The day I was beaten by a goose!!!

The past few days have been brilliant! Following on from our quiet Christmas day we travelled down to see Roo and Stu and had a brilliant time there including a lovely walk out with the gorgeous Sprocket. Still plenty of autumn colours around.

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Smashing company, excellent food, incredible gifts (!!!)  quizzes, games all followed by a very good nights sleep! Thank you very much Roo and Stu.

The bent morning we drove back up to Norfolk to spend another smashing day this time at Janice and Chris’. We all went to panto at Sheringham, along with Peter, Lynn and the children. Here is Daniel ready for the show to begin.

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A good time was had by all but I think it may be fair to say the chances of that particular production moving on to the London stage are slim!!! Back to J & C for a splendid tea and another night spent away from home!

This morning we decided to go in search of the red-breasted goose that had been seen in the company of thousands of pink-footed geese near Docking. We found the area and joined the others trying to see the goose but there was a problem … fog!

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At first we couldn’t even see a goose let alone the right one. Later through the fog we saw geese, many, many geese but no sign of a red-breasted one. Suddenly they took to flight so please let me know if you can spot the one we are looking for in these pictures!!!

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We were eventually beaten by the cold and the fog so we headed for home instead. fireSo fire alight we are back in the cosy warm and heading nowhere else tonight! Maybe we will see the goose another day but for now it has beaten me!

 

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Happy Christmas

I couldn’t resist dropping by to wish you a very happy Christmas. So far ours is going fine, a tad on the quiet side but fine! The tree is up, the decorations are too as are the cards so we were all set for the festivities to begin.

Yesterday, Christmas Eve, was our Christingle service which traditionally I lead and this year was no exception. It was just about the only thing all year that I was committed to doing and was pleased to have the opportunity once again. (A photo will appear here in a few days)

After church this morning we decided to go for a walk at the arboretum. 13 degrees seemed most unusual for a Christmas walk but it was certainly very pleasant and brought lots of people out. Surprisingly what it didn’t bring out was many birds it was very quiet on that front, but… we did get a tick! Down on the edge of a stream we saw a Crossbill, a first for the year. Sadly it was the only sight we had of it but we were pleased non the less, you will have to imagine it there as it had flown by the time I got the camera ready!!!

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Thankfully a Christmas Robin did make an appearance, always a treat. img_2290-robin

 

Mostly there were no birds on the water at all, just some Canada geese that had managed to avoid peoples ovens!

A couple of small Christmas trees seemed to have sprung up since our last visit and some seasonal holly added a splash of colour.

I had just said to Ian that I thought we would have seen some winter thrushes when, from what had seemed to be a carpet of autumn leaves dozens of thrushes took to the wing. They were no sooner there than they had disappeared high into the trees and out of sight. Oh well it was good to at least see them.

img_2305I didn’t think we had walked far enough to encounter Highland cattle but it seemed we had! Away in a manger came to mind!

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The next thing we saw surprised me even more than the cattle, believe it or not we saw a butterfly! I think it was a large white but I was astonished to see one right at the end of the years, the weather certainly has gone crazy!

So Common Crossbill became bird number 257, I am hoping to make the bird count to 260 by the end of the year but we will see.

So however you are spending these few days I hope they are filled with love and peace as that  was what the very first Christmas was to bring, so to quote Tiny Tim, “God bless us everyone!”

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Short and sweet!

Short and sweet is what this blog entry will be and most certainly is what the bird I have seen today is!

If you have kept with me on this journey you will know there is a bird that I have been quite embarrassed not to have seen all year. It was becoming ridiculous to have to admit that I hadn’t and I was beginning to fear that I might not get it al all. The fear is over, the bird has been seen and here he is!

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A Little owl has become the 256th bird of the year! Considering we have had them in the garden in the past it is ridiculous to have taken this long but never mind, he was all the more welcome for being a late arrival!

This morning I popped out with Peter to Dereham as he had a few things to get and I wanted to go to the bead shop. Well when we arrived the bead shop was gone so that was the end of my necklace making plans!

It was really good to have the chance to chat to Peter about a decision I need to make and to get a fresh perspective. So in spite of no beads I knew the morning was time well spent (to be honest time spent with family is never time wasted) but I didn’t know that he would spot me a tick on the journey home.

Up until today the nearest I had got to a Little owl was this fella!

