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!

 

Great knot

Our plan was to have a couple of ‘at home’ days getting ready for some visitors who are arriving tomorrow but then plans are made to be broken or so I hear!

News soon spread that Titchwell was the home, albeit temporarily to a mega rarity, Great knot only the fifth for the country and only the second for Norfolk. So this morning off we went feeling hopeful and I saw Titchwell as I have never seen it before.  It was very busy but at the same time looked empty!!! No queue for coffee (even we passed by) we walked down the path to the sea no one was birding along the way as usual but when we reached the beach we saw where everyone was.IMG_6101 notice

All telescopes and binoculars were pointing in the same direction, seaward. It took a while for the bird to be relocated but at last there he was but of course so very distant nearly on the shoreline. It was a life tick for us both and bird number 233 for the year. No possibility of a picture of any kind but if it hangs around we will try again. This is a few of the watchers, the line went on for some while, they were only outnumbered by the razor clam shells behind them!

When we got home a note through the door saying there were flowers in the summer house, what a lovely surprise. A gift from Roo and Stu, thank you both. How lovely, they will brighten the house up when we have visitors tomorrow!IMG_6103 flowers crop

The rest of the day has been spent doing a few chores (fewer than I should have done!) and visiting a friend Francesca who like all my friends and some family I have somewhat neglected this year…sorry!

I thought I would take the opportunity to catch up a bit on the moth situation, this year so far we have seen 96 different species. There is no reason for the photos I have chosen it is just to give you an insight into the moth world! The top set of picture show Ruby tiger and Lychnis , next pair are White ermine and Willow beauty and finally Lobster moth and Eyed hawkmoth.

Remember these are but six of the 95 we have had, the variety is amazing and be warned I will feature more another time!

So another good day and seeing Great knot brings my life ticks to 18 which I am very happy with.

 

England here we come

Farewell to Ardwhin Cottage, Lochdon, Mull and of course to Ruth, Stu and Sprocket! Few final shots of a hooded crow before we return down south to our jet black version.IMG_5792 Ardwhin an all

Not far to Craignure to wait for the ferry, it fascinated me watching it come in and open up ready for the cars to unload and fresh ones board.

Just a few scenes from our trip across to Oban, not so sunny for the return journey but dry and warm enough. We saw a group of Guillemot on the water and later the odd black one. We said our goodbyes as we got back into the cars ready to go our different ways; we have loved sharing this past week with family.

We began the journey down to visit some dear friends in Moffatt, a last minute arrangement. It is safe to say the weather had changed! Gone was the beautiful sunshine to be replaced with grey skies with intermittent very heavy downpours!

We were delighted to be able to have a chance to meet, albeit briefly, with our friends who we hadn’t seen for about two years. The older I get the more I value friendship. Whatever life may throw it is good to find the people unchanged even though outward circumstances may have changed dramatically.

So off on the last short leg of the day’s journey to Dumfries. We were checked into a nice little hotel, Rivendell, with a very nice room and an exceedingly comfortable four poster bed! I slept better last night than I have for some time. We found a nice little Italian place around the corner to go and get a very welcome meal.IMG_5795 Rivendell

Up and out this morning in search of Caerlaverock WWT the sixth of their sites we have visited this year (another tomorrow). The weather looked decidedly iffy but we were fortunate and it stayed dry. We knew they would be emptying moth traps today and were keen to see if they had any new owns for us. They were a friendly group and made us feel included. We saw several that were new for the year and a few that are new altogether.

The peach-blossom moth was one I have been waiting to see so was very pleased when they came out of the trap. Also this Map-winged swift, I hadn’t even heard of that one! The next new one was, I think, a ghost moth and the last one pictured here wasn’t new but only the second garden tiger we have seen and we are still waiting to see one at home!

 

When mothing was finished we walked all around the site visiting firstly the Sir Peter Scott hide, not quite as posh as the one at Welney but not too shabby! I also include several views from around the site; can you see what they have in common?

 

A lack of birds! Oh well yet again right place, wrong time but it was still good to see the place and who know we may return one day. I did see this poor little Jackdaw chick, out of its nest a tad early. The parents were around but not paying it too much attention, hopefully they will do their duty and take care of it.

