Suffolk tick, Norfolk tick…result!

After some very quiet days things suddenly picked up! We were planning on a lazy Sunday afternoon but a beep from RBA (rare bird alert) announced that a Blue throat had been seen in Lowestoft. We were planning to spend a couple of days in Norwich later this week but that was easily brought forward. So a case quickly packed, binoculars and cameras loaded into the car and we were off.

Once we found the place, just yards from Ness Point,Lowestoft, England’s most easterly point, we heard that the Bluethroat had been showing well but was now missing! Thankfully within the following half an hour she re-appeared, a life tick for us both!IMG_6249

Being a female she lacks the stunning colouring of her male counterpart but she was still a lovely little bird. We stood watching her with our backs to the sea and I assume she had just flown in. Chatting to a local birder there it would seem they have had several cracking birds there!

She was just a bit too far to get decent photos but none the less I was pleased to be able to get the ones I did manage.

We were certainly pleased we had decided to give up a lazy afternoon for this bird and we knew we had a shot at another lifer too. So we decided to go back into Norfolk, to Breydon Water to try for a Caspian tern that has been there for a little while, but we had no luck. It had been showing well until about ten minutes before we arrived when it had flown off! We decided to try again in the morning and we had more luck then. We walked as far as we could to get as close as we could to the bird but it was still a very distant view. Sorry about the photos, they are record shots nothing more than that.

At least it is an unmistakable bird, by far the largest tern and it has a heavy weight bill on it! I think if it was Caspian terns that ‘attacked’ people on the Farne Islands there would be far fewer visitors!!!

Next stop Stumpshaw fen where we hoped to see a Swallowtail butterfly but I can tell you now we failed at that. We did however have a lovely walk and saw some interesting things and a couple of smashing dragonflies. First a few of the bits and bobs, some I can name, others I can’t, not yet at least.

This little one was on a path and we think it is a baby bank vole.

A selection of the bugs we saw and also some Peacock caterpillars. The orange and black one is a Froghopper and the green one is a thick-legged flower beetle (thanks Alan).

I am hoping someone might be able to help me to identify this dragonfly nymph, the bird I do know was a Sedge warbler.

The weather had been disappointing but then out came the sun and with it some rather nice invertebrates. I haven’t seen a Ringlet butterfly for some while so was very pleased to see this one.

This year is the first time we have bothered to ty to identify dragonflies so as far as I know it i sthe first time we have seen these two. The first one is a black-tailed skimmer, it kept dashing by us and we thought we wouldnt get a proper look at it but thankfully later one landed, briefly, nearby.

This second one and in my opinion a far nicer one, is a scarce chaser. We saw a few of these in one small area which we happened upon just as the sun was out shining again.

On our walk we had a nice female pheasant with a couple of youngsters, she seemed unperturbed by our presence.

All in all an excellent couple of days, we were particularly pleased we went for the Bluethroat promptly as it hasn’t been reported again since. That brings us to 235 birds including 20 life ticks!

 

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March review

The only thing wrong with March is, it went too quickly, apart from that it has been brilliant. We saw great changes in the weather but winter still didn’t really get a grip, for which we were most grateful! We went from frost and hail to bright blue sky and birding in our ‘shirt sleeves’

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Gloucestershire, brilliant company and obliging birds. It was there that I saw my bird of the month, I have picked the Hawfinch. Now it wasn’t a life tick or anything like that but I saw it so much better than I have ever seen it before and got my first photos. Another special bird was the Long-billed dowitcher that we travelled to Rutland water to see.

We added a trip to Bedfordshire to our time away and again enjoyed excellent company, some good walks and the best woodpecker of the year!

 

 

Plenty of visits to the North Norfolk coast and other reserves helped us to boost our numbers and the lists have gradually crept up. Our month finished in style as we spent a long day at the coast, in beautiful weather celebrating Ian’s birthday. The weather couldn’t have been kinder and the addition of unexpected family participation made it an excellent end to our firs quarter, all we lacked were some  summer migrants!!!

List time again so look away now if this bit doesn’t interest you!

Ones in bold are new for March, ones in red are life ticks!

