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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Reservoir cats: Fair Isle cat says "bring it"

reservoir cats: Fair Isle cat says "bring it": With autumn gearing up and the weather charts auguring well for an epic fall this week, Fair Isle’s premier bird finder is looking forward...

Just been roaring with laughter at this! I have met this cat and its a real character, the picture says it all!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Warham, Cley, Salthouse & Bird of the Day!

Dauke's Hide, Cley NWT

I was up at just after 7am and with coffee to wake me, I started writing my blog post for yesterday – it took me about two hours to type up! Wrapped Pete's birthday presents, had shower, put face on etc etc. Had to phone Anglian Water for my Mother and sort them out.... long tedious story! Left my house by mid morning.

Arrived at Garden Drove, Warham to meet up with birthday boy Pete and Graham. They were just walking back to the concrete pad when I arrived and they had seen the Red-breasted Flycatcher, but no sign of the Icterine Warbler. A lovely lady approached me to shake my hand and told me she reads my blog, lovely to meet you! There were loads of people around, goodness knows what it would be like if it was the weekend! Please be aware of where you are parking here, as the farmer/workers need to get access to their machinery/vehicles and need to be able to turn round on the concrete area. After giving Pete his card and pressies, I was most taken back to receive a lovely present from Graham – a silvery, sparkly bird brooch which I have pinned to my binocular strap – can't remember the last time anyone bought me jewellery! Chuffed to bits, thanks Graham! LGRE appeared and chatted briefly before leaving.

Pete and Graham joined me to walk along the track again, but I didn't see the RBfly when I got to the bottom. Spotted Flycatcher sitting on the hedge west of the end of the track. We then walked west to the pit where I had the 'bird party' yesterday, but didn't see a single bird in there today, very disappointing. It was really hot, clammy and muggy which I wasn't expecting. We walked back, followed by at least 7 loose dogs with no sign of owners, racing round everywhere and raising my temper and blood pressure. Get me out of here!!! Walked back up the track to our cars and spent a while chatting to other birders about all kinds of stuff including, did anyone know WHO suppressed the Short-toed Eagle (none of us did) and what we all felt about this (not repeatable on here!).

We then went off to Cley Visitor Centre for Pete's birthday lunch. Had fits of giggles attempting to take a selfie on my camera! Graham kept messing about (no change there!). 4 cups of tea later (not me) and off we went to Salthouse to see the Yellow-browed Warbler. Parked the car on the edge of the lane (can't remember name now) and as I stopped the car, a local birder gave me a tip off 'sit down and the bird will come right out in front of you and tell people to shut-up'. At the big sallow I sat down and waited. Only a few people here, but a few moments later a man and then a lady came up and stood and chatted and chatted and kept going constantly – I was close to doing an 'Eddie' I can tell you (sorry E.! x). I don't understand people who come to see a good bird and then stand there and chat about all kinds of stuff and they are not actually looking at the bird – whilst they were chatting, the bird flitted about round the back of the bush and only occasionally came to the centre. I was not able to photograph this bird at all, only achieved a smudge on the camera. Fabulous, striking little bird to watch though. I can't remember what time the sea mist rolled in now, but it was pretty thick now and you could hardly see in front of you! All three of us took another selfie for a laugh and were in stitches again! Pete and Graham left early to go out on a lad's night out/dinner etc and I continued birding alone.
Dauke's Hide, Cley NWT

So off I went to Dauke's Hide NWT to see the Firecrest which was reported here earlier. I didn't expect it to still be here in all honesty, but as soon as I rolled up, there it was, right in front of me.... flitting about in the willows, furiously feeding and completely unphased by my presence. There was only one other birder here and both of us remained silent and enjoyed this magical little gem! A vividly striking and stunning little bird – I love the description of this bird that a friend once wrote: 'For me, Firecrest is the near-perfect bird, a tiny agile, paint box bundle....' It was constantly on the move and never stopped – catching flies one after the other – this proved a challenge to photograph, even though it was only yards in front of me! There were at least two if not three Cetti's Warblers in here and one of them chased the Firecrest around a couple of times! Oh and a Sparrowhawk bombed through low, which made everything dive for cover for a short while. A bit later Eddie and another local birder (Steve I think his name is) turned up to enjoy this cracking little bird. There was a Wheatear perched on the roof of Avocet Hide which looked odd in the mist! I did look out of Dauke's Hide, but dense fog mean't I could only see silhouettes of birds in the foreground, so shut the flaps and came out! I did shut them Eddie, honest!

Eddie, Steve and I then decided to blitz Walsey Hills – there just had to be a Yellow-browed Warbler in there at least! There were no cars at the carpark and the thick mist seemed to have sent birders home, which I didn't understand, this was the time to search for birds! We skulked and walked silently and slowly along the bottom path. Lots of movement and lots of birds seen, but nothing rare: Willow Warbler, Chiffchaffs, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, loads of Blue Tits (never seen so many!) and Great Tits, Long-tailed Tits, Chaffinches, Hedgesparrows and at least 2 Cetti's Warblers. Eddie and Steve saw a Hobby at the back of Walsey when I was standing by the willows. Couldn't believe we didn't see or hear a Yellow-browed Warbler. There must be one in there somewhere! Very dense cover at Walsey, probably loads of stuff hidden away, waiting to surface... maybe tomorrow! Eddie and Steve left and I went through the middle and bottom path again, refusing to give up, but didn't see anything different.

I returned to Salthouse at about 6.45pm and luckily saw the Yellow-browed Warbler again at 7pm along with Eddie, but light dire and mist even denser. I left and went to sit at Coastguards to have a coffee and my tea whilst watching the shingle, fenced area in the last moments of light – may be crazy, but there might have been something lurking in there, ok there wasn't but I tried! Left here at 8pm and arrived back home at around 9pm.



Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Yellow-browed Warbler, Redstart, Firecrest at Salthouse.
Hoopoe, no sign of at Blakeney Point.
Lapland Bunting, Whinchats x 4, Spotted Redshanks x 2 at Breydon Water.
RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHERS x 2, ICTERINE WARBLER, Pied Flycatchers x 5, Redstart at Garden Drove, Warham Greens.
Yellow-browed Warbler, Red-backed Shrike, Firecrest, Redstart at Horsey.
BARRED WARBLER, Yellow-browed Warblers x 2, Pied Flycatchers x 8, Redstarts x 6, Whinchats x 8, Tree Pipits x 4, Great Skua, Spoonbills x 2, Black-necked Grebe at Burnham Overy Dunes.
Pied Flycatcher, Sooty Shearwater at Winterton.
BARRED WARBLER, Hen Harrier at North Dunes, BARRED WARBLER, Redstart at South Dunes, Winterton.
Firecrest by Dauke's Hide, Cley NWT.
Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Whinchat at Cley NWT.
Lessser Whitethroat (possibly of an eastern form) at Walsey Hills NOA.
Pied Flycatchers x 2 at Great Yarmouth Churchyard.
Pied Flycatchers x 6, Redstarts x 4 at Great Yarmouth Cemetery.
Pied Flycatchers x 3, Redstarts x 3, Brambling at Wells Wood.
Pied Flycatchers x 2, Redstart at Holme NWT.
Spoonbill, Little Stints x 8, Curlew Sandpiper, Spotted Redshanks x 7 at Titchwell RSPB.
Tree Pipit at Norwich.
Pied Flycatcher at Wymondham.
Little Stint, Curlew Sandpipers x 3 at Cantley Beet Factory.

Suffolk, Cambs, South Lincs Main News & More!
Pectoral Sandpipers x 3, Glossy Ibis at Frampton Marsh RSPB, Lincolnshire.

FORSTER'S TERN, County Louth, Ireland.

Happy 50th Birthday Pete!

Pete Snook is 50 Today!!!

He doesn't look 50 at all, more like late thirties – just to make you smile Pete! Meeting up with Pete and his friend Graham today for birthday lunch and birding. Looking forward to spending some time with them – both them are very sharp birders, so hopefully we will see and find some good birds. Little bit of history for those you who don't know who I am talking about – Pete is from Leicestershire and spent many years travelling to Norfolk to go birding, along with his friends Graham and Glyn and in the end decided he wanted to move here permanently, which he now does. Pete was volunteer warden at Walsey Hills NOA for quite a while, but now has a full time job elsewhere. I can't remember what year it was now, but I went on holiday with Pete, Graham and Glynn to Lesvos on a fantastic birding holiday, which I will never forget and was crying with laughter for much of the holiday as the three of them together are so entertaining. I will have to try and dig out some photos from that. Anyway Happy Birthday Pete and hope you see some good birds today – a Mega would be good please!


