Monday, 18 February 2013

A Norfolk Day

A 5a.m. start for a whole day birding in Norfolk. No particular plan, just a wander and see what was about. In all a pleasing 87 species were recorded for the day and whilst nothing was stunning there was plenty that made it more than worthwhile.

Hunstanton Dawn

Hunstanton common gull on a frosty morning
A 7.00a.m. start to proceedings at Hunstanton Cliffs gave a good view of a common gull (above) along with a quick shot of an out to sea fulmar as well as land based birds such as goldfinches, pied wagtails and a selection of gulls.
Spot the black headed gull

knot and sanderling

Knot (and sanderling)

Knot

Sanderling

brambling

early morning Titchwell
A short drive found me as the only person at Titchwell RSPB  reserve. Super birds were seen, including: water rail, brambling (below) siskin, a surprise little stint mingling with dunlin west of the footpath, spotted redshanks. However, upon reaching the beach I primarily noted the smell of rotting shellfish! Millions of razorshells had been washed up in a strong tide and now, cleaned by gulls were rotting away, much to the pleasure of 1000's of knots, 100's sanderlings and 10's of turnstones.
A jay was also witnessed balancing upon the feeders near the visitors' centre
jay on feeder

However, the highlight for me was coming across a fairly common bird that offered an opportunity for a reasonable snap. A spotted redshank with reflections, courtesy of the good light.
Spotted redshank

same bird



redshank for comparison. Note short bill.
 

Having covered most of Titchwell Reserve, adding whooper swan, black tailed godwit, 30+ avocets, ruff, a single guillemot (distant over the sea) pintail, grey plover etc, I left for Choseley drying barns. Here, 12 corn buntings, numerous house sparrows, yellowhammers and chaffinches were noted before a quick stop at Holkham for Great spotted woodpecker and another spotted redshank.
Then onto Cley, where I renewed my membership and enjoyed some pastry in the shape of a Cornish pasty along with the obligatory double espresso. On the reserve I noted a few new birds for the day (pochard, bar tailed godwit, marsh harrier and starling) before a walk along the East Bank to Arnold's. Here were plenty of waders with ringed plover being a new one for the day. A little grebe was also noted in a drain ditch. However, some good opportunities to photo a little egret were on offer, if you didn't mind crawling through reeds!



Then, on to the car park where a purple sandpiper was feeding near the Eye Pool. I have never seen one of these feeding in a field, its usual habitat being rocks close to breaking waves. Whilst here, I popped up on to the sea defence to check towards Blakeney and found a long tailed duck in one of the channels. At this point I met a few folk who had been to some of my RSPB  talks, so good to catch up with them.
After this, I whizzed around to Salthouse beach car park. The regular turnstones didn't move for anybody, offering close up photos. Whilst here, I also recorded a flock of mobile snow bunting and over the dunes, a single shore lark, heading towards the Muckleborough collection and Weybourne.

confiding turnstone

late afternoon looking back towards Salthouse

After this, with light fading, I thought a quick wander around Kelling Heath would give up a few birds. A dartford warbler was heard whilst kestrel, fieldfare and redwing were added to the list.
A super day.
Kelling Heath sunset
 
Finally, a few random photos of other birds where the photos worked. Good for folk who are trying to sort out tricky waders in flight, plus a few extras.



mainly golden plovers

What can you see here?

Not too friendly!


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This is me

This is me
At the end of another Norfolk Coastal footpath walk. 47 miles, 3 days 99 species of bird

Caley Wood view

Caley Wood view
sunshine through the canopy 29.05.08

A walk along the Warta Valley, Poznan, Poland. Feb 2007

A walk along the Warta Valley, Poznan, Poland. Feb 2007
Best birds on this walk: black and middle spotted woodpecker and short toed treecreeper

About Me

My photo
A primary school teacher for 30 years, I retired from teaching in July 2009 to set up my own science enhancement and communication company. The Primary Works offers science clubs, workshops and staged science shows nationwide. I have always been interested in bird watching since my early years. Apparently my first tick was after inquiring about a chaffinch and then receiving the Observer book of birds. By the age of 9 I had moved on to Tory Peterson's collins guide and was now involved on YOC birding holidays to Northumbria, Essex coast, Slimbridge and Yorkshire. My twitching rule is that I will willingly travel 1km for each gram the bird weighs. However, I have had many rarities just by being in the right place. I have travelled widely throughout Europe and also visited Australia and Sri Lanka. Further European destinations are planned and a bigger trip to The Crimea was planned for 2014 but now not possible. so 2014: Sri Lanka in January, Poland in April, Madeira in June and The Camargue in July. So far 2015 has been Sri Lanka in Jan, Poland in Feb, Sri Lanka in April and The Camargue coming up in 1st week of September.

