses. There was of course several lottery (as I call them) lenses, capable of taking far superior shots than I possibly could at that distance. There was also a brief ruckus in the hide between two photographers which I won't go in to on here! John and a few others left later on. Someone called a Red Kite just above and outside the hide, so we rushed out to see that as an added bonus. Other birds seen here were: Canada Geese, Avocets, Shelducks, a single Pintail, Reed Buntings, Reed Warblers, 77 Oystercatchers, Marsh Harriers, Herons and Little Egrets.

I stayed in that hide for most of the day. I was waiting for the moment that the Pacific Swift might actually fly across the reeds in front of the hide to give me a chance of getting a good picture. My record shots improved as the day went on, but I never got anything prize winning as the swift never came close enough sadly.  Spending so long with this bird, you soon picked up its flight pattern amongst the common swifts. The one mistake I made was only bringing half my lunch with me. I had to ration things out from midday. Andrew Allen very, very kindly gave me a packet of shortbread biscuits to see me through the afternoon when he left – they saved me I can tell you, so thank you very much indeed Andrew! The Pacific Swift seemed to be showing less and less as the afternoon went on. A text from Connor read 'Nearly at Trimley! Fingers crossed'. Luckily for Connor he and his father Billy arrived just in the nick of time to bag the swift! Sitting in this hide was the perfect place to photograph the crowds – I reckon there was at least a couple of hundred birders lining the high bank for most of the day and I got lots of photographs of people standing there from the hide including Julian B, Duncan, Connor, Billy etc etc! (see pictures below). There was a really nice photographer sitting to my right for the whole afternoon, don't know who he was but very helpful and very good at getting people onto the bird aswell. There was another one who I didn't like at all, who smirked at the possibility that I might get a good picture with my tiny little lens – this attitude which I have come across several times before, just makes me dig my heels in more and stay even longer to try and get a good picture!

I had just about run out of food, I had one short-bread biscuit left and I was really hungry, having been up for what seemed like two days. I then had a phone call at just after 4.30pm which created another even bigger twitch!!! The phone call was from Connor – the conversation went something like this 'Penny I just phoned to let you know that a ROLLER is about to go on the pager for Norfolk'....... My reply 'You're joking?' 'OMG' 'Nooooooooo'. Roller, my dream bird was back in my home county, I just couldn't believe it. The Roller was at Edgefield just outside Holt and was found by local birder Pete Colston. My immediate thoughts were, why the hell did I leave Norfolk and that will teach me to twitch outside the county. I gathered my stuff together in seconds and was off. I couldn't run, it was incredibly hot now and I still had tons of layers of clothes on from early this morning. As I walked along the lower path I let all the birders know on the bank about the Roller in case any of them were from Norfolk or wanted to go and see it, wherever they were from. I so wanted to run, but I was so hot and with heavy bag and nearly 3 miles to cover to get to the car, the best I could do was speed walk. Put it this way, I walked back to my car quicker than I had walked out here this morning! Back at the carpark I removed loads of layers of clothes, took heavy boots off and put on light weight walking trainers. Put camera in bag ready, looked at map and went. This was not an ideal situation at all after no sleep, but it was a Roller so I had to go. I left at 5.30pm.

On route I phoned a friend for quickest way to Holt from where I was. The huge disadvantage of twitching alone with no sat nav, you have no choice but to look at the map occasionally, but in this case I couldn't as I was driving much too fast. I annoyingly missed the turning I wanted whilst talking to Eddie about the bird on route (hands free) and so had to go via Mundford, Swaffham, Fakenham and then on through Holt to Edgefield. Phoned Pete S. who hardly looks at his pager, so did him a favour and also Andy W.

I arrived on site at 7.05pm (yes my journey was pretty quick, won't say anymore about that on a public blog!). Slung the car in nearest available space. Out of the car the panic set in as the Roller had not been seen for a while. Loads of people walking back from watching the bird. I ran along the grassy path, passing people on route, down the hill, over the stile, across boggy terrain, up hill, not really knowing where I was supposed to be. No sign of Pete or Andy who I was hoping to find to help me to see this mega bird, they had bagged and gone home I heard. Found Eddie thank goodness and then Steve G. and Richard M. who said the bird had flown round the corner of the path into the valley. So off we went to search. I was frantic and felt a huge sadness overwhelming me, I had a very bad feeling that I wasn't going to see this bird. I must have sounded like a spoilt child when I declared that 'I have to see this bird' - well I did, I couldn't possibly miss a Roller in my home county and after the insane drive I had just undertaken aswell. I felt ill with exhaustion from the entire day and my BP must have been sky high. Around the valley and up over another hill with loads of other birders, many new arrivals who had also not seen the bird yet. I offered a big box of chocolates to whoever re-found the bird, I was desperate to see this. James MaCallum arrived on site which gave me some hope with his record of finding rares and I almost pleaded with him to find the roller! The light was going and there were so little time left. James, Eddie and I went off in a different direction to locate the roller in vain.

