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Monday 30 September 2013


Garden Drove, Warham

I bashed all three alarm clocks on 'sleep mode' several times. It was a real job to get up this morning after working eleven hours yesterday, but dragged myself out of bed eventually! It was a glorious sunny day, which most people would be very happy with, but I wanted cloud and rain to drop some 'rares' in – oh well, we can't have everything! I had planned to have a massive day of walking East Hills and Blakeney Point – the second did not materialise!

I headed for Warham – on route, news of a Red-breasted Flycatcher at Garden Drove appeared on the pager which was lucky, well I thought so anyway! I arrived at the concrete pad along Garden Drove fairly early, but can't remember exactly what time it was now.  As I prepared for my walk to East Hills, a bait digger was telling me that it definately would not be raining until at least Thursday – that's no good to me as I'm back at work on Wednesday! Anyway, with wellies on, stick for jumping creeks, camera gear and snacks packed, I was ready for my expedition. Along the track there were a few people looking in vain for the Red-breasted Fly – I didn't see it either, so no luck with that one – mind you I didn't look that hard, as I was eager to head out for 'the hills'.

The track out there was quite dry, so very little slippery mud to contend with today! A Greenshank was on the marsh on the way out. After dealing with the big creek, I relaxed and enjoyed walking across the sands to the dune ridge in the sunshine. As soon as I reached the trees a Song Thrush came into view and another and another! Two Redstarts were on the edge of the pines, but would not allow me to get near enough for a photo at all. In a small sycamore in the large clearing, there were 4 Willow Warblers together! This was a good sign as I hadn't even reached the main sycamore glade yet! There were loads of Song Thrushes, I estimated at the finish, at least 100+ Song Thrushes out here! In the main sycamore glade I had 2 Goldcrests, 2 Chiffchaffs, several Robins and more Song Thrushes. What only could have been a male Red-breasted Flycatcher, zipped past me through the sycamores and landed behind a bramble. My heart was pounding – ok, which way should I walk to clinch it, I had to find it – I just could not believe that I couldn't find it! It was soooooo annoying. I tried every trick in the book to get that bird out. I then decided to sit high up in the marram grass where you can view most of the sycamores and wait. I waited and waited and nothing was seen. I don't know where the hell that bird disappeared to, but I couldn't find it. I walked round again in disbelief, but it had vanished.

I continued to the west end and continued seeing Song Thrushes exploding out of bushes, a Kestrel was seen and 2 Sparrowhawks. In Wells Harbour there were approximately 500+ Brent Geese feeding and a massive count of 135 Ringed Plovers, opposite of where I was standing!!! I searched the sycamore glade again on my return and couldn't find anything in here now, apart from a couple of Robins and more Song Thrushes. The time was ticking away and I was pushing things to the extreme now, with the incoming tide. I had to walk back immediately, or stay out until well after high tide which was just after 4pm. I couldn't risk staying here that long, in case something else turned up elsewhere, so I left at 12. 45pm.
Garden Drove, Warham

Back at 'Garden Drove' I had excellent views of the Red-breasted Flycatcher, in the hedge west of the end of the main track and even managed to get a few half decent pictures! I was boiling hot now in my wellingtons and couldn't wait to get them off! I phoned RBA to say the RBF was still there at 2.14pm – no one else had bothered to put any news out about this bird for over three hours!!! Come on people!!! There was a tit flock along the track, but no YBW with them or anything else exciting. Back at the car, the wellies came off, what a relief! Loads of cars pulling up now to see the Red-breasted Fly. A couple I know arrived in the carpark, spotted me and said 'Ahhhh..... Penny, she'll know where it is' – I replied 'seen it, photographed it and now going' with a smile!!!

Cley Coastguards – arrived here to walk Blakeney Point. I also met up with Andy W. in the carpark who had a half day's holiday. We chatted about birds, life and all kinds of stuff, whilst eating Ginger & Pear cake from Cley Deli! Yum, yum! The time disappeared and it was suddenly 4pm. This was the time I started walking out to BP on Saturday – hmmm....... I just didn't fancy walking back in the dark again, so decided not to bother in the end.

Andy and I went to Walsey Hills to search for birds, but nothing in here at all, apart from a Chiffchaff calling and a Blue Tit. We also bumped into Andy J. who we had a chat with and then we all left. Both Andy's departed and I then went to Gramborough Hill at Salthouse. Nothing in the bushes at all – dead! I walked back along the shingle ridge with the wind in my hair and the waves crashing on the shingle and the sun setting – beautiful. Half way down the shingle ridge I spotted a single Wheatear. Back at the carpark I counted 23 Pied Wagtails flitting about and then a bit later they all flew south over the marsh.

Had a coffee and a sandwich at Glandford Ford. Fed the very friendly, appreciative Mallards and drove home.

Stopped in the supermarket in King's Lynn to stock up and also bought Dizzie Rascal's new album, out today called 'The Fifth' – really looking forward to listening to this tomorrow, on route when I am birding.


Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Cattle Egret at Cley NWT, Salthouse, Burnham Overy Staithe and Holkham
RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER, Yellow-browed Warbler, Redstart at Garden Drove (West Track), Warham
Hawfinch at Warham
Spotted Redshanks x 5, Med. Gulls x 329, White Storks x 2 (esc.) at Breydon Water
Yellow-browed Warbler, Redstart at Titchwell RSPB (Also 2 YBW's yesterday)
Firecrest, Redstart at Hemsby
Redstart at Stiffkey
Osprey at Colney Pits
Yellow-browed Warbler, Redstart at Waxham
Redstarts x 2 at East Hills, Wells (PAC)
Pectoral Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpipers x 2, Little Stint at Welney WWT
Yellow-browed Warbler, Redstarts x 2 at Holme NOA
Yellow-browed Warblers x 3, Pied Flycatchers x 2, Ring Ouzel at Holkham Pines
Lapland Buntings x 2, Snow Bunting, Redstarts x 4, Whinchat at Burnham Overy Dunes
Spoonbills x 4 at Blakeney
Firecrest, Whinchat, Yellow-browed Warbler at Winterton
Yellow-browed Warbler at The Dell, Wells
Little Stints x 2, Spotted Redshank, Little Gull at Cantley Beet Factory
Yellow-browed Warbler at Burgh Castle

Other News
MEGA!!! ISABELLINE WHEATEAR, Martin's Haven Deer Park, Pembrokeshire
MEGA!!! BROWN SHRIKE, remains at Wester Quariff, Shetland
MEGA!!! SYKE'S WARBLER, remains on Fair Isle
PECHORA PIPIT remains on mainland at Levenwick, Shetland 

Cley Marshes Saved!!!

Sunday 29 September 2013

MEGA! Rufous-tailed Robin in Norfolk!!!?

Unbeknown to me whilst I was at work today a MEGA Alert went out on the pager "Rufous-tailed Robin" at Overstrand!!!!! I first knew about it in my second shift. I had just started my 20 minute teabreak when I could see missed calls on my phone – 'bother' was the first word that came to mind! Phoned 121 on answerphone and listened to two messages (thank you BOTH for your calls, it was much appreciated – you know who are) to inform me about the bird. It made me feel ill, knowing I was at work and there was nothing at all I could do about it.

On my arrival home I found out that the bird seen by an observer/s is not now thought to be a Rufous-tailed Robin. Too tired to go into the whole story, so read it here for yourself:

Two days hardcore birding starts at dawn tomorrow – can't wait!!!

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Yellow-browed Warbler at Holme
Black-throated Diver at Salthouse
Redstart at Gramborough Hill, Salthouse
Yellow-browed Warbler at Overstrand
Pied Flycatcher, Firecrest at Winterton
Med. Gulls x 317, Black Tern, Curlew Sandpiper, Hen Harrier at Breydon Water
Firecrest, Redstarts x 2, Whinchat at Great Yarmouth Cemetery
Little Stint at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILL at Lynford Aboretum
Yellow-browed Warbler, Ring Ouzel, Redstart at East Hills, Wells
Yellow-browed Warbler, Redstart at Wells Woods
Snow Bunting, Yellow-browed Warbler at Titchwell RSPB
Bluethroat at Blakeney Point
Balearic Shearwaters x 2, Sooty Shearwater, Arctic Tern, Short-eared Owl at Eccles-on-Sea
Pectoral Sandpipers x 2 at Warham Greens
Sooty Shearwaters x 2, Little Gull, Arctic Terns x 2, Great Skua, Arctic Skuas x 2, Little Auk at Cley NWT
MEGA!!! RUFOUS-TAILED ROBIN at Overstrand (then withdrawn later by observer)
Redstarts x 3 at Holme
Yellow-browed Warbler at Burnham Deepdale
Pectoral Sandpiper at Welney WWT

Other News
MEGA!!! FORSTER'S TERN County Dublin
PECHORA PIPIT remains on mainland at Levenwick, Shetland
MEGA!!! BROWN SHRIKE remains, Collieston, Aberdeen
MEGA!!! BROWN SHRIKE, North Ronaldsay, Orkney 
MEGA!!! BROWN SHRIKE, remains at Wester Quariff, Shetland
MEGA!!! SYKE'S WARBLER, remains on Fair Isle

Saturday 28 September 2013

NOA Annual Report 2012

Just received my Norfolk Ornithologists' Assocation's Annual Report today 'Celebrating 50 years of the Holme Bird Observatory'.

