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Friday 31 May 2019


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PURPLE HERON ad., Turtle Dove, Spoonbill at Titchwell RSPB
Osprey flew over Waxham Sands
Cattle Egrets x 11 at east end on flood at Stiffkey
Little Gull at Cley NWT
Little Gull at North Point, Wells
Cattle Egret flew over Burnham Deepdale
Cattle Egrets x 2 by Beach Road, Brancaster

Ramsey Island, Pembrokeshire
Minsmere RSPB, Suffolk
Skaw, Unst, Shetland

MEGA! MYRTLE WARBLER 1s.male at Ramsey Island, Pembrokeshire!

Thursday 30 May 2019

Crane Chick First at Cambridgeshire Wicken Fen Site in 120 Years!


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PURPLE HERON ad., Turtle Dove, Garganey, Spoonbill at Titchwell RSPB
Honey Buzzard flew over Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve
Ring Ouzel at Salthouse
Quails x 2 singing at Kelling Water Meadows
Spoonbills x 3, Little Gull at Cley NWT
Spoonbills x 3, Common Cranes x 7 flew over Horsey
Great White Egret at Hickling Broad NWT
Great White Egret, Garganey at Welney WWT
Spoonbill at Burnham Overy Staithe
Cattle Egrets by Beach Road, Brancaster
Great White Egret flew over Mundesley
Great White Egret at Rockland Broad
Black Redstart at Norwich

Skaw, Unst, Shetland
Hornsea Mere, Yorkshire

Wednesday 29 May 2019

RBA Weekly Round-Up 22nd to 28th May!

By Jon Dunn

Thanks to the RBA Team for using my flight shot of the Black-winged Stilt at North Point, Wells in their weekly Round-up!


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Cattle Egrets x 2 at the north east end of Gypsy Lane, Titchwell
PURPLE HERON ad., Turtle Doves x 2, Spoonbills x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Cattle Egrets x 2 at Brancaster
Serin at Holme NOA
Great White Egrets x 3, Spoonbill at Burnham Deepdale
Turtle Doves x 2 at Beighton
LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE (probable), Turtle Doves x 2, Great White Egrets x 2, Common Cranes x 8 at Horsey

Hornsea Mere, Yorkshire

Tuesday 28 May 2019


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PURPLE HERON ad. flew over South Beach, Heacham
Turtle Dove flew over beach car park at Weybourne
Little Gull at Holme Dunes NWT
Spoonbills x 2 on grazing meadow at Holme
Cattle Egrets x 2, Spoonbill at the north east end of Gypsy Lane, Titchwell
Turtle Dove, Little Gull at Titchwell RSPB
Spoonbill at Potter Heigham Marshes
Great White Egret, Spoonbills x 4 at Rush Hill Scrape, Hickling Broad NWT
Turtle Dove at Harper's Green Farm, East Dereham
Little Gull, Spoonbills x 2 at Cley NWT
Spoonbill at Burnham Overy Marshes
Turtle Doves x 3, Spoonbill at Snettisham Coastal Park
Turtle Doves x 2, Osprey at Snettisham RSPB
Turtle Dove and Great White Egret between Horsey & Winterton
Spoonbill at Brancaster Staithe
Osprey at Rockland Broad

Hornsea Mere, Yorkshire

Monday 27 May 2019

Bank Holiday Monday Birding!

North Point, Wells-next-the-Sea

I was up early, even though I felt completely rubbish after very little sleep! I wanted to be out on the coast, somewhere central in readiness for the first pager message going off, just in case the Upland Sandpiper was re-found this morning. I decided North Point, Wells would be a good place to start and quite fancied a Bee-eater sitting on the fence wires early morning – in your dreams Penelope!

I was driving down the track to the pools at North Point at 7.38am and the pager bleeps up with 'Black-winged Stilt at North Point, Wells'!!! How lucky was that?!!! Parked the car on the right hand side on purpose, to set the trend for parking sensibly (worked wonderfully) and a few seconds later I was watching a Black-winged Stilt! It was initially on the left hand pool (North Point), but was harrassed by an Avocet so much, it flew off to the furthest end of the pool opposite, on right hand side (Slade Marsh) and that is where it remained happily feeding all day long. I didn't even get a picture of it on the left hand pool before it flew off over to the other pool, only rubbish flight shots achieved.

