Saturday, 19 October 2013

New camera to North Norfolk

Having treated myself to a new camera body, a 2nd hand Nikon D2x, a monster of a machine, I was keen to get to Norfolk to begin learning how to use it successfully. Leaving at 5.45 I stopped off at Lyndford Arboretum to check for the 2 barred crossbills that are still reported as present. No sign, but good numbers of common crossbills, nuthatches and siskins. Then, off to Wells Woods, parking in the beach car park just past Pinewoods caravan site. To start with I took photos of any bird, beginning with this cormorant on the boating lake. A little later, a redwing, distant, drinking at a puddle. 2 female crossbills came down to drink, but a dog walker flushed them before I had the camera ready.
cormorant


redwing
There were quite a few birders checking the woods, but nothing was being reported. However, along with large numbers of redwings, there appeared to be blackcaps and blackbirds every 10 yards. A particularly pleasing female blackcap photo, taken through leaves from the footpath. With my previous D40 this would have been very difficult to get due to the focusing set up. However, the new camera permits very precise focus and so I could get on to the bird, rather than focusing on the nearer leaves.

female blackcap
Not too much else seen and I had missed the 4 flyover glossy ibis that headed west between Brancaster and Happisburgh so Off to Garden Drove just east of Wells.
Here, after a muddy drive down the track, I came across the first yearlister of the day; a male ring ouzel on the concrete at the end of the track. Unable to get a photo as I was still in the car. The bird flew off into the adjacent stubble field, not to be refound. A walk down to Warham Greens gave views of brambling, chaffinch, chiffchaff and more blackbirds and redwings but no rarities so I returned to the car. Another birder confirmed he, too had not seen anything out of the ordinary. I headed off to Cley, checking the hides first before a wander around to the beach carpark.
Not too much from the 3 centre hides, but a good opportunity to test the camera and adjust the settings. A selection of results here in what was becoming fading light.

lapwing/peewit/green plover.

lapwings and wigeon

take off

shelduck

female shoveler

3 shoveler and teal

pair of teal
At the beach carpark I noted 100+ brent geese in the Eye Field before I set up for a sea watch. Gannets and gulls were ever present but eventually I caught on a small bird on the water some way out. A grey phalarope. 2 others got on to it but it was difficult to describe its whereabouts as there were no lobster pot buoys etc to guide other sea watchers. Flocks of common scoter headed west. In one, flashes of white wingbars signalled my 3rd year lister of the day: velvet scoter, the 2nd being the phalarope. By this time the light was very poor, heavy overcast conditions. A marsh harrier ventured over the reserve and surprisingly everything went up so maybe a peregrine had made a move as birds were distracted by the harrier. I have noted this before, where a peregrine fires into a flock of rising birds concerned by the harrier. Watched a wigeon hit this way at Old Hall Marshes several years ago. Very spectacular.

brent geese

brent goose
A coffee and some bread buns filled with my standard fare for Norfolk: double gloucester and chorizio and I was good for a trip to Titchwell before the drive home. Here, bramblings were on the feeders, but too dark for a worthwhile shot along with usual daylisters like greenfinch, tits, thrushes etc. Several siskins called from the trees around the centre. The beach path was full of birders, but again, not too much on view. A stonechat on Thornham Marsh and, I suspect, in excess of 5000 golden plover on the Fresh Marsh. Usual waders: snipe, redshank, dunlin, ruff, and 100's pf teal and wigeon. I carried on for another beach watch where good waders were added to the list; black and bar tailed godwit, oystercatcher, curlew, sandering, a flyover grey plover + more scoter out to sea. 2 sandwich terns headed east. Several skua sp were called but all I saw were juvenile lesser black backed and herring gulls. Gannets were loafing around and a very distant shearwater remain unidentified.

Titchwell chiffchaff

chiffchaff

teal

wigeon

migrant hawkers

common darter

female migrant hawker

teal

wigeon

gadwall

little egret

moorhen
So, with the time approaching 6.30, I set off for home with over 170 photos. Once deleted they were reduced to 40, some of which I share here. Not great, but some pleasing clarity and with some, good sharpness. The ones at Titchwell had light compensation going on as it really was very poor conditions. The chiffchaff, as they are prone to do, would not stay still, so please to fire off a couple that captured the bird reasonably well.
The 3 year listers take my annual total to a respectable 203, still 15+ to get and with a day at Dungeness and then the following day at Sandwich bird obs, should be able to get these.

2 comments:

DorsetDipper said...

Hi Jono

I saw the (hen) harrier/peregrine combo at work on the North York Moors many years ago, and it was written up in BB. The HH quarters the moor looking to take birds on the ground, and the Peregrine picks them off as they fly away from the Harrier

Badger said...

I've also seen this behaviour between Hen Harrier and Peregrine
on Otmoor.

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