A much needed lift!

This has been a mixed week due partly to some slight disturbance in domestic harmony…enough said I think!

On Monday we went to Holme-next-the-sea and I was so excited as we were after a bird I really want to get this year! Now when I tell you about the bird you may be surprised as it is not much to look at, it is a Richard’s pipit. I have never seen one and as I was born a Richards I thought it would be good to add it to my life list on this special year.

We parked at Thornham, when we could find a spot not under water, and walked along the sea wall to Holme. On the way we saw a few waders enjoying the mud including this grey plover and Curlew.

On we went still hoping to see the pipit we had gone for. It had been seen on the land behind this piece of water and I must admit my optimism was fading slightly as I couldn’t imagine seeing it well enough to ID.

We met several people looking but no one had seen it. One couple we met were down for a few days from Yorkshire, their local patch, they told us, was Bempton…keep that in mind for later!

We had a good walk at Holme but no sign of the desired Richard’s pipit, so back we went to Thornham. We saw a Chinese water deer which was new for the year so we were chuffed with that. It was a lovely day so we were pleased to be out and about in spite of dipping the bird. Here are a few of the other birds at Thornham, Little egret, Black headed gull and a Spotted Redshank.

We nipped into Titchwell on the way home far a stroll and a cuppa. So that was Monday and I must confess I was disappointed but of course…you can’t win them all.

Tuesday’s highlight was going to Daniel and Matilda’s harvest festival, I love that sort of thing I was happy to be there for Daniel’s first at school and Matilda’s last at that school.

Now on to today, Wednesday and again we were off chasing a bird! This time it was way up in Yorkshire, to be precise Bempton which is why I mentioned the couple at Holme, I bet they wish they were home now. The bird in question is an Eastern Crowned Warbler and there have only been three accepted records in Britain before.

Once we knew that it been seen this morning we were off and the journey seemed longer than usual but that is the effect of heading for a tick! We arrived and it was clear where we needed to head for the bird and it wasn’t long before we saw it. A lovely little bird that seems to have palled up with a couple of Yellow-browed warblers, some Goldcrests, Chiffchaffs. Sadly no photo opportunity as each appearance the bird was on the move, it would land on a branch but in no time flat it was off again. No complaints though it was a lovely bird and we saw it well.

Bempton is a lovely place and I enjoyed a good walk along the top of the cliffs, seeing a field vole on the way. There are still lots of Gannets there but the other birds that breed there are gone, hopefully to return next spring.

Still a couple of youngsters were lurking on the cliffs with the adults. It was our first visit there this year and I am glad the warbler tempted us there.

Earlier in the morning an albatross had been spotted but we weren’t there for that! I think one life tick in a day is acceptable though. As I was walking back along the cliff path a warbler flew in off the sea into the scrub, of course I lost sight of it so I will never know wha tit was. The annoying thing is that soon after we left on our homeward journey a Greenish warbler was found, I wonder if that is what ‘my’ bird was!

So it has been a mixed week so far, I wonder what else it holds. Actually I know what tomorrow morning holds for me, a flu jab!!!

 

Happy birthday Ian

Thirty years ago we had our first holiday in Norfolk to celebrate Ian’s 40th birthday, we stayed in a house in Burnham Norton with our three children and my sister and brother-in-law, Janice and Chris. We had a good time and before long we had another couple of holidays this time in a house next door to Cley-next-the-sea  NWT visitors centre.

Those holidays along with others spent in  later years in Holt led to our future move to Norfolk. That all began thirty years ago, I’ll let you do your own maths as to Ian’s age now!

We spent the day out under an almost totally clear blue sky birding along the coast, We stopped at Chosely on our way to Holme-next-the-sea and we were really hoping to find some migrants but sadly we were not lucky. We did see some Grey partridges at Chosely which is always a treat as they are greatly outnumbered by the Red-legged variety!

There were plenty of Linnets, Meadow pipits, Stonechats and a smattering of other small birds but no migrants. A large flock of Brent geese flew overhead.

