Sun, mist and unusual waders!

Wednesday was hot, hot, hot!

We amused ourselves with moths and bugs found at home and this beautiful Painted lady spent the whole day enjoying the dahlias (in fact she returned today too).

Peter brought this handsome bug over, as I am sure you know it is a Box bug.

We had intended to go out later in the morning but the heat persuaded us that we would leave it till a little later. So after lunch we ventured out, our chosen destination was West Acre, thinking a lot of the time we would find shade in the trees.

We saw plenty of Speckled wood butterflies and also Small coppers (for some reason I didn’t photograph the coppers).

Once again we were fortunate to see a Kingfisher, in fact we saw two. Also some lovely dragonflies which I am still struggling to ID with certainty.

This juvenile Pied wagtail took advantage of a bathe to help cool down, it was about 28 degrees so I was a tad envious!

As we walked on, under the shelter of the trees, we met many grasshoppers and one frog. I am including the tree/berries pictures just to illustrate the sky really.

When we returned to the car it was showing the temperature as 34 degrees, of course once we moved it went down but not far!

The forecast for today was 28 degrees but up on the coast a more pleasant 22 degrees which sounded good to us. We had already decided to be at Cley NWT reserve for 9 am when they open up the moth traps. This was not only to be of interest to us but to Alan too on the last full day of his visit, (I think he will be sorting pictures for a fortnight with all these moths and bugs!) Our moth trap had been very quiet last night due to a clear night and a bright moon, we were hoping that Cley had been different.

With the temperature at a steady 17 degrees and a very heavy mist surrounding us it wasn’t quite what we were expecting. Sadly the reserve traps there were quiet too, but some people had brought along some interesting moths to share so we added a few to our number. We are determined to get along to Cley for the moth sessions again soon and hope some of the knowledge of others might rub off!

A quick coffee then out for a walk on the reserve where I hoped to see waders returning, well here are the Cley waders!

Not quite what we had hoped for, but none the less an enjoyable walk in spite of the heavy mist all around. We saw a few dragonflies including this Migrant hawker and this pair of Common darters.

We saw a good variety of hoverflies, hopefully I will be able to get ID on them all.img_9844-hoverflyimg_9855-hoverflyimg_9849-hoverflyimg_9831-hoverfly_edited-1

We had hoped to pop in to see Janice but that didn’t work out so he headed on to Titchwell where a Yellow-browed warbler had been reported. The mist went with us on our journey and Titchwell was similarly shrouded! It seemed one person had seen the warbler but that was all, no other sighting, so no luck there.

Better luck was had getting ourselves some tasty lunch to boost our energy levels ready for our next walk. We began with a walk around the Meadow trial, I was hoping for more dragonflies but not much joy there. Instead we had the beetle (ID to follow I hope) and I was pleased to get a picture of a water boatman.

Now remember the waders that Cley had to offer?  Well it was time to find Titchwell’s offering, seeing through the mist was the only problem! Dunlin, Redshank and Godwit also (not illustrated) sandpipers, avocet and through the thick mist we got sight of two Spoonbill, a year tick for Alan.

img_9918-titchwell-in-mistWe walked down to the beach and the sea seemed to be as far away as it could possibly be. Add to that the mist situation and we didn’t really see the sea at all!  img_9946-titchwellWe did find this little crab and later on the walk back down the path this snail.

Our day out ended and we set off for home and the usual very welcome cuppa!

A mixed night is forecast, clear till the early hours then it will cloud over so hopefully so moths will be attracted to our trap and maybe there will be more new ones for us all. We have really enjoyed having Alan and Judy visit and hope to see them again before long.

 

One dip and a tick? No, three ticks!!!

I was beginning to feel a bit pathetic really, moaning about my back and migraine etc so decided it was time to get back to some serious pursuing . A couple of birds that I really like but have rarely seen have flown into Norfolk over the past couple of days. We should have gone out yesterday but it was just too hot for comfort, the trouble is the forecast for today was very similar. The decision was made, we would go out to try and see the two of them but we would go early before the day heated up too much.

