Thursday, 30 July 2015

North Norfolk Day: 29.07.15

A whole day in North Norfolk, leaving home at 5a.m. after the moth trap had been checked. A coffee near Ely, as usual meant I was at Titchwell before 7a.m and the only one on the whole reserve. A slight, light drizzle and north westerly breeze meant I wasn't expecting too much, but this reserve offers so much, there is always something to see and hear.
A check around the car park trees gave up little (a male golden oriole was recorded hear in the late afternoon!) so on to the reserve. Waders galore on the freshmarsh, but before arriving to check these, a wood sandpiper called and flew off north towards the coast, over Thornham grazing marsh. I suspect it rose unseen from the mud and pools on Thornham Marsh. First year lister. The light was not good for checking Freshmarsh etc, so off to the beach. Breezy conditions with a good swell meant hard to view through the scope. Huge numbers of oystercatchers on the beach, along with sanderling and turnstone with several curlew and bar tailed godwits.
redshank

confiding black headed gull: Titchwell beach

Superbly plumaged black tailed godwit

This redshank was hiding from some ground predator. Very adgitated.

Distant bar tailed godwit in early morning light

Black tailed skimmer: Titchwell footpath

feeding little egret

Back on the reserve regular fare was noted: reed buntings and linnets over Thornham way, looking towards Holme, skylarks, little egrets and curlews in the ditches and a constant flow of black headed gulls. Into the Parrinder hide and plenty of avocets, black tailed godwits with smaller numbers of bar tailed. In amongst a party of 15 feeding ruff were some dunlin and a solitary curlew sandpiper, showing the fading summer plumage and emergence of the tell tale white supercilium of winter plumage. The white rump showed as an unseen raptor or predator put all waders and terns up. A few sandwich terns and moulting common terns before I headed back for the opening of the moth traps. Having been a breezy and cold night, low expectation of the contents was proved correct, but an old lady and purple thorn were good to see. Another coffee and the Titchwell special bakewell tart had me raring to go. As with my previous trip, I then decided to head east to Cley, check out the Cley square and then just pop into other noted sites.
As I drove along the A149, at reference 835435 an owl sp caught my eye shortly after the sharp left hand bend. I turned as soon as I could, parked and checked the field. Nothing of the suspected barn owl, so back to the car and onwards. After 25 yards, the owl was again seen, now on the right hand side. Fortunately, a parking spot and I was out, firing off many photos. A superb sight, which I enjoyed for  half an hour before the presumed 1st year bird disappeared from view. Over 130 photos taken, which was soon reduced to 20 in the car and then even fewer on the laptop!
Barn Owl from A149 north of Burnham Market


Light was tricky as this bird ranged over the field. sadly, a little over exposed.......

..........but it was a very white bird, all the same. Probably 1st year.







Before Cley I popped down to Stiffkey Greens for a quick scan. A distant spoonbill was added to the list, but nothing else of note, so onwards.
At Cley, a  wander along East Bank was worthwhile, with Arnold's Marsh holding over 200 sandwich terns, curlew, cormorant, redshank, avocet but not the 300 whimbrel that some swaro carrying camo clad birder had informed me of as I photographed a rather worn sedge warbler on the east bank by the car park. 300 whimbrel would be incredible, (unheard of, I suspect) but there were several hundred black tailed godwits, so, mis-identification from a new birder, perhaps.
Good pose

Worn sedge warbler with breakfast

shelduck and avocet from Daukes, Cley

Black tailed godwit, further moulted than that shown at the top.

Cley avocet

From here, after the 3rd coffee of the morning and managing to get away from the book shelves without making a purchase, a side trip, firstly to Kelling Heath, but just a few finches etc on show and then to Sheringham cliffs, but nothing of note during a 20 minute sea watch so back along the A149 to Kelling and a wander to one of my favourite quiet spots on the coast: Kelling Water Meadows. This is always a pleasant walk but little of note in the high hedges before the water meadows. A good site for wood sandpiper, but clearly not today, as there only were plenty of black headed gulls and a few of the now dangerous and infamous attack gulls formerly known as herring gulls. I left unscathed!
Stiffkey Fen was next on the agenda, another quiet and relatively unbirded site. Here, a moulting med gull made the day list and waders such as godwits and avocets were noted. Teal, gadwall, mallard were evident and several egrets and a grey heron. The latter having issues with a family of greylags. A scope scan of Blakeney harbour offered little, so a return to Cley for an afternoon sea watch and, if time permitted, a quick visit to Daukes Hide on the reserve.
Nothing on the sea, so off to the hides. a green sandpiper from Daukes, briefly and a little ringed plover made the day list as I scanned through endless ruff and godwits for any unusual waders. There were none, so a slow wander back to the car. The light had not been good for most of the afternoon, with a couple of light rainfalls, but nothing as predicted on the met office weather forecast on Radio 4 earlier in the day. Strange these forecasts, as the BBC website, as viewed on Monday evening, was spot on for Wednesday whilst the morning forecast for that day, on the BBC was clearly not correct!
Off to Wells to meet Gary in The Edinburgh for a couple of jars before heading home. Good to catch up again with Gary, but due to tiredness, increasing old age and basic forgetfulness, I bought 2 pints and promptly forgot to pick up my wallet from the bar. This error was not noted until I arrived home, a few hours later and a phone call to The Edinburgh informed me that they could not find it. Consequently, cancelled bank cards, £50 lost and more importantly, a few old photos and driving licence, the latter which of course can be replaced. Silly sod!!
All in all, apart from my error at the end of the day, a great day out and a pleasing set of photos. Strange how sometimes you get a good set, whilst for no apparent reason, you return on occasions with a poor and disappointing set that really are not worth putting here.





Species list;
cormorant, little egret, grey heron, spoonbill, mute swan, greylag goose, canada goose, shelduck, mallard, gadwall, (10 sp) shoveler, teal, tufted duck, red kite, marsh harrier, common buzzard, kestrel, red legged partridge, pheasant, moorhen (20 sp) coot, oystercatcher, avocet, little ringed plover, grey plover, lapwing, sanderling, turnstone, dunlin, curlew sandpiper (30 sp) wood sandpiper, green sandpiper, common sandpiper, redshank, black tailed godwit, bar tailed godwit, curlew, ruff, black headed gull, mediterranean gull,(40 sp) herring gull, lesser black backed gull, greater black backed gull, sandwich tern, common tern, stock dove, wood pigeon, collared dove, barn owl, little owl (50 sp) green woodpecker, skylark, sand martin, swallow, house martin, meadow pipit, pied wagtail, wren, dunnock, robin, (60 sp) song thrush, blackbird, chiffchaff, reed warbler, cetti's warbler, sedge warbler, great tit, blue tit, long tailed tit, magpie (70 sp) jay, jackdaw, rook, carrion crow, starling, house sparrow, chaffinch, goldfinch, greenfinch, linnet (80 sp) reed bunting.

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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