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!

img_0826-redstart

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!!!

Two Gentlemen of East Dereham!

After the excitement of our Yorkshire/Lincolnshire trip it was time to calm down!

Monday was due to be bright and sunny and there had been a few things reported up on the coast over the weekend that we still need. So with the washing done over night there was just time to hang it out quickly before we were heading for Cley. A Cattle egret had been reported first thing and although there were some in Norfolk early in the year we didn’t connect with any of them. Sadly there was no word or sight of it at Cley although it had been seen briefly just along the coast.

cley-2

Nothing very exciting to see there but at least the cows have moved on!

cleyWe had looked in Wells wood last week for an Olive-backed pipit (OBP) and warblers but no luck. The OBP was still being reported so we spent the morning looking but again no luck! There were plenty of people there searching but only one person saw it whilst we were there. See it doesn’t always go our way but it is still fun! The woods are just behind the beach so I had to take a quick peek!

wells

There was plenty of fungi but very little bird life there at all, we did see several Goldcrests though.

Time to make the decision of where to go to eat our late lunch which we had brought with us. We had a few ideas but decided to go to Blakeney as that was one of the places that the Cattle egret had been spotted earlier. So a quick lunch then out for a walk not expecting a great deal but it was a beautiful day so for sure the walk would be enjoyable.

As I walked along the sea wall I was checking out all the egrets that I could see, no luck all Little ones. But then what were the chaps ahead of me studying in a field? As I approached and asked, hooray, it was the Cattle egret.

Here comes the blog title; the two fellas that were there asked if I would like to see through one of their scopes. Well of course I would but I was too short to reach ! No hesitation, they adjusted the height and I was very soon looking at the Cattle egret. Within moments it took to flight and was away, who knows how far it went? Not me! In conversation I learnt that the gentlemen came from East Dereham and if anyone knows them, please pass on my thanks!

No photo of the bird I’m afraid but this is where it was, living up to it’s name, in with the cows.  blakenyTime to return home but very pleased to have got a year tick especially as it brings our bird tally to 250! I am, too say the least happy with that and don’t forget, the years hasn’t ended yet!

At a time when the birds are picking up again the moths are slowing down, in fact the other night we got none at all, that doesn’t happen often!

Here are a couple of recent sightings though. A November moth made a slightly early appearance, and this Juniper carpet was a new one to us!

Yellow line quakers seem to come in two varieties, one with spots and one without!

The bug is a Dock bug, it was a tad camera shy, every time I tried to take a head on shot it turned tale and scarpered!

Today has been mostly wet so I have been busy sorting some pictures, what tomorrow will bring I know not, but when I do you can be assured I will be telling you!

 

 

 

Distant…elusive…mobile!

Distant, elusive and mobile are three words I dislike using about a bird but today I must! There had been a sudden fall of warblers in Norfolk (and elsewhere) recently and of course we were fortunate last week to get the Eastern crowned warbler (see previous blog entry) but it was time to go in search of more. Unfortunately I awoke on Monday with a thumping migraine and slept most of the day away topping it off with an early night! I really hoped Tuesday would be better and I was determined to go out birding the moment any reports came in. Unfortunately I didn’t feel a lot better than the previous day but out we went and the air did help (not a lot but a tad) and we were heading to Cromer. I should mention the weather seemed to be feeling similar to me as it rained most of the way! As we neared Cromer the sun came out and it turned into a beautiful morning.

A Dusky warbler had been there, by the golf club for a few days and it would be a life tick for me. We found our way to the golf club and although it is unlikely any of their members read this I hope they do. We met several players that morning and every one of them was delightful! Helpful with directions, interested in what we were after Etc so Cromer golf club got a big team point from me! We walked up to the lighthouse and what a beautiful setting it is.img_0671-cromer-lighthouse

We knew where the bird had been seen but saw a group of birders in a different place nearby so after a look in the original place we moved on. Indeed the birders had been watching the bird flitting in and out of the trees and we didn’t have to wait long. Here comes the blog title, not only was it distant, elusive and mobile but I was trying to focus through a banging headache and dancing lights, not ideal. I did see the bird and that is what counts, it was moving from tree to shrub and back again before being chased by a bully Chiffchaff! Not a chance of a picture which was a shame but under the circumstances I was happy to have seen the bird.