It was shockingly cold this morning. Mike Buckland turned up seconds after I did and I heard later on that it was he who saw the Bee-eater at Walsey Hills NOA! Congratulations! More people turned up including Ian, Chris and Paul – lots of banter about my "now going east" message on the pager yesterday!!! Eddie was there, Dawn and Pete B. with Bethany, M. Clements, D. Holman and so on. Dave H. stated that he had the car turned round ready to go and was just waiting for the call (referring to the hopeful re-finding of the Upland Sandpiper!) Sadly this did not happen today. Whilst here I also saw a Greenshank and Med Gull flying over east, amongst all the usual waders here. I can't remember what time I left, but it was so cold, I needed to get warmed up.

I parked along a Warham Track and watched several birds flitting around in the hedges, including Whitethroat, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Robins and Blackbirds. Went to Stiffkey Campsite and parked my car on the wide grass verge under the trees, along the road that descends to the car park – far more peaceful than the extremely busy car park, which was inundated with day trippers and bouncing dogs and children! Here I sat in my car whilst it rained, had lunch and snoozed for a very long time. I was exhausted and completely burnt out. I thought about walking up to the campsite wood, but it was quite windy, so changed my mind and in any case it would probably have too many dogs being walked, for me to contend with.

Parked the car up on the concrete pad at Garden Drove, Warham and walked along the track to the copse at the end. Almost devoid of birds, but did see a couple of Goldfinches and a Blackbird. Got wet in a massive downpour just before I reached my car. I couldn't be bothered to do any big walks so lazily headed back to North Point, Wells.

North Point, Wells-next-the-Sea
Avocet at North Point, Wells-next-the-Sea

Mistle Thrush juv. at North Point, Wells-next-the-Sea

Reed Bunting at North Point, Wells-next-the-Sea

Lapwing chick at North Point, Wells-next-the-Sea

Mute Swan at North Point, Wells-next-the-Sea

As I drove along the track to the car park at North Point, I was shocked to find, that there was nobody else here at all! For about 10 minutes I had the Black-winged Stilt all to myself! I texted news out to RBA at 5.10pm, as there hadn't been any updates on this bird since 11am. Whilst here I showed the BWS to a lady jogger through my scope, who stopped to ask what I was watching – she was over the moon at seeing this bird. A couple who had come here for the first time (with bins only) from Titchwell RSPB looked through my scope at their first BWS – they were very pleased. Whilst standing with them I found a stunning male Yellow Wagtail which I pointed out to them, also found a Snipe, the Greenshank was still here, loads of Black-tailed Godwits dropped in (in two flocks) – first flock count was 70 and then total count later was 112! Also two Barn Owls were seen including one carrying what looked like a vole, Cetti's Warbler singing and Cuckoo calling, Spoonbills x 2, Little Egrets, House Sparrows, Reed Buntings, Whitethroats, Redshanks, Lapwings with chicks, Avocets with chicks, Mallards with chicks, Brent Geese x 2, Black-headed Gulls and also saw a young Mistle Thrush on the grassy track, before anyone else arrived. Also good numbers of hirundines, notably more Swifts than I have seen of late. Only a handful of birders turned up whilst I was there. Lovely evening with a nice selection of birds, especially the Yellow Wagtail. Tooks videos of several birds and then the phone battery died.

Left at a reasonable time (for me) at just after 7pm and arrived back home in daylight for a change. Fell asleep as soon as I got home. End of holiday, work tomorrow!


  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Cattle Egrets x 2, Spoonbill, Garganey at the north east end of Gypsy Lane, Titchwell
PURPLE HERON ad., Spoonbills x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
BLACK-WINGED STILT, Spoonbills x 4, Little Gull at Pools, North Point, Wells
UPLAND SANDPIPER probable, yesterday briefly on golf course, then flew east at Brancaster
Curlew Sandpiper, Common Cranes x 2, Spoonbills x 2 at Rush Hill Scrape, Great White Egrets x 2, Osprey at Hickling Broad NWT
Hoopoe at Caister Golf Course, Caister-on-Sea
Little Gulls x 2, Spoonbill at Cley NWT
BEE-EATER flew over (in morning) Mundesley
BEE-EATER flew over (11.12am) Sheringham
BEE-EATER flew low west over (11.38am) Walsey Hills NOA
Saker probable flew west at 11.45am, Spoonbills x 4 at Potter Heigham Marshes
Turtle Dove at Alderford Common
Great White Egret, Garganey at Welney WWT

probable, yesterday briefly on golf course at Brancaster then flew east, Norfolk
Hornsea Mere, Yorkshire

Another Bee-eater Missed & Big Race East for Norfolk's First Upland Sandpiper!

