Saturday, 21 November 2015

North Norfolk Day

Set off at 5.30 and picked Gary up from home at 7.15. We then headed to Burnham Overy Staithe via a quick view over Lady Anne's Drive. Plenty of pink foots and wigeon but no sign of a hoped for short eared owl, but a barn owl was seen. No owls or raptors around Burnham Overy fields, some egyptian geese made the day list. A barn owl patrolled the fields near Brancaster, a very early morning photo here. A quick visit to Thornham harbour where we scored with a flock of twite, redhank and curlew but no sign of the 3 shore lark reported the previous day. As we drove up the lane, a black redstart popped from the tarmac to the hedge, not to reappear again.
early morning Barn Owl (Brancaster)

early curlew (Thornham)

redshank (Thornham)

Teal (Titchwell)

Black tailed godwit (Titchwell)

the meet and greet black headed gull (Titchwell beach)

Turnstone (Titchwell)

same meet and greet gull

Common gull (Titchwell beach)

ringed black tailed godwit (Titchwell)

same godwit

Snipe (Parrinder hide)

From here, we headed to Titchwell in cold, windy conditions. First time this autumn/winter I have worn my heavy coat. No brambling at the feeders so off to the beach. Very little out to sea but regular waders on the beach: sanderling, oystercatchers, dunlin, etc with the usual assortment of gulls. Aparticularly confiding black headed gull met us as we walked on to the beach and then stayed around our feet as we scoped the sea. Then, back to the Parrinder Hide. As we passed the Brackish Pool I noted a ringed black tailed godwit. red over pink on the right leg and red over yellow on the left. The number ring was turned inwards so could only read Z and then number 7 as the final digit.
Immediately upon entering the hide a snipe sp flew off, before landing just to the left of the hide.. Good views of the bird, showing a crown stripe, so common snipe, as shown in the photo
 and just beyond, at the water's edge, a water pipit. From the hide, shoveler, avocet, dunlin, golden plover, gulls, brent geese, meadow pipits, goldfinch, linnet, pied wagtails all got on to the list along with mallard, gadwall and teal. A coffee was now required, so off to the cafe and reported the birds and the ringed godwit.
A quick check for brambling just gave views of regular finches so off to Choseley barns where red legged partidge and grey partridge were noted. A check through several thousand pink foots showed them all to be...... pink foots before a tractor flushed the lot. A spectacular view as they all rose and headed a little way east. From Choseley we then headed back east, checking the usual places as we drove, before arriving at Cley and another coffee and a pastie. Not too much on the list except whopped swan of interest, so off along the East Bank. Arnold's Marsh had redshank, curlew, godwits and cormorants before we decided on a quick sea watch. Glad we did as we scored with red throated and black throated diver, great crested grebe, a long tailed duck, wigeon flypast, common scoter, 20+ guillemot, more cormorant, gannets, mainly full adults, a superb bouncing flock of snow bunting and 3 shelduck west meant we stayed much longer then planned, such was the quality of birds to be noted. Then, with the light fading to our final planned visit of the day, Warham Greens for raptors. A fly by merlin as we headed along the muddy track to the whirligig roundabout where several marsh harriers were noted. The sky towards Wells was becoming increasingly threatening, but superb scope views of a resting female merlin on sueda kept our attention. We then decided that, with me having a long drive home, that the hen harriers could wait for another day as I didn't want to get a soaking. About 400 yards from the car the heavens opened and we were duly drenched, with a cold north westerly pushing the rain and hail behind us. This meant the backs of our trousers were soaked, the front, bone dry. No hat also meant rain dripping down my back and soaking the collar of my shirt. Cold and damp we steamed up the car and headed for another coffee at Wells before finishing with a session at Lady Anne's Drive where another barn owl was noted before the geese came in to roost. Fantastic sunset, but unfortunately the geese weren't in a cooperative mood and failed to fly through the orange sky for a hoped for photo. Eventually a small skein did, but not the 100's we would have liked.
Holkham sunset

Pink foot geese through sunset (Holkham)

common seal (Cley beach)

pink foots (Holkham)

Brent goose (Warham Greens)

Holkham

Threatening clouds (Holkham)

Moon at Lady Anne's Drive

Off to drop Gary at home before I also headed home having had a superb day, with 3year listers in a species list of 87 birds. Very pleasing with black throated diver, long tailed duck and merlin getting on to the year list as well as the water pipit. Very productive day. This takes my year list to exactly 200 species.
Species list:
red throated diver, black throated diver, great crested grebe, little grebe, gannet, cormorant, little egret, mute swan, pink footed goose, greylag, goose (10 sp) brent goose, shelduck, egyptian goose, mallard, gadwall, shoveler, teal, wigeon, tufted duck, common scoter (20 sp) long tailed duck, marsh harrier, red kite, common buzzard, kestrel, merlin, red legged partridge, grey partridge, pheasant, moorhen (30 sp) coot, oystercatcher, avocet, ringed plover, golden plover, knot, lapwing, sanderling, turnstone, dunlin (40 sp) redshank, black tailed godwit, bar tailed godwit, curlew, snipe, ruff, black headed gull, common gull, herring gull (50 sp)lesser balck backed gull, great black backed gull, guillemot, wood pigeon, collared dove, barn owl, kingfisher, skylark, water pipit, meadow pipit, (60 sp) pied wagtail wren, robin, dunnock,black redstart,blackbird, cettis warbler, chiffchaff, great tit, blue tit, (70 sp) long tailed tit, coal tit, magpie, jay, jackdaw, carrion crow, rook, starling, house sparrow, chaffinch (80 sp) linnet, twite, goldfinch, reed bunting, snow 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