Monday, 22 December 2014

North Norfolk Day

Today, I had been booked to take Kathy and Dave out birding along the coast, so, leaving home early, I picked them up in Wells Next The Sea at just after 7a.m. and we were off to Titchwell. We arrived before first light on what is the shortest day so we needed to get the most out of what light we had. Some quick watching as we headed to the beach where the regular waders were all noted. The light was very poor and not many photos were taken as the sun was yet to appear over the horizon behind Titchwell village.
Nothing at all on the sea and only gulls and cormorants, so off to the Parrinder Hide. As we walked along the path we noted a stoat pulling a dead blackbird into the verge. Sadly, although we got cracking views, the light was still too poor for the fast shot needed to freeze the action. On the Freshmarsh huge numbers of teal, with avocets, godwits, brent geese and wigeon. We heard a cettis warbler before we had a quick wander around the meadow trail that realised greenfinch, goldfinch and chaffinch along with blue and great tits. Over coffee at the VC we added coal tit and long tailed tit. A search for a possible woodcock was not successful, so off to Choseley for yellowhammer, linnet and finches. Shame, but since they tidied the farm area no corn buntings have been seen here. Several red legged partridge made the day list along with more curlews and geese, both in the fields and overhead. From here; Burnham Overy Staithe for a check to see if the rough legged buzzard was about.
teal and a brent goose

shoveler

Immaculately plumaged drake teal

Brent geese
At Burnham Overy Staithe we stopped at the layby and scanned all the way to Holkham Pines. Eventually, a white tailed rough legged buzzard came into view and, after disappearing several times, finally alighted on a tree where good scope views were had. A lifer for David and Kathy. Numerous geese including a party of surprise barnacles in amongst the pink foots, brent and greylags.
So, on along the A149 to Holkham. A brief stop just before the Victoria and Lady Anne's Drive gave great scope views of a white fronted goose. Several were present. A lifer for my guests and a year lister (#221) for me.
white fronted goose; a year lister

Pink foots in with greylag geese
From here we popped down Lady Anne's Drive where more wigeon and pink foots were encountered along with lapwings. A quick trip to the pines but far too windy for crests to be on the wing, so we had to settle for hearing them, high in the conifers.
By now, still windy and grey, we set off for Cley and a planned sandwich at the VC. A check on the sea from the beach car park gave up nothing again, but Kathy and Dave got close to some brents for a photo or two. At the centre they had run out of sausages, so we had to settle for bacon sandwiches and another coffee for me. Very little on the board so along to Salthouse where the resident turnstones performed well before a walk along the East Bank to Arnold's Marsh. Redshank, shelduck, black tailed godwits and a grey plover as well as more little egrets but no snow buntings on the shingle. Again, too windy, so back to the car. A pair of stonechat showed well near the car park  and then off for a stop and walk to Warham Greens at the whirlygig. After a brief wait and a solitary marsh harrier, we got views of 2 ring tailed hen harriers coming in to roost.
More linnets and finches along the footpath before we decided to complete our day with another check on Lady Anne's Drive where we got more geese including tundra bean geese, our 8th goose species of the day. A spectacular arrival of pink foots and greylags carried on for 15 minutes but no hoped for barn or short eared owls,. By this time the light had all but gone and so back to The Globe for a pint, goodbyes and my return home.
Egyptian geese

Common gull at Salthouse


Turnstone on the Salthouse shingle


Little egret from the East Bank, Cley
All in all, a super day and I trust my guests enjoyed their day, with 3 lifers for them and 2 year listers for me. As we unpacked the car at Wells more pink foots headed Holkham way overhead. We must have observed over 10,000 of them during the 9 hours we were out.

Species list:
little grebe, cormorant, little egret, grey heron, mute swan, white fronted goose, tundra bean goose, pink footed goose, greylag goose, canada goose (10 sp) barnacle goose, brent geese, shelduck, egyptian goose, mallard, gadwall, pintail, shoveler. wigeon, teal (20 sp) pochard, tufted duck, red kite, marsh harrier, hen harrier, rough legged buzzard, common buzzard, kestrel, red legged partridge, grey partridge (30 sp), pheasant, moorhen, coot, oystercatcher, avocet, grey plover, golden plover, lapwing, knot, sanderling (40sp) turnstone, dunlin, redshank, black tailed godwit, curlew, snipe, ruff, black headed gull, common gull, herring gull (50 sp), lesser black backed gull, greater black backed gull, stock dove, wood pigeon, collared dove, skylark, meadow pipit, pied wagtail, wren, dunnock (60 sp) robin, stonechat, song thrush, mistle thrush, blackbird, cettis warbler (heard) goldcrest (heard) great tit, coal tit, blue tit, (70 sp) long tailed tit, magie, jay, jackdaw, carrion crow, rook, starling, house sparrow, chaffinch, linnet, (80 sp) goldfinch, greenfinch,reed bunting, yellowhammer.

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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