Monday, 15 September 2014

Cracking Day at Garden Drove, Warham, Cley & Blakeney Point!

Far Point, Blakeney Point

Garden Drove, Warham Greens
After a very late night, it was impossible to get up early – on route to the coast it was raining on and off – excellent news for migrants! I arrived at Warham at 9.20am – I remember this time specifically as that's what time it was, when I rang out the Red-breasted Flycatcher to RBA for birders, as no one else had bothered.... rant. I didn't expect this many cars on the concrete pad on a weekday and was surprised by this. A good number of birders had been watching this bird since early morning (at least by 6.45am) and not a single person had phoned it out!!! I am specifically talking about birders with pagers of which there are many – people expect to see messages popping up on their pagers, but you have to remember that it's YOU that put the messages there! It is helpful to other birders, some who are travelling a distance and trying to plan their day around what birds are where. I just wondered if I hadn't have phoned the news out, when and if it would have gone out at all! I wasn't over bothered about me as I had seen, enjoyed and photographed this bird well yesterday. I also noted that there was NO news out from Burnham Overy Dunes yesterday aside from the Black-necked Grebe – birders must have been out and seen something surely? Even if it's a redstart or Pied Fly, its nice to hear about, so please PUT THE NEWS OUT for others to enjoy!!! Rant over!

Walking along Garden Drove didn't produce too much, but soon discovered tons of birds further along! At the end of the track the Red-breasted Flycatcher was proving elusive, but I think I saw it for a nano second, flitting about, but not sure to be honest. I didn't wait, as too many people here and wanted to see what else was around, so I headed off west along the hedge line and had a fabulous time. In a big sycamore tree I found a very crisp Pied Flycatcher feeding high up amongst the lime green leaves against the blue sky, but it was impossible to photograph and only managed a tail shot! (note: phoned this out to RBA!). There were chiffchaffs in here too and further along I found another sycamore full of Chaffinches, more Chiffchaffs and then a Spotted Flycatcher!!! Climbed down from the field side onto the public footpath and walked a short distance to the pit which has a big pond. I couldn't believe it when I reached this, as it was dripping with birds – I didn't know which way to look first – it was one big bird party!!! This pit is lined with elders, hawthorns and brambles and is a big draw for birds. In here there were 2 more Spotted Flycatchers flitting about, along with Chiffchaffs, Garden Warbler, Yellowhammers, Greenfinches, Goldfinches, Linnets, Reed Buntings, Hedge Sparrows, Robins, Wrens, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Blackbirds and also I noted several Jays flying over – seemed to be a small movement of them as I saw more later. It was almost impossible to leave here and I wanted to sit down and continue to enjoy this magical scene, but I had arranged to meet Andy Wilkinson at 11am at the Cley Visitor Centre, to walk Blakeney Point, so I had to go. Walking back to my car didn't produce anything else of particular note. I heard from others that a Pied Flycatcher had been seen along Garden Drove.

Cley NWT Visitor Centre
I was about 10 minutes late, but Andy was fine with that! My breakfast.... yes you've guessed – a big scrumptious cheese scone with butter, yummy! As we went to sit down I noticed a lady walking towards me and I thought 'that lady looks like Christine....' I looked again and it WAS Christine, I was so excited and pleased, I couldn't believe it was her!!! She was as surprised as me and we had a big hug – Christine was a lady I lodged with in my early twenties in Lavenham, Suffolk and I have known her for years, been to her wedding, she has been to mine etc etc.  She lives in Bury St Edmunds and is a lovely lady. She was here with a friend and staying in Wiveton on holiday for a few days. I couldn't believe I bumped into her here at the Cley Visitor Centre!!! It was actually quite frustrating as Christine and I can talk for England and we could have easily chatted all day, but eventually I had to tear myself away.... there were birds to be found!! We said our goodbyes and Andy and I whizzed off to Coastguards. Along Beach Road, I screeched to a stop to photograph a Kestrel perched on top of a telegraph pole. As I neared the carpark I could see a couple of Wheatears in the Eye Field.

Blakeney Point!
At coastguards we scanned for the Red-breasted Flycatcher (seen here last night), but no sign whilst we were there. Several Gannets were flying east over the sea. We started walking at 12.30pm. The weather on the way out was a mixture of sun and light showers. My dodgy ankle was killing me, but tried very hard to forget about it. From the off we were counting Wheatears and got to 36 by Half Way House. Lots of Reed Buntings, Meadow Pipits and a few Hedgesparrows around too. 9 Little Egrets were in the channel. 2 Redstarts just before Halfway House along with 2 Whinchats. We worked hard today and covered almost all areas on Blakeney Point. We were surprised to find no birds in the sueda at Halfway House or at 'The Hood' – I was hoping for an Icterine Warbler, but no luck there! Not even a Chiffchaff. However there were huge numbers of Red Admirals all the way along BP. The Wheatear count continued as did Redstarts. We walked along the path to Yankee ridge and in the big Elder in the high dune, we managed to see a Goldcrest, Meadow Pipit and a Redstart!
Spotted Flycatcher in 'The Plantation', Blakeney Point.

Cracking Redstart in 'The Plantation', Blakeney Point.

 At the Plantation it was pretty busy, with at least 4 Chiffchaffs flitting about, a Willow Warbler, 2 Spotted Flycatchers and 2 cracking Redstarts. Managed to get a few photos and we sat here for a while drinking coffee and snacks. There was also a male Redstart perched on a blue string fence wire, next to the big Yucca which is in flower at the moment – a fantastic scene. This Yucca plant is over a 100 years old! See history about this on the fabulous Blakeney Point Blog HERE.
Far Point, Blakeney Point

 Andy and I left the Plantation and decided to cover BP properly and walk to Near, Mid and Far Point! This is something I don't often do myself, but I was so determined to keep going to find that mega and on a day like today with easterlies and rain, there had to be something lurking out here, surely?! The setting sun looked stunning over Blakeney Harbour as we walked down the boardwalk to Near Point. We saw another 2 Wheatears in this area. Saw a couple of elusive LBJ's and some Meadow Pipits. I got some cracking sunset pictures. I was feeling very weary by the time we reached Far Point and I didn't even want to think about the long trek back with my bad ankle. At Far Point we bumped into Ajay, who is the Ranger here and I'm so glad we did – he very kindly pointed out a HOOPOE feeding amongst the dune and shingle – I couldn't believe it, what a fabulous end to the day! The Hoopoe even displayed his crest for us for a few moments! Ok, so we hadn't found that mega yet, but this magical bird slightly made up for that! Ajay presumed the Hoopoe was the same one seen yesterday, but who knows. Ajay also told us that this Hoopoe was only the 10th record for Blakeney Point! The light was fading fast now as we walked back – as we neared the boardwalk to walk up and over the hill to the Lifeboat House and Plantation, a bird appeared on a bramble. The sillouhette told me it was a Pied Flycatcher, with it's rounded belly and general shape, but we were not sure, so walked around the bramble bush so that the sun was behind us for a better view – looking at the bird front on it appeared to have an orangy breast (we didn't feel this was due to the light). As we moved round further to the right for improved view it disappeared behind the bush. It was so frustrating as it vanished and we didn't see it again. Andy was thinking male Red-breasted Flycatcher. I said to Ajay that I'm sure James would find it tomorrow!

We returned to the Plantation and had another coffee before the long trek back. We peered hard into the scrub for any new birds, but the light had gone. We walked back via the dunes on the seaward side and flushed some Red-legged Partridges. Walking back in complete darkness from Blakeney Point with someone else is so much more entertaining than being alone! Saved me talking and singing to myself anyway! There was no moon showing and it was exceptionally dark and I found myself contantly stumbling over boulders and near the end, I had to switch the torch on. We got back to coastguards at Cley at 8.50pm!!! Coffee and hour drive home.

By the end of the day we had seen 52 Wheatears, 8 Redstarts, 2 Whinchats, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 1 Goldcrest, Chiffchaffs (at least 5), Willow Warbler and a big unexpected bonus: Hoopoe! No megas, but a cracking day's birding.



Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Yellow-browed Warbler, Barred Warbler, Firecrest at Salthouse.
Barred Warbler, Honey Buzzard, South Dunes at Winterton.
RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER, ICTERINE WARBLER, Pied Flycatchers x 2, Redstarts x 2, Tree Pipit, Whinchats x 2, Hen Harrier, Honey Buzzard at Garden Drove, Warham Greens.
Lapland Bunting at Morston.
Yellow-browed Warbler, Pied Flycatchers x 3 at Great Yarmouth Churchyard.
Osprey at East Somerton.
Tree Pipit at Burnham Deepdale.
Pied Flycatchers x 7, Redstarts x 2, Firecrest at Wells Woods.
Red-backed Shrike, Osprey, Redstarts x 2, Pied Flycatchers x 2, Whinchats x 5, Long-tailed Skua at Horsey.
RED-THROATED PIPIT (flew south), Tree Pipit, Osprey at Breydon Water.
Great White Egret, Little Stint at Welney WWT.
Firecest west of 'Greenway' at Stiffkey.
Pied Flycatcher, Redstart at Stiffkey Campsite Wood, Whinchats x 7 at Stiffkey Greens.
Hen Harrier at Kelling.
Firecrests x 2, Pied Flycatcher at Waxham.
Spoonbills x 3, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Spotted Redshanks x 5 at Titchwell RSPB.
Pied Flycatcher at Thornham Point.
PALLID HARRIER Juv. Probable, flew east past Choseley over ridge at 5.40pm.
HOOPOE (in area with no general access), Redstarts x 8, Whinchats x 2 at Blakeney Point .
Black-necked Grebe at Burnham Overy Staithe.
Pied Flycatchers x 2, Redstart at Holme NOA.
RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHERS x 2, Redstarts x 2 at East Hills, Wells.

Suffolk, Cambs, South Lincs Main News & More!
RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER at Gibraltar Point, Lincolnshire.
RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER at Saltfleet, Lincolnshire.
Pectoral Sandpipers x 2 at Frampton Marsh RSPB, Lincolnshire.
RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER trapped and ringed at Languard Nature Reserve, Suffolk.
Bufflehead esc. at Trimley Marshes, Suffolk.
Great White Egret at Berry Fen, Cambridgeshire.


Sunday, 14 September 2014

Hot Birding at Warham, Stiffkey, Salthouse, East Runton & Cley!

Garden Drove, Warham Greens.

Next door's dog barked continuously until 1.30am this morning, so no hope of my plan to go to Burnham Overy Dunes at first light! Unfortunately the forecast cloud for most of the day has now changed, so probably everything will fly straight over our heads, oh well, keep plodding on!

Coastguards, Cley
Plan B was Blakeney Point. I headed for Cley and as I drove through the village, I passed John F. who was off to look for birds at Warham with Eddie. At coastguards I chatted with Jill and Rob Wilson, whilst getting my bag ready to walk Blakeney Point. Jill and Rob crossed the shingle to sea-watch. I was just about to head off, when I got a phone call from Eddie to say that John F. had found a Red-breasted Flycatcher at Garden Drove, Warham! I ran round to the shelter to find Jill and Rob to tell them, but couldn't see them anywhere, don't know where they disappeared to. I nearly didn't go, but I decided that I would regret this, if I didn't see much on 'the point', so off I went to twitch John's RBFly.

Garden Drove, Warham
At the concrete pad at Garden Drove, there was no sign of the Red-breasted Flycatcher – typical! A little while later though it was re-found at the bottom of the track near the copse – what a gorgeous bird, never tire of seeing these – flitting about and teasing us in the shadows of the leaves and branches – however it did show nicely a few times in good light. There was a fabulous supporting cast of 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 1 Pied Flycatcher, Garden Warbler, Willow Warbler, Chaffinches, Long-tailed Tits, Blue and Great Tits and Robins. Most of these birds were in the elders/bushes along the field edge, west of the end of the track. I spent quite a while here, photographing the Red-breasted Flycatcher and other birds. Quite a few birders here by the time I left.
Garden Drove, Warham Greens.

Devouring a Wasp!

Garden Drove, Warham Greens.

Stiffkey Campsite Wood
I decided to have a mooch round Stiffkey Campsite Wood at 3pm, but didn't see a single bird in there, which surprised me. I did see around 20+ Pied Wagtails in the campsite itself though and a few Chaffinches and a couple of Robins.

Walsey Hills NOA
Several Chiffchaffs and a tit flock, a Hobby flew over Snipes Marsh along with a Common Buzzard. There had been 2 Hobbies earlier, so David the Warden told me. It was hardly surprising that there were hobbies around, with the huge number of dragonflies around, especially at the bottom of the path by the willows. Heard news that there was very little down Blakeney Point and birders were disappointed – only birds seen were 20+ Wheatears and a Garden Warbler and not too much else. It was late in the day and I decided it wasn't worth walking there now anyway, especially with the lack of birds seen.

East Runton
Thains Lane (this is opposite 'Gold Coast Caravan Park') – parked up on the verge and walked along the lane to see the reported Red-breasted Flycatcher and Yellow-browed Warbler. No hope whatsoever – dipped on both of these! Left here and walked north along the public footpath alongside the caravan park which leads up to the cliff edge (be careful here!). This path always looks good for migrants and at the end there is lots of cover. I spent a while here hoping for something to pop out of the bushes, but only saw a Robin and a Hedgesparrow. The view from the clifftop towards Cromer is stupendous! Jackdaws and Crows were sailing round the cliff.

I stopped at the old piggeries at West Runton (where the Black-headed Bunting was) and was shocked to see the state of the place. All the high banks of vegetation and bushes have been stripped to bare earth, it all looked dreadful, made me feel sad, what a mess! Looks like a building site and nothing more now.

Salthouse and Cley
I was going to walk to Gramborough Hill, but the light had faded and it was really cold now, also big black clouds loomed over head – so I opted to be lazy and sat in the car eating a snack with a cup of coffee. If only I knew at that point what was happening at Coastguards!!!!

East Bank carpark – parked here and started to set up my wide-angle lens on tripod in preparation to take pictures of the Aurora later on. Suddenly a red car that was driving past, braked and reversed quickly and spun into the carpark – window wound down and an excited birder called Matt (friend of Phil Vines) proceeded to tell me he had been watching a Red-breasted Flycatcher on the fence line at Coastguards for the last hour and a half!!! I was the first birder he had seen. He had gone out birding without his phone (I so wish he hadn't) and couldn't believe that no other birders had turned up whilst he was there. He very kindly said he would drive back to show me exactly where he had just left it – so off he went ahead of me, I shot in the car, spun off a few yards to Walsey Hills carpark where I knew Eddie and Andy J were and beeped my car horn loudly, several times.... no response. Stood at beginning of path and shouted until they heard me.... they both came running up the path and off we all zoomed to Coastguards. In the semi dusk we saw absolutely zilch!!!! How frustrating to think I was sitting at Salthouse having a coffee, when I could have been sitting at Coastguards watching my second Red-breasted Flycatcher of the day, oh well! Nice of Matt to go back though.

Drove back to East Bank carpark and had great fun taking pictures in the dark until 9.30pm. I then got bored and very tired, so left and went home.



Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Barred Warbler (east end of boardwalk), , Redstarts x 2, Whinchats x 10, Pied Flycatcher, Jack Snipe, Black-necked Grebe, Spoonbills x 3 at Burnham Overy Dunes.
Wryneck at west of west end of Holkham Pines.
Harrier sp. at Blakeny Freshmarsh.
Redstarts x 2 at South Dunes and 2 at North Dunes, Winterton.
OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT, Spoonbills x 4 at South Dunes, Winterton.
Sandwich Terns x 2 at Colney Gravel Pits.
Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stints x 2 at Cantley Beet Factory.
Red-backed Shrike, still, Hen Harrier Juv at Blakeney Freshmarsh.
HOOPOE near Yankee Ridge, Long-tailed Skua, Redstarts x 5, Whinchats x 3, Brambling at Blakeney Point.
Spoonbills x 8 at Titchwell RSPB.
RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (reported this evening), Long-tailed Skuas x 2, Balearic Shearwater, Arctic Skuas x 2, Great Skuas x 4 at Coastguards, Cley.
Pied Flycatchers x 5, Redstart, Tree Pipit at Great Yarmouth Cemetery.
Whinchats x 21 at Horsey.
Osprey yesterday at Scole.
RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER, Pied Flycatcher, Redstarts x 2 at Garden Drove, Warham Greens (J.F.).
Pied Flycatchers x 3, Redstart, Tree Pipit, Brambling at Hemsby.
RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER, Yellow-browed Warbler at East Runton.
Pied Flycatchers x 4, Redstarts x 2, Brambling at Wells Woods.
Yellow-browed Warbler at Northrepps.
Hen Harrier at Salthouse and Cley NWT.
Pied Flycatchers x 4, Whinchats x 6, Redstart at Waxham.
Yellow-browed Warbler at Salthouse Heath.
Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper at Welney WWT.
Pied Flycatchers x 3, Redstart, Whinchat, Jack Snipe at Holme

Suffolk, Cambs, South Lincs Main News & More!
RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHERS x 2 at Saltfleet, Gibraltar Point, Lincolnshire.
Pectoral Sandpiper at Frampton Marsh RSPB, Lincolnshire.
Pectoral Sandpiper at Minsmere RSPB, Suffolk.
Load of migrants along Suffolk coast including Wryneck, Pied Flys, Redstarts, Whinchats, Barred Warbler, Black Redstarts.
Spotted Crake at Ouse Washes RSPB, Cambridgeshire.
Glossy Ibis, Great White Egret at Wicken Fen NT, Cambridgeshire.
Great White Egret at Berry Fen, Cambridgeshire.

Forster's Tern at County Louth, Ireland.

Saturday, 13 September 2014


I couldn't get up this morning, I needed to catch up on sleep and I also needed to do some jobs in town. Went to buy Pete Snook a present for his big 50th Birthday, which is this coming Tuesday and got a few other essential buys. As I was walking through the high street I stopped to listen to a brilliant band – they were so good, I stopped to video them – see previous post.

There was an 'elusive' Barred Warbler today at Gun Hill, Burnham Overy, but I decided not to go there, as there would be too many people. Eddie informed me he was going to East Hills, so I decided to join him later. The tide over the last few days has been very high and I knew it would be pretty wet out there, but Eddie has a knack of seeing and finding good birds and I just couldn't resist going out!

I parked up on the concrete pad at Garden Drove, Warham and put the wellies on. Tit flock along the track and a few chaffinches. Eddie had told me that he had two Spotted Flycatchers in the copse at the end and I managed to find one of them, very nice! He texted his list out from East Hills: 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Pied Flycatchers, 1 Redstart and 16 Grey Herons standing on the sand flats on the way out!

It was indeed very wet out there as I walked across the marsh and creeks. 18 Little Egrets flew west – a fabulous sight! Managed to get down and across the deep creek, without falling over – always a bonus. In the distance I could see the 16 Grey Herons all lined up on the sand – this was magical, don't think I have ever seen this many together, it was so lovely to see! Then I had a serious scare..... as I neared the big, wide creek, it all looked different, the sand humps were higher and I could see the recent very high tides had shifted the sands around here and there were deep hollows. I attempted to cross in my usual spot and walked carefully, but suddenly with no warning I sunk into quick sand, right up to my knees in seconds – for a few moments I panicked, but then quickly realised I needed to stay calm and slowly attempted to lean forward and try and get out – which I did, but the next few steps were not much better and by the time I got across, my heart was pounding nine to the dozen – it was seriously frightening, especially when you are alone – I'll be honest, its put me off going out here again on my own. The thought of having to cross this again on the return, made me feel quite ill!

I continued walking across the mud flats and sands to the dune ridge. Joined Eddie by the sycamore glade and saw no birds at all. Eddie had seen his first Pied Flycatcher in here, but it wasn't here now. He then took me to the east end to show me the other Pied Flycatcher and Redstart – we sat and waited, nothing – Eddie couldn't quite believe they had gone! 'Unlucky Pen', he said. Only birds seen out here were a Woodpigeon, a brief view of a Blackbird and a Wheatear bounded across us. Back at the main sycamore glade again there were still no Pied Flys to be seen or anything else. Rob Martin and lady friend were out here too – I don't know if they had any problems crossing the big creek, or maybe I was just unlucky and crossed in the wrong place!

On the trek back, we crossed in a slightly different place which wasn't much better to be honest – the whole area wobbled like jelly as Eddie crossed in front of me. By the time Eddie and I got back, it was almost dark – well it certainly was when we walked back up Garden Drove! It was a relief to get back I can tell you! I wrestled for ages to get the wellies off and then drove home.

I was going to Cley to see if the Aurora would show, but decided it would be too I wish I  had!!!! See David Tipling's wonderful picture here:


The Puppeteers Busking in King's Lynn!

Watched this fabulous band busking in King's Lynn town centre today, they were absolutely brilliant!



Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Honey Buzzard flew west over Wells.
Barred Warbler (east end of boardwalk), Pomarine Skua east past Gun Hill, Black-necked Grebe, Spoonbills x 4, Curlew Sandpiper at Burnham Overy Staithe.
Pied Flycatcher at Hemsby.
Spoonbills x 10, Spotted Redshank at Stiffkey Fen.
Red-backed Shrike at Blakeney Freshmarsh.
Barred Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Whinchats x 2, Short-eared Owl at North Dunes, Winterton.
Pied Flycatchers x 3 at Great Yarmouth Cemetery.
Curlew Sandpiper at Holme NWT.
Little Stints x 3, Curlew Sandpipers x 2 at Cley NWT.
Redstart, Whinchat in 'The Plantation', Blakeney Point.
Yellow-legged Gull at Scolt Head Island NNR.
Balearic Shearwaters x 2 flew past Salthouse.
Pectoral Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper at Cantley Beet Factory.
Pied Flycatcher at Holme.
Pied Flycatchers x 2, Redstart at East Hills, Wells.
Scarce Tortoiseshell Butterfly yesterday in garden late afternoon at Wiveton, but no sign today.

Suffolk, Cambs, South Lincs Main News & More!
Pectoral Sandpipers x 2, Glossy Ibis at Frampton Marsh RSPB, Lincolnshire.
Red-breasted Flycatcher at Saltfleet, Lincolnshire.
Wood Warbler at Gibraltar Point NNR.
Wryneck, Pied Flycatcher at Thorpness, Pied Flycatchers Corton, Orford Ness and Languard Nature Reserve, Suffolk.
Pectoral Sandpiper at Minsmere RSPB, Suffolk.
Glossy Ibis, Great White Egret at Wicken Fen NT, Cambridgeshire.
Great White Egret at Berry Fen, Cambridgeshire.

MEGA! SNOWY OWL at Ben Macdui, Aberdeen.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Aurora Borealis in Norfolk Now!!! 

I flew over to Hunstanton Cliffs, but no visible sign of the Aurora Borealis, so went to Brancaster and still nothing. Eddie was at Cley and couldn't see anything, but some photographers from Norwich (standing with Eddie) were able to photograph a green tinge with settings at 30 fps, F8, 640 ISO and manual focus. I took a few pictures on the same settings (thanks Matt) and then very sleepily went home. Shattered completely now, lie in tomorrow. Sue B. was at Choseley until 1am and saw nothing either.

Featured on the weather forecast here:


Holiday Birding Begins!!!

So excited, one week off work!!!

Weather: Wind Direction: EAST – get out there!

Saturday: Any mist or fog patches will clear during the morning, with all parts having a dry day with some sunny spells developing. Pleasantly warm inland but cooler near coasts. This evening, cloud will increase from the east overnight, with a little drizzle here and there by Sunday morning and becoming misty in places. Winds: North East.

Sunday:  Some bright or sunny spells developing in the morning, but with a few well scattered showers spreading from the east during the day. Winds: North East.

Outlook for Monday to Wednesday:  Bright or sunny intervals and scattered showers. Feeling cooler in some coastal areas where it may be misty at times.

High Tides for King's Lynn Docks
• Saturday: 9.51 and 22.19.
• Sunday: 10.33 and 22.58.

High Tides for Wells Bar
• Saturday: 9.47 and 22.14.
• Sunday: 10.30 and 22.53.


