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Sunday 31 May 2015

Heatwave By The Weekend!

Burnham Overy Dunes & The 'Little' Surprise!

Last night, the entire street (and beyond probably) were kept awake. Two doors down there was tons of noise. I don't know if they had been having a party or what, but there was shouting, arguing and loud voices and it went on and off for hours. I eventually got to sleep but was violently woken up again at 3.30am by a huge commotion – I jumped out of bed to look out of the window – lads were shouting outside and threatening to have a punch up, women were trying to stop it and basically people were talking and shouting like it was daytime. If I had had to go to work today, I would have been fuming. Eventually some people left and it was then 4.23am – I remember this time exactly and then got back into bed and was then really worried, as I had weird pains in my heart – probably the lack of sleep didn't help. OK, so it was probably a one off – as since next door's dog has gone, its generally, extremely peaceful here at nights. My early start had to be abandoned.

When I eventually crawled out of bed, I spent most of the day with my family. It was disgusting weather all day, rained for most of it and was torrential at times. Did some shopping for parent's, delivered, then returned to Hunstanton later, to get fish 'n' chips for them. My sister Vivien arrived to visit as well. We were chatting about all kinds of things and later when Father requested a cup of coffee I thought it was about 3.30pm, when I looked at my watch it said 5.20pm! I had no idea it had got that late. The skies suddently got brighter and the sun came out! Now....with an Icterine Warbler at Walsey Hills, there had to be something else to be found after all this rain we've had. My mind immediately thought of Burnham Overy Dunes. A few minutes later I said my goodbyes and I was off like the wind!

I felt quite excited and had a spring in my step – there had to be something there surely?! The light was beautiful as I pulled up in the layby along the A149. When I scanned the sea wall at Burnham Overy, I could only see a couple of people and no birders to be seen anywhere. This was it!!! As I walked along the track there were hirundines everywhere – Swifts, Swallows, Sand and House Martins filled the skies – a magical sight. Everything looked fresh and extra green after the rain. There were a couple of Goldfinches in the sallows just before the stile and a Hedgesparrow singing, but nothing more. A couple of Mute Swans were on the pool east of the seawall and there were Egyptian, Grey-lagged and Canada Geese with youngsters filing behind on the marsh, along with Woodpigeons, Starlings, Lapwings and a Cuckoo was heard. Three Little Terns were fishing in the dyke east of the sea wall which I found unusual, I have not seen them this far inland at Burnham Overy Dunes.

At the bushes at the end of the seawall I found absolutely nothing, which was massively disapointing – an icterine warbler could at least have put in an appearance! There were a few Linnets on the marsh. I was going to walk to Gun Hill, but the wind was quite strong, so decided the good bushes on the seaward side of the hill would be too windy to reveal any migrants, so changed plans and walked east through the dunes and to Holkham pines. The hollows would be sheltered and I might be in with a chance of finding something good. I did have a bit of excitement with 3 Wheatears on route, more Linnets, Meadow Pipits and a distant Marsh Harrier. At the 'Subalpine' hollow (locals will know where I mean) I got VERY excited.... a very pale, almost white in places warbler (possibly) shot from one bush into another. Heart racing.... I didn't take my eyes off where it went in. I only saw it for a nano of a second and to be honest it could have been anything!!! BUT my instinct told me it was something good – or was that my imagination, possibly, who knows! Anyway, whatever was, I didn't see it again. I saw another LBJ later but nothing else of note. It was quite weird being here alone – the last time was for the Citril Finch and tons of people! I worked hard to find something, up dunes, down dunes, struggling over the sand etc etc. Sat down to rest for 10 minutes and then at 7.50pm started to head back.

Two Grey Partridges nearly finished me off – I do wish they wouldn't explode from the ground like hand grenades when you're not expecting it! I saw another two further along, who flew off at a more respectable distance! I speak to so many visiting birders that say they never see Grey Partridges in Norfolk and have a real job finding them. Maybe I'm just lucky, I see them almost everytime I go out (showing off now). When I reached the 'apple tree' I peered in and waited patiently, but nothing appeared. A few more Linnets were seen, oh joy. Headed back along the seawall and bumped into a couple who had seen a Spoonbill fly over earlier. When I reached the pool, east of the path I spotted a Spoonbill 'spooning' in the water with the 2 Mute Swans I had seen earlier and there were now lots of Black-headed Gulls having a wash 'n' brush-up and a couple of Tufted Ducks. The Spoonbill looked beautiful against the dark blue water and the sun was still shining. A beautiful sunset developed, casting rays of shimmering orange light over the mudflats in the harbour. Redshanks and Oystercatchers were calling. I didn't hear the Bittern booming today, as I have done on my last few visits, but did just catch a few 'pinging' Bearded Tits calling briefly, which was nice.

Just before the stile at the end of the track there is a big sallow bush on your right-hand side, which is also just before the large oak tree behind the newish, short wooden fence. I could hear a Whitethroat... well I thought it was a whitethroat, but wanted to make sure, so moved closer to the bush and mimicked the same 'tacking' noise. The bird refused to show itself, I moved closer and closer until was I actually peering in the bush! It continued to 'tack'! As I did this another bird errupted from the sallow like an explosion.... it was a LITTLE OWL!!! It really made me jump! It flew off to my left and landed somewhere in the midst of the large oak tree! Wow! What a lovely surprise! I did have crazy thoughts about Scops Owl, I must admit, as I have never ever seen a Little Owl sitting in a sallow before! But you could imagine a Scops Owl doing that!!! BUT, when the owl flew it was plump bodied and wide wings and instinct said it was definitely a Little Owl. But it did make me think I can tell you! I couldn't find it in the Oak tree, but the light was poor now anyway.

After the excitement of the Little Owl, I thought that was it, but there was more to come! On reaching my car I saw two Marsh Harriers just west of me, so moved the car to a concrete pad area, just before Burnham Overy Staithe to see if I could get better views of them. I sat here for a good while just watching. There were so many things to see! There were hares in the field, two Grey Partridges just in front of me with cute baby bunnies. The antics of these bunnies were hilarious – I have never watched such funny bunnies! One of them sprinted across the concrete, deliberately splashing through a large puddle as he went. Another was tumbling over and chasing round in circles only inches from the Grey Partridge, who appeared very chilled and didn't take any notice whatsoever. The rabbit that had ran through the puddle then daringly charged at the Grey Partridge who then about turned and flew after the bunny, chasing it around the concrete – which looked so comical! The two Marsh Harriers then glided over the field, giving excellent views and then, suddenly a Muntjac deer appeared from around the hedge, right next to my car with her baby (cute or what!) just behind her! I had to keep really still in the car, whilst they gingerly walked past my car, across the road and into the field. I should have just sat here the entire time, instead of walking miles of sand dunes to look for rares that don't exist! Goodnight.



Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Little Stints x 2, Spoonbills x 9 on 'The Serpentine' at Cley NWT.
ICTERINE WARBLER singing, but elusive at Walsey Hills NOA
WHITE-TAILED EAGLE unconfirmed report at Bayfield Hall, near Holt.
Quail at Welney WWT.
Quails x 2 yesterday at Courtyard Farm, Ringstead.
Little Stint, Little Gulls x 2 at Rush Hill Scrape, Hickling Broad NWT.
Spoonbill on pool east of seawall at Burnham Overy Dunes (PAC).
Garganey x 2 at Buckenham Marshes RSPB.
RED-FOOTED FALCON Fem. possible, SE of Norwich at Carery's Meadow/Whitlingham this evening.

Lincolnshire Highlights:

Suffolk Highlights:
LITTLE BITTERN again at Lakenheath Fen RSPB.

MEGA! VEERY still at North Ronaldsay, Orkney.
MEGA! BLACK-WINGED PRATINCOLE still at Bothal Pond, Northumberland.
MEGA! GREATER YELLOWLEGS still, at Titchfield Haven NNR, Hampshire.

Saturday 30 May 2015

Findlay Wilde's Plea to Mr Cameron!

This is brilliantly written and to have been written by someone so young is just awesome. I felt quite emotional after reading Findlay's letter, which he is emailing daily to Mr Cameron!

Go Findlay!

My New Car!

Skoda Fabia SE L in Rallye Green Metallic!

I can't believe I have had my current Skoda for what will be 3.5 years in September! This was on a finance deal, so have to do something with it soon and have decided I'm trading it in for another Skoda. Buying my first new car was the best car buy I ever did, I spent more on garage bills with previous cars, than what I did monthly on a new car! This model is alot more powerful than my current car! I have decided that Rallye Green will be a really cool colour to have! I wanted black, but it will look dusty the whole time. I don't want any previous colours I've had, wanted something different and this is – not everyone's cup of tea, a colour you will love or hate! Skoda is offering a £500 fuel card if you purchase a new car between 4th and 7th June, so naturally this is the best time to buy. I would have liked the colour concept option of having a black roof etc, but you can only have a car from stock if you want the added £500 offer towards the cost from Skoda and they don't have any in stock with black roof. I need to keep my fingers crossed there is a Rallye Green car left in stock next week – there were three when I enquired. Its a spec up from my current car and I won't be paying any more monthly than I do now! So excited!

Two England Captains United Against The RSPB!

Busy Bee, well kind of!

Busy and lazy all rolled into one over the last couple of days. Can't remember what I did yesterday now, short-term memory loss, must be old age! I do know I didn't leave the house.

Today I sorted out photos to send to a publication and opened an on-line bank account (finally) to do Mother's shopping, which she says she is not doing, but she will be and in any case, she won't have to do anything, except read the list out over the phone as she does currently. If you are quick and pick a £1.00 slot on Sainsbury's on-line grocery shopping, it will be cheaper than me driving over there and back! Looking forward to it! The only issue will be getting Mother to do the list soon enough to get the £1 delivery slot which could be a problem!

Spent my Tescos Clubcard vouchers (which I have been saving for last few months) on-line with the current 'boost' offer, which doubles your vouchers! Bought a 'Kit Premium Power Bank' x 2 which is basically a mobile phone battery boost, so no issues with phone running out of battery down Blakeney Point and no excuse not to phone out that mega (keep dreaming)! Nikwax Tent Protector spray x 2, for when I dig out my expensive tent, which has been packed in a box for years. Only been camping once (1999, when I was married) – would love to go again, hopefully not too far off in the future. Oh and a duspan and brush (you really wanted to know that!).

What else..hmmm.... oh started the mammoth task of unpacking 28 bl**dy boxes of clothes! (that were taken away to be laundred after the smoke damage) Yes, I know I shouldn't have that many, but not good at throwing things out, I always believe that eventually I will get back into my size 10 clothes, again..... keep dreaming Penny. They are being catergarized into 'keep', 'hope to get into' and 'bootsale'!!! Then of course I need to actually do a boot sale, maybe next weekend if I can get a volunteer assistant and a fold up table. I'm going crazy in this house, wish I had gone out now. I will be tomorrow!

I see there is a Veery on Orkney – one in Norfolk would be pretty good – James H. made me chuckle when he said on Twitter, "O Cathurus god, I ask only you deliver a veery that's not on a f******g Scottish island #takingthepissnow". The Little Bittern has re-surfaced again at Lakenheath RSPB which will be good for those that havn't yet managed to catch a nano second glimpse of this elusive bird. There isn't exactly much excitement in Norfolk, so far this weekend. Hope that changes tomorrow!

Shot and Gassed: Thousands of Protected Birds Killed Annually!

I started to read this and when I reached about half way down, I had to stop. I couldn't read any more, it made me feel ill!


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Red-necked Phalarope, North Scrape, Little Stints x 2, Spoonbill on 'The Serpentine' at Cley NWT.
Spoonbills  x 4 at Salthouse.
Osprey, Little Gulls x 10 at Titchwell RSPB.
Little Gull at Breydon Water.
Red-necked Phalarope at Kelling Water Meadows.
Honey Buzzard reported at Swanton Novers Raptor Watchpoint.
Garganey x 2 at Buckenham Marshes RSPB.

Lincolnshire Highlights:

CASPIAN TERN at Wainfleet Marsh, Gibraltar Point NNR

Suffolk Highlights:
LITTLE BITTERN again at Lakenheath Fen RSPB.

MEGA! VEERY at North Ronaldsay, Orkney.
MEGA! BLACK-WINGED PRATINCOLE still at Bothal Pond, Northumberland.
MEGA! GREATER YELLOWLEGS still, at Titchfield Haven NNR, Hampshire.

Episode 3: Talking Naturally – Defending Nature 29/05/15

Friday 29 May 2015

My Most Viewed Picture on Twitter!

I was quite intrigued when I studied the analyasis of my Red-spotted Bluethroat tweet on Twitter. This picture has been seen 13,437 times! Re-tweeted 41 times and have 139 favourites, thanks everyone!

Extreme Birdwatching: Twitching In War Zones!

British birdwatchers in the Philippines found themselves in the midst of a gun fight in their quest to spot a rare eagle. Harriet Alexander talks to a series of "twitchers" about what drives them to seek out unusual birds in extreme environment.


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Little Gulls x 2 at Weybourne.
Velvet Scoters x 4 at Holkham.
Little Gulls x 11 at Titchwell RSPB.
Spoonbill, Little Gulls x 2 (Simmond's Scrape) on 'The Serpentine' at Cley NWT.
TURTLE DOVE at Fakenham.
Curlew Sandipiper at Hickling Broad NWT.

Lincolnshire Highlights:
• Note: the Black-winged Stilts have left the building!!!

MEGA! BLACK-WINGED PRATINCOLE at Bothal Pond, Northumberland.
MEGA! GREATER YELLOWLEGS still, at Titchfield Haven NNR, Hampshire.