Fabulous front cover of a Waxwing and the backcover is a copy of the first annual report in 1962 depicting Richard Richardson's drawing of a Great Grey Shrike. Its certainly a bumper issue of 136 pages and loads of pictures including two pictures of mine: a Kingfisher and a Wryneck. Also a picture of my father taken by the late Geoffrey Barker. Several pictures from the past including pictures my father took of the queue for the Yellow-breasted Bunting, Hoopoe, Black-winged Stilts, old pictures of the observatory including the ice floes in 1962. Also a Nutcracker ringed in August 1968, my father and Richard Richardson at Cley in 1963 and loads more!

Well worth buying at £5.00 if you are not a member of the NOA. The report is free if you join the NOA. Its well worth joining for lots of reasons including dawn 'til dusk access to Holme Bird Observatory reserve. Single membership is only £20.00. See their website HERE

Holme, Titchwell & Blakeney Point!

Holme Reserves
Parked by the 5-bar gate and walked along the boardwalk to the NWT Forestry. Several birders in were in here already and I pointed out that we would all be in trouble! No one is supposed to be in here before 10am (to be precise 10am-5pm, as is the main Holme Dunes NWT Reserve). I have never quite understood why Cley NWT reserves are dawn 'til dusk for members and non-members (day permits) 10am-5pm and why Holme NWT is not the same? Afterall birding is often at its best in the early/first part of the morning and again at the end of the day. I realise this habitat is delicate and can understand why it requires less trampling feet in the spring, but can't see a problem with people enjoying the reserve early morning and evening for the rest of the year. Anyway, back to birds! At least 20 Brent Geese on the shoreline. Big movement of Greenfinches, I counted at least 100 moving east, 3 Magpies, 5 Little Egrets flew over, 100+ Knot flew east over the dunes and also 2 Gannets. Several Hedgesparrows, 20+ Goldfinches, Curlew x 8, A Redwing in the elders, a Sparrowhawk swooped by, and a Great Spotted Woodpecker bounded across me east at 9.10am. A Reed Bunting, Whitethroat, Meadow Pipits and several Robins were also seen.

At Holme Bird Observatory I paid up my annual subscription and received the fabulous 2012 Annual Report, just hot off the press (see my separate post about this). A Sparrowhawk flew over the obs. Quick chat with Sophie before I walked round the back of the pines to look for birds. Spoke to Andy Wilkinson on the phone, who was birding with Justin Lansdell in Great Yarmouth Cemetery and had found 3 Firecrests and Keith Dye had also found a Yellow-browed Warbler! No birds in the pines at all, but the sea produced a few good birds including: 15 Sandwich Terns, 4 Oystercatchers, 4 Gannets, 27 Ringed Plovers, 18 Sanderling, 1 Red-throated Diver, 25 Teal, several flocks of Bar-tailed Godwits went through. All birds were flying east. I walked back to the NOA carpark. Looked in the bushes for a barred warbler, but no luck! Drove along the Firs Road and parked up by the NWT pay hut to search for the Yellow-browed Warblers by 'Peddars End' Chalet (the wooden chalet which replaced the 'standing caravan') – didn't hear or see a thing!!! Continued to walk along the public footpath alongside the river to Redwell Marsh – this path was completely overgrown and I had a job to get through it. A photographer coming out of the hide said there was only a mallard to be seen, so I didn't bother going in. Walked back along the road and bumped into Jacquie and Dave Bridges (nice to see you both) who were looking for the YBW's – Dave had heard one, but not seen whilst I was there. Left here and went to visit my parents. Mother told me she had had a Humming Bird Hawkmoth in her garden yesterday.

Titchwell RSPB
Stopped here briefly just to walk round the Fen Trail. Two Yellow-browed Warblers had been seen around this trail this morning, but I didn't have any luck with these either! I did however find 3 Reed Warblers in the willows just before the Fen hide and managed to get a backside shot of one of them!

Cley & Blakeney Point
Arrived at Cley Coastguards at 3pm and had a power nap for half an hour. What to do now, should I walk to Blakeney Point? What a crazy idea at this time of the day! There were no goodies in Norfolk today yet and it probably wasn't worth walking out to the 'Point' at all. But I wanted to go – I had a Rufous Bush Chat in mind and I couldn't erase it. Packed up my bag and started walking at the ridicously late time of 4pm! The man in the pay hut told me that James MacCallum and Kevin Shepherd were both still on BP! This inspired me hugely!

I powered through the shingle and searched hard. The massive downside was the fact that I was walking into the sun, so not ideal for searching. Quite a few Meadow Pipits around, a single Redwing flew east low over the sueda bushes. There were people staying at Halfway House, so didn't spend time there. 2 Hares lolloped across the shingle. No other birds of note. At the large Tamarisk just before the 'Plantation' I found a single Willow Warbler – took me a while to ID it though, as initially I just saw a movement and then a tail etc! I sat at the west end of the 'Plantation' and at 6.10pm a Redwing dropped in briefly which I managed to get a few shots of! A Wheatear sat nearby. A Lesser Whitethroat was also seen. Bird of the day was a cracking male Brambling, which appeared in the sycamore just as I was leaving! I went back and watched it feeding and managed to get some shots of this too! Fabulous! Another bird dropped in a bush in the now semi-darkness – that's probably going to be mega bird of the day tomorrow when I am at work! I started my walk back at 7.15pm.

There was me, thinking I was the only crazy person out here at this time, when I spotted James MacCallum and Kevin Shepherd just up ahead of me, also walking back! By the time I reached them they were sat having a brief food stop before continuing the plod back. Kevin said 'giving up so early Penny?' Ha, ha!!! They hadn't seen that much today either. Told them about my Redwing and Brambling and then I left them and crossed over onto the beach to walk back. It was really cold now and the east wind was straight in my face. I walked close to the crashing waves and walked as fast as I could. James and Kevin were not too far behind me and caught up when we were almost back to Coastguards. Got back to the car at 8.20pm. Drove straight home arriving at just after 9pm.

Rain late on Monday and heavy on Tuesday with the east winds looks promising, well hopefully!


Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Firecrests x 3, Yellow-browed Warbler at Great Yarmouth Cemetery
Firecrest at Caister Road Cemetery
Snow Bunting, Curlew Sandpiper at Cley NWT
Whinchat at Hemsby
Pectoral Sandpiper, Whooper Swans x 2 at Welney WWT
Little Stints x 2, Curlew Sandpipers x 4, Spotted Redshanks x 4 at Titchwell RSPB
Richard's Pipit at Muckleburgh Hill
Richard's Pipit at Mundesley
Short-eared Owl, Lapland Buntings x 2, Merlin at Winterton
Yellow-browed Warbler at Waxham
Yellow-browed Warbler at Holkham Pines
Yellow-browed Warblers x 2 at 'Peddars End' Chalet (old standing caravan), Holme
Yellow-browed Warbler, Redstart at Wells Woods
Little Stints x 3 at Cantley Beet Factory
Osprey at Cockshoot Broad
Redstart, Whinchats x 2 at Burnham Overy Staithe
Great White Egret, Redstart, Whinchat at Scolt Head Island NNR
Black-throated Divers x 2, Snow Buntings x 6 at Blakeney Point
Yellow-browed Warbler at Sculthorpe Moor

Other News
MEGA!!! BROWN SHRIKE, Collieston, Aberdeen
MEGA!!! BROWN SHRIKE, Balcomie, Fife
MEGA!!! BROWN SHRIKE, remains at Wester Quariff, Shetland
PECHORA PIPIT, mainland at Levenwick, Shetland

Friday 27 September 2013

Strong Overnight Migration to UK!

Get excited, get sandwiches done, optics polished, out early, big day, big weekend!!!

