Friday, 21 October 2016

Postcards from the East Coast!

With some decent northerlies forecast, I thought I'd have a bit of a seawatch at Walcott. The tide was right in and the waves were splashing over the sea defences: very atmospheric! In the event, though, very little was moving past: a few Guillemots, Gannets and Red-throated Divers as well as flocks of Teal, Wigeon, Brents and Eiders. The super-tame Turnstones were squabbling over invisible specks of food on the sea wall, allowing some great photos of these charming little birds.

I headed south to Horsey, parking at the western end of the Nelson Head road, from where I walked out to the dunes. Lots of newly arrived Redwings skittered along the track, always just to far for worthwhile photography. I fancy I heard a Ring Ouzel chacking away with one group. Stonechats were everywhere: in the fields, hedges and reed beds as well as on the wires along the Horsey road.

Nothing much out on the grazing marshes (just a few Marsh Harriers) so I carried on to take a peep at the seals. About 100 or so were hauled up on the beach, carefully watched over by the Warden. Lots of canoodling going on, as well as the odd tussle between rival males. How fortunate I am to live in this beautiful county....


Thursday, 20 October 2016

Jack Snipe at Strumpshaw Fen

My brother had one morning left of his short birding trip to Norfolk, so we decided on a visit to Strumpshaw so he could take some Kingfisher pictures. In the event we added three Jack Snipe to our tally: these were quite hard to pick out, but eventually we managed reasonable - and conclusive - views of their central dark crown stripes and short, broad bills.

Rob took lots of photos of the Jacks, several close Marsh Harriers, and the resident Black Swan before we retreated to the Reception Hide. After a very brief wait an obliging Kingfisher perched on its usual branch, allowing some good close images: overhead a Peregrine charged backward and forward...


Wednesday, 19 October 2016

A pleasant day out, despite the weather...

Second day of my 'big brother' Rob's birding visit. Since the weather forecast for east Norfolk was foul, we started off at Titchwell. Despite the weather, the reserve was packed with casual birders and tour groups, so we were somewhat limited in our viewing. Still: Rob enjoyed the chance to try out his new Nikon Fresnel 300 prime (and the sausage baguettes at lunchtime!)

A move to Thornham added Rock Pipit and a few confiding waders, but little else, so we gradually drifted eastwards, stopping for scones at the visitor centre. Once the rain eased, we walked out to Bishop's where a pair of Jack Snipe had allegedly spent the morning in front of the hide: a Common Snipe fed on the bank and another couple slept among the reeds. Although these seemed to have shortish bills, they have obvious pale crown stripes and hence must be Commons....

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Afternoon at Hickling Broad

My elder brother Rob came up from Kent for a few day's birding: he was actually the person who introduced me to the hobby when we were young, so it's always a delight to spend time with him in the field.

We waited for the morning rain to pass before driving to Hickling for a somewhat gusty walk around the reserve. Against my expectations we managed to see - and photograph - some interesting stuff and enjoyed chatting with each other and with a group of birders on holiday from Kent.

Birds I didn't manage to photograph included Great Spotted Woodie, Swallow, House Martin and Kingfisher - really close at the Bittern Hide, but behind some reed stems!