Bird List end March 

  1. Mute Swan
  2. Bewick Swan
  3. Whooper Swan
  4. Pink-footed Goose
  5. White-fronted Goose
  6. Greylag Goose
  7. Canada Goose
  8. Barnacle Goose
  9. Brent Goose
  10. Egyptian Goose
  11. Common Shelduck
  12. Mandarin Duck
  13. Eurasian Wigeon
  14. Gadwall
  15. Eurasian Teal
  16. Mallard
  17. Pintail
  18. Shoveler
  19. Red-crested Pochard
  20. Common Pochard
  21. Ferruginous Duck
  22. Tufted duck
  23. Greater Scaup
  24. Long-tailed Duck
  25. Common Scoter
  26. Velvet Scoter
  27. Goldeneye
  28. Smew
  29. Red-breasted Merganser
  30. Goosander
  31. Red-legged Partridge
  32. Grey Partridge
  33. Common Pheasant
  34. Golden Pheasant
  35. Little Grebe
  36. Great Crested Grebe
  37. Red-necked Grebe
  38. Slavonian Grebe
  39. Black-necked Grebe
  40. Fulmar
  41. Cormorant
  42. Shag
  43. Bittern
  44. Little Egret
  45. Great Egret
  46. Grey Heron
  47. White Stork
  48. Glossy Ibis
  49. Red Kite
  50. Marsh Harrier
  51. Hen Harrier
  52. Pallid Harrier
  53. Goshawk
  54. Eurasian Sparrowhawk
  55. Common Buzzard
  56. Rough-legged Buzzard
  57. Kestrel
  58. Merlin
  59. Peregrine Falcon
  60. Water Rail
  61. Moorhen
  62. Coot
  63. Common Crane
  64. Oystercatcher
  65. Pied Avocet
  66. Stone-curlew
  67. Ringed Plover
  68. European Golden Plover
  69. Grey Plover
  70. Lapwing
  71. Knot
  72. Sanderling
  73. Purple Sandpiper
  74. Dunlin
  75. Ruff
  76. Jack Snipe
  77. Common Snipe
  78. Long-billed Dowitcher
  79. Black-tailed Godwit
  80. Bar-tailed Godwit
  81. Curlew
  82. Spotted Redshank
  83. Common Redshank
  84. Common Greenshank
  85. Lesser Yellowlegs
  86. Ruddy Turnstone
  87. Grey Phalarope
  88. Mediterranean Gull
  89. Black-headed Gull
  90. Common Gull
  91. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  92. Herring Gull
  93. Iceland Gull
  94. Glaucous Gull
  95. Great Black-backed Gull
  96. Rock Pigeon
  97. Stock Pigeon
  98. Wood Pigeon
  99. Collared Dove
  100. Barn Owl
  101. Tawny Owl
  102. Short-eared Owl
  103. Common Kingfisher
  104. Green Woodpecker
  105. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  106. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
  107. Wood Lark
  108. Sky Lark
  109. Shore Lark (horned lark)
  110. Meadow Pipit
  111. Rock Pipit
  112. Water Pipit
  113. Grey Wagtail
  114. Pied Wagtail
  115. Wren
  116. Dunnock
  117. Robin
  118. Black Redstart
  119. Stonechat
  120. Blackbird
  121. Fieldfare
  122. Song Thrush
  123. Redwing
  124. Mistle Thrush
  125. Cetti’s Warbler
  126. Dartford Warbler
  127. Blackcap
  128. Common Chiffchaff
  129. Goldcrest
  130. Firecrest
  131. Bearded Tit
  132. Long-tailed Tit
  133. Marsh Tit
  134. Coal Tit
  135. Blue Tit
  136. Great Tit
  137. Nuthatch
  138. Treecreeper
  139. Penduline tit
  140. Great Grey Shrike
  141. Jay
  142. Magpie
  143. Jackdaw
  144. Rook
  145. Crow
  146. Common Raven
  147. Starling
  148. House Sparrow
  149. Tree Sparrow
  150. Chaffinch
  151. Brambling
  152. Serin
  153. Greenfinch
  154. Goldfinch
  155. Siskin
  156. Linnet
  157. Twite
  158. Lesser Redpoll
  159. Mealy Redpoll
  160. Bullfinch
  161. Hawfinch
  162. Lapland Longspur
  163. Snow Bunting
  164. Yellowhammer
  165. Reed Bunting
  166. Corn Bunting

Mammal list total 11

Rabbit, Stoat, Hare, Squirrel, Grey seal, Roe deer, Red deer, Muntjac deer, Sperm  whale, Otter, & weasel

Moths total 13  (these are all new for us as we weren’t mothing this time last year)

Winter moth, Pale brindled beauty, Mottled umber, Early moth, Common Quaker, Early grey, Common plume (micro), Hebrew character, Small brindled beauty, March moth, Small Quaker, Clouded drab, Shoulder stripe

Butterflies 2

Red admiral and Brimstone are our first two butterflies of the year.

