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Thursday 31 January 2013

At last! Enfin! Endlich!

YES!!!!!!!! Got my camera back at last! Now all I need is something to point it at!
Who's going to be at the Fen tomorrow? LOL!

Wednesday 30 January 2013

Windy walk!

A morning five-miler around Strump and Buckenham was productive (but given the lack of camera, frustrating!) Nice to see the first catkins of the year lashing about in the gale-force winds!
A Bittern flew very close to the nearly-flooded Fen Hide, while two Bewick's Swans flew across the river.
Later, as I walked up Stone Road, a flock of 40 or so Waxwings flew south towards Buckenham. Lastly, just by the A47 flyover at Blofield, a large flock of Bramblings were milling about in the tops of the trees

Been a long time since the Rock & Roll....

A combination of factors (weather / business pressure / STILL no flipping camera / PC at the menders) has reduced the postings on here to a dribble!
The Serious Risk gigs were excellent, as was 'The Divide's final thrash at the Brickies last night (Garth & Ross are emigrating to Oz!) and good space news in the announcement of Walt Cunningham (Apollo 7) for Autographica!
Birdwise, it's been quiet... Lots of winter thrushes in the garden while the snow was here, two Red Kites over Whitlingham Lane sewage works yesterday and further views of the white-tailed Buzzard along Bullacebush Lane, as well as the Peregrine in the same region. Now if only they'd hang around until I get my camera back.....

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Let's rock!

Two gigs in two days for 'Serious Risk': be good to see some of you there! This is our 25th anniversary as a band, so it's great being back at the Brickmakers! And the Cali is just an excellent venue!

Tuesday 22 January 2013

Good day at Strumpshaw....

What a contrast with my last visit with Linda, when we saw very little... Today, in the company of Brian & Adrian, the birds queued up to be photographed: shame I haven't got my camera back yet! (Don't even ask: could be three more weeks because the guy at Norman's favourite camera repair place forgot to check his order had been received :(  )
Highlights were Bittern, Water Rail (under the feeding station at Reception!) two different Peregrines, Bearded Tits, and a really showy Cetti's Warbler. Nice to meet up with Mick Saunt too: he was sharing his pecan & banana cake with the resident Robins!

Monday 21 January 2013

Garden full of thrushes!

Putting out chopped apples & pears has certainly made a difference! Today we have 40+ Blackbirds, 10+ Fieldfares, Redwings and a Song Thrush!

A walk around the patch produced lots more of all of these, plus another (longer) view of the large falcon. This may be a Peregrine, but it's quite pale and very large indeed: I'm thinking falconer's escape....

Sunday 20 January 2013

Snowy Strumpy!

Linda & I enjoyed a six mile trudge around Strumpshaw and Hemblington: very slippery and cold, but worth the effort. There are Otter tracks everywhere at the Fen, as well a lot of spraint. Sad to see that the Robins are so hungry they have lost any vestiges of timidity....

The backroads around Hemblington / Blofield Heath were surprisingly productive, with Peregrine (a whopper!) a very pale Buzzard and a Bullfinch being the highlights. Lots of Fieldfares and Redwings still...

Saturday 19 January 2013


Because of the ambient conditions, the local Blackbirds seem to have declared a ceasefire, just like the legendary football match on the Somme in 1914!
Today there were 32 of the little darlings all feeding peacefully together: normally they squabble and fight, despite the vast amounts of food my wife puts out every day.
Our resident Redpoll seems to have exclusive use of the Nijer seed feeder!

Friday 18 January 2013

Deep pan, crisp and even!

Yes: the old 'How did King Wenceslas like his pizza?' gag!
Lovely walk in about 5" of snow this morning: plenty of goodies, including Woodcock, Fieldfares, Redwings, Meadow Pipits, Buzzards and, in the garden, a Redpoll and a dinky Pied Wagtail!

Thursday 17 January 2013


Since Linda's school was closed by the weather, she joined me on a six mile trudge through the snowy lanes around Hemblington Church. Really good fun, despite the slippery patches of frozen mud and regular tractors laden with sugar beet: we had great views of Fieldfares (100s), Redwings (4), Meadow Pipits (20+), Buzzards (2), Guinea Fowl (8), Yellowhammers (flock of 20+) and hundreds of House Sparrows. Lots of hares. too!

