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Tuesday, 31 May 2022

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT" 
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services 

Golden Oriole flew west over Sheringham
Great Reed Warbler, Turtle Doves x 3, Spoonbills x 2, Little Gulls x 4 at Ken Hill Marsh at Snettisham Coastal Park
Osprey flew over Horstead
Curlew Sandpiper at Cley NWT
Little Gulls x 5, Spoonbills x 3 at Titchwell RSPB
Red-throated Diver at Filby Broad
Garganey, Spoonbill, Cattle Egret at Welney WWT
Garganey at North Point Pools, Wells
Little Gull at Salthouse
 
MEGA NEWS
ELEONORA'S FALCON
Worth Marsh, Kent
SHORT-TOED EAGLE
ENE of Lairg, Highland and Caithness
SLATE-COLOURED JUNCO
Port Isaac (on Wednesday), Cornwall
BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS
Bempton Cliffs RSPB, Yorkshire
WHITE-TAILED LAPWING
Woolston Eyes NR, Cheshire and Wirral

RBA Weekly Round-Up 24th to 30th May!

By Jon Dunn

Monday, 30 May 2022

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT" 
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services 

Great Reed Warbler, Spoonbills x 2, Little Gull at Ken Hill Marsh, Turtle Doves x 4 at Snettisham Coastal Park
Quail SW of Blakeney
Spoonbills x 5, Little Stint at Brendan's Marsh, Hickling Broad NWT
Garganey at Holkham Park Lake
Spoonbills x 11 at Holkham Freshmarsh
Serin singing briefly in Gaywood, King's Lynn
Spoonbill, Common Crane at Welney WWT
Curlew Sandpiper at Cley NWT
Quail at Sidestrand
Spoonbills x 2, Little Gulls x 4 at Titchwell RSPB
Turtle Dove at Wrenningham, SE of Wymondham
 
MEGA NEWS
ELEONORA'S FALCON
Worth Marsh, Kent
BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS
Bempton Cliffs RSPB, Yorkshire
WHITE-TAILED LAPWING
Bickershaw Country Park, Greater Manchester

Sunday, 29 May 2022

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT" 
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services 

Montagu's Harrier (possible) flew over Choseley
Iceland Gull flew past Coastguards, Cley
Curlew Sandpiper, Spoonbills x 2 at Cley NWT
Great Reed Warbler, Spoonbills x 2, Little Gulls x 2 at Ken Hill Marsh, Snettisham Coastal Park
Turtle Dove, Sooty Shearwater flew past, Little Gull at Titchwell RSPB
Sanderling, Common Cranes x 2 at Buckenham Marshes RSPB
Little Gull, Grey Plover at Brendan's Marsh, Hickling Broad NWT
Cattle Egret at Methwold
Sooty Shearwater, Spoonbills x 2 at Walsey Hills NOA
Turtle Dove at Kelling Heath
Spoonbills x 14 at Holkham Freshmarsh
 
MEGA NEWS
ELEONORA'S FALCON
Worth Marsh, Kent
MOLTONI'S WARBLER
Skokholm Island, Pembrokeshire
BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS
Bempton Cliffs RSPB, Yorkshire
WHITE-TAILED LAPWING
Bickershaw Country Park, Greater Manchester

East Hills, Wells!

After filling up with petrol two days ago, I was horrified at the huge increase in price since last week, this is enough to make me think about how far I travel to go birding now or anywhere come to that. I have seen Lesser Grey Shrike before in Norfolk and elsewhere, so decided not to travel all the way to Norwich yesterday and in any case, seeing this on a fence close to the airport, didn't exactly appeal to me. I would love to see the incredible Eleonora's Falcon in Kent, but can't justify several hours journey's worth of petrol either.

Today, I simply wanted to escape from everything, so I had a beautiful trip out to East Hills at Wells on a glorious sunny day, but that's all it was really! Little Terns, Common Terns, Black-headed Gulls, Oystercatchers, Shelducks, Ringed Plovers x 2 and Turnstones x 2 along the shoreline. Only other birds seen were a pair of Stonechats, pair of Meadow Pipits, a Wren, Goldfinches heard only, Wood Pigeons, Common Buzzard and a Spoonbill flew west. There were a pair of Mallards chilling, just east of the sycamore glade, which was a first out here! Also saw a Painted Lady butterfly and a Cinnabar Moth.

Later on I sat on the East Quay at Wells, enjoying fish 'n' chips from French's and fed some to the gulls as the sun was setting – happy gulls! Lots of Jubilee bunting around Wells and in Burnham Market as I drove home.

