short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Thorpe marshes....... House Martin !

After all the fuss and the excitement of the wedding, I nipped down for an hours birding at Thorpe. More of the usual now but after getting past the grumpy bull and his girlfriends I managed to find at least 2 House Martins among the 20 odd Sand Martins . My first for the year. On the way back Mike who I've bumped into a few times there said another Wheatear had dropped in during the week but moved on quickly and also he had seen 2 Swifts earlier that day too . Spring is here and easterly winds are here to stay too, bring it on !

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Painting fences brings a surprising visiter !

I spent the afternoon helping my father inlaw paint his fences . As we got cracking I managed to jot down a garden list. Other then the usual shrub birds I was pleasantly accompanied by a singing male Goldcrest! Not the rarest of birds I know but Ive not seen one in a garden before so to just sit back and drink a beer in the comfort of our own garden while watching this tiny , crazy hair do of a bird was a real treat . After a few more fences painted we sat and had dinner- who should appear above us .... Goldcrest , but this time not 1 but 2 , male and female . I studied them for a while and saw them both disappear to the neighbours conifer tree . I hope to keep an eye on this pair over the coming weeks and hope to possibly see young? Any way the fences are done for another few years and my father inlaw has a new garden tick !

Monday, 25 April 2011

Easter at Thorpe marshes

  After spending most of the day with caterina in the garden and watching/ listening to the resident Gold finches , I nipped down Thorpe marshes to see what's about . On walking down from the bridge I picked up a singing Sedge warbler from a small bush top. Also I noticed at least 20+ Sand martins over the water ( but no house martins as yet) . I headed down to the cattle fencing area and was actually greeted by ......a unfriendly bullock ! I careful and slowly made my way past him(very quick walk) and pressed on towards the corner end of the marsh and scanned . 5x Swallows over head and more Sedge warblers along the reeds , with a singing Cetti's. I carried on along the path that runs along the river . On the lake there were 2x gadwell , 6x tufted, 2x grey lag geese. Also 4x stock doves & 3x little ringed plovers on the scrape . I got to screen and checked the reeds in front . 3x Whitethroats and a singing wren .


I looked up for any thing on the sky and saw a male Marsh Harrier coming in . This was the first I'd seen here and was enjoying the colours of it's feathers in the sun. It soared over the water and then suddenly dropped in among the reeds on the edge. I got scope on it and saw 2x moorhens flapping around and calling . It was mayhem down there. Then as the tufted ducks came over calling too , the harrier flew out with what looked like a chick ! It flew off east and was left to watch the poor moorhens swimming around calling out and then going back to there nest , minus a chick if not 2 ?! As I walked a little more I was stopped in my tracks by a swallow chasing and attacking a low flying sparrowhawk ( it's all happening here I thought!) I watched it till it flew across to whitlingham Cp and made my way towards the bridge. I picked up another 3 x whitethroats and a chiffchaff . As I approached the bridge I heard the reeling of a grasshopper . I stayed there for a while and eventually saw it with it's wings besides it's tail , quivering as it sung . It stayed there for a good 30 seconds and then it dropped down . As I got the van 3x Grey Herons coming in to roost. As i packed up  I bumped into a birder named mike ( very nice chap) and he informed me that an Osprey had been seen passing over here. A good patch to keep scanning indeed !!

Who u looking at?

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Holme in the sunshine.......

