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Monday 31 December 2018

Dipper undipped!

Our friends and birding companions Sue and Peter had an 'at home' yesterday, so today was the first opportunity for all of us to have another bash at the Black-bellied Dipper at Ebridge Mill. No need for an early start, so after a leisurely drive northwards we were standing on the road bridge over the Dilham Canal by 10.30. The Dipper was immediately visible: a terrific addition to the year list which finished at 243.

From there we drove east towards the coast, enjoying large flocks of Helmeted Guinea Fowl and Pinkfeet on the way. After lunch at Waxham Barn we carried on round to Ludham Airfield: although most of the Swans had pushed off, we did manage a few Whoopers and a solitary fly-over Bewick. Most interesting was a very dark juvenile gull that old acquaintance Ian and his mate found: it seemed remarkably good for American Herring Gull, with barred, dark-banded tail and pinkish legs. What do you think? Good to meet Pam and Anne of  'Gwdihw 2011' (One of my very favourite blogs) They have both seen American HG in the past and were quite keen on this bird...

Home to cook supper for us all and enjoy a glass of fizz (or two!)

Sunday 30 December 2018


Our marine tank is now at full capacity: it looks, IMHO, totally stunning, both during the daytime and by actinic light. Close up the individual polyps are very beautiful: like little anemones!

If it's clear.... coming mornings, the International Space Station is commencing a long series of overflights of the UK. The data is for east Norfolk, but it'll be pretty much the same over the whole of the country.

Saturday 29 December 2018

Dipper at Ebridge Mill

The dipper in question being me! Linda and I left home early, arriving at Ebridge Mill near North Walsham early enough to be able to park and stand on the bridge, Unfortunately, this was also too early for proper views of the Black-bellied Dipper: I think we both saw it, but through dense bankside vegetation.

We did enjoy several Grey Wagtails, a Kingfisher and a fleet of rather impressive pond yachts! If the bird sticks around (as they usually do!) it might be a candidate for first decent bird of 2019!

Cattle Egret: the movie!

Just a short video of yesterday's Cattle Egret at Carlton Marshes.

Friday 28 December 2018

Cattle Egret at Carlton Marshes

Despite having passed a fairly abstemious Christmas, Linda and I still felt a little 'stodgy', so we decided on a walk around Carlton Marshes reserve, near Oulton Broad.

The paths were somewhat muddy, but we trudged around the whole circuit, finding only a few Little Egrets and a pair of Stonechats for our trouble! However, just as we were in sight of the visitors' centre Linda noticed a white blob lurking among the juncus: it was our target bird, a fine Cattle Egret!

After filling the SD cards, we returned to the car and carried on to Oulton Broad. After a hot drink and toasted tea-cake, we walked around the park in hope of catching up with the recently-present Ring-necked Parakeet: however, it wasn't to be seen or heard. Linda enjoyed feeding the Grey Squirrels for a while before we headed home.

Thursday 27 December 2018

2018: review of the birding year.

Despite the somewhat unpredictable weather (ranging from deep snow to prolonged heatwave to torrential rain and winds) 2018 proved to be a really good birding year. No 'ticks' (unless you count the American Horned Lark), but terrific views of some scarce species and encounters with others that haven't been available for some time. Apart from twenty-odd years ago, when I really went for it and broke 300 species in a single year, this has been my record twelve-month total: 242 - this despite missing some 'silly' species such as Wryneck, Yellow-browed, Pied Fly and so on.

As is, I suppose, inevitable when you're my age, I lost a few old friends in 2018, but made several new ones: some compensation, I guess. A July trip to the Farnes was Linda's first and what a fabulous time we had: terrific birds (and Red Squirrels!) as well as some memorable meals..

In the skies all eight planets were visible at various times, as well as the somewhat disappointing Comet Wirtanen.

In conclusion: thanks to those of you who read my somewhat eclectic blog - I even enjoy some of the more bizarre comments it receives (although not the offensive or abusive ones...)

Have a safe and happy bird-filled 2019 and don't forget to say hello if you bump into me out there!

Coue's Arctic Redpoll, Suffolk

Iceland Gull, Buxton

Bluethroat, Landguard

Horned Lark, Staines Reservoirs

Red-backed Shrike, Winterton

Pied Crow, Cromer

Lesser Yellowlegs, Titchwell

Great Egret, Strumpshaw

Pallid Harrier, Welney

Long-eared Owl, Minsmere

Red-breasted Flycatcher, Southwold

King Eider, Sheringham

Black Redstart, Sheringham

Red-rumped Swallow, Cley