Sunday, 23 June 2019

No noctilucent clouds, but a Quail and a mystery call...

Last night's beautiful sunset held the promise of another display of noctilucent clouds: accordingly, I drove to the top of the Heath (where there's a clear, dark horizon) and stayed there from 10pm until 11.30. Sadly, there were no clouds, but plenty of interest, nevertheless.

As it grew dark a Quail started to call from the barley: just half a dozen times, but totally unmistakable. Overhead, the Great Bear was spectacular, while on the southern horizon Jupiter was a brilliant sight. At the cost of over-exposing Jupiter itself, I managed to capture three of its Galilean moons.

Just as I was thinking of calling it a night, something began to call from the cereal field in front of me. I thought it was most possibly a Muntjac, but it seemed to move across the field too quickly for a mammal. You'll have to turn the volume up, but I'd be interested to receive any helpful advice!


Saturday, 22 June 2019

Welcome and unwelcome visitors!

Today's pleasant sunshine brought good numbers of butterflies to the garden: Painted Ladies, Tortoiseshells, Red Admirals, Meadow Browns and Common Blues. The bees loved the sunshine and were not only 'nectaring', they were collecting salts from some old reef rock by the back door!

A less welcome visitor was this baby Rabbit: initially very cute, but having settled in, it started to demolish the flower borders!

Spotted Redshank and Spoonbill videos

Just what it says on the tin: Spotted Redshank from Parrinder Hide, Titchwell and some of the eleven Spoonbills at North Point Pools, Wells.


Noctilucent clouds....

No-one knows for sure exactly how these mysterious electric blue wisps are formed at the edge of space, but they're always something special to see! The 'season' starts in early June and continues for just a few weeks: look to the North an hour after sunset.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Green-winged Teal at Cley and other odds and ends...

With no obvious targets to aim for, Brian, Norman and I headed towards the best weather, starting in Dauke's Hide at Cley. Lots of Avocets and Black-tailed Godwits on Pat's Pool, including a couple of Fenland-bred 'limosas', but not much else. Eventually I located the reported Green-winged Teal dozing on an island: fortunately it occasionally put its head up!

Breakfast at Titchwell was enjoyable, while Parrinder Hide produced a delightful Spotted Redshank in full summer plumage. Four or five Spoonbills loafed around behind their favourite island, while several Little Ringed Plovers put in an appearance.

On the way back east we stopped at North Point pools, Wells (we'd briefly investigated them earlier on) This time there were eleven Spoonbills on show, including a group of nine. Interesting to pick out the juveniles and ponder whether they might be Norfolk born and bred!

Last stop was Cley for a cup of tea and a walk along the East Bank. Not too much to report, apart from an eclipse Eider: amazingly, a year tick!

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Never too old to rock and roll!

Last night, online ads for a terrific-sounding gig appeared on Facebook. Now, no decent bands ever come to Norwich (last I saw were the Georgia Satellites!) so I was astonished to find that the 'Music of Cream' are actually going to be at Epic Studios, Madgalen Street. I had to control my excitement, because tickets didn't go on sale until this morning: it's a somewhat bijou venue, and is sure to sell out quickly. Fortunately I managed to buy two tickets and can't wait! Of course, it won't be the original super group trio, but it will be Jack and Ginger's sons and Eric's nephew!

Cream, as you may have realised from various past posts, are among my all-time favourites: Badge, Crossroads and Sunshine of your Love are all numbers I like playing at jams...

While we're on the subject: it's never been a better time to be an old guitarist. Now I'm semi-retired, I have the time to learn how to play some of my favourite guitar riffs: they're all on YouTube! I've just mastered Rock and Roll, Kashmir and Stairway by Zeppelin and Purple Haze and Can you Hear Me? by Jimi!

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Clearwing moths: a good haul at Strumpshaw!

The sultry weather this afternoon seemed good for Clearwings, so I took the pheromones out of the freezer (where they've been keeping 'fresh' for a year!) and made the short journey to Strumpshaw Fen. I checked out the usual spots, before hanging a couple of lures from a Red Currant bush along the Woodland Trail. After a wait of ten minutes or so the first Currant Clearwing arrived, followed by more and more, until a dozen moths were investigating the plug. They all seemed to be Currants, and nothing visited the other lures I'd put out, so I made my way home, stopping briefly at Hemblington Church to try for a Hornet Clearwing. Despite it being a bit late in the day (2.30) I nevertheless had one brief visit!

Urban birding in Norwich!

Since I had to go into Narridge for emergency dental work, I took my camera and 300 prime in case the Black Redstarts were around (my dentist is in the All Saints' Green region) In the event, I didn't  photograph any BRs, although I did fleetingly see at least two different birds. I heard one or two as well... Lots of other birds make the homes in the big city: Lesser Black-backeds are nesting everywhere! High overhead a Peregrine scouted for a meal: I assume it's one of the two adults, but it was too far away to be certain.