PICTURES TO BE ADDED

Saturday, 28 May 2022

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT" 
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services 

Lesser Grey Shrike (for 2nd day) NW of airport at Norwich
Great Reed Warbler, Little Gulls x 4 at Ken Hill Marsh, Turtle Dove, Spoonbill at Snettisham Coastal Park
Cattle Egrets x 2 at Horsey Mere
Garganey x 2 at Hockwold Washes
White Stork at Tottenhill
Spoonbill at Titchwell RSPB
Hawfinches x 3 at Hilborough
 
MEGA NEWS
ELEONORA'S FALCON
Worth Marsh, Kent
SHORT-TOED EAGLE
ENE of Lairg, Highland and Caithness
BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS
Bempton Cliffs RSPB, Yorkshire
MOLTONI'S WARBLER
Skokholm Island, Pembrokeshire
WHITE-TAILED LAPWING
Theddlethorpe NRR (in area with no general access), Saltfleetby, Lincolnshire

Friday, 27 May 2022

Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve & Sculthorpe Mill!

I've been a member of Sculthorpe Moor NR for several years, but I don't exactly use my membership to its full advantage. I couldn't remember the last time I visited, as I'm nearly always drawn to the coast. So today I decided to visit this wonderful inland reserve, to see what changes have been made since my last visit. Due to my crazy late night watching a moth that didn't move, I didn't get out until this afternoon. It was a beautiful, sunny day and windy, but not the winds we want for May!

Half an hour journey and I arrived at Sculthorpe Moor NR. The car park and visitor centre looks the same, but the route to the reserve is completely different. From the VC, you walk straight out ahead, along a path with a picnic area on the left and some bird feeders and this looks a very pretty place to sit. You then pass the new Dragonfly Hide on your right, overlooking a small pool. This hide is spectacular with high backed chairs and windows that slide up and down – no excuse for people not to shut them when they leave, as easy and quick to do – Eddie would love this hide at Cley!

I walked round the boardwalk all the way to the furthest hide and sat there for a good while, hoping a Kingfisher may land on the branch perch, but no luck there. Swifts, Swallows, House Martins, Heron, Red Kite, Common Buzzard, Reed Bunting, Mallard and Moorhen seen and Cetti's Warbler and Sedge Warbler were singing. Got chatting with a lady volunteer in the hide and also a birder from Colchester, who was visiting the reserve on route home. As I ambled back, I heard several more Cetti's Warblers, Blackcaps singing, Great Tit, Blue Tit and 4 Bullfinches at one of the feeder stations. Saw a Speckled Wood but shockingly no other butterflies at all.

I also met a birder here called Richard, who lives somewhere near Norwich – we had a very interesting chat about how much Norfolk has changed, which was quite amusing, as it was like listening to a male version of myself! "Norfolk has had its day" he said, to which I agreed! The most interesting thing about my visit was a new wader scrape and large hide, which are due to be opened to members and visitors, some time in June. You can see the hide from the path, but the scrape is behind this and out of view – this should be a fantastic addition to the reserve and may entice me to visit more often! Left the reserve just before the strict closing time of 5pm.

I diverted off to Sculthorpe Mill, which is generally a good place to see Grey Wagtails and is a idyllic spot with the pub, mill pond and weeping willows. The pub gardens are truly beautiful, probably the best I've ever seen – I last sat in those gardens with my mother, Lucy and Vivien, so that was obviously a good few years ago now. I waited and watched for wagtails, but initially didn't see any, Goldfinches flitting around, a party of Long-tailed Tits, a Greenfinch and a Wren were seen. I walked past the pub and watched the weir for a while and took some pictures, then walked behind the pub along a narrow and pretty road with a beautiful marsh to my left with yellow irises, horned cattle and mature trees and hedges. The river ran on the right side of the road with willows and other trees, it reminded me a little of the road that passes the waterworks at Cley/Glandford. My imagination ran riot and it felt like a perfect spot for a Bee-eater to be hawking over this marsh and with telegraph wires to perch on, why wasn't there?! Also felt good for Golden Orioles, Woodpeckers and a Spotted Flycatcher or two – in reality I had singing Blackcaps, Cetti's Warbler and Jackdaws. I also saw a strange looking bird perched on a distant fence post, which looked like some kind of hawk, I couldn't think what it could be with its very strange markings of bands of cream and chocolate brown – after consulting with other birders this evening, I was told it was simply a very darkly marked Common Buzzard. From the distance I saw it, I didn't even think Buzzard as it looked far smaller and slimmer, but distance can be deceiving. I also had a single Painted Lady butterfly here.