Natural Surroundings Grand Re-Opening!

Wildlife and Wildlife Gardening: Norfolk's Wildflower Centre
Glandford, Norfolk NR25 7JN

Saturday 30th May: 10am–4pm
Grand  Re-Opening and Seed & Plant Swap

Under new ownership! Join Anne & Simon Harrap and the team to celebrate the revamp of Natural Surroundings.
  • Free entrance to the grounds
  • Free guided walks
  • Competitions and trails for children
  • There will also be a Seed & Plant Swap


BILL ODDIE – SpringWatch Presenter!

Michaela Strachan
(I didn't have a picture of Michaela, so had to pinch this!)

 Simon King

The Unsprung Team!
 David Lindo, Nick Baker, Lee Evans & Penny Clarke!
That sounds so cool! LOL!

A birding Facebook friend was stating that he thought Springwatch was "a load of rubbish" this year and then stated "Bring back Bill" to which I agreed and replied:

"Bill Oddie IS BBC Springwatch!!! I would bring Bill back along with Simon King (and not stuck in the highlands, with Bill) and Michaela S (she is sweet, knowledgeable and fun) – that would be awesome. Can't stand Kate, too bossy. Unsprung line-up would be Nick Baker, David Lindo, oh and me LOL or/and maybe Lee Evans! That would be VERY exiting TV!!!"

I also noticed that Nick Baker said on FB that he was"......watching Spring as usual (just not as much in front of the camera as I would like)". It's a pity he's not doing 'Unsprung' – I liked his style and enthusiasm and yes he was nervous at times, but this just made it more interesting and realistic, knowing it was live TV.

Nobody can replace Bill Oddie as the front man for Springwatch as far as I'm concerned, he is irreplaceable, big mistake the BBC made there. He is extremely knowledgeable, hugely entertaining, excellent presenting skills, need I go on! Simon King is a close second with all the same attributes, plus has huge sex appeal! Michaela is definitely the best female presenter they have had by a long shot, she is enthusiastic, knowledgeable, sweet and fun (she is only a four months younger than me I just googled). Nick Baker and David Lindo who are both genuine naturalists for their knowledge, fun and coolness to attract the younger generation. Lee Evans would be invaluable for all feather related questions and add fresh blood into the mix! Me......? Only joking, wouldn't have the confidence! I forecast that Lucy McRobert will be on Springwatch at some point! Oh and what about Johnny Kingdom – he would certainly add some spirit to the show, mind you, I think he would clash with Bill – would be too much madness!!!

Thursday 28 May 2015

Costa Del Blakeney Point!

A beautiful day on Blakeney Point

It was a beautiful day with bracing winds. As I headed along the beach to Blakeney Point, I just knew I wouldn't be finding any megas, but had planned to walk there and that was where I was going, even though the Black-winged Stilts were still at Frampton – they can wait!

Sandwich and Little Terns flew over the turquoise blue sea with glittery fish and it it looked like a perfect summer's day. I confess, I was lazy, I got a lift! Ajay and someone else were driving along the beach in a tractor and trailer and very kindly offered me a lift. I couldn't resist! It was fabulous flying along the beach with the crashing waves, it almost felt like being on the Good Shepherd going across to Fair Isle – ok, not quite so violent! I did suggest that they would make a fortune if they ran this service officially to BP – just think of all the birders that would use this when a mega turns up! I think most people would pay a fiver not to walk up there! They dropped me opposite Beachway and I carried on walking to The Plantation. I felt like I had cheated, no aching legs and felt quite refreshed, but still sat down anyway to wait for birds to appear! None did, sadly, not a single bird in The Plantation, not a Robin, or Chiffchaff, nothing. It was really warm now, and I had a lovely siesta after lunch.

I re-located a few yards away and sat in front of the Tamarisk bush and watched Meadow Pipits and a juv Linnet, but nothing else of note. Decided I needed to actually try slighter harder to find birds and got up and walked all round Near Point, back through the dunes and back along the beach. I crossed over to look for birds at Halfway House, but they were loads of people staying there with children running round, so gave that a miss. I did walk through the sueda bushes after Halfway House, but didn't see anything for a good distance, so crossed back over the shingle to the beach. It was high tide and was very difficult walking back in wet, deep shingle. Saw a Sanderling flying west and also 2 Ringed Plovers and more Terns heading to Far Point. Sat on the shingle for a while and had a coffee and a marmalade sandwich. Eventually, I got back to Coastguards! Someone was flying a kite which they didn't look they were in control over – are people allowed to fly kites here? It's not 'Sunny Hunny' – it just didn't look right here if you know what I mean.

Very, very windy day!

The old laboratory with the Tamarisk.

The beautiful Tamarisk.

 The Plantation, Blakeney Point.

Near Point, Blakeney Point.

 NT Rangers secret shoe collection!

Resting on the way back from Blakeney Point.

Sea Campion.

Sea Kale (Crambe maritima).

A beautiful day at Blakeney Point

Went to Walsey Hills NOA and walked all round, but very little seen – a Chiffchaff, Chaffinches, Magpie, Woodpigeon.... all exciting stuff! Back in the car park I could see the Spoonbill on The Serpentine off the East Bank which was bird of the day.

Walked to the NWT Hides and sat in Dauke's Hide until 8.30pm. There wasn't too much to see initially, but then had 15 Ringed Plovers land briefly along with a Dunlin, but they didn't stop long and flew off to North Scrape. 2 Little Ringed Plovers were on Pat's Pool. Other birds seen were: Avocets, Shelducks, Redshanks, Pied Wagtails, Lapwings, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Heron, 2 Little Egrets, 3 Marsh Harriers, Mute Swans, Mallards, Sedge Warbler and a Reed Bunting. I missed the 2 Red Kites that Eddie and Andy saw whilst standing on the East Bank. Walked back to my car, had a coffee and drove home in daylight.

PLEASE NOTE: Anyone thinking of walking to Blakeney Point for the first time and with a dog, you are only able to walk so far, because of nesting birds. There is a clear sign that states where you have to turn back. There were a couple of people today, not only walking past the sign but with their three dogs off leads – that is until NT Ranger Ajay intercepted them! The National Trust states the following: "Dogs under close control or on a lead everywhere except: No dogs permitted on Blakeney Point from early April to Mid-August except for areas near Cley Beach and around the Lifeboat House."



Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Curlew Sandpipers x 2, Little Gulls x 12, Spotted Redshank at Titchwell RSPB.
Spoonbill, Little Gull on 'The Serpentine' at Cley NWT.
TURTLE DOVE in garden at Fakenham.
Black Redstart near Ketts Park at Wymondham.
TURTLE DOVE at Holme Dunes NWT.
Little Gull at Breydon Water.
Short-eared Owl, Arctic Tern, Manx Shearwater at Hopton-on-Sea.
TURTLE DOVES x 2, (no sign of any Dotterel) at Choseley Drying Barns.
Velvet Scoters x 2 at Holkham.

