Sunday, 6 October 2013

200 up: North Norfolk

Saturday 5th October and a hastily put together Norfolk trip, picking up Gary at 5.30a.m. in Bishop's Stortford. Plenty had been reported over the previous couple of days so it was fingers crossed for a few rares and a chance to add 3 year listers to bring up the magical 200 species.
After a strong coffee break near Ely we arrived at Titchwell at 7.30 and almost immediately heard yellow browed warbler near the car park.At this time, in the dense vegetation it was not worth checking to see it, that would be later, so we headed off to the reserve and the island hide.
Here regular waders in the shape of snipe, ruff, dunlin with a solitary avocet and splendid grey plover. However, the highlight was, as we watched a jack snipe, a most territorial water rail emerged to see it off. Being a jack it was up and down in a few seconds and we later saw the same rail chase off a common snipe, too. This legged it over to the reed beds from Fresh Marsh. A med gull in flight before we headed to the beach. Plenty of westerly gannet movement and 3 red throated divers. A great crested grebe on the sea along with waders on the beach. Sanderlings ran and turnstones messed about on the broken pill box on the beach. Oystercatchers, godwits, curlew and redshank were also noted. As we walked back a confiding curlew on the Brakish Marsh.

dunlin

snipe

water rail

Back to the Parrinder Hide and a spotted redshank and golden plover before checking the meadow trail for the yellow browed. Brief glimpses as it moved between the dense willows, calling upon take off. #198 for the year and a lifer for Gary report here

ruff

turnstone

sanderling

1st year and adult herring gull

After another coffee we headed for Burnham Overy Dunes hoping for some migrants but got little else apart from wheatear and stonechat. Dunnocks, skylarks, house sparrows and linnets were all checked but they turned out to be what they were!

confiding curlew

pleasing shot

more dunlin

same curlew

 A trek back to the car and off to Holkham Pines for more searching. The Washington hide was our first stop after listening in the woods, but nothing was giving itself away. In the hide was a party of pensioners enjoying their picnic. One set of bins between them, enjoying views of greylags. A distant hobby was noted over the hall estate as well as 2 spoonbills. More variety clubbers arrived, complaining about Gary's scope so we left before choice words were uttered! On to the Tower Hide where we scored with 100's of greylag and a marsh harrier. Upon leaving long tailed, great and blue tits were heard along with glimpses of goldcrests. A check for firecrest was unsuccessful and we didn't hear one, either.

common darter

Agrarian revolution memorial: Holkham Hall

female marsh harrier

greylags using airbrakes

kestrel

greylags unsettled by microlight.

As we were ahead of schedule we thought, after a discussion, it maybe worth going for the Warham Greens red breasted flycatcher. Once parked and a wander to the Norfolk Coastal footpath, we saw plenty of folk in a small copse. Here indeed was the rbf, deep in the tree. Fortunately it moved as the only chap on it wasn't too good at describing its position. Phrases like "up the trunk and along the diagonal" and "behind the green leaves" don't actually pinpoint the quarry! However, by climbing a tree I was lucky that the bird flew into binocular vision and I got good, if brief views, as did Gary. #199! A lifer for him.
By this time it was gone 3 and we both needed to be home by 7, so off to the Three Horseshoes at Warham for a pint. Pub closed so on to The Swan at Hilborough for an excellent pint of Growler and a strangely tasty packet of poppadoms with a carton of jam to dip. Revolutionary and a talking point in the pub. Very modern, I thought.
Seeing as we were passing Lyndford Arboretum it seemed only right that we should pop in. Once parked we were immediately onto common crossbills. #200 for 2013 and the 3rd lifer of the day for Gary. No sign of the 2 barred crossers but large numbers of siskins flew to roost and plenty of nuthatches called.
Home by 6.30 was much appreciated. Great day and a good list which, with a little more time and another habitat could have easily topped 100.
Species list:
red throated diver, little grebe, great crested grebe, gannet, cormorant, little egret, grey heron, spoonbill, mute swan, pink footed goose,(10 sp) greylag goose, canada goose, brent goose, shelduck, egyptian goose, mallard, gadwall, shoveler, wigeon, teal, (20 sp) pochard, tufted duck, marsh harrier, kestrel, hobby, pheasant, water rail, moorhen, coot, oystercatcher, (30 sp)avocet, ringed plover, grey plover, golden plover, lapwing, knot, sanderling, turnstone, dunlin, redshank (40 sp) spotted redshank, greenshank, black tailed godwit, bar tailed godwit, curlew, snipe, jack snipe, ruff, black headed gull,common gull (50 sp) mediterranean gull, herring gull, lesser black backed gull, great black backed gull, wood pigeon, collared dove, skylark, swallow, meadow pipit, pied wagtail (60 sp) wren, dunnock, robin, wheatear, stonechat, song thrush, blackbird, cettis warbler, reed warbler, chiffchaff (70 sp) yellow browed warbler, goldcrest, red breasted flycatcher, great tit, blue tit, long tailed tit, nuthatch, treecreeper, magpie, jay (80 sp) jackdaw, rook, carrion crow, starling, house sparrow, chaffinch, linnet, goldfinch, greenfinch, siskin, (90 sp) common crossbill

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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