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Great White Egret, Curlelw Sandpipers x 5, Spotted Redshanks x 4 at Breydon Water.
Great White Egret, Spoonbills x 16 at Titchwell RSPB.
Pied Flycatchers x 2 at Eccles-on-Sea.
Caspian Gull at Cromer.
Pied Flycatchers x 3 at Great Yarmouth Cemetery.
Wryneck at Beeston Bump, Sheringham.
Black-necked Grebe, Whinchats x 15, Redstarts x 2 at Burnham Overy Staithe.
Pied Flycatcher trapped and ringed at Holme NOA.
Pomarine Skua flew west past Holme Dunes.
Honey Buzzard flew over Cleyspy, Glandford.
Little Stints x 2, Curlew Sandpiper, Bittern at Cley NWT.
Firecrest, Pied Flycatchers x 2 at Wells Woods.
Little Gull at Sea Palling.
Red-backed Shrike, Great White Egret at Blakeney Freshmarsh.
Pomarine Skua, Arctic Skua at Winterton.
Spotted Crake at Cantley Beet Factory.
Redstart, Whinchats x 5 at Kelling Water Meadows.
Great White Egret at Lynn Point, King's Lynn.

Suffolk, Cambs, South Lincs Main News & More!
Pectoral Sandpipers x 2 at Frampton Marsh RSPB, Lincolnshire.
Great White Egret at Berry Fen, Bluntisham, Cambridgeshire.
Pectoral Sandpiper, Black-necked Grebe at Paxton Pits, Cambridgeshire.

MEGA! LANCEOLATED WARBLER reported yesterday in flight at north end in evening, but no sign today, Isle of May, Fife, Scotland.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Serious Birding Begins Today!!!

With a continuous run of Easterly winds from now until at least next Friday, its looking MEGA!!! I just might have got my holiday next week right this time!!! Its a pity I can't get to Blakeney Point in time after work now, before dusk falls! It would have been great to see a Greenish Warbler and a Red-breasted Flycatcher! Patience Penelope, Saturday will soon be here!


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Black-necked Grebe, Whinchats x 3 at Burnham Overy Staithe.
Little Stints x 4, Curlew Sandpipers x 5 at Cley NWT.
Barred Warbler at South Dunes, Long-tailed Skua, Winterton.
Curlew Sandpipers x 4, Little Stints x 2, Spotted Redshanks x 5, Turtle Dove at Snettisham RSPB.
Red-backed Shrike at Holkham.
Red-backed Shrike remains at Blakeney Freshmarsh.
Curlew Sandpipers x 2, Spotted Redshank at Titchwell RSPB.
Pied Flycatchers x 2 at the Whirligig, Stiffkey.
Spotted Redshanks x 2 at Breydon Water.
Hawfinch in gardens near church at Bale.
Caspian Gulls x 2 at Cromer.
Red-footed Falcon probable, west of track at Burnham Norton.
Pied Flycatcher at Happisburgh.
Western Bonelli's Warbler, NO sign at Kelling.

Suffolk, Cambs, South Lincs Main News & More!
Pectoral Sandpipers x 3, Curlew Sandpipers x 50 at Frampton Marsh RSPB, Lincolnshire.
Pectoral Sandpiper at Minsmere RSPB, Suffolk.
Bufflehead esc at Trimley Marshes, Suffolk.
Glossy Ibis, Pectoral Sandpiper at Wicken Fen NT, Cambridgshire. 
Great White Egret, Black-winged Stilt esc at Berry Fen, Bluntisham, Cambridgeshire.

MEGA! SNOWY OWL at Ben Macdui, Aberdeen.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Red-backed Shrike remains at Blakeney Freshmarsh.
Pied Flycatcher at South Dunes, Barred Warbler at Winterton.
Hawfinch at Norwich.
Spoonbills x 9, Little Stints x 2, Curlew Sandpiper, Turtle Dove at Titchwell RSPB.
Caspian Gull, Yellow-legged Gull at Cromer.
Wryneck at Weybourne Camp.
Curlew Sandpipers x 3, Spotted Redshank at Breydon Water.
Red-backed Shrike at Holkham.
Little Stints x 5, Curlew Sandpipers x 5, Spotted Redshanks x 2 at Cley NWT.
WESTERN BONELLI'S WARBLER again by track to Kelling Water Meadows (BOTHER!)

Suffolk, Cambs, South Lincs Main News & More!
Baird's Sandpiper reported late evening at Frampton Marsh RSPB, Lincolnshire.
Pectoral Sandpiper, Wryneck at Minsmere RSPB, Suffolk.
Great White Egret, Black-winged Stilt esc at Berry Fen, Bluntisham, Cambridgeshire.

MEGA! SNOWY OWL at Ben Macdui, Aberdeen.

RBA Weekly Round-Up 3rd to 9th September!

By Mark Golley

Look at David Tipling's cracking picture of a Honey Buzzard that he photographed over East Hills (probably over my head) when I only got to see Common Buzzards (just my luck!).

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Sunny Hunny, Memory Lane, The Search & Holme!

Sunset from Hunstanton Cliffs

I heard a really sad story today and felt compelled to help out. A 'person' who has had a terrible time recently and then ended up being ill themselves, also resulted in them losing their spectacles at the time of the incident (can't write this as I would like to). So I went off this evening to try and find the spectacles.

Firstly though I needed to eat, so I stopped off at Hunstanton (Sunny Hunny) to buy fish 'n' chips which I sat in my car to eat, parked up along the cliff top. The sun was setting – the sunset here is just stunning – golden rays shimmered across the sea to the cliff top edge. Threw a few chips and batter to the gulls, much to their delight. I really like Hunstanton (so much nicer than King's Lynn) – reminds me of my childhood days..... walking along the cliff top gardens with my Grandmother Hess (father's mother) who lived at Willow Road, Hunstanton with her persian cat Tilly. Trips to the Fairground and the excitement of going on the Helter Skelter, which was 8p a ride!!! Donkey rides, ice-creams and buying a present from 'Johnsons' on the sea front. Later on as a teenager I loved to go the Roller Skating Rink, where all the youngsters tended to meet. I loved to rollerskate and was fairly good at it, but not as good as a girl called Samantha Richardson, who was just brilliant – she was so good, she looked like a ballet dancer as she glided backwards, spinning round gracefully etc. Incidentially, Samantha is the sister of Matthew who very sadly died recently (see my post on 4th September). Going back to my Grandmother Hess – I can remember her loving crosswords and writing short stories, which she would send to magazines for publication. She loved Shirley Temple and Lena Zavaroni and had a few of their vinyl records which I now have. She was always on at me constantly about learning to dance so I could be on the telly and be famous! Its quite funny really as later on in life (far too late) I wished I had learn't to dance properly so I could be on the telly!!! The furthest I got was entering a talent contest which I didn't win, but remember loving every minute of dancing on that stage to three tunes: Just an Illusion (Imagination), Venus (Bananarama) and Blame It On The Boogie (Michael Jackson). I wore a really way out outfit (MC hammer type trousers etc, purchased from a funky shop called 'In time' in Great Yarmouth) with tons of red beaded plaits in my hair! I was around 18 at the time I think and was either in the middle of, or had just left Great Yarmouth College of Art & Design (DATEC in Textile & Surface Design). On Grannie Hess's cluttered table I can remember several items including a bottle of 'Camp' Coffee, a bottle of TCP, a big tin full of sewing stuff and lots of paper and pens. The house always smelt of TCP! Sadly us children never met Grandfather as he died of lung cancer long before any of us were born.

Anyway, I am rambling now, so back to the spectacle search! I spent a long time carefully looking along the verge of a very long hedge-lined road in a village in NW Norfolk and peering into the hedge itself, but frustratingly no sign of the spectacles. I was very disappointed that I didn't find them, I simply wanted to make that person's rubbish day, just a tiny bit better – oh well at least I tried.

I then re-located and went to visit my parents. Chaos in that house this evening! Father still can't hear a thing after his 10 days of ceramol ear drops. Both mother and father at their wits end with this. Father refusing more and more foods, which is stressing mother massively. The adopted stray cat was limping and not well, as is mother with her bad ankle (won't go to GP). The radiator plug is 'sparking'!!! The outside light is not working and there is a flood in the front garden!!! Anglia water said they will come out in the next 5 days – mother not happy and worried she will have foot the bill if it's a pipe on her property. Mother said she was going to call an electrician which I ordered her not to do, as I will get a new plug and I can mend the outside light (hopfully) by the weekend.