Holme Dunes in the sun
 A another gorgeous day of bright sun and warm skies meant only one thing.... a trip out to the coast! i hadn't been to Holme since September last year when i had the Red Backed Shrike & Red Necked Phalarope. so i felt it was only right & proper that i take a butchers at what treats were on offer. I finished my work and nipped back home to grab me `Scope and Collins` , and headed out to Holme. I had been texted earlier by local birder Pete that he was already there and enjoying the beautiful song of the Nightingale ( very jealous !) ,so i put me foot on the gas and before i knew it i was pulling up the track entrance & to have Pete & a few other birders in my view. I wound the window down (no mod cons for me) and asked if it was still there, but it was a silly question as i could hear it belting out its song at full pelt! I said ` keep it there Pete , ill be back in a jiffy`. Well  we stood for around 5 minutes listening to the gorgeous song  & just itching to grab a view and then all of a sudden it stopped singing. Must have been 10 minutes(although it seemed like for ages) before it decided to start singing again & this time alot closer. We started to all stare into this one area and just like that it flew into view on a branch. A few `aghhh `s , wow`s  and  a `what a bird` from me and it nipped back into the dense tree. But to have that 10 seconds of viewing time, to see it perched there ,mouth wide open, belting out its song, shaking as it did, was pure magic! This was my first view of one and definitely one ill be cherishing for a long time.Nightingale (no.223) .It then stopped singing (maybe for a  Little `siesta` ) so we decided to head off around the dunes, checking the sea as we went. We didn't see much on the sea, 30+ Common Scoter & 35+ Oystercatchers  and a single Ringed Plover on the sand edge were the only highlights but the action was inland so we started checking the floor and brambles, bushes and trees for any movement. Meadow Pipits, Reed Buntings, 6x Common Whitethoats, Sedge Warblers, 2x Chifchaffs and a Kestrelwere the seen along the path through the dunes and then as we walked through towards the other side of the track we saw a Lesser Whitethroat dart into the brambles. We never picked it up again sadly but it wasn't the only one we were going to see. We headed towards the first hide , and as we did we could hear the sounds of Grasshopper Warblers . We stood there with some others listening & waiting for movement. I heard one to the left of the hide & saw a bird fly across. I at first  thought it was a Sedge from the quick glimpse i had but then it appeared on the bush top with mouth open and reeling out its song it was what we were looking for. I pointed it out to Pete,who agreed it was a Grasshopper (224)and we watched along with the others for a few moments until it dropped down into the bush. I was now `bouncing` along with a grin on my face, 2x lifers and still to check the hides! ( I'm making the most of this ,as i know that there`ll be a time soon when lifers will be very hard to come by, as my mate Yorkie keeps telling me!). The hides were full of nesting B H Gulls, Avocets & Lapwings.A few Shoverlers and some of the usual. I then scanned out the ground beyond the water and picked up atleast4x Wheatears   always a pleasure to see.


And then i caught sight of a possible sandpiper of some sort but it was disappearing behind the bank edge alot so it was difficult to get on, as well as the haze which was being created from the blazing heat. Pete took a look through my scope and we both agreed it was actually a Greenshank . After that not much else but then as we were leaving a lady pointed something out . We all got on it ... a nice Ruff.  We got back to the car park and tucked into our lunch. As we both checked our phones to see what was about , we were both drawn to the brambles in front of us. There was a call i had heard before but couldn't make out what bird it belonged to. Pete said it was Lesser Whitethroat. Well before we had finished our sandwiches it appeared on top of the bushes to our left. A Lesser Whitethroat   - Lovely Jubly as Del Boy would have have said if he`d seen it I'm sure. We were alerted that around 10x Dotterels were south of Choseley Barns in a field so we both agreed on heading there asap.
 We arrived at the barns and made our way down to the gathering of people which were there. A  hazy and distance view of at least 5x Dotterels   but good enough (no.225) .We were debating on weather to drive around to the other side and walking up along the opposite hedge line for better views when a Garden Warbler started singing. A brief view of it and back to the van. Pete went off to Titchwell while i decided to grab some better views of the Dotterel. I parked up on the verge and walked up along the hedge .I was joined by 4 walkers. The ladies had walked from Holme to here and after seeing the Dotterels off to Titchwell i think. (very hardcore indeed) .I rewarded for our walk as firstly, it was closer & secondly, the sun was behind us making for easier viewing.I managed to get some Digi pic`s too.



I drove home a very happy birder , but sadly the day was some what ruined  by  hearing the result of my beloved West Ham being spanked by United . But i didn't let it dampen me spirits for too long as i started to recall the song of the Nightingale i had listened to earlier in the day......o what joy!  

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Wryneck !!!!!