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A present from a dear friend given out of sympathy for my lack of Owl spotting skills, thank you Sheila!!!

Had I not been with Peter I wouldn’t have seen it today, he really does have brilliant eyes and can see birds I would never notice. It was on a fence post, back form the road and really not obvious to most, but to an ace spotter, no problem! The next problem though was that Ian wasn’t with us, oh no should I brake my own rule and count it or not? A quick phone call and he was on the way, bringing my camera with him.

“Please don’t fly off, please don’t fly off, please don’t fly off” and it didn’t. Well not before Ian arrived and saw it, passed me my camera and I got a quick shot. It did however fly soon afterwards hence just the one picture but I really don’t mind, we both saw it and that is what counts.

So a short sweet bird and I feel I have been saved any humiliation on December 31st when I see my year end list.

No, No, November!

I am rather late with my end of the month blog as we have been without Wi fi for several days! In our family November begins with a very special occasion, Daniel was five on the first of the month!

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November has been a lovely month; still full of beautiful colours.

It has however been a very quiet month as far as our numbers have been and it is sad to say we have only added two birds and one mammal!  Don’t think we haven’t had a good time though, we have. Our impromptu trip to Wensleydale was a real treat which included a trip to the Thorp Perrow Arboretum where the pictures above were taken.

The weather has been mixed but I think it has given us more sunshine than showers and of course now and then they come together to provide us with a lovely rainbow.

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Back home and there were lots of reports coming about Waxwings arriving, we eventually caught up with some in Holt. Beautiful birds and I would have been very disappointed not to get them this year.

We took a day out from wild creatures to visit some captive ones. A smashing day out with Peter, Lynn and the children, seeing the young Red panda was a highlight!

It was at the zoo that we got a new mammal, keen eyed Lynn spotted it first, a field vole and it was certainly not captive!

We added Bean goose at Titchwell having been out many times for them earlier in the year. Another day I went out with Peter and our cameras and were rewarded with some Bramblings and a last minute treecreeper.

So we have arrived at our last month and I confess we have begun December by being rather lacks as we have been in Norwich for a few days without the pager!!! Still let’s wait and see how we do over the next few weeks. I am going to save lists until the end of the year now and then we will see whose guess was closest.

 

Beans for breakfast?

Yesterday morning was beautifully bright so the chance of getting better Waxwing pictures was appealing. I went out with Peter, we didn’t find any but did find birds to photograph! A mixed flock of Chaffinches and Bramblings teased us by flitting among the trees and then landing mostly where we couldn’t get an angle on them! But…sometimes they were more co-operative, first some Chaffinch shots.

This lone Brambling had us wondering if it was okay, but it flew off so seemed it could take care of itself.

I don’t know how many were in the flock as they were so mobile, but a good number were present. When they landed among the autumn leaves they looked stunning!

These were all at Santon Downham which is, to the best of my knowledge where I saw my first Brambling some years ago; at least they were the first I remember seeing. I was amused by this nearby sign, the first time I remember seeing it!

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We may have lost out on Waxwings but were happy to have been out in beautiful light  but the weather changed so back home we headed for late lunch! Just as we were heading off we spotted this rather distant  Tree creeper.

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Now I move on to today and my title, Beans for breakfast. Earlier in the year we tried several times to get Bean geese but failed each time, not today! Off we headed, first thing in search of Bean geese in the fields at Titchwell and we got it! I have to confess that had I been alone I would not have had the confidence to pick one out from the numerous Greylag and Pink foots but Ian did and others around us were independently choosing the same bird which was encouraging.

Having ticked Bean goose for number 255 we headed to the sea on what turned out to be a much brighter day than forecast. I spotted this little bird half hidden at first but them boldly out in the open, a Reed bunting.

Geese and Lapwing flew over as we walked down to the sea and I couldn’t resist a Curlew shot as I passed!

 

When we reached the sea there were Long-tailed ducks and Scoters sitting on the sea but no sign of divers which I had hoped for.

Our time was limited at Titchwell as we had some things to attend to in Holt, thankfully we were on the road before the rain came and provided us with another rainbow.

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Holt was finished with and there was time for a visit to Janice and Chris which is always a pleasure and as we left the sun was out again, low in the sky and we had some lovely skies.

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We did detour when nearly home and drive around locally looking for the elusive Little owl, no luck, oh well about six weeks left to find one!!!