So at 5.30 am the alarm sounded and I leapt from my bed, (well any way I got up ) closely followed by Ian. Now if you know Ian you will probably know he is a man that doesn’t start any day unless it is by eating a bowl of cornflakes, Kellog’s cornflakes, 365 days a year, 366 this year! So a quick breakfast, no time for a cuppa and we were out at 6 am, I hoped the odd owl might still be around but no luck with that, we did however see enough Pigeons to feed a small nation for a month! IMG_8535 moon

First bird on our hit list was a Wryneck, a bird I have only ever seen once before, several years ago now. We drove to Weybourne, walked to where it had been seen as recently as last evening and waited and waited. Now I have heard it said of birds, ” Clear night , clear off!” I so hoped this little chap hadn’t cleared off but it seemed it may have done so we left somewhat disappointed but knowing we wouldn’t be so very far off if it was sighted. It seemed like a dip to start the day, not good.IMG_8486 weyborne mill

 

However our time there wasn’t wasted. We watched a  beautiful display by an Arctic skua, as it ambushed gulls in the air to try to steal the fish they had caught. It had a good deal of success and really was a good spectacle and also a year tick. Next came the arrival from over the sea of what I thought was a very large moth with feathered antennae, but it wasn’t a moth, it was a Cock chaffer! It flew around having reached land at last but here comes the sad part, it never got the chance to touch down! A crow flew in and snapped it up, the thought of making such a journey only to end up as a crow’s snack seemed a sorry affair.

Next we were treated to two new butterflies, one elusive the other sat and posed a while. We had a Small heath and also (as seen here) a clouded yellow, both came in off the sea.IMG_8466 clouded yellow

Next stop, West Runton to try for a Red-backed shrike, it had been seen last evening but the good news was it had also been seen this morning, I was optimistic. A Red-backed shrike was the bird that really got me into birding, when I was out with Peter and we watched one sitting on a shrub, flying off, catching a bug and then back again. It carried on like this for ages and I was delighted, thanks to the RBS and Peter I was hooked!

First though the walk back to the car where we saw this Gatekeeper butterfly  feeding close by to a  hoverfly.

Next treat was a seal swimming close to the shore line

Car parked at West Runton and  the shortest walk imaginable and we were where the bird had been seen. We were in luck, just a few minutes later we saw it, hooray! It flew and landed at some distance away, soon though it flew again and landed much closer.IMG_8496 RBS

If it looks like these shots were taken through a dirty window or through a dirty lens, look again. They are little bugs, or as the RBS likes to call them; dinner!

What a little beauty and the memories of my first real birding day with Peter came flooding back. On that day we saw other good things just like today. A little bonus was a visit from a Whinchat, sitting along from the shrike.IMG_8529 whinchat

Whilst there we heard that the Wryneck had been seen again, an easy decision was made…back to Weybourne. Not long and we were again walking down the beach but feeling fairly hopeful although we had heard it was elusive. We arrived and once again waited but this time we were rewarded! Distant but clear view of the Wryneck, brilliant that doubled the number I have seen now and was our third year tick for the day.

Whilst there we also saw a pair of Pied flycatchers which I am fairly sure are the first I have seen in Norfolk. My favourite, the Wheatear was also present, this had been well worth the early start.

We popped to Janice and Chris’ for a coffee and were invited to stay for lunch, well it would have been rude to refuse wouldn’t it?! It was very welcome especially after our rather early and hurried start to the day, thank you both very much.

We didn’t exactly rush off but took our time chatting before going for a stroll in Holt Country Park looking for more butterflies, We weren’t in the best part of the park and only found this Speckled Wood but as we were both feeling weary we decided to head for home. IMG_8569 speckled wood

So after a brief stop for provisions, (got to make sure a fella has enough milk in for his flakes tomorrow) we headed home very satisfied with our three bird and two butterfly ticks a good day and well worth the early alarm call.

Note to self…check I didn’t put the alarm on to repeat tomorrow!