Saturday, 15 June 2019

Great White Egret at Hickling: the video!

Short video of the GWE in front of Cadbury Hide:

Hickling fill-up: Egrets and Swallowtails

On our way back from Winterton / Horsey, Brian and I stopped for tea and scones at 'Poppyland' (highly recommended!) before making a brief visit to Hickling Broad. The very first bird we came across was a Great White Egret in front of Cadbury Hide: it was sharing the scrape with a Little Egret, the first of 20+ we saw on our circuit of the reserve.

The other notable records were hundreds more Painted Ladies, a few Large Skippers and half a dozen mint-fresh Swallowtails. These were mostly lurking low down out of the wind, but a group of three were more accessible near the landing stage.


Friday, 14 June 2019

A two Shrike day! Red-backed Shrike at Winterton and Lesser Grey just five miles away!

Brian and I met early and were at Horsey by 7.15: unfortunately the LGS was about a mile away! Still: we are patient fellows, so we chatted to the two or three other birders present and were quite quickly rewarded when this beautiful vagrant approached within just twenty or so metres. Somebody with a different pager to me called out that a Red-backed Shrike had been found in the Valley at Winterton, so we said our goodbyes and left. (On the way we realised there was an influx of Painted Ladies taking place: by the time we left the coast we must have seen four or five hundred!)

After a few false starts the Shrike was refound more or less where it had first been seen, allowing the half-dozen birders present exceptional views. The local House Sparrows and Whitethroats were not at all happy, possibly because the Shrike had recently enjoyed a fledgeling Whitethroat for its breakfast!


Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Decent bits and pieces in the Yare Valley, plus a surprise at the Fen.

With the weather forecast predicting rain until the weekend, I thought I'd grab the chance of an early walk around Strumpshaw and Buckenham this morning. Lots of Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs singing still, but the first surprise - more of a shock, really - was a Long-eared Owl that glided along the woodland edge at 6.15... No chance of a photo, sadly.

The rest of the birds on offer were more expected: a confiding Sparrowhawk, two Cuckoos, a Barn Owl and lots of Sedge Warblers, while the chicken-wire cages still held Twayblade and Bee Orchids.

Buckenham Marsh also produced two Cuckoos, and Cetti's seem to be having a good year: I saw five during my walk to the drainage Mill. Lots of Little Egrets, Sedges, Whitethroats and Linnets and it was interesting to watch a pair of Redshanks defending their bit of the marsh from a couple of Avocets.


Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Monday, 10 June 2019

Dragonflies and open gardens at Burlingham...

Linda, Sue, Peter and I decided to combine a couple of simultaneous events: the annual Hemblington Church 'Treasure Hunt' and the North Burlingham Open Garden Festival.

The treasure hunt involves a five or six mile walk around the lanes of Hemblington and Burlingham, identifying locations from clues on a 'treasure map': great fun and an excuse for a good walk in the sunshine. Since some of the clues referred to the nearby hamlet of North Burlingham, we visited their Open Gardens event, meeting lots of old friends and enjoying a haloumi burger and Pimms for lunch!

On the way I photographed some excellent dragonflies (notably Broad-bodied and Scarce Chasers)
In Jary's Wood there must have been over 100 Norfolk Hawkers hunting in the large clearing - amazing.

I had to leave early to sing and play at the Hermitage Jam Session, so missed out on a glass of pink fizz on the patio with the other three!

I attach a terrific photo of the LGS, taken by local birder (and nice guy!) Keith Bilverstone: he had arrived even earlier than us and had found the Shrike on a track-side Gorse bush!