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Richard's Pipit at Kelling Quags
Yellow-browed Warbler at Holme
LITTLE BUNTING remains at Blakeney Point
Yellow-browed Warbler at Holme Bird Observatory
Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Garganey x 2 at Cley NWT
Yellow-browed Warblers x 2, Redstart at Great Yarmouth Cemetery
Yellow-browed Warbler, Spoonbills x 4 at Stiffkey Fen
Pectoral Sandpiper at Welney WWT
Yellow-browed Warblers x 2 at Holkham Pines
Ring Ouzel, Corncrake at Burnham Overy Staithe
Yellow-browed Warbler at Winterton
Yellow-browed Warbler at Burgh Castle
Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper at Breydon Water

Other News
MEGA!!! BROWN SHRIKE, Wester Quariff, Shetland
MEGA!!! BROWN SHRIKE, remains on North Ronaldsay, Orkney
MEGA!!! SYKE'S WARBLER, remains on Fair Isle
Sooty Shearwater remains at Grafham Water, Cambrideshire – 'potentially the first inland record of the species for Britain' (RBA)

Recent Ornithological Sale!

The recent Ornithological Auction at 'Keys Fine Art Auctioneers' at Aylsham in Norfolk, now has the pdf available to view the items that were sold and how much they went for etc. Here is my original posting:

Richard Richardson's original watercolour of a Snowy Owl on a Rock went for £390 (page 23, Lot 139) and a signed limited edition print went for £18.00 (page 5, Lot 26). An original water colour/pencil of 'Garden Birds' (page 23, Lot 140), which I know belonged to a man in Heacham (originally anyway) went for £750!!! Very interesting indeed seeing these prices of the late RAR's work.

Here is the link:

Thursday 26 September 2013


At Lower Stoneybrek, Fair Isle.
Pictures HERE and HERE

RBA Weekly Round-Up 18th-24th September

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Yellow-browed Warbler at Holme NWT
Common Cranes x 5 flew west over Blakeney at 10.40am
Common Cranes x 5 flew over Titchwell RSPB at 11.15am
Common Cranes x 5 flew out to sea at Holme at 11.21amYellow-browed Warbler, Snow Bunting, Grey Phalarope, Little Stints x 2, Spoonbill, Curlew Sandpiper at Titchwell RSPB
Yellow-browed Warbler at Wells Woods
Yellow-browed Warblers x 2, Redstarts x 2 at Holkham
Little Stints x 3, Garganey at Cley NWT
Yellow-browed Warbler, Ring Ouzel at Bradwell
LITTLE BUNTING at Blakeney Point
Pectoral Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper at Welney WWT
Yellow-browed Warblers x 2 at North Dunes, Winterton
Corncrake at Burnham Overy Staithe
Pied Flycatcher at Thornham
Corncrake, Yellow-browed Warbler at Sheringham
Little Stint at Breydon Water

Other News
Sooty Shearwater at Grafham Water, Cambrideshire – 'potentially the first inland record of the species for Britain' (RBA)

Loads of rares turning up north, hopefully some will filter down to Norfolk! Masses of Yellow-browed Warblers, 490 counted including a massive count of 102 on North Unst, Shetland today! 'One of the biggest arrivals ever noted in Britain' (RBA).

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Snettisham Coastal Park!

With news of Yellow-browed Warblers turning up in Norfolk I decided to try and find my own after work. With the light disappearing fast each evening now, I really have to stay local, so Snettisham Coastal Park is my nearest place to search, when there are migrants around.

It was misty and dull when I arrived in the carpark. I heard a robin, a chiffchaff calling and approximately three different Cetti's Warblers and that was it! Unbelievably dead!!! I drove home very disappointed. The lull before the storm maybe?

I have been informed that each day will get better towards the weekend, with Sunday/Monday bringing the goodies. I'm working all day on Sunday, but have Monday and Tuesday booked off!!! So hopefully when I booked those two days a year ago, I might, just might have struck lucky!

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Whinchat at Winterton
Yellow-browed Warbler, Pied Flycatcher at Holkham Pines
Spoonbills x 7 at Holkham Pines
Red-backed Shrike at Horsey
Crossbills x 50 at Lynford
Spoonbills x 5 at Stiffkey Fen
Spoonbills x 13 at Brancaster
Yellow-browed Warbler at Wells Woods
Yellow-browed Warblers x 2 at Happisburgh
Yellow-browed Warbler at Great Yarmouth
Lesser Whitethroat, Brambling at Gramborough Hill, Salthouse

Other News
MEGA!!! EASTERN KINGBIRD remains at Inishbofin, County Galway (8.10am only)
MEGA!!! BLACKPOLL WARBLER, Inishbofin, County Galway

Tuesday 24 September 2013


Inishbofin, County Galway!!!
The first one for the Western Palearctic was on 5th October 2012 also in County Galway HERE

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Spoonbills x 9, Curlew Sandpipers x 7, Little Stints x 2, Spotted Redshanks x 15, Hobby at Titchwell RSPB
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS x 4 (male, 2 imm. males & 1 fem.), Crossbills x 30 at Lynford Aboretum
Raven at Norwich
Little Stints x 2, Curlew Sandpipers x 7, Whinchat, Tree Pipit, Spotted Redshanks x 15 at Snettisham RSPB
Curlew Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank at Cley NWT

Other News
MEGA!!! EASTERN KINGBIRD at County Galway!!!
MEGA!!! BROWN SHRIKE, North Ronaldsay, Orkney 
MEGA!!! ELEGANT TERN remains on County Kerry

Monday 23 September 2013

East Winds on the Way!!!

From 12pm tomorrow (Tuesday) East winds right through the week, weekend and continues until Monday!!!

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Red-backed Shrike, Yellow-browed Warbler at Walsey Hills NOA
Pectoral Sandpiper, Spoonbills x 6, Curlew Sandpipers x 5 at Titchwell RSPB
Curlew Sandpipers x 2, Spotted Redshanks x 3 at Breydon Water
Whinchats x 2 at Horsey
Pomarine Skua, Red-necked Grebes x 2 at Cley NWT
Glossy Ibis x 6 (possible) at Rockland Broad

Other News
MEGA!!! RIVER WARBLER North Ronaldsay, Orkney
MEGA!!! BALTIMORE ORIOLE, remains at Halligarth, Unst, Shetland!!!
LESSER-GREY SHRIKE remains between Leiston and Sizewell, Suffolk

Also, outstanding pictures of the recent Roseate Tern at Titchwell RSPB by Chris Upson HERE

Sunday 22 September 2013

LOST! African Grey Parrot!!!

A lady emailed me this evening to ask for my help to spread the word. Her African Grey Parrot has escaped from Hunstanton. If anyone sees this bird, please email me at:

UPDATE: Monday – Parrot has been found!

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Black Tern at Snettisham RSPB
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS x 3 at Lynford Aboretum
Curlew Sandpiper, Spotted Redshanks x 3 at Breydon Water
Red-backed Shrike, Clouded Yellow Butterfly at Walsey Hills NOA
Osprey at Lyng
Osprey at Norwich
Osprey at Kimberley
Yellow-browed Warbler, Pectoral Sandpiper, Roseate Terns x 2, Arctic Skua, Spoonbills x 4, Curlew Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank, Little Stint at Titchwell RSPB
Long-tailed Skua at Walcott
Common Rosefinch at Great Yarmouth Cemetery
Whinchats x 4 at Buckinham Marshes RSPB
Spoonbills x 3 at Stiffkey Fen
Curlew Sandpiper at Cantley Beet Factory
Lapland Bunting at Cley NWT

Main News
MEGA!!! ELEGANT TERN remains, County Kerry
LESSER-GREY SHRIKE remains between Leiston and Sizewell, Suffolk

Saturday 21 September 2013

Cley Birding!

Walsey Hills NOA

Arrived in the Cley NWT Visitor Centre carpark at just after 7.30am. The light was dull and it was quite cold.

Walked to Bishop's Hide, just in case the Wilson's Phalarope decided to make a re-appearance! It didn't! Had a lovely chat with someone about the good old days, as you do! Can't remember the man's name now, but he was telling me my father was very good friends with Claude Appleton and how they both used to cycle from Sheringham (where my father lived at the time) to go birding at Cley. Also lots of stories about RAR too, fascinating and also about K.S! Anyway back to birding, 4 Golden Plover and 1 Grey Plover and also a Garganey that Eddie found when he arrived in the hide later on along with the usual gulls etc. The sun did break out mid morning and was a nice warm afternoon.

I walked to Walsey Hills and eventually got brief views of the Red-backed Shrike along with Eddie, Julian B. and others. A couple of Blackcaps were also feeding in the brambles. Walked back to the NWT Visitor Centre and sat outside alone, enjoying a cheese scone in the sunshine – lovely! That cheese scone was so scrumptious, I ordered a second one!!! To be fair, I have not had any cheese scones for months!