I was rather taken with these Longhorn cattle but I can tell you I wouldn’t be walking through any field they were lose in!

. Apart from moths we also saw a few damselflies and thankfully someone was alongside to tell me what they were! Firstly Azure Damselfly the male and female in one shot! Then the Blue-tailed damselfly male and the female too. A painted lady butterfly flew past as we were watching the damselflies.

I must say all the people working there were delightful, especially Heather on the shop/reception desk. What a lovely chat I had with her while Ian grabbed a short nap in the car. This rather emperor dragonfly made from Lego caught my eye as we were chatting and I have a feeling a few members of my family might have rather liked it!

After our visit to Caerlaverock we headed for Southport where we are staying for two nights. Hotel looks good, although it lacks the charm of last night’s one! After checking in we decided to go for a walk and see a bit of what Southport has to offer but I think I will leave that for tomorrow’s blog when we have seen a bit more.

 

 

 

What a night!

 

What a night indeed but before the night came the day so let me tell you about that first. It was our last day in the area and we were aware that apart from going to eat we hadn’t been into the town at all so we thought we would stay locally and see what Blaigowrie had to offer. First we went for a walk by the river and once again both Grey wagtails and Dippers showed well. The Wagtails were feeding their young which is always a spectacle.

 

These two Dippers, I assume a young with a parent, also put on a good show!

Press on into town and to have a look around setting off first to find the town hall where the local Art group had an exhibition. As you may imagine it was a mixed affair and I doubt anyone could have liked all the work even if you could see the talent that lay behind it! As we went in we were given a slip of paper and asked to vote for our favourite piece before leaving. I particularly enjoyed the work of one wildlife artist and voted for her picture, ‘The elusive pine marten’

We met Delia for a farewell lunch and, as planned returned for a last walk down by the river. We did try the other  side of the bridge but didn’t take to it so returned to what was by now familiar territory! In just those few hours we had been away a change had taken place in the wagtail world! They seemed to no longer be feeding them but I assume trying to encourage them to fend for themselves. They were still close by but kept coming close then instead of passing them food, would fly up again presumably hoping they would learn how to do it. One kept trying the second, which we hadn’t seen earlier, just sat!IMG_2385

A young lady came and asked about my camera lens as she was thinking of getting one and we got in conversation. It transpired that she was a wildlife artist and on chatting further she was the artist I had just voted for, Paula Jane Anderson, small world!

Okay lets move on to our evening and what a cracker it was! We had heard that there were beavers not too far from us but had no idea where. We were linked with a man who did know, Bob a fantastic ‘Nature Nut’ and he agreed to take us at to look for them but that wasn’t all. If we left a bit early he would try for a couple of other treats too!

First stop was where the Black grouse often lek, unfortunately not last night but never mind, we moved on after a lovely sight of a Hen Harrier. We were to try to see something which was going to be the highlight of the night, Pine marten! On the way we saw this lovely hare.

Also a group of fallow deer including the lovely ‘white’ one.IMG_2498

Moving on though and we were soon settled waiting for the Pine marten, as we sat the sun moved round and of course just when it was directly opposite us that Marten arrived, making pictures impossible! Never mind we had seen it and Bob was sure it would be back, of course he was right!IMG_2489 pine martin

We were so thrilled I can’t tell you! Pine marten is not an animal I expected to be on our 2016 list! It was bigger than I had imagined and has a really big tail, look at the teeth too!

The light was fading fast but Bob said we could still have a quick try for the beavers, we agreed but I wasn’t feeling too hopeful. having said that the evening to that point had been brilliant so with or without beavers we were happy! We drove, parked, walked and arrived at a river where within minutes we saw beaver!!! It was almost dark by that time so pictures were near impossible. I will post one bad shot plus one screen shot form a little video which did come out slightly better.

What a night, Pine marten and beavers, two animals which before arriving in Blairgowrie we hadn’t even considered as possible! Bob is a top man and if you find yourself in the area I strongly recommend getting in touch with Bob, Nature Nut!

10.45 and we were back at our B & B a cuppa and a snack before settling down for our last night before moving on to Nethy Bridgs, I wonder what we will see there!