Lincolnshire Highlights:
BLACK WINGED STILTS x 2 at Frampton Marsh RSPB.

MEGA! GREATER YELLOWLEGS still, at Titchfield Haven NNR, Hampshire.

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Pants Day, Certainly NOT A Bird Day!

Sunset at Frampton Marsh RSPB

I don't even feel like writing to be honest, so will keep it short (ish)! I had to deliver Mother's shopping this morning, before I did anything else. I had loaded the car up and was just pulling out of the drive, when the pager bleeped up with "BLACK-WINGED STILTS x 2 at Frampton Marsh RSPB"! Obviously I have seen Black-winged Stilts before and was also lucky enough to see the nesting pair at Holme in 1987, but they are always a fabulous bird to see. The word 'bother' sprung to mind (well similar), I had to deliver the shopping first though. Frampton is actually closer for me to visit than Cley.

After arriving at Holme, all kinds of things occurred. Mother had ordered a footstool for Father from a mail order catalogue recently and it arrived this morning – I did tell her before she ordered it, that it wouldn't be strong enough and when we tested it out, it broke straight away, which obviously was all my fault!!! Naturally! Because Mother hates using the phone and has a serious phone phobia, it was me that had to phone up the company and attempt to get the money back etc, so this took time. Father then stated he wanted to go outside, which I agreed to help him do, but he insisted he wasn't going out in the wheelchair and I insisted that he wouldn't be walking out there!!! Battle of the Clarke's! He didn't go out, sadly. The Honey Bees that have been flying round Mother's back kitchen door for weeks on end, seemed to be more active today. I decided not to rush to Frampton and do some birding here first.

Gypsy Lane (a public footpath just east of Titchwell RSPB) has been closed for months, well since the Storm Surge in December 2013 to be exact – I noticed recently that the caged fence and closure sign has been removed, so decided to venture along this path to find some birds. Its a beautiful hedge-lined path and leads to a small copse and then on to the beach just west of Brancaster Golf Club House. It was a lovely walk, but saw very little apart from a Chaffinch, Robins x 2, Long-tailed Tits, Chiffchaffs x 2 and a few butterflies: Speckled Wood, Orange tip, Peacock and Gatekeeper. This lane used to be a good place for Spotted Flycatcher – there are some suitable dead tree stumps, which they seem to favour, but none appeared. Had lunch back at my car. Lunch was then disturbed by an hysterical phone call from Mother who said the Honey Bees had swarmed into a huge mass against the wall of her house! Phoned Paul King at Brancaster (Bee Keeper) but sadly due to personal circumstances was not able to come out, but very kindly gave me another number to ring, so I did.... answerphone... left message. The next bee keeper phoned Mother later, but was too late, the bees had flown again! At least she has a contact name and number if they swarm again.

Searched telegraph poles around Brancaster and beyond for Bee-eaters (ha ha) and then went to Titchwell RSPB. I had now sunk into a can't be bothered to do anything mood. Plodded round the Fen Trail and found nothing. Sat on the seat overlooking Patsy's Pool which was more productive and I counted 11 Red-crested Pochards, 2 Pochards, 2 Little Grebes, Tufted Ducks, Lapwings, Mute Swans, Greylag Geese and teenage youngsters and also a Marsh Harrier flew over. Met a very nice couple who sat on the seat next to me, they seemed fairly new to birding and I helped them ID some birds. The lady was very pleased when I showed her something about her binoculars she didn't know. She had a pair of Swarovski 8x25's which for small, narrow field of view bins were pretty awesome! Enjoy the rest of your holiday if you are reading this.

Ok, so time to go and see the Black-winged Stilts! Left Titchwell and started the drive to Frampton. I timed this completely and utterly wrong and ended up driving through King's Lynn in rush-hour. There had been no updates on the pager since 3.20pm and it was now 5.45 as I drove along the A17. I phoned RBA and asked them to put a no news message out, to prompt someone to put some positive or negative news out. This generally works, but not today! On my arrival, my heart sank. I could only see five other birders and after a quick scan with the bins, couldn't not see any long legged birds! Got the scope out and searched properly, still no long legged birds! Walked to the sea bank and joined the other birders and continued to search, but nothing, no Black-winged Stilts! There was however a orangy Curlew Sandpiper to watch. Frampton Marsh is a stunning and vast reserve, but it would have been a little better if the stilts had played ball! I phoned RBA to say there was no sign of at 6.43pm. Met a very nice couple here who read my blog and they recalled they last time they had seen me, which was at the Terek Sandpiper at Covenham Reservoir in May 2014. Walked back to the car, the wind had picked up and it was now cloudy and spitting with rain. Drove to a reservoir where the stilts had been seen earlier today, nothing. Drove back to the car park area by the sea wall, had a coffee and waited. Another birder here had travelled from Peterborough and also the Gibraltar Point Shorebird Warden and Assistant Warden were also here to see the Black-winged Stilts. I stayed until about 8.30pm and then gave up. On route home a message came up on the pager "BLACK-WINGED STILTS again 8.45pm on wet grassland at Marsh Farm, Frampton Marsh RSPB"!!!! There are no words really that spring to mind that can be repeated on here! Got home late and wished I hadn't left!

I am trying to add my pictures for the week I had off recently! I have posted a couple here:

News of the Photographic Competition winners now on the Norfolk Bird & Wildlife Website:


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Red-necked Phalarope, Curlew Sandpiper on Pope's Pool, east of The Serpentine, Cley NWT.
Little Gulls x 11, Curlew Sandpipers x 2, Short-eared Owl at Titchwell RSPB.
Dotterels x 2 (viewed from Chalkpit Lane) at Choseley Drying Barns.
TURTLE DOVE at Horsey.
Spoonbill, Common Scoters x 3 at Breydon Water.
Spoonbills x 2 at Burnham Overy Staithe.
Quail singing at Walsey Hills NOA.
Honey Buzzard flew over Norwich.

Suffolk Highlights:
LITTLE BITTERN still, at Lakenheath Fen RSPB.

Lincolnshire Highlights:
BLACK WINGED STILTS x 2 at Frampton Marsh RSPB.

MEGA! GREATER YELLOWLEGS still, at Titchfield Haven NNR, Hampshire.

RBA Weekly Round-Up 20th to 26th May!

By Jon Dunn

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Little Bittern at Lakenheath Fen RSPB!

Birders waiting until darkness falls, for a glimpse of the Little Bittern!

With Blakeney Point on Sunday, a late night and a hard day at work on Bank Holiday Monday, I was not ready to rise at dawn this morning! Stayed in editing photos and doing some important jobs. News of a possible Eastern Bonelli's Warbler at Hickling Broad NWT got the heart racing, but was eventually confirmed as a 'Western' and in any case was only around for twenty minutes. I was going to stay in all day, but decided with the lovely sunshine it was wicked to stay indoors.

