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Friday 31 October 2014

Kite Central!

A short walk in the sun by the Millennium River at Maidenhead today produced over twenty Red Kites as well as a couple of Common Buzzards....

I will never grow tired of these gorgeous birds, even if we ever achieve similar numbers in Norfolk!


Tuesday 28 October 2014

Woodland walk....

Sorry: no 'megas'. no 'hot birds' and no cottages to let:- just some really pretty woodland birds at Strumpshaw!

There were other things on offer: Kingfisher, Little Egret, Bittern etc, but you've all seen enough of those for the time being!


Monday 27 October 2014

Last of the Summer wine!

You never know what the weather has in store this time of year, so Linda & I took a walk around Strumpshaw in the Autumn sunshine.

To be honest, there wasn't a great deal to see: a Kestrel at Fen Hide and a few bits and pieces at Tower Hide. Nice to bump into 'blonde Liz' and swap yarns, and it was also pleasant to bump into another old friend on the way home: our delightful Little Owl.


Sunday 26 October 2014

A date for your diary!

Charles Halt is a retired USAF Colonel and was deputy base commander of RAF Woodbridge: his encounter with a UFO outside the airbase is one of the best-documented and most compelling accounts ever. This three-day close encounter with a UFO has been called 'Britain's Roswell'

Col Halt has never given a lecture in the UK, so this is a unique opportunity: I will be giving a talk on the discussions I have had with over 30 Astronauts on this topic and will also be moderating the Q&A session after Col Halt's lecture.

Saturday 25 October 2014

Rough leg!

What a gorgeous morning! Linda and I decided to celebrate by doing our shopping at ASDA in Yarmouth, mainly because that allowed us to walk along the north shore where several Rough-legged Buzzards had been reported.

Two miles along, the only birds we'd seen were dozens of really confiding Little Egrets: always a joy. Half a mile further on we found Dave Holman and a few of the old guard (One middle-aged couple never says hello, despite having spent an hour chatting to Linda & me at the fabled Naumann's Thrush!) They pointed out a couple of RLBs perched on the bank a mile further on, so, in the absence of any attempt at conversation, we continued westwards.

Just as got within binocular range, a pair of walkers flushed both birds. They have as much right to be there as us, but it was frustrating!
After a short scan we turned back for the long return walk: virtually everyone else seemed to have left. Suddenly we picked out a well-marked bird approaching from the north east. As it grew nearer, it attracted the attention of firstly a Peregrine, then a Kestrel: talk about fighting above your weight!

Halfway back we bumped into Steve Smith and Dot Machin: what a delightful & knowledgeable couple! Fortunately, one of the RLBs decided to fly by so we could share the moment with them!

OK: the photos aren't great, but they were a pleasing reward for persistence and the readiness to walk a few miles!


Thursday 23 October 2014

Holkham Pines: a long walk for some very distant birds!

Since Martin & I both had 'windows of opportunity' we headed up to Holkham to look for any left-over phyllos - the best we managed was a heard only YBW. A few of the usual suspects were walking back: they informed us that a Great White Egret and a Surf Scoter were available at the west end of the pines, so we kept walking!

Finally we bumped into Richard 'the Hat', who told us where the Scoter had been seen and also that the Egret was out of sight. Accordingly we trudged across the beach (following a receding tide) to the water's edge. Quite quickly we picked up a group of perhaps six or eight Scoter, one of which seemed to have a pale region on its neck. (I have enhanced the first photo by increasing the contrast and reducing the gamma.) Typically, when three flew towards us, the putative SS stayed put! (I hesitate to say this, but there was at least one Red-necked Grebe out in the bay too.)

After half an hour or so, we walked back to the pines, where a small group pointed out the GWE right across near a herd of cattle by the road at Burnham Overy. Since our parking ticket was due to expire, we walked back to Lady Anne's Drive, where a small crowd was clustered around Martin's car. Not a parking fine, I'm pleased to report, but a somewhat distant small Canada Goose.

We drove round to Burnham Overy, only to find that the GWE had moved back to the pool by the pines. We had been standing right by the fence at the base of the dunes!

To Cley for coffee and then home!


Suddenly it's Winter!

Well: it certainly seemed like it at Strumpshaw this morning: most of the paths were flooded, so Fen & Tower Hides were inaccessible, while the Yare was topping over by the pumphouse! What's more, the breeze was distinctly wintry!
Nevertheless, I managed a quick four miles, grabbing decent shots of a beautiful Kingfisher at Reception, where a Bittern flew distantly across the reedbeds.


Tuesday 21 October 2014


Huge sunspot group this afternoon (Bit of a cr*p photo, because it was projected onto a hand-held card!)

For those of you who might be interested in the effects these cooler regions of the Sun's photosphere have on our planet, you could read 'The Chilling Stars' by Nigel Calder...

Monday 20 October 2014

What a difference a day makes!

While checking my e-mails in the office, I heard the characteristic yelping of a flock of Pink-footed Geese: sure enough a glance outside revealed two skeins heading north-west over Blofield Heath.

The weather forecast for the rest of the week is - to say the least - not good, so I snatched a therapeutic five-mile walk at Winterton.

Apart from ten million dogs enjoying their daily catharthes, virtually the only living thing I saw until I reached the blocks was Barry Jarvis. We chatted for a minute and watched a group of five Harriers drift south distantly. They were probably all marshies, although one individual seemed smaller..

About the only birds I saw were loads of Mipits and Skylarks, a single furtive Wheatear, a couple of Rock Pipits on the beach and dozens of Gannets out to sea.