Sunday 26th May
I dawdled this morning, I didn't really know what I was doing or where I was going! I knew that I had to go to HBO to pay my membership that was due in a few days, if only I had arrived at Holme just before 10.35am to see the awesome Bee-Eater, which Neville Smith found, as he walked out of the VC!!! Congratulations to him and he managed to get some video footage too! Apparently it was only perched up for a couple of minutes before it flew east.

Drove through Hunstanton to look for Starling flocks in hope of seeing the Rose-coloured Starling that was seen in Hunstanton on Friday. I see now that RBA have a picture on their website, taken by "Marcos Gambero Vela", wow! I then diverted to Wards Nurseries at Ringstead to buy some flowers for my patio. My dear mother always used this nursery and I love to go back there, as it reminds me of taking her there to buy plants. I feel the need to be surrounded by flowers in my garden, to remind me of my mother – she was always potting up lots of colourful summer bedding plants. I bought some 'Stocks', 'Snap Dragons' and 'Poetry Nemesia Mixed' and a big bag of compost. Went back to Hunstanton to buy 2 cheap pots. My car was now full of birding gear and gardening purchases!

Raining on and off all day with heavy showers. Drove along the Firs Road and parked on the NOA car park and had lunch in the pouring rain. Went to pay my NOA membership subs. I didn't stay to do any birding, after all, bird of the day had been and gone! Went to Titchwell to look for the Cattle Egrets – the directions for these are not clear – the pager message reads 'in Gypsy Lane by cattle field', which I suppose is correct, but I took it from that, they were in a cattle field next to the lane by the main road. The Cattle Egrets are in a field with cattle to the east, at the very end of Gypsy Lane – walk along lane until path opens up to reed bed on left and marsh on the right and the Cattle Egrets are with cattle on the right hand side distantly (scope job) or white blobs with bins in my case.

Whilst here, the pager bleeped up at 5.10pm with 'MEGA UPLAND SANDPIPER Sheringham in field briefly c3pm then flew west' Bl**dy H*ll!!!! My initial thoughts were, why had the news only gone out over 2 hours after the sighting?! This left only a small window of light before dusk to re-find it!!! Speed walked back to my car, which was parked by Titchwell church, as no spaces at end of Gypsy Lane. Whilst walking I phoned around and found out the Upland Sandpiper had been found in a field near Dead Man's Wood at Sheringham and had been searched for since, as far as the windmill at Weybourne, with no further sign so far. I was tweeting out about the sighting and then tweeted "Now heading east" What I mean't by this and what I should have written on hindsight was "I'm now heading east" as what happened after that was putting it bluntly a right balls up!!! So.... as I am driving east, the pager bleeps up with 'no further sign by early evening....' and then another saying 'Upland Sandpiper again 6pm.... then flew east'. Blimey!!! I put the foot down on the accelerator, and the adrenalin was kicking in big time! Rang a few people (hands free) on route to make sure they had heard this latest update. Discussed where to go and someone said it would probably be on Sheringham Golf Course and best place to park would be the cemetery.

When I got as far as Wells I had a phone call from RBA, who sensibly wanted to check something out.... apparently Birdguides had read my earlier tweet "Now heading east" as the Upland Sandpiper now heading east!!!!!!! OMG!!! Will at RBA was really nice about it and said 'don't worry Penny its not your fault'. So if there is anyone out there that is cross about this, then I apologise for my tweet, but please remember that I also was racing to see the Upland Sandpiper that had 'flown east'!!! I was massively disappointed to find out this was not the case, as I'm sure many others were! IF I had known that the bird was flying east, I would have put ALOT more detail for others than just writing 'Now heading east' I would never have been that brief!!! Oh dear!!! Several people I spoke to about it thought it was really funny, but its not at all when you're talking about a bird THIS serious!!! I will be very careful what I write on Twitter in future!

I continued on my journey east and arrived at Coastguards, Cley to look in the Eye Field. 'Richard The Hat' had also just pulled up in his car and together we walked east as far as North Scrape to check all the fields out with no luck. Richard was telling me about all his sightings of Upland Sandpipers over the years, including one on the Isles of Scilly. Walked back to our cars and then I headed to Beach Road, Salthouse. Checked the marsh north of the duck pond first and then scanned all the marsh east of Beach Road. I was going to walk to Gramborough Hill, but this area had already been searched I was told by another local birder 'Richard' on site. Local birders had also searched Kelling Water Meadows and Muckleburgh Hill too. I then parked my car by the horse field just up the road from Salthouse on the way to Kelling – this short turfed field looked an ideal spot, but was not holding any Upland Sandpiper when I scanned it several times! Eddie had already looked there I found out later.