So on the spur of the moment, I decided that I really should go and visit the Little Bittern at Lakenheath Fen RSPB. It's only 28 miles from my house and it didn't take long to get there. As soon as I turned up in the car park, Geoff and Pat had just arrived back at their car. Pat said they had been standing there ALL day waiting to see the Little Bittern, but their patience paid off eventually and they saw the bird fly at around 4.20pm.

It's a long walk to Joist Fen Viewpoint! I heard Cetti's, Sedge and Reed Warblers on route and saw several Cuckoo's, Common Terns, Hobbies and a Marsh Harrier. A Bittern was also booming! The highlight was a Spotted Flycatcher with a Great Spotted Woodpecker on the dead trees just before you veer off left to view Joist Fen. I joined the small crowd of birders at just before 6pm to wait.... and wait and wait! The Little Bittern was singing the entire time, tantalisingly close, frustratingly close – I almost wished I hadn't come here! Ok I don't actually mean that, as this reserve is fabulous and I was seeing some good birds, but standing in one place for so long is not my thing! It doesn't do your back any good, your feet any good or your mind any good! You start to imagine anything that moves is the Little Bittern!
Waiting for the Little Bittern to appear.

We were serenaded by Reed Buntings, Sedge and Reed Warblers, Cuckoos burbling and singing, a Bittern boomed and the Little Bittern carried on 'barking', sometimes moving a little further away and then returning close to us again, but STILL not showing! Several Swifts overhead and a Great Crested Grebe was on the fen. People shuffled about, stretched their backs and still stuck it out, a few did leave though. The midges were attacking like there was no tomorrow! The sun set at just before 9pm and still we hadn't seen this bird! I photographed a Common Tern against the pink skies. Cuckoos were still bombing about and calling. Crows flew across the pink skies, as did a Heron and a couple of Mute Swans. At around 9.13pm I decided to walk a few yards away to where my scope was sitting, to undue my bag to get a sandwich out – I didn't get the chance, as suddenly the Little Bittern got up and flew across over the reedbeds, away from us – at last! We only saw it for moments and as a silhouette, no good for photographs at all – three and a quarter hours later! Also it was far closer to us than we thought, when it got up! Everyone sighed with relief and mused at the fact, that they had stood here all these hours to have a few seconds view of a Little Bittern flying off in the near darkness of the night! It was quite unbelievable that this bird had not flown or shown itself for just under five hours since the last sighting at 4.20pm!

Walked back with other birders – it was cold now, even too cold for the midges. It was dark by the time we all got back to our cars at just before 10pm. Got back to King's Lynn at 10.45pm. Went to the supermarket and filled up with fuel, ready for tomorrow. So, sorry there are no stonking pictures of a Little Bittern from me, not even a smudge on the camera, only Common Terns against pink skies and a Reed Warbler singing!

When I pulled into my street this evening at 11.15pm, I had to stop to fold both side mirrors of my car in, to get between two parked cars before I even tackled my drive!!! Must be someone new in the street, someone who presumes that everyone that lives in this street follows a 'normal' life. Well I don't and I may want to leave in the dark in the morning, which means again, I have to fold my mirrors in to get out of the bloody street. I really, really can't wait to move from here! Good night!



Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER still with Ringed Plovers x 10 on North Scrape, Short-eared Owl at Cley NWT.
Garganey x 2, Little Gulls x 8 at Titchwell RSPB.
TURTLE DOVES x 2, Dotterels x 2 (viewed from Chalkpit Lane) at Choseley Drying Barns.
Spoonbill, White Storks x 3 (escaped) at Breydon Water.
WESTERN BONELLI'S WARBLER [identified by sonograms] by Weaver's Way at 9.15am for 20 minutes only and singing at Hickling Broad NWT.
Little Gulls x 2 at Rush Hill Scrape, Hickling Broad NWT.
Great White Egret at Welney WWT.
TURTLE DOVE, Crossbill, Spoonbill at Holme Dunes NWT.
Garganey x 2 at Buckenham Marshes RSPB.
TURTLE DOVES x 2 at Snettisham Coastal Park.

Suffolk Highlights:
LITTLE BITTERN still at Lakenheath Fen RSPB.

Suffolk Highlights:
WHITE-WINGED BLACK TERN at Paxton Pits NR, Cambridgeshire.

MEGA! GREATER YELLOWLEGS still, at Titchfield Haven NNR, Hampshire.

Monday 25 May 2015


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Osprey, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Gull, Spoonbill at Cley NWT.
Wood Sandpiper, Little Gulls x 3 at Breydon Water.
Little Gulls x 2 at Salthouse.
Iceland Gull 2w, Little Gulls x 6 at Titchwell RSPB.
Great White Egret at Welney WWT.
TURTLE DOVES x 4, Dotterels x 5 (viewed from Chalkpit Lane) at Choseley Drying Barns.

Suffolk Highlights:
LITTLE BITTERN still at Lakenheath Fen RSPB.

MEGA! GREY-CHEEKED THRUSH The Mullet, Termoncarragh, County Mayo, Ireland.
MEGA! GREATER YELLOWLEGS still, at Titchfield Haven NNR, Hampshire.

Sunday 24 May 2015

Icterine Warbler At West Runton And A Cracking Male Red-spotted Bluethroat At Blakeney Point!

Male Red-spotted Bluethroat
Blakeney Point
By the tamarisk bush next to the old laboratory, near the Plantation

I spent the morning editing pictures for a publication, which had to be finished – I worked from 7.30am until 12pm. It was bright and sunny all morning. Whilst editing pictures, an Icterine Warbler bleeped up on the pager, along with a Golden Oriole and then a Red-spotted Bluethroat. I had a very speedy lunch and very speedily made sandwiches and flask. Bundled hair into ponytail and I was off!

West Runton
It was teaming down with rain by the time I got here. Parked my car in a very sneaky spot and walked to the field adjacent to the caravan park. It took a long time to see the Icterine Warbler, but did eventually see it in some willows, moving around quickly. We were then told by Sue B. that it was 'just sitting there' round the other side of the hedge in the children's play area. Within minutes of re-locating to this area, we could see the bird with its back to us and obscured behind a branch. A few minutes later it started to move about and it was just getting good enough to take my first picture, when a lady (presumably staff from the caravan park) walked across towards us and said 'look I'm really sorry, but I need to ask you to move....' 'you can stand the other side of the hedge, but not here.... ' she then said something about 'adults with cameras'..... for goodness sake! As if we were there to photograph children!!! She waited to escort us out of the play area. But the funny thing was that there were no children at all, or adults (apart from us birders) in this area at all, but the other side of the hedge where she said we stand, there were several children playing!!! But this side was terrible light and not good viewing for the bird. I gave up and left without a single smudge on my camera! Still raining.
Meadow Pipit in the Tamarisk Bush.

