Friday, 5 October 2012

Just a bit closer....please

4 October 2012
Having moved to Shouldham I hadn't visited West Acre for a while so decided on an afternoon drop in on the way to Waitrose. On arrival I was greeted with a duck and then two ducks which showed a white patch on "it's stern" with a contrasting dark back - yikes was I looking at two Ferruginous Ducks ? They had some features but not all. I watched them for a while and as time went by I concluded they must have been juvenile Pochard with some Ferruginous in them. These sorts of hybrids, which I am assuming they are, I find really difficult......

 The white at the "back end" was not extensive and while on the pic below it looks good, when the birds were up ending it only showed on the outer under tail coverts on one bird, but was a little more extensive on this one. Still it's dark body was causing me problems. But if it was a juvenile Ferruginous then the head wasn't dark enough, and enough is I have concluded a hybrid. I think. Any comments gratefully received.
It got a bit easier after that......
And then I heard the Kingfisher........... I eagerly awaited it's arrival on the stick in front of the hide. It whizzed about all over the scrape.
It sat in the bushes, diving down and catching fish.
But always at the back end of the scrape, it just wouldn't come over to where I was and sit on the bloody stick !

And then it did !
At last the West Acre Kingfisher in front of the hide.
 I left very happy that I'd been able to get some pics of the Kingfisher, but frustrated I couldn't pin down the ducks. Sleep wasn't easy that night, dark body, white stern...... but hang on there were two of them and what are the chances of that ?! Dazzling blue flash, pointed bill, .......that's better zzzzzzzzzzzzz

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Lovely afternoon

Tuesday 25 September 2012
So off from work for the afternoon and, following yesterday's fall off migrants on the coast, I was heading for Warham Greens, where an adult male Red-breasted Flycatcher had been seen.

My photos were not great as it was very mobile, but a lovely bird.

adult male Red-breasted Flycatcher - Warham Greens
 My next experience was totally different, a walk out to Burnham Overy Dunes to look for a Booted Warbler. Very windy indeed and I didn't see it but did bump into Jamie Mcullan, who glimpsed it briefly, a consummate birder, extreme knowledge, eyesight etc and a chap who walks with humility. Top notch. I left this bit of afternoon birding with a smile on my face even thought I'd spent an hour or so not seeing it. However on the walk to and from there were a few Redstarts.
Pink-footed Geese were flying in form the coast, presumably having just arrived all afternoon long, thousands of them, calling and providing Norfolk with that very special of atmospheres. Returning to the shop I had a quick look behind the church opposite and found a Firecrest, Spotted Flycatcher and loads of Golden Plovers.

Just five hours birding but some great birds. Also bumped into Chris and Tim Murphy - :)

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Look up !

Saturday 16 September
After battling the traffic round King's Lynn I was en route to the coast for an afternoon of photography at Deepdale Marsh. However I had to call in at the "shop lock up store" at Heacham briefly. On arrival, jumped out of the car and started to open the gates when I heard a familiar buggling/trumpeting noise, familiar that is in Poland ! I was momentarily transported to the fields behind the house at Gluchowo which are often full of Cranes - so snapping back to Norfolk reality I looked up and there were two Common Cranes circling overhead, calling and soaring on a thermal. Fantastic, my first "Crane find" in the UK.

I watched them for about five minutes as they soared and continued to call, sometimes dangling legs, but generally just being Cranes !

 They then headed off north-east
I wasn't quite so lucky on the Marsh however, and using my car as a hide didn't really work so no Spoonbill pictures sadly, still lovely to be sat there for a few hours.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Back at last

The last few months has seen some dramatic changes, moving house, the Birdfair, busy business, this has all meant a lack of postings on this blog. Having now moved to Shouldham I am in a dilemma re the blog title, but will probably stick with the original.

Details on Shouldham's wildlife ( a village with no Chaffinches)  to follow, but I'll kick off this re start with a Kingfisher pic taken last weekend. More to follow....

Thursday, 24 May 2012

It's pointless..... ?

24 May 2012
Well is it pointless, Blakeney Point that is ? of course not there is a Point albeit it covered in mist and while the rest of the UK basked in wall to wall sunshine , Blakeney Point, was there, as ever, no sun, lots of mist and coats required. Many would say on a day like today.... a pointless walk, but from my viewpoint it was great !
The thing is, it's a rarity proven hotspot, it has history, it's a long walk, and it's pretty much yours when you get there, overall it's a different world, and one I like.

I teamed up with "mind the gap" (if you knew him in the 70's), now know as "Al". Davies. Long time friend and now voling at the Point, helping to look after the Little Terns. I hadn't been to the Point for ages so it was great to have a guide, catch up on old times and do some birding. We spent five fine hours walking and birding. Ok not much about, but we were in it, and who knows what might have dropped in.

Our first migrant was a Whinchat at Yankee Ridge.
We also saw Marsh Harrier, plenty of Meadow Pipits and Skylarks, Little and Sandwich Terns and a Spotted Flycatcher also at Yankee Ridge. As we walked from the ridge this immaculate (though probably not welcome from a Little Tern viewpoint) Kestrel was hunting the Sueada

 At the Point we saw another Spotted Flycatcher, a couple of phylloscopus warblers and a fine Black Redstart. A few Swallows added to the migration feel. A cup of coffee with the National Trust wardens and guardians was most welcome, then the walk back along the seashore, it was out there somewhere as we could hear it though not see it.