At Gramborough Hill Eddie pointed out two Hobbies almost above us at 12.15pm. Nothing in the bushes apart from a starling. The best thing about today was meeting James Mc.'s incredibly sweet little daughter, who was just fabulous to spend time with and hugely entertaining. James said he had heard that there was a Pied Flycatcher and a Redstart at Blakeney Point this morning.

Cley Coastguards – an hour's snooze in the car! Pete Snook and Graham arrived and we had lots of chat and banter! Graham told me that when he arrived early this morning, he had seen an Arctic Skua, 2 Red-throated Divers and several Gannets flying past. The general lack of birds did not inspire me to search hard today. I returned to Walsey Hills to have a second look at the shrike – there were quite a few birders here.

Went back to Gramborough Hill again and sat there for ages, waiting for something bright yellow to drop in. Eventually it did!!! A bright yellow Willow Warbler! One starling added to the list and that was it. A juv. Gannet sailed past east I spotted out of the corner of my eye, as I sat there on the hill.

Went back to the Red-backed Shrike for a third time and had the bird all to myself – and got some record shots in the evening sunshine. As I left a Cetti's Warbler burst into song. Spent the rest of the evening taking arty farty sunset shots with the wide angled lens along Beach Road.

Walsey Hills NOA

Cley, East Bank NWT– where my parents first met!


Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS x 4 (1 Male, 1 Female, 2 Juvs) at Lynford Aboretum
Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Spotted Redshanks x 17 at Snettisham RSPB
Pectoral Sandpiper, Spoonbills x 9, Red-necked Grebes x 2, Curlew Sandpipers x 5, Little Stints x 2, Purple Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull at Titchwell RSPB
Red-backed Shrike at Walsey Hills NOA
Med. Gulls x 50 at West Somerton
Curlew Sandpipers x 2, Spotted Redshanks x 3 at Breydon Water
Whinchats x 2, Little Stints x 3, Spotted Redshank, Caspian Gull at Cley NWT
Spoonbills x 8 at Thornham Harbour
Spoonbills x 9, Spotted Redshank at Stiffkey Fen
Osprey at Lyng

Note: I also heard there was a Pied Flycatcher and a Redstart in The Plantation, Blakeney Point this morning. 

Other News
MEGA!!! WILSON'S WARBLER remains, County Cork!!!
MEGA!!! ELEGANT TERN remains, County Kerry
LESSER-GREY SHRIKE remains between Leiston and Sizewell, Suffolk

Friday 20 September 2013

Burnham Overy Dunes!

Packed my birding gear up in the car before I went to work this morning and went birding straight from work. I had planned on going to Cley again to see the Wilson's Phalarope, but annoyingly there was 'no sign' today!!! Plan B: find my own stuff at Burnham Overy Dunes. It took almost thirty minutes to get out of the hospital grounds, from when I left off at 4.10pm. The traffic is getting increasingly worse every Friday afternoon.

Arrived at Burnham Overy at around 5.30pm. It was a dull evening and the light was already fading. Thousands upon thousands of Pink-footed Geese filled the skies in their typical 'V' formations – a sure sign of winter! Walking along the track I saw a Chiffchaff flicking about in a large sallow bush, but little else. A few redshanks in the tidal creeks, but nothing else at all. Nothing in the sueda bushes, no reed buntings or pipits or anything – a distinct lack of bird life! It was depressingly quiet. At the bushes at the end of the sea wall, I got excited when a bramble moved quite violently, which to me indicated that it must be a heavy duty, bulky kind of bird, possible a nice barred warbler maybe? No, wrong it was a massive great rat feasting on the blackberries!!! That will make you think twice about picking blackberries for your pie won't it?!!! No birds in these bushes at all, nor in the apple tree.

I continued up to Gun Hill where there were two birds in the elder bushes, immediately seaward side of the hill, but they melted in the undergrowth like chocolate. There is always at least one bird in here and every time they bl**dy well disappear!!! I tried every trick in the book to get either of those birds out, but they both sat laughing in the bottom of the bush!!! Well that's what it felt like anyway! I thought I was the only birder out here, until I realised there was another birder with large rucksack/ camping gear, who looked like he was going to camp here for the night.

I walked back in the semi-darkness and saw nothing else apart from thousands more Pink-footed Geese flying towards Holkham. I did see two types of bats, one larger than the other, but I am not an expert on bats at all.

Drove home listening to 'Example'.

Hope to see some nice birds somewhere tomorrow, as I'm working all day on a double shift on Sunday!


BROWN SHRIKE, Warsash, Hampshire!!! HERE
Picture HERE 


WILSON'S WARBLER Male, Dursey Island, County Cork!!! 


Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
PECTORAL SANDPIPERS x 2, Spoonbills x 10, Little Stints x 2, Curlew Sandpiper, Spotted Redshanks x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Spoonbills x 8, Little Stints x 3, Red-necked Grebe, Lapland Bunting at Cley NWT
Red-backed Shrike at Walsey Hills NOA
Whinchats x 5 at Horsey
Redstart at Gorleston
Curlew Sandpipers x 2, Spotted Redshank at Breydon Water
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS (2 Male, 2 Juvs) at Lynford Aboretum
Honey Buzzard at Great Ryburgh
Whinchat at Winterton
Curlew Sandpipers x 2 at Burgh Castle
Long-tailed Duck at Holme

Other News
MEGA!!! WILSON'S WARBLER, County Cork!!!
MEGA!!! BROWN SHRIKE, Warsash, Hampshire!!!
MEGA!!! ELEGANT TERN remains, County Kerry
LESSER-GREY SHRIKE remains between Leiston and Sizewell, Suffolk

Thursday 19 September 2013


BALTIMORE ORIOLE, Halligarth, Unst, Shetland!
Found by Brydon Thomason!

Picture HERE

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Pectoral Sandpipers x 2, Curlew Sandpipers x 3, Little Stints x 3, Yellow-legged Gull, Purple Sandpiper at Titchwell RSPB
Spoonbill at Thornham Harbour
Red-backed Shrike at Walsey Hills NOA
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS x 3 (2 males, 1 juv.) at Lynford Aboretum
Common Cranes x 29 at Waxham
Spoonbills x 2 at Stiffkey Fen
Pectoral Sandpiper at Snettisham RSPB

Other News
MEGA!!! BALTIMORE ORIOLE, Halligarth, Unst, Shetland!!!
MEGA!!! ELEGANT TERN remains, County Kerry
LESSER-GREY SHRIKE remains between Leiston and Sizewell, Suffolk

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Hot News From Me!

A television company working for Channel 4 has requested use of one of my pictures for a 6-part series entitled "Walking Through History" with Sir Tony Robinson!!!! How exciting!!! Will be interesting to see how much I will be paid for this!

Update: If my picture is accepted, I will be paid £50.00!

I have had a sore throat over the last couple of days and feel pretty rubbish, but still managing to get to work. I can't believe how cold its become! My heating is not working I discovered over the last few days and the house is freezing. British Gas coming out tomorrow to try and fix it.

I have made a big decision – time to move. I havn't been happy living in King's Lynn since I moved here and life is far too short to be unhappy! I only bought a house here in the first place as I couldn't afford to buy anywhere else at the time. Going to spend winter nights sorting through stuff in my house I don't need or want – need to set up an ebay account! Will try and sell my house by next spring and then down size to a flat somewhere else. Was thinking of Fakenham as still close enough for work and visiting parents, but closer to the coast and property is loads cheaper there than on the coast! I was quite amazed at the prices of flats in Fakenham when I looked this week! A girl I work with is doing exactly the same thing.

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
WILSON'S PHALAROPE, on Pat's Pool, Bishops Hide, Cley NWT
Lapland Bunting, Curlew Sandpipers x 5, Little Stints x 3 at Cley NWT
Red-backed Shrike at Walsey Hills NOA
Pectoral Sandpipers x 2, Spoonbills x 2, Purple Sandpiper, Little Stints x 2, Long-tailed Ducks x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Spoonbills x 7 at Thornham Harbour
Osprey at Lyng
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILL, Male at Lynford Aboretum
Black Tern at Holkham Park (later killed by Peregrine)

Other News
LESSER-GREY SHRIKE remains between Leiston and Sizewell, Suffolk.