 Male Red-spotted Bluethroat

Blakeney Point
I set off for Blakeney Point at 4.30pm! The rain had stopped and the sun was shining! I headed straight along the beach, as I did for the recent Moltoni's Subalpine Warbler! Each birder coming back was saying how well the Red-spotted Bluethroat was showing and what a cracking bird it was. Also saw Ajay, Paul and Sarah in their little vehicle, heading for Cley, who told me it was Andy Stoddart who had found the bluethroat. Also passed James MacCallum who said 'it's a cracking bird' and couldn't remember the last one he had seen that was showing that well. This gave me an extra spring in my step! I arrived at the Tamarisk 60 minutes later.

Cracking bird was an understatement – a vivid male with startling blue and red adorned across his chest – feeding on the short turf next to the large pink tamarisk bush and with white campion flowers all around the bush, you couldn't have had a better scene! A Meadow Pipit was also perched in the tamarisk bush. A Chiffchaff was flitting about, a Snipe and a Redshank perched on the chimney pot on the roof of the old laboratory and a Marsh Harrier was also seen. Eddie M. couldn't resist, when I told him how stunning this bluethroat was and an hour later he joined me. Eddie saw a Painted Lady butterfly when I went off to look in the Plantation later on.
Male Red-spotted Bluethroat

Unusually there were no birds in the Plantation itself, not that I could find anyway. I returned to spend the rest of the evening watching and photographing this superb Spring Male Red-spotted Bluethroat until 8.45pm. Eddie and I started walking back, but left one person here, an artist, who had been painting the bird since before I arrived.

The walk back seemed much quicker than usual, probably because I had someone to talk to, thanks Eddie! We arrived back at Coastguards at 10.15pm. Got back to King's Lynn at 11pm. Work tomorrow!

See NT Ranger Paul's video of the Red-spotted Bluethroat on the Blakeney Point Blog HERE.


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
TURTLE DOVE, Dotterels x 5 (viewed from Chalkpit Lane) at Choseley Drying Barns.
TURTLE DOVE, Little Gull at Salthouse.
Honey Buzzard reported west, Short-eared Owl, Little Gulls x 4, Red-crested Pochard at Titchwell RSPB.
ICTERINE WARBLER, Whinchat, Little Gulls x 2, Tree Pipit at West Runton.
GOLDEN ORIOLE at North Dunes, Winterton.
Curlew Sandpiper, Little Gulls x 4, Spoonbill, White Wagtail at Cley NWT.
TURTLE DOVE at Stiffkey Fen.

Suffolk Highlights:
LITTLE BITTERN still at Lakenheath Fen RSPB.


MEGA! GREATER YELLOWLEGS still, at Titchfield Haven NNR, Hampshire.

Saturday 23 May 2015


I am now on holiday for the next two weeks, but it hasn't started off very well at all. Not left the house today – very low mood, not done a thing. I have a million jobs to do, but couldn't face any of them. Write today off, start again tomorrow. Working Bank Holiday Monday, but rest of time off. Wish I could pack a suitcase and go on an amazing birding holiday, that would be so good right now.


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Dotterels x 5 (viewed from Chalkpit Lane) at Choseley Drying Barns.
Osprey, Little Gulls x 8, Spotted Redshank at Titchwell RSPB.
Spoonbill, Little Gulls x 2, Short-eared Owl at Salthouse.
Little Gull, east of 'The Serpentine' on Pope's Pool, Cley NWT.
TURTLE DOVES x 2 at Beighton Church.
TURTLE DOVE at Stiffkey Fen.

Suffolk Highlights:
LITTLE BITTERN still at Lakenheath Fen RSPB.
BROAD-BILLED SANDPIPER NW of Walberswick at Tinker's Marshes.


Bird Migration Changes On Fair Isle Revealed!

"A major survey into bird migration from Africa over the past 60 years has revealed substantial changes in behaviour."

Friday 22 May 2015


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Osprey, Little Gulls x 5 at Titchwell RSPB.
BLACK STORK again 8.44am viewed from ridge between Ringstead and Sedgeford, then 9.06am over Hunstanton and then at 9.30am at Snettisham Coastal Park.
TURTLE DOVES x 8 at Snettisham Coastal Park.
Spoonbill at Rush Hill Scrape,  Hickling Broad NWT.
Little Gull flew west at Weybourne.
TURTLE DOVE x 6, Short-eared Owl at Horsey.
Spoonbills x 3, Little Gull at Breydon Water.
Pectoral Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Spoonbill on 'The Serpentine' off East Bank at Cley NWT.
Quail singing at Holme Dunes NWT.
Little Gulls x 2, Short-eared Owl at Salthouse.
Dotterels x 5 (viewed from Chalkpit Lane) at Choseley Drying Barns.
Short-eared Owl at Winterton.

Suffolk Highlights:
• LITTLE BITTERN still at Lakenheath Fen RSPB.
BROAD-BILLED SANDPIPER NW of Walberswick at Tinker's Marshes.

Lincolnshire Highlights:
BLACK STORK circled over SE side of Boston at 10.50am.
BLACK STORK circled NW over Kirkby-on-Bain GPs at 11.20am.

MEGA! GREATER YELLOWLEGS still, at Titchfield Haven NNR, Hampshire.

Thursday 21 May 2015

BLACK STORK at Ringstead & Old Hunstanton!

I was snoozing on the sofa, completely exhausted. Pager bleeping and then text bleeping through on my phone, meant I had to get up. The pager read: "BLACK STORK flew SSW over Holme + circled Old Hunstanton Park/Ringstead at 5.52pm, then flew west. Again at 6.38pm, SW of  Old Hunstanton Park over Ringstead Downs, seen from hill between Ringstead and Sedgeford then lost to view". On the second pager message, I had to go!

Flew along the Ringstead Road and got excited when I could see birders standing on the side of the road with bins to the skies – Ashley Banwell, Trevor Girling and a couple of other local birders were searching in vain and then Billy Rand also turned up. I phoned a couple of birders to see if anyone knew if anyone else was watching the Black Stork close by, but no more news.

I spent the rest of the evening searching, headed towards Sedgeford and back round by Heacham Lavender, back to where I started and then through Ringstead to Old Hunstanton, through Holme, Thornham – going up the minor road just east of the Farm shop to gain height to scan the coast, then onto Choosley and then back through Ringstead. The Black Stork has probably cruised across The Wash by now! Saw lots of Hares, Red-legged and Grey Partridges, Oystercatcher, Kestrel, Pied Wagtail, Whitethroat singing, Chaffinches, Yellowhammers and a beautiful sunset. Drove home, knowing I shouldn't have left the house.