Some six hours later and I was driving back home inland, one mile away from the coast and the sum emerged as did the temperature, rising to 24 degrees back in Pentney.

My thanks to Malc, the National Trust wardens and Blakeney Point (it's a lot like Lundy but that's harder to explain).

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Birding ?..... no idea

22 May 2012
All attempts at doing some birding have been regularly thwarted recently. Pressures over the house sale and the shop are taking their toll on getting out. However in an attempt to keep me interested this Red-legged Partridge was virtually on the doorstep at work this morning. Nice, but with Bee-eater, Icterine Warbler and Red-breasted Flycatcher all within spitting distance (well close by) it doesn't quite cut the biscuit. Still a day is planned on thursday for a walk to Blakeney Point - just watch something unplanned ruin that !

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Sunny and no rain ... What ???

16 May 2012
Yup this was the day that the forecasters said would be sunny, no rain and the best day of the month so far ! Well it was sunny so in the morning a visit to West Acre. The scape was very quiet with just five Gadwall, four Shelduck and Morehens than you could shake a stick at. The walk back to the car park was more productive with Hobby overhead and Whitethroats singing all over the place. The sun drenched fields had Linnets and Skylarks. As we ( Sam and I ) meandered back, the high pitched trilling of some Long-tailed Tits caught my ear and in the bushes we saw a family group being fed.
 A couple of young birds here showing the duller plumage of the adult and dark chocolate coloured facial mask, and below the adult (left) with a young bird.
The adult birds were having a hard job keeping up with feeding their five offspring. 
An interesting thing about Long-tailed Tits is that their very long tail, over half the length of the bird, is the longest tail of any British bird in proportion to its body.
Fed and fluffy

A Great Spot watched all the commotion
and overhead one of some six Buzzards seen that morning, they are becoming more common round here at last.

That's it back to the rain now.....

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

So birding for a change

15 May 2012
The last week or so has found me on the coast doing a spot of birding. Titchwell has been windy and quiet, West Acre has been incredibly quiet and Pentney has been equally dull. However I did get an invite into a local garden near the shop and managed to slip out of the shop for twenty minutes, and luckily the Bramblings were still present.
 The garden had five Bramblings in the last week and one had a completely black head, but for my twenty minutes I had to suffice with just three birds - fantastic.
Interlude with a Greenfinch
and back to the Bramblings
 Here a picture of a Robin after it's swallowed a golf ball
 The reserve at Titchwell has been quite disappointing for large numbers of birds recently. But perhaps I've just been at the wrong time, only managing a hour before work. Gadwall in flight below.
 However only a couple of days ago and by the visitor centre a true migrant, my first Spotted Flycatcher of the year.
 And finally some migrants moving through Pentney with this Whitethroat appearing in the garden. It is now singing daily from the bushes in the field behind.
 and then suddenly a Hobby belted overhead
 Back down to the coast and Avocets are well into breeding
 In the last two days there has been a major influx of Swifts and House Martins.
 Our garden Robin standing guard
 and today at Titchwell the Bearded Tits were showing reasonably well
 and finally a moderately summer plumaged Black-tailed Godwit

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Just the usual suspects

8 April 2012
past few weeks have been concentrated work so not much happening except for the usual suspects on the way to and from work, plus a Teal on local pond.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

I haven't got the foggiest....

Sunday 11 March 2012
So an early start, 5am, for a high tide spectacular at Snettisham. Flask made up, gear sorted and out to the car. Hmmm thick fog. Bound to burn off I felt, so on to Snets. Arrived before 6am and romped to the end pit to await the wader flocks. I heard the Knot, and saw a few, go over in the mist. Rest of morning had some mist and while the birds were on the move, most of the spectacle was hidden.
Not knowing which way to turn in the mist....
 That said, there were some Knot flying over and a calling Lapland Bunting
the waders massed on the mudflats, with a few Avocets here, but rose high into the mist and flew over to the pits. Given a few hours I am sure the mist would have lifted and the views on the pits would have been great, but work called so I couldn't dally
 and so all in all the "Attenborough moment" was elusive this morning. Back then along the shore and some Dunlin and Ringed Plover obliged.
though this Dunlin was bored with the weather and decided on a quick kip amidst the glistening shingle
 Ringed Plovers were stationed out along the shoreline
 Overhead Oystercatchers went in and out of the mist

A brief look at Titchwell on the way to the shop and some more Knot along the shoreline
and Razorshells on the beech

 while at Burnham Deepdale this unfortunate young Porpoise had been stranded by the tide

 But on a happier note, many birds were realising Spring was just round the corner and starting the ernest business of nest building.... Skylarks were singing and I was reminded that a few hours in North Norfolk wasn't that bad... Spotted Redshank 6, Red-necked Grebe 2, Velvet Scoter 2, Coues's Arctic Redpoll 1, Long tailed Ducks 4Siskin 9, and more waders than you could shake a stick (or camera) at.