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!!!

 

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Ticks for us all!

Before I tell you about our brilliant day today let me firstly tall you about Saturday morning. Oh, but before I tell you about Saturday I really must tell you something about my wish list before we began the year. There were very few birds I had pin-pointed that I really wanted to see but a special Wheatear was high on my wish list.

We had been invited to a family lunch on Saturday but a message rang out that an Isabelline wheatear was at Burnham Overy Dunes. We were confident that we could get there, see the bird and be at our lunch date for 12 o’clock. I had never been to the site before but we found out where to park and off we went. Now I like a walk but the path for the first half of our walk was, to say the least, muddy. This picture shows one of the better parts!  img_1125-burnham-overy-dunes-path

Still we eventually reached the place and were so pleased to, quite quickly, get a view of the bird, hooray!  We knew we were pushing our luck time wise so didn’t stay long.

We had messaged our apologies that we would be late and at the same time asked my sister if I could borrow a pair of trousers as I was to say the very least covered in mud! We were really chuffed to have seen the bird though, a life tick for us both, the lunch that followed was a lovely time too. This shows a few of the birder and some greylag geese that flew by on our walk back to the car.

Yesterday at the same site a Desert wheatear had been seen as well, shame we hadn’t seen that we thought. Now back to today more excitement! We arranged to take Alice and Matilda out birding and were all keen to return to Burnham Overy Dunes to try to hopefully see both of the rarer Wheatears. We parked in a different place so as to take a route which avoided mud! My goodness it was so much better, a lovely walk along the sea wall and hardly a spot of mud in sight!

Plenty of waders including Curlew and other birds to see along the way including this perched Kestral.

We realised that the Wheatear had moved on from where we had viewed it a couple of days ago. We saw the two Wheatear, Isabelline and Desert fly together to a grassy hill but didn’t see the Isabelline again! Thankfully the Desert wheatear sat up for a short while, time for us all to get a good look and take several out of focus pictures! Thankfully though one picture isn’t too bad, phew!  img_1162-desert-wheatear

Time for a bit of froliking in the dunes, Alice and Matilda certainly enjoyed themselves!

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As we walked back I kept my ears opened around any groups of birders to see if anything else was around. A Radde’s warbler had been seen but not for over an hour. Just as we were moving on it was seen again! We joined the group as they went in pursuit, up through the dunes and we saw it, first on a bush then off it flew. On went the group and again out it flew, several times we saw it but never was there time to even raise a camera. The Radde’s warbler was bird number 253 and my 26th life tick for the year!

We walked back to the car and decided to to to Titchwell for lunch and another walk if everyone felt up to it! We stopped off briefly to admire the windmill and take an opportunity of photos.

I must tell you how amazing the girls both were all day, by the time we finished we had walked about nine miles and they didn’t moan at all!

Well, lunch was eaten and we thought we would go for a short walk and try to see a Dusky warbler which had been reported on site. We were lucky and all saw it, it is so like a Chiffchaff but one difference was in behaviour, it flicks it’s tail up and down. img_1206-dusky-warblerWe decided to walk up to the sea and we arrived just as a Short eared owl had flown in off the sea! There were plenty of waders and my favourite was this group of Sanderlings dashing around the beach like clockwork toys!  img_1231-sanderling

This Black-headed gull was extreamly friendly, no stroll by the sea for him he hung around where the people were!

On our walk back we saw a variety of ducks and waders, this group of Golden plovers stood out. img_1218-golden-plovers

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A very large number of gulls flew over what was a now rather pretty sky, this is a small section of them. img_1270-gulls

On the journey home we were remembering the birds we had seen and Alice was making a list. Firstly the morning birds, then the afternoon birds and the third section was reserved for ‘special birds’! Now this list of course included the Whatears, Radde’s and Dusky warbler but as it was Alice’s list another bird was in this section and this is him…

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I don’t think Alice would mind how many life ticks she got if there was no Robin the birdwatch would have been a failure!!!

So thank you girls for a lovely day out and for being so good, it was of course a joy to have you with us.

Birds and bugs…pretty ones at that!

 

It was another bright sunny day and off we went coastward to Titchwell after first looking at the moth trap. Not a lot there but we did have one that we had last summer but it was the first for 2016, a White ermine, another really pretty one I reckon.

We did make one small detour on the way and that was to see the Dotterels again in the hope they might be near enough to photograph. Well they were a lot nearer but in some corn stubble so again photographs were not an option. Over the weekend there has been a lot of bird movement but it seems most of them didn’t stay in any one place for long! We knew a couple of Stints had been at Titchwell but were uncertain that they would be waiting for us!