We went to Titchwell next and had a lovely walk up to the sea. On the way we heard several Cetti’s warblers and saw a couple which is not always easy! It was on our way to the beach that we had two ticks, one bird, one mammal and we were delighted. The bird was a Firecrest, the UK’s smallest bird and often rather elusive. It was a brilliant little bird and hoped into a shrub very near us, of course it didn’t stay still, hoping in and out of view but it was good to see it. Just moments before we saw the Firecrest we saw a weasel running for cover near the sea wall, brilliant .

This  beetle was on the path, we believe it is a Bloody nosed beetle! When we reached the beach we found it to be quiet as far as birds were concerned but busier than usual with people. Fen hide had re-opened today so we walked there on the smart ne board-walk! We didn’t stay there long as a rather late lunch was calling us.

We have got into the habit of eating at Brancaster Staithe and did the same today, we had hoped to be meeting Peter and family for lunch but little Daniel was poorly so that plan had to go.IMG_0375 (Custom)

After lunch whilst having a stroll I got two phone calls. The first from Janice suggesting we meet up to tea and cake (sounded good to me!) we arranged to meet later at Cley as that would be en route to Salthouse which is where we wanted to end our birding day. Moments later Peter phoned and Ian was serenaded by them all to the tune of Happy birthday.

We met Janice and Chris as planned and after our refreshments we were all about to leave for a walk at Salthouse when to our surprise Peter arrived with Alice and Matilda! ( Lynn was at home with Daniel who was on the mend but not 100% yet.) So off we all went to Salthouse and our final shot at finding a migrant today, I was really hoping for a Wheatear.

We had a good walk on Little Eye but no luck with birds even with all our eyes searching!IMG_0287 (Custom)IMG_0389 (Custom)

It was soon time for the others to leave and Ian and I to walk in the opposite direction up Gramborough Hill would we find anything there? No not really but the light on the water on the way was lovely.

We continued to search and looked out to the sea hoping to see things arriving but it was not to be. I think it is fair to say Ian had enjoyed his birthday and I have no doubt he will sleep well tonight!

So one more bird takes us to 166 birds and the weasel takes us to 11 mammals, 2016 is going well!

 

Holme from home!

Holme-next-the-sea is on the North Norfolk coast and is a beautiful site with mixed habitats. It was also the place where I first decided that birding really could be fun. I had gone there one day with my youngest son (an excellent birder!) mainly to get out of the house and to have a stroll by the sea with good company. Little did I know that my opinion of birding would be changed for ever. Although I have always enjoyed being out and about and loved to see birds I lacked the patience/enthusiasm to wait for birds to turn up! That day we saw a Red-backed shrike, it kept flying off a little then landing at the top of a shrub and eating the tasty morsel it had just caught. It was brilliant, so close and it really captured my imagination. On our way back to the car we saw another unusual bird and the excitement of birding had got to me!

However that was some years ago, no shrike for me yet in 2016!!!

We were of to Holme mainly hoping to get sight of three Shorelarks that had been seen on the beach. It was a lovely morning and the walk along the beach was super, (it really is had to believe it is meant to be mid winter) light clouds occasionally  hid the sunshine and the sea had quite a bit of life to it.

We added a few more waders to our year list “(oystercatchers pictured above) as we strolled along and as we got to the place the shore larks had been seen we were chuffed to find them still there. They were a little distant and feeding on sludgy mud so sadly no good for pictures but none the less good birds to get, our first mission for the day was accomplished.

We walked back along the shore line then into the dunes where we continued for some distance. Several small pools produced lucky finds including this rather cooperative Little egret.

We kept an eye open for insect life but apart from gnats saw none, they must be waiting for Spring I think.

Again lunch came with us in our new flasks and after tucking in we moved on to Titchwell to see if anything new had arrived there. The light was already fading and the weather closing in so we didn’t stay long but did add to our number

Just as we were getting back into the car the rain began to fall a and we were blessed with a rainbow as we began our journey home and a kestrel on route.

STOP PRESS we have our first moth of the year! An aptly named winter moth, after several days with nothing it was a treat to find this one solitary fella. Not the most exciting moth we will be seeing but the first!

 

 

Totals so far:

birds 79

mamals 3

moths 1

others 0

wish me luck for tomorrow as I hope to go on a wild goose chase!