RBA Weekly Round-Up 11th-17th September

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
WILSON'S PHALAROPE, on Pat's Pool, Bishops Hide, Cley NWT
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS x 2, Crossbills x 30 at Lynford Aboretum

Garganey, Caspian Gull, Little Stints x 4 at Cley NWT
Black Tern at Holkham
Little Stints x 2, Whinchat at Kelling Water Meadows
ROSE-COLOURED STARLING remains at Caister-on-Sea
Pectoral Sandpipers x 2, Little Stints x 2, Curlew Sandpiper, Garganey, Lapland Bunting, Spoonbills x 11 at Titchwell RSPB
Red-backed Shrike at Walsey Hills NOA
Osprey at Lyng
Osprey at Snettisham RSPB
Curlew Sandpiper at Burgh Castle

Other News
STOP PRESS!!! GREAT SNIPE at Spurn found dead!
MEGA!!! ELEGANT TERN remains, County Kerry
LESSER-GREY SHRIKE remains between Leiston and Sizewell, Suffolk.

Monday 16 September 2013

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
WILSON'S PHALAROPE, on Pat's Pool, Bishops Hide, Cley NWT
Long-tailed Skua, Arctic Skuas x 5, Black Tern, Pectoral Sandpiper, Little Stints x 3, Yellow-legged Gull, Caspian Gull,  at Cley NWT
Pectoral Sandpipers x 2, Little Stints x 2, Spoonbills x 5 at Titchwell RSPB
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS x 3 at Lynford Aboretum
Snow Bunting at Great Yarmouth
Snow Bunting at Salthouse
Black Tern at Holkham
Common Cranes x 35, Pink-footed Geese x 20 at Waxham 

Other News
MEGA!!! GREAT SNIPE remains at Kilnsea, East Yorkshire. MEGA!!! ELEGANT TERN remains, County Kerry

Flew over to Cley after work and dipped on the Wilson's Phalarope. The bird had not been seen for a while. Nobody had phoned out the fact that it had flown off in the direction of Arnold's Marsh. If they had, I wouldn't have bothered driving so fast! Oh well. I walked into Bishop's Hide to find Dave Holman, his wife and another birder, none of whom had seen the Phalarope. As I left the hide, I phoned RBA to let them know that the bird had disappeared. Another birder came rushing down the path and I said 'don't bother running, its gone' – he was obviously as disappointed as me. It wasn't a completely wasted journey, as I was delivering a card and pressie to Pete anyway, but it would have been nice to see on a Monday evening after work! I have seen one before, but not for a long time.

Happy Birthday to Pete Snook Today!!!

Sunday 15 September 2013

Lazy Day!

I didn't get out of bed until 11am – I was so tired from racing about over the last few days. In fact, I continued to relax for most of the day! I went to visit my parents late afternoon, whom I had not seen all week in my holiday. Father and Mother seem to enjoy hearing all about Allegra's wedding. Mother loved looking at all the pictures on the back of my camera, but sadly father can't see them. Father got upset about his failing eyesight again, heart breaking is an understatement. It was so cold today and with winds and rain, it seemed like winter! My house is freezing and the heating is not working, so need to ring British Gas about getting an engineer out!

Work in the morning, where did that week go? – don't really feel like I have had a week off at all!

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
RED-BACKED SHRIKE remains at Walsey Hills NOA
Pied Flycatcher (in garden) at Cley
Snow Bunting, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stints x 4, Garganey at Cley
Whinchat at Hemsby
Lapland Buntings x 3, Pectoral Sandpipers x 2, Little Stints x 4, Curlew Sandpiper, Purple Sandpiper at Titchwell RSPB
Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Redshanks x 3 at Breydon Water
Whinchats x 3 at Buckingham Marshes RSPB
Med. Gulls x 100 at West Somerton
Med. Gulls x 124 at Winterton
Curlew Sandpipers x 2 at Burgh Castle.
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILL at Lynford Aboretum
Common Cranes x 38 at Waxham
Black Tern at Holkham

Other News
LESSER-GREY SHRIKE between Leiston and Sizewell, Suffolk.
MEGA!!! GREAT SNIPE remains at Kilnsea, East Yorkshire.
MEGA!!! ELEGANT TERN remains, County Kerry
MEGA!!! FEA'S PETROL flew past Bardsey Island 

Saturday 14 September 2013

Allegra & Andrew's Wedding!!!

 Allegra on her Wedding Day 14th September 2013.

Today was spectacular as I just knew it would be! Most definately the most beautiful wedding I have been to for a long time. As some of you may remember, I was very kindly invited to Allegra Loch's Wedding. I was Allegra's nanny, when she was one and a half years old, for just over a couple of years when I was approximately 20 years old (yep, long time ago). I was so excited about her wedding and also seeing her mother Sylvia, neither of which I have seen, for many years. I last saw both of them at my own wedding in 1992!

The day did not start off well for me! Showered, washed hair, straightened hair. Pouring with rain in King's Lynn, lashing down with rain to be precise. This is the worst nightmare for brides and wedding guests – rain, hair and silly footwear do NOT mix! Used the brolly just to get in the car. Flew down town and had my make-up done by a fantastic 'Elizabeth Arden' Beauty Consultant in Debenhams called Annie. I never wear foundation normally, but she insisted, that I 'needed it for photos' – ok, fine. I was very impressed with her skills and judgement and luckily very happy with the finished results! My straightened hair now had kinks in and looked utterly rubbish with the rain and dampness. Flew home, panic and stress as I needed to leave NOW! Soaked hair with water, scrunched up with wax and transformed crap, straightened hair into curly style – done, finished, go!

I drove in trousers and top, planning to change into my delicate, flowing dress at the last minute, somewhere! On route, the rain continued and looked set for the day. What a day for a wedding! The sun was forecast to come out later, I just hoped and prayed that it did for Allegra and Andrew. The marrriage in the church at Stoke-by-Clare Church in Suffolk was at 2pm. I was worried, that for the first time for an important event, that I might be late, really worried.

I arrived at Stoke-by-Clare at 1.46pm. I now had no choice about where I changed into my dress and it had to be super quick. Nipped down a side road and parked car along a field track and did a crazy change out of of trousers and top into dress, in the bl**dy rain! Luckily I didn't get caught! Got a parking space, right next to the church, with silver pashmina round shoulders, I grabbed camera and sparkly bag and walked into the church with 5 minutes to spare!!! Phew! I relaxed when other guests walked in after me and also some guests turned up seriously late, as bride and groom were signing the register later on, which made me feel quite prompt!!! I adore people watching and there were so many beautiful guests and so many beautiful outfits and hats. I recognised Mrs Thrower, who sat on one of the back pews – a lady that used to work for Sylvia when we all lived in Green Farm House in Stoke-by-Clare – I had a chat with her afterwards. Allegra was late arriving, which was good! Her mother Sylvia gave her away and the two of them looked jaw droppingly stunning as they walked into the church and up the aisle. Sylvia dressed in fuchsia pink and black hat looked, as she always has done, so elegant and beautiful. Allegra was smiling the whole time and just looked stunning in her beautiful wedding dress, ruby jewels, tiara and veil – I almost had a tear in my eye. The order of service book had some lovely quotes "A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person" and "You don't marry someone you can live with, you marry someone you cannot live without". Whilst the couple signed the register, Carrie Ronaldson (one of the bridesmaids) played the flute – Air on a G String – Bach with organist Brian Farley. She played so beautifully. I got some fabulous pictures of Allegra and her guests throughout the day and hopefully got lots of relaxed 'unofficial' shots which I think generally are better, as you catch people unawares and in their natural state. The rain had stopped thank goodness! We all lined up outside, either side of the path to the church entrance and threw rose petals over the newly wedded couple as they walked to their very grand car to be taken to the reception. I raced to the end of the path to get as many pictures as I could! Chatted with Sylvia briefly outside the church, who said I looked exactly the same as when she last saw me! Guests then made their way to the reception at Boxted Hall.

