Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Norfolk: Bad, better and best

Yesterday, a whole day in North Norfolk. Unusual for me to do a twitch but I thought I would begin with the roller at Horsey. En route, marsh harrier and common crane had been seen over the road, along with usual road side birds. A 5a.m. start saw me at Horsey before 7 and a walk down to the area where it has been seen daily for a few weeks. I met up with another chap and we searched all the way to the beach and then along the track to the trees where it was originally found. Here we met another chap who was sure it wasn't where we were heading, so back to scour the north side of the track. After an hour I had had enough. All I had seen were goldfinches, wren, yellowhammer, 3 kestrels, wood pigeons, carrion crows and a quick sea watch had given up little, sandwich and common terns and a solitary gannet heading north. I left, bumping into fellow birders as I headed back to the car.
Off to Salthouse for the temmincks stint and purple sandpiper that had been present over the weekend. Nothing!! Not a good start to the day, so off for a double espresso at Cley and, hopefully the red necked phalarope. In the car park, I bumped into the chap I met at Horsey and then 2 others. After I had left the roller turned up within 2 minutes. They shouted into the wind for me as they could still see me talking to a couple of birders. Oh well, can't win them all. He had great photos, too. Into Dawkes hide for green sandpiper, ringed plover et al before a drive around to the beach car park and the swarovski hide. A confiding meadow pipit showed well and a little egret lazed across the Eye Field. The hide was busy, all looking for the rnp. It turned up, at distance, puddling around and continually feeding. I wondered how many of these strikes actually provide food? A few photos here, through a 300mm lens and then cropped!!
green sandpiper


Spot the red necked phalarope. Answer at end of article.

rnp

Another distant red necked phalarope.

meadow pipit

meadow pipit
After this, I set off for Arnold's Marsh. Always a great place and I wasn't disappointed. Black and bar tailed godwits, terns, cormorants, a solitary very red, red knot, redshank and a single curlew sandpiper. Always like it here and stayed a while just enjoying the spectacle and chatting to a couple who have been to a few of my RSPB talks. Then, off to Stiffkey Fen, a gem of a place.
Here, more of the same waders, checking the juvenile ruffs to make sure they weren't buff breasted sandpipers. Another good selection of birds and med gull went on to the day list. From here I stopped off, in torrential rain, for a coffee at Holkham tea rooms before a late afternoon jaunt to Titchwell. The test match appeared to be going in the wrong direction, but my day was getting better, so I thought Titchwell would crown the day. I wasn't disappointed.
The light was superb with avocets, lapwings and moorhen right outside the island hide. On the scrape a garganey and off in a smaller water, red crested pochard. Plenty of godwits, ruff, dunlin and a wood sandpiper, another year lister. Snipe probed, moorhen messed about, avocets swept and black headed gulls called. Superb. By the time I had got back to the car, the Aussies had collapsed and I had  enjoyed 2 very peaceful hours alone on the reserve. Dark clouds and increasing breeze encouraged me back to the car park rather than the beach. I'll be back for this habitat in a couple of weeks. Returned home at 10.15pm, a long but wonderful day.
In all an 82 species day, with 9 year listers.
Finally: the juvenile red necked phalarope in the picture quiz is between the 2 mud piles to the left. Got it? Tiny, compared to the dunlin to the right of the photo, not to mention the 2 black tailed godwits in the foreground. Photo taken from over 100 yards away. The bird took some finding.


feeding avocet

black tailed godwit

distant knot in good plumage

lapwing

juvenile avocet

female mallard keeping an eye on her brood

pile of mallards

adolescent moorhen

moorhen and follower

ruff

Amazing light

snipe

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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