Sunday, 7 December 2014

Gloriously bright day in Norfolk

A plan was hatched on Friday night in the Prince of Wales that Gary would pick me up in Little Hadham at 6.30 for a Norfolk day. Gary was heading up to his new house near Holkham to drop off tiles for the builder so, for the first time in 38 years or so, I was a passenger for the trip to North Norfolk.
At his house the tiles were dropped off. We had been discussing potential garden list and I pointed out that red kite roosted at nearby New Holkham. As we pulled on to the drive a superb red kite flew over, low and giving great views. A pied wagtail on the wires, too.
We headed for nearby Lady Anne's Drive and a walk to Holkham Gap. Plenty of geese and wigeon in the fields whilst long tailed, coal, blue and great tits in the conifers associating with mobile goldcrests. 4 red legged partridge on the beach and plenty of redshank. Viewing the sea we saw only a raft of scoter, containing at least 2 velvets and a flyby red throated diver west. Back on the beach, skylarks and a party of linnets contained some twite. Gary got better views that previously when we saw them at Thornham. Back to the car, the sky was cloudless, light was excellent and the breeze freezing.
Holkham pink foots

wigeon

Just a few of the 100's of wigeon present


Distant Holkham Freshmarsh marsh harrier.
Then, off to Titchwell where we were aware of good reports of sea watching. A coffee and beef roll and we were on the trail. Waders were in good numbers around the parrinder hide and my first (only) year lister of the day, a water pipit on one of the few pieces of land still dry. The water levels were indeed high. On to the beach, the tide was out exposing the rocks and petrified tree roots beyond the pill box remains. Waders everywhere: black tailed godwit, sanderling, turnstone, redshank, curlew, knot, dunlin whilst out to sea, a single black throated diver, showing heavy bill and the diagnostic white patch at water level.
Redshank from the beach footpath

Black headed gull and oystercatcher, Titchwell beach

Gary checking the sea and feeling the cold having 36 hours previously, been in  Hong Kong

redshank and oystercatcher

turnstone

turnstone and dunlin

knot

dunlin with lunch, a razor clam

black tailed godwit

black headed gull and reflection.
Back on the reserve we tried for water pipit photos, but too far away. An avocet remained on the freshmarsh as the pipit called and flew in front of the Parrinder Hide. Hundreds of teal, lapwing, golden plover, brent geese plus shoveler, a drake pintail and more  wigeon.
We then thought a quick end of day trip to Holme where we might get lucky with an owl or two. More tits and crests in the conifers and a day tick little grebe, but no owls hunting whilst we were there over Thornham looking east towards Titchwell.
A super day, thanks for driving, Gary.
Gary's reports from his trip to Hong Kong and Thailand can be viewed here Well worth a visit, excellent photos and report from Mai Po Reserve, Hong Kong.

Distant water pipit
Species list:
red throated diver, black throated diver, little grebe, cormorant, little egret, grey heron, mute swan, pink footed goose, greylag goose, canada goose,(10 sp) brent goose, shelduck, mallard, gadwall, pintail, shoveler, wigeon, teal, pochard, tufted duck (20 sp) common scoter, velvet scoter, red kite, marsh harrier, common buzzard, kestrel, red legged partridge, pheasant, moorhen, coot (30 sp) , oystercatcher, avocet, golden plover, lapwing, knot, sanderling, turnstone, dunlin, redshank, black tailed godwit,(40 sp) bar tailed godwit, curlew, ruff, black headed gull, common gull, herring gull, lesser black backed gull, great black backed gull, wood pigeon, collared dove, (50 sp)kingfisher (heard) skylark, water pipit, meadow pipit, pied wagtail, wren, dunnock, robin, stonechat, song thrush (60 sp) fieldfare, blackbird, great tit, coal tit, blue tit, long tailed tit, magpie, jackdaw, rook, carrion crow, (70 sp)starling, house sparrow, chaffinch, linnet, twite, goldfinch, greenfinch,bullfinch, reed bunting. Total 79 species: 1 year lister takes me to 217 for a none twitching 2014 list. Should pass 220 with trips to Kent on Friday and then Suffolk (perhaps) on Saturday.

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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