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Saturday, 31 October 2015

THRILLER NIGHT!

Gramborough Hill, Salthouse & Cley NWT!

I spent yesterday doing jobs all day, finding things out for Mother, booking an electrician, trying to find out about LPG gas ovens for her, radiators and all kinds! I also had an estate agent round to value my house, who told me if I put it on the market today I would have a viewing by Monday, because of the massive shortage of houses in the under £150,000 bracket. I'm just waiting for Autumn migration to finish properly and then I'm going to have to take hold of my life seriously. This will mean doing boring tedious things like Boot Sales, unpacking and re-packing boxes and down sizing all my possessions. I need to sell this house for several reasons, the main one being I hate living here and in King's Lynn – it was only purchased, as it was the only place I could afford to buy at the time. Anyway, I could waffle on about this for ages, so will stop now!

Also, apologies to anyone that has emailed me over the last few days/week, I can't send any emails out at the moment – unfortunately I am a TalkTalk customer! I am receiving emails, but can't send any. I have contacted them on Twitter, don't know what's going on – not sure if its widespread because of the hack or I'm being hacked personally!!!

The weather has been dire the last couple of days, so it was lovely to see the sun making an appearance today. I headed straight to Gramborough Hill at Salthouse. Driving along Old Woman's Lane at Cley I saw a Red Admiral in a field on route. Parked up at Beach Road and walked to Gramborough Hill. Bumped into John Furse and Eddie Myers, who were just leaving. As we stood chatting a Short-eared Owl in off the sea, suddenly appeared yards from us and was trying to shake off two Carrion Crows – unsuccessfully! We couldn't take any pictures as it was against the sun. I raced up the hill to get a better view, leaving Eddie and John to walk back to their cars. The owl continued to be harrassed by the crows for ages and in fact until I gave up watching! I didn't see any birds in the scrub apart from a Meadow Pipit.

I walked over the shingle ridge and sat to watch the sea. A raft of Eider including several stunning males were sitting on the sea – I counted 18 – a fabulous sight in the sunshine! Good numbers of Gannets seen too, 26 west and 16 east. I didn't count them seriously, there were probably far more than that. I was cursing that I had not brought my scope, so walked back to the car and returned, so I could try and phone scope/video the Eider, but of course they had disappeared! Julian B. joined me and we watched a Red-throated Diver close in catching fish and also photographed a Gannet that was cruising past close in, also fishing. We stood here for quite a while in hope that another Short-eared Owl or something else equally as exciting dropped in, but it didn't! Chatted with James Mc. briefly in Beach Road and put in a request for a mega – any time over the next few days would do very nicely.

Went to the Cley NWT Visitor Centre briefly – the staff were dressed in halloween attire with devil horns and all kinds! A sawn off arm hung off the counter and there were some goolish green jelly with eyes balls on offer in the cafe, along with some garishly coloured cakes for sale! This worked a 'treat' and put me right off breaking my diet!!!

Re-located to just east of Walsey Hills and had my home-made lentil and vegetable soup with 1 brown roll and some fruit. I then walked to the NEW 'Babcock Hide' which the NWT opened on the 17th October. The hide is east of the East Bank and can be reached via the new Attenborough walk from the East Bank car park. The hide overlooks 'Watling Water'. It was quite exciting walking to somewhere new! From the road it doesn't look very inspiring to be honest. Several local birders have not even walked out here yet – not even Eddie!

The new hide door was a job to open – a very heavy door. There is a notice up inside the hide explaining that there are a few issues which the contractor will be rectifying soon, including the disabled seats that don't lift up for wheelchairs etc. The hide flaps are the same design as the other central hides (Daukes etc). Sitting down was the right height for me to view, but if I had wanted to stand and use my scope I wouldn't have been able to, as the bottom flap was too low which mean't I was hunched and the top one too high. So a hide clamp is a necessity here (which I had left in the car). The view from the hide was spectacular – this is a vast scrape and includes muddy edges and little islands. I ended up spending the rest of the day here! I had an excellent selection of birds including a massive count of 50 Gadwall, Teal x 5+, Little Grebes x 2, Little Egrets x 2, 1 Snipe, Lapwings x 70, pair of Mallard, Black-headed Gulls x 31, Carrion Crows x 2, Starlings+++, Pied Wagtails x 11 landed on the muddy edge at dusk, a Ringed Plover landed on central island, Egyptian Geese x 2, Pochard x 1, Heron and a Wren. I left the hide and stood just outside by the 5 bar gate (no entry sign on gate, with path running north beyond). A pair of stunning Stonechats were perched on the reeds and I got some cracking phone-scoped video of them both. At dusk I had fabulous views of a male Hen Harrier, a Ringtail and 4 Marsh Harriers! Also equally fabulous was thousands upon thousands of Starlings flying west over the marshes with that wonderful whooshing sound as they flew over my head.

The midges were evil little S**'s and attacked me like the devil possessed! As I walked back to my car, thousands of Pink-footed Geese flew north west across the pink skies in v formations – a beautiful end to the day. Made a hot chocolate to warm up before heading home.

VIDEOS & PICTURES TO BE ADDED

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Great White Egret, Firecrest, Hen Harrier, Rough-legged Buzzard at Holkham.
Black Redstart on roof of lodge at entrance to St Withburga Church, Holkham Hall.
Great Grey Shrike, Short-eared Owls x 2 at North Dunes, Winterton.
Little Auk flew east past Sheringham.
Short-eared Owl at West Runton.
Short-eared Owl at Incleborough Hill.
Black Redstarts x Ring Ouzel, Water Pipit at Holme NOA.
Crossbills x 4, Hen Harrier at Holme Dunes.
Rough-legged Buzzard, Water Pipit, Spotted Redshanks x 3, Twite x 14 at Titchwell RSPB.
Black Redstart at Choseley Drying Barns.
Rough-legged Buzzard at Thornham Marsh.
AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER reported again at 1.45pm off North Wall, LESSER YELLOWLEGS again at NE end, Spotted Redshanks x 4, Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl, Bittern, Bewick's Swan, White-fronted Goose at Breydon Water.
Short-eared Owl flew in off sea at Gramborough Hill, Salthouse (ETM, JF+PAC).
Short-eared Owls x 3 in off sea at Caister-on-Sea (AW+JL).
Short-eared Owl at Fersfield Airfield.
Hen Harriers x 2 (1 Male) from Babcock Hide, Cley NWT. (PAC)
Hen Harriers x 3 (2 males), Short-eared Owls x 3 at Warham Greens.
Great White Egret at Burnham Overy Marshes.
Firecrest, Short-eared Owl, Great Skuas x 2 at Kelling.

MEGA NEWS! 
MEGA! BLYTH'S PIPIT flew north over Nanjizal Valley towards Skewjack Farm, Cornwall.
MEGA! HUDSONIAN WHIMBREL still at Marazion, east of St Michael's Mount on Stony Beach, Cornwall.

Friday, 30 October 2015

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Short-eared Owl at Hemsby.
Red-necked Grebe, Short-eared Owl at Weybourne.
Spotted Redshanks x 4 at Breydon Water.
Great White Egret at Holkham.
Black-throated Diver, Slavonian Grebe.
Hen Harrier at Ringstead Downs.
Short-eared Owl flew south past North Beach, Great Yarmouth.
Great White Egret flew east over Holme Dunes mid morning, Short-eared Owl, Long-tailed Ducks x 2, Slavonian Grebe, Ring Ouzels x 2 on east side of Holme NOA. 
Black Redstart at Choseley Drying Barns.
Snow Buntings x 2 at Salthouse.
Hen Harriers x 3, Short-eared Owl at Warham Greens.
Jack Snipes x 2 at Titchwell RSPB.
Short-eared Owl on cliffs at Paston.

MEGA NEWS!
MEGA!
HUDSONIAN WHIMBREL at Marazion on beach east of St Michael's Mount, Cornwall.
MEGA! HUDSONIAN GODWIT possible at Lurgangreen/Seabank, County Louth, Ireland.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Lazy Day!

I had full intentions of going birding, but the day didn't exactly work out as I had planned at all. I started the day by making a massive batch of lentil and vegetable soup and then headed into town to get a couple of chores done. Went to my parents to deliver some of my soup to my Mother and sat with them for a while. Father was in a grumpy mood and wouldn't let me help him with anything. He was wearing his shorts today with blanket over his knees and a hot water bottle – makes no sense whatsoever!!!

I have never known a day to disappear so fast. Drove up to Choseley and watched 9 Red-legged Partridges in a field and one Hare. A party of Long-tailed Tits flitted along the hedge line. Ended the day sitting in the car at Brancaster Staithe Quay watching tons of Gulls, Brent Geese, Turnstone, Curlews, several Little Egrets and Pied Wagtails. I got lucky when I was scanning the mud flats with a flash of turquoise zooming past – a Kingfisher!