We couldn't have been any further away, when the pager bleeped up that the Roller had been re-located on the other side of the road where the cars were parked. That long walk seemed to take forever, up hills and down, around the dragonfly pond, through the squelchy mud (wish I had kept my boots on), over the stile and then along the long grass track. Steve G. reversed his car up to me and very kindly gave me a lift, sped up the track to deliver me at the spot and to the Roller - thank you Steve! I rushed across the road and looked through someone's scope to view a stonking turquoise ROLLER sitting on a dead pine tree (7.50pm). I can't really put my thoughts into words at this point. I felt so happy at seeing this bird I could have cried! The best Norfolk bird I have seen by far! The light made the Roller look stunning, but with the dark pine belt behind and late evening, made it impossible for photography. Lots of Norfolk birders here to enjoy this mega bird. At the end there was only James M., three others and myself. Two Woodcocks flew over whilst standing here. The Roller moved to a very tall dead pine stump in the middle of the clearing and I took pictures of it's silhouette sitting on a branch against orange light – even as a silhouette it looked beautiful. Later on after it moved again, I photographed a Nightjar on the same tree!  I stayed with the roller until I couldn't see it anymore at just after 9.30pm! I left at 10.15pm.

I don't know how I got home, it was the adrenalin that got me there I think – arriving home at 11pm after driving so many miles. Beyond shattered, too tired to blog, never mind think about pictures.

One of my best birding day's ever!!! Thanks to Connor for the Roller call, others who helped to re-find it, Steve G. for the lift, Eddie et al for helping me to find it and all the fantastic people I met and spent time with today! 'Roller'coaster of a day – one hell of a ride!!!

Massive congratulations and thanks to local birder Pete Colston who found the Roller and has made so many people extremely happy!

Pictures of the ROLLER from Steve G. HERE



I can't believe what I have seen today!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Wahooooooo!!!!!!! Just seen PACIFIC SWIFT at 7.52 distantly!!!!!!

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Norfolk Bird News!

ROLLER at Edgefield, near Holt

Other News
GOLDEN ORIOLE at Minsmere RSPB, Suffolk

Saturday 15 June 2013

Swifts Galore!!!

My family and I had Father's Day today, which I couldn't really get out of, so sadly unable to twitch the Pacific Swift in Suffolk.

I did manage to get out early evening for an hour or so to photograph loads of Swifts over the path at Titchwell RSPB in beautiful light and dramatic skies. I searched hard for white-rumps!

NOW the big question is will the Pacific Swift still be at Trimley in the morning or will it move on elsewhere? Should I go, should I wait on news or not twitch it all and go and birdwatch. Dangerous game this twitching lark! Hmmm........ decisions, decisions.


Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Great White Egret (flew east), Spoonbills x 2, Spotted Redshanks x 6, Little Gull at Cley
Little Gull x 5, Spotted Redshanks x 2 at Titchwell RSPB

Not alot else because most birders have gone to Suffolk!

Other News
MEGA – PACIFIC SWIFT at Trimley Marshes, Suffolk
Golden Oriole at Gibraltar Point, Lincolnshire

MEGA!!! PACIFIC SWIFT in Suffolk!!!

PACIFIC SWIFT at Trimley Marshes, SWT!!!

Pictures HERE,  HERE and HERE. Discussion HERE and finder's account HERE Congratulations! LGRE's account HERE

Friday 14 June 2013

Bee-eater & Norfolk Tour!

