Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Glaucous Gull at Cley and other birthday birds!

Linda and I enjoyed a leisurely few hours birding along the North Coast,  starting at Cley with good views of the obliging juvenile Glaucous Gull, as well as more distant ones of a flock of Scoter that included at least six Velvets.

After tea and cakes at the VC, we carried on westwards to Hollkham, where a walk  through the pines was eventually rewarded by a Great White Egret lurking in a ditch (but occasionally emerging!)

Back to Sheringham, where we enjoyed close views of  a charming Purple Sandpiper...

Monday, 14 January 2019

Venus and Jupiter

The two brightest objects in the night sky (apart from the Moon!) are coming together in the dawn skies: Venus top right, Jupiter bottom left.


Many thanks to those of you who've sent birthday greetings: much appreciated...

I'm sure Linda has some lovely surprises ready  - she always comes up with something special - but so far the only planned outing today is an emergency dental appointment!

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Lots going on in the skies: Mars, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn and a lunar eclipse...

The next few days will be an exciting time for naked eye astronomers - if the skies are clear!
Tonight the Moon and Mars were quite close together in the western sky, but over the next week Jupiter and Venus will get closer and closer in the south-eastern pre-dawn sky: a truly spectacular conjunction of the two brightest planets. Then, on the morning of the 21st, the Moon will enter the earth's shadow and be eclipsed, becoming a classic 'blood Moon'. Totality will be visible (clouds permitting!) from 04.40 until 05.40, so you'll need to set your alarm clocks!

Also worth looking out for the beautiful winter constellation of Orion (picture below) His 'sword' hanging down from the three stars of his belt is a fascinating sight through even a small 'scope, containing as it does the bright Orion Nebula. This cloud of gas and dust is probably a region of new star formation...

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Hooded Crow, Taigas and a dodgy White Stork: keeping it local!

Needing a bit of cheering up, I took a short drive around East Norfolk, intending to have a look at the Tundra Beans at Stokesby. Unfortunately these seemed to have moved on, but an unringed White Stork was interesting (although far too close to Thrigby for comfort!)

Mautby pig fields held two apparent Hooded Crows: these are generally considered to be hybrids, but are always good to see. Nearby a pair of Buzzards displayed over the woods: amazing how we've come almost to expect these delightful birds whenever we're out and about in Norfolk. It's only a few years ago they were very noteworthy in the eastern counties.

Last stop was the railway platform at Buckenham. From this well-known vantage point I managed some distant shots of a group of 15 or so Taiga Bean Geese, as well as over 100 Whitefronts. Pinkfeet flew over in skeins of several hundred...




Friday, 11 January 2019

Buckenham odds and ends: Whitefronts, Peregrines and Kites

Having spent a short time refilling some of the bird feeders at Hemblington Church, I detoured via Buckenham to see if any interesting geese were near enough to photograph. In the event (and with the help of a kind gent and his telescope!) I managed to pick out and subsequently grab a snap of some Whitefronts. (One in the middle looks a bit like a Lesser!)

Also loafing around were several Buzzards, Marsh Harriers and Red Kites, as well as two Peregrines on their usual gate. Back home a gorgeous Fieldfare was one of several that visited the garden.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Ring-necked Duck, Tree Sparrows and more Corn Buntings than I've ever seen!

Linda, Brian and I took a pleasant drive through the rush hour traffic to Welney, arriving just before the reserve opened. This allowed us exclusive access to a lovely flock of around 30 Tree Sparrows, beautifully lit by the morning sunlight.

After a few minutes we were able to enter the reserve and stroll across the bridge to the main hide, where we quickly located the long-staying Ring-necked Duck. As usual, he was dozing with his distinctive bill tucked under his wing, but the bright triangle in front of his wing made this welcome year-tick very easy to pick out. We enjoyed watching and photographing the wild Swans, before taking a walk around to look for the White Stork and Great White Egret which have been recently present: no sign...

After lunch we drove a few miles to enjoy views of the largest flock of Corn Buntings I've ever seen: well over a hundred birds, with a few Yellowhammers and Fieldfares for good measure. A great day out!