I was so tired driving home, I had a job to keep awake and feel unusually exhausted this evening. A big thank to all of you that have very kindly emailed me over the last few days – much appreciated, sorry I have not had time to reply properly yet.

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Rough-legged Buzzard north of Docking.
Rough-legged Buzzard, Jack Snipe, Spotted Redshank x 7, Twite x 3 at Titchwell RSPB.
Hen Harrier at Thornham Point.
LESSER YELLOWLEGS, AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER juv still, Spotted Redshanks x 2 viewed from South Wall at Breydon Water.
Velvet Scoter at Weybourne.
Short-eared Owl north of Nelson Head Track, Horsey.
Great White Egret, Rough-legged Buzzard, Hen Harrier at Holkham.
Firecrest at Great Yarmouth Cemetery.
Snow Bunting one mile west of Cley car park at Blakeney Point.
Short-eared Owl at North end of East Bank at Cley NWT.
Red-necked Grebe, Great Northern Diver, Velvet Scoter, Short-eared Owl at Kelling.
Snow Buntings x 2 at Gramborough Hill, Salthouse.
Rough-legged Buzzard, Ring Ouzels x 2, Slavonian Grebe, Hen Harrier, Long-tailed Duck, Short-eared Owl at Holme.
Black Redstart at Overstrand.

Suffolk Highlights
PENDULINE TIT heard only at Minsmere RSPB.

Lincolnshire Highlights
PALLID HARRIER juv. from Wash Viewpoint at Gibraltar Point NNR.

MEGA NEWS!
MEGA! CHESTNUT BUNTING still between Holland Farm + track to Knap of Howar, mid afternoon at Papa Westray, Orkney.
MEGA! HUDSONIAN WHIMBREL probable at St Mary's, Isles of Scilly.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Black Redstart on roof of backpackers' hostel, Burnham Deepdale.
Sooty Shearwater east, Short-eared Owl in off sea at Weybourne.
Siberian Chiffchaffs x 2 at Weybourne Camp.
Short-eared Owl at Shangri-La Chalet, Waxham.
Short-eared Owls x 6 flew in off sea mid afternoon, Yellow-browed Warbler at Gramborough Hill, Salthouse.
Black Brant in Eye Field, Snow Bunting east of north end of East Bank, Hen Harrier at Cley NWT.
Short-eared Owls x 3 in off sea, Purple Sandpiper flew east, Black-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver at Cley.
Great Grey Shrike on Sunday at Welney WWT.
Hawfinch, Crossbills x 25 at Lynford Aboretum.
AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER juv still, viewed from South Wall on mud with Lapwings at Breydon Water.
Jack Snipe, Black Redstart, Short-eared Owl at North Dunes, Winterton.
Dartford Warbler still in rough field on path to Brograve Mill, Horsey.
Hen Harriers x 3, Water Pipit, Twite, Spotted Redshank at Titchwell RSPB.
Hen Harriers x 4 at Warham Greens.
Rough-legged Buzzard, Long-eared Owl, Snow Bunting, Spotted Redshank yesterday at Holme.

Lincolnshire Highlights
PALLID HARRIER juv. at realignment area, north of Stonebridge car park at Donna Nook.


MEGA NEWS!
MEGA! CHESTNUT BUNTING still between Holland Farm + track to Knap of Howar, mid afternoon at Papa Westray, Orkney.

RBA Weekly Round-Up 21st to 27th October!

By Mark Golley
http://www.rarebirdalert.co.uk/v2/Content/WeeklyRoundup2015-42.aspx?s_id=162765038

On Holiday Again!!!

I kept that one quiet didn't I!!! Out birding tomorrow, not back to work until Thursday 5th November!!! I originally booked all next week off, but brought it forward by a couple of days, glad I did, as the winds blow west all next week. At least it remains east for the next few days, hoping very much for that Norfolk Mega still!

Father fell out of bed last night, Mother hauled him back in, when she has strict instructions NOT to as he is too heavy and she could injure herself or worse. She should have simply called the brilliant, 24 local emergency service for people that have fallen. But my Mother doesn't take any notice of safe and sensible procedures. She wasted her energy anyway, as she still couldn't get Father where he should be in bed and had to call them anyway!!! Parents are soooo disobedient!

Father will be 89 on Monday 2nd November – I really, really hope he makes it. I've just bought him two thermal tops from Tescos – he's constantly saying he's cold. He's cold because he refuses to wear thermal tops, so I'm putting my foot down now – well I'll try anyway! I have been buying the same men's thermal tops for years, they are brilliant – I don't give a hoot if they are for men or women, they do the job and I wear them every time I go birding in Autumn/Winter!

I don't have much luck with kettles – the switch broke on mine this week and this evening I went to Tescos to try and exchange it – I was very lucky indeed, as it was just out of the year guarantee and the Manager allowed me to exchange it for the same one. Oh AND I lost 4lbs at SW this evening – not been for three weeks, so I should have lost that anyway, but pleased with that result – any loss is good!

Will tomorrow be a lucky day? Maybe! I havn't got a clue where to start tomorrow to be honest, east or west – will have a think later on.

Cave Lion, At Least 10,000 Years Old - World Exclusive!

Meet this extinct cave lion, at least 10,000 years old - world exclusive

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Black Redstart on roof of backpackers' hostel, Burnham Deepdale.
Long-eared Owl in off sea, Rough-legged Buzzard flew west, Water Pipit at Titchwell RSPB.
Little Auk flew east, Snow Buntings x 2 east of north end of East Bank, Black Brant, Dark-bellied Brent Geese x 200 east of Beach Road at Cley NWT.
Rough-legged Buzzard, Hen Harrier, Black Redstart at North Dunes, Winterton.
Black Redstart in car park, Long-eared Owl in dunes then flew south at Horsey.
Black Redstart at Choseley Drying Barns.
Black Redstart, Firecrest at Great Yarmouth Cemetery.
PALLAS'S WARBLER in copse north of Shangri-La Chalet, Waxham.
Black Redstart, Short-eared Owl at Weybourne.
Short-eared Owl, Crossbills x 2 at Burnham Overy Dunes.
Short-eared Owl at Overstrand.
AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER juv still, viewed from South Wall near bridge at Breydon Water.
Short-eared Owl at Felbrigg Hall NT.
Hen Harriers x 3 at Warham Greens.
Serin male in field between water meadows and beach.

Lincolnshire Highlights
PALLID HARRIER juv. at realignment area, north of Stonebridge car park at Donna Nook.

MEGA NEWS!
MEGA! LESSER KESTREL unconfirmed report at Owenahincha, County Cork, Ireland.

MEGA! SHORT-TOED TREECREEPER probable, Beachy Head, Sussex.
MEGA! CHESTNUT BUNTING still between Holland Farm + track to Knap of Howar, mid afternoon at Papa Westray, Orkney.

Monday, 26 October 2015

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Shorelarks x 6, Rough-legged Buzzard yesterday at Titchwell RSPB.
Little Auk flew east, Great Grey Shrike, Rough-legged Buzzard, Shorelark, Spotted Redshanks x 5, Purple Sandpiper, Snow Buntings x 6 on beach, Twite x 11 in dunes, near Brancaster Creek at Titchwell RSPB.
Black Redstarts x 4 at Thornham Point.
Long-eared Owl on concrete bunker on beach then flew off at Kelling.
Ring Ouzel at Whirligig, Hen Harriers x 3 at Warham Greens.
Black Brant, Dark-bellied Brent Geese at Stiffkey, Hen Harrier at Stiffkey Fen.
Black Redstart at North Dunes, Short-eared Owl at South Dunes, Winterton.
AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER juv still, viewed from South Wall near bridge, Spotted Redshanks x 4, Common Scoter at Breydon Water.
Water Pipits x 3 trapped and ringed, Rough-legged Buzzard flew on sea at Holme NOA.
Little Auks x 2, Lapland Bunting, Spoonbill, Short-eared Owl, Whooper Swans x 2 at Holme.
Black Redstart at Choseley Drying Barns.
Great White Egret, Firecrests x 2 at Holkham.
Great Grey Shrike, Water Pipit at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB.
Short-eared Owls x 2 at Sidestrand.
Little Auks x 3 at Weybourne.
Little Auk on sea from East Bank, Hen Harrier, Snow Buntings x 4, Water Pipit at Cley NWT.
Short-eared Owl at Rockland Broad.
Short-eared Owls x 2 at Langley Marshes, Loddon.
Short-eared Owl at Buckenham Marshes RSPB.
Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl at Morston Quay.
Short-eared Owl, Spoonbill at Nelson Head Track, Horsey.
Black Redstart at Somerton Holmes.
Lapland Bunting, Spoonbill flew over Hunstanton Cliffs.
Bewick's Swans x 4 flew over Fakenham/Wells.
Rough-legged Buzzard, Richard's Pipit at Gramborough Hill, Salthouse.
Black Redstart at Happisburgh.
Rough-legged Buzzard at Blakeney Point.