News of a Bee-eater at Winterton South Dunes got me racing over there to find only one birder, who have travelled all the way from Hertfordshire for this bird! He had been searching for two hours by the time I got there and found nothing. Someone had kindly put the news out, but had no one seen the bird fly off? If they did see if fly off, it would have been great if they had phoned RBA. To be honest I didn't expect to see it and remained in a positive mood. Birds seen here: pair of Stonechats, pair of Yellowhammers, Linnets, Hedgesparrows, Greenfinches, Goldfinches, Whitethroats, Blackcaps, Blackbirds and Jackdaws. It was a beautiful, sunny day and I walked the whole length of the dunes as far as another cafe and then back to the beach cafe at Winterton where my car was parked. I decided to treat myself to egg and chips. The last time I had egg and chips here, was when there was a Pallid Harrier in the area (can't remember the year now). I walked in the cafe and was very disappointed to hear 'sorry we don't do egg and chips anymore'. I walked out and back to my car – that saved some weightwatchers points anyway!

I cruised around the Norfolk coast and stopped at Happisburgh to photograph the lighthouse which looked beautiful next to the yellow rape field. Stopped at Walcott to watch the gulls. Went to Sheringham Cemetery and found only House Sparrows. Was going to walk Beeston bump, but changed my mind and carried on to Walsey Hills NOA. Even though no news had come out today about the Marsh Warbler I still had a gut feeling it was still there.

On arrival at Walsey Hills, the heavens opened with a torrential downpour. I put the seat back and had a snooze whilst this was going on! When the rain finished the sun came blazing out. I could not hear or see the Marsh Warbler at all. Willow Warbler singing in here and a couple of Chiffchaffs. Spent quite a bit of time photographing cute juv. Long-tailed Tits who were drying out from the downpour. Went up to the top of Walsey to photograph swifts again, but there weren't any here. Found Eddie birding here also – we walked along the bottom path, but still no sight or sound from the marsh warbler. In the carpark Eddie left to go to the East Bank. I stood here alone and suddenly heard the Marsh Warbler singing deep in the scrub by the Walsey Hills sign were I had seen it yesterday. No signal on my phone, so waved like hell at Eddie who had started walking along the bank, he saw me and walked back. Now the rest of the evening was really annoying and frustrating to say the least. Eddie came back and said that it was a Reed Warbler singing – yes it was when he came back, but the bird I heard WAS the Marsh Warbler. Andy Johnson then joined us and Eddie agreed with me that he could then hear the Marsh Warbler. Then Stuart White and party turned up. Basically we ended up seeing three Acros skulking about in here and none of us were 100% if one of them was the marsh warbler or not. The general feeling was that they were all Reed Warblers, but that Marsh Warbler was definately singing in there too! I took tons of pictures and intend putting them on a DVD to give to RM to analyse. Drove home late again!


Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
BEE-EATER at Winterton North and then South Dunes
Pectoral Sandpiper x 2, Spoonbill x 2, Little Stint, Spotted Redshank at Cley NWT
Velvet Scoter with Common Scoters between Halfway House and Beach Carpark, Cley
Osprey at Rockland Broad
Little Gull x 7, Spotted Redshank at Titchwell RSPB

Other News
Red-necked Phalarope at Minsmere RSPB

Thursday 13 June 2013

Hot Birding at Cley!

Walsey Hills NOA – which I re-located this morning

Now, the 13th is not a lucky day for me, (today would have been my wedding anniversary), father had his stroke last year on the 13th and so on..... BUT today was a pretty good day for the 13th!

Parked up in the East Bank carpark and went to look for the Marsh Warbler that was found yesterday. Last night it was seen in the first hawthorn on the right hand side of the path west of the carpark. No luck with that today! There was no news on the pager this morning about this bird either.

Carried on walking to Bishop's Hide NWT. Over the pools there were hundreds and hundreds of swifts in the air!!! It really was a spectacle! I tried to search amongst them for something different! I met a really nice couple (photographers) who were here on holiday from Durham – together with others we watched (and photographed) a Marsh Harrier stealthily gliding high in the sky and then descending quickly onto an unsuspecting Avocet chick! The marsh harrier was heavily mobbed by every Avocet in the area, along with other birds. It was a dramatic scene and when I look back at my photos this evening, it almost brings tears to my eyes seeing the chick grabbed by the leg and the alarm on the other chick's faces!!! I know its nature and all that, but.....!!! I was told by a local birder that I had just missed seeing a Little Stint in front of the hide when I first walked in there! I counted at least 35 Avocet Chicks, but there were probably alot more than that, or maybe there wasn't! I sat in this hide for at least a couple of hours if not more. Walked back to the carpark.