Other critters 7

  1. Wasp
  2. Ladybird 7 spot
  3. Ladybird harlequin
  4. Lacewing green
  5. Lacewing brown
  6. Bloody nosed beetle
  7. Bumble bee
Total of totals for the first quarter a slightly frustrating: 199

 

 

 

 

February round up

Well I can truthfully say the second month has been as good as the first and we have been very lucky to have had such a mild winter. The weather hasn’t kept us in on many days and to be honest we do need to stay in occasionally to keep on tops of routine jobs that need doing laundry etc!). We have had 23 more year ticks including two life ticks not bad for two months in. I was very glad to eventually catch the Pallid harrier as it took several attempts. Our other life tick was the Ferruginous duck, often called a fudge duck and was also one I was pleased to get as we had been disappointed by one a few years ago. Strange how some birds are particular about their breeding partner where as others, including many ducks, are more into free love! This was how our original fudge duck let us down as it was shown not to be pure!!!

Definitely the highlight of February was our trip to Suffolk, it was last minute inspiration and an excellent time. From the little Rock pipit as we walked to see the glossy ibis, to the warm welcome at the Eels Foot Inn.

 

IMG_7576 (Custom)

 

I enjoyed playing with my camera and taking some short video clips which I hope to do something with probably at the end of the year when I have time! Early one morning I was videoing this Mute swan when a young one swam alongside and they swam around mirroring each other, ’twas a beautiful sight.

There were ducks, waders and small birds to watch to say nothing of the huge bonus of the appearance of an otter! At last we saw our first Great spotted woodpecker of the years and I don’t think any day didn’t provide at least one Robin.  We met so many lovely strangers and I am not going to attempt to pick any favourites this month.

IMG_7626 (Custom)

Of course Suffolk was only a few days in the month we visited many other places, old and new. Moths have been almost completely absent again this month , I think they need the warmer nights to tempt them out. I hadn’t expected to be adding a sperm whale to our list, that was some sight but such a sad if inevitable end for him. A White stork was another surprise!IMG_8816 White stork (Custom)

The past couple of months have proved that Ian and I can be happy in each others company; I say this as we haven’t lived alone since the birth of our first gorgeous son in 1972! Two more equally gorgeous children followed and the three of them have always been and continue to be, the hugest blessing for both of us. Twenty years of fostering meant our time sharing our home with children has been longer than most peoples!IMG_7745 (Custom)

It has been fun getting out and about, deciding where to go and sharing successes and occasional disappointments. March has already got off to a good start and I am confident it will be at least as good as the first two!

Thank you for reading this blog, it is great to know you are with us! I do love comments partly as without them I don’t know who is reading as it shows me numbers but not names!!!

Here is the list of birds seen up until the end of February, the ones in bold are new this month, the ones in red are life ticks:

