Sunday, 31 May 2015

Alan's garden Partie

Having had the excitement of the Tree Sparrows returning to the garden after a gut wrenching absence of four days it was nice to see Red-legged Partridges, just two, wandering about as though they owned the place.

I'd been been stuck in the garage for three days number crunching, it's the only place where I can spread out all my paperwork and not be disturbed, I was summoned to the kitchen window as Sam announced that the young Pied Wagtails had flown off but there was a Partridge in the garden again. I needed a break so emerged from the windowless garage to have a look at our local Frenchman....
But hang on a minute, that's no Frenchman, it's one of ours ! English or Grey Partridge and it's in our garden. I grabbed the camera, it was getting dark so shoved the iso through the roof and got some shots, through the window....

 So Alan Partridge in da house, or rather garden - nice !

Sunday, 10 May 2015

A fruity twist

Working in the shop this morning and a chap came in to ask if we had any news of the Citrus Finch, I kid you not. Asking if it was a Citril Finch I was told yes probably and that it had been seen at Burnham Market. I extrapolated that to Burnham Overy Dunes as more likely than Burnham Market and made a few calls. Then hearing that Marcus Nash had found the bird it was clear a major rarity was nearby.

For the rest of the day various birders came into the shop to show me their pics of a fine male Citril Finch which was at the west end of Holkham Pines. This was the second ever British record and the first mainland record for Britain the first having been on Fair Isle. So at 5pm I was off to Lady Anne's Drive and the walk to the dunes. On arrival at the spot, at the west end of the dunes, the bird was showing a way off and the generosity of various people allowing me to use their scopes meant I had some great views.

Given the distance I only managed a few record shots

Back home and things were doing well, with our Tree Sparrows visiting the feeders and our new resident Red-legged Partridges present
 we have found how it gets in and out of the garden, under the watchful eye of our giraffes !

Saturday, 9 May 2015

A grey and beautiful day

8 May 2015
A visit to Sculthorpe Mill in search of Grey Wagtail proved a success. A lovely sunny start to the day and arrival before the pub opened and the hordes descended allowed Oli and I to watch a pair of Grey Wagtails gathering food and flying to their nest to feed the young (at a respectful distance). Being the only people there watching these most elegant of birds and seeing their private life felt quite a privilege - we didn't hang around in case they felt disturbed and then headed over to Sculthorpe Moor Community Nature Reserve.

 At Sculthorpe we were looking for Water Voles and the recently sighted Water Shrews but both eluded us. We were however given a VIP preview of the new broad walk and hide - looks to be fantastic. So onto East bank at Cley en route to pick up books from Wildsounds. Too windy for the Bearded Tits which we had been told were showing well earlier in the week, but a Lapwing obliged with an aerial flyby.
 and a Grey Heron on the Iron Road at Salthouse was busy fishing.

 Plus the ever present Avocets chasing everything
 Sedge Warblers were being very un cooperative and every time one emerged we either were not ready or it was just too brief - always a bit of vegetation in the way. Nearby and one of Oli's friends had told him of a couple of local Nightingales, so we pitched up and spent a while listening to them sing in full sunshine mid afternoon - of course no chance of actually seeing them,
 and finally back to Great Bircham and a walk round the village pond where there are two Little Grebes, but they always kept their distance so we resorted to some more familiar Norfolk Pond life !
 Egyptain Goose
 Coots having a scrap - three against one ? No wonder it was dive...dive ...dive !
 and would any village pond be complete without one of these - Greylag Goose

April Summary

Some very unpredictable weather during the month, a few lovely warm days, a bitterly cold east wind at times and very strong winds, plus torrential downpours. 

end of April

This saw a couple of visits to Snettisham, the first being a quick look for a Little Bunting that had been present a few days. The bird was quite tricky to see as it spent most of it's time grovelling around under the buckthorn or perched up and disappearing quickly. Luckily on my visit the bird was showing but a way off for a few minutes and then disappeared. Managed a long distance, heavily cropped, record shot: although a bit like the previous Lapland Buntings, it was in fine spring plumage and the best looking Little Bunting I've seen.

a second visit a few days later and the Bunting had gone, but there were at least six Ring Ouzels around, although very jumpy. Plus an obliging Meadow Pipit showing off some fresh plumage.
 Returning home in time to catch a bit of the local cricket and this run out (which according to the umpire wasn't).
but it was !

Back to blogging

Been away from the blog for a while now and fell into posting bird pics on Facebook. After a conversation about communications and blogging with my friend Tom Bedford (of the Birdless Cuddesdon blog) he discussed with me his concerns about blatting everyone on Facebook with loads of bird pics who may not really be interested. I realised I had fallen into this trap and so have decided to post the majority of pics onto the blog, apart from the occasional Facebook crowd pleaser. So as a catch up here is a quick summary:

1 April 2015
I am delighted that the two Tree Sparrows (left) are continuing to visit and feed. They are a daily occurrence and never did I imagine I would ever live in a garden with these fantastic birds. The chopping down of the trees opposite to make way for 12 new houses could be the reason they have arrived as it seems too coincidental, after the hedges and trees were decimated - a week later we got the Tree Sparrows. A silver lining to that particular cloud.
2 April 2015
Goldfinches were still visiting the feeders in good numbers
6 April 2015
 and the garden also hosted a couple of Stock Doves adding a diversion to the worryingly large numbers of Woodpigeons, some eight birds any time of the day. They are unable to get onto the feeders but hang around the bottom for the castings of seeds from above.
 7 April 2015
Went off to Norwich armed with £2K to buy a car and drop Tom off for his Westend Experience drama class. Such a beautiful day that I decided to wait for the car salesman routine and have a walk at Weybourne where a few Lapland Buntings had been seen in the last week or so. I arrived and walked along the cliffs in warm sunshine and not another birdwatcher to be seen - bliss. Walking past coastguard cottages and along the recently ploughed field edges I was scanning for Lapland Bunting
 Apparently the birds when they were present had been seen in the first ploughed field margin near coastguards cottages. First two fields and nothing, but a lovely day and putting off the car buying saga had me going to the third field ....
and then overhead the unmistakable call of a Lapland Bunting. Two birds and they landed in the field, albeit a way off. These were two cracking Spring birds coming into breeding plumage, I think the best I've ever seen, so different to the autumn migrants I am used to on Lundy
 walking back to the car park and the Rookes were stepping out.
The day ended in Norwich with me still having £2K in my pocket having been unsuccessful with a car purchase.
13 April 2015
Garden birds today included a male Blackcap and a few Jays flying over the fields.

18 April 2015 - 24 April
the fields at the back of the house are turning that rather un natural yellow colour with the Oil Seed Rape - such a controversial crop and leaving aside the unfounded scare mongering about it's harmful effects on health, I still don't really like having it so close, especially when they are spraying it with god knows what.
 Whitethroats seem to be everywhere, singing loudly and fighting from the tops of bushes, a great sign of spring
 and Hares abound in the fields but this year are being really difficult to creep up on. One field I drove past on the way to work had 13 Hares in it, while a visitor to the shop said they'd seen 27 in one field. A sign of their success or farmers continually increasing their field size ?

 Grey Partridges

 Hare in field after a rain shower