MEGA NEWS! 
MEGA! CANVASBACK yesterday, near Carloway, Lewis, Western Isles.
MEGA! CHIMNEY SWIFT Mizen Head, County Cork, Ireland.
MEGA! CHESTNUT BUNTING still between Holland Farm + track to Knap of Howar, mid afternoon at Papa Westray, Orkney.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Wells Woods!

1 Redwing, 1 Blackbird, Long-tailed Tits x 4 and a handful of Robins and Goldcrests was all I could dig up this afternoon. I have never seen so many people at Wells, the car park was full with people queueing up and another car park half way along Beach Road was also full. A beautiful sunny day.

Went to visit my parents and joined my sisters Lucy and Vivien. Not seen Vivien for ages, so that was nice. Father was tearful and emotional all evening – very difficult to cope with.

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
SIBERIAN STONECHAT Male still in gorse on east side of Great Yarmouth+Caister Golf Course at Caister-on-Sea.
Short-eared Owl, Snow Bunting at Caister-on-Sea.
Siberian Chiffchaff along lane near church, Dartford Warbler SW of entrance to Waxham Sands Holiday Park at Waxham.
Great Grey Shrike at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB.
AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER juv again, viewed from South Wall near bridge, Caspian Gull, Short-eared Owls x 3, Spotted Redshanks x 4 at Breydon Water.
Black Redstarts x 2 on Church Roof, Cley.
Short-eared Owls x 2 at North Dunes, Dartford Warbler at Winterton.
Black Redstart at Choseley Drying Barns.
Hen Harrier ringtail south of Choseley.
Short-eared Owl over grazing marsh at Holme.
Great Grey Shrike, Short-eared Owl at Titchwell RSPB.
Great White Egret, Firecrest at Holkham.
Water Pipit at Holkham Gap.
Great Grey Shrikes x 2 at end of Nelson Head Track, Rough-legged Buzzard, Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owls x 3 at Horsey.
Water Pipit off East Bank, Short-eared Owls x 2 at Cley NWT.
Great Northern Diver at Weybourne.
Water Pipits x 2 at Hardley Flood.
Yellow-browed Warbler at Ranworth Church.
Great Grey Shrike, Water Pipit, Short-eared Owls x 2, Twite x 9 at Titchwell RSPB.
Water Pipit at Buckenham Marshes RSPB.
Water Pipit, Short-eared Owl at Cantley Beet Factory.
Hen Harriers x 2 at Stiffkey.
Hen Harriers x 3 at Warham Greens.
Shorelark, Caspian Gull, Lapland Bunting at West Runton.
Short-eared Owls x 3, Hen Harrier at Somerton Holmes.
Short-eared Owl at Berney Marshes RSPB.

MEGA NEWS!
MEGA! CHESTNUT BUNTING still between Holland Farm + track to Knapp of Howar, mid afternoon at Papa Westray, Orkney.

MEGA! WHITE'S THRUSH still, yesterday on Mainland at Gulberwick, Shetland.
MEGA! BLYTH'S PIPIT still, at St Mary's, Isles of Scilly.

Norfolk Coasthopper Bus Wars!

http://www.edp24.co.uk/motoring/coasthopper_bus_wars_means_confusion_for_passengers_1_4278583

MEGA! CHESTNUT BUNTING In Orkney!

Potential First For Britain!

First found on Monday 19th October by Julian Branscombe in a garden on Papa Westray, Orkney, seen again on Tuesday but no sign since. Then re-located yesterday on Saturday 24th October between Holland Farm and track to Knapp of Howar, mid afternoon and showing still in the evening.

Pictures HERE and HERE

Finders Account HEREHERE and discussion on BIRDFORUM

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Clocks Go Back One Hour!

I must admit, with the stress of this week, I had completely forgotten that the clocks go back one hour at 2am tomorrow. I hate changing the clocks, why can't they leave time as is!!!

Spent all day helping my parents. Father's stroke has affected his memory – he can't recall being in hospital at all! He's seems very confused, but overall much better at home, eating well, but extremely tired and can't stand on the sturn for very long at all. Pouring with rain most of the day, miserable weather. I can feel a sore throat coming on, feel pretty rough right now. Pulled the car boot door onto my head in Hunstanton Sainsbury's car park – forehead very sore to touch!

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Spoonbill at Burgh St Peter.
SIBERIAN STONECHAT Male in gorse on east side of Great Yarmouth+Caister Golf Course at Caister-on-Sea.
Short-eared Owl at Caister-on-Sea.
Great Grey Shrike at North Dunes, Winterton.
Hawfinch at Lynford Aboretum.
Hen Harrier at Warham Greens.
Rough-legged Buzzard flew west over Thornham.
Rough-legged Buzzard, Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl at Holme NOA.
Firecrest at Beeston Regis Common.
Black Brant, Dark-bellied Brent Geese x 200 at Cley NWT.
Great Grey Shrike at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB.
BLUETHROAT, Dartford Warbler in beet field at Happisburgh.
AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER juv viewed from South Wall near bridge, Rough-legged Buzzard, Spotted Redshanks x 4 at Breydon Water.
Great White Egret at Burnham Overy Staithe.
Great Grey Shrike at end of Nelson Head Track at Horsey.
Black Redstart on Church roof at Cley.
Rough-legged Buzzard North West over Scratby.
Great Grey Shrike at Langley Marshes NE of Loddon.
Hen Harrier ringtail east over Blakeney Freshmarsh.
Rough-legged Buzzard, Short-eared Owl, Spotted Redshanks x 2, Spoonbill at Titchwell RSPB.
Short-eared Owl at Salthouse.

MEGA NEWS! 
MEGA! FIRST FOR BRITAIN! CHESTNUT BUNTING re-located between Holland Farm + track to Knapp of Howar, mid afternoon at Papa Westray, Orkney.
MEGA! FORSTER'S TERN Nimmo Pier, County Galway, Ireland.
MEGA! BLYTH'S PIPIT still, at St Mary's, Isles of Scilly.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Friday Update!

Huge thanks to Emily Mathers who kindly helped me out this morning and very sweetly bought me chocs (I did share them!) because of the utterly crap week I've had with Father having a stroke and being on my own ward. Very, very difficult situation indeed. Several tears shed and my apologies if this affected anyone else. Also thanks to colleagues in my rehab team who so kindly supported me and particular thanks on the ward to NA's Sheila, Lauren, Kim, Kerry, Staff Nurses Paulo and Joan and also to Sarah P., Debbie and Jane.

Father has picked up a bit today at home with Mother so she told me at lunchtime, which is good, but he is very tearful, confused and extremely tired. I don't think he's realises yet that he's home, poor man.

Took Lucy to her orchestra practice this evening and picked her up later and took her home. Can't wait to get into my bed. I'm completely and utterly exhausted.

Sunday looks the better day for weather this weekend:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/2652856

South/South Westerly winds on Saturday. South West winds on Sunday. Swinging east again next week, will that mega arrive in Norfolk? Will keep my fingers crossed!

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
SIBERIAN STONECHAT Male in gorse on east side of Great Yarmouth+Caister Golf Course at Caister-on-Sea.
Crossbill flew over, Short-eared Owl at Caister-on-Sea.
Great Grey Shrikes x 2 at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB.
Yellow-browed Warbler at Felbrigg Hall NT.
Lapland Bunting flew west over cliffs at West Runton.
Black Redstart at Weybourne Camp, Lapland Bunting flew west over, Short-eared Owl at Weybourne.
Crossbills x 9 flew SW over Sheringham.
Great Grey Shrike, Short-eared Owl, Rough-legged Buzzard, Tree Pipit at North Dunes, Winterton.
Great White Egret, Lapland Bunting flew east at Holkham.
Rough-legged Buzzard at Burnham Overy Dunes.
Black Redstarts x 2 on church roof at Cley.
Siberian Chiffchaff, Short-eared Owls x 4, Rough-legged Buzzard, Hen Harrier, Common Cranes x 11 at Waxham.
Great Grey Shrike in fields south of Horsey Gap.
Rough-legged Buzzard, Hen Harrier, Spoonbill, Twite x 14 at Titchwell RSPB.
Short-eared Owl at Breydon Water.
Black Redstart, Hen Harrier at Choseley Drying Barns.
Rough-legged Buzzard, Short-eared Owl at Stiffkey.
Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owls x 2 at Haddiscoe Island.
Rough-legged Buzzard, Hen Harriers x 2 at Warham Greens.
Rough-legged Buzzard flew over Wells.
Lapland Buntings x 2, Slavonian Grebe, Velvet Scoters x 2, Spotted Redshank, Short-eared Owl at Holme.
Yellow-browed Warbler at Bale.