I very glumly drove home exhausted and arrived back at 10.30pm. Unpacked my very full car by 11.13pm and then fell asleep in front of my iMac and woke up at 12.29 and hadn't written a single word on the blog yet!!! Blog posts now written! Last day of my holiday tomorrow! Hope its a mega one! Good night!

MEGA! UPLAND SANDPIPER at Sheringham, Norfolk!

Sunday 26th May



Found by Ashley McElwee

In field briefly c3pm, then flew west, after being flushed by Roe Deer at Sheringham

News on RBA came out at 5.10pm, over two hours after it was found.
Maybe it took a while to ID, hence the late news?

Searched for by birders with what light was left until dusk, no sign so far!


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SUNDAY 26th May
Garganey, Spoonbills x 6, White Stork at Potter Heigham Marshes
White Stork, Osprey at Hickling Broad NWT
Great White Egret, Spoonbill at Breydon Water
PURPLE HERON ad., Turtle Dove, Temminck's Stint, Serin flew over, Spoonbill at Titchwell RSPB
Cattle Egrets x 2 at the north east end of Gypsy Lane, Titchwell 
Black Redstart singing in Norwich
BEE-EATER by visitor centre at c10.35am, then flew east, Great White Egret, Turtle Dove at Holme Dunes NWT
Spoonbill at Buckenham Marshes RSPB
Great White Egret at Welney WWT
Turtle Doves x 2, Little Gull at Cley NWT
Honey Buzzard flew in off sea at Sheringham
Spoonbills x 2 flew over Reedham
Rose-coloured Starling, no sign of at Hunstanton
UPLAND SANDPIPER in field briefly c3pm, then flew west at Sheringham

Sheringham, Norfolk
Hornsea Mere, Yorkshire

Saturday 25 May 2019

Lazy Birding, Trip To CleySpy & Gramborough Hill!

North Point, Wells-next-the-Sea

I spent all morning and until 2.30pm at North Point, Wells! As I arrived in the car park, there was only one other car here and it was Eddie's! We both scoped the pools for a while and then I walked north from the track, then west to the sea wall, where the coastal path goes through the small copse and found Brimstones, Speckled Woods, Orange Tip butterflies and also saw a male Blackcap and some Goldfinches. It was really hot and it was wonderful walking through that copse, as it was cool and shady in there – such a relief! I'm not a hot weather fan!

Highlights were my first dragonfly of the year: a Four-spotted Chaser, Blue-tailed Damselfly, a Red Kite, Common Buzzard, Marsh Harrier and Spoonbills x 2. On the pools were the usual birds: Mute Swans, Redshanks, Avocets, Little Egrets, Lapwings, Mallards and Black-headed Gulls. In the scrub around the pools, I watched House Sparrows perched on the barbed wire fence and also Reed Buntings, Whitethroats, Linnets, Goldfinches and a Yellowhammer. I only saw one Swallow whilst here! I had my lunch in style sitting in my deckchair with the picnic table out and very relaxing it was too! Eddie joined me later on and then Chris S. turned up, who had just been to CleySpy, which is where I was heading next.

CleySpy Team! I was in the shop for nearly two hours, sorry! – I had a lot of things to sort and discuss! I have the Apple iphone 6, but will be changing it in the not too distant future. My Kowa TSN-IP6 Photo Adapter is not sitting right on my scope eye-piece, because it needs re-taping on the inside of the ring piece (Swarovski scope), which is why I'm getting vignetting on my videos recently (notably Black-winged Stilt videos). Even when taped (by Phil) it isn't perfect for long – things rarely are, when mixing different brands eg Kowa adaptor/Swaroski scope. So I was discussing what would be the perfect phone scoping equipment for me, for when I change my phone. I will be probably end up buying the Swarovski iphone adapter, but Swarovski have only made adapters up to iphone 8, so I will be upgrading to iphone 8! I was also eying up the expensive, but unbelievably light Manfrotto MT190 CX Pro3 Tripod, as my tripod is so heavy – very tempting indeed! I would keep my current tripod as well, for sea-watching. Andrew and I got into in-depth discussions about Apple phones, as he is a big Apple fan too and he very kindly gave me lots of advice. I left the shop with lots of things to think about. Need to get the new phone sorted first before I buy anything else.