Chalk and cheese

As different as chalk is from cheese was our target bird from yesterdays. No bright showy colours, no high wire acts, in fact nothing to really make you notice it if you weren’t looking! Today we headed to Overstrand, up on the coast, hoping to see a female Red-breasted flycatcher. I had seen one just once before and for Ian it would be a life tick so we were both hopeful. The other one I had seen was the day I first decided that birding was for me, I had been out with Peter watching a Red-backed shrike when on route back to the car the flycatcher appeared!

On the cricket pitch at Overstrand the message said, behind Leslie Curtis bench and sure enough there it was!IMG_1808 Red-breasted flycatcher benchTo be honest when we first saw her she was in a tree but it was later she landed on the bench, I don’t know who Leslie was but I like to think he might be pleased to have such a visitor!

She was an active little bird, in a tree, on the fence, in a shrub, on the floor this little bird liked variety! So although she is not a spectacular looking bird she was fun to watch and a sweet little thing.

Before leaving home, if we are going after a certain bird I like to have a look in Collins Bird Guide so I at least know what I am looking for. One thing it said about the flycatcher was that it likes to cock it’s tail a lot and let me tell you the book was correct!

We watched her, along with a small group of birders, for about half an hour when along came a Robin and chased her off! We stayed a while but she didn’t return while we were there and so far I have not heard that she did at all so we were pleased that we went when we did.

Later we enjoyed a walk along by the sea at Sherringham, the day had warmed up nicely and thankfully turned out much better than the BBC would have had us believe!

 

One of the many things I love about being out and about is seeing how other people enjoy the same places that I do but often in very different ways. Below are two example of people having fun in their way doing things I wouldn’t even contemplate!

Now this might have been the end of today’s blog if it weren’t for Peter asking us to do a favour for him. As we were heading to the coast he had asked if we could pop into Birdscapes (a lovely art gallery in Glanford near Cley and well worth a visit!) to collect something for him, no trouble at all and it turned out we were richly rewarded! Whilst there we were told of a place that is good for Nightingales a bird that I have tried and tried to see but failed over and over again. Just as it used to be said that children should be ‘seen but not heard’ nightingales are so often ‘ heard but not seen’ not today we got one. So thanks for that Peter!

After only about an hour of listening and watching something moved and yes it was a much wanted Nightingale, at last I can add it to my list.

So now our year bird list stands at 215, 15 of those are life ticks for me, not bad say I!

Just one bird…but that’s enough for me!

We knew that a bird I really wanted to see, it would be a life tick for us both was at Winterton, therefore within striking distance. Yesterday we were committed to helping at a school fete which was a pleasure to do, but at the same time I was hoping the bird would not fly. That brings us to today, Sunday, to skip church or not that was the question. We have missed so many services lately and really did want to go today, so we did and were pleased we had.

I realise I haven’t told you what the bird is yet but I thought the suspense would be good for you! It is a striking bird and unlike any bird I have seen in this country, it is a European Bee-eater….please dont fly off!

Straight after church we were off, no time to waste and thankfully we didnt have any problem locating the site. We parked and walked just into the dunes where we saw a small group of people wielding cameras but no bird. They said it was the best place to get  good photos bbut only a very short bit of wire could be seen and they nnot seen it for some long time we decided to join the larger group who had a wider view. It was there, almost hidden in the green leafy background.IMG_1590 Bee-eater

What a stunning bird, every bit as beautiful as I had anticipated it would be. I am sure most people have occasionaly been disappointed when something they have long looked forward to happens but thankfully not today. Have you ever seen such a fancy shaped tail? He stayed up on the wire for a long while, turning this way and that and then with great accuracy he would fly off to catch an insect.

He brought them back to the wire, often beating the insect on the wire to finish it off., you could hear him from the ground. It was a joy to watch and we stood doing just that for a long while.

 

 

It would seem his Mother didn’t teach him not to play with his food!

IMG_1659 Bee-eater

 

I was determined to try to get him in flight although he was incredibly fast! Some birds give a little clue when they are about to fly but we couldn’t spot any such thing with him. I was pleased that I had taken my larger camera with me today as at least I knew I at least stood a chance of catching some sort of flight action.