South Dunes
 I started the day in the glorious sunshine with 3x common Buzzards soaring over head for company , as I worked  near Trowse and a singing Chiffchaff  . I checked on my phone to see what was about on the coast and saw a Wryneck come up at Winterton Dunes (a spot that has given me and Yorkie some good migrants before) .I decided to get my head down at work & finish as soon as I could to nip up there asap. I got there in under half an hour&  made my way up Beach road and headed for the South dunes . I was greeted by a number of birders who had not seen it but said they had, had a number of Wheatears though. I continued on and managed to see 6x Wheatears ( always a pleasure) and 3x Kestrels . I had now walked some distance and decided to start walking back , this time along the pathway that runs along the gardens. I got 6x Swallows over head and then as I was scanning the ground I saw a bird fly up to the bottom of an Oak tree. I stepped back and begun to try and pick it up . After a few minutes I finally found what I was looking for ..... Wryneck ! I just stood there fixed on this stunning bird. It's beautiful mottled brown and grey colour looked stunning in the sunlight. As I took a picture it suddenly become startled by a passing dog , which made it stand erect for a moment and started to twist it's head from left to right, which was something I had read about them doing .


 I studied it for around half an hour and decided to leave it on it's own , but as I set off a couple came towards me with binoculars and I pointed it out to there thanks ( always nice to help a fellow birder out ) . I headed back to van with a beaming smile on my face . U just don't know what the coast can throw up this time of the year ay ?!

Monday, 18 April 2011

17-4-11 Strumpshaw Fen

  As soon as i jumped out the van i was greeted with a singing Blackcap , Willow Warbler and2x  Chiff Chaffs. I walked through to main reception hide and other then a few Pochards and noisy nesting Black Headed   Gulls there wasn't alot. I walked down to the sandy track picking up a Blue Tit in one of the boxes that has been put up. This little bird had so much moss in his beak he kept dropping it and going to ground to pick it back up.This happened at least 3 times in the short time i watched him and I'm sure many times more after i left! (such busy & hard working little birds), A Song Thrush was next and too a singing Willow Warbler along with 2x Marsh Tits.

Willow Warbler

     I nipped into the Fen Hide to be greeted by a friendly birder(Paul) saying   `theres a Ferruginous Duck out here ! ` I was straight on it and  was able to enjoy it for 5 minutes or so before it drifted out of sight ,although appearing again shortly but somewhat restricted views. I was able to get a few pic`s for the blog which were a real bonus too, along with a passing Chinese Water Deer!
Ferruginous Duck

Chinese Water Deer
  As i poured myself a cuppa and tucked into me ham & cheese roll, a shout for Greenshank over the back . Nice wader to get here.

 I left the hide and up towards the Tower hide. Along the way i stopped for half an hour listening to at least 2x Grasshooper Warblers reeling out there song, but to never see unfortunately. Tower hide held plenty of Shoveler`s, 4x Gadwell, Tufted`s, couple of Shelducks and 2x Stock Doves.
  I made by way down Lackford run and picking up lots of Peacock & Orange tip Butterflies- stunning.

Sedge Warbler

As i got  to the train line i got a stunning view of a  Sedge Warbler up on top of a bush, out in the sun , and just after a nice couple of pictures it dropped into the reeds. A fitting end.

16/4/11 Whitlingham and back to Thorpe Marshes

So after a tuff game football  (we won 3v2 for those that care), I decided to check out whitlingham. I walked down the path beside the little broad and picked up a Gull flying low across the water. Once I got a better view i identified it as a Little gull. Not in summer plumage but more winter . Acting very 'tern ' like in it's eating behaviour as it dived for the food of the tips of the water, as they are known to do. I also saw a cracking Mute Swan over the back ,among the reeds on it's beautifully crafted nest . A little further along i came to a Coot on it's nest (breeding is in full swing!) I managed to avoid no end of dogs mess as I got to the top of the little broad (something that stops me coming here more regularly) and on doing so I heard not 1 but 2x Sedge Warblers . I patiently waited for them to give there self up, and as i waited a Chiff Chaff appeared beside me, repeating it's name over and over. A little longer and the pair of Sedge Warblers came to the top of the reeds and were singing away. I love these birds and have fond memories of watching them at Strumpshaw a couple of years back when I first started to take up birdwatching . I stayed in this spot for 20 minutes just listening to these 2 species sing there hearts out ( and at one point i think i could hear a Reed Warbler briefly but not entirely sure so have check that next week)and as I left I saw the Chiff Chaffs displaying to one another, very nice. A very noisey pair of Egyptian Geese were starting trouble against another pair of Egyptian Geese which was very entertaining. They were seperated by the fence that surrounds the Little Braod.

Seperated by the fence!