Went to Glandford Ford (which a very pretty little spot, a stone's throw from CleySpy) to chill for a bit. I had not been here for ages, there was nobody here, lovely. I stood on the bridge and watched a lovely Grey Wagtail feeding in the pebbly stream. I was just about to return to my car to get the camera, when a lady walked up and sat on a low bit of concrete at the other end of the bridge and started throwing a big stick into the water for her collie dog to retrieve. Wagtail promptly shot off towards the mill. So my entertainment was now a lady shouting loudly 'get the stick then', dog charges loudly into the ford, splashing and jumping around and looks well happy! I was not! Dog then wines extremely loudly, yelping and barking and the lady repeats 'get the stick then' and more loud doggy barks and wines continue and so on. My blood pressure raises, my peaceful moment with the Grey Wagtail has been obliterated completely and I made a hasty retreat to my car!

Escaped to Beach Road at Salthouse and had my tea. John F. turned up for one of his many Gramborough Hill walks and I joined him to find no birds in the scrub at all – as I had gloomily predicted. But, we did have 4 Med Gulls flying over and of course there was always the Sand Martins to watch skimming over the sandy cliff. Walked back to our cars. I was thinking about going to Titchwell RSPB to see the 'still showing' Purple Heron, but decided to go home early instead!

On arrival home some of my recent purchases had arrived and been delivered to my neighbour whilst I had been out all day. The 25kg parasol base had arrived – which made me laugh, as I could hardly roll it and certainly couldn't lift it! I sighed when I opened the box, as I had to fix a central bit of tubing in and there was one of those horrible instructions leaflets which never makes any sense whatsoever – I did put it together in the end, but need to tighten up a bolt which needs a bigger spanner than I own, so will have to ask around to borrow one. The bistro set (small table and 2 chairs) had arrived too (for my patio), which I was very pleased with. Just the parasol and cover to arrive now! It was spitting with rain this evening and we are supposed to have some serious rain tomorrow afternoon – will this drop any megas I wonder?! Good night.


  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
BEE-EATER flew south early morning over Cart Gap, Happisburgh
Turtle Doves x 3 at North Dunes, Winterton
PURPLE HERON, Turtle Doves x 3, Common Cranes x 4, Spoonbill, Little Gulls x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Great White Egret flew over Earsham
PURPLE HERON flew over sea wall at Brancaster
Great White Egret flew over Snettisham Coastal Park
Spoonbill at Breydon Water
Common Cranes x 4 at Burnham Over Staithe
Common Cranes x 4 at Burnham Norton
Great White Egrets x 4, Garganey at Welney WWT
Common Cranes x 4 at Hunstanton
Rose-coloured Starling yesterday in Hunstanton
Short-eared Owl at Stiffkey Fen
Spoonbill, Little Gull at Cley NWT
Great White Egret flew over Blakeney Freshmarsh
Dotterel x 2 at Blakeney Point
Short-eared Owl at Hardley Staithe, Loddon
Quail singing at Terrington Marsh

Hornsea Mere, Yorkshire

Friday 24 May 2019

Holme Marsh Reserve NWT & Holme Bird Observatory NOA!

Holme Beach this evening

I have been busy doing various jobs over the last couple of days, including editing pictures! Its obvious that I won't be moving house this year, being as we have not yet sold our parent's house, so I decided to buy some items to improve my comfort on my patio in the evenings after work. I've ordered a large green wooden parasol and heavy base from Amazon and a bistro set. I also need to do some major work in the garden. I really regret planting elder for the birds, I now have towering elder trees! Before I started my blog, my garden was all in order, it is completely the opposite of what it used to be! There is wild and then there is jungle, mine is a jungle at the far end of the garden! The blog has taken over my life, completely! I really need to get my life balance right and I'm not doing a very good job of it at all – oh well.

I just made it in time to "Moulham & Horn" at Heacham, to buy more bird food before they closed up shop. I then went to Holme Marsh Reserve NWT (the village hides x 3). Along the path to the kissing gate, before reaching Hide 1, I saw an Orange Tip Butterfly, 2 Walls and 1 Red Admiral and heard a Blackcap. Nothing else of note and not a single Dragonfly seen.
Orange Tip Butterfly at Holme Marsh Reserve NWT

Gadwall at Holme Marsh Reserve NWT

 Wall Butterfly at Holme Marsh Reserve NWT

 View from Hide 2 at Holme Marsh Reserve NWT

Holme Marsh Reserve NWT
From Hide 1: Tufted Ducks x 2, Sedge Warbler singing, Mute Swan, Magpie, Cetti's Warbler singing, Canada Goose, 2 Mallards, Lapwings x 2, Starling and a Marsh Harrier.

Hide 2: Cuckoo calling, Gadwall x 2, Reed Bunting feeding on Reed Mace, Swallow, House Martin, Pheasant, Moorhen, Linnets, Chaffinches, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Blackbird, Coot and a Bittern booming distantly, from way over the marsh.

