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Thursday 27 February 2014

Breck break!

Despite an unpromising weather forecast, Norman, Brian & I headed south to see if we could mop up the odds and ends we missed last time! Suffice it to say: we did! A nice flock of Tree Sparrows was extremely welcome: the first I've seen for years! Nearby, a flock of twelve Herons flew over - quite a sight!

We moved to Mayday where a longish walk produced a pair of displaying Woodlark which were joined at one point by a third bird. Spick's Lodge added Crossbill to the tally, as well as distant views of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (a pair!) Finally, the drive home gave us spectacular views of two Buzzards mobbing a Goshawk! Splendid stuff!

Wednesday 26 February 2014

North Coast in the sunshine!

The fine weather demanded a run up to the North Coast, so Martin & I met up early and were at Edgefield looking at a flock of 30 - 40 Crossbills by 9.00. Most of these were Commons, but by call we identified at least five Parrots. I think I managed a couple of photos, but the telescopic views were much more conclusive! The whole flock were nervously eyeing a Sparrowhawk that circled above them, and Buzzard & Marsh Harrier didn't help!

A move to Stiffkey added Little Egret, Skylark and a few Brents to the day-list, but (having walked right out to the 'beach') we realised we were in the wrong place. Accordingly, we drifted eastwards to Morston and paid our £2.50 parking fee, only to discover that there was no way out to the Channel! A long walk westwards followed, until we found a vantage point which allowed us to grill the water. Quite soon we found a flock of Mergansers Pintail and Goldeneye and then a group of divers. We reckoned there were two Great Northerns and three Black-throateds. Only other birds of note were five Twite that flew around us without landing and a photogenic Ruff.

Tonight I took advantage of the clear sky to photograph an Iridium Flare satellite: those of you who are space-freaks will know what these spectacular objects are, while those of you who aren't couldn't care less, so I won't explain!

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Once bittern.....

An early rush out to the Fen failed to produce the hoped-for Little Owl or Hen Harrier, although a Bittern did sail over my head as I trudged back to the van! I had to visit the Dentist in Norwich, so took the opportunity to check the John Lewis apple tree! No sign of the Waxwing in four returns between 10 and 12... Has it finally departed?

Monday 24 February 2014

Spring begins to spring!

Nothing really exciting at Strumpshaw today, but the first Willow Warbler of the year calling and several Brimstone butterflies on the wing... Nuthatches much in evidence: I saw 6 in one eyeful! I surprised a Chinese Water Deer on the Sandy Path and a Wren shouted out his territorial imperatives! I counted at least 15 Cetti's Warblers, so the mild Winter has been kind to them, at least!

Sunday 23 February 2014


A couple of familiar star patterns: Orion, Gemini (with Jupiter!)and Cassiopeia

Around the patch....

A six and a half mile walk around Pedham, Blofield Heath and Little Plumstead was remarkably unproductive, but very bracing.... The first Spring flowers are in evidence: Aconites, Snowdrops and Saffron, while the pre-roost gathering of Corvids was scattered by a predatory Sprawk!

Saturday 22 February 2014

Internatiional Space Station...

Over the house again at 6.30 tonight: it's the streak below Orion in this hand-held time lapse

Astronomy Domine!

Actually, I'm not a huge Floyd fan.... but I do love seeing Venus peeping over the treetops to the East first thing in the morning! Today, Venus, Mars and Saturn were all visible in one sweep of the telescope - as was the Moon!

Friday 21 February 2014


The International Space Station passed over twice tonight: always an impressive sight!

Thursday 20 February 2014

Mop-up for Linda!

A visit to the Acle Auctions left time for a quick whizz across to Filby Broad, in hopes of connecting with the various reported rare sea-duck and grebes: we didn't! We did see three Buzzards displaying together, as well as a pair of Goldeneye and a Little Egret.

Since Linda hadn't yet seen a Glossy Ibis this year, we carried on to Martham, where the long-staying individual entertained us at range as it fed with a group of Jackdaws.

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Waxwing & Stock Doves!

Third time lucky for Linda, who is on half term break this week and finally managed to connect with Ber Street's obliging visitor.

I notice people on BF are remarking on a sudden flush of Stock Doves: we almost always have a pair in the garden during the Summer, but I think today is the earliest record we have. Lovely, under-rated birds,with a gentle nature and subtle, attractive colouration.

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Rumps and wingbars!

Just finished going through the (many!) photos I took yesterday at Sculthorpe and thought these two were worth sharing, since they show very well the contrast between a male Mealy and a male Lesser...

Phil Littler, who ringed the pair of Mealies, identified these little beauties as being of Russian origin

Monday 17 February 2014

Redpolls with Linda!

Could we have been any luckier? (Said in a Chandler Bing accent!) Linda and I got to Sculthorpe only to find it's closed on Mondays! But the fabulous Warden, Tim and his excellent ringer Phil took pity on us and invited us in for a private photo session with the pair of (Russian!) Mealy Redpolls and the Lesser that had been trapped! We also managed reasonable shots of Bullfinches, Nuthatches and a Brambling! On the way home we stopped off at Holt CP, where we grabbed a couple of distant shots of a flock of 14 or so Parrot Crossbills. (We also saw Red Kite, Caspian Gull and Barn Owl!)