 A quick look at great broad and i was off to Thorpe Marshes to check on the LPRs and if that Wheatear had stuck around( not likely on the later) . Matt had already been there a while and had picked up a Whitethroat, Black cap and Chiff Chaffs. I made my way to the concrete platform and saw him heading towards me. We saw there were 2 x LPRs on the marsh and heard at least 2x  Cettis singing behind us as we walked further along. We then picked up a Chiff Chaff and a singing Willow Warbler from the trees over railway line. A year tick for me and nice bird to hear in the spring sunshine. We had 2x Lapwings , 2x Oystercatchers and 2x Stock Doves over the Marsh and then 13x Meadow Pipits overhead.As we made our way round to the bird screen hide we heard a Whitethroat and a very close male Black cap in a bush on the pathway. On the scrape were Tufted  Ducks and Stock Doves ( sunbathing) and I spotted 2 x Teal hiding up under the marsh edge. A female Reed Bunting was the last bird on the pathway back and as we crossed the bridge a cracking Kestrel was hoovering along the railway line just in front of us . A nice few hours birding .

Friday, 15 April 2011

12/4/11- Thorpe Marshes

 I nipped down to the Marshes after work after seeing that James ( had seen the LRP were still there.


I headed down the path , picking up Blackcap and Reed Bunting  as i walked. On coming to the concrete platform area i scanned out to see 3x LPR`s and also 8x Stock Doves . I was pleased they were still here and so viewable. I checked the few posts that are there and saw a Pied Wagtail. As i scanned across to the next post i couldn't quite believe my luck .. a Wheatear was sitting there all proud! A super bird to find any day but also at in an inland site makes it all that more special. 


 I was enjoying this colourful Chat as it hopped about the ground and managed to get a few more digi scope pic`s as it slowly made its self across the marsh.! I informed Yorkie on the old `dog` and he later picked it up as he was passing on his way home from work, along with the LPR`s which was good to hear. As i left the LPR`s went up making a heck of noise and i counted not 3, but 7x LPR`s ! They dipped down and landed on the shingle the other side. Beautiful.

 ps. sorry for lateness of blog- been proper busy few days!!

Thursday, 14 April 2011


 Headed down to Welney for the Bluethroat.Well i didn't get it, is the short of it but while there me & Matt did get some nice views of 65+ Black Tailed Godwits, Avocets, flock of 30+ Knots & a nice Peregrine Falcon. We managed to spot 2x Little Ringed Plovers  among some vegetation which made for good watching along with a loud Sedge Warbler(which i never actually got on)outside the hide.

Little Ringed Plover
  But the best was saved till last as we were in the car park we decided to look for Tree Sparrows that were apparently nesting here. A bird we both were interested by so we checked the feeders out and the Sparrow boxes that had been put up at the back of the visitor centre. Well after a few Jackdaws and some cracking Reed Buntings ,a Corn Bunting turned up eating among the other finches and buntings.
Reed Buntings, Chaff Finch & Corn Bunting

Reed Bunting
Stock Dove
 A bird Ive only ever had at Chosely Barns so a rare treat for me. As we carried on scanning the hedges , Matt recognised the a call coming from the bushes next to the feeders. A nice Stock Dove flew down below the feeders and then Matt said they were `Tree Sparrows` so we waited patiently for them to appear. It wasn't long before i had 2 of them in my bins! I quickly got on my scope for a better view. Really super Sparrow when compared to the more common House Sparrow (although sadly not as common as i remember) . I managed to get another digi-scope pic while they were joined briefly by a Chaff Finch & Green Finch, which was a nice bonus too.

Tree Sparrows

Green Finch, Chaff Finch & Tree Sparrow
  As we sat back in our vehicles for a bite to eat we saw a few Meadow Pipits  fly over head and a beautiful Barn owl come over us . We told that they have been using there Balcony as a roost ! A great end to any birding day.

Tree Sparrow

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Titchwell in the glorious sunshine....

 A trip to Titchwell the weekend brought me much joy as the sun was shinning making for some good views of the birds in there summer plumage's . I started off at the Island Hide. I soon picked up a very obliging Spotted Redshank which was just to the left of the hide and busy wading through the shallow water . My first of the year !
Spotted Redshank

  After scanning along the reed bed i picked up a flying Bearded Tit , although brief another birder happened to be on the same area and saw it too. As i scanned out towards the small island and scrapes i picked up some Black Tailed Godwits, Shelducks, Teal and some Redshanks. I decided to move onto the new Parrinder Hide.