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
TURTLE DOVE at North Dunes, Winterton.
Dotterels x 16 (viewed from Chalkpit Lane) at Choseley Drying Barns.
Black-throated Divers x 2 at Weybourne.
BLACK KITE flew south over Church Street, Wells.
MEGA! AUDOUIN'S GULL 2s possible, 9am-9.12am though distant, south of pier off Gorleston Cliffs then flew north, Norfolk.
Pectoral Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Spoonbill, Little Gull on 'The Serpentine'/Pope's Pool, east of the East Bank at Cley NWT.
BONAPARTE'S GULL 1s along South Wall, opposite windpump, Breydon Water.
Short-eared Owl, Little Gulls x 7, Spotted Redshank at Titchwell RSPB.
BLACK STORK flew SSW over Holme + circled Old Hunstanton Park/Ringstead at 5.52pm, then flew west. Again at 6.38pm, SW of  Old Hunstanton Park over Ringstead Downs, seen from hill between Ringstead and Sedgeford then lost to view.
BLACK STORK seen this afternoon at Scolt Head Island.
LITTLE BITTERN probable singing, 1/2 mile north of Beach Road along inner sea wall in reeds by large gorse patch at Snettisham Coastal Park.
TURTLE DOVES x 2 at Holme Dunes NWT.
Great White Egret flew over Kelling Heath.

Suffolk Highlights: LITTLE BITTERN still at Lakenheath Fen RSPB.

MEGA! AUDOUIN'S GULL 2s possible, south of pier off Gorleston Cliffs 9am-9.12am though distant, then flew north, Norfolk.
MEGA! GREATER YELLOWLEGS still, at Titchfield Haven NNR, Hampshire.
MEGA! HARLEQUIN DUCK still, at River Don, Seaton Park, Aberdeen, Scotland.

Wednesday 20 May 2015


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Red-necked Phalarope, Pectoral Sandpipers x 2, Curlew Sandpipers x 2, Spoonbill, Little Stint, Short-eared Owl, Continental Black-tailed Godwit on 'The Serpentine'/Pope's Pool, east of the East Bank at Cley NWT.
Wood Sandpiper at Felbrigg Hall NT.
Common Cranes x 3, Curlew Sandpipers x 2 at Breydon Water.
Red-necked Phalarope, Short-eared Owl, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Gulls x 5, Red-crested Pochards x 7 at Titchwell RSPB.
Great White Egret, Garganey at Hockwold Washes, Lakenheath Fen RSPB.
BLACK KITE possible, south of Weybourne.
Dotterels x 15 (viewed from Chalkpit Lane) at Choseley Drying Barns.
TURTLE DOVE, White-fronted Geese x 2 at Holme Dunes NWT.
Short-eared Owl at North Dunes, Winterton.

Suffolk Highlights: LITTLE BITTERN at Lakenheath Fen RSPB.

MEGA! GREATER YELLOWLEGS still, at Titchfield Haven NNR, Hampshire.
MEGA! HARLEQUIN DUCK still, at River Don, Seaton Park, Aberdeen, Scotland.

All pictures now added & amended text to:

RBA Weekly Round-Up 13th to 19th May!

By Mark Golley

Collins Bird Guide Updated, But Did Anyone Know?

Second Edition
By Lars Svensson, Killian Mullarney & Dan Zetterstrom

I was told about this new second edition a few days ago, so purchased myself a copy to compare to my old second edition copy.

The 'new' second edition has new plates in, predominanently from page 303 to 317 and now shows for example: new text and illustrations for Subalpine Warbler and now split as Moltoni's Warbler, Eastern Subalpine Warbler and Western Subalpine Warbler. What I did notice was, when comparing each page last night, that the colour production is brighter (greater strength of colours) overall throughout the book. 

Tuesday 19 May 2015


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Redstart at North Dunes, Winterton.
Dotterels x 10 (viewed from Chalkpit Lane) at Choseley Drying Barns.
TURTLE DOVE, Short-eared Owl at Gramborough Hill, Salthouse.
Spoonbills x 2, Little Stint, Short-eared Owl at Cley NWT.
Hen Harrier at Swanton Novers.
Great White Egret, Short-eared Owl, Spoonbill, Little Gulls x 5 at Titchwell RSPB.
Short-eared Owl, Spoonbill at Thornham Marshes.
Little Stints x 2, yesterday at Thornham Harbour.
Pectoral Sandpiper, Little Stints x 2, Little Gull on The Serpentine at Cley NWT.
Little Gull at Breydon Water.
Gargeney at Welney WWT.

MEGA! GREATER YELLOWLEGS still, at Titchfield Haven NNR, Hampshire.
MEGA! HARLEQUIN DUCK still, at River Don, Seaton Park, Aberdeen, Scotland.

Monday 18 May 2015


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Dotterels x 15 (viewed from Chalkpit Lane) at Choseley Drying Barns.
Wood Sandpiper, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper on The Serpentine at Cley NWT.
Montagu's Harrier, Spoonbill, Little Gulls x 5, Short-eared Owl at Titchwell RSPB.
Curlew Sandpipers x 3 at Salthouse.
Montagu's Harrier at Thornham.
Garganey at Buckenham Marshes RSPB.

MEGA! GREATER YELLOWLEGS still, at Titchfield Haven NNR, Hampshire.
MEGA! HARLEQUIN DUCK still, at River Don, Seaton Park, Aberdeen, Scotland.

Sunday 17 May 2015


Sunday 17th May – 9am-5pm
Mannington Hall
Bill Oddie making me laugh at the WildSounds Stand
Picture taken by Duncan Macdonald

The car park was already much fuller than yesterday when I first arrived this morning. Must be something to do with the fact that Celebrity BILL ODDIE was visiting today! Again the Bird & Wildlife Fair has been lucky with the weather and it was sunny for most of the day.

I decided to start the day's proceedings, by walking to the 'Kingfisher Hide', not that I saw any kingfishers, but did have a wonderful time by myself, to escape the crowds for a while. On route I saw an Orange Tip and Speckled Wood Butterfly and a Blackcap was singing. From the hide I had a fascinating time watching a Little Grebe catching sticklebacks (presume that's what they were) and feeding them to her cute, fluffy chick in the shimmery green water, adorned with lily pads – a very tranquil scene! Two Gadwall were also on the pond and a Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff were singing. Walked back to the entrance of the fair and met up with Pete Snook, who joined me for most of the day.
Little Grebe and Chick from 'Kingfisher' Hide.

As soon as we walked into the fair, several blog readers introduced themselves and said how much they enjoyed my blog – Pete was highly amused by this! It was great to meet you all today (and yesterday) – makes all my hard work worth while – all the sitting up until the early hours of the morning, typing and editing pictures, as I am currently!
Roger Tidman, Wildlife Photographer.

Legendary wildlife photographer and friend of my father,  Roger Tidman approached me and introduced himself – he very kindly asked after my father and wondered if it would be possible to visit him. I replied that it would be lovely, as he doesn't have hardly any visitors, well actually, aside from family and long time friends Eileen and Malcolm, no one has been to visit him at all, which is very sad. People are frightened to visit I think, as no, he is not the same as he was, but there is still a big part of him left and his sense of humour is still there. I was very touched by Roger's suggestion of visiting him, thank you. Another name from the past also stopped me to say hello – Richard Porrit, who was a committee member of the NOA and again very kindly asked after my father, thank you.