 

What a brilliant bird and I didn’t realise until I got home and went to add it to my list that he was a special bird for another reason too, he was number 300 on my all time life list. Number 213 for the year and my 14th life tick of the year, excellent, all this and it is still only May!

We had a lovely walk through the dunes and on Winterton beach. No more birds for us but to be honest I was one bit bothered I had seen the one I came for and loved it! We did add a butterfly for the year, a Small copper

An excellent day beginning with a very encouraging service and following up with my 300th bird (life list of course!). What else does the week hold I wonder?

As forecast

Today I really hoped the weather forecast would be wrong but no they had it spot on, rain followed by more rain! We were tempted to lock the doors and stay in with the kettle and DVD player but we soon changed our minds. Some while ago whilst at Minsmere we met a young lady, who works at Radipole lake and said it was well worth a visit when we were nearby, so we thought we would find out for ourselves. We were greeted by a couple of ducks who are clearly used to visitors!IMG_1587

 It rained the whole time we were there so we didn’t see a great deal but we did see a Hooded merganser! It has been there for many years and there is a deal of controversy about how it got there one of the first people to report it said they saw it come in over the sea. Some say it can count others say no but for the purpose of our list this year we are claiming it!!!

We had expected our walk to be lakeside all the way but in fact for most of the time we couldn’t see the water, when we could it was alive with Swallows skimming the water. I was also surprised not to find hides but we did come upon this little shelter delightfully decorated and also our first bluebells of the year.

As well as being wet it was quite a breezy day so to be honest I hardly even kept an eye open for Bearded tits so I was very surprised when near the little visitors centre this fella was busy at the top of the reeds!

When we left we went to find some lunch and whilst waiting for our food I heard that a Great northern diver had been reported in Portland harbour, seen from the sailing club. After lunch we drove back to our accommodation, left the car there and thought we could walk there, big mistake! We walked through the rain up hill to find we could get through where we hoped so we changed our route and kept climbing. Again we hit a fence and we were forced to turn round and admit defeat, we could see what we assumed to be the sailing club at the opposite side of the bay.  We walked back to got the car and drive there instead. This is our holiday home from the coastal path and I also include a picture of a little snail we saw along the way!

We found the sailing club which was in full flow with some very little children having their first lessons, they were clearly having a good time. With permission we went through to look for a bird and they were very accommodating.IMG_1596

We searched the sea, a massive area but sadly we couldn’t find it.  Whether it was still there or not I don’t know but we certainly couldn’t see it, so sadly we had to admit defeat and head home. Well a day that began with us thinking we might stay home actually turned out to be quite full and although very wet it was fun! Tomorrow we leave our very comfortable place and if anyone want to stay near Weymouth harbour we can recommend staying here.

Birds 191

Devon here we come!

 

Great bustards!

I had to make sure that title didn’t automatically get changed to a similar word that I believe is in more frequent use!

Today has been a good day for more than one reason, the first we checked out of our less than glamorous B & B, phew we breathed a sigh of relief at that. Next we went to the pre arranged meeting place to be collected and taken to a place most likely to see Great bustards, it was the car park of a village hall which I think would be the envy of many! We had expected to be part of a group but we were the only ones going out there today which was rather nice. Now one thing I like in a bird is that I know when I have seen one, no uncertainty and the Great bustard fits that bill. Our guide had popped out early to see if he could see any and we were told our luck was in, not only were there five males there but just this morning eleven females had arrived!

Sadly I have become a very nervous passenger and I can tell you the ride out was a test for me! We drove through Ministry of defence land where they practice live firing, we were deep into that area but they knew we were there so that didn’t worry me. The worrying part was that he never had more than one hand on the wheel and several times none as we drove off road up hills, hey ho we arrived safe and sound.

I quickly saw the males, well they are big enough even at a distance, but the females were much harder to spot. it was amazing how well they can hide themselves given that they are Britain’s largest bird!

At one point it looked as though the males may be about to ‘check out the ladies’ but they stopped short and after a while they all settled down apparently for a doze. It was an experience and we were both pleased to have gone, we also realised we were lucky to see so many, so well. He told us that it happens that people travel a long way and they cant find any bustards but that is birds for you!