Wednesday 16 January 2013

Wednesday walk!

Just for a change, I walked northwards through Pedham and across to Little Plumstead. Plenty of beautifully photogenic snow scenes and some nice birds too: Pinkfeet over, Green & Great Spotted Woodpecker, loads of Fieldfares and a Buzzard. Nice!

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Snow safari!

A six-miler around Blofield Heath / Hemblington was nothing if not photogenic: plenty of birds too: big flocks of Meadow Pipits, Fieldfares & Redwings, as well as Egyptian Geese and Guinea Fowl in their usual spots. Couple of Buzzards flew over, having to work hard in the cold, thin air...

Saturday 12 January 2013

Frosty but productive!

I enjoyed a good five and a half mile walk around Strumpshaw and Buckenham this morning: plenty of good birds: if only my camera were back!

Marsh Tit
Water Pipit
Barn Owl

Marsh Harrier
Barn Owl
Hen Harrier (Ringtail)
30 Dunlin
Buzzard (Pair)
Kestrel (Seven in the sky at once!)
30+ Taiga Bean Geese
40+ Barnacle Geese
30+ White-fronted Geese

Friday 11 January 2013

Stargazing Live!

Couple of photos from my lectures for the Stargazing Live event at the Cambridge Institute of Astronomy: tiring but good fun!

Thursday 10 January 2013

Two year ticks away from the patch

With major slash and burn taking place at Strumpshaw, I headed east to Caister, where I 'enjoyed' flight views of 30 or so Snow Buntings trying to find somewhere where a dog wasn't having his walkies!

A move to Ludham Bridge produced a small mixed herd of wild swans: two Whoopers and seven Bewick's. And no: I still haven't got my camera back :(

Monday 7 January 2013

'Funny' Buzzard again, a displaying pair and one I forgot!.

On a walk around the patch yesterday (Sunday) I saw the white tailed Buzzard again: it definitely has a dark sub-terminal band....
Also: a pair of Common Buzzards were displaying over Panxworth, while the fields along Hemblington Hall Lane were full of Fieldfares & Bramblings and the resident flock of Guinea Fowl were sheltering from rough shooters in someone's garden! (Can't wait to get my decent camera back!)
Lastly: looking through my 'caddy drive', I came across a 2009 photo I took of the Strumpshaw Cattle Egret: somehow I forgot to add it to my patch list!

Friday 4 January 2013


Being without a decent camera for the next week or two, it is, perhaps, inevitable that missed opportunities will occur! On the way back from the Post Office, approaching Bullacebush Lane, I saw a white tailed Buzzard perched and then flying across the fields. I grabbed a quick snap with my Canon A400 which suggests this might just possibly be a Rough-legged Buzzard....

Wednesday 2 January 2013

Be warned!

Just time to photograph a second (really pink!) Redpoll on the niger seeds today, before taking my camera in for an overhaul. According to the expert in Watton, it was damaged when 'another camera shop' used an unsuitable solvent for my last sensor clean....
No camera for a fortnight!!! Ouch!

I don't really keep a list, but....

No really: I don't!

But just out of curiosity, I added up the birds I saw on the patch (Blofield Heath south to the Yare) this year: I was surprised to see this totalled 197 species!
Including a couple Linda and I saw before we picked up Martin & Kerry, I reckon our New Year's Day 2013  total was 95 species: we could easily have hit 120 if we'd really gone for it, having missed tons of common stuff.

No additions to the life list this year (unless I were to count Sacred Ibis & Richardson's Canada Goose) so that seems to have stultified at 420
Best self-finds of 2012 included:
Caspian Tern
Honey Buzzard
Baird's Sandpiper
Fea's Petrel
Sabine's Gull

Favourite birds of 2012? Hmmmm..... Has to be the Turtle Doves that bred in our garden hedges for the fifth year!

Tuesday 1 January 2013

New Year's Day roundup!

Lovely weather and lovely company! A nine-mile walk with Linda, Martin & Kerry around Salthouse / Cley / Holkham / Choseley and Titchwell produced around 100 birds for the day, including Richardson's Canada Goose, 4 Barn Owls, Bittern, 12 Waxwings, Red-crested Pochard, Water Rail, Hen Harrier as well as four species of deer! Great fun!