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Sunday 31 December 2023

Hemblington Church bird survey

Since the earlier survey was very much a 'lite' edition, carried out hurriedly in the rain while Linda and I unlocked the Church, the 'gang of four' decided we'd do the job properly at the last possible moment. It's pleasing to report that we had a bumper bird list, including a male Merlin - a new species - Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Kite and Buzzard!

Train ride for lunch in Aylsham

Linda and I joined Sue and Peter for a thoroughly enjoyable post-Christmas excursion to Aylsham on the diminutive Bure Valley Railway. Passing through Coltishall, Brampton and Buxton we saw both Cattle and Little Egrets, as well as Fieldfares and other bits and pieces. 

After coffee and some merchandising in the Georgian market town, we enjoyed a terrific lunch in the 'Black Boys' - great food and service at reasonable prices - before returning to Wroxham. We spent half an hour looking around Roy's sale, where I treated Linda to a knitted evening coat.

A really fun way to wind up the Christmas season: if the weather improves there might be a few birds on the blog soon!

Saturday 30 December 2023

Who'll be the millionth visitor????

At some time today or tomorrow someone will be the millionth visitor to Birds of the Heath! If there's any way of finding out who it is, I'll send them a copy of my book 'Birds of the Yare Valley'!

Friday 29 December 2023

The ISS and a bright Moon

A bright waning Moon made photography a little problematic, but I managed a few shots of the International Space Station as it cruised overhead  just before 6.00am. 

A dinner that didn't happen!

Last night two old friends were supposed to arrive at 7.00pm for a meal and a catch up: it's been a while since we last met. A communications failure meant that the agreed time came and went, before a 'phone call confirmed that our guests had forgotten! I threw the beetroot tarte tatin on a couple of plates and Linda and I enjoyed a repas a deux in front of the telly!

Thursday 28 December 2023

Bird highlights of 2023

Yet again: it's been a funny old year! Some real high-value scarce or rare birds, but lots of 'bread & butter' species failed to oblige. Buff -breasted Sandpiper, White-tailed Eagle, White-winged Black Tern, Lesser Scaup and numerous other goodies, but no Treecreeper, Crossbill or Tree Pipit! Still, a total (at time of writing) of 227 isn't too shabby, I suppose...

January: three Smew at Filby

White-tailed Eagle, Holkham

February: Black Redstart, Sheringham

Tundra Bean Goose, Lakenheath

March: Water Pipit, Cley

Dotterel, Buckenham Marsh

White Stork, Halvergate

April: Osprey - nearly bred at Ranworth!

May: Fourteen Glossy Ibises, Cley

Caspian Tern, Hickling

Great Reed Warbler, Strumpshaw Fen

Montague's Harrier, Acle Straight

Black-winged Stilts, Hickling

Temminck's Stints, Hickling

June: American Golden Plover, Cley

Bee-eater, Trimingham

July: Long-eared Owl: bred at Strumpshaw

Long-billed Dowitcher: summered at Cley

August: Spoonbills: bred at Cley and Hickling

September: Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Minsmere

October: White-tailed Eagle, Pulborough Brooks

Cattle Egrets, Holme

Hen Harrier, Cley

November: Twite, Blakeney Fresh Marsh

Shorelarks, Holkham

Grey Partridges, Hevingham Church

Pallid Swift, Winterton

Red-breasted Goose, Warham Greens

December: Glossy Ibis, Stiffkey

Kingfisher, Cley

Spotted Redshank, Titchwell