Nearer the birds was a little hut and there was a team in there from Springwatch filming so we will be looking out for that, I think their pictures may be a tad better quality than mine! We also had a bonus of a pair of Stone curlews nesting in the same area

.When we had returned to our car we headed off to our next destination, another B & B this time at Weymouth harbour. I was slightly apprehensive after our last experience but thankfully it could not be more different. We have a very large, delightfully furnished room and a terrace where we enjoyed lunch which our host provided for us!

The garden is lovely too and our view is straight out to sea, no complaints here, thank goodness! We went out for a walk locally and are venturing out again very soon to try to find somewhere to eat!

Tomorrow we intend to go to Portland Bill and hope to pick up some ticks to add to our 185

The night I named a new born calf!

What a difference a day makes, this morning was the total opposite to the previous one. We drove to Acre Down and had an excellent walk and saw some lovely birds including my favourite, a Wheatear, always makes my day! Add to that not only hearing but seeing a Cuckoo (excuse the poor photo but I was pleased to get one at all!) followed by a beautifully calling Willow warbler! A little bronze beetle crossed my path, hopefully we will identify it when we get home. Not bad that was two more year ticks before coffee time, although I don’t think we ever did get coffee yesterday now I think about it!

Of course the New Forrest id famous for its ponies but it shares the space with cows (more about one of them later) and in places donkey too!

After our visit to Acre Down we moved on, to Blackwater arboretum, approached via what is laughingly called an ornamental drive, I could think of a different name for it I think! We had hoped to see Crossbills there but were not lucky with them, we did however see some super birds including a couple of Redstarts and a lovely Firecrest.

After lunch we decided to return to Blashford Lakes to check if they had caught any interesting moths and to see what birds were around. It had been an extremely cold night and they had caught but one moth and not a very interesting one at that, sounded like many nights back home! We had seen Common terns the previous day in flight but now they were perching, much easier to see! Of course the ever faithful Robin was present, it is easy to take such birds for granted but aren’t they beauties?

We returned to the cottage and had decided that we would go out for a walk behind ‘our home’ as a farewell as in the morning we are off to pastures new. What a treat we had and here we come to the reason for todays title. We came upon a cow that had just given birth, she was an English White and had a male calf. The farmers, a couple who had been farming for many years and had a herd of about 90 cows on the heath and this one had wondered away from the rest a couple of days ago looking for a peaceful place to calf. They loaded the Mum onto a vehicle to get her back to the farm for some attention and later picked up the calf to carry him off too. But first we had quite a long chat about meat rearing etc. and it sounds as though cows like theirs have a far better life than many and in fact the calf will have a longer life than many, they said they keep theirs for four years before the inevitable end whereas many farms keep them about 18 months. Next we got on to the topic of milk production…something else to give serious thought to!

Now meet Oliver as yes I was invited to name him! It needed to be an O name and that was the first that came to my mind, probably sounds daft but it was a real treat!

Off for a good walk and views of the usual, Stonechats and Meadow pipits. We heard a Cuckoo call and almost immediately two flew in front of us, turned out to be a pretty good evening! Last trip outside the garden and a last look at the house in which our cottage stood.

Lack of internet means I have another day to add, I will then be caught us as this is todays report. Not many pictures but a few ticks! We left our cottage and said farewell to Ringwood and Blashford Lakes as we drove by and headed off to the pretty town of Fordingbridge and walked along by the river.

We saw a Grey wagtail but as neither of us had binoculars with us we were lucky to spot it, not till I looked at my photos did we realise there were a pair of them! Something flew out from the bank and to our delight it was a Sandpiper, we saw it several times and could see it was a Wood sandpiper, excellent another tick for our year. We were just about to go in for coffee when the pager alerted us to a Red-rumped swallow being at Blashford lakes, it would be a good tick for us both so we were off (I will be getting caffeine withdrawal symptoms soon!) On our arrival we discovered a lone birder had seen it and it had flown, agghhh! But wait, it was not too long before someone called it and indeed there it was, perched way out into the water but with scopes it was confirmed and all present go to see it that time. The warden was quickly fetched so he too could see it, I felt relieved for the chap who had first seen it as he was beginning to doubt himself! At the same place we also saw a Common sandpiper, our first Swift of the year and a distant group of Fallow deer.