Boxted Hall is a glorious 14th century historic moated house that offers a beautiful and serene setting for romantic wedding receptions etc. It is surrounded by 200 acres of undulating parkland and woodland. I set the sat nav up to find Boxted Hall (approximately 9 miles away). I  had to laugh as I and other wedding guests ended up by a field entrance later on – the sat navs could not find Boxed Hall! It was quite amusing, as pre my recent purchase of my sat nav, I would have found it quickly with my written down instruction from paper map!!! It didn't take us too long to find it after that though, thank goodness. Drivers were ushered to park on a large, grassy area. A lot of designer shoes and sandals were ruined today! Boxted Hall is in such a beautiful rural setting and surrounded by a moat. A lone bagpiper stood by the stone bridge 'piping' as guests walked over the bridge to the hall and a photographer was snapping the guests as they walked along. Canapes were served and drinks offered by very attentive waiters and waitresses throughout the rest of the afternoon. Allegra and Andrew arrived at the reception in a fabulous horse drawn carriage!!! Got some cracking pictures of guests and bride and groom. Much to my amusement, several guests remarked how I didn't look old enough to have been Allegra's nanny, which made my day! The main reception was held in a massive marquee in the grounds at 5.30pm. Allegra had based her reception designs on birds! I was seated on the 'Dove' table! I met some lovely people, including some neighbour's of Allegra's and other friends. I don't know if Allegra was aware, but a guest seated to my left called Dave who was there with his very beautiful wife Suzanne was a birder!!! Obviously we both had lots in common to chat about! The lone bagpiper was sat at my table and I didn't discover until later that it was Sylvia's brother Alister. The food was simply divine. The trio of desserts that arrived in glasses on one plate, looked too good to eat – these were extremely popular! A little boy who sat at the table hinted to Alister that the banoffee dessert was especially good. A few moments later Alister very sweetly walked around the table and placed his banoffee dessert in front of the little boy, who beamed with delight that he was given a second one! Allegra had obviously spent hours creating items for this reception – bird cages were hung over the whole marquee with tea lights placed inside. Patchwork (hand-made) buntings were strewn across the marquee, personalised name cards with cut-out paper birds and mini champagne bottles with bubbles, made such a wonderful touch to the table settings. Coffee and fudge concluded the meal. Some excellent speeches and cutting of the cake then followed. The cake design was of a bird cage with a pea-cock sitting on top – very different!

Tea-lights were placed from the marquee to the bridge to walk back inside for the disco and dancing. The music was excellent and I spent quite a bit of time on the dance floor, although the silver sandals had to come off as I got into the music! The champagne and punch etc had taken good effect with several of the younger guests and there was lots of interesting dance moves and near falls! Lounges with comfortable sofas etc were next to the main dance room for guests to sit and chat in a quieter setting and for those that didn't want to strut their stuff! The non-alcoholic punch I was drinking tasted so good, I felt like I was 'drinking'! Had a lovely chat and catch-up with Sylvia in the lounge just before I left. I decided to be very sensible whilst I was still awake and after saying my goodbyes left the hall at 11.30pm. The party was still going strong, but I had a two hour drive home. It took me 20 minutes to walk to the car – it was freezing cold and foggy! Managed to change into trousers and top and driving shoes and set off at about 11.50pm. It wasn't funny driving home at all and I was glad I left when I did. I was very awake whilst driving, but had to open the window on the last leg home, arriving back at about 1.40am.

I still can't believe that I went to Allegra's Wedding yesterday and how beautiful she looked – a magical princess. Thank you so much Allegra and Andrew and to your families and friends for allowing me to spend your very special day with you X


Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Pectoral Sandpiper (yesterday) at Snettisham RSPB
Pectoral Sandpipers x 2, Little Stints x 4, Curlew Sandpipers x 2, Spotted Redshank at Titchwell RSPB
Arctic Skuas x 21, Great Skuas x 16, Black Tern, Long-tailed Skua (probable), Little Stints x 6, Curlew Sandpipers x 4, Garganey, Caspian Gull at Cley NWT
Snow Bunting at Salthouse
Black Tern at Hunstanton
SABINE'S GULL, Arctic Skuas x 23, Great Skuas x 25, Manx Shearwaters x 8, Velvet Scoter at Sheringham
Whinchat at Hemsby
SABINE'S GULL, Velvet Scoter, Little Gull at Cromer
SABINE'S GULL at Weybourne
Black Tern at Rockland Broad
Whinchats x 4 at Buckingham Marshes RSPB
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILL at Lynford Aboretum
Pomarine Skuas x 2, Black Terns x 2, Velevet Scoter, Arctic Skuas x 22, Great Skuas x 8 at Holme
Osprey at Welney WWT

Other News
MEGA!!! ELEGANT TERN still, County Kerry!!!
MEGA!!! GREAT SNIPE at Kilnsea, East Yorkshire!!!

Friday 13 September 2013

An Expensive and Stressful Day!

Today was exhausting to say the least and no birding was involved whatsoever!

Up early and drove over to David at Advanced Camera Services at Watton to take my 300 f4 lens to be fixed. It has only been working on f4, all other settings have resulted in the camera saying 'communication between the lens and camera is faulty, clean the lens contacts' – I cleaned the lens contacts and nothing changed. Didn't have time to wait, so left lens for David to look at and then drove back to the Skoda garage at King's Lynn to leave my car to be valeted and polished. Walked into town and spent all day looking for accessories for my dress I am wearing for a wedding tomorrow. I really should have gone to Cambridge, but just didn't want to go. I got everything I wanted, well kind of, apart from the evening sandals I wanted, so will have to make do with a pair I have already. Walked back to garage, collected car and then drove to Watton to collect lens and paid £120 for the repair. The diaphragm is dodgy apparently and could go again at a later date – I ideally need a new one, but David has done a temporary job in fixing it – long story. Drove back to 'Next' on Hardwick Ind. Estate, as its open late and purchased all my jewellery for tomorrow. I was exhausted by the time I had got home. Booked to have my make-up done free tomorrow morning in Debenhams! (catch is though you have to buy one product). Its going to be a long day tomorrow and I am driving back home at the finish, so no drinking champagne for me! Lay in on Sunday morning and then out birding somewhere, before going back to work on Monday. Will also have to keep my fingers crossed that any Mega's on route to Norfolk, don't arrive until Sunday please!

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Red-necked Grebe, Little Stints x 4, Curlew Sandpipers x 3 at Cley
Pectoral Sandpipers x 3, Spoonbills x 2, Purple Sandpiper, Little Stints x 4, Curlew Sandpipers x 2, Spotted Redshanks x 11 at Titchwell RSPB
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILL at Lynford Aboretum
Curlew Sandpiper, Spotted Redshanks x 4 at Breydon Water
Curlew Sandpipers x 3 at Holkham
Whinchat at Gorleston
Osprey x 2 at Blofield

Other News
MEGA!!! ELEGANT TERN, County Kerry!!!

Thursday 12 September 2013

Sea-Watching Ends, well almost!

Got up late, needed to catch up on sleep. Caught up with blog posts, had lunch and then had a very lazy birding afternoon.

Sat on the shingle at Cley Coastguards watching a Common Scoter close in on the sea, a Great Crested Grebe flew west and lots of gulls going by. The weather was completely different to the last couple of days, it was hot, like really hot! The sea was so calm, it was almost like a mill pond! Bumped into Mark G. and we walked to North Hide where the sun was making all the birds look hazy, so not ideal for viewing. Mark counted 7 Little Stints, but I couldn't really make anything out through my Nikon ED50 in the heat haze. Continued walking to East Bank where we saw a Snow Bunting fly over our heads in the direction of Sea Pool and appeared to land on the shingle. It was such a beautiful day. Several Bearded Tits were pinging in the reed beds. At the end of the East Bank, Mark walked to the hides and I went on to Walsey Hills. There had to be something in there surely? Well there was, but nothing exciting enough to ring RBA with. A female Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff calling, party of Long-tailed Tits, Great and Blue Tits, Hedge Sparrows and 4 Rats having a party under the feeders!

I re-traced my steps back to the car and walked back along the East Bank as the sun was setting. A Little Egret was fishing at the end of the bank. Lots of gulls on the beach feeding on Starfish. Walking back along the shingle ridge was just magical, with views of the marshes, pools, Cley village and the waves crashing on the shingle, well what more could you ask for! A beautiful afternoon and beautiful sunset, as it always is at Cley.

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Spoonbills x 9 at Morston Quay
Little Stints x 7, Curlew Sandpipers x 8, Caspian Gull, Snow Bunting at Cley NWT
Osprey x 2 at Lyng
Whinchats x 5, Spoonbills x 5, Little Stints x 2, Curlew Sandpipers x 5, Spotted Redshanks x 18 at Titchwell RSPB
Curlew Sandpipers x 2 at Burgh Castle
Lapland Bunting at Morston
Cuckoo in Stiffkey Campsite Wood
Curlew Sandpiper at Lynn Point, King's Lynn
Curlew Sandpipers x 2 at Breydon Water
Whinchat at Weybourne
Little Stint at Kelling Water Meadows
Curlew Sandpiper at Stiffkey Fen
Spoonbills x 4 at Blakeney Harbour
Curlew Sandpipers x 2, Little Stint at Cantley Beet Factory
Red-necked Grebe, Purple Sandpiper at Walcott
White Stork at Thorpe St Andrew

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Sea-Watching Continues!!!

Gramborough Hill, Salthouse which I found at 2.53pm.

The alarm was set for 4am. Disaster struck. I opened my eyes and looked at the clock. It said 7.30am. Arghhhhhhhhh.......!!!!! I had slept through three alarms going off. Well, I wouldn't be making the best seats or the cheap seats at Sheringham now!!! There would be no point in attempting to get in the shelters, so option B was to battle it out at Cley.

