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Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Turtle Doves in the Yare Valley

Linda and I were thrilled to find that Turtle Doves have returned to a traditional site in the valley. It seems like years since we had up to three pairs visiting our smallish garden, so to see - and hear - these delightful little threatened birds close to home was a real treat.

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Black-winged Stilts and Bee-eaters: a red letter day!

Since Linda had scheduled a hive maintenance day, I thought I'd dash out to see if I could connect with both of today's East Norfolk star turns!

First stop was Hickling, where a short walk along the path to Stubb Mill revealed the pair of Black-winged Stilts. It was pleasant to bump into Richard 'the Hat', an acquaintance from the days of Nancy's and the Cley Coastguard Cafe. A Ruff in chestnut breeding finery was, strange to say, a year tick!

After an hour or so, I decided to head back to Yarmouth for seconds of the Bee-eaters, which had apparently been showing again. When I arrived, however, they'd disappeared northwards. A really nice guy from Colchester (we never swapped names!) kept me entertained with stories - and photos - of 50lb+ carp he'd caught. Bee-eater was a new bird for him, so I was really pleased when all nine eventually reappeared, at one time circling and calling overhead. Other interesting species included Hobby, Great White Egret and Marsh Harrier.

Monday, 21 June 2021

Bee-eaters in Great Yarmouth

Linda and I have been busy all day, so didn't look at the pager until mid-afternoon: when we did, we discovered that a flock of Bee-eaters had been feeding from wires at the back of the Gapton Hall estate for several days. We dropped everything and went, pausing only to see if Sue & Peter wanted to come with us: they were busy, unfortunately.

After a short walk and some re-orientation, we found a small gallery enjoying somewhat distant views of four of the gorgeous birds. I recognized virtually everyone we met: good to see Penny C looking good and making the most of a day off.

After a while, only a single bird remained, so we wandered back to the car, only to find Peter & Sue arriving! We walked back with them, but unfortunately the flock had just flown off south. (Frustratingly for P & S they later returned!)

Well that was fun!

a) The football
b) Fathers' Day
c) The French Grand Prix

...we still managed to attract a decent crowd for another three-hour marathon of rock and blues at the Hermitage, Acle.
With the relaxation of C-19 restrictions, things will shortly return to normal at the venue, with Sunday afternoon open jam sessions, so that's it for our 'scratch quartet'.... except guitar legend Tim suggested has suggested we formalise the line-up, add a bassist and carry on doing gigs. Watch this space!

Sunday, 20 June 2021

Brassed-off birds!

The garden is full of birds at the moment: House Sparrows, Dunnocks, Starlings three kinds of pigeon, Blackbirds, Magpies, Robins, Blue & Great Tits, Gold- and Greenfinches etc etc: all looking fed up and wondering where the Summer went. They're all bringing their youngsters for a feed, and it looks like it's been a good breeding season so far.

Friday, 18 June 2021

Daytime Hog!

Just now Linda glanced out of the kitchen window to see one of our four resident hedgehogs enjoying a meal of suet on the lawn! Always a thrill to watch these engaging little animals at close range.

Thursday, 17 June 2021

The Boys are Back in Town!

Tim, Garth, Olly and I will be back at the Hermitage, Acle on Sunday, playing our well-loved rock and blues set: be great to see you there! We start at 4.30 and go on until 8.00-ish (Or until we run out of numbers!)

Here are the set lists, to give you an idea of whose reputations we will be damaging!

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Sky Watcher 127: slowly getting the hang of it!

Just before sun set yesterday, the waxing crescent Moon was a beautiful sight above the western horizon. It was a mild evening, so I set up the telescope, ZWO CCD camera and laptop in the back garden and took a few shots. Despite what you are told when you buy this sort of gear, it's never easy to master and I still have a lot to learn: nevertheless, I was quite happy with the results. (The complete crescent image was taken with my usual 300mm prime)

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Glossy Ibises at Hickling

An early start saw me at Stubb Mill by around 6.30, scanning the pools and reedbeds at the eastern end of the reserve for the reported pair of Glossy Ibises. No joy, but three Great White Egrets and ten Spoonbills roosting distantly were noteworthy: just like being back on the Somme.

A walk around the whole loop added little apart from scores of Four-spotted Chasers and Norfolk Hawkers. I was on the point of leaving when I thought I'd take one last look at Bishop's Reedbed - and there they were! Distant but, as always, terrific to see!