I was completely and utterly worn out by the time I got home!
 Sunset from Hunstanton Cliffs


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Great White Egret, Spoonbills x 14, Arctic Skua, Little Stints x 3, Curlew Sandpipers x 3 at Titchwell RSPB.
Pomarine Skua (probable), Arctic Skuas x 2, Sooty Shearwater at Trimingham.
Curlew Sandpipers x 4 at Breydon Water.
Pomarine Skua, Sooty Shearwater at Sheringham.
Pied Flycatcher at South Dunes and one at North Dunes, Winterton.
Red-backed Shrike 1w at Blakeney Freshmarsh.
Honey Buzzards x 5 at Holkham.
Honey Buzzards x 3 + 2 more probable over Overstrand.
Goshawk over Burnham Overy Dunes.
Honey Buzzard over Newton Flotman.
Cattle Egret, Great White Egret at Welney WWT.
Red-backed Shrike at Holkham.
Little Stints x 5, Curlew Sandpipers x 6 at Cley NWT.
Whinchats x 5 at Choseley.
Caspian Gulls x 2 at Cromer.
Whinchats x 16 at Horsey.

Suffolk, Cambs, South Lincs Main News & More!
Pectoral Sandpiper at Frampton Marsh RSPB, Lincolnshire.
Red-breasted Flycatcher at Gibraltar Point NR, Lincolnshire.

MEGA! SNOWY OWL at Ben Macdui, Aberdeen.

Monday, 8 September 2014

12 Hours Birding at Stiffkey, Warham, East Hills, Blakeney, Walsey Hills & Cley!

The mist, rising sun and light was magical, as I cruised along the A148 to hit the coast in search of migrants. Westerly winds did not excite me, but the day developed into a beautiful sunny day with blue skies and warm temperatures. No 'big' birds were found, except for 9 Common Buzzards spiralling high in the thermals over East Hills.

Stiffkey & Warham
7.30am – very chilly first this morning, as I walked west from the campsite carpark. The tide was high and the channel was full and included lots of gulls and also a single Common Sandpiper right near the edge of the carpark! Several Little Egrets and lots of Curlew and Lapwing on the Marsh.

The hedgerows along the path were full of birds – there was a real buzz in the air. There was a heavy dew and there were lots of silvery spiders webs, knitted between the wet grasses. Lots of Greenfinches feeding on blackberries, Reed Buntings, Hedge Sparrows, big flock of Linnets and Goldfinches, a few Robins and Blackbirds. Best birds of the morning were a Whinchat (see pic), 2 Garden Warblers together in a hedge near the bee hives – which I didn't get a photograph of, waited for a good while but only managed a head shot of a Reed Bunting poking his head out of the hawthorn! Several Carrion Crows flying west. At the Pit (known as the 'Blyth's Pit) I found 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 1 female Blackcap and another Garden Warbler, Blue Tits, Hedge Sparrows and as I walked back 4 House Martins flew over west. Saw a few Swallows on route as well. No sign of any wrynecks sadly, even though I walked round the 'Whirly gig' twice!

At 10.15am I walked up into the campsite wood and apart from 4 Pied Wagtails in the adjacent field saw absolutely nothing.

Garden Drove, Warham & East Hills!
Started the walk out to East Hills at 11.35am. No birds of note along Garden Drove or in the copse at the end. It was very wet on the walk out today and the mud seemed more squelchy, how I didn't fall over, I really don't know! More luck I think! 10 Little Egrets in the main channel, a Marsh Harrier and 2 Skylarks.

At East Hills itself, I was very disappointed, apart from a Wren and a Woodpigeon it was devoid of birds. I sat in the sycamore glade and enjoyed my lunch and coffee, whilst hoping something would appear, but it was silent. I covered all areas and 'pished' all bushes, but nothing. Found a Painted Lady Butterfly, Speckled Wood and a Sand Wasp. At 2pm I started the long haul back and as I did, I spotted a Common Buzzard come in off the sea, then another and with several counts managed a tally 9 Common Buzzards spiralling on thermals against blue skies – I managed to get some pictures too, lovely! 3 Reed Buntings were sitting on a sueda bush, flushed a Snipe and 2 Spoonbills (flew west) on route. I phoned Holme NWT as I was walking along, to see if they had any birds of note today and a lady told me they had had 10 Turtle Doves in the Forestry today – nice number, but pity they didn't get reported to all and sundry. It was really hot now and my energy was draining. You need so much concentration when doing this walk and mental energy is at the max, when crossing the big creek with patches of quick sand! Trudged back slowly up 'Garden Drove' to my car. Wrestled for ages to get my wellingtons off!

Note: Steve on BF also had 10 Common Buzzards circling overhead at Holkham – see HERE

'House on the Hill' & Blakeney Freshmarsh
Pulled into the parking area by the House on the Hill and had a relaxing session at 5pm. Changed my hot, muddy clothes. Sat in my deckchair chilled, enjoying a sandwich, fruit salad and more coffee. Suddenly a Common Buzzard appeared right in front of me and over my head – WOW, best view of one ever! Rushed like hell for the camera, but was too late, gutted! It would have made a prize winning picture, oh well. 2 Kestrels were hovering high above me. No birds in the scrub/clearing.

Parked up at Friary Hills and walked the lower path to Blakeney Freshmarsh and had lovely views of the Red-backed Shrike again. Could not get any pictures though, as the bird was always obscured by branches and twigs and the light wasn't very good this evening either. It was fascinating to watch this shrike catching dragonflies with amazing speed and agility – it would then perch on a branch and strip the dragonfly of all wings, allowing them to drop the ground and then gulp back the body of the dragonfly before nipping off for more! There were around 10 other birders whilst I was here. No other birds of note.

Walsey Hills NOA
Now 6.30pm. Chiffchaff, Coal Tit, Blue Tit and a Whitethroat 'tacking' deep in a bramble. Bumped into Andy J. who had just seen a Pied Flycatcher in the big oak tree at the end of the bottom path, so he kindly walked back with me to look for it again. It would have been a nice end to the day, but it didn't show again whilst I was there!

Cley – Waterworks Road
Watched thousands of Rooks and some Crows come into roost – the noise and racket was incredible! Also a Kestrel sat on a telegraph wire – heard a Robin and a Cetti's Warbler. Now 7.50pm and I had been birding for over 12 hours – time to go home!



Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Spoonbills x 5 at Burnham Overy Staithe.
Barred Warbler, Pied Flycatcher at South Dunes, Firecrest at North Dunes, Great Skuas x 2 at Winterton.
Red-backed Shrike, Redstart at Blakeney Freshmarsh.
Pied Flycatcher, Redstart at Titchwell RSPB yesterday.
Spoonbills x 12, Little Stints x 2, Curlew Sandpipers x 2 at Titchwell RSPB.
Redstart, Tree Pipit at Waxham.
Red-backed Shrike at Holkham.
Spoonbills x 2 flew over East Hills, Wells. (P.A.C)
Whinchat west of Stiffkey Campsite carpark. (P.A.C)
Honey Buzzards x 6 reported flew in off sea at East Hills, then flew south.
Spoonbills x 15, Caspian Gull at Cley NWT.
Common Cranes x 34 at Stubb Mill, Hickling Broad NWT.
Pied Flycatchers x 2 near NWT payhut at Holme.
Curlew Sandpipers x 2 at Breydon Water.

Suffolk, Cambs, South Lincs Main News & More!
Barred Warbler, Glossy Ibis, Pectoral Sandpiper at Frampton Marsh RSPB, Lincolnshire.
Red-breasted Flycatcher at Gibraltar Point NR, Lincolnshire.
Great White Egret at Bluntisham, Cambridgeshire.

MEGA! TRUMPETER FINCH reported yesterday in an area with no general access.

MEGA! SHORT-TOED EAGLE wholly unconfirmed report, flew NNW over Oxford.
MEGA! EASTERN PHOEBE reported at St. Just in Cornwall at 9am, but photos appear to show Spotted Flycatcher.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Sunday Update!

