Friday, 19 April 2013

Century scored

A full day in Norfolk, leaving 4.30 a.m. and returning at dusk gave views of precisely 100 bird species. Nothing outstandingly rare, but some good birds mixed in with the regulars along with one or two birds found in strange surroundings or odd time of year. In all, 12 year listers.
First stop was Hunstanton clifftop car park where, in the morning light goldfinches, siskins, lesser redpolls etc were moving west in large numbers. Good numbers of meadow pipits, too. A few sanderling, oystercatchers and sandwich terns were also recorded as we scanned the sea and sand.
On to Choseley barns were we scored with singing corn buntings, numerous pheasants and red legged partridge. Also, grey partridge pairs were viewed in several fields before we landed at Titchwell. With showers promised we thought we'd check the sea first and use the hides if it rained. Upon arrival brambling and other finches were noted on the feeders and a water rail adjacent to the path.
Choseley Barn corn bunting

goldfinch

obliging blackbird

brambling at Titchwell

skulking water rail, Titchwell.
 
We arrived at the sea, Gary, Dave and myself and quickly noted very little. A solitary great crested grebe, some distant wigeon and common scoter moving west and some in off curlews and godwits. Back in the hides, usual suspects were noted along with little ringed plover, white wagtail and grey plover. Along the path, a harrier, but this time not a marshie, a male hen. Good bird. This was followed by brief views of a whinchat which refused to emerge from its bush. The wind was strong and most birds were keeping a low profile. A few reed buntings were braving the gusts to sing from their song bushes.
After the boys finished their lunch (8.30a.m.) we popped into Holkham and Lady Anne's Drive but not too much to add and we didn't get to the lake, so no Egyptian goose. We stopped off at Wells Harbour, but the tide was in so all we got were 3 sticks of rock. A good sugar hit! Dave waxed lyrical about their various merits. Gary and I were unable to speak due to our teeth being glued together with rhubarb and custard flavour!
Off to Warham Greens where no migrants apart from a willow warbler were noted. The wind being southerly was spoiling our plans of newly arrived summer stuff, but never mind, on to Cley for more coffee.
little egret

male ruff

Titchwell ruff

summer plumaged spotted redshank

black tailed godwit
At Cley a few things were about, so we went in search of the (ex) long staying purple sandpiper. Gone. A walk in stiff breeze to the Swarovski hide gave views of skylark, meadow pipits, wheatear and not a lot else apart from 100's of brent geese in off. Weather was messing up their migratory flights. Then off along East Bank where a surprise awaited in the form of a female goosander on Arnold's Marsh. Not too much else so off to Salthouse beach where a troublesome pipit was relocated after an initial sighting. A rock pipit in a small puddle! Good bird. A count now revealed we were in the mid 90's species wise and the hunt was on. A grey heron made it 99 and so off to West Runton for hoped for fulmars. Nothing! A search through flocks of wood pigeons and starlings for ring ouzel and stock dove. Nothing. Off to Sheringham clifftops for more of the same. Nothing! Off to The Lobster for a pint and chips for the boys. Tick. Off to the Wyndham Arms for another pint. Tick. By this time the early start was beginning to tell so we set off for home. Near Fakenham a large bird of prey overhead. A red kite. The century bird. Great result and then home, stopping for a double espresso at The Swan, Hilborough. Dave too full of chips and rock to get out of the car. Home by last light, with a possible, but not counted hobby rapidly over the road a few miles from the village. Off to check on this at the weekend.
A super day out and a great bird list. Plenty we could have added had we searched new sites, as we did at Kelling Heat, but no warblers.

Complete Species list

 

great crested grebe, cormorant, little egret, grey heron, mute swan, greylag goose, canada goose, brent goose, shelduck, mallard, (10 sp) gadwall, shoveler, wigeon, teal, pochard, tufted duck, common scoter, goosander, red kite, marsh harrier, (20 sp) hen harrier, common buzzard, kestrel, red legged partridge, grey partridge, pheasant, water rail, moorhen, coot, oystercatcher (30 sp) avocet, little ringed plover, ringed plover, grey plover, golden plover, lapwing, sanderling, turnstone, dunlin, redshank, (40sp) spotted redshank, black tailed godwit, bar tailed godwit, curlew, ruff, black headed gull, common gull, herring gull, lesser black backed gull, greater black backed gull (50 sp) kittiwake, sandwich tern, wood pigeon, collared dove, barn owl, green woodpecker, great spotted woodpecker, skylark, sand martin, swallow,( 60 sp) house martin, rock pipit, meadow pipit, pied wagtail, white wagtail, yellow wagtail, wren, dunnock, robin, wheatear,( 70 sp) whinchat song thrush, redwing, blackbird, sedge warbler, reed warbler, cettis warbler, willow warbler, chiffchaff, great tit (80 sp) blue tit, long tailed tit, magpie, jay, jackdaw, carrion crow, rook, starling, house sparrow, chaffinch (90 sp) brambling, linnet, lesser redpoll, goldfinch, greenfinch, siskin, bullfinch, reed bunting, yellowhammer, corn bunting (100sp)
 
Salthouse black headed gull

Titchwell song thrush

Titchwell avocets.
 
The ones in bold are year listers, taking my none twitching year total to 156. For another version of this trip, giving more details of Dave's dietary requirements please visit Gary's site:
http://hairybirders.blogspot.co.uk

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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