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Friday 31 August 2012

Some people! :)

Amazing how we in the UK seem to have developed a somewhat tenuous grasp of the meaning of the over-worked word 'democracy'....
I totally repudiate the concept of absolute freedom of speech and deed: that takes us down a Crowley-ian path towards hedonism & anarchy. But I have been criticised on a public forum for daring to question how my - your - subscriptions to a conservation organisation are being spent, so I feel I'd like to reply on my own blog where I am still able to voice an opinion without the risk of being barred!

The point is not whether I like the new Parrinder or Island Mere Hides, nor even a matter of aesthetics: it's a similar situation to the recent Olympics: spending billions in the middle of a double-dip recession surely required some form of consultation with taxpayers?

Your opinion and mine are beside the point: it's the fact that we were not asked! As members of the RSPB (and  of UK PLC) we are entitled to have a say in how our money will be spent! This is the same casual approach to 'democracy' that led us into two wars in Iraq and an unwinable conflict in Afghanistan: I would like to be asked in future, please!

Thursday 30 August 2012

Don't you just love having a local patch?

A snatched hour or so at Strumpshaw Fen was really good fun today! In the Fen Hide, fellow-regular Tony had seen a pair of 'interesting waders' shortly before I arrived: when they reappeared, they were my first Strumpshaw Greenshanks! To add to the fun, a pair of Kingfishers and a Little Egret posed in front of the hide! Great Stuff!

Still plenty of Southern, Brown & Migrant Hawkers too!

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Sweet times at Cantley!

Despite the Beet Factory being really busy today, I was allowed to walk round the settling pools and pathways. Plenty of common waders: Green & Common Sands, Ruff, Snipe & Dunlin were all present in numbers. Best of all were the butterflies & dragonflies: lots of both, especially on the row of buddleia by the end pool...


Painted Lady

Migrant Hawker

Southern Hawker

Black-tailed Skimmer

Monday 27 August 2012

Raptor Rapture!

A couple of hours walking around Strumpshaw & Buckenham produced distant but satisfying views of an Osprey, three Buzzards and several Sparrowhawks. There were literally hundreds of Migrant & Brown Hawkers too.........

Saturday 25 August 2012

Blooms at Blooms!

Courtesy of Tesco's reward scheme (!) Linda & I enjoyed a day out at the always-impressive Blooms of Bressingham.

The fantastic displays of flowering shrubs and herbaceous plants attracted a terrific number of commoner butterflies, while the several ponds and pools were hawked over by a decent variety of Dragons & Damsels, including Azure Damsel, Brown Hawker and Emperor Dragonfly. Best birds seen were Nuthatch & Green Woodpecker: perhaps some species were intimidated by the USAF AWACS keeping the skies safe for democracy!
Just a nice place to spend a couple of hours....

Thursday 23 August 2012

Odds 'n' ends!

A six-miler around Strumpshaw / Buckenham was not without its points of interest!
A juvenile Cuckoo gave fleeting views on the Strump / Buck by-way. while a smart juv Pied Wag posed nicely! If I'd been in the US, I might've thought Swallowtailed Kite when this tatty harrier tazzed by!
Lastly (and predictably!) there were Walls everywhere on the riverbank at Buckenham! Time for a cull? LOL!

Wednesday 22 August 2012

Blues & Spoons!

A lovely day out with Linda & Martin....
There were still lots of Chalkhill Blues, Brown Argus and Holly Blues flying at Warham Viking Fort today, despite the blustery weather. (Needless to say: plenty of Walls as well!)

At Cley: more Walls and lots of Graylings.

The Whirligig Bushes (Cheers Firstrees, old chap!) at Stiffkey produced reasonable views of a Dartford Warbler and frustrating (but pretty conclusive) glimpses of a Barred Warbler blundering around in an Elder...

There were 10 dozy Spoonbills on Arnold's Marsh and lots of Little Egrets, of course. Also, A juv Stonechat wearing leg-irons!


Here's a few shots of the garden at 06.30 today: surrounded on three sides by farmland, you can, perhaps, see why we have such a decent list of birds, mammals and insects!

My office! This is from where I photographed the Turtles and Redstarts

Monday 20 August 2012

Finally! Wall for the year-list

I was beginning to think this species was going to elude me in 2012: but, thanks to Birdforum's Tommy, I caught up with seven at Wickhampton! Excellent stuff!
Also: better views of three more Willow Emeralds at Strumpshaw....
Is this just a Migrant Hawker?

Sunday 19 August 2012

At last!

A three hour Strumpshaw stake-out with new acquaintance (and rock guitarist!) David finally delivered good views (if just slightly too distant) of a mint-fresh Willow Emerald Damsel!
Great to finally nail this species for the patch...

Saturday 18 August 2012

Hotter than Morocco!

A somewhat steamy walk around the Fen & Buckenham was enlivened by lots of Butterflies & Damselflies: nothing really rare, but some good photo ops (As they say!) Another Swallowtail Caterpillar revealed itself: this one was about twice the size of yesterday's!

Small Red-eyed



Common Blue

Small Copper

Thursday 16 August 2012


Amazing numbers of butterflies at Strumpshaw today: well over 1,000 Peacocks, plus many others of 11 species (Including Painted Lady at last! First this year!)
Best find was a Swallowtail caterpillar as well as several Green, Wood & Common Sandpipers. The Small Red-eyed Damselflies showed well intermittently, again (Although not as well as this Red-eyed Damselfly!)

Brown Argus

Common Sandpiper

Green Sandpiper

Two species!