Saturday, 29 March 2014

Norfolk Day 28.03.14

A 5a.m. start for a day's birding in North Norfolk. A very foggy morning meant a slower than usual drive up the M11. However, I was at Thornham Point before 7.30 and plenty of regular birds around. Pied wagtails, oystercatchers, curlew, redshank and brent geese were in good numbers.
oystercatcher

brent geese

pied wagtail

curlew
I then headed to nearby Titchwell and a walk to the beach. A hawthorn shield bug and shoulder stripe moth were noted as I scanned the pools but the mist was still about so not great viewing. Likewise, distant sea watching was not possible but this didn't stop me noting in excess of 4000 common scoter half way to the horizon. On the tideline were 4 grey plovers, black tailed godwits and turnstones along with herring, common and black headed gulls.
grey plover and herring gull

black tailed godwit
Off to check the Freshmarsh from the Parrinder hide. 50+ golden plovers flew past whilst more waders and wildfowl were noted, but on the whole very quiet. 4 marsh harriers were up but not too much else. I searched for the red crested pochards reported from earlier in the week, but no sign so after a quick wander around the fen trail, which was partially closed, off to Holkham. Before I did, 3 chiffchaff were heard from the car park.
black tailed godwit

looking east toward Brancaster from Titchwell beach

wren in good voice

solitary knot roosting with black tailed godwits
A quick detour up to Choseley proved worthwhile as I came across both species of partridge, linnets, yellowhammers, finches and a single male wheatear. Latter being my first of the year.
distant male wheatear

linnet

red legged partridge

yellowhammer

very distant golden plover flock
grey partridge
Nothing at Holkham from Lady Anne's Drive, so I popped down to Stiffkey Saltmarsh, but just more finches, little egrets, shelduck, curlew and gulls so on to Cley for a lunch and coffee. Here, I rejoined Norfolk Wildlife Trust before a rapid check of Arnold's Marsh, Salthouse beach, Kelling Heath and finally Cley beach.
At Arnold's there were good numbers of redshank and avocet. One avocet had colour coded rings on both legs. I have sent off the relevant information to the organisers of this scheme, based in France. At Salthouse the group of confiding turnstones were still about but no Richard's pipit or snow bunting.  Several gannet, great black backed gull and cormorant made the day list from Cley beach, before I left to finish the day at Lynford Arboretum near Mundford.
brent geese over Stiffkey Saltmarsh

turnstones, Salthouse beach

avocet: Arnold's Marsh, Cley
I arrived Lynford in fading light, but several crests were calling as soon as I got out of the car. A few birders were still about and it became apparent that 7 hawfinches had being showing well by the feeders but had no gone to roost. After a while I got onto at least 2 firecrests in the carpark trees as plenty of common crossbills flew over. A nuthatch made the list, but it was too dark for any firecrest photos. All I got were poor silhouettes.
A 74 species day was pleasing and I plan to return over the Easter weekend where I hope there will be plenty of summer migrants about.
Finally, my birding partner, Gary, has just returned from a whistle stop trip to The Gambia. His report, containing huge number of great photos can be viewed at hereWell worth a gander.

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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