As we were heading in Salisbury direction we decided to pay a fleeting visit to Stonehenge before going to our next place to stay. I feel it fair to say we are not quite so delighted to our present accommodation as our last!!! Maybe it will improve but as we are only here for two nights we will cope.IMG_1113 henge

Bird count now stands at 183

 

Spring has sprung!

April 1st felt more like a summers day than early spring but we weren’t complaining! On the first of the month we didn’t venture far (having trekked the coast all day yesterday) so stayed pretty local. We did however have a lovely walk on a beautiful sunny day and get our first tick of the month so we were well pleased!

We went back to the private hide; having now got a second permit for Ian and there we were treated to plenty of little visitors. We had taken seed and nuts with us and I trampled through the mud to position them so as to entice the small birds in. I felt rejected for some time as no-one came, but later once one came and the word spread so along came many!

The little Wren was probably my favourite, if I couldn’t see it I could hear it and it was soon back flitting around again.

Blue and Great tits enjoyed the food we offered as did a lovely pair of Chaffinches.

A Dunnock was happily feeding on the earth until another one landed on the log, where I had placed some food, he was up there in a shot chasing the other one away. Honestly there was plenty for them both but the idea of sharing obviously hadn’t reach the bird world yet! Of course a beautiful, though noisy, Pheasant was a frequent visitor.

There were plenty of geese on the water and they, like the Dunnock, seemed to be in feisty mood. The moment another one appeared on the water anywhere near them they would chase them off, I assumed it was a male seeing off a rival but I don’t know for sure!

Here we come to the tick part of the day! The sky really was beautiful and we were treated to views of Kestral, Buzzards and a Red kite but the best moment of the day was when three, yes you heard correctly three Swallows flew over! A year tick and one that is always lovely to see, I know one Swallow doesn’t make a summer but three together make a jolly nice spring! I am including the only snap I got as these birds flitted and swooped around. There will be plenty more to come and I am sure later one will pose on a wire for me!

IMG_1472 (Custom)
Just one of three!

On Saturday we headed to the coast again keen to find some migrants, we had more luck than our last visit! The day felt as though birds should be arriving for the summer, the temperature peaked at 16 degrees which to be honest is warm enough for me at any time of year!

 

Having mentioned Ian’s health previously I am happy to say that I think he is getting a bit better, the tablets are indeed working, phew! Walking seems to be getting a little easier and whilst I know he is still not his usual self it is a relief to think he is getting there and once the next lot of tablets kick in as well who knows!!!

We began at Titchwell and were lucky to see a pair of Little ringed plovers, distant but clear enough to ID. We walked along to the sea (which was looking far stiller than on our last visit) where some Scoters were sitting on the water and some people were spotting Terns in the far distance but we couldn’t see them, never mind.

We moved on to Cley and instead of the main reserve we first went to the sea and on Eye field we found the bird we had been waiting for, my favourite bird a Wheatear. If you have ever visited my home you will find confirmation of my fondness for them !

 

We were also pleased to see a Sandwhich tern flying over the sea, summer is on the way the birds are returning, fabulous! There was no shortage of Black-headed gulls but however common they are they really are looking smart now and as usual this one was very vocal!

So that is four ticks for April, a good beginning I feel and our bird total is now 170

Also moths are picking up in both number and variety so I thought I would show you just two recent ones. A brindled pug and an oak beauty, both new for us and now our moth total for the year is 17. We also got another butterfly yesterday, a peacock. in fact Peter was in our garden and I got a phone message saying there was a Peacock in the garden, took a moment before I realised he meant butterfly!

To celebrate Ian’ birthday we had a family lunch yesterday and it is quite tricky trying to plan a surprise lunch when the other person is around all the time! I did persuade him out to golf one day so I did some rapid cooking which thankfully Peter ‘hid’ in his freezer!

Below you will see him with the fantastic cake made by our daughter Ruth aka Roo! Ian has Cornflakes for breakfast every day, yes honestly every day, so you can see what a great design choice the cake was! Thank you to all who celebrated with us, (including our son,  Andrew in USA via FaceTime) or sent him greetings.IMG_0461 Ian cake (Custom)

April should be a good month for us with birds returning and us planning to visit places further afield soon, I am very optimistic!