Within seconds of walking along the bottom path at Walsey Hills I heard the Marsh Warbler singing just after the entrance gate to NOA in the bracken, almost touching distance away. I could see the bracken moving, it was so close, but I couldn't see the bird! I was the only person here and I was very pleased at re-finding this bird – it made my day! I was cursing about the 6ft+ bracken towering above me, when the Marsh Warbler appeared on a long dead stem in a perfect pose and it would have been the perfect shot! I tried to stand on tiptoe to clear the high bracken, but it was no good, I was gutted when I realised that special photo was taken from me! The memory of this will be etched in my mind permanently! The bird then shot into the thick bracken again. Later on it appeared to fly towards the end of the scrub by the carpark and that is exactly where it was – I could see it skulking just inches above the blue Walsey Hills sign and very luckily managed to get an out of focus record shot! I had no vodafone signal (which is normal here) and when I looked at my 'Orange' phone there was no battery left! Walked up the top of Walsey Hills (plucking my new coat on route!) to get a signal and phoned out the news to RBA. This bird tantilised me and others for the rest of the day! It sang on and off all afternoon, flying through the bracken and giving you the tiniest glimpse, but not once did it pose for a photo. Cetti's Warbler, male Blackcap, Chiffchaff, 2 Bullfinches, Long-tailed tits, Greenfinch, Goldfinches, Wren, Dunnocks and Chaffinches seen here also.

Walked along the East Bank and saw both the Pectoral Sandpipers, 2 Spotted Redshanks, lots of Black-tailed Godwits, several Sandwich Terns, Avocets, Shelducks with young etc. Also lots of Swifts around. Looked for the White-spotted Bluethroat in vain.

Went back to the Marsh Warbler and it continued to tease for the rest of the day. Whilst standing with Sue and Paul – the whole sky turned seriously black and we realised we needed to dive for cover quickly. I knew I wouldn't make it to my car in the East bank carpark. Paul ran to his car and Sue and I ran up the steps and I unlocked the NOA hide to shelter in – we made it just in time before the torrential rain came down!!! Sue and I were musing how fabulous it would be to see the Pacific Swift from this hide whilst we sheltered – that would have been a story!

Apart from going back to my car for my tea, I spent the rest of the evening in sunshine, hoping to see and photograph the Marsh Warbler again. Andy J., Eddie, Steve G. and another birder also there. I gave up at 9pm!!!


Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Pectoral Sandpiper x 2, Little Stint, Spotted Redshanks x 2 at Cley NWT
Spoonbills x 2 at Cromer

Short list today!

Otter catching a Puffin!!!

This picture is absolutely incredible!!!

Open Mic: The Field Glass Ceiling - ABA Blog

Open Mic: The Field Glass Ceiling - ABA Blog

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Fascinating post about history of Blakeney Point!

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
MARSH WARBLER west of East Bank at Cley NWT
Pectoral Sandpiper x 2, Spoonbill, Little Stint at Cley NWT
Little Gulls x 7 at Titchwell RSPB

Other News
BLACK KITE at Guyhirn, Cambridgeshire
MEGA – PACIFIC SWIFT at Spurn, Yorkshire and Saltfleetby, Lincolnshire, making its way south!!!

RBA Weekly Round-Up 5th-11th June


Flew South of The Triangle at 8.45am and then later (presume same bird) seen 1 mile SSE of Saltfleetby + just NE of A1031/B1200 junction at Sea View Farm at 3.30pm but no further sign by 4.25pm.

Pictures HERE! and write up HERE!

Where will it be seen tomorrow I wonder? Hunstanton Cliffs maybe or......., who knows!!!! Eyes to the Skies!!! Mine will be, as I am on holiday again as from tomorrow!!!

Tuesday 11 June 2013

Norfok Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
WHITE-SPOTTED BLUETHROAT remains, Ruddy Shelduck, Spoonbill x 3,
Pectoral Sandpipers x 2 at Cley NWT
Black Tern, Garganey at Titchwell RSPB
Osprey at Mulbarton

Other News
MARSH WARBLER at Southwold, Suffolk

Monday 10 June 2013

Norfolk Bird News etc!