We were in luck, first a Little stint then a Temminck’s Stint, excellent two more for the year. They were once again distant and behind a wire fence erected to try to protect the nesting Avocets. We walked on up to the sea which apart form gulls and a few Oystercatchers there was very little about. We had just missed seeing a Peregrine falcon taking an Oystercatcher away in its claws being pursued by some large gulls!IMG_2756

I knew the marshes at Titchwell were tidal but I have never seen the change quite so clearly, one picture is as we passed by on our way to the sea, the other probably only about half an hour later!

A brief coffee stop and then off for a walk around the fen trail where we were serenaded by two Willow warblers. It took some while before I saw one and managed just one snap before it vanished into the tree again. We also saw these two Damselflies , Azure Damselfly and Large Red Damselfly. (thanks to James for the ID help)

We also saw Holly blue butterflies but they move to fast to picture. It really did turn into a scorching hot day and I think this Wood pigeon was feeling the effect, he struggled to stay awake, but failed!

We went for a late lunch at Brancaster staithe which didn’t have many birds but those that were there are looking smart. Take this Turnstone now in his breeding plumage.

It was time to head for home having had a really good day, I wonder what tomorrow will bring, but that’s half the fun!

Back in sunny Norfolk

Having got home on Saturday we spent the weekend with family visiting which was lovely, On Sunday we were in Kings Lynn cheering Roo and Stu on as they ran 10k, (I was happy to be cheering and dog sitting whilst they ran) they both did really well and I am proud of them both!IMG_2303 R & S

Yesterday was a day of getting to grips with some chores, luxuries like doing the washing and as April had ended I needed to sort out the photos from the month that I wanted to order prints of. Today, after a trip to hospital (Ian has a 24 hour heart monitor) we headed to Titchwell via Chosely where Dotterels have returned for their annual visit. We have a good place to park and look and we were in luck, of course they were a long way off, brown bird running around on brown earth so no pictures I’m afraid. That does make Dotterel bird 201.

It was a beautiful day and Titchwell was understandably busy a good chance to meet with other birders. We added bird 202 in the form of a Garganey a handsome duck but of course it was distant; he swam along then settled down for a good sleep!

It was a smashing day for a walk and Titchwell didn’t let us down, Brent geese were abundant on the marsh and in the air, Gadwall and a couple of lovely Little ringed plovers.

We had, rather foolishly, forgotten to take anything to eat out with us so we ate courtesy of the Titchwell café! After that we moved on to Sculthorpe Moor, and spent a little while in one of the hides watching the small birds and the birds of prey flying overhead. There was a pair of Bullfinches, some Reed buntings and the usual ‘garden birds’.

Overhead we saw a Marsh harrier, Buzzard, Kestrals and bird 203 a Hobby, considering it was a brief visit I reckon we did ok!

Now May has arrived the moths are getting a bit more interesting and I feature just two recent catches, a Muslin moth and a Swallow prominent. After getting home today I had a walk around the garden looking for insects and this tiny section of garden struck me as rather pretty, just a shame it is mainly weeds!!!


Tomorrow we make another trip to hospital so are panning to go birding straight form Kings Lynn again and fingers crossed I have my eye on something special, if it stays put!

Short and sweet

Short and sweet sums up our trip today, this blog and on a good day, me!

Sunday means church whenever feasible, today was no exception so we didn’t go out till nearly lunch time. We decided to pop to Titchwell R S P B reserve and see if there was anything new since our last visit.

A pair of Red-crested pochard were enjoying an almost empty lake outside Fen hide.

We walked around the Fen trail and we’re delighted to see several Blackcaps, flitting in and out of the trees behind the dragonfly pool.

We had seen one at Santon Downham but it was good to see them much clearer it was just a shame that they didn’t come closer! The Blackcaps were soon out shone by news of a Redstart and it wasn’t long before I got a brief view. High in a tree which was of course standing among many other trees so very tricky to point out, anyway it was gone in an instant! It soon returned and we both saw him, flying up from the tree and down again, each time into the back of the tree!

I have seen Redstarts before but I am not sure I have ever seen one in his beautiful summer plumage, it was stunning. I only wish I could have got better pictures of him but we felt extremely fortunate to see him and we were glad we had gone to Titchwell!

The red light on my camera was flashing warning me to change the battery, no problem I have two spares although I had mis-placed one the other day. Still no problem I had the other one in my pocket so I changed it and switched back on only to see the red light flashing again! Aggghhh how annoyed was I? Answer, VERY! The first thing I do when I get in each time is recharge any batteries that need it so I have no idea what had gone wrong this time.

While we were watching the Blackcaps a little bird flew through the reed and called, Sedge warbler, bird 174

When we got home today the lost battery was found, in the back of the car and now is recharged, the second charging as I type, I won’t make that mistake again!

