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Saturday 28 November 2015


Lovely views of a Red Kite in the early morning sunshine today: great to see the Moon, too, with the terminator passing through Mare Crisium.

Several Fieldfares lurking in the sycamore tree: beginning to feel a bit more like winter, suddenly!

Friday 27 November 2015

A few Buckenham Beans!

On my way home from the Post Office today, I took advantage of a twenty minute window of blue sky to whizz across to Buckenham for a quick search for yesterday's Slav Grebe and the reported Bean Geese.

I found a small, distant group by the railway bridge - not the twenty-odd reported, but Beans of some race or another!

The feral Barnacles were flying around again: this time they came really close, allowing a decent shot of the Ross' / Barnacle hybrid (Thanks Robert!) I have heard that a well-known birder has considered a wild origin for this individual!

The Peregrines and a Marsh Harrier were tazzing around scaring all the wildfowl, but I managed to catch a couple of Wigeon on the deck too...

Thursday 26 November 2015

Strumpshaw Fen and Buckenham: some unexpected delights!

Once I'd finished my meteorite-related work I decided to have a run around the patch in the unexpected pleasant sunshine. At the Fen I bumped into Kim and we had fleeting views of a Kingfisher and Bittern from Fen Hide: a few Fieldfares were enjoying the fallen apples at the end of the Sandy Path...
Another green-tagged Marshie (female R9) pounced on the Bittern every time it tried to change location!
We spent a few minutes looking for SEOs at Halvergate Bridge: none showed while we were there, but a distant Rough-legged Buzzard was good to see.

A move to Buckenham was instantly rewarding with good views of a pair of Peregrines: one perched on a gate-post, the other chasing Wigeon. As we walked down to the River Yare we nearly trod on a Jack Snipe, which squeaked in panic before flying into a gate! Before I could reposition to grab a photo, it shook itself and zig-zagged away along a ditch.

A flock of fourteen Avocet suddenly zoomed in from the East and landed on the scrape: here they fed for a while before being disturbed by the Peregrine, flying off and landing on the river! Next unexpected bird was a Slavonian Grebe which we saw at close range three times right by the first fishing stage: every time I turned the camera towards it, the wretched bird dived! I reckon it caught the flash of reflected sunlight from the objective of my lens. The feral Barnacles did a circuit, with the Ross' / Barnacle Goose hybrid providing decent photo-ops.

Returning to Strumpshaw. it was good to see a pair of Nuthatches frequently visiting the Reception Centre feeding station.

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Black Brant and Snow Buntings at Cley...

With no-one available to come out to play (!) I drove to the coast and around to Cley, stopping to seawatch at Walcott, Bacton and Sheringham on the way. A few Gannets, auks and divers were about the best I could manage, but after coffee at Cley reserve centre, I thought I might as well take a walk along the East Bank. I'm glad I did! In exactly the same place as last year (about half a mile east of the end of the EB) I found a flock of around 60 Snow Buntings: absolutely stunning, with a few bright males to enjoy!

On the way back to the van, I came across a pair of Stonechats, including a delightfully confiding female as well as a couple of Little Egrets.

I thought I might as well have another bash at the Black Brant and pulled over in the little parking area near the new hide: the first and closest bird was the Brant!

Monday 23 November 2015

After the storm: North Coast with Martin...

Quiet in every way! Despite an early start at Salthouse and a good walk along the beach, the most interesting things we came across were literally thousands of sea-wrecked starfish of several species and a pair of Stonechats. After coffee at Cley we continued westwards, pausing to view a very distant Waxwing at Burnham Norton and a number of Common Buzzards, including a flock of four...

Titchwell was not too crowded, but we decided to walk the beach to Thornham Point, picking up the expected waders (Knot, both Godwits, Sanderling, Grey Plover etc) and two drake Goldeneye on the way. At the Point we saw the five Shorelarks, but they were far too distant even for record shots! The beach was absolutely littered with Razor Clams...

Last items of interest were a Siskin by the Reception Centre (which just would not turn its head!) and a Chinese Water Deer. And so home, via a barren Stiffkey: just a few Egrets and Marshies...


Sunday 22 November 2015

Sleet, slush and mud: Strumpshaw at its finest!

Linda & I decided on an early start at the Fen, in the hope that the wintry conditions might induce the Rails, Bitterns etc to come out to play!

In the event the morning's weather grew progressively worse until it became expedient to grab a brief gap in the sleety rain and head home!

(Thanks to Johnny, Jim, Will and several others for their comments on the 'Heron' posting that I've now removed: I'm still not 100% convinced the bird was a Curlew - the fourth photo was not the same bird -  but, again, thanks to those people who took the time to advised me.)