Main Highlights – RBA
White-spotted Bluethroat remains west of the East Bank at Cley
Hen Harrier at West Somerton
GULL-BILLED TERN briefly 7.55pm at Kelling Water Meadows then flew west

Other News
RED-FOOTED FALCON fem. remains at Ouse Fen, Cambridgeshire
MARSH WARBLER at Southwold, Suffolk

The last three days of white cloud and no sun has been so depressing and is definately affecting people's mood including mine. Took Lucy to visit our parents this evening. The first part of the evening was spent trying to persuade father to see an opthamologist at the QEH (he cancelled his last appt), but he absolutely refused and said he would never set foot in another hospital again. Although he did agree for me to take him to the local opticians, so I suppose that's something!  I think father enjoyed seeing us – he certainly enjoyed the chocolate truffles Lucy had bought him! We all sat and watched Springwatch together, although father could only listen to it, he can't see the TV at all now. After dropping Lucy off, I continued onto my house and watched a muntjac deer running alongside my car in the street!!!

Sunday 9 June 2013

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
WHITE-SPOTTED BLUETHROAT remains west of East Bank, Cley
Little Stint on North Scrape, Cley NWT
Little Gulls x 11, Black Tern at Titchwell RSPB
Honey Buzzard at Great Ryburgh
Red-backed Shrike at Winterton

Other News
RED-FOOTED FALCON fem. remains at Ouse Fen, Cambridgeshire
MARSH WARBLER at Southwold, Suffolk

Female Pied Flycatcher at 'The Plantation, Blakeney Point – see HERE

White-spotted Bluethroat at Cley!

The alarm went off much too early, but I really wanted a chance of seeing and photographing the White-spotted Bluethroat closer to the path along the East Bank, which mean't getting out of the door very early. I arrived at Cley at about 5.50am. It must have been my imagination, but when I opened the car I could have sworn I heard the bluethroat singing close by. Anyway I walked along the bank and saw the bird almost immediately at 6.20am and texted it to RBA etc. The light was dire, as yesterday and it was freezing cold. I had every thermal layer on and rain trousers for warmth and I was still cold. It was truly like a winter's day! To add to that it was spitting with rain on and off! I had very close views of a Barn Owl hunting along the dyke. I spent several hours here enjoying this striking little bird who sang and showed for long periods early on, but it remained in the central hawthorns which are still a long way out! There was a also a Grasshopper Warbler reeling distantly.

After warming up in the Cley Visitor Centre I went to North Scrape where I counted 89 'Tundra' Ringed Plover, 1 Little Stint, several Dunlin etc. At Walsey Hills there were 3 Chiffchaffs and that was about it.

I spent the rest of the day being lazy and seeing not very much at all. Although I did go and watch the Grey Wagtails at Glandford for a short time. I spent nearly three hours dozing at Coastguards, Cley before driving along the coast to visit my parents this evening.

Mother had caught a Lime Hawkmoth in the moth trap this morning and I got some lovely photographs of this with the macro lens, late evening settled on a plant in the garden. It really upset me to see my dear father, who's eyes are deteriorating badly – this was upsetting him and I got upset with him, not a good evening at all. I can't begin to imagine what is must be like to lose your sight to that extent. Drove home feeling really sad about father and other stuff. Crap end to the day, sorry but it was!


Saturday 8 June 2013

Chilly Birding at Cley!

A cloudy, uninspiring day with little excitement!

Spent some time with my sister Lucy this morning and didn't go birding until the afternoon.

I can't remember the last time it was this cold in June – even with thermals and gloves on it was freezing at Cley! It felt like a winter's day.

Walsey Hills produced almost no birds, I didn't even see anything on the feeders. I did manage to find a Chiffchaff and a Long-tailed Tit by the round bales, but that was it.

North Scrape produced the best birds and I counted 85 'Tundra' Ringed Plovers along with good numbers of Dunlin and a very smart adult Little Stint, 2 Sanderling, Shelducks, Redshanks, Avocets and Chicks, Cormorants. Marsh Harriers and also 1 Barn Owl. Nice to catch up with 'Mr Graham' who was very pleased at having seen the White-spotted Bluethroat that M.A.G. re-found early this morning. I left the hide and walked to the East Bank in hope of seeing the bluethroat from a different angle, but wasn't lucky. Bumped into Eddie who said the bluethroat was not showing along the bank when he looked. It was wickedly cold as I walked back to my car at Coastguards, I couldn't believe how bitterly cold it was – only yesterday at work, I sat outside with the girls and it was almost too hot to sit outside!!!