We saw several butterflies out today, no new ones but deffinately a good sign of Spring.

Redstart was number 175 for our year.

All things being equall

March 21st the spring equinox (give or take a day!) and the day has been an equal mix of success and failure! I considered going down to Stonehenge to dance as the sun rose but then I thought…NO! Instead we checked the moth trap and went out birding. We began by trying again for Bean goose but we had no luck we did however get a tick later in the day.

On our journey we spotted a pair of hares in a field, we watched them for a while but they didn’t provide much excitement, they seemed to be taking the day in a very relaxed fashion! IMG_9842 (Custom)

 

It was a brighter day than we had expected so we were pleased we had headed up to the coast. First to Thornham and what I can only describe as a very fresh walk along the sea wall. Redshanks and Curlew seem to be doing particularly well there apparently enjoying them selves in the mud. I thought we might find a rare wader that had got lost and taken refuge at Thornahm but not today!!!

A lone Avocet was snoozing in the water and an Oystercatcher posed on the muddy bank.

Titchwell beckoned us and the allure of coffee was strong. it seems impossible to visit this site without being welcomed by a Robin, today was no exception.IMG_9898 (Custom)

The day had warmed up quite a bit and we decided to just walk down to the first hide concentrating on the reeds and  hoping for a year tick. We got the very bird we had hoped for, a Bearded tit, first it flew low and fast but enough to Id it. But then I spotted him low down in the reeds before he came out a clearly flew across the reeds, sadly not to be seen again! Bird number 159 brilliant!

Mission accomplished, that was the bird we were after there today so we just enjoyed a walk then were just going go to leave for Brancaster and a late lunch. On our was back to the car we got a good view of this Water rail, of course twigs and grasses spoilt photo opportunities.

We were nearly back at the car when we spotted a trio of Siskin feeding amonst the fallen leaves.

Lunch at Brancaster Staithe is becoming quite a habit and a very enjoyable one too! There are always birds to entertain us while we eat, today stars were Red-breasted merganser.

Another good day that although it began with a new moth I am saving that for another day. I had thought at one time I might be writing about moths tonight but that was before bird 159 flew in 🙂

 

One thing leads to another

After a quiet day  catching up with post, photos etc we headed off to spend the evening with my sister and brother-in-law, Janice and Chris. We had a lovely meal and after a very relaxed evening we spent the night there which meant we were closer to the coast to go birding in the morning.

Surprisingly we had our first visit of the year to Salthouse, it is surprising as it has long been one of my favourite place. Sadly the power of the sea has changed the shape of Salthouse tremendously.  These photos show what used to be the carpark being enjoyed by some Turnstones! Can you see along the fence line short bits of wood sticking above the gravel? They are the old fence posts now almost covered by stones as the sea wall has almost flattened.

We saw a lovely pair of Stonechats and a flock of Siskin but very little else. None the less we enjoyed the walk albeit that we were somewhat cold!

There were no special birds along the coast that we wanted to see so we thought we would go back to Brancaster Staithe and Titchwell to see what we might find. The Brent geese were very obliging at Brancaster and came along just in front of the car.

 

We went on to Titchwell where the wind had whipped up bringing with it quite a chill! There were lots of Brent geese there too and we were pleased to see the Avocet there. We were pleased to hear that there is a Kingfisher that shows really well there but unfortunately we weren’t lucky enough to see it, maybe next time.

We walked on thinking when we arrived at the beach we might turn back quickly but actually it was, if anything slightly less cold than on the way. The sea was too choppy to sea much on it, we did see Scoters but nothing else. The shoreline was another matter, really busy with Oystercatchers, Godwits, Dunlin, Sanderling and more!

It was just  beach was so crowded!!!IMG_9664 (Custom)We said goodbye to Titchwell having had a really enjoyable walk and began the drive home. I spotted a deer running in a field and fortunately we were able to pull over on the edge of the field. We had never seen deer behaving quite like this one; it was running around the very edge of like its life depended on it! I imagined a gym teacher telling it to do five circuits around!

But the deer led on to other things, as we watched him we saw not one hare but several. Frolicing and chasing then just flaking out looking exhausted. They were quite distant but it may be worth going there again to see if they come in any closer.IMG_9684 hares (Custom)

So the deer led to us seeing the hare but then I spotted lots of Fieldfare quite close to the car! They were lovely and I was so pleased to get some pictures as I usually find they fly off as soon as I pull over and pick a camera up.

Briefly a Kestral hovered over the field so one thing led to another  and then two more!

We made one more stop before going home hoping to see some Bean geese, no luck today but we will try again soon. Another good day and oh  I nearly forgot to say we had a new moth, a Hebrew character. I am expecting the moths to pick up soon as the weather warms up so watch this space!

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