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Saturday, 31 March 2012

Back to 'normal' March Temperatures!

Couldn't go out early as had to return to the garage this morning and then had errands to do for my parents. It was freezing today, compared to the heatwave we all enjoyed in the week! Strong northerly winds combined with sun and and a few spots of rain!

Titchwell RSPB
I walked to the end of the main path, but turned back just before the seawatching platform as people were walking away with sand covered optics!!! Serious sand storm funnelling straight through the gap between the dunes. Highlights of the day were 1 House Martin over the Titchwell RSPB carpark this afternoon at 3.40pm - also a blackcap singing. A Cettis's Warbler was singing along the main path and several Chiffchaffs were heard. Dipped on 3 Red Kites that flew over west. Photographed a Black-tailed Godwit close to the main path.

Visited the new "One Stop Nature" shop at Burnham Deepdale - see website here: http://www.onestopnature.co.uk/

I bought fish 'n' chips at Wells and ate them in the carpark at Coastguards, Cley - lovely! Sea-watched from 5.45pm to 6.45pm and counted 36 Sandwich Terns going west and 1 Red-necked Grebe sitting close in on the sea. It was bitterly cold standing in the shelter with the north wind belting straight in there!

Sat in the carpark at Walsey Hills watching 3 Marsh Harriers as the sun set.

No diesel in King's Lynn I discovered this evening!!!

I started a thread on birdforum a while back about the late Richard Richardson - someone who has just joined BF, posted a wonderful story about him here:
http://www.birdforum.net/showpost.php?p=2402785&postcount=28

PHOTOGRAPHS TO BE ADDED

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Rhodiola Rosea - magical potion!!!

I walked into Holland and Barrett a couple of weeks ago to ask about supplements to help with low mood, stress etc and was recommended Rhodiola Rosea, which had had lots of good reviews I was told.

Rhodiola Rosea
is the most amazing herbal medicine I have ever taken!!! It lifted my mood almost immediately and I can't believe the difference this has made in such a short space of time. I also seem to have more energy and I feel more focussed.

Rhodiola Rosea, also known as arctic root is found in the polar arctic regions of Eastern Siberia.

"..........a rigorous Swedish case study suggested rhodiola’s ability to quicken memory, improve attention span, sharpen mental performance, alleviate depression, soothe mental and physical fatigue and improve human focus in difficult circumstances."

http://www.hollandandbarrett.com/pages/product_detail.asp?pid=1244
The only bad thing about this product is that its contained in a gelatine shell, which as a vegetarian I don't wish to take, so I break the capsule and pour the powder into part of a mashed up banana, which you need to eat very quickly - disgusting taste!!! The recommended dosage is 1-2 capsules per day and I have only been taking one a day - unbelievable how different I feel!

See information here:
http://smart-drugs.net/Rhodiola-rosea.htm
http://rhodiolarosea.org/

Earth's Deepest Place!!!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17521115

Easter weekend petrol tanker strike!!!

On the Guardian website it reads "the AA warned of the danger of panic buying. Andrew Howard, an AA spokesman, said: "If people begin panic buying we could well have shortages in fuel even before the strike.

The average British person buys petrol once a fortnight, but if everybody goes out and buys it in say the three days leading up to strike action that could be a problem."

Of course people are going to buy petrol before a strike - what do they expect people to do - wait until the strike and then either spend hours queueing for petrol or not be able to get any at all!!!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Lunchtime Birding!

Whilst I was sitting in the car for my lunch at work, I had wonderful views of three treecreepers on one tree!!! There seemed to be a real flurry of birds including great, blue tits, robins, hedge sparrows, chaffinches and chiffchaffs - another glorious sunny day. It was hard getting up for work an hour earlier this morning!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Peregrine falcon lays egg on spire of Norwich Cathedral - Health - Eastern Daily Press

Peregrine falcon lays egg on spire of Norwich Cathedral - Health - Eastern Daily Press

Revealed: The impact of the drought on one Norfolk river - Environment - Eastern Daily Press

Revealed: The impact of the drought on one Norfolk river - Environment - Eastern Daily Press

New Car and cruise to Cley!