I eventually rolled up at 10am. Mark Golley had found a Sabine's Gull this morning at 7.25am, close in over the shingle – I was absolutely gutted! Well as they say 'early bird catches the worm' and in this case it was most definitely correct! The shingle bank here between the shelter and sea is considerably higher than it was last year and for someone short or in fact anyone under 6ft this is a problem for viewing. Luckily I managed to get a space in the front of the shelter on the right hand side and stood on the seat to gain height. The centre colomn of my tripod doesn't go quite high enough for this really though. Sacha had just come back from Halfway House, BP and had seen a Hobby and a Purple Sandpiper. Its a good job E.T.M. wasn't there – the amount of birders walking up to stand on the shingle in front of us was just unbelievable really – they moved eventually, but they hadn't got a clue!!!

My list from 10am-11am was:

Great Skuas x 13
Arctic Skuas x 3
Gannets x 25
Common Scoters x 44
Shelduck x 1
Cormorant x 1
Wigeon x 4
Teal x 1
Knot x 1
Great Crested Grebe x 1
Common Tern x 1

Walked down to North Hide with Mark G. On route we saw a cute juv. Curlew Sandpiper having a snooze with three Dunlin on the Eye Pool and also a lovely Whinchat and a Wheatear sitting on the fence wire just before the hide. From North Hide I counted at least 2 Little Stints, at least 4 Curlew Sandpipers, lots of Dunlin and usual waders. I couldn't see brilliantly to be honest, the hide was packed out with people and if you are standing with tripod, you either have to squat down (if you are short) to view under the wooden bar or stand on tip-toe to get over it! Best option is to sit down and use hide clamp, but there were no seats left. Mark walked off east and I went west, back to the carpark.

Back at Coastguards, a man introduced himself who knew my father years ago, can't remember what his name was though now. Lots of people still sea-watching and I was told that several Black Terns had flown by, bother! Had a Houmous Toasted Sandwich at the Cley Visitor Centre and then left to find a mega at Gramborough Hill.

I found nothing at all at Gramborough Hill apart from a few Linnets and Goldfinches. Three Little Egrets were having a squabble on the marsh which was amusing to watch. I sat on top of the hill overlooking the bushes and waited for something to appear but disappointingly, nothing did. I turned round and walked over the hill to sit on the cliff edge and watch the sea. Now, why didn't I do this earlier?! Within 10 minutes of sitting here, I spotted a fantastic juv. Black Tern working its way steadily west right underneath me, awesome at 2.53pm! Bird of the day for me and I found it! I speedily unzipped my bag to get the camera out and managed to get a few distant, record shots. I phoned RBA, so people could have a chance of seeing it at Cley, don't know if anyone did though. The photos won't win any prizes, but at least you can see what it is – well just about! A Kestrel skimmed over the shingle as I sat here. It was seriously windy, but I love being in these conditions, it's just so exciting. Give me a day like today over a hot, sticky summer's day any time! I got a text from Stuart White to say he had found a Yellow-browed Warbler at The Dell, Wells Woods, early record that! Also a male Pied Flycatcher had been found at Titchwell RSPB today. Thoughts now ran through my head about walking Blakeney Point..... no, don't Penny.

Gramborough Hill, Salthouse.

Kestrel skimming over the shingle at Salthouse.

Went to Walsey Hills NOA thinking I might find a Pied Fly in here, but nothing of note at all, apart from a Chiffchaff calling. Nipped over to Cleyspy to get a replacement eye cup for my bins, as I lost one of the rubber bits yesterday.

Warham Greens, West Track. The track was really muddy, water logged and to add to that a farmworker was trimming back the hedges, so I had to work my way round fallen branches and debris. Parked on the concrete pad. Tons of Swallows skimming over the puddles. Found a tit flock and got excited about a possible YBW that quickly turned into a Willow Warbler! Nothing else at all along the track and no birds in the copse at the end. East Hills beckoned in on the horizon – I wondered what was out there today with a Pied Fly and a Yellow-browed Warbler in the county, hopefully nothing, being as I wasn't there!

Stiffkey Campsite – complete waste of time, nothing here at all.

Back at Coastguards, Cley everyone had cleared out. There wasn't a single car in the carpark! One bike in the carpark though, that belonged to Eddie, who had just found a juv. Red-necked Grebe on the sea! Thanks! I managed to see this, as it was working its way west at 7pm.

Drove home, shattered.

RBA Weekly Round-Up!

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
SABINE'S GULL, Cley Coastguards, 7.25am (M.A.G)
Sooty Shearwaters x 4, Manx Shearwaters x 43, Arctic Skuas x 67, Great Skuas x 58, Arctic Terns x 3, Little Gull, Purple Sandpipers x 2, Common Scoters x 1103, Little Stints x 6, Curlew Sandpipers x 8, *Snow Bunting (*flew west over village - MAG), Red-necked Grebe (ETM) at Cley NWT
Purple Sandpiper at Blakeney Point
Arctic Skuas x 2, Great Skuas x 5, Little Gull at Hemsby
Great Skuas x 40, Arctic Skuas x 17, Spoonbill, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Spotted Redshanks x 8, male Pied Flycatcher at Titchwell RSPB
Long-tailed Skua, Sooty Shearwaters x 6, Great Skua at Winterton
ITALIAN SPARROW (possible) at Northrepps
Pomarine Skuas x 2, Sooty Shearwaters x 2, Manx Shearwaters x 17, Great Skuas x 64, Arctic Skuas x 42, Arctic Tern, Black Tern, Red-necked Grebe at Holme Dunes
Long-tailed Skuas x 4, Balearic Shearwater at Sheringham
Black Guillemot at Cromer
Black Guillemot, Sooty Shearwaters x 12, Curlew Sandpipers x 2 at Happisburgh
YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER at The Dell, Wells Woods (S.W.)
Black Tern, Gramborough Hill, Salthouse (P.A.C.)
Curlew Sandpipers x 3, Little Stint at Cantley Beet Factory
Osprey at Lyng

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Sheringham Sea-Watching!

Crazy Day! Drove through the darkness, rain, wind, fallen trees and branches – it was a nail biting drive and also included overtaking so many lorries on route and it was only 4.50am! Do all lorry drivers start off at the same time each morning? That's what appeared to be happening today! I made it in fairly good time and pulled up to park in the road opposite 'The Leas' at Sheringham at 5.40am. There were several cars already here! Justin L. pulled up behind me and said I needed to hurry up as Andy W. had phoned him from the shelters to say there were only a few seats left!!! Panic set in with other birders now pulling up and wrestling with their scopes and gear. Every second counted, I whizzed down the slope and steps as fast as I could and Justin and I managed to get the last two seats next to Andy, phew! and relax!!! It was still dark, why do we do this?! Absolute insanity! But if you want the best seats in the house you have to get there pre dawn. As Justin and Andy mused as other birders turned up 'late' they would now be in 'the cheap seats'. The cheap seats, being the seats at the top of the promonade in the open and exposed to the winds and rain. The seats where we sat (for those of you that don't know) consist of three shelters joined together and give you awesome views of the rolling waves and sea below and excellent views of birds when its not murky!

Settled myself into my seat and got my gear sorted out. The banter from Justin and Andy started the second we arrived and they both had me roaring with laughter – good for the soul those two! Pete Dolton, Ben Lewis and Mick Saunt were also in our shelter. In the other shelters were Robin C. Dave H. James H., James Mac. ,Stuart W., Bas H., and later on Ashley B., Sue B., Kevin S. etc etc.

It didn't get going for a while and then suddenly Dave Holman called a pale-phased Arctic Skua which was fairly close in and then it carried on from there. It was a funny sort of day – there were times when there was loads of birds going through and then periods of absolutely nothing. Nothing spectacular was seen though, well not anything that made you jump out of your seat! Don't get me wrong, it was a fabulous day of sea-watching with excellent company, but it would have been nice to see a Sabine's or something equally as exciting such as a Leach's or Storm Petrel. We had some added entertainment in the shelters today – a young lad was practicing his surfing skills in the big waves! Turnstones and gulls were feeding below us on the beach and a purple sandpiper flew west. The rain started to drive into the shelter late afternoon and I was the last person to leave at 5.40pm – I was determined to get to 12 hours!

Went to Cley Coastguards for a short while, where I saw a few more Arctic Skuas going through and then left to go home.

Twelve hours of sea-watching at Sheringham from 5.40am to 5.40pm produced good numbers of birds. 114 Arctic Skuas, Great Skuas, several Sooty Shearwaters, Manx Shearwaters, Gannets etc.