Left to go home earlier than I normally do. No pictures to be added!

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
WHITE-SPOTTED BLUETHROAT still, west of the East Bank, Cley NWT (re-found by M.A.G.)
Little Stint at North Scrape, Cley NWT
Spoonbill, Garganey at Titchwell RSPB
Little Stint at Breydon Water
Garganey at Thorpe Marshes, Haddiscoe
Short-eared Owl at Holme
Redstart at Norwich
Arctic Terns x 45 at Welney WWT
Black Tern at Winterton

Other News
RED-FOOTED FALCON fem. remains at Ouse Fen, Cambridgeshire

76 Tundra Ringed Plovers with Dunlin and 1 Little Stint on North Scrape, Cley NWT (news from E.T.M.

Friday 7 June 2013

Norfolk Bird News etc!

Main Highlights – RBA
Short-eared Owl at Holme
Black Terns x 2 at Pentney Gravel Pits (yesterday)
Red-backed Shrike, Little Stint at Cley NWT
Whinchat at East Wretham Heath NWT
Osprey at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB (yesterday)
Whinchat at Kelling Water Meadows
Osprey at Winterton

Thank goodness its Friday!!! Lets hope some good birds turn up this weekend. I really should start booking shifts for Sunday's again, but it sooooo nice to have an entire weekend. I also have another mini break coming up: next Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday – you can never have too much holiday! I was editing photos through the night and until the birds started singing this morning! But at least now I have added all pictures to my blog for this year. Now off to get 8 hours sleep!

Weather for the weekend:

Thursday 6 June 2013

Norfolk Bird News and Pictures!

Main Highlights – RBA
Garganey x 2, Spoonbill, Black Terns x 3,
Little Gulls x 11 at Titchwell RSPB
Black Terns x 4 flew east over Blakeney Point
Spoonbill at Burnham Norton
Spoonbill at Cley NWT

Other News
SAVI'S WARBLER at Lakenheath Fen RSPB, Suffolk
BEE-EATER at Thorpeness, Suffolk
RED-FOOTED FALCON fem. remains at Ouse Fen, Cambridgeshire 

25th May, 26th May, 27th May,
1st June and
2nd June

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
ICTERINE WARBLER at 'The Hood', SHORT-TOED LARK 200 yards west of 'The `Marrams' at Blakeney Point
Garganey x 2, Little Gulls x 11, Red-crested Pochard, Black Tern, Spoonbill at Titchwell RSPB
Red-backed Shrike at Breydon Water
Little Terns x 3 at Hockwold Washes
Crossbills x 2 flew NW over Sheringham
Common Cranes x 2 flew NW over King's Lynn
Short-eared Owl at Holme NWT

Other News
RED-FOOTED FALCON still, SAVI'S WARBLER at Lakenheath Fen RSPB, Suffolk
RED-FOOTED FALCON fem. remains at Ouse Fen, Cambridgeshire

Tuesday 4 June 2013

MEGA!!! Male Western Orphean Warbler, Devon!!!

By the Teign Estuary, at Newton Abbott since 22nd May, but only now identified by sound recordings from Laurie aged 15!!! Congratulations!

Sound Recording here: 
Picture HERE and Information HERE

UPDATE - Wednesday: 
This bird has now been re-identified as an 'atypical Lesser Whitethroat' (from RBA Wednesday morning)

Norfolk Bird News etc!

Main Highlights – RBA
Little Gull x 3 at Breydon Water
Spoonbill at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
Garganey x 2, Little Gull x 10, Spoonbill at Titchwell RSPB
Arctic Tern x 5 at Hopton-on-Sea
Osprey at Buckingham Carrs
Great White Egrets x 2 (am) over Cley NWT

Other News
RED-FOOTED FALCON fem. remains at Ouse Fen, Cambridgeshire

I have been editing photos all evening, have added White-spotted Bluethroat, Osprey and others to Sunday 2nd June, but still have more to add. My computer just informed me I have run out of space – bother, bother, bother!!! Still havn't replied to lots of emails, getting stressed – work really gets in the way!

Pity those Black-winged Stilts have left Frampton, as I was going over there this evening. Should have gone last night, but was committed to writing up my blog posts for the weekend, regret that now, never mind!

Monday 3 June 2013

Norfolk Bird News etc!