  1. Mute Swan
  2. Bewick Swan
  3. Whooper Swan
  4. Pink-footed Goose
  5. White-fronted Goose
  6. Greylag Goose
  7. Canada Goose
  8. Barnacle Goose
  9. Brent Goose
  10. Egyptian Goose
  11. Common Shelduck
  12. Mandarin Duck
  13. Eurasian Wigeon
  14. Gadwall
  15. Eurasian Teal
  16. Mallard
  17. Pintail
  18. Shoveler
  19. Red-crested Pochard
  20. Common Pochard
  21. Ferruginous Duck
  22. Tufted duck
  23. Greater Scaup
  24. Long-tailed Duck
  25. Common Scoter
  26. Velvet Scoter
  27. Goldeneye
  28. Smew
  29. Red-breasted Merganser
  30. Goosander
  31. Red-legged Partridge
  32. Grey Partridge
  33. Common Pheasant
  34. Golden Pheasant
  35. Little Grebe
  36. Great Crested Grebe
  37. Red-necked Grebe
  38. Fulmar
  39. Cormorant
  40. Shag
  41. Bittern
  42. Little Egret
  43. Great Egret
  44. Grey Heron
  45. White Stork
  46. Glossy Ibis
  47. Red Kite
  48. Marsh Harrier
  49. Hen Harrier
  50. Pallid Harrier
  51. Eurasian Sparrowhawk
  52. Common Buzzard
  53. Rough-legged Buzzard
  54. Kestrel
  55. Merlin
  56. Peregrine Falcon
  57. Water Rail
  58. Moorhen
  59. Coot
  60. Oystercatcher
  61. Pied Avocet
  62. Ringed Plover
  63. European Golden Plover
  64. Grey Plover
  65. Lapwing
  66. Knot
  67. Sanderling
  68. Purple Sandpiper
  69. Dunlin
  70. Ruff
  71. Common Snipe
  72. Black-tailed Godwit
  73. Bar-tailed Godwit
  74. Curlew
  75. Spotted Redshank
  76. Common Redshank
  77. Common Greenshank
  78. Lesser Yellowlegs
  79. Ruddy Turnstone
  80. Grey Phalarope
  81. Mediterranean Gull
  82. Black-headed Gull
  83. Common Gull
  84. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  85. Herring Gull
  86. Iceland Gull
  87. Glaucous Gull
  88. Great Black-backed Gull
  89. Rock Pigeon
  90. Stock Pigeon
  91. Wood Pigeon
  92. Collared Dove
  93. Barn Owl
  94. Tawny Owl
  95. Short-eared Owl
  96. Common Kingfisher
  97. Green Woodpecker
  98. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  99. Wood Lark
  100. Sky Lark
  101. Shore Lark (horned lark)
  102. Meadow Pipit
  103. Rock Pipit
  104. Water Pipit
  105. Pied Wagtail
  106. Wren
  107. Dunnock
  108. Robin
  109. Black Redstart
  110. Stonechat
  111. Blackbird
  112. Fieldfare
  113. Song Thrush
  114. Redwing
  115. Mistle Thrush
  116. Cetti’s Warbler
  117. Dartford Warbler
  118. Common Chiffchaff
  119. Goldcrest
  120. Penduline tit
  121. Long-tailed Tit
  122. Marsh Tit
  123. Coal Tit
  124. Blue Tit
  125. Great Tit
  126. Nuthatch
  127. Treecreeper
  128. Great Grey Shrike
  129. Jay
  130. Magpie
  131. Jackdaw
  132. Rook
  133. Crow
  134. Starling
  135. House Sparrow
  136. Tree Sparrow
  137. Chaffinch
  138. Brambling
  139. Serin
  140. Greenfinch
  141. Goldfinch
  142. Siskin
  143. Linnet
  144. Twite
  145. Lesser Redpoll
  146. Mealy Redpoll
  147. Bullfinch
  148. Lapland Longspur (bunting)
  149. Snow Bunting
  150. Yellowhammer
  151. Reed Bunting
  152. Corn bunting
Moths     6
Winter moth
Mottled umber
Pale brindled beauty
Early moth
Common quaker
Early grey
Other insects.  4
Wasp
Lacewing green
Ladybird 7 spot
Ladybird harlequin
Animals ( or What no wings! )  10
Rabbit
Stoat
Hare
Grey squirrel
Grey seal
Roe deer
Muntjac deer
Red deer
Sperm whale
Otter
Grand total  172

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January round up

Well January has sped by and I have enjoyed every moment of it!

I confess that at the beginning of the month I felt a tad guilty having given ourselves a year off whilst others carried on working, but a bigger confession is how quickly I got over it!!! It’s a bit like being at school and all day being ‘play time’.

We have been out birding almost every day and eaten most lunches from our flasks, in fact I think we may have forgotten how to work the oven! I have concocted more variations on veggie casserole than I thought possible and discovered new ways to make pasta tasty. I don’t think I have seen a sandwich all year and all this thanks to the gift of food flasks!

The moth trap has been very quiet producing three moths and a wasp through the whole of January, just wait till the spring and summer that will be a different story!

We have been very lucky with the weather, some frosts and plenty of rain but rarely enough to keep us in. These are a few shots taken one very frosty morning.

Yesterday after trying to see the Golden pheasant we went on to Titchwell and Sculthorpe and saw four more new birds for the year, Fulmar, Merlin, Common and Velvet scoter.

We ended the month by doing the Big garden bird watch, this Blackbird was the first to find a fat ball that had been hanging for a while.IMG_0890

Lunch today was not from a flask but with some very good friends (still my oven takes a rest!) and was a smashing time catching up with them.

It has been unfortunate that this has been a time when Ian’s knee has been really troubling him and his heart playing up a bit too, so we are realy hoping that those things improve as the year goes on, but if plans have to be modified so be it. Ian and I have spent more time together these past few weeks than in a long time it has been lovely and we haven’t fallen out so that can’t be bad!!! This photo shows him battling the elements at Sheringham one day.IMG_6222

Reflecting on our month has it been what I hoped for and expected? Honestly I have enjoyed it considerably more than I ever anticipated, it has been brilliant and we have seen many more birds than I thought at this stage of our year. ( A full list appears at the end of this blog.) Have there been any negatives? Really the only one has been that in totally leaving ourselves free to go for any bird it has made arranging to see friends and family more difficult, but I will get better at it I am determined.