Hide 3: Oystercatcher, more Marsh Harriers and a group of three visiting birders in the hide, who were staying locally – nice to meet you all.

Holme Bird Observatory, NOA
Parked on the NOA car park at 8pm and walked straight across the dunes and walked along the path through the pines and up onto the boardwalk and down to HBO. Sat on the seat where my father used to sit outside the observatory and pondered and reminisced. Heard a Cuckoo, didn't really see anything else of note this late in the evening. Beautiful skies and sunset.

Redwell Marsh Reserve, NOA
I unlocked the hide, sat on the seat and carefully opened the hide flap – I was absolutely shocked, there was nothing in front of me apart from dry hard mud, not a drop of water anywhere and obviously not a single bird to see. I couldn't understand it at all, as last time I had visited there was a full pool of water and lots of birds. I texted Sophie and she explained it was because we had had no rain at all and that unless we had a deluge of rain, it would remain like that until winter time, how very sad to see this reserve like this.

With no east winds on the cards this weekend or any time soon, when I looked at the long range weather forecast, I wonder if anything exciting will turn up this weekend? Also, will the Black-winged Stilts be relocated? My bet is that they are on the private nature reserve that is somewhere near Burnham Deepdale – the one that had the Terek Sandpiper on (that nobody could go and see) on 25th June 2015.


  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Great White Egret, Little Gull, Spoonbill at Titchwell RSPB
Temminck's Stints x 4, Spoonbill, Little Gull at Cley NWT
Spoonbill, Short-eared Owl at Snettisham RSPB
Spoonbills x 3 at Holme Dunes NWT
Great White Egrets x 2, Spoonbills x 2 at Hickling Broad NWT
Short-eared Owl at Chedgrave

Hornsea Mere, Yorkshire

Thursday 23 May 2019


  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Garganey x 2, Temminck's Stints x 4, Little Stint, Little Gull, Spoonbill at Cley NWT
Cattle Egret, Osprey at Titchwell RSPB
Quail singing last night in Loddon
White Stork at Martham Broad
Great White Egret flew past Weybourne Camp
Honey Buzzard flew over Horsey
Quail singing at Blakeney Point
Turtle Dove at Horsey

Beachy Head, Sussex
Kilnsea Wetlands, Yorkshire
possible, south of Beauly, Highland, Scotland

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Hot Birding at Weybourne, Wells, Warham Greens, Wells, Holkham, Burnham Norton & Holme!

One of two at North Point, Wells-next-the-Sea
Found by Eric Thompson

I felt so excited to be out SO early this morning. I arrived at Weybourne just before 5.30am and parked by the cemetery on the main road. As I walked north along the track past the windmill, there were two Whitethroats singing on the telegraph wires, along with several Swallows and Sand Martins by the coastguard cottages. The light was beautiful and I had a spring in my step, as I headed east along the clifftop to see the Red-spotted Bluethroat and attempt to take some better pictures than my record shot on Sunday evening. The Sea Thrift, Bird's-foot-Trefoil, Plantain and other flowers, were a mass of colour all the way along the cliff top – it was a beautiful walk and I was at this moment, the only person here! Fulmars glided past every now and again and Sand Martins continually skimmed over and along the cliff top. The sound of the sea crashing on the shingle beach below was magical. Skylarks and Meadow Pipits were singing, no other sounds, no barking dogs, no people shouting, bliss!
Windmill at Weybourne

Coastguard Cottages at Weybourne

Sea Thrift along Weybourne Cliffs

Bird's Foot Trefoil along Weybourne Cliffs

The cliffs were ablaze with wild flowers at Weybourne

Stonechats at Spalla Gap, Weybourne

I reached Spalla Gap at 5.50am and fully expected to see a singing Red-spotted Bluethroat in full view on a bush or one of the hay bales on the pill box. But, there was no sign, no sign whatsoever! Another birder turned up a short while after me to 'film the bluethroat'. He was out of luck too! I kept putting updates out to RBA to let people know it wasn't here to save them the long walk. But, I didn't even think about giving up, until about three hours later. Several smart Stonechats were along the hedgerow that runs south to Dead Man's Wood (strictly private), along with Linnets, a Wren and Whitethroats. A Wheatear appeared later on in the ploughed field, just east of the hedge that runs south and I also heard a Green Woodpecker close by, but couldn't locate it! 2 Mute Swans also flew over west. I now felt really down in the dumps, hardly any sleep, over an hour's drive, long walk and no bluethroat!