Main Highlights – RBA
Honey Buzzard, Curlew Sandpiper at Cley
White Stork (esc), Arctic Tern at Breydon Water
Spoonbill, Little Gull x 8, Garganey x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
WHITE-TAILED EAGLE (reported) plus Red Kites x 2 near Saxthorpe
Common Cranes x 2 at Welney WWT
Short-eared Owl at Holme NWT

Other News
RED-FOOTED FALCON still, SAVI'S WARBLER at Lakenheath Fen RSPB, Suffolk
RED-FOOTED FALCON fem. remains at Ouse Fen, Cambridgeshire
BLACK-WINGED STILTS x 2 at Frampton Marsh RSPB, Lincolnshire

It took a long time to write my posts up for the weekend this evening. I prefer to write on the day, but was too tired to write them at the time. Too late in the evening now to sort through pictures, will do this tomorrow evening.

Video of the White-spotted Bluethroat this evening!

Eddie has just taken a lovely video this evening of the White-spotted Bluethroat at Cley and posted it directly to Facebook from the field – isn't technology amazing!

Sunday 2 June 2013


Cley NWT

East Bank, Cley NWT
It just about killed me to get up this morning after so little sleep, but I really wanted to see this White-spotted Bluethroat in early morning light and attempt to photograph it. The sun would be behind the bird, the best chance of seeing it well and also for photography. It's amazing how quickly you can get to Cley with no cars, lorries or caravans in front of you!

I arrived at the East Bank carpark, Cley at just before 6am, much later than I had hoped to arrive. I got the last place in the tiny carpark. It was a gloriously sunny morning, just perfect. As a photographer I rarely use my tripod, but I had to use it this morning, to get even the hope of a record shot, as this bird was so far out in the reed bed. I initially stacked a 2x and 1.4x converter together, but the view was so crap and grainy, I immedately took the 2x off. So all pictures I took were with the 1.4x Canon converter attached to the 300mm lens. I first saw the White-spotted Bluethroat at 6am and put the news out to RBA, sent a few texts to friends, blogged it and put a message on Birdforum to let other birders know it was still there. I felt very pleased now that I had dragged myself here this morning. I got a few record shots, you can see what it is – best I could get! Had 22 Jays flying out to sea, picked up by a birder/photographer standing next to me. Another birder was telling us all that he had arrived at 4am this morning and seen the bluethroat in the nearest bushes to the path – that's close – like really close! He went on to say that a wood pigeon had then flushed it. The same birder also told us he had had seen a male Red-backed Shrike in a small hawthorn, near the big willow tree west of the East Bank, which he showed me a picture of later back in the carpark, but the bird was not re-located this morning for others to enjoy. It was nice to see Julian B., David N., Keiran, Robert and others here this morning too.

 Birders watching the White-spotted Bluethroat on the East Bank, Cley.

Cley NWT

The East bank filled up with lots of people including all the regulars. Suddenly I could hear a big commotion of birds and M.A.G (with Eddie next to him) called "Osprey coming' at 8.45am – Wow !!! The excitement of seeing this bird heading towards us was brilliant! It was flying west with the sun behind it with a large entourage of birds mobbing it. I quickly took the converter off the camera and got ready to pan this magnificant bird, that was about to fly over our heads. The Osprey was completely the wrong side of the sun for photography – if it had been coming from the west you would have been talking, potentially cracking pictures from a good number of people. I was disappointed when I looked at my viewfinder afterwards. I can't remember the last time I saw an Osprey this close – it was truly spectacular and to see this in such beautiful light, well it was just magic.
Flying west over East Bank, Cley and later seen at Titchwell.

I left my car where it was and walked along the path to Bishop's Hide NWT briefly. On route I kept a close eye on the swifts which filled the skies, in case there was something more exciting with them! From the hide I saw lots of Avocets and chicks etc and then walked to the NWT Visitor Centre to have a well deserved (well I thought so) hot cheese scone – yummy! It was so hot in the centre that I had to sit outside. I found myself falling asleep at the table, I was now completely exhausted. I sauntered back to the car, passing people hurrying to the see the bluethroat, which shows less and less throughout the middle part of the day 'early bird catches the worm'!!! Removed my coat and layers and dressed more appropriately for the now very hot day. I knew exactly what I was going to do next – a long snooze was required!