MEGA NEWS! 
MEGA! WHITE'S THRUSH Mainland at Gulberwick, Shetland.
MEGA! HUDSONIAN WHIMBREL Juv. at Browarth, St Agnes, Isles of Scilly.
MEGA! BLYTH'S PIPIT still, at St Mary's, Isles of Scilly.

Father's Discharge Home

Thursday 23rd October
As I write, I've just woken up after collapsing on the sofa. My Father refused to have breakfast this morning as he wanted a shave first. He wasn't understanding that he was not at home and not every patient can be washed before breakfast. He looked very sleepy still. A staff nurse gave him a yoghurt mid morning and I gave him a mashed banana in my teabreak at 11am. After this time he became incredibly drowsy and was in a deep sleep for the rest of the day. I even couldn't wake him for lunch which was worrying as travelling later on, with an almost empty stomach is not ideal. He had been shouting all night apparently. It took four of us to stern him into the wheelchair for the paramedics/ambulance crew to take him home. On hindsight now, he should have stayed in hospital longer, but doctors were happy for him to be discharged.

I arrived at my parent's house before the ambulance arrived. The rest of the evening was traumatic to say the least. The ambulance arrived and Father had been sick on route – his clothes and him were in a real state because of this. He looked pale and exhausted and wasn't speaking. The crew got him into the house and helped us to change him and sit him in his armchair.

Father didn't speak or respond to us at all. I accepted that he had been through a hell time over the last week and the travelling today etc had completely finished him off. I thought we were going to lose him and I became very upset and just sat hugging him. BUT it was when he became increasingly cold – forehead cool and slightly clammy, that I phoned the Community Matron – no reply and phone switched off. I just got through to Burnham Market Surgery before they closed at 6.30pm and spoke to a very nice lady doctor, who an hour later came out to see Father. She concluded that it was down to the sickness and trauma of coming home etc. His temperature was 36.2 and she listened to his chest which seemed fine. I don't know how she did, but managed to wake him enough to get a grumpy response and him becoming very cross. Mother and I were pleased that he responded, even though it wasn't a happy response! The doctor left and I felt happier. Lucy phoned a couple of times to see how Father was, which was sweet of her.

A member of staff from Norfolk First Support came out to assist us to get Father to bed, but he dug his heels in deep. He absolutely refused, it was impossible, draining and very frustrating. We lied about the time (it was 8.30pm) and told him it was 10pm and that he and us, all needed to go to bed. Long story short, I managed to get his important tablet swallowed with half a glass of water also drank. Eventually an hour later he agreed to get into bed, but refused to take his clothes off and change into pyjamas. He also at the transfer point became very aggressive towards the NFS lady and myself, only allowing Mother to get him into bed. I took over at one point as Mother was struggling to get him far enough over on the bed and let's just say I was responded to physically! I left their house at 9.45pm exhausted and had a job to get home to be honest. An exhausting week both physically and mentally. Wish their was someone to look after me through all of this, but there isn't, so as they say 'the show must go on'!!! Good night or should I say good morning!

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

THURSDAY 22nd October
Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
SIBERIAN STONECHAT, Short-eared Owls x 3 in gorse along golf club boundary, south of lifeboat to caravans at Caister-on-Sea.
Great Grey Shrike, Rough-legged Buzzards x 2, Short-eared Owl at North Dunes, Winterton.
Black Redstart, Rough-legged Buzzard, Hen Harrier at Choseley Drying Barns.
Black Redstarts x 2 on church roof, Cley.
Great Grey Shrike flew over mill, Rough-legged Buzzards x 2, Hen Harrier, Great White Egret at Horsey.
Siberian Chiffchaff in hedge by church, Rough-legged Buzzard, Hen Harrier at Waxham.
Great Grey Shrike, Rough-legged Buzzard, Spoonbill, Spotted Redshank at Titchwell RSPB.
Rough-legged Buzzard at West Somerton.
Redstart at South Denes, Great Yarmouth.
Great Grey Shrike at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB.
Short-eared Owl at Stiffkey.
Great Grey Shrike, Rough-legged Buzzards x 2, Common Cranes x 5 at Stubb Mill, Hickling Broad NWT.
Eurasian White-fronted Geese x 6 at Buckenham Marshes RSPB.
Great Grey Shrike 700yds east of Golf Club House at Old Hunstanton.

MEGA NEWS! 
MEGA! CHESTNUT BUNTING fem/1st w male possible on Tuesday in garden for 2nd day, but no sign since at Papa Westray, Orkney (potentially the first Chestnut Bunting for Britain).
MEGA! BLYTH'S PIPIT still, at St Mary's, Isles of Scilly.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

QEH Update

Father has become increasingly agitated and well impossible (best way of putting it!) as the day has gone on. My Mother came to visit this afternoon and to meet with OT/PT to discuss Father's discharge from hospital. I found out early evening, that the most important tablet he should have had, that keeps him sane, was not given last night as he refused to take it. So this explained why its been such a difficult day. He refused it again this evening, but I laid down the law and got very bossy with him and between Mother and I (with nurse supervising), we managed to get him to take the tablet thank goodness. He may be coming home tomorrow, which is good for him, but pity Mother couldn't have a rest a bit longer. I took Mother home this evening and we got fish 'n' chips from 'Sunny Hunny' on route. Their house was freezing, Father will get a shock when he returns home after sitting in a hot hospital!

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Snow Bunting, Short-eared Owl at Caister-on-Sea.
Great Grey Shrikes x 3, Jack Snipe at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB.
Lapland Buntings x 2, Short-eared Owls x 2 at Weybourne.
Little Gulls x 12 at Scratby.
Great Grey Shrike at Kings Loke, Hemsby.
Firecrest at Great Yarmouth Cemetery.
Great Grey Shrike at Wymondham.
Rough-legged Buzzard at Horsey Corner.
Black Redstarts x 2 on church roof, Cley.
SIBERIAN STONECHAT in gorse along golf club boundary, south of lifeboat to caravans at Caister-on-Sea.
Great White Egret, Spoonbill, Little Stint at Titchwell RSPB.
Great Grey Shrike, Short-eared Owl at Claxton Marshes.

Lincolnshire Highlights
DUSKY WARBLER still at Gibraltar Point NNR.


MEGA NEWS!
MEGA! BLYTH'S PIPIT still, at St Mary's, Isles of Scilly.

RBA Weekly Round-Up 14th to 20th October!

By Mark Golley
http://www.rarebirdalert.co.uk/v2/Content/weeklyroundup2015-41.aspx?s_id=967772734
Thanks to the RBA Team for using my Olive-backed Pipit and Red-flanked Bluetail photographs in their fabulous, mega-packed review!

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Another Trying Day!

Father was loads calmer this morning and was talking to me normally. He was sturned out of bed today for the first time and sat in the bedside chair for most of the day. It was the first time he ate a significant amount of food today, although that wasn't very much to be honest, but was a good start. By the afternoon when Lucy came to vist, he looked exhausted and nodded in agreement when I asked him if he wanted to get back to bed, when I finished work.

I took Lucy home, then whizzed home, changed uniform and returned to the hospital to assist Father with his tea, but he refused the main course and I won't say what he said the rice pudding tasted like!!! But he did eat 3/4 of a mashed banana and had 4 large chocolate buttons. He became very, very tearful and upset after that, which in turn distressed me. All he wants to do is go home, hopefully he will be soon. I left at about 8pm.

Went to Tescos as I desperately needed some basic food items. Went home and fell asleep. Didn't cook dinner, snacked which is not good at all. Edited pictures and added loads to my blog, scroll down to view!

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
Richard's Pipit, Great White Egret, Snow Bunting at Burnham Overy Staithe.
RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL male/1w, Hawfinch at drinking pool, OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT 400 yds west of drinking pool, Tree Pipit, PALLAS'S WARBLER by 1st bench on main track, PALLAS'S WARBLER along main track towards Holkham Pines, HUME'S YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER by main track west of drinking pool at Wells Woods.
Parrot Crossbill Male, probable yesterday flew west over Wells Woods.
Great Grey Shrikes x 3 at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB.
Lapland Bunting flew west over cliff top at West Runton.
Great Grey Shrike at Kelling Heath.
Great Grey Shrike 1/2 mile south of Shangri-la chalet at Waxham.
Yellow-browed Warbler at Stiffkey Campsite Wood.
Hen Harrier at Stiffkey.
Rough-legged Buzzard with Common Buzzards x 3 at Lessingham.
Rough-legged Buzzards x 2, Great Grey Shrike, Short-eared Owl at North Dunes, Winterton.
Great White Egret, Firecrest near Washington Hide at Holkham.
Great Northern Diver at Weybourne.
Yellow-browed Warbler in garden at Aylmerton.
Rough-legged Buzzard, Great Grey Shrikes x 2, Common Cranes x 5 at Horsey.
Yellow-browed Warbler between Felbrigg Hall and Sextons Lodge.
Black Redstart at Choseley Drying Barns.
Hen Harriers x 2 north of Garden Drove, Warham Greens.
*Red-veined Darter Dragonfly at Felbrigg Park.
Hen Harrier, Yellow-legged Gulls x 4 at Titchwell RSPB.