I walked for an hour this morning to collect my new car from the garage - a Skoda Fabia 1.6 TDi SE. I only added one extra feature to the car and I am so glad I did - isn't technology amazing! I have the telephone preparation kit (GSM II) with Bluetooth® which connects your iphone to the car - a computerised panel just behind the steering wheel allows you to scroll through the menu using the up and down buttons on the end of the control stalk and ring anyone at the touch of a button, receive a call (through the car's speakers) or play any music on the phone through the radio - so cool! The car drives like a dream - I love it! It's also got far more welly than the Hyundai!!! A very useful feature on the car is to set an alarm if you drive over 60mph - VERY useful for me and will hopefully stop me getting any more points!!! The driver's and front passenger seats raise up/down - very useful for short people! So far I haven't found anything I don't like about the car, apart from the boot space which is definately not big enough for a birder/photographer/female!!! But I have managed to condense it! It took a while to set up the Bluetooth at the garage and I did not get home until mid morning. I spent a long time putting all my usual bits and pieces back in the car, had some lunch and then cruised along the coast road in the sunshine to test the car out.

Visited my parents to show them the car. Father found it much easier getting into the passenger seat of this car - the Hyundai Coupe was too low for him to get into really. My mother has such a wonderful way with words - her first comment was 'it doesn't look too flashy - in fact it almost looks second hand' - thanks mother!!! Father was sunbathing by the greenhouse when I arrived - an unusual sight in March!

Poodled along the coast road to Cley and my first stop was Walsey Hills NOA. It was wonderful to be in Cley again - its ages since I have been here. Sadly though, I realised I had missed the wonderful sight of all the blackthorn in flower at Walsey Hills. I walked all round the reserve and was very pleased to find the centre path has been re-opened. A lovely surprise of a singing male Blackcap at the end of the bottom path and seen briefly too. 2 Chiffchaffs singing and a goldcrest flicking about half way along the path. The usual birds on the feeders and bird table included long-tailed tits, blue and great tits, chaffinches, hedge sparrows, greenfinches and goldfinches. 2 Marsh Harriers were gliding over Arnold's Marsh. As I walked back to the car a water rail was reeling in Snipe's Marsh. Popped up to the NWT Visitor Centre briefly and said hello to Pat who said the car looked like a 'Golf' - yes, it is - its just got a Skoda badge on it!!! Drove to Coastguards and walked to North Scrape. It was a beautiful evening, as it had been all day. 2 Wheatears were on the Eye Field, a few pied wagtails flitting about, a meadow pipit on the wire fence and several greylags and brents on the field. From the hide a Spoonbill dropped in briefly, before being harrassed by a marsh harrier and relocated to Billy's Wash. Usual avocets, redshanks, dunlin, bar-tailed godwits, shelduck, pintail, shoveler, wigeon, teal and cormorants. As I walked back to the car the red sun was setting and it felt good to be back here.

Sat in the Holt fish 'n' chip shop having vege burger and chips and then drove home. Work all day tomorrow. Lighter evenings from tomorrow, which will allow time to go birding after work! Roll on Easter!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Chiffchaff singing at work!

My first singing Chiffchaff at work today when I sat outside for lunch with the girls. Even Jules remembered the song from last year! Will any of them become birders? - you never know! Such a beautiful day - much too warm for March! Also spotted a peacock butterfly and a bumble bee around the copse in front of us and with pink blossom in full bloom on the tree next to where we sat, set against cloudless blue skies, it felt very spring like!

Its been a busy week. Cycled after work on Wednesday to the garage to sign final papers for the new car, flew back to the hairdressers for my three monthly appointment. Also finished weeding and tidying the front garden and laid more shingle between the two strips of slabs, which Sarah very kindly took me to get from Wickes this week.

Collect my new car tomorrow morning!!!!! I feel both excited and also terrified of driving a brand new car! Also looking forward to birding in Cley again - too far to go really on the coastliner bus during the winter months. Clocks go forward this Saturday which will allow twitching in the evenings after work - wahoooooo!!!!!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

URGENT ATTENTION!!!

A male, birding friend of mine is urgently looking for a flat/bedsit/lodgings (house/cottage if cheap enough!) to rent in the Briston/Holt area. He is working in Briston so ideally would like to be in a 5 mile (ish) radius of work. Due to unforeseen circumstances, (he will explain why) he has to be out of his present accommodation by the 8th April. Even if anyone can help out with a temporary room etc, until permanent accommodation can be found this would help him out enormously.

