Thursday, 11 September 2014

Day in Norfolk. 09.09.14

A 4.45a.m. start for North Norfolk where I had been booked to take a birder out for the day, to less well known areas of the coast that may offer good bird watching. I picked Adrian up from the hostelry where he was staying at 7 and we were soon at Titchwell for some early morning birds. Good to get here before the crowds and so it proved as only a handful of birders were present. An early curlew sandpiper was noted on the Freshmarsh as we headed to the sea. Usual suspects all around: dunlin, black tailed godwit, 12 spotted redshank on Thornham Marsh were good, along with teal, and 2 garganey, pochard, little grebe etc.
From the beach the morning mist made sea watching tricky, but 5 arctic skuas, sandwich terns as well as common terns were present. All good day listers and it wasn't 9 a.m.,
Back at the Parrinder hide there were plenty of birds to check. A little stint performed well outside the hide, as did a bathing meadow pipit. Spoonbills, avocets, black tailed godwits, a few knot, redshanks and greenshanks all got on to the daylist. Back on the path we heard and then saw, a sizable party of superb bearded reedlings. I had only earlier commented upon the fact I had never managed a pleasing photo of this species. Hopefully, you'll agree, I have improved upon this with these offerings. Also, from the path, a great white egret.
ruff from Parrinder Hide

meadow pipit, Parrinder Hide

Little stint, Parrinder Hide

ruff and 2 little stint, footpath

great views of a party of bearded reedling near island hide, Here a male

2 females/first year birds


After coffee, we headed up to Choseley barns but, apart from yellowhammer, finches and red legged partridge we were disappointed. Whinchat had been recorded here, but not at that present moment. So, off to Burnham Overy Staithe, walking as far as the sea defence path. Added kestrel, willow warbler, chiffchaff, whitethroat before a bird, distant in reeds turned out to be a whinchat. On our wander back a large skein of pink footed geese were airborne along with several common buzzard, all towards Holkham Freshmarsh.
After a brief trip down Lady Anne's Drive we stopped off at Warham Greens and a walk to the metal gibbet. Not too much here at all apart from flocks of finches, but checking the sky we discovered a peregrine circling in thermals with another common buzzard. Then, we found ourselves at Cley ready for lunch. Picnic Fayre in the village supplied us with vitals and a coffee at the the visitors' centre was much appreciated. On to the reserve and into the hides where more waders were noted, mainly ruff and another group of little stints.
pink foots

long tailed tit, Burnham Overy Staithe
We then headed for the beach carpark and a brief wander towards the North hide that was. Many dog walkers here, so we returned to the car, having noted more meadow pipits and a brief glimpse of a probable wheatear. On to the east bank where we went straight to Arnold's marsh. More super waders with curlew sandpiper, curlews and more greenshank. A look skyward produced a hobby thermalling with a sparrowhawk above. A marsh harrier roosting in a tree was noted before a brief sea watch. As we headed back a long tailed, pointed winged bird appeared over the trees at Walsey Hills for a few seconds. Wings not seen above the body gave the impression of cuckoo, but not enough to confirm. Back to the car and off to Salthouse beach, but nothing here so a final stop on our easterly journey at Kelling water meadows. The reported bonellis was not to be seen, albeit seen by a group just as we walked away, but not evident to us as it flew off with a chaffinch, both birds flying in a most finch like manner! However, the most bird busy part of the day away from the marshes, with willow warbler, whitethroat, stonechat, teal, a flyby party of ruff as we arrived towards Muckleborough Hill.  A good walk and by now we were approaching 6pm. A long day with just one more stop at Stiffkey Fen. Here, the sun would be in our favour and birds would be coming into roost. We were not disappointed as green sandpiper, 2 eclipse pintail, more spoonbills, little egrets, wigeon etc were noted before a drive back to Sedgeford to drop Adrian off. The main purpose of the visit was to acquaint Adrian with the best birding sites along the coast. I think we managed quite a few, covering around 14 miles on foot, as I set off for home .
Upon arriving back in the village, I made a quick tally of species: 95 definites, 2 heard only and 2 possibles. A good tally for a busy day.
male stonechat, Kelling Quags. Note colour ringed, details forwarded to BTO

Female stonechat towards Muckleborough Hill.
Edit: just received details of the ringed male stonechat. It was ringed as a juvenile at Kelling Heath 06.07.12 and then paired up with a local unringed female at bred successfully at Weybourne Camp in both 2013 and 2014. So, very much a local bird.
Species list;
little grebe, gannet, cormorant, little egret, great whie egret, grey heron, spoonbill, mute swan, pink foot goose, canada goose, greylag goose, shelduck, mallard, gadwall, pintail, shoveler, wigeon, teal, garganey, pochard, tufted duck, common scoter, marsh harrier, common buzzard, sparrow hawk, kestrel, hobby, peregrine, red  legged partridge, grey partridge, pheasant, water rail (heard), moorhen, coot, oystercatcher, avocet, ringed plover, golden plover, lapwing, knot, turnstone, dunlin, curlew sandpiper, little stint, green sandpiper, redshank, spotted redshank, greenshank, black tailed godwit, curlew (50 species) snipe, ruff, arctic skua, black headed gull, common gull, herring gull, lesser black backed gull, greater black backed gull, sandwich tern, common tern (60 sp) stock dove, wood pigeon, collared dove, swallow, house martin, meadow pipit, pied wagtail, grey wagtail, wren, dunnock (70 sp) robin, wheatear (probable) whinchat, stonechat, blackbird, blackcap, whitethroat,cetti'swarbler (heard), reed warbler, willow warbler (80 sp) chiffchaff, great tit, blue tit, long tailed tit, bearded reedling, magpie, jay, jackdaw, rook, carrion crow (90 sp)starling, house sparrow, chaffinch, linnet, goldfinch, greenfinch, reed bunting, yellowhammer + cuckoo possible, making it 99 species for theday if you count the possible and probable. I do as neither are year listers etc and 99 is a good total. Oh for a grey plover, song thrush or common sandpiper to help make the ton.
However, I know Adrian got red backed shrike earlier today, so I am sure he will pass 110 species for his 5 day stay. Good luck with those woodpeckers!

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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