Lincolnshire Highlights
DUSKY WARBLER at Gibraltar Point NNR.
RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL at Gibraltar Point NNR.


MEGA NEWS! 
MEGA! SIBERIAN RUBYTHROAT fem at Hill Dyke, Fair Isle, Shetland.
MEGA! WHITE'S THRUSH at Baltasound, Unst, Shetland.
MEGA! BROWN SHRIKE by dried up pool near wall at Porthgwarra, Cornwall.
MEGA! WHITE'S THRUSH yesterday, but no sign since at Porthgwarra, Cornwall.
MEGA! BLYTH'S PIPIT still at St Mary's, Isles of Scilly.
MEGA! HUDSONIAN WHIMBREL still at Tresco, Isles of Scilly.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Difficult Day!

In some respects it was fabulous to back with my collegues and at work. But it was very odd, seeing my Father on my ward, odd and very strange indeed. The good news is he passed his swallow assessment and is allowed to eat. The bad news is that he is so tired, we couldn't even wake him to have lunch. He slept all afternoon. When I returned this evening to visit with Lucy, he was distressed, angry and lashing out, probably due to several obvious reasons, having a stroke, not having any sleep for the last two nights and not having his new tablet for the past two days which settles him. I tried my best to get him to eat his tea, but he refused and got angry, so left it. Lucy and I went to sit in the day room and filled all the food menu cards out for him for the next few days, to let him settle and then returned to his bedside. It took four of us (staff and me) to change him into night attire and change etc. Lucy had bought him some chocolates and a card, but he wasn't in a state of mind to even be aware of them. We were just saying our goodbyes, when he seemed calmer and asked where he was, why and where we were – I explained everything and he got very upset. Soul destroying to see him like this. We left, I took Lucy home and I went home mentally exhausted.

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL male/1w at drinking pool, BLYTH'S REED WARBLER 300 yards west of Abraham's Bosom just north of main track by green dog bin though elusive, HUME'S YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER by main track west of drinking pool, PALLAS'S WARBLER, Yellow-browed Warbler at Wells Woods.
Hawfinch, Short-eared Owl, Ring Ouzel yesterday at Wells Woods.
ISABELLINE SHRIKE 1w (probably Daurian Shrike) still in hedge near pond, Firecrest at Beeston Common.
Great Grey Shrike, Ring Ouzel, Short-eared Owl at North Dunes, Great Grey Shrike at South Dunes, Sooty Shearwater, Great Skuas x 3, Arctic Skuas x 2, Common Cranes x 2, Firecrest at Winterton.
RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL fem/1w male still in willow west of cross tracks, ISABELLINE SHRIKE viewed from path, 50 yards before Washington Hide, Firecrest, PALLAS'S WARBLER at junction of footpath at north end of Lady Ann's Drive and another near crosstracks with a Yellow-browed Warbler, Great White Egret at Holkham.
Lapland Buntings x 2 on cliff top at West Runton.
Great Grey Shrike east of high school field at Caister-on-Sea.
LITTLE BUNTING still, Spoonbill at Burnham Overy Dunes.
Great Grey Shrike, Serin at Kelling Water Meadows.
Great Grey Shrike at Kelling Heath.
Rough-legged Buzzard, Spotted Redshank at Breydon Water.
Great Grey Shrike in hedge north of pipe dump at Waxham.
Yellow-browed Warbler at Garden Drove, Redstart in pit west of GD at Warham Greens.
Ring Ouzels x 2 yesterday at Garden Drove, Warham Greens.
Great Grey Shrike at Weybourne Cap.
Great Grey Shrike in pines at Holme NOA.
RED-THROATED PIPIT briefly, on shore path, just before gate at Holme.
Ring Ouzel at Sheringham Cemetery.
Redstart at South Dunes, Great Yarmouth.
Black Redstart at Youngmans Close, North Walsham.
Black Redstart at Old Woman's Lane, Cley.
Siberian Chiffchaff, Rough-legged Buzzard at Walsey Hills NOA.
Great Grey Shrike, Rough-legged Buzzard at Stubb Mill, Hickling Broad NWT.
Great Grey Shrike at Happisburgh.
OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT at Muckleburgh Hill, Weybourne.
Great Grey Shrike at Weybourne Camp.
Black Redstart at Choseley Drying Barns.
LITTLE BUNTING yesterday at Overstrand, but no sign today.

Suffolk Highlights
PENDULINE TIT briefly at Minsmere RSPB.


Lincolnshire Highlights
DUSKY WARBLER at Gibraltar Point NNR.


MEGA NEWS!
MEGA! PALLAS'S GRASSHOPPER WARBLER at Fair Isle, Shetland.
MEGA! BLYTH'S PIPIT at St Mary's, Isles of Scilly.
MEGA! HUDSONIAN WHIMBREL at Tresco, Isles of Scilly.


I thought the list for Monday would be less than the weekend, but it's just as long, in fact it looks longer to me!

Highest Ranking To Date!

Number 11 today in the Fatbirder Birding Top 1000 Rankings! My highest yet. Will I make the top 10 I wonder? Huge thanks to all my readers and followers. Much appreciated.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Last Day of My Holiday!

I didn't get to bed until 4.30am because of last night, but still woke up at around 9am and couldn't sleep any more. I was exhausted, both phsically and mentally. My intention was to return to Wells to get better pictures of the Red-flanked Bluetail and attempt to get some of the Blyth's Reed Warbler etc, but obviously I wouldn't be doing that today now. Spent a good part of my day catching up with jobs that now needed to be done today, in order to be able to cope with going to work tomorrow and coping with Father's hospital admission.

Went to visit my father for a short while in the afternoon and very sadly he was very distressed and upset and wanted to go home. He has had a small stroke, so not major, but at aged 88 (soon to be 89), your body and mind can only take so much. Such kindness from very special nurses and staff, especially S, P., J, A, and T. (you know who you are) was much appreciated.

I needed some air, so on the way to my Mother's I went for a short walk at Snettisham Coastal Park. This was a complete and utter waste of time and energy. All I saw was a few Robins, but of note 21 Magpies flew across inland – biggest count of Magpies that I can recall. Pity they weren't Great Grey Shrikes!

I then went to my Mother's to collect Father's medication and lots of clothes for him etc. Mother was exhausted and asleep on the sofa when I arrived. Returned to the hospital to find Father in a calmer state thank goodness. Sorted all his clothes and things out and tidied them perfectly – D. will be impressed!

Back to work in the morning. Annoyingly its STILL North East tomorrow – selfishly praying that Mega doesn't decide to arrive whilst I'm at work! Wind then turns westerly and North West for the rest of the week, so sea-watching will be on the cards for those that are not at work.

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
ISABELLINE SHRIKE 1w (probably Daurian Shrike) still in hedge near pond, also Long-eared Owl, Yellow-browed Warbler at Beeston Common.
LITTLE BUNTING (A.B.), Rough-legged Buzzard, Snow Bunting at Burnham Overy Dunes.
Dartford Warbler at Horsey Corner.
RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL male/1w (A.S.) at drinking pool, BLYTH'S REED WARBLER (A.S.) in brambles 150 yards south of toilet block, HUME'S YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER by main track west of drinking pool, PALLAS'S WARBLER, Yellow-browed Warbler at Wells Woods.
PALLAS'S WARBLER by Braddock Avenue, Great Grey Shrike flew in off sea at Caister-on-Sea.
Ring Ouzels x 3, Firecrest at North Dunes, Great Grey Shrike at South Dunes, Winterton.
Ring Ouzel at Aylmerton.
Great Grey Shrike west of car park at Stiffkey Campsite.
Lapland Bunting, just west of Stiffkey Fen.
OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT, Yellow-browed Warbler at Muckleburgh Hill, Weybourne.
Great Grey Shrike, Short-eared Owl at Morston.
Short-eared Owls x 5 at North Denes, Great Yarmouth.
Rough-legged Buzzard at Breydon Water.
Rough-legged Buzzard, Yellow-browed Warbler, Short-eared Owl, Firecrest, Great Grey Shrike at Waxham Sands Holiday Park, Lapland Bunting at Waxham (A.B.)
Yellow-browed Warbler at Great Yarmouth Cemetery.
RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL fem/1w male still in willow west of cross tracks, ISABELLINE SHRIKE viewed from path, 50 yards before Washington Hide, PALLAS'S WARBLER, Great White Egret at Holkham.
PALLAS'S WARBLER still in forestry, Great Grey Shrikes x 2 at Holmes Dunes NWT.
Yellow-browed Warbler at Holme.
Long-eared Owl, Slavonian Grebe, Spotted Redshanks x 2 at Titchwell RSPB.
Great Grey Shrikes x 2 at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB.
Hen Harrier ringtail flew over Blakeney Harbour.
Great Grey Shrike, Rough-legged Buzzard at Kelling Water Meadows.
RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL, OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT at Kings Loke, Hemsby.
Rough-legged Buzzard at Weybourne.
Great Grey Shrike at East Bank, Cley NWT.
Rough-legged Buzzard, Common Cranes x 2, Hen Harrier at Stubb Mill, Hickling Broad NWT.
Great Grey Shrike at Colby.
Yellow-browed Warbler at Sheringham Cemetery.