 

Waxing lyrical!

Yesterday we were all set to give the lawn its final cut of the year but sadly our mower had other ideas! However nicely we spoke and coaxed the mower refused to work and eventually we gave up and borrowed one. Today, the grass is cut and it was time to return the mower which thankfully was near where some rather nice birds had been seen over the past couple of days.

We had hoped to see Waxwings at the beginning of the year but it  was not to be so I was thrilled to hear reports of lots of them arriving over the past week. Mostly they have just been seen flying over or stopping all too briefly but now some are settling for a while and a good feed. Some have found the berries in Holt tasty so that was where we headed.

It was a rather dull and jolly cold day but we didn’t have to wait too long for our initial sighting of the small flock of beautiful birds. I would have been really disappointed not to see Waxwings this year as they are one of my favourites but they obliged!

We saw four fly in landing high in the trees across the road.

Shortly after that they flew to the rowan tree dripping with juicy berries. Unfortunately the light was far from good for photography and they mainly kept deep in the trees out of sight but they did make some appearances.

Eating lunch Waxwing style!

Or upside-down of you prefer!

So these Bohemian Waxwings are number 254 on our bird year list and they were a very welcome addition. If I get the chance to see some more that might be in better light I will give them a go, but for today I am happy with these.

Not many weeks left of the year and things have slowed down somewhat after the flurry of warblers recently. I wonder what else is in store? How many more will we add to our total? We missed a cracker at Minsmere at the weekend as we hesitated and left it too late! I can think of a couple I am still optimistic about and others I hope for although the greatly reduced hours of day light make it more of a challenge!

 

Another month disappears!

Of course I knew it was a new month today because it is my lovely grandson’s birthday, happy birthday Daniel!   img_1380-daniel

 

So that can only mean that October has come to an end and it is time for a monthly review. It has been a mixed month with some manic times then more relaxed days, this past week being the more relaxed variety!

What October has been brilliant for was bird life ticks, I have had five and I am pretty chuffed with that. Add to that some cracking birds that I have seen for only the second time and I reckon October has been excellent.

First new bird was an Eastern-crowned warbler which we journeyed up to Bempton for, a place always worth a visit and thankfully we both saw this very active little bird. No picture of the bird but a few from the site!

I saw my first Dusky warbler at Cromer, followed by another a couple of weeks later at Titchwell!  We narrowly missed seeing two on one day as there had been one at Cley where we popped for lunch. Happily whilst there word came of a Barred warbler that was down Beach road in and out of a bush (along with many other little birds) so we were off.

It wasn’t long after our return from Yorkshire that we were headed back again! This time for a bird that was a first for mainland Britain, mind you it started a trend as several others have been since!!! We found a lovely place to stay and drove up so we would be there in Easington for first light and hopefully the bird, a Siberian accentor would have stayed overnight too! Happily it was in no rush to leave so we joined what I call the ‘queue for a view’ for a good though very brief sight before being moved along to allow others a view too. We returned later that day and what a difference a few hours had made!

This time we got to see it much better and get some fairly decent pictures too!   Not the most exotic looking bird perhaps but one I was delighted to see!

Rather pleased to see this Redstart too just along from the star bird, it showed off quite well so as not to go unoticed!

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Between our two visits to the accentor we went to Sammy’s point and it is so hard to explain quite how smashing it was. There were birds everywhere! Flying in from the sea, sitting in bushes, feeding in the mud or in the fields it was just ‘Magical’! I was chuffed to find some Ring ouzels and to get some shots which was not so easy earlier in the year.  We saw hundreds of Goldcrests  and probably hundreds of Robins too. There were Chiffchaffs, Wheatears, Reed buntings and to our delight we saw, for the first time, Woodcock in flight.

We couldn’t be so close to Spurn and not go there so off we went. This obliging Shorelark was another bird that we had seen early in the year but not been able to photograph.

Back to Sammy’s point for another lovely walk amongst the many birds we saw this flycatcher. First though was of course that it is a Pied flycatcher but there has been some discussion as it has some hints of a Collared flycatcher. I think the answer is we will never know, but it was a sweet bird whichever it is!!!

We stayed on an extra night and on the way home went to Donna Nook another place I had often heard of but never visited. Here I saw another bird that I had only seen once before, a few years previously and what a little beauty, a Red-flanked bluetail.

