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Sunday 30 November 2014

Thames Kites!

A flying business trip south allowed Linda & me to enjoy lunch and a walk at the charming Thames-side village of Bourne End.

The sky was full of Red Kites: groups of five and six passed by continuously, so that even I managed a few decent smudges!


Friday 28 November 2014

Who ordered the rare steak? And a reminder for a 'hot birder'

Firstly, a little 'aide memoire' for 'a certain blogger'! Then: not something you see every day - a dead cow at Buckenham.

The riverbank repairs seem to be finished, but the soil is so saturated that it's impassable beyond the drainage pump, so everything was very, very distant.

Several flocks of geese flew over, including these Pinkfeet and Barnacles, while Claxton side was crawling with Marsh Harriers: six together at one point (one carrying two green wing-tags)

On the walk back, a cute Muntjac followed me along the path: in the mid-Yare, these are less common than Chinese Water Deer, so always good to see.


Thursday 27 November 2014

Haddiscoe Haul!

Just for a change (and in a once-again futile odyssey for Short-eared Owl!) Brian, Norman and I went south-east to St Olaves, from where we took a six-mile round trip between the Waveney and the New Cut.

Despite the lack of owl action, we did manage some good birds: a female Hen Harrier, lots of Marsh Harriers (including green tag DS) a Buzzard, a family group of five Stonechats and a flock of Bearded Tits.

Having an hour left until Brian's curfew, we drove out to Lowestoft Ness, where the first birds I saw were nine Purple Sandpipers These gorgeous calidrids provided typically excellent photo-ops for all of us before we headed back westwards through the murk!


Wednesday 26 November 2014

Year list

I haven't bothered to work out an annual total for ages: I tend to devote most of my energy to the local patch and wildlife photography these days.

Just out of interest, however, I thought I'd have a tot-up: to my amazement I've seen 216 species this year, only a handful of which have been outside Norfolk (four in Suffolk, one in Devon!) Even more surprisingly, I've managed photographs of all of them!

I suppose my photography highlights have been:

* Hawfinch
* Two-barred Crossbill
* Spectacled Warbler
* Steppe Grey Shrike
* Desert Wheatear

Not great photos, but decent records of some really nice birds....

I wonder what number I'll finish the year on? Some obvious additions might be Smew, Great Northern, Black-necked Grebe and Red-breasted Goose. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Why bother? walk eleven flippin' miles!? I'm stuck indoors all day waiting for a builder to come and give us a quote/suck his teeth/grimace and consider dates in 2016. I also have a lot of meteorite displays to make up ready for Christmas, so I've spent ages stuck in front of my monitor.

Luckily, this looks straight out onto the garden (double vista) and across the fields towards South Walsham, so every now and again a movement catches my eye!


Monday 24 November 2014

Berney Arms Odyssey!

A chance meeting with Brian at Strumpshaw resulted in an eleven-mile hike from Wickhampton to the Berney Arms and back! The objective was to try to photograph - or even see - some Short-eared Owls, but it wasn't to be....

There were a few highlights: a female Stonechat, lots of Pink-footed and White-fronted Geese, at least ten Marsh Harriers, including five together at the Berney Arms (one of which had green tag 'FC') several Bearded Tits, a large flock (100+) of Curlew and the first Fieldfares and Redwings of the Winter. Oh! The icy clouds produced a beautiful pair of Sundogs!

Despite the absence of any really good photo-ops (most stuff was pretty distant) it was a good walk in good company: just hope my waistline shows the effects tomorrow! Brian assures me it's his glasses that make him look such as miserable scrote in most pictures!


Sunday 23 November 2014

It's that time of year!

When I taught in a primary school, I used to run the choir. Every year we made two CDs: a Christmas one and a Summer one (on which I played guitar) The Christmas one below featured  'I believe in Father Christmas'. We were given permission to release this track by Greg Lake: what a great guy!

Whenever I hear it - or the original - it takes me back to some great days and put me in the mood for Christmas!
Any of you who live near Blofield Heath might enjoy our Thursday night jam sessions at Heathlands: virtually all the players are pros or ex-pros, so the standard is generally quite good with all types of music and a relaxed atmosphere. If you have a guitar, bring it with you!