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Wednesday 30 November 2022

White-tailed Eagle at Holkham

Brian and I made an early start at Holkham, walking through the woods to the (closed) Jordan Hide, then back along the beach. We were hoping to glimpse the White-tailed Eagle on his holidays from the Isle of Wight, but no luck: the best we managed was a distant Kingfisher, a few Goldcrests and various small tits. We decided to head westwards to Titchwell, but as we reached the layby that overlooks Holkham grazing marsh, the pager announced that the eagle was perched in a tree by the lake. We quickly returned, parked and trotted to the lake. At first all we could see was Red Kites - lots of them! Then I spied what looked like a haystack wedged in a tree on the west shore. Over the next twenty minutes Brian and I enjoyed fabulous views of this impressive juvenile bird, both in flight and fending off Red Kites and Jackdaws.

Carrying on further west to Titchwell, we added a few interesting bits and pieces, including two year ticks: Red-breasted Merganser and Long-tailed Duck.

The International Space Station in December

There are some bright passes by the ISS in December (and some dim ones too!) Any pass with a minus magnitude is easily visible, even if you live in a city. In general, the ISS first appears in the west and travels in an arc to the east through the southern part of the sky.

Tuesday 29 November 2022

Blickling Hall Christmas lights

Since a friend of Peter's had a ticket for this annual event that she couldn't use, we decided to combine a visit to the hall with supper at the Buckingham Arms.

Despite the ravelling mist (or perhaps because of it!) we had a thoroughly enjoyable evening: both the lights and the meal were excellent: highly recommended!

Sunday 27 November 2022

Waxwings at Sheringham: feels like Christmas!

Since we needed Yorkshire puds to go with Sunday supper, we thought we'd go to North Walsham to buy them: it seemed silly not to visit Common Road, Sheringham first to look for the reported flock of seven Waxwings. When we arrived (at around 2.30) the birds were flycatching from a large sycamore (?) but soon decamped across the road to a berry-laden bush on Beeston Common. We enjoyed watching these delightful 'trillers' with Richard 'the Hat' and 'the Viking' for half an hour before returning to Waitrose and then home for supper!

Saturday 26 November 2022

See an asteroid!

At the moment (and for the next few days) the large asteroid Vesta will be visible with binoculars in the constellation of Aquarius. If you have a DSLR that can take long exposures (say 10 seconds or so) using a tripod, at around 7.00pm, point it in between Saturn and Jupiter. Take a picture for three or four nights and you should notice Vesta moving against the background stars. (Which is how asteroids and comets generally are / were discovered!) Incidentally, you should also capture nearby Neptune and, further east, Uranus in the constellation of Aries.

Mixed goose flock at Horsey

As Linda and I were driving towards Somerton we noticed a very distant flock of grey geese to the west of the road, so we pulled into the 'usual layby' to examine them. In truth they were a very long way away, but I took a few photos using various settings and to me it seems like an eclectic mixture of Pinkfeet, Whitefronts and - just possibly - a few Tundra Beans. Opinions welcome!

Friday 25 November 2022

Bird survey at Hemblington Church

Linda, Sue, Peter and I met at a somewhat chilly churchyard to carry out the monthly bird survey: at least it was sunny and not too windy today!

We've been carrying out these surveys for over five years now and have been told that they form a useful record of the birdlife in and around the delightful All Saints Church. Today there wasn't the number of different species we record in the spring and summer, but geese and winter thrushes added variety!