Jumping to later in the month now and Alice and Matilda joined us for a brilliant birding day beginning at Burnham Overy Dunes. Ian and I had been on the Sunday to see the Isabelline Wheatear and we returned the next day with the girls to try to see it again and also a Desert wheatear. On the Sunday we ploughed through the mud but were rewards with views of my very first Isabelline wheatear.

The following day, with the girls we took a different, less muddy and much more pleasant route to the dunes! The bird had moved so the walk was longer but not once did either of the girls complain, they were brilliant! A very brief flight view was all some of us got of that bird but thankfully we all saw the Desert wheatear, not for long but clearly.

On our way back along the dunes, we timed it perfectly, a Radde’s warbler had just been spotted, first sighting for a few hours! We joined the group and again all saw it, another life tick for me and the girls! Next stop Titchwell for lunch and if we had any energy left a stroll. This was where we saw our second Dusky warbler before walking down to the sea.

Golden plovers on the fresh marsh, Sanderlings on the shore plenty of other waders on the way. It really was a lovely day out, it couldn’t fail really, life ticks and grandchildren along to enjoy it!

Well we had a lazy week following that although November has thrown us an unexpected treat, hopefully there will be things to report next time I blog!

Still butterflies visiting the garden and a several Red admirals have been feeding on the dahlias this week  (note to self, plant some more of them!)  img_1334-red-admiral

I have decided to only print out the bird list this month as it has definitely been the main highlight of the month. I will give the number of the other things first:

Moths (macro and micro) … 310

Insects                                       …85

Dragon/damselflies              … 17

Butterflies                                …24

Mamals                                      …25

Reptile/amphibians                …5 (could do better!!!)

Birds                                           …253   (*26* Life ticks)

So far my total of winged and otherwise creatures for the year is 719 I have bypassed all but three of the guesses made before the year began, who will be closest? Could still be thelast one that I have passed or one I havent yet reached.

