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Wednesday 31 July 2019

Runt Dunlin, or something better?

When I found a small calidrid at Cley yesterday morning (pictured below), the first thing that struck me was how petite it was. It was slimmer and smaller than nearby Dunlins and my first thought was Little Stint - it was a very long way away! The colour caused me to think of Temminck's, while its gait suggested Sanderling or even White-rumped Sandpiper! As you can see, it's just a little smaller than the Little Ringed Plover with which it was associating and never joined the group of Dunlin some 20 or so metres away.

I've had opinions from several well-known birders: these range across all of the above! It is quite probably a small Dunlin, but there was just something different about it...

I've had quite a few very interesting and intelligent suggestions (and a few that are medically impossible!) Many thanks for all. As I have often reminded readers: I can't publish anonymous comments: but thanks anyway...

Tuesday 30 July 2019

Cley and Hickling: sandpipers, stints, bitterns and a Red-veined Darter

The usual 7.00am pick-up (following a somewhat protracted soiree with Sue & Peter!) saw Brian and me in Dauke's Hide before eight o' clock. The very first bird we saw was a Wood Sandpiper, followed by numerous Green and Common Sandpipers. A smallish wader stayed tantalisingly distant, but looking at my images,  I reckon it was a Temminck's Stint...

A walk along the East Bank and a visit to Bishop's Hide was followed by coffee: a few more sandpipers, lots of Ruff and Godwits, but little else, so we headed east to Kelling Quags. The pool was full to the brim, but we managed to find a pair of Common Sandpipers and - best of all - a Red-veined Darter.

On the way home we stopped at Hickling, walking the complete circuit in increasingly muggy conditions. Hickling can be a little 'difficult', but today was very productive: two different Bitterns flew close in front of Cadbury Hide, while Great White Egret, Kingfisher and Hobby were welcome additions to the day list.

Monday 29 July 2019

Garden butterfly count

Despite the coolish weather and strong breeze, lots of butterflies visited our garden when Linda and I did our 15 minute survey yesterday: not every one deigned to be photographed!

7x Large White
3x Small White
2x Green-veined White
5x Gatekeeper
1x Speckled Wood
1x Comma
3x Peacock
1x Meadow Brown
1x Ringlet

Today (it being really sunny, if even more breezy) the Buddleia is swarming with butterflies!


Sunday 28 July 2019

Scarce visitor to the garden...

This afternoon a young Song Thrush spent an hour or so pottering about on the lawn and flower beds. These might be a more common species elsewhere in the UK, but they're pretty unusual up on the Heath, so to see evidence of local breeding was terrific!

Saturday 27 July 2019

Are 'pundits' ever satisfied?

Just a few days after winning the Cricket World Cup, England skittle Ireland out for 38 and win by 143 runs in an incredibly exciting test match. Woakes and Broad bowl superbly and the England no.11 nearly scores a century. Despite this, Boycott, Nicholas and Vaughan call the match 'disastrous'.

I may be proven wrong, but I have the feeling the opening batsmen might play in a somewhat more restrained fashion when the opposition is Australia...

Friday 26 July 2019


As I was replying to some e-mails I glanced through my office window to see a Cuckoo fly out of our Sycamore tree! It looked a lot 'browner' in real life and I assume it was a juvenile. It's the second I've seen in the village this year, but that is unusual: it's been ten years or more since they were regular visitors.

Thursday 25 July 2019

Purple Heron at Titchwell: a find for Brian and me!

Robin Chittenden has kindly pointed out that the bird Brian and I found at Titchwell was a juvenile, while the previous long-stayer was an adult. As I mentioned to Robin, we didn't manage to connect with the earlier bird, but did see the juvenile at Burnham Overy Staithe. In our minds we got the two birds confused and assumed that the earlier Titchwell bird was also a juvenile.

Funnily enough, I showed my images to five or six of the excellent volunteers and they also assumed it was the bird that was last seen three weeks ago! So: Brian and I found our first semi-rarity of the year!

Wednesday 24 July 2019

Purple Heron at Titchwell: a rediscovery!

Despite the gloomy 'stay at home and draw the curtains' warnings on the Beeb, Brian and I headed straight out to Titchwell, arriving at around 8.00am. In truth, we didn't expect to see anything of note, but a good walk is always worth doing at our age! We started off in Parrinder Hide, where, as before, lots of waders were lounging around somewhat distantly. We managed to pick out Curlew Sandpiper, Knot, Dunlin, Ruff and Godwits, then Brian found a delightful juvenile Yellow Wagtail. This - and a beautiful cock Linnet - were the highlights from the hide (Several Spoonbills flew backwards and forwards)

As we were passing Island Hide on our way for coffee, I noticed a brownish heron heading east over the reedbeds. I assumed it was a Bittern, but when we looked at it with bins, it was obviously a Purple Heron. I managed half a dozen distant shots before it flopped into its favourite corner! Just as well, because when I told the vols on duty in Reception, I think they thought I was 'mistaken'! Luckily the images - though distant - were conclusive. This bird hadn't been seen for three weeks!

A walk out to the region where the Purp had landed was rewarded by a few Marsh Harriers and a Red-crested Pochard: after another grill of the calidrids from Parrinder, we decided to call it a day. As we left, there was a moth release going on in the woods: an Oak Eggar was interesting to view up close. Heading eastwards to Cley for a cuppa, we added Red Kite and Buzzard to the day's total, while as we sat and chatted on the 'veranda' at Cley, five Whimbrel and a Mediterranean Gull flew low overhead.