I returned to the mill pond and to my delight, watched four Grey Wagtails chasing each other around – they looked totally happy until a big dog took over the mill pond – the dog was jumping around, splashing in the weir and the owner was throwing sticks into the water for it to fetch. The dog owner stood there with his pint of beer, oblivious to the fact that his dog was stopping the wagtails returning to their favoured feeding spots, so I walked across to him to politely point out that fact – his reply was that he would only be a couple more minutes. This two minutes could be a long time for any juvenile wagtails waiting to be fed in the nest. I returned to my car, as I wasn't here to watch a dog splashing around – the idyllic scene had been completely spoilt. I had a coffee, 2 minutes passed, then another 2 and so on. The owner and dog were still in the same spot, and sadly no wagtails to be seen. Some people simply don't care. I left and returned home to my abundance of young birds in the garden, all happily feeding without any disturbance!

PICTURES TO BE ADDED

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT" 
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services 

Curlew Sandpiper at Cley NWT
Great Reed Warbler at Ken Hill Marsh, Snettisham Coastal Park
Little Gull, Grey Plover, Spoonbills x 3 at Brendan's Marsh, Hickling Broad NWT
Hen Harrier male over King's Lynn
Hooded Crow flew over Blakeney Harbour
Honey Buzzard at Thorpe Market
Spoonbills x 2 at Potter Heigham Marshes
 
MEGA NEWS
ELEONORA'S FALCON
Worth Marsh, Kent
WHITE-TAILED LAPWING
Rimac, Lincolnshire
MOLTONI'S WARBLER
Skokholm Island, Pembrokeshire
LITTLE SWIFT
Eltham, London
BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS
Bempton Cliffs RSPB, Yorkshire

Thursday, 26 May 2022

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT" 
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services 

Caspian Tern at Brendan's Marsh, Bee-eater flew over Stubb Mill, Little Gull at Hickling Broad NWT
Great Reed Warbler, Turtle Doves x 3, Spoonbills x 2, Little Gulls x 2 at Ken Hill Marsh, Snettisham Coastal Park
Honey Buzzard flew over Castle Rising
Cattle Egret at Holkham Freshmarsh
+ Death's Head Hawkmoth at Coastguards, Curlew Sandpiper, Spoonbill at Cley NWT
Golden Oriole fem/1s.male, Cattle Egrets x 3 at Sculthorpe Moor NR
Turtle Dove at Feltwell
Caspian Gull at Norwich
 
MEGA NEWS
LITTLE SWIFT
East of Catford, London
ELEONORA'S FALCON
Sandwich Bay & Stodmarsh NNR, Kent
WHITE-TAILED LAPWING
Rimac, Lincolnshire
BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS
Bempton Cliffs RSPB, Yorkshire
MOLTONI'S WARBLER
Skokholm Island, Pembrokeshire

DEATH'S HEAD HAWKMOTH AT CLEY NWT!

DEATH'S HEAD HAWKMOTH
 
COASTGUARDS, CLEY NWT



A dream day! A new 'tick' for me, a spectacular Death's Head Hawkmoth – a huge and fabulous creature! This was found by Jim Lawrence at Coastguards, Cley NWT! Thank you so much Jim! It was a very special moment when I saw this for the very first time – I felt quite emotional and also felt guilty that I had finally seen one and my dear father never had.

I have been waiting to see a Death's Head Hawkmoth my entire life! Sadly my father had also been waiting to see one too! After running two moth traps at our family home and another at Holme Bird Observatory for well over 40 years, you would have thought he would have got lucky, but sadly he never got to see one. He often talked about his hope of seeing one – it was always on his mind. He would have been smiling down at me today, knowing the excitement I felt seeing this!
 
Saw several birders at this "moth twitch", but never more than around six people at a time – all very chilled. I took a ridiculous amount of photos, both on the iphone, Canon R5 with 100-500mm lens and also with my Canon 7D Mark II and 100mm macro lens. It was actually more difficult to get a sharp photo of than I expected and several others said the same. Took a break and sat on the shingle by the sea and practiced some flight shots with the Canon R5 for the first time – saw several Little Terns, Sandwich Terns, Common Terns, a Cormorant, several gulls and a few Swallows skimming west over the waves.
 
I stayed FAR longer than I had intended to and ended up watching the Death's Head Hawkmoth at dusk and in the dark along with James McCallum, Ben and Louis – we were waiting for it to wake up and fly, but it never did. It was a crazy evening, but also fun – we chatted about all kinds of things, whilst waiting for the Death's Head Hawkmoth to make a move, which it did, but this only involved moving a leg very slightly and once only! It was still there at 10.50pm, in the same spot it had been in all day! We all left at the same time, to ensure nobody else saw it fly without the rest of us! Arrived home at 11.58!!!
 
Wikipedia: "The African death's-head hawkmoth (Acherontia atropos) is the largest moth in the British Isles, with a wingspan of 5 in (13 cm); it is a powerful flier, having sometimes been found on ships far from land. The forewings are a mottled dark brown and pale brown, and the hind wings are orangey-buff with two narrow dark bands parallel with the hind margin. The abdomen is a similar orangey-brown, with a broad, dark dorsal stripe. The most notable feature is a patch of short yellowish hairs on the thorax that gives the impression of depicting a human skull. It is a striking insect, but is seldom seen because it flies late in the night."
 