We decided to go for a walk at Cley and when we arrived there we were told a Dusky warbler had been seen on Arnold’s marsh, two in one morning that would be funny. We walked along the East bank but no sign and on talking to others it would seem someone had a brief view earlier and it wasn’t seen again, never mind the Cromer one was a life tick so no complaints from me.

There was no shortage of Greylag geese and also in the distance some white-fronted geese.

Also the now common Little egret, we definitely see more egrets than herons in recent times at least in Norfolk. Funny to think they used to be exotic!

We popped into the new hide on the East bank and a little bird flew through the hide nearly knocking my nose off, I have no idea what it was!!! Pipits were feeding on the still colourful marsh.img_0705-pipit

We decided to have a snack at the visitor’s centre and it was whilst there that we heard of a Barred warbler on the West bank! Soup downed and we were off feeling very optimistic as we could see a group up on the bank and the news was they were seeing it well, phew! We were there in a matter of moments and along with the group watching a shrub where it had been showing. It was a very busy bush, a Robin, female Blackcap and a Stonechat were among the other birds sharing the shrub with the warbler.

Out it popped, in, out and in again! At least we could see it well although again getting pictures wasn’t good. By this time my head had improved but sadly it was still not as I would have liked it to be. Time for a cuppa at my favourite tea shop in North Norfolk also known as Janice and Chris’, thank you once again!

As we drank our tea the pager kept beeping with news from Wells wood. An Olive-backed pipit, Radde’s warbler and then Aquatic warbler! Much as I really wanted to be back home it seemed daft not to go for them, before we set out the Aquatic warbler was corrected to an Arctic warbler!!! Off we went with only an hour or so of light left. We hunted around The Dell which was alive with birds including lots of crests and at least one Yellow-browed warbler but no sign of the ones we were after. It wasn’t long before the rain arrived and it came with a vengeance so we turned tail and headed back to the car and set off for home.

So we were lucky earlier with the Dusky and Barred warblers but not so lucky later on. The lack of photos of the day are testament to how I was feeling and the fact that I hadn’t even put them on the computer till today (two days later) tells you how I have been feeling but thankfully this morning I woke feeling a whole lot better so come on birds I’m ready for you!

Late summer visitors

I am sitting enjoying some late summer sunshine and what gorgeous days we have been enjoying. Before I tell you about some visitors that came to stay I would love tell you about last Thursday when Peter and family came to tea. I opened the door and was greeted by Alice and Matilda standing close to each other with cheery smiles upon their faces. As they separated I saw why, there was little Daniel in his school uniform, it was his first week in reception class.img_9200-daniel

All was going well, he was enjoying school and I am certain school will have been enjoying him…long may it last!

I skip now quickly past Friday, (most of which was spent power hosing the garden patio and stones) past Saturday (rain, rain and more rain) too much later Saturday evening when our visitors arrived. My brother and sister-in-law, Alan and Judy. Only time really for some quick catching up before we were all turning in for the night ready for what promised to be sunny Sunday.

The weather forecast did not lie, it was a beautiful day, hot and sunny all day. We had decided to go up to Cley-next-the-sea and we parked in the main car park.img_9283-us-on-east-bankWe walked to the East bank and right along it ending up at the sea. There was no shortage of butterflies, mostly white and Tortoiseshells, also pleanty of hoverflies.

The colours along the way were just beautiful and although there were not a great many birds what we saw we appreciated.

img_9311-colours-of-cley

Back to the visitors centre where we stopped for lunch out on the raised patio still enjoying the beautiful September weather. We decided to head to Blakeney next where we walked along the sea wall, a beautiful Wheatear dropped by.

Not sure what this little building was or is but it certainly is in a smashing location.

img_9347-blackney

By now the heat was telling us it was time to head off, not for home but to Janice and Chris’ for a very welcome BBQ, all in all an excellent day!

Monday morning and we were having a visit from the tree surgeons, as promised they arrived at 8 am and got straight on with the job. A couple of hours later and trees were down or lopped, logs where cut and they were off leaving us with the rest of the day free. Moths and the hot tub called so we were all getting on with what ever we chose. This Speckled bush-cricket was found not in but near to the moth trap.