Suffolk Highlights
PENDULINE TITS  x 2 at Minsmere RSPB.

MEGA NEWS! 

MEGA! BLYTH'S PIPIT at St Mary's, Isles of Scilly.
MEGA! HUDSONIAN WHIMBREL at Tresco, Isles of Scilly.

MEGA! BLACK-EARED WHEATEAR possible, reported near beach huts, Brightlingsea, Essex. 
MEGA! BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER probable at Frampton Pools at Frampton-on-Severn, Gloucestershire.

Unprecedented Day – Tons of Birders & Rares, But 999 Ended The Day Badly!

RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL
The Drinking Pool, Wells Woods

SATURDAY 17TH OCTOBER
I arrived at Wells Beach Car park before sunrise. Mission: to see and photograph Ashley's Saunders's Red-flanked Bluetail that he found yesterday. I saw it last night, but not for long enough. How can you ever tire of watching one of this stunning little birds! There were around 10 cars already in the car park, I was surprised there was not more to be honest. I heard later (as I expected) that people could not get in the car park later - the car park is currently being re-vamped and there are bulldozers/diggers digging up and re-doing TWO-THIRDS of the entire car park, only leaving a very small amount of parking spaces. I'm guessing this re-vamp was organised around holidaymakers not being here in October, but they hadn't allowed for the fact that in birding world, when October is dripping with rares, its like a Bank Holiday Monday daily! – they hadn't really thought about that at all and also have lost lots of money, through turning people away yesterday.
RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL
The Drinking Pool, Wells Woods

Anyway, I packed up my backpack for the day, in case I suddenly had to walk to Holkham or further for a mega. When I arrived at the drinking pool, there was only one other birder sitting and waiting patiently for the bluetail to appear. I was surprised there were not more people here already. It didn't take too long for me to spot the gorgeous Red-flanked Bluetail flicking about in the central area of the drinking pool fly catching and pumping his tail – every so often he would call – magical to watch, texted RBA. I quickly observed his favoured feeding areas, which basically was the entire area of the pool area, but especially a bramble/birch area in the centre. For those of you that don't know, the 'drinking pool' doesn't have any water in the bottom alot of the time, but is a huge basin of different shrubs and trees including birches, sallows, bramble, Hemp Agrimony etc in the middle of the woodland – a beautiful setting. The RFB was very mobile, there was lots of branches and leaves obscuring the bird when it did sit still for a few seconds, so difficult to photograph. I managed to obtain a few good record shots, but no jaw dropping ones! As the pager news broke that the RFB was still here, birders and photographers arrived in droves. Whilst I was there, everyone behaved very well overall, apart from one photographer (older guy all dressed in camo gear) who selfishly walked down and near to the middle, which was only a couple of yards from the bird's favoured birch/bramble – he had no binoculars – I don't get this new breed of photographers who are not birders at all – I presume they are purely here to make money from their photographs. How can you take photographs of birds and not be a birder? – I don't get it all! I could have easily abused the situation when I arrived so early this morning and walked down into the middle, but to me that would have disturbed the bird uneccesarily and it would have been selfish to my fellow birders. It annoyed the hell of me seeing that photographer stood where he was. I left, but as I did, I walked round to the photographer and said 'Excuse me'.... no response, said it again, louder, still no response... said much louder 'EXCUSE ME' – realising I wasn't going to to give up, the man turned round and I said 'you're standing far too close, do you realise you standing where the bird favours to feed?' The reply I got was muffled and he pointed as if to say the bird was still feeding. I didn't pursue this any further, what was the point, he wasn't going to move. Where was Eddie when you need him to haul someone out!!!

I wanted to try and see the Blyths's Reed Warbler again, but I was drawn west in an attempt to see the Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler and Pallas's Warblers. As I walked west along the main path, I just could not believe the amount of birders around – probably a few hundred at least, it was quite staggering. I have never seen so many birders in place, aside from a major twitch. There were around 50 I noted at one point just to view a single Pallas's Warbler. Lots of birders I didn't recognise as obviously birders had come from other parts of the UK to enjoy our massive spectacle of birds. Although I like to get away from the crowd to enjoy my birding, it was fabulous to see so many birders in one place. Along the main track I saw a Firecrest and a Pallas's Warbler (distantly) – I didn't see the Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler though. I continued west towards Holkham. In one clearing I watched 3 Blackcaps together in one bramble along with another birder. I diverted through the pines, across the edge of dunes at Holkham and through the back of the pines along a pine needled path in search of a my own bluetail or OBP. Nothing found apart from Goldcrests. Diverted down through the trees and came out at 'Salt Hole' to be greeted by 3 Little Grebes. Continued west and had stunning views of the Isabelline Shrike perched on a hawthorn bush and watched this along with Alan and Ruth Davies (Biggest Twitch) and others – the light was poor for photography though. Also watched a Treecreeper fly across.

Near the crosstracks at Holkham, news came through of Northern Treecreeper 10 minutes ago at 2.10pm – bumped into Ashley Banwell and we tried to find where this had been seen, but no joy. Ashley continued east and I headed west. I stood by the gate near the pond, just west of Washington Hide and watched Blackbirds and Robins feeding on the grassy track. Returned to crosstracks and bumped into the Northern Treecreeper finder, Stuart White! He showed me where he had seen the Treecreeper and I decided it would be a good place to have lunch. Unbeknown to me, the Northern Treecreeper was being watched only 50 yards west of me I discovered, when birders I knew walked past me! So, sadly I never got to see one today.

Headed into the cherry trees/bush and round the back (reed bed side) to watch my second Red-flanked Bluetail of the day in much more chilled circumstances! Also saw a Pallas's Warbler briefly high up in a tree by the main path which someone else had found. I made the crazy decision to walk to Burnham Overy Dunes to search for birds. There were so many birders at Wells and Holkham, I wondered if anyone had searched Burnham Overy Dunes?! It was tough walking that far, but made it. It was now raining and the wind remained strong. I didn't have time or energy to cover the whole area, but concentrated on the end section of the dunes just west of the pines, covering the subalpine pit as I call it and all the hollows/bushes. It was so windy, anything that had dropped in would be hunkered down for the night. All I managed to flush out were Redwings, Blackbirds, Robins and a Wren. Poor result for a long walk, but at least I tried. I didn't see any other birders here at all. It was now 5pm.

Headed back – even tougher walk back. Took me one hour with birding to get to Lady Ann's Drive. Chatted with some birders briefly who were staying here for a few days. Only Goldcrests, Robins and Thrushes seen on the way back. I also thought I had a Great Grey Shrike in a field but it seemed to magically disappear. It took another hour to get back to Wells car park, arriving back at my car drenched and shattered. Collapsed in the car with exhaustion. Placed my wet coat, bins etc in the car.

I quickly rang my Mother before I set off to see how things were at home. Mother had to call the Matron out on Friday as Father didn't seem himself – his speech wasn't quite right and the Matron thought that he may have had a mini TIA, but all resolved later and he was fine. He was also fine this morning (Saturday). Father had his usual afternoon nap, but later on Mother couldn't wake him up and he wasn't speaking to her at all – at around 5pm. I didn't know anything about all of this until I phoned at 7pm. I was annoyed to say the least that Mother had not phoned someone sooner. She had tried to phone the Community Matron who did not answer her phone. I flew in the car to Holme arriving at about 7.30pm. As soon as I saw my Father I dialled 999. His eyes were open, but he was unresponsive, his face was like stone, no eye or mouth movement. My instinct told me that father could understand me though and he was able to follow instruction and attempted to lift his arms when I asked him. His eyes were glazed and he looked awful. I can understand Mother not wanting Father in hospital, neither do I but this was a no choice situation. Lots of things then went on between Mother and I that is not appropriate to put on here – let's just say I think she was feeling guilty about not phoning for help earlier and I got the brunt of it. The Paramedics were awesome in a dire situation and were there within 5 minutes (they must have come from Hunstanton). We had to clear the room and the porch for them to get him out of the house. Mother and I followed the ambulance. We waited with Father in A&E. He went for a CT scan and we waited for ages. Staff in A&E lovely, especially Tracy who was an NA I worked with for many years. Father very uncomfortable on the resus trolly, which obviously isn't mean't to be comfortable. Saw a very nice Doctor who was brilliant and did all the usual tests and told us the scan had showed a small stroke (no bleed thank goodness). It was torture to leave and Father got very upset and wanted to go home 'now'. So we left him on the resus trolley in A&E.