My List for the Day 5.40am-5.40pm

Arctic Skuas x 114
Great Skuas x  27
Sooty Shearwaters x  4
Manx Shearwaters x 13
Gannets x 47
Guillemot x 1
Purple Sandpiper x 1
Fulmars x 16
Red-throated Divers x 3
Black Tern (2.50pm)
Sandwich Terns x 16
Common Scoters x 76
Teal x 22
Wigeon x 16
Turnstones x 8
Cormorants x 4
Auk sp x 2
Grey Plovers x 2
Knot x 7
Oystercatchers x 2
Dunlins x 20

A rubbish video, that I nearly didn't add, but for those of you that don't know what its like to experience sitting in these shelters, it gives you a good idea of the height you are sitting at, the ferocity of the sea and the seriousness of the birders watching, well most!

The next video shows the young man attempting to surf in the breakers. He did manage to get on the board a few times which resulted in cheers from birders in the shelters.

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Pomarine Skuas x 4, Sooty Shearwaters x 50, Arctic Skuas x 80, Great Skuas x 25, Manx Shearwaters x 12, Black Tern at Cromer Pier
Great Skua, Arctic Skuas x 4, Spoonbills x 17, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpipers x 8, at Titchwell RSPB
Pomarine Skuas x 2, Sooty Shearwaters x 6, Great Skuas x 16, Black Tern at Holme Dunes
Sooty Shearwaters x 4, Arctic Skuas x 12 at Winterton
Long-tailed Skuas x 4,  Sooty Shearwaters x 12, Great Skuas x 16, Arctic Skuas x 125, Manx Shearwaters x 47, Little Gulls x 4, Black Terns x 2 at Cley
Long-tailed Skuas x 2 (K.S), Sooty Shearwaters x 12, Arctic Skuas 120, Great Skuas x 35, Manx Shearwaters x 25, Black Tern, Puffin, *Long-tailed Skuas x 4, *Pomarine Skuas x 2, *Balearic Shearwater at Sheringham (*not seen in the 'Shelters')
Arctic Skuas x 4 at Gorleston
Long-tailed Skua, Arctic Skuas x 48, Black Tern at Hemsby
Arctic Skuas x 6, Arctic Tern, Black Tern, Purple Sandpipers x 3 at Gorleston
Pomarine Skua at Happisburgh
Long-tailed Skua, Sooty Shearwater at Walcott

Monday 9 September 2013


All Pictures and Vidoes now added to Posts!





Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Pectoral Sandpiper, Spoonbills x 4, Little Stints x 2, Curlew Sandpipers x 9, Spotted Redshank at Titchwell RSPB
Whinchats x 5 at Kelling Water Meadows
Whinchats x 5 at Thornham
Red-backed Shrike remains at Burnham Overy Staithe
Arctic Skua, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper at Cley
Spotted Redshank at Breydon Water
Crossbills x 10 at Lynford Aboretum
Balearic Shearwater, Arctic Skuas x 4 at Winterton
Osprey, Curlew Sandpipers x 3 at Welney WWT
Osprey at Horsey Mere
Garganey, Whinchats x 2 at Heigham Holmes

Serious Stuff!!!

My goodness, local birders are taking tomorrow's sea watch deadly serious. I know at least three people who have taken tomorrow as holiday at short notice!!!

I was up at 6.30am doing a big pile of ironing and the rest of the day has and is being spent editing photos for Bird Fair  – all now finished and added to posts.

Sunday 8 September 2013

Sea-watching this Week and Update!!!

There is lots of talk and excitement about some potentially, exciting sea-watching this Tuesday/Wednesday, with strong north westerlies and rain forecast on Tuesday. So get yourself ready for some action on the Norfolk Coast if you can! Some of the best places to sea-watch from are: Sheringham, Cley, Salthouse, Kelling, Titchwell and Holme.

I worked all day today, so no bird news from me! Looking forward to the rest of my week off – obviously I will be sea-watching somewhere on Tuesday, it will be Cley or Sheringham for me, have not quite decided which yet though.

I was chatting with mother this evening, who was telling me that the possible Italian Sparrow at Northrepps, was featured in The Times this Saturday, written by Simon Barnes. She was also telling me that father and the late Richard Richardson had an Italian Sparrow/Tree Sparrow at Cley pre 1962 and that father has a picture of it somewhere in his collection – I could hear him rummaging about for it as mother and I chatted!

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Pied Flycatcher, Whinchats x 2, Little Stints x 3, Curlew Sandpipers x 5, Caspian Gull at Cley NWT
Convolvulus Hawkmoths x 2 at Cley
Osprey at Rockland Broad
Osprey at Buckingham Marshes RSPB
Whinchats x 13, Black Tern, Little Gulls x 50 at Horsey
Pomarine Skua, Whinchats x 2 at Winterton
Curlew Sandpipers x 3, White Storks x 2 (esc.) at Breydon Water
Osprey at Lyng
Whinchat at Thorpe Marshes, Haddiscoe
Ospreys x 2, Whinchats x 2 at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB
Spoonbills x 3, Arctic Skuas x 2, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpipers x 13, Spotted Redshanks x 2 at Titchwell RSPB

Saturday 7 September 2013

BLAKENEY POINT, Cley & Salthouse!

I was up very early this morning and arrived at Cley Coastguards at just before 7.15am. It was a beautiful morning and I could see a couple of people had already set off down Blakeney Point. James MacCallum found the Western Bonelli's Warbler late last night and this had enticed a few people to look for this fabulous bird today. Mark Golley also arrived in the carpark to walk Blakeney Point, so we walked down together. Not much bird action to start off with – until...... a Falcon suddenly appeared before us, in off the sea at speed, going south – at first thoughts it was a Peregrine – it was a chocolaty brown colour and well.... Eleonora's Falcon crossed Mark's mind – this was at 8.38am. Annoyingly I did not have the camera to hand at this point – packed away in my bag. Lesson to be learn't there!

Anyway we carried on and apart from meadow pipits, reed buntings, 3 whimbrel and a few swallows there wasn't too much else to excite us. News came on the pager of 'no sign of the Western Bonelli's Warbler' which I supposed was to be expected really. James MacCallum and Pete Dolton passed us, hitching a lift on the tractor! Sacha passed us on the way back to declare he had seen very little, apart from a few willow warblers etc. In the big bush at Long Hills we did manage to coax out a Willow Warbler (and Pied Flycatcher on the way back). A couple of Wheatears were also seen. The tamarisk bush, just before the Plantation produced a single Willow Warbler. The Plantation produced absolutely zero as we sat and had breakfast (or whatever you want to call it!). It was however a stunning day, with beautiful light. It could have been worse, it could have raining and cold with no birds, which has happened to me many times! Searched around the Lupins, nothing of note. On the way back we saw a Red-throated Diver going east. Walked up to Half Way House and searched to find nothing. Gave up and walked back along the beach to Coastguards. Even James MacCallum et al were walking back early not too far behind us at just after 2pm! Big clearout since last night.

Coastguards, Cley
At Coastguards, Mark went home and I went for my late lunch and a had wonderful snooze on my rug and pillow in the carpark! An hour and a half later...... I could hear a voice saying 'that Redstart was right next to you Penny, when you were snoozing'. Ok, time to wake up! I had a wonderful time photographing this beautiful Redstart who was just sitting about and feeding on the shingle alongside the fence by the cars – obviously tired, poor thing. Nipped up to the Cley Visitor Centre just before they closed at 5pm and it amazed me how many times P. D. managed to wind me up in a fun way in such a short space of time!!! As he looked at the back of someone's camera he declared 'that looks like a Red-flanked Bluetail' – I fell for that immediately, which resulted in lots of chuckles!

Gramborough Hill, Salthouse
This was the most exciting part of the day! Obviously birds had arrived late in the day as they had done last night. I was told there was only a linnet and a whitethroat in here earlier. As I walked up to the bushes a Whinchat was perched on a dead stem (managed to get a record shot) – it then flew off past me as did three others! All four perched on the fence wires further back by a bramble bush, lovely! Also in here was a linnet plus juvs, 1 Whitethroat and a lovely surprise of a Pied Flycatcher which appeared in the big bush, were I saw the last one recently – it was so cute! Got a few pictures, but they were not very good, as it was partly obscured by foliage. I was so pleased with my mini haul and felt on a roll now – where was that one mega bird? I walked part way towards Kelling Water Meadows and saw a male Kestrel sitting on a post and a few Rooks, but not much else apart from a few Swallows skimming by. It was such a beautiful evening though and the sunset was spectacular. Spent the last glimmers of the day at Coastguards as it fell to darkness.