Grey heron

Grey heron
Over the allotment 28.09.08

Southern Hawker

Southern Hawker
Ridge footpath 27.08.08

Juvenile green woodpecker (17.08.08)

Juvenile green woodpecker (17.08.08)
Note the stripes, denoting a bird fledged this year.

common blue

common blue
Ash Valley G.C. 15.08.08

Indian balsam (impatiens glandulifera)

Indian balsam (impatiens glandulifera)
River Ash

azure damselfly

azure damselfly
River Ash 28.07.08

marbled white

marbled white
Discovered at Westland Green 22.07.08

ruddy darter

ruddy darter
Bush Wood 21.07.08

honeysuckle 19.07.08

honeysuckle 19.07.08
growing in hedgerow in Chapel Lane

cinnabar moth caterpillar

cinnabar moth caterpillar
Photographed on ragwort 19.07.08

Bittersweet

Bittersweet
Study of petals 11.06.08

male yellowhammer

male yellowhammer
08.06.08

common blue butterfly

common blue butterfly
06.06.08

River Ash

River Ash
looking south from the bridge at Hadham Ford

Common poppy (papaver rhoeas)

Common poppy (papaver rhoeas)
in rape field 29.05.08

Caley Wood sunshine

Caley Wood sunshine
29.05.08

Millenium Wood fox

Millenium Wood fox
24.05.08

common comfrey (symphytum officinale)

common comfrey (symphytum officinale)
06.05.08 banks of the River Ash

Garlic Mustard or Jack by the Hedge,(Alliara petiolata)

Garlic Mustard or Jack by the Hedge,(Alliara petiolata)
flowers, leaves and fruit edible . Good in salad and pesto

April showers

April showers
Double rainbow 30.04.08

Caley Wood bluebells

Caley Wood bluebells
22.04.08

Yellow Archangel

Yellow Archangel
Chapel Lane (20.04.08)

sunlight 16.04.08

sunlight 16.04.08
looking south west from Bush Wood

snowy buds

snowy buds
06.04.08 in Bush Wood

Looking north west

Looking north west
05.04.08 evening shower approaching

Back Garden

Back Garden
Easter Sunday (23.03.08)

Brick Kiln Hill

Brick Kiln Hill
Looking east (23.03.08)

No play today

No play today
The 2nd hole at Ash Valley golf course

Teasel head

Teasel head
Bush Wood (21.03.08)

Reflections

Reflections
daffodils at Bush Wood pond (21.03.08)

Swollen River Ash

Swollen River Ash
The river at the bottom of Winding Hill 16.03.08

Daybreak over the chapel

Daybreak over the chapel
Thursday 13th March

Wild daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus)

Wild daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus)
growing in Bush Wood

January snowdrops

January snowdrops
Banks of River Ash, north of Much Hadham

Good Moon

Good Moon
From garden 24.01.08

Village Green

Village Green
Looking east towards Acremore Street

Looking south before Hadham Ford

Looking south before Hadham Ford
rare January blue sky

Useful sites

The following are some useful websites that may interest readers of this blog.
Firstly, Bishop's Stortford Natural History Society http://bsnhs.webplus.net/

Fellow birder, Gary Whelan's blog. Gives reports from our trips out together plus reports from his trips abroad. http://hairybirders.blogspot.co.uk
http://www.hertsbirdclub.org.uk/ The official herts bird club website. Frequently updated, listing bird sightings around the county. Offers links to many other websites. Both of these sites also offer links to yahoo discussion groups.
http://www.birdforum.net/ An international site. You can enter as a guest but become a member( free) to post comments, bird sightings and just about anything to do with wild birds. Good news updates, classified section for binoculars, cameras etc.
http://www.guidedbirdwatching.com/ A new site set up where you can contact people worldwide who will help you find good birds in their country. UK section being set up presently.
http://www.britainsbirder.co.uk/
Fellow birders blog. Strtford resident, Graeme Smith regulary birds the area south of Stortford as well as around Spellbrook and the River Stort from Spellbrook to Twyford Locks. Some superb bird photography: Graeme uses a digital camera attached to his powerful telescope to get detailled images of the birds he sees. Well worth a browse.
Two local sites that may be of interest can be found at
http://www.thehadhams.com/ www.thepelhams.net/content/section/12/139/

South Easterly walk

South Easterly walk
black, normal, red extended walk

South Westerly route.

South Westerly route.
Black usual, red extended

North Easterly walk

North Easterly walk
black short, walk. Red, extended

North West Patch

North West Patch
black route regular. Red route the extended wander