A man walked up from the beach to chat to me (one of two official people) and to ask what I was watching..... he was collecting palm oil from the beach of which he said, was 'all the way along the beach'!!! Eventually I gave up at 9.15am and ambled back slowly along the cliff top. Just before the windmill, the pager bleeped up at 9.38am with "2 Black-winged Stilts at North Point, Wells" – my spirits lifted! Walked faster to my car than I had intended and headed west to Wells. Every car in front of me was driving SO slow!
Slade Marsh, Wells

I was surprised to find a space in the small car park by the track at North Point, Wells! Steve G. was of course on site long before me! It was so exciting and wonderful to see these spectacular Black-winged Stilts feeding in the shallow pools of this incredible site. Probably the best new wetland area in Norfolk in my opinion, far better than Titchwell or Cley to be honest and everyone else I speak to agrees. There is one problem though, people seriously need to think about how they park, to allow maximum cars into the small car park. All the cars on the left side today were parked sensibly next to each other, but the cars parked on the right side (alongside the hedge lined field) were parked one behind the other (bonnet to boot) which mean't only 4 cars could park here – if people had parked next to each car, you would have got double the amount of cars in and more! Please park sensibly for others.

North Point, Wells-next-the-Sea

Anyway, besides enjoying the spectacle of these amazing and elegant birds, I met several more blog readers today – nice to meet you all! It was also pointed out to me that the author and journalist Simon Barnes was here. Lots of birds on these scrapes including Avocets, Little Egrets, Heron, Shelducks, Mallards, Redshanks, Mute Swans, Brent Geese etc. Marcus Nash called out that a Quail was singing, I heard it as he said it – it wasn't heard calling again, lucky me! I walked back to my car and got the picnic table and deckchair out and had my lunch, whilst watching a very bright, smart Yellowhammer perched on the fence rail. Walked back down the track again to watch the Black-winged Stilts and at 2.10pm, they both flew east over the track onto the pool (Slade Marsh). They were continually harassed by Black-headed Gulls on this side, so they probably won't stay there very long!

I left and went to Garden Drove at Warham Greens and had a short nap in the car on the concrete pad. I then walked down the tree lined track to the copse at the end, where I found a Chiffchaff, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Blue Tits and Great Tits. Lots of squealing pigs in the field west of the track. A Common Buzzard flew over, but nothing else of note.
Forget-Me-Knot flowers in Wells Cemetery

Wells Cemetery

Wells Quayside for fish 'n' chips! It was now so hot, I wanted to sit somewhere cool. I parked the car in a lovely shady spot by the cemetery, opposite the co-op and enjoyed my tea! I then decided to look in the cemetery for birds as it looked potentially brilliant, with lots of mature sycamores and other trees, including a large holly bush. Found a male Blackcap high up in one of the sycamores, Blackbirds, Chaffinches and Wood Pigeons, no Collared Flycatchers at all! The Lamas were sunning themselves in the large paddock, adjacent to the cemetery.

I returned to North Point, Wells for another viewing of the Black-winged Stilts. It was nice to bump into James M. here with his now not so little daughter! The stilts were still here on the west side of the track, but at just after 6pm they vanished and myself and another birder simply couldn't find them on the pool. I rang Ashley S. as I could see his tour vehicle still in the car park and  he told me that he and James M. had watched them fly high west, so that was that! There was a Whimbrel on the far end of the pool, east of the track.

I headed west and tried to work out where the Stilts would be heading next. I stopped on a high point of ground at Holkham to scan the large area of pools at the west end of the pines. After careful searching through my scope, 2 Black-winged Stilts came into view, flying left and appeared to land! I phoned RBA to let them know that I had re-found them, but then didn't see them anymore. I don't know if they were hidden from view or if they had continued west? So, my guess would be Burnham Norton, or it could be Holme maybe? Or maybe double back to Wells! Tomorrow will reveal all!
Red-legged Partridge at Burnham Norton

I stopped and parked up at Burnham Norton, but decided my body and mind was too tired to go and look for Black-winged Stilts! A Common Buzzard was perched on top of a telegraph pole and a Marsh Harrier flew over the reed beds.

I continued west to our family home at Holme. I have not been to the house for a week and a half and all the big pots of plants at the front of the house, desperately needed a good watering. Back and forth with the watering can so many times and I then cleaned all the bird pools out. Heard a Cuckoo across the horse meadow. The grapevine in the greenhouse has sprung some bright new leaves! Vivien and I had thought that we had killed this off last year, through us over watering it. I sat in the garden for a while and became very upset. I do wish someone would buy our house – breaks my heart, every time I have to come back here, so many thousands of memories, so sad. Everything about this garden is my mother, every plant, every inch, every nook and cranny. My father only really had control of the greenhouse and his two moth traps, he wasn't allowed to do anything else in the garden, it was very much my mother's domain! I left Holme at 9pm!