I just knew there would be a good bird whilst I was at work today! Ok, so I have seen a Western Bonelli's Warbler in Norfolk before, but would have been quite happy to see another! Maybe it wasn't a good idea booking a double shift today, good for my bank balance though!

So, I have tomorrow off – yippee!!! It can't be any worse than yesterday, so I will remain hopeful. I am not going to start off at Kelling in the morning, as I know what will happen – I will end up standing for there for hours seeing nothing, so I'm off to find my own birds tomorrow morning. If the Western Bonelli's Warbler appears again later, then hopefully I will get the chance to see it. Some fabulous pictures of this bird by John Miller HERE

I have been racing round all day, eleven hours at work and then when I got home at 9.10pm, got washing in off line and hung up, washed up, made sandwiches, more washing up, phoned parents, quick birdy texts, got flasks ready, shower, washed hair, write bird news up on blog, phew! All you male birders (whose wives are not birders) don't have to do ALL of these chores as well! People generally seem to think people who live alone have an easy time of it, but WE don't – you are a complete 'one-man band'. What I would give for someone to place a meal in front of me for a change – get tired of looking after me! It would be really great for someone to look after me, so I could just go birding!!! Not a lady who 'lunches'..... a bird that 'birds'!!!

Oh and HOT NEWS........climbed up the charts to No. 16 in the Fatbirder Birding Top 1000!!! My highest ranking yet, thanks everyone for your continued support, much appreciated.

Now for SLEEP!

Tomorrow is going to be MY BIG bird day!!!


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Curlew Sandpipers x 5, Spotted Redshanks x 5 at Breydon Water.
Spoonbills x 11, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpipers x 2 at Stiffkey Fen.
Whinchats x 3 at Choseley.
Red-backed Shrike, Whinchats x 4 at Beeston Bump, Sheringham.
Wryneck, Barred Warbler, Turtle Doves x 2, Pied Flycatcher, Whinchats x 4 at Winterton.
Spoonbill at Burnham Overy Staithe.
Curlew Sandpipers x 9, Little Stint at Titchwell RSPB.
Spoonbills x 4 at Thornham.
WESTERN BONELLI'S WARBLER, Hawfinch along track to Kelling Water Meadows.
Wryneck, Turtle Dove, Pied Flycatcher, Whinchats x 3 at Waxham.
Wryneck at Hickling Broad NWT.
Red-backed Shrike, Whinchats x 6, Spoonbills x 4 at Blakeney Freshmarsh.
Barred Warbler, Pied Flycatchers x 3 at Walsey Hills NOA.
Wryneck, Whinchats x 8 at Horsey.
Whinchats x 7 at Warham Greens.
Cattle Egret at Welney WWT.
Wryneck, Pied Flycatchers x 3, Redstarts x 2, Whinchat, Tree Pipit, Spotted Redshank at Holme.
Whinchats x 3 at North Denes, Great Yarmouth.
Caspian Gull on beach at Cromer.
Pied Flycatcher at Happisburgh.
Common Cranes x 2 at Buckingham Marshes RSPB.
Yellow-legged Gull at Whitlingham Country Park.

Suffolk, Cambs, South Lincs Main News & More!
Barred Warbler, Glossy Ibis, Pectoral Sandpiper, Temminck's Stint at Frampton Marsh RSPB, Lincolnshire.
Red-breasted Flycatcher at Gibraltar Point NR, Lincolnshire.
LESSER GREY SHRIKE at Hollesley, Suffolk.
Ferruginous Duck at Minsmere RSPB.
Glossy Ibis at Wicken Fen NT, Cambridgeshire.
Great White Egret at Bluntisham, Cambridgeshire.


Saturday, 6 September 2014

Cley & Blakeney Point!

Cley NWT
Arrived at the East Bank carpark at Cley at 7.30am. It was a dull morning and remained cloudy for most of the day, which hopefully would drop some birds in! The new scrapes and pools look fabulous and a pair of Mute Swans had already made themselves at home here. I was hoping to see and photograph yesterday's Wryneck, but no sign of it at all. Did some sea-watching, but only Sandwich Terns and gulls seen. Walked back to my car and then re-located to Blakeney, when yesterday's Red-backed Shrike bleeped up on the pager.

Blakeney Freshes & Friary Hill NT
Parked the car by the gate for Friary Hills NT. I walked along the lower path towards the caravan and quickly spotted the Red-backed Shrike at Blakeney Freshes – fabulous! Very difficult to photograph though as the skies were grey and I only saw it perched up on the very top of all bushes and stems, so rubbish photo obtained.

Walked round Friary Hills, nothing particular of note, but did see a Whitethroat. I was just about to get in my car when I could see two people with large alsatian and small dog walking through Friary Hills AND both off leads. I waited to speak to them and said "did you not see the signs that dogs are not allowed in here' and the lady promptly said 'No because we walked in the other way' – I replied that there is a sign at the other entrance and she blanked me. One of the few places you can walk in peace and not have to look down at what you are treading in – I give up!!! The same couple walked along the Blakeney Bank earlier with same dogs and allowed them to both cr*p and didn't clear it up, irresponsible and selfish people.

Drove to Coastguards at Cley and had lunch and a doze. When I got out of the car and started to walk to BP, I spotted Jim Swalwell who had just come back from walking Blakeney Point – he had found the Barred Warbler at 'The Hood' in a bramble bush and it then dived into the cover of the sueda, he also had a Grasshopper Warbler and I can't remember what else now. He said was shattered and wasn't waking anywhere tomorrow!

Blakeney Point
I really don't know why I bothered, as I saw very little compared to birders yesterday! But my haul for the afternoon was: 6 Whinchats, 12 Wheatears, 1 Chiffchaff (only bird in 'The Plantation'), a few Hedge Sparrows and 1 Reed Bunting was the best I could do at Blakeney Point today. I suppose it wasn't too bad really, as I have walked this many times and seen far less! Also three Painted Ladies and two Red Admiral Butterflies. Oh, nearly forgot I did see a single Gannet flying east. Other birders had seen a also a Redstart in 'The Plantation', but I didn't see it and someone else had a Pied Flyctacher at Halfway House.

I walked back a different route when I left 'The Plantation' – through the dunes seaward side in hope of flushing a wryneck – not only did I not flush a wryneck, I didn't flush anything, not a single bird! The tide was high when I eventually crossed over onto the beach and I couldn't find any firm shingle to walk on, so I ended up walking all the way back through the sueda  – this only produced a few more Wheatears and Whinchats (included in my totals for the day already). I struggled to get back to Coastguards and felt completely and utterly exhausted when I eventually collapsed in my car.



Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Barred Warbler at South Dunes, Wrynecks x 2 at Winterton.
Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Whinchats x 5 at North Dunes, Winterton.
Black Tern, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint at Titchwell RSPB.
Barred Warbler at 'The Hood' (J.W.), Pied Flycatcher, Whinchats x 6 at Blakeney Point.
Barred Warbler at Beeston Bump, Pied Flycatcher, Whinchats x 7 at Sheringham.
Red-backed Shrike, Whinchat at Blakeney Freshmarsh.
Curlew Sandpipers x 2, Spotted Redshank, Little Stint, Spoonbills x 7 at Stiffkey Fen.
Wryneck, Whinchats x 22, Redstarts x 3, Pied Flycatcher at Warham Greens.
Red-backed Shrike at Happisburgh.
Red-backed Shrike at Horsey Gap.
Pied Flycatchers x 2, Whinchats x 4 at Walsey Hills NOA.
Wryneck at Holme NWT.
Whinchats x 6, Redstart, Spoonbills x 10, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpipers x 2, Caspian Gull (off Coastguards) at Cley NWT.
Caspian Gull, Yellow-legged Gull at Cromer
Spoonbills x 3 at Wells Harbour.
Osprey at Broome Pits.

Suffolk, Cambs, South Lincs Main News & More!
Barred Warbler, Glossy Ibis, Pectoral Sandpiper, Temminck's Stint at Frampton Marsh RSPB, Lincolnshire.
Red-breasted Flycatcher, Barred Warbler, Blyth's Reed Warbler possible (briefly, early morning only) at Gibraltar Point NR, Lincolnshire.
LESSER GREY SHRIKE at Shingle Street, Suffolk.
Great White Egrets x 2 at Bluntisham, Cambridgshire.
Great White Egret, Glossy Ibis at Wicken Fen NT, Cambridgeshire.