Walsey Hills NOA
Bumped into John F. in the carpark, who walked with me to Walsey Hills NOA and we hoped to maybe re-find the RBS. Wall butterflies were showing round the back path. Left John to look for butterflies etc and I walked round the front side of Walsey and settled down for a luxurious snooze. This snooze didn't last long as had a text from M.A.G, who along with John F. had found a Green Hairstreak fluttering about at the extreme top end of Walsey. Went to look at this, took photographs and then returned to my snooze. Oh, just remembered I also got some lovely pictures on the macro setting of a Four-spotted Chaser. I didn't sleep properly, but it did me good to rest. I was here for two hours! The view from here is one of the best in Norfolk, it really is – with the bright yellow gorse flowers on the hill around you and Cley Marshes and the sea beyond it is a spectacular view. Little Egrets and a Grey Heron were fishing in the dyke near to the road. Lots of Swallows and Swifts were zooming past in the bright blue skies. I eventually got up and walked back to my car to have a very late lunch at 3pm! The bluethroat had not shown for several hours, much to the disappointment of many, but whilst sitting in my car a pager message bleeped up that it was showing again. A lady came up to my car window and very kindly told me that the bluethroat was now showing and I explained that I had already seen it at 6am, but thank you. I left to find some birds.

Green Hairstreak, Walsey Hills NOA.

Four-spotted Chaser at Walsey Hills NOA.

Mark Golley and John Furse at Walsey Hills NOA.

West Track, Warham Greens
At Stiffkey there were policemen on foot walking along the street, a coastguards helicopter overhead and several police cars flying along the road. I found out later they were looking for a missing woman. They were looking for a 'single woman walking alone' - excellent description (not), well I mean that includes me and lots of other women. How are you supposed to assist with that kind of description – I ask you!!!

At the concrete pad I had a nice chat with Geoff and Pat before I set off down the track. Pat and I had a big rant about dogs and we agreed they should all be on a lead in public, for the protection of people, birds and everything else! Pat had seen a Spotted Flycatcher only seconds before I arrived. I spent a long time here, walking along the track, in the copse at the end and very slowly back along the field looking for birds, but only found a male Blackcap in the copse and a few Chaffinches and Hedge Sparrows.

 Swifts flying over Walsey Hills NOA.

 Skylark singing at Walsey Hills NOA.

Wall Butterfly at Walsey Hills NOA.

Dandelion at Walsey Hills NOA.

Walsey Hills NOA
With lack of other bird news, I decided to concentrate on butterflies. I returned to Walsey Hills NOA with my macro lens (long time since I have bothered to use that) and took photographs of 'Walls' and arty farty pictures of dandelions, but did not see the Green Hairstreak again (too late in the evening). I then spent a long time attempting to photograph low flying Swifts over my head, which didn't help my bad shoulder and wrist (work injury).

I heard from Eddie in the Walsey Hills car park, that the Bluethroat had not been seen this evening, so I parked the car in the NWT carpark and spent the rest of the evening in Bishop's Hide. I should have gone home, but I just didn't want to go home! I love this place, just wish I could afford to live here, keep dreaming Penny – one day, one day!

Barn Owl near Bishop's Hide, Cley NWT.

Magpie, Cley NWT.

Bishops Hide NWT, Cley
On the way to the hide I had fabulous views of a Barn Owl flying past and sitting on a gate post. Also photographed a Magpie flying past me at eye level. I sat alone in the hide and even though the sun was setting directly in front of me the light was absolutely incredible. There was a real hive of activity. The Avocets were silhouetted against orange coloured lit waters in the setting sun – these were my best pictures all day! Avocets can be so unnecessarily aggressive – I know they have to work hard to protect their young, but one particularly avocet deliberately went out of its way to chase all ducks within a 100 yard stretch! There was more bird action here this evening than I have ever seen during the day! Lots of gulls flew in to gather in the far right corner of the pool in the now eery mist developing, making everything look even more beautiful. Sedge Warblers were singing right up to when I left at 9.45pm. I stood on the bridge to watch for Otters (where Eddie last saw one), but was not in luck. I left at 10pm to drive home.

Teal Hide and Dauke's Hide, Cley NWT.

Shelduck at dusk, Cley NWT.

 Black-headed Gulls at dusk, Cley NWT.

Avocet Chick, Cley NWT.

Pat's Pool at dusk, Cley NWT