MORE PICTURES TO BE ADDED

Norfolk Symphony Orchestra Summer Concert!

 
Summer Concert
 
26th June – 3.30pm at St Nicholas's Chapel, King's Lynn
 
 
 
I chose "The Lark Ascending" for my father's funeral – such beautiful music 💔

Ralph Vaughan Williams and The North End

https://www.kingslynnfestival.org.uk/whats-on?vieweventdetails&eventid=935&event=Ralph-Vaughan-Williams-and-The-North-End

The Butterflies We May Never See Again in Britain!

NWT Video of the RAR Centenary Evening Reception at Cley Visitor Centre!

Produced by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust and published on their Youtube Channel yesterday:
 
 
I have also added this video to my post on 4th May:

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Christina's Leaving Do!

Christina and Penny
The Barn Restaurant, Terrington St John
Taken with with my phone by Emily Watson, thank you x

Today, a very special person left our team for pastures new,
the lovely Christina.

 
Christina is a Band 6 Physiotherapist in our team and is one of the most beautiful souls, inside and out, I have ever met in my life and I mean that seriously – she is extremely hardworking, compassionate, caring, kind, supportive, funny and we all adore her. Never mind about Band 6, she should be at least Band 7, if not higher. I especially love going out on a community visit with Christina, she is a joy to work with and we always have such a laugh, usually at something silly I have said or done!
 
I can understand why Christina has left, as she has been driving to work for over an hour, every day for the last six years and you can only cope with that for so long – her new post will only be thirty minutes from where she lives and she is going to work in a private setting. I'm extremely pleased for Christina and her new employers are very lucky indeed, they have struck gold! But, I will miss her terribly, her smile and laughter lights up the room and it will be a sadder place without her. Time and people move on and this is part of life, but some people are extra special.

This evening's leaving do, was brilliantly organised by Cara and Emily, who also very thoughtfully put a lot of work into choosing Christina's lovely gifts, which we all clubbed together for, including the wonderfully worded framed picture below. The venue was The Barn Restaurant at Terrington St John, BUT it was a "bleep bleep" to find, although nobody else seemed to have an issue! I picked up Hilary and Rhiannon at 5pm (on time) and we would have been one of the first people to arrive, but my sat nav (which was perfectly capable of getting me to Aberdeen last October) was not capable of taking me a few miles up the road! The postcode: PE14 7SE took me to 2 School Road, which was correct, but to West Walton, NOT Terrington St John, we all realised! I had been chilled up to this point! Luckily my passengers directed me via Google maps on their phones! You couldn't make this up, but we were not quite last to arrive thank goodness!

The venue was beautiful, spacious and the service was prompt and excellent. The food was stunningly presented and very nice indeed. I would go back again. I asked about Christmas parties and one of the members of staff told me, they are opening an even bigger venue opposite the old Debenhams in King's Lynn, so this maybe a good place for future Christmas parties?!

Scott did an excellent speech for Christina, which was beautiful, humorous and heartfelt, how he did that without welling up I really don't know. Christina said a few words, which she found difficult and was a bit emotional, as I knew she would be. Gifts were presented and we carried on with desserts, coffees and then our hugs and goodbyes. I gave Christina my own personal card and a bottle of Ginger wine.

The drive home was straight forward, thank goodness! Rhiannon got a lift back with Ella (I don't blame her 🤣) and I took Linda and Hilary home. A lovely, but emotional evening. Wishing you lots of joy and happiness in your new role Christina. We WILL be visiting you at a later date! 😉 😊 Its not goodbye!

💖💖💖
 

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SUMMARY OF TODAY'S BIRD NEWS VIA "RARE BIRD ALERT" 
  For access to full details of daily sightings, please subscribe to one of RBA's Bird News Services 

Glossy Ibis, Little Gulls x 5, Spoonbills x 3 at Titchwell RSPB
Spoonbill at Breydon Water
Turtle Dove at Little Melton, north of Hethersett
Caspian Tern, Great Northern Diver at Brendan's Marsh, Hickling Broad NWT
Glossy Ibis at Potter Heigham Marshes
Great Reed WarblerCommon Cranes x 2 flew over at Snettisham Coastal Park
Common Cranes x 2 flew over Holme NOA
Cattle Egrets x 6 at Burnham Overy Staithe
Garganey at Welney WWT
 
MEGA NEWS
MOLTONI'S WARBLER
Skokholm Island, Pembrokeshire
BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS
Bempton Cliffs RSPB, Yorkshire