Sunday, 29 December 2013

North Norfolk, Ouse washes, Welney and local patch

Plenty to catch up on as been involved in Christamssy stuff etc.

North Norfolk 6th - 8th December
A two day stay at the White Horse at Blakeney was nearly cancelled due to the storm surge the previous morning. However, as far as the hotel was concerned, all was fine. Damage was considerable and it looks like it will be a fair while before all is back to normal along the whole of the North Norfolk coast.
This was not a birding trip so on the Monday morning we visited Cley HQ but no access to the beach or reserve, nor Salthouse beach car park, so we had a lovely walk from Kelling to Sheringham and back. The sea was its regular self but plenty of evidence all along the coastline of the high water previously. The amount of plastic bottles was amazing, literally 1000's. A disgrace really and I can't even begin to estimate how many 100,000's are floating around the North Sea.
black headed gull

What was the footbridge over the ditch on to Cley Marshes. Misty Tuesday morning.

Salthouse beach road some 100 yards short of the original car park

Shingle ridge now in fields west of Salthouse car park

Shelduck on the road opposite Manor Hotel, Blakeney

Weybourne cliffs

wigeon, Blakeney harbour
Welney and Ouse Marshes
A day visit around the fens seemed to be a good idea in mild conditions. Normally, in winter, these 2 reserves can be bitterly cold, especially if there is a northerly wind. However, upon entry to Welney I bagged bird species 212 for the year, a bewicks swan. Most of the swans were away in fields, but quite a few whoppers and some distant bewicks remained. Huge numbers of pochard and in the distance, massive numbers of golden plover, lapwings and black tailed godwits. However, as usual, Welney doesn't hold my attention for too long and so off to Ouse Marshes.

whoopers in flight

feeding whooper from the hide

Just a minority of the lapwings present at Welney

whooper

whoopers
A quick drive round to Ouse Marshes, where the pumping station at Welches dam was pouring water onto the marsh. tens of thousands of wildfowl, mainly wigeon and teal but good numbers of gadwall, mallard, pintail and several shoveler. A marsh harrier put up the plovers and a few bewicks and whoppers were knocking about in the middle distance. At the final hide a stonechat popped up whilst a large party of mixed siskin and lesser redpoll called overhead.

plovers and teal, Ouse Marshes

Ouse Marshes as the light fades

flight of lapwings

stonechat

view from Stockdale hide

teal and a few wigeon
North Norfolk; Titchwell, Holkham and Kelling Quags
Saturday before Christmas (21st) and Gary and I were off to North Norfolk. Our original destination had been North Kent, but with forecasted poor weather, plus the joy of shoppers at Lakeside and Bluewater, we changed our plans.
First stop, Titchwell in very poor light. A sea watch gave up little, few divers and a pair of red breasted mergansers, so off to the Parrinder Hide. From here, it was obvious many birds have not returned after the storm surge a fortnight previously. However, good numbers of teal and golden plover along with incoming brents made for a pleasant time. A greenshank with black tailed godwits was also good to see. A check around the dry lake near the HQ gave up plenty of pied wagtails but little else. A cettis called as we checked the feeders. Siskins were heard, but on the whole, not much to keep us. We headed for Kelling Hard where a Richard's pipit had been reported. Stopping off to check the geese at Lady Anne's Drive, we scored with.... geese! Wigeon also but no owls. A coffee at Cley to note the damage reported earlier before a soggy wander down to Kelling water meadows. Here there was very little to see. A red legged partridge called and a flock of 6+ bullfinches was all we noted as we walked down the track. The rain started with an increase in the breeze and my hat was soon weaving its way across the meadow. Once retrieved we, along with several others, continued our pipit search. This is a large area to cover for one bird and eventually the rain helped us decide that the car was a more sensible option. Off to Edgefield for some crossbill action. Nope, nothing doing with the parrots. They were present, apparently, but without knowing where, all we could do was stop and listen. Nothing, so off for some pastry based food and a stop off in the gathering gloom at Lyndford for common and 2 barred crossers. Nope, a coal tit, a mistle thrush defending a berry tree and a few siskins heard.
Whilst not our most successful Norfolk day, good to get one more trip in before the end of the year.
The light remained poor throughout the day, so just a couple of snaps from the parrinder hide and footpath.

teal

shovelers
Local Patch wander: 29.12.13
This morning dawned crisp and frozen so off for a good walk around the west of the parish. Several gulls had caught my eye on Boxing Day so, firstly, off to check the flock of 40+ Strangely, for Little Hadham 32 were common gulls, whilst the rest were black headed. This is the largest number of commons I have recorded in the parish, so a great start. Off to check pines for crests, but little apart from usual, coal, great and blue tits. A kestrel flew overhead and plenty of red legged partridge called from the meadows. They have done well as there have been a few shoots around recently. A chat with the gamekeeper revealed no woodcock so far this winter.
I then back tracked, getting some finches overhead along with a flock of thrushes. 55+ fieldfare and 20+ redwing. A good number for here this year, where they have been in very low numbers. A green woodpecker made its presence known. A check for the owls showed a distant little owl at its usual oak tree roost and, whilst new evidence of the barn owl, it remained hidden in the hollow trunk of the roost it has used for 3 years.
On to the golf course for more gulls, lesser black backed this time and a flyover great spotted woodpecker before I headed home over ground still frozen. More thrushes overhead along with corvids, robins and a fly past sparrow hawk.
Wonderful wander.

goldfinch on teasel

2 common gulls and black headed

kestrel

No comments:

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