Please email me on pennyclarke@dsl.pipex.com

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Spring is here!!!

Hunstanton Cliffs to Holme Reserves

I hardly slept last night because of my cold and when I did wake up, I felt awful. I caught the 9.10am Coastliner bus and arrived in Hunstanton at 9.38am. As I got off the bus a very familiar face stood in the queue to get on the bus to go to Holme - my father!

On route to the cliffs I walked through the Millennium gardens - the only birds seen here were mallards in the pond. It rained most of the day and the sun only attempted to shine briefly twice. From the cliffs I counted at least 400+ Brent Geese feeding along the shoreline and rock pools at low tide - it was a spectacular sight! Also at least 50+ turnstones and loads of other waders including oystercatchers, redshanks and black-headed gulls in summer plumage. At the lighthouse a pair of blackbirds were tugging worms from the wet soil and the house sparrows were chattering away in the bushes on the cliff top, along with a couple of hedge sparrows.

I walked past the Le Strange Arms Hotel at Old Hunstanton where to my horror they have cut down loads of bushes which lined the coastal footpath - why does everything have to be cut down and made to look like a boring, sterile town garden! I continued my walk in the rain through the beach huts - shortly after the last hut, I was rewarded with stunning views of my first spring Wheatear sitting on the wire fence along with a robin at 11.15am - it flew off seaward side and I didn't see it again. Further along the path at Holme main beach gap I was lucky to see two more Wheatears together on the wire fence at 11.35am!!!

The Saltings opposite the 5-bar gate, half way down the Firs Road produced a few meadow pipits and skylarks and on the pools 7 avocets, 2 shelduck and a single little egret. 20+ curlew on the fields by Holme church. The NWT Forestry produced nothing at all, apart from 2 grey herons flying over west. As I left the forestry area, along the long path just before the double block houses I had a wonderful surprise of a Chiffchaff flitting about in the large Sallow and also close by a pair of Stonechats and 3 hedgesparrows.

Dell Hide, Holme Bird Observatory - 3 goldfinches, 2 blue tits, 1 great tit, female blackbird and a moorhen. Chatted with Sophie (warden) and scanning over the marshes Sophie picked up a Tundra Bean Goose amongst the pinkfeets. 2 Marsh Harriers were also seen. Leaving H.B.O I bumped into Connor, Billy and Ray - have not seen them for ages - they had seen a Chiffchaff on the reserve. Went to chat with Gary H. at the Firs House briefly before returning through the NWT Forestry, hoping there might be some wheatears here, but none were seen. I had another Chiffchaff (not the same one) in a bush just before the 5-bar gate and my mother also had one at Holme Marsh Reserve late afternoon, so that's at least 4 chiffchaffs around in Holme at the moment. I walked across NOA Redwell Marsh from the NWT payhut and watched loads of toads swimming in the long dyke that runs parallel to the footpath leading to the River Hun. Walked to my parent's house, but didn't go in as did not want to pass my cold on to anyone. Father sat on a chair by the front door and I sat outside by the gate, so we could chat! I felt so ill, I caught the 4.18pm bus back home and dozed on the sofa all evening.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Spring Migrants arriving!!!

I have developed a horrible cold today and have just been sipping lemsip - feel awful. I was really looking forward to going birding tomorrow and hope I will feel well enough in the morning to escape into the wilds of Norfolk. I have not been birding for three whole weeks and I have serious withdrawal symptoms!!!

Birds seen in Norfolk today via RBA:
A very lucky person saw 3 Hawfinches drinking from the Fen Hide Pool at RSPB Titchwell today - they then flew west!
Wheatears at Cley, Kelling, Horsey, Burnham Overy Staithe.
2 Sandmartins at Cley
Great Grey Shrikes at Fakenham and Egmere.
Spoonbill at Cley and Titchwell.
Red Kite at Holkham
Rough-legged Buzzard at Burnham Overy Staithe
2 Garganey at North Wootton
Coues's Arctic Redpoll remains at Titchwell

Saturday, 10 March 2012

A Beautiful Day

A beautiful sunny day. I spent the entire day weeding and clearing the front garden and drive in preparation for my new car. Its not how I wanted to spend the day, but it had to be done.