This morning (Sunday) I was furious to hear, that he had been on that resus trolley all night and half the morning as the hospital was bed blocked – no beds available. He was shortly going to be admitted to the Stroke Ward when I rang them this morning.

So an awesome day turned out be utterly crap at the end.

MORE PICTURES TO BE ADDED

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

SATURDAY 17TH OCTOBER.
Apologies, bird news posted late, due to personal circumstances (see next post)


Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
ISABELLINE SHRIKE 1w (probably Daurian Shrike) still in hedge near pond at Beeston Common.
RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL male/1w (A.S.) at drinking pool, BLYTH'S REED WARBLER (A.S.) in brambles & silver birches just north of main track by pool beyond boating lake, PALLAS'S WARBLERS x 3, Tree Pipit, Yellow-browed Warblers x 5, Crossbills x 3, HUME'S YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER by main track west of drinking pool, NORTHERN TREECREEPER at drinking pool, Richard's Pipit, Firecrest, Ring Ouzel, Great Grey Shrike 500 yards east of Lady Ann's Drive – all at Wells Woods.
ISABELLINE SHRIKE viewed from path, 50 yards before Washington Hide, RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL fem/1w Male still in willow west of crosstracks, PALLAS'S WARBLERS x 2, Yellow-browed Warbler, Firecrest, NORTHERN TREECREEPER east of crosstracks, Great White Egret at Holkham.
Short-eared Owl, Spotted Redshanks x 4, Yellow-legged Gull at Titchwell RSPB.
Great Grey Shrike in hedge west of Mill Common Road, Bacton.
KING EIDER possible flew west, Lapland Bunting, Black Brant, Pomarine Skuas x 5, Sooty Shearwaters x 8 at Cley.
Great Grey Shrike at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB.
DUSKY WARBLER, probable in garden of North House, viewable from main road at Burnham Deepdale.
Long-eared Owl, Great Grey Shrikes x 2, Short-eared Owl, Firecrest, Lapland Bunting at Waxham.
Great Grey Shrike in hedge SW of car park at Stiffkey Campsite.
Great Grey Shrike in North Dunes, Sooty Shearwaters x 2, Great Skuas x 3, Arctic Skua at Winterton.
Long-eared Owl, Ring Ouzel, Firecrest at Great Yarmouth Cemetery.
Great Grey Shrike at Little Snoring Airfield.
OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT, Short-eared Owl at Muckleburgh Hill, Weybourne.
Great Grey Shrike, Yellow-browed Warbler by lane just west of church at Trimingham.
Ring Ouzel on railway track at Hopton-on-Sea.
Siberian Chiffchaff probable briefly at Cockthorpe Common.
Great Grey Shrike at Walcott.
PALLAS'S WARBLER in NWT Forestry, Great Grey Shrikes x 2, Short-eared Owls x 2 at Holme Dunes NWT.
Richard's Pipits x 2 flew west over Gramborough Hill, Salthouse.

Lincolnshire Hightlights
DUSKY WARBLER still at Gibraltar Point NNR

MEGA NEWS!
MEGA! WILSON'S WARBLER for 5th day on Isle of Lewis.
MEGA! BLYTH'S PIPIT at St Mary's, Isles of Scilly.
MEGA! HUDSONIAN WHIMBREL at Tresco, Isles of Scilly.  

Saturday, 17 October 2015

MEGA, MONSTER WEEKEND!

There has to be a mega out there somewhere, search hard and when you find your monster bird, ring the news in early – no suppression please, east or west!

I spoke to Pete S. this evening who found the Great Grey Shrike on Muckleburgh Hill (his local patch) and he said that in one of his favourite areas on the hill this evening, were tons of Goldcrests and at least 15 Chiffchaffs in one tiny little patch! He had never seen it like that. He added 'there has to be something big on this hill'. I actually hope there isn't with the parking situation as it is.

Lots of good birds to be found tomorrow, enjoy the weekend everyone!

Weather
Saturday – North, North East – strong 20mph winds all day.
Sunday – North, North East on Sunday but winds drop significantly to around 7mph, which could be the day for finding that monster bird!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/2634567

Friday, 16 October 2015

Olive-backed Pipit, Lunch Out & My Second Red-flanked Bluetail This Week!

OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT
Muckleburgh Hill, Weybourne

I only had three hours sleep and forced myself to get up early, felt wrecked and looked wrecked. I wanted to see the Olive-backed Pipit at Muckleburgh Hill badly. I've seen one before, but they are just stunning birds to see, never tire of seeing them! Here is the last one I photographed at Stiffkey. Still blowing North Easterly and very strong winds today.

There wasn't any news on the OBP before I left the house, but I went anyway as I felt sure it was still there. When I reached Holt, news came on the pager that it was still there, fabulous! Parked up in Weynor Gardens and crossed the road to walk to Muckleburgh Hill. For anyone going at the weekend, firstly I was told this afternoon that the police have coned off one side of the road because of silly parking today as local vehicles could not get through, also the police will be monitoring this in the morning, so be warned! Directions: After crossing the road, go through the gate and take the right hand path that climbs up the hill. This path then bends left, keep following this path until it opens out and then bears right, but do not bear right, instead veer off left up the bracken covered hill to view the top, which consists of short and dead bracken, grassy bits and heather and this is surrounded by high dense bracken. There is a an oak tree and a rowan tree in the middle (ish). The OBP feeds all around the rowan tree and is very camouflaged, creeps around, but shows well when it does – good luck and enjoy. I spent a long time enjoying and photographed this cracking bird.
OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT
Muckleburgh Hill, Weybourne

What to do now? I had food with me, but I really fancied something hot and a proper sit down, so I had a fabulous lunch in the Kelling Tea Rooms which is dead opposite the track to Kelling Water Meadows. I can strongly recommend having lunch here. I simply had vegetable soup and crusty brown bread and butter. I have been very good with not eating crap this week, so did have a treat with a piece of their scrumptious coffee & walnut cake which I took away!

Next stop I decided was Gramborough Hill at Salthouse. Parked the car up and had my piece of cake and a coffee. I nearly fell asleep at this point, but shook myself and got out of the car. It was FREEZING here and the wind was almost gale force. I walked up to Gramborough Hill and skulked around the bushes looking for a Siberian Rubythroat, but it was obviously hunkered down well!!! I could hardly stand upright on the top of the hill, seaward side and huge waves were crashing on the shingle.

I was just about to leave and blitz Walsey Hills, when the pager bleeped up with RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL at the drinking pool, Wells!!! I was going there after Walsey anyway. Obviously gave Walsey Hills a miss and zoomed up to Wells in the green machine! Another £3.00 in the ticket machine! For a bluetail though, it was worth it. Walked as fast as I could to the drinking pool, to find an already large number of birders trying to view the bird in the large drinking pool area. You will never guess who found this.... Ashley Saunders, who has already found a Blyth's Reed Warbler this week, he's on a good run!!! Follow that man! Ashley's account and video of his RFB is HERE. I had good but brief views of the Red-flanked Bluetail, but not long enough to get a picture. Well I did take a couple of pics, but they are smudges on the camera! Most birders went off and followed the bird in whatever direction it went to, but J.F. another birder and myself stayed put. This paid off as the bird returned, still not able to get a picture though. We didn't see it anymore once dusk had set in. Will it be there tomorrow I wonder? Good chance I would have thought.

Drove home and started getting things ready for the morning, so I get to bed at a more reasonable hour. Its going to be a crazy weekend and I can't wait! Got tons of photos of the awesome Olive-backed Pipit at Muckleburgh Hill today, but after three hours sleep last night, I won't be sorting through hundreds of pictures tonight. Up in the dark tomorrow to join thousands of other birders travelling to and local birders for what's going to be an incredible weekend in Norfolk. I can't remember the last time we had a run of North Easterlies like this in October! An incredible week, but still no mega, got to be on the cards for the weekend, surely!!! Hope my holiday ends in a mega! I desperately wish I had booked another week off! With Ashley Saunders finding a Blyth's Reed Warbler and tonight's Red-flanked Bluetail at Wells, we are hoping for a third bird please, before Monday though!

MORE PHOTOGRAPHS TO BE ADDED

NORFOLK BIRD NEWS & MEGAS!