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Turtle Doves x 2, Spoonbills x 2, Little Gulls x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
BLACK-WINGED STILTS x 2, Quail heard singing, scrapes/pools at North Point, east of Wells
BLACK-WINGED STILTS x 2 at west end of Holkham Freshmarsh
Dotterel still SE of Choseley Drying Barns
Common Cranes x 5 at North Dunes, Winterton
Turnstone flew over Norwich
Great White Egret at Buckenham Marshes RSPB
Common Cranes x 4 at Potter Heigham
Osprey flew over Horsey Mere
Great White Egret at Welney WWT
Quail singing at west end of Sheringham Golf Course
Spoonbill at Cley NWT
Turtle Doves x 2, Spoonbill at Snettisham RSPB
Great White Egret at Holme Dunes
Great White Egret at Rockland Broad
Osprey flew over Martham Broad

Beachy Head, Sussex
West of Kinvarra, County Galway, Ireland

RBA Weekly Round-Up 15th to 21st May!

By Jon Dunn

Tuesday 21 May 2019

Recovery and Photo Editing!

Recovery morning after Blakeney Point! Then picture editing, which took far too much time up on a sunny day. Out birding all day tomorrow.

Links to where I have added pictures and videos:


  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services  
Red-spotted Bluethroat between Weybourne and Sheringham
Spoonbill flew over Weybourne Camp
Turtle Dove, Black Tern, Little Stint, Great Northern Diver, Spoonbills x 3, Little Gull at Titchwell RSPB
BEE-EATER flew north, Turtle Doves x 6, Spoonbill flew over South Beach, Heacham
BEE-EATER flew NE over Sainsbury's, Hunstanton
Temminck's Stints x 2 on scrape east of Wells
Common Cranes x 4 at Welney WWT
Dotterel x 3 at Blakeney Point
Spoonbills x 2 at Potter Heigham Marshes
Great White Egret at Rush Hill Scrape, Hickling Broad NWT
Montagu's Harrier, Common Cranes x 2 at North Dunes, Winterton
Spoonbills x 2 at Cley NWT

Nene Washes Cambridgeshire

Monday 20 May 2019


The Plantation, Blakeney Point

Today's post won't take very long to write! Walked Blakeney Point to find my own birds. Sat by The Plantation and watched a Pied Flycatcher, male Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Garden Warbler, Linnets and Meadow Pipits. Tried very hard to find a good bird, but a north west wind isn't exactly what I wanted. Cloudy skies and spitting with rain on and off, but nothing exciting dropped in. Had a few Reed Buntings and several Meadow Pipits elsewhere on route, but that was it. Late afternoon was beautiful, with full sun and blue skies – the walk back along the beach was beautiful, with waves crashing on the shingle. I had to walk on the inland side amongst the sueda for part of the way back, as the tide was in and I couldn't cope with trudging through deep shingle!
Pied Flycatcher in The Plantation, Blakeney Point

Blackcap in The Plantation, Blakeney Point

The sycamore where the Blackcap and Pied Flycatcher were

Sea Thrift


The Lifeboat House and information centre

The walk back along the sloping shingle!

Palm Oil washed up along the beach!
I had no idea what this was until I read the report in the EDP later this evening and also KLFM!

Beautiful walk back along Blakeney Point

Back at Coastguards I bumped into David Tipling as I stumbled into the car park. David said he had just had an altercation with some dog owners along the East Bank – their big Alsatian was off the lead and jumping around in the reeds off the bank – sheer ignorance!

Driving along Beach Road, I had my bird of the day!!! The magical white Barn Owl that Steve G. and others have had the good fortune to see and photograph, appeared like a ghost over the reed bed towards the end of the road by the A149 and then doubled back. Wow, this bird is stunning! I spun the car round and headed back to Coastguards – the Barn Owl flew alongside my car on the west side of the road and then crossed over to the marshes on the east side and then disappeared over the sea wall – no pictures I'm afraid. I waved down David Tipling as he drove past me and he watched it from the seawall, where it was joined by a 'normal' Barn Owl and then flew over towards the village. Nice end to the day! This Barn Owl is like something from a fairytale!

This was my first BP walk this year and I was pleased that my dodgy ankle managed to behave itself and not give way. Its quite shocking really to think that there is only ONE Pied Flycatcher in the whole of Norfolk in May!!! Equally shocking, is the lack of birds in general. I have only seen two Swallows all day. I drove home exhausted!