I didn't see many Norfolk birders today – would have been nice if more people had made an effort to support this spectacular event, to ensure it continues. After all, we weren't exactly swimming in 'rares' today! In fact the pager was worryingly quiet. Pete and I thought we had missed messages, but no, it was just a naff day for birds! Pete loved the venue and really enjoyed his day. There was a marked increase in families attending this year, which was good. In the optics marquee Pete thought he heard a Kingfisher and then seconds later I spotted it, sitting on a branch in the water at the far end and was then enjoyed by other visitors around for a short while, before it sped off. There was also a Grey Wagtail flitting about on the roof of Mannington Hall. Bumped into Vernon Eve here (from 'Infocus' at Titchwell). Bought Mother a 5" magnifier glass for a bargain show price of £10.00 (should have been double that). Canon were situated in the Wex marquee and I picked up the Canon 300 2.8 lens and body to assess the weight – far too heavy, so that saved me some pennies!!! (I wish!). Filled in the form to win a pair of bins, but not heard anything yet!
A lady I met today, who reads my blog – at the Canon stand.

Pete Snook and others in the Wex Photographic Marquee.

 Customers and Staff in the Wex Photographic Marquee.

 Customers at Swarovski in the Wex Photographic Marquee.

The Catering Marquee and Vendors.

Pete Snook chatting with other local birders.

Beer Tent!

The lovely staff at Vette's Veggie Van.

Lunch in the marquee – scrumptious vege curry with naan bread, mango chutney and a vege sausage roll, washed down with tea from Vettes Veggi Van – lovely! Pete had a burger in a bun from one of the other vendors. A very nice man approached me (can't remember his name) and very kindly had brought along an issue of "Birdwatching" magazine, dated March 1988 with one of my father's articles, titled 'Gateway to Spring' – thank you so much, brought a smile to my face when I read the article, especially the paragraph where father mentions 'roasting chestnuts' – I remember roasting chestnuts on the woodburner so well, especially when they exploded, scattering bits all across the floor! See below:

After lunch, I walked back to my car to get my other Canon 7D body with 17-85mm lens and as I started to walk back, Bill Oddie turned up in a taxi! He was immediately accosted by an EDP Reporter before he got in the entrance door. Now, if you want to get a seat to a celebrity lecture, you have to go to the lecture before, to get a decent seat or seat at all in some cases. So Pete and I went to the BTO's "Tracking Cuckoos to Africa and back" by Ieuan Evans at 1.45pm. I seriously wanted to go to this anyway, so it was ideal all round. This talk was both fascinating and entertaining, Ieuan was a very good speaker.
Bill Oddie being interviewed by the Eastern Daily Press.

Bill getting warmed up for his audience!

 Some of the audience for Bill Oddie's talk.

Bill Oddie Unplucked – 2.15pm
It was great to see Bill and he looked really well and relaxed and seemed to be in a jovial mood. Perhaps he enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere here – he also wasn't bombarded by too many people in one go (I found out what that's like, this weekend.... LOL!!). He made people laugh as soon as he walked in with quips about measuring people to squeeze them in the room. Bill captivated his audience with tales from past and present with lots of amusement and humour and also discussed serious issues that he is so passionate about. The highlight of Bill's talk was right at the beginning when he got deadly serious with a sombre face, bowed his head and said in a very slow and depressive tone: "...... I would like to begin by asking you to join me in a minute's silence... to what's the word... mourn the fact that a few day's ago, I woke up and so did you and found that David Cameron was still f*****g prime minister"!!! The whole room broke into hysterical and uncontrollable laughter and applause! He kept a dead pan face for a good few seconds before laughing and then apologised... "I'm sorry about the language, but it is necessary....." He went on to say why he had said this. I caught this all on video, so pleased I did – I keep watching this bit over and over again, its so funny!

It killed me to do it, but I managed to video the entire talk! Mind you the camera stopped videoing three times and I had to restart the camera, so a couple of gaps. The files are so big, I don't know how I am going to get them onto youtube, I will have to ask advice about this.

Moments before I escorted Bill Oddie to the WildSounds Stand.
Photo by Pete Snook.

Escorting Bill Oddie to the WildSounds Stand.
Photo by Pete Snook

After the talk, outside Bill said he needed to be at the WildSounds Book Stand, so I volunteered to escort him there on condition he posed for a picture 'that's what's known as blackmail you know', he replied. Anyway, after picture was taken, I led Bill to the Wildsounds stand. I asked him if he remembered my father, which he did and has very fond memories of his birding days at Holme, but amusingly remembered the issues between NNT (as it was then, now NWT) and the NOA and the permit system for both reserves. He asked me to remind him of my mother's name. It was really nice to chat with him as he walked to the main marquee. At the WildSounds stand, Bill signed copies of his latest book "Bill Oddie Unplucked" for his followers and fans. It was so nice to see him again. Such a pity he's not on TV – he should have his own show really – Bill Oddie Unplucked seems like a good title too! Bill if you are reading this, WE LOVE YOU! More pictures were taken by Duncan of Bill and I and also by Tina Lindsay.
Bill Oddie signing his new book on the WildSounds Stand.
Julian Bhalerao and Duncan MacDonald – WildSounds.

Bill Oddie and I at the WildSounds Stand.

Bill very kindly posed with people at the Say NO to Easthaugh Holiday Park stand where he spent a long time talking about this proposed park and seemed very concerned indeed. Julian B. and I took pictures of this, to send to the staff to help in their quest to stop this park being built in the River Wensum area.
Bill Oddie with Say NO To Easthaugh Holiday Park.

Bill Oddie with Duncan Macdonald, Tina Lindsay and ?

Bill Oddie with Tina Lyndsay.


Mannington Hall.
Moat around Mannington Hall.

 Carol's Cakes & Bakes.

Bengal Eagle Owl.

European Eagle Owl.

Organisers Rob & Jill Wilson with Eagle Owl from 'World Of Owls',
posing for the Eastern Daily Press photoshoot.

I wandered round the fair for one last time and then walked back to my car. Massive congratulations to Rob and Jill Wilson who have pulled off their second Bird and Wildlife Fair. I don't know how they did it – a mammoth job and to everyone else that was involved. Also thank you very much for asking me to judge the photographic competition, I felt very honoured indeed. A fabulous weekend all round and very much looking forward to next year's event. There were several wildlife organisations with stands including the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, British Trust for Ornithology, Butterfly Conservation, Hawk & Owl Trust..... the list goes on, but the biggest, the RSPB did not support this event, which I don't quite understand at all. Hopefully they will support our county next year – after all they have a good number of reserves here. Anyway, I will add Bill Oddie's Talk here when I am able to.

Videos to be added when I find out how to add three together and reduce the size to load onto youtube – any advice please?