Bird List end October

  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. Muscovy duck
  13. Mandarin Duck
  14. Eurasian Wigeon
  15. Gadwall
  16. Eurasian Teal
  17. Mallard
  18. Pintail
  19. Garganey
  20. Shoveler
  21. Red-crested Pochard
  22. Common Pochard
  23. Ferruginous Duck *
  24. Tufted duck
  25. Greater Scaup
  26. Common Eider
  27. Long-tailed Duck
  28. Common Scoter
  29. Velvet Scoter
  30. Goldeneye
  31. Smew
  32. Hooded merganser *
  33. Red-breasted Merganser
  34. Red Grouse
  35. Black Grouse
  36. Goosander
  37. Red-legged Partridge
  38. Grey Partridge
  39. Common Pheasant
  40. Golden Pheasant
  41. Little Grebe
  42. Great Crested Grebe
  43. Red-necked Grebe *
  44. Slavonian Grebe
  45. Black-necked Grebe
  46. Fulmar
  47. Manx Shearwater
  48. Gannet
  49. Cormorant
  50. Shag
  51. Bittern
  52. Cattle Egret
  53. Little Egret
  54. Great Egret
  55. Grey Heron
  56. White Stork
  57. Glossy Ibis
  58. Spoonbill
  59. Red Kite
  60. White-tailed Eagle
  61. Marsh Harrier
  62. Hen Harrier
  63. Pallid Harrier *
  64. Goshawk *
  65. Eurasian Sparrowhawk
  66. Common Buzzard
  67. Rough-legged Buzzard
  68. Golden Eagle
  69. Osprey
  70. Kestrel
  71. Merlin
  72. Hobby
  73. Peregrine Falcon
  74. Water Rail
  75. Corn Crake
  76. Moorhen
  77. Western purple swamphen*
  78. Coot
  79. Common Crane
  80. Great bustard *
  81. Oystercatcher
  82. Black-winged Stilt
  83. Pied Avocet
  84. Stone-curlew
  85. Little ringed Plover
  86. Ringed Plover
  87. Dotterel
  88. European Golden Plover
  89. Grey Plover
  90. Lapwing
  91. Great Knot*
  92. Knot
  93. Sanderling
  94. Little Stint
  95. Temminck’s Stint
  96. Pectoral Sandpiper
  97. Curlew Sandpiper
  98. Purple Sandpiper
  99. Dunlin
  100. Broad-billed Sandpiper *
  101. Ruff
  102. Jack Snipe
  103. Common Snipe
  104. Long-billed Dowitcher *
  105. Woodcock
  106. Black-tailed Godwit
  107. Bar-tailed Godwit
  108. Whimbrel
  109. Curlew
  110. Spotted Redshank
  111. Common Redshank
  112. Common Greenshank
  113. Lesser Yellowlegs
  114. Green Sandpiper
  115. Wood Sandpiper
  116. Common Sandpiper
  117. Ruddy Turnstone
  118. Grey Phalarope
  119. Arctic Skua
  120. Mediterranean Gull
  121. Little Gull
  122. Black-headed Gull
  123. Common Gull
  124. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  125. Herring Gull
  126. Iceland Gull
  127. Glaucous Gull *
  128. Great Black-backed Gull
  129. Kittiwake
  130. Caspian Tern *
  131. Sandwich Tern
  132. Common Tern
  133. Arctic Tern
  134. Common Guillemot
  135. Razorbill
  136. Black Guillemot
  137. Puffin
  138. Rock Pigeon
  139. Stock Pigeon
  140. Wood Pigeon
  141. Collared Dove
  142. Turtle Dove
  143. Rose-ringed Parakeet *
  144. Cuckoo
  145. Barn Owl
  146. Tawny Owl
  147. Short-eared Owl
  148. Common Swift
  149. Common Kingfisher
  150. European Bee-eater *
  151. Hoopoe
  152. Wryneck
  153. Green Woodpecker
  154. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  155. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
  156. Wood Lark
  157. Sky Lark
  158. Shorelark (horned lark)
  159. Sand Martin
  160. Swallow
  161. Red-rumped Swallow *
  162. House Martin
  163. Tree Pipit
  164. Meadow Pipit
  165. Rock Pipit
  166. Water Pipit
  167. Yellow Wagtail (Grey-headed)
  168. Grey Wagtail
  169. Pied Wagtail
  170. Dipper
  171. Wren
  172. Dunnock
  173. Siberian Accentor*
  174. Robin
  175. Common Nightingale *
  176. Bluethroat*
  177. Red-flanked Bluetail
  178. Black Redstart
  179. Common Redstart
  180. Whinchat
  181. Stonechat
  182. Isabelline Wheatear*
  183. Desert Wheatear
  184. Wheatear
  185. Ring Ouzel
  186. Blackbird
  187. Fieldfare
  188. Song Thrush
  189. Redwing
  190. Mistle Thrush
  191. Cetti’s Warbler
  192. Grasshopper Warbler
  193. Sedge Warbler
  194. Eurasian Reed Warbler
  195. Great Reed Warbler*
  196. Dartford Warbler
  197. Barred Warbler
  198. Lesser Whitethroat
  199. Whitethroat
  200. Blackcap
  201. Yellow-browed Warbler
  202. Eastern Crowned Warbler *
  203. Radde’s Warbler*
  204. Dusky Warbler*
  205. Wood Warbler
  206. Common Chiffchaff
  207. Willow Warbler
  208. Goldcrest
  209. Firecrest
  210. Spotted Flycatcher
  211. Red-breasted Flycatcher
  212. Pied Flycatcher
  213. Bearded Tit
  214. Long-tailed Tit
  215. Marsh Tit
  216. Willow Tit
  217. Crested Tit *
  218. Coal Tit
  219. Blue Tit
  220. Great Tit
  221. Nuthatch
  222. Treecreeper
  223. Penduline tit *
  224. Red-backed Shrike
  225. Great Grey Shrike
  226. Jay
  227. Magpie
  228. Jackdaw
  229. Rook
  230. Crow
  231. Hooded Crow
  232. Common Raven
  233. Starling
  234. House Sparrow
  235. Tree Sparrow
  236. Chaffinch
  237. Brambling
  238. Serin *
  239. Greenfinch
  240. Goldfinch
  241. Siskin
  242. Linnet
  243. Twite
  244. Lesser Redpoll
  245. Mealy Redpoll
  246. Bullfinch
  247. Hawfinch
  248. Lapland Longspur
  249. Snow Bunting
  250. Yellowhammer
  251. Cirl Bunting
  252. Reed Bunting
  253. Corn Bunting

Only two months left of our big year and still no Little owl!!! We have had them in the garden in the past and they are always in our village but this year they are hiding from me!!!