I now have about 20 dustbin sacks of garden waste and no way of getting rid of it - there is too much to compost in my small garden. I will ring the council on Monday and see if they will take it away.

First Wheatear of the spring at Cley today I see, when I looked at R.B.A.

Great White Egret and American Wigeon at Marlingford still.
Four Glossy Ibises at Reedham.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Environmental groups abandon opposition to King’s Lynn incinerator - Environment - Eastern Daily Press

Environmental groups abandon opposition to King’s Lynn incinerator - Environment - Eastern Daily Press

SO the RSPB, Natural England and the Environment Agency are now happy for the Incinerator to be built in King's Lynn - WELL I AM NOT!!!!!!!

In the EDP today it states that the RSPB have received 'new information' which 'addressed their concerns'. I have emailed the RSPB to ask them what the 'new information' is. I will post their reply on here when received*.

Also see Ian Borrman's letter to the Lynn News today stating that he is ceasing his membership with the RSPB: http://www.lynnnews.co.uk/community/letters/why-i-m-giving-them-the-bird-1-3596618#.T1fne2P0yaQ.blogger

REPLY TO MY EMAIL SENT TO THE RSPB
*
"Dear Penny

Thank you for your email to the RSPB on 7th March regarding the RSPB’s position on the incinerator proposal in King’s Lynn.

With the King’s Lynn incinerator we were worried about the potential impact of emissions on the incredible habitat of the Wash Estuary, its birds and other wildlife. We challenged the developers to provide additional information on emissions. Once provided with this, we studied it against our knowledge of the tolerance levels of the birds and their prey species found in the Wash. We concluded that there was no scientific basis for our original concerns.

This information came from a document entitled 'Appendix 7: Information to inform an appropriate assessment' and was part of the further information submitted by the applicant to Norfolk County Council on 13 January 2012, in response to the initial consultation period in 2011. This information was available on the County Council website during the January to February consultation period earlier this year, and is still available there for reference.

We are absolutely passionate about protecting special places like the Wash, so rest assured that if hard science shows a risk to an important habitat we will work tirelessly and actively campaign to protect it. We are confident that based on our research, this is not one of those cases.

I am sorry that this decision has upset you and that you seen it as us supporting the plans for the incinerator. I’d like to emphasise that this is not the case, we neither support nor object to the incinerator.

I hope this helps explain why we have made this decision and I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read this letter. Please, if you do have further questions, do not hesitate to contact me.

I hope this letter reassures you about the RSPBs continued commitment to protect the natural world.
Paul Forecast
Regional Director, Eastern England
"

Five key objections to the incinerator . . . - Latest News - Lynn News

Five key objections to the incinerator . . . - Latest News - Lynn News

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Urban Birding!

Its going to be incredibly difficult to make this post sound in the least bit exciting, so I will keep it short!

Today I went on the train with my sister Lucy to visit youngest sister Vivien in Ely. As I walked to the train station I realised that I had not been on a train since I went to Aberdeen on route to Fair Isle in May 2010 - it seems so long ago! Life has been extremely difficult over the past few weeks in all aspects of my life and still is. What I needed today was a long solitary walk - in fact Blakeney Point would have been perfect, had I not pre-arranged a 'family' day that I couldn't really get out of! I am sure you all know what I mean!

After Lucy and I got on the train I was determined to tick some birds off - I have seen short-eared owls and buzzards on this route before, but not today. Best birds seen were several flocks of mute swans on route, starlings, wood pigeons and a few blackbirds. Arriving in Ely the rain decided to make the day even more dismal. There is a small population of Muscovy Ducks in Ely - mentioned on wikipedia and these were dotted around the city, quite contentedly snoozing on the grass verges next to the roadsides. Few house sparrows around and that is about it on the bird front! Its going to be a long week having not been birding properly today!

Been working every Sunday, but will be having a mini break at Easter - pure birding and in my new car!

BIRD NEWS IN NORFOLK:
Sand Martin in Norfolk today - at Titchwell RSPB!
• Northern Bullfinch at Surlingham
• Glossy Ibis x4 at Burgh Castle
• Great Grey Shrike at Santon Warren
• Coues's Arctic Redpoll remains at Titchwell RSPB
• American Wigeon and Great White Egret at Marlingford