Norfolk Bird News via 'Rare Bird Alert'
RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL fem/1w Male still in willow west of crosstracks, PALLAS'S WARBLER, Great White Egret at Holkham.
ISABELLINE SHRIKE viewed from Washington Hide, Holkham.
ISABELLINE SHRIKE 1w (probably Daurian Shrike) still in hedge near pond at Beeston Common.
RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL male/1w (A.S.) at drinking pool, BLYTH'S REED WARBLER (A.S.) in brambles & silver birches just north of main track by pool beyond boating lake, PALLAS'S WARBLER, Yellow-browed Warbler, HUME'S YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER by main track, 1 mile east of Lady Ann's Drive, Great Grey Shrikes x 2 in fields opposite car park – all at Wells Woods.
Great Grey Shrike, Firecrest, Yellow-browed Warbler, Campsite Car park, Great Grey Shrike, Yellow-browed Warbler between car park and the whirligig at Stiffkey.
OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT, Great Grey Shrike (P.S.) at Muckleburgh Hill, Weybourne.
Long-eared Owl flew in off sea, Woodlark east, Great Northern Diver west at Weybourne.
Sooty Shearwaters x 8, Manx Shearwaters x 5, Great Skuas x 10, Little Auk, Puffin, Velvet Scoter at Sheringham.
Long-eared Owl landed in cemetery, then flew south, Great Grey Shrike at Great Yarmouth Cemetery.
Short-eared Owl flew in off sea at Black Redstart at South Denes, Great Yarmouth.
Ring Ouzel flew over Holme NOA.
Great Grey Shrikes x 2, Short-eared Owls x 2 at Holme Dunes NWT.
Pomarine Skua, Redstart, Short-eared Owl at Horsey.
Great Grey Shrike, Short-eared Owl at North Dunes, Winterton.
Sooty Shearwaters x 3, Great Skuas x 20 at Cley.
Great Grey Shrike, Yellow-browed Warbler at Snettisham Coastal Park.
Great Grey Shrike, Hen Harrier at Titchwell RSPB.
Great Grey Shrike at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB.
PALLAS'S WARBLER, Yellow-browed Warblers x 2, Firecrest, Ring Ouzel and this evening: Great Grey Shrike, Hen Harriers x 2, Short-eared Owl at Garden Drove, Warham Greens.
PALLAS'S WARBLER, Redstarts x 2, Tree Pipit at East Hills, Wells.
Long-eared Owl at Blakeney Point.
Black Redstart in garden at Ormesby St Margaret.
Firecrest at Sidestrand.
Great Grey Shrike at Little Snoring Airfield.
Great Grey Shrike at Scolt Head Island.
Short-eared Owl at Hopton-on-Sea.
Great Grey Shrike at Breydon Water.
Yellow-browed Warbler at Brancaster Staithe.

PHEW!!! Goodness knows, what the weekend list is going to be like!!!

MEGA NEWS!
MEGA! WILSON'S WARBLER for 4th day on Isle of Lewis.
MEGA! SHORT-TOED TREECREEPER at Dungeness, Kent.
MEGA! BLYTH'S PIPIT at St Mary's, Isles of Scilly.
MEGA! HUDSONIAN WHIMBREL at Tresco, Isles of Scilly.  

Garden Drove, Warham Request!

I have been asked by a local birder and also from the farmer at Garden Drove, Warham that birders DO NOT park in front of ANY of the pig-feed storage tanks. A large lorry regularly arrives on a daily basis (including weekends!) on the concrete pad and needs to park alongside (in front of all the tanks) to fill the tanks. If cars are parked there, the farmer can not carry out this procedure! The farmer has requested that birders park around the circumference of the concrete pad, so they can carry on working as normal. Also do not block any of the field/gate entrances. Its all common sense really! It is obviously in ALL our interests that we keep a friendly relationship with the farmer, otherwise we might not be able to park anywhere there at all! Thank you very much.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Massive Fall At EAST HILLS!

 Goldcrest in the Sycamore Glade, East Hills


Garden Drove and Wells
I was out early and arrived at Garden Drove, Warham at 8am. Very black clouds, made viewing difficult this morning. I walked east along the footpath to Wells. Between Garden Drove and Wells I saw a big movement of thrushes, including Blackbirds, Redwings, Song Thrushes and tons of Robins, Goldcrests and also a few Chiffchaffs. At the large scrub either side of the coastal footpath approx 1 mile west of Garden Drove, I sadly found 2 dead Goldcrests on the path. However, I had a nice surprise – a Whinchat appeared briefly in on a twig in the same scrub at 9am.

Oystercatchers and Brent Geese at East Hills
 Brent Geese at East Hills

Wren in the Sycamore Glade, East Hills


East Hills
Very wet walking out at East Hills today, can't believe I didn't fall over or sink! Hundreds of Brent Geese and a big number of Oystercatchers on the north side by Wells Harbour. It was exciting to be out here, as there was a MASSIVE fall of birds. Hundreds of thrushes including Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Redwings and smaller numbers of Fieldfare. Blackbirds and Redwings were in the biggest numbers and continuously scattered out of brambles as I walked along. Big numbers of Robins, lots of Wrens popping up everywhere, Hedgesparrows. Hundreds of Goldcrests, to be fair probably 1000+ were feeding on every available sycamore leaf and pine branch, a spectacle indeed! Flushed a Woodcock at the far end, also a couple of pheasants. A handful of Chiffchaffs were also seen in the main sycamore glade, along with 3 Bramblings and Blue Tits and Great Tits. I also found several very smart male Blackcaps. 4 Marsh Harriers were gliding around the south dunes. Also a Great Spotted Woodpecker calling. Whilst sitting under a pine tree at 12pm to have my late breakfast: an egg and vege sausage roll with coffee, I was treated to a spectacular overhead sighting of 2 majestic Red Kites, just over the tree tops!!! Couldn't get the camera on them quick enough though! Then the rain fell heavily. I hunkered against the pine tree whilst it hammered down. Suddenly another birder appeared and someone I hadn't expected – photographer David Tipling! David had flushed a Long-eared Owl in between two sycamores in the large flat area of ground! We swapped telephone numbers in case either found that elusive mega!
Chiffchaff in the Sycamore Glade, East Hills

 Chiffchaff in the Sycamore Glade, East Hills

 Goldcrests feeding in the Sycamore Glade, East Hills


Quite a while ago I dragged up two plastic type boxes off the beach, which each have small compartments in – these hold water and they make a perfect drinking/bathing container for tired migrants and because the sections are small, there are no fatalities. Sadly though, I found a new deep, white plastic container full of water and a Robin who had not been able to get out – I turned the container on its side, to allow only a small amount of water to reside, a sad and unnecessary death for the Robin, after all his hard work getting here. I also found a dead Redwing later. Lots of pager messages bleeping up all day including a third Isabelline Shrike – must be a record having 3 Isabelline Shrikes in Norfolk! Also pager messages included Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler at Wells and Brancaster and one of my favourite birds, an Olive-backed Pipit at Muckleburgh Hill and equally as frustrating a Long-eared Owl on Gramborough Hill – lots of Great Grey Shrikes etc – torture! Kept telling myself that all these would seem insignificant when I found my mega!
Song Thrush, East Hills


I spent a long time looking for David's Long-eared Owl – it was very frustrating to know that a Long-eared Owl was on here somewhere and I couldn't find it! I walked round East Hills twice, covering every area in my search for that one special bird. Though, most of my time was spent in the sycamore glade, peering up at green sycamore leaves and checking out every Goldcrest. I so wanted to see a Pallas's Warbler out here, but simply couldn't find one. There had been one out here yesterday according to late news today, along with a Great Grey Shrike. I also saw a Kestrel and a Common Buzzard out here and a Sparrowhawk zoomed through, then landed briefly on a pine tree before heading off. I found a third birder in the sycamore glade who was staying out until 5.30pm, I presume he didn't find anything big after I left.
 Redwing, East Hills

Blackcap at East Hills

I begrudgingly left the sycamore glade at just after 4pm and trudged back over quick sand, pools of water, creeks and mud. Saw 6 Grey Plovers flying north and 5 Little Egrets, arriving back at Garden Drove at 5.15pm, then headed back up the track to my car – I felt exhausted. It was now raining again. I could hear lots of Goldcrests on route back. Removed my extremely muddy waterproof over trousers and left quickly to twitch the Olive-backed Pipit.

Arrived at Weybourne at dusk. Flew out of the car, across the road and into Muckleburgh Hill as the light was fading fast. Several happy birders walking back, who told me exact location to see the Olive-backed Pipit. Passed R.M and M.T only yards from where it was last seen to have flown and Richard kindly gave me some tips on where/how to find it – search all along the edges of the bracken, which I did, but failed miserably. Got excited when a bird flew down on the edge of a strip of bracken to reveal a red breast! A robin tantalising me. I was gutted to say the least, I LOVE Olive-backed Pipits and this really made me p*ssed off to say the least. But time and light were against me. Nothing else I could do but make the long drive home.

So, in summary, a top draw day of migration at East Hills, but pretty shocked not to even find a Yellow-browed or Pallas's Warbler, never mind something rarer! I won't go out again before I go back to work on Monday. Three days left, its gone so quickly and there are still so many birds I want to see. I might follow the pager tomorrow!

MORE PICTURES TO BE ADDED