I include these pigs just for fun and to show them sharing ‘their’ farm with hundred of birds!

 

What will tomorrow bring? Maybe a rare bird will arrive, maybe a fox will run through the garden, maybe I will stop at home and do some housework (I doubt that!), or maybe new moths will come to the trap who knows?

Stranger of the month…I think this award goes to the elderly gentleman at Wells, (see Family came too) he had lived there all his life and loved it. I think he would have stayed and chatted all day, and into the night, if we had the time. He was a pleasure to meet!

Bird of the month…I want to pick two, the Serin and the Penduline tit but if I am harsh with myself and had to chose one I would go with the Serin. They were both life ticks but the Serin was slightly more cooperative and let me at least take a few snaps!

Read on to see the list of our sightings so far or stop here if you don’t like lists. Either way thank you for reading these blogs and I hope you will carry on with us through the year.

Birds seen in January (those in bold have been added since last list) 129

  1. Mute Swan
  2. Bewick Swan
  3. Whooper Swan
  4. Pink-footed Goose
  5. White-fronted Goose
  6. Greylag Goose
  7. Canada Goose
  8. Barnacle Goose
  9. Brent Goose
  10. Egyptian Goose
  11. Common Shelduck
  12. Mandarin Duck
  13. Eurasian Wigeon
  14. Gadwall
  15. Eurasian Teal
  16. Mallard
  17. Pintail
  18. Shoveler
  19. Red-crested Pochard
  20. Common Pochard
  21. Tufted duck
  22. Greater Scaup
  23. Common Scoter
  24. Velvet Scoter
  25. Goldeneye
  26. Goosander
  27. Red-legged Partridge
  28. Common Pheasant
  29. Little Grebe
  30. Great Crested Grebe
  31. Red-necked Grebe
  32. Fulmar
  33. Cormorant
  34. Shag
  35. Little Egret
  36. Great Egret
  37. Grey Heron
  38. Red Kite
  39. Marsh Harrier
  40. Eurasian Sparrowhawk
  41. Common Buzzard
  42. Rough-legged Buzzard
  43. Kestrel
  44. Merlin
  45. Peregrine Falcon
  46. Moorhen
  47. Coot
  48. Oystercatcher
  49. Pied Avocet
  50. Ringed Plover
  51. European Golden Plover
  52. Grey Plover
  53. Lapwing
  54. Knot
  55. Sanderling
  56. Dunlin
  57. Ruff
  58. Black-tailed Godwit
  59. Bar-tailed Godwit
  60. Curlew
  61. Spotted Redshank
  62. Common Redshank
  63. Common Greenshank
  64. Lesser Yellowlegs
  65. Ruddy Turnstone
  66. Grey Phalarope
  67. Mediterranean Gull
  68. Black-headed Gull
  69. Common Gull
  70. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  71. Herring Gull
  72. Glaucous Gull
  73. Great Black-backed Gull
  74. Rock Pigeon
  75. Stock Pigeon
  76. Wood Pigeon
  77. Collared Dove
  78. Barn Owl
  79. Tawny Owl
  80. Short-eared Owl
  81. Green Woodpecker
  82. Shore Lark (horned lark)
  83. Meadow Pipit
  84. Rock Pipit
  85. Water Pipit
  86. Pied Wagtail
  87. Wren
  88. Dunnock
  89. Robin
  90. Black Redstart
  91. Stonechat
  92. Blackbird
  93. Fieldfare
  94. Song Thrush
  95. Redwing
  96. Mistle Thrush
  97. Common Chiffchaff
  98. Goldcrest
  99. Penduline tit
  100. Long-tailed Tit
  101. Marsh Tit
  102. Coal Tit
  103. Blue Tit
  104. Great Tit
  105. Nuthatch
  106. Treecreeper
  107. Great Grey Shrike
  108. Jay
  109. Magpie
  110. Jackdaw
  111. Rook
  112. Crow
  113. Starling
  114. House Sparrow
  115. Tree Sparrow
  116. Chaffinch
  117. Brambling
  118. Serin
  119. Greenfinch
  120. Goldfinch
  121. Siskin
  122. Linnet
  123. Twite
  124. Lesser Redpoll
  125. Mealy Redpoll
  126. Bullfinch
  127. Snow Bunting
  128. Reed Bunting
  129. Corn bunting
Moths     3
Winter moth
Mottled umber
Pale brindled beauty
Other insects.  2
Wasp
Lacewing
Animals ( or What no wings! )  7
Rabbit
Stoat
Hare
Grey squirrel
Grey seal
Roe deer
Muntjac deer
Grand total
141

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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