After an early lunch we headed straight out to Lynford water and the arboretum. We saw butterflies. including this small copper butterfly, dragon and damselflies

and I was particularly pleased with this one that landed on Alan’s hat!

img_9415-banded-demoiselle-femA female demoisel, we have seen lots of the males this year but this was the first female we have been aware of. The real treat of the day was seeing a slow-worm, it was anything butslow as it slithered off the path just in front of us but no chance of a picture.

This morning we set off for Castle acre priory, the first time Alan and Judy had been there and it is fair to say they were impressed. It really is an excellent place, (looked after by English Heritage), there are still plenty of remains to explore.

Also lovely grounds which provide shelter for all sorts of wildlife, including this tortoishell butterfly almost hidden in the dry leaves and this Buzzard out in the open for all to see!

Having just recently started a very small herb garden I love to see the very established one at the priory. img_9543-piroryherb-garden

Whilst looking around it we found several interesting little creatures! These included several garden spiders, a Silver Y moth and a Speckled wood butterfly.

 

But I made my best find whilst looking at the Silver Y, deeper down in the lavender plant I found this little beauty!img_9552-rainbow-leaf-beetle

It is a Chrysolina Americana or a Rosemary leaf beetle which may be a little easy to pronounce and remember! It is about the size of a Ladybird and really is a stunner although I read that it is a pest!

Time to leave the priory and head home for lunch before saying goodbye to Judy. Other comitments mean she must head home but Alan is staying on for another couple of days to see how many more moths we can find him, he has had over 20 new ones so far since he arrived! If we are really fortunate we might even find some birds.img_9513-us-at-castle-acre-priory

When the heat of the day has passed we may head out for a stroll locally and see what is lurking in the churchyard, but for now it is time to realx with a refreshing drink!

 

Cley-next-the-sea

Cley-next-the-sea has been a special place for me since we first began visiting Norfolk and we spent two very happy holidays in Cley itself. We stayed in the house next to the old NWT  visitors’ centre and paid lots of visits to the bird reserve and the pebble beach. In those time there was a large bank between the car park and the beach, now the weather has changed it a lot. The bank has gone, it is now flat and this shelter used to be above ground, I remember our children going into it but I wouldn’t like them to try now!

Today we headed for Cley in the hope of seeing Spoonbills, we intended to make a quick stop in Swaffham then go straight over but no such luck, due to an incident which is now known, in my mind at least as fridgegate!!! At the weekend our fridge/freezer broke, typically the next few days were by far the hottest so far this year. After failing to find anyone to fix it we decided to just buy a new one, a simple one but as long as it worked I would be happy. Our local electrical store was very helpful and the next day of shiny new one arrived, a bargain as it was one the store bought as part of a buy out of another local shop. All looked good until I tried to fill it and discovered that the salad drawer and shelf were not compatible, with them both in place the door won’t shut! Stuart, the salesman couldn’t have been more helpful but after over an hour of phone calls we still have a fridgegate situation! Seems it may have to be returned and we may have to try again but there is still one more chance of a solution on Monday so watch this space!IMG_7174 fridge door

So later than we hoped for we arrived at Cley beach car park and walked along to the North scrape where Spoonbills had been reported earlier. As we approached the blind a man was walking away so of course we asked if they were still there. There followed a good news/ bad news situation as yes they were there but due to the lay of the land all he had seen was an occasion glimpse of the top of their heads! Not quite what we had hoped for but it would be better than nothing…just! Well my walking boots were dry and mud free so I decided to hop up onto the bench, they were distant but eminently viewable.

Better than just the tops of their heads for bird 238 I reckon! There was not a lot else to hold our interest but we had noticed butterflies on our way so we went in search of them. We thought at first there were lots of Meadow browns but later realised they were in fact Gatekeepers, another little beauty.

We also saw Small skippers, they were very flighty so I only managed a couple of shots.

We hope over the next few days to get out butterfly hunting again but for today we were going to see my sister and brother-in-law. On our way back to the car we saw some ‘contemporary art’ and to be honest I thought it was ok but was slightly underwhelmed! As I walked towards it I saw that it was meant to line up with the natural surroundings and then it looked quite different and I was rather taken with it so hats off to Brian Korteling!

Next stop Janice and Chris’ where a warm welcome awaited us along with coffee followed shortly by lunch and a lovely chatty couple of hours together. Thank you J & C.

We are heading back to Scotland soon and are going via the Lake district so hopefully there will be things to report before too long…Scotland here we come!IMG_7221 thistle