MEGA! PALLAS'S GRASSHOPPER WARBLER at Titchfield Haven NNR, Hampshire.
MEGA! SNOWY OWL on Wednesday still for 108th day, Cairngorm Mountains, Aberdeen, Scotland.

Friday, 5 September 2014

The Weekend!

Thank goodness its Friday!!! Really looking forward to getting out in the field tomorrow and hopefully seeing some good birds, please! I'm working for 11 hours on Sunday, so will have to keep fingers crossed that nothing mega turns up that day, but the good news is I have Monday off!!! Then four days at work and off for a whole week! Can't wait!

High Tides for King's Lynn Docks:
• Saturday: 4.21am and 17.09  • Sunday: 5.24am and 18.07

High Tides for Wells Bar:
• Saturday: 4.17am and 17.06  • Sunday: 5.15am and 18.02

Have a fabulous weekend everyone!


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Balearic Shearwater east past Sheringham.
Grey Phalarope, Wryneck, Spoonbills x 3 at Cley NWT.
EASTERN COMMON TERN (reported yesterday) west over sea in the evening at Cley.
Red-backed Shrike (west end of), Spoonbills x 3 at Blakeney Freshmarsh.
Black-necked Grebe on pool east of seawall at Burnham Overy Dunes.
Wryneck, Redstart, Pied Flycatchers x 2 at Burnham Overy Dunes.
Wryneck, Spoonbills x 11, Curlew Sandpipers x 15, Little Stints x 3, Spotted Redshank, Great Skua at Titchwell RSPB.
Pied Flycatcher at Holme Bird Obs (NOA), and at Redwell Marsh NOA, Holme.
Black Terns x 2, Whinchat, Redstart between Gore Point, Holme and Old Hunstanton.
Balearic Shearwater east past Sidestrand.
Crossbills x 2, Whinchats x 4 at Sheringham.
Whinchats x 30, Redstarts x 4, Pied Flycatchers x 2 at Blakeney Point.
Red-backed Shrike 1w, Pied Flycatchers x 4, Whinchats x 3, Redstart at Waxham.
Wrynecks x 2 at Horsey Gap.
Red-backed Shrike 1w at Happisburgh.
Osprey at Lenwade.
Caspian Gull at Cromer Pier.
Osprey at Broome Pits.
Whinchats x 2 at Hopton-on-Sea.
Whinchats x 3, Curlew Sandpipers x 8 at Breydon Water.
Whinchats x 8, Redstarts x 2, Pied Flycatchers x 2 at North Dunes, Winterton (no sign of male red-backed shrike today).
Whinchats x 4, Tree Pipit at Caister-on-Sea.
Pied Flycatcher at Gramborough Hill, Salthouse.
Twite x 2 at South Denes, Great Yarmouth.

Suffolk, Cambs, South Lincs Main News & More!
Red-necked Phalarope, Glossy Ibis, Pectoral Sandpiper, Temminck's Stint at Frampton Marsh RSPB, Lincolnshire.
EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER still at Languard Nature Reserve, Suffolk.
ORTOLAN BUNTING at Languard NR, Suffolk.
Great White Egret, Glossy Ibis at Wicken Fen NT, Cambridgeshire.

FEA'S PETREL yesterday, County Cork, Ireland.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Some Very Sad News!

This evening I was in complete shock to read on facebook via my phone, that a dear school friend has died. His name was Matthew Richardson. I went to Holme Primary School with Matthew and his siblings Mark and Samantha. I became Facebook friends with Matthew a while back, which was lovely as we had not been in contact since we were youngsters. We chatted on Facebook every so often and it was fabulous to make contact again. By some of Matthew's comments he seemed a very spiritual and passionate person and also got angry as most of us do about cruelty to animals. Sometimes he would comment on my pictures. I still can't believe he has gone!

I have such happy memories from my primary school with some very special children of which I'm friends with many on Facebook, including Cindy Needham, Miranda Arnold, Karl Arnold, Stephanie Middleton, to name but a few and of course my sisters Lucy and Vivien.

Matthew's family wrote the following message on Matthew's timeline this evening:
"This is a message from Matthew's family. Sadly Matthew passed away on Tuesday 2nd Sept. He died suddenly at home, most likely from a heart attack.
Although in the past Matthew suffered periods of sadness, more recently he has been in good spirits and enjoying life in a way he had not for many years.
He will be sadly missed by all of us."

So terribly, terribly most sincere condolences to your family – Rest in Peace Matthew x

Friday Evening
It made me even more sad to see that Matt had posted this to his facebook timeline on 1st September, only hours before he died.
Broke this very sad news to my youngest sister Vivien tonight who was in the year above Matt at the Redgate Middle School, Hunstanton – she described him as the shining light at school and was a brilliant actor and had all the lead roles in the school plays and was very popular with everyone. A shining light will always shine – peace be with you Matt X

Eastern Common Tern, Norfolk

Pictures here:

Discussion here:

Also in this week's RBA Review:

and in the May RBA's Weekly Review:


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Quail, Black Tern, Wryneck, Whinchat, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint at Cley NWT.
Curlew Sandpipers x 10, Little Stints x 2, Spotted Redshanks x 2 at Titchwell RSPB.
Wryneck, Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Whinchats x 4 at Warham Greens.
Wryneck, Barred Warbler, Redstarts x 4, Whinchats x 20, Pied Flycatchers x 7, Great Skua, Spoonbill at Blakeney Point.
Red-backed Shrike, Redstarts, Whinchats x 30, Pied Flycatchers x 2 at North Dunes, Winterton.
Whinchats x 3 at Kelling Hard.
Pied Flycatcher at Holme NWT.
Pied Flycatcher at Holme NOA.
Pied Flycatcher at Hopton-on-Sea.
Pied Flycatchers x 3, Whinchats x 4, Redstarts x 3 at Great Yarmouth Cemetery.
Osprey at Broome Pits.
Caspian Gulls x 2, Yellow-legged Gull at Cromer Pier.
Pied Flycatchers x 4, Whinchats x 3, Redstarts x 2 at Happisburgh.
Firecrest at Waxham.
Black-necked Grebe (on pool east of sea wall), Pied Flycatchers x 5, Whinchat at Burnam Overy Dunes.
Wryneck at Hickling Broad NWT.
MEGA! SHORT-TOED EAGLE on 17th August at Grimes Graves (for 30th day)

Suffolk, Cambs, South Lincs Main News & More!
Glossy Ibis, Temminck's Stint at Frampton Marsh RSPB, Lincolnshire.
EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER still at Languard Nature Reserve, Suffolk.
Ferruginous Duck, Wryneck at Minsmere RSPB, Suffolk.
Great White Egret, Glossy Ibis at Wicken Fen NT, Cambridgeshire.

MEGA! SHORT-TOED EAGLE on 17th August at Grimes Graves, Norfolk (for 30th day)

MEGA!!! SHORT-TOED EAGLE in Norfolk!!!

Not now though!!! Or is it? and if so WHERE is it?

Message on RBA Pager this evening reads
"SHORT-TOED EAGLE on 17th August
Grime's Graves (for 30th day)"

That's the only info we all have at the moment, I'm sure the whole story will come out, but.....

How can a SHORT-TOED EAGLE be in Norfolk for 30 days and the news of it only just come out?!!!!! There will be alot of p*ssed off Norfolk Birders (and beyond) this evening!!! Blood Pressure will be sky high!!!

19th July to 16th August - dates just come out.......

A friend on facebook who knows of the observers said they "...feared of a mass twitch apparently and trouble in the forest........"

Too right there would have been a mass twitch – a humongous mass of twitchers, birders young and old, excited, smiling and very very happy! Why did they bother telling anyone at all then, that's what I want to know?

Also via same friend on FB "the news is only out now because the record has been submitted."  

Friday Update – some of many comments on Twitter

"it's a genuine record, just come to light now bird has departed. Seen by 5 observers. Submitted to bbrc."

"reason given heard horror stories from Sussex. Totally misguided & out of touch with birding scene. Selfish" 

I wrote on Twitter this evening "Next time someone finds a STE, can they please put the news out a few minutes later, not hours later, not days later, not a month later!!!"

John Furse wrote a brilliantly amusing piece on BF HERE!
Discussion HERE