   As i walked down along the pathway towards the hide i looked over towards the water and saw a nice looking Ruff and then a Male & Female Garganey! Such a cracking Duck and to see them so close was fantastic too!

Garganey (male)
Garganey (female)

 After watching these stunning ducks in the glorious sunshine , i moved on into the hide over looking the Brackish Marsh. Well only after a minute i was looking at 6x Yellow Wagtails & 8x White Wagtails!  The Yellows were spread apart and stood out with there beautiful yellow body's and the Whites were also showing out well against the few Pied Wagtails that were being out numbered  by there cousins(not often you can say that ay?). By this time i needed a break from all the excitement , so i tucked into a Cheese & Ham salad sandwich before leaving the hide and to do some Sea watching. 

White Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail
 The Sea watch brought me Dunlin, Redshank, Curlew and  40+  Knots which regularly went up for a fly , looking smart in the sun. Out at Sea i saw a lonely Female Eider ,a year tick ,as was the Male & Female Red Breasted Mergansers which were passing by the 1,000`s of Common Scoters. I waited for the flock to take up for any Velvets , and after a while they did exactly that & yes... 3x Velvets were there! In fact one birder had apparently recorded at least 7! On my walk back to the car park i had one last look at the Wagtails and the super Garganeys before i head off. What a fantastic site for birdwatching!

Marston marshes

 A quick check at the marshes brought 2 good year ticks for me . I had hoped for a sight of the Hawfinch that has been reported there but instead i got nice views of a singing Blackcap and a Cettis Warbler  that made it all well worth while . Also I got chatting to a bloke named Matt there who joined me for a walk around the river. We got cracking views of a pair of Common Buzzards over head which were possibly displaying to one another . Also a kestrel appeared too, along with a sparrow hawk . A nice mornings work!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Red Kite & White tailed eagle ..............!!!!!

  I had been seeing that a White tailed eagle had been spotted going around the coast line the last 2days so when Tuesday it came up that it was hanging around warham and then coming in land towards Holt i couldn't let chance slip by ! I finished off work at Taverham and headed off towards Holt , at the same time checking my birdguides for up dates on it's movements . Well after scanning around  in Glavon Valley area to no prevail  i  set of  to Warham where it had reportedly been seen heading towards, along with a few cars, full of eager birders too . Once there we heard that had been seen dropping into woods near Langham and it was a matter of waiting and lots of scanning for it to reappear again! I had got chatting to a birder named Peter from Norwich who suggested we went up to scan from a higher viewpoint , so up to warham greens we went. A Marsh Harrier and a Common Buzzard got the juices flowing but that wasn't  what we were all here for !  A little more scanning and I picked up my first Grey Partridge   for the year along with my first swallow too ! After a sandwich and birding chat I decided to head to holkham for a bit and gave my mobile Peter , as he said he would kindly inform me of any up dates of the Eagle from his pager(what a top bloke)!
 Holkham was quiet until I got my first lifer of the day ..... A Red kite !! (218) A bird I had hoped to pick up this year in Norfolk. I watched it as it hanged around over the wooded area going west . As i smiled to myself while this cracking bird of prey ,Peter rung- ' it's been seen in Bintree` . back in the van and off to Bintree. Well i missed it by a few minutes but managed to catch up with it along with around 20 other birders from Wiveton Downs Car park. All i can remember saying when i first saw it was `WOW ! ` . I mean this really was a huge bird! The wing span was massive and it was dwarfing the mob of crows and the Buzzard  that was hassling it (which eventually helped push it towards us for a while).

A dodgy picture of one cracking White Tailed Eagle ( 219 )
It was a great bird to get but i still wanted even better views so a few of us drove closer to it and pulled up on Bayfield Farm Industrial Park . We were rewarded for our drive , as a couple of lads had it in there scopes perched! I got on it but unfortunately had left me camera in the van so no pictures of this cracking view. It was a great afternoons work-What a bird!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Barton Broad & Neatishead :

  I nipped out to Barton Broad to see if i could bag myself a Little Gull and possible  returning Tern as i did in April last year. I wasn't disappointed as i scanned out from the main viewing platform out across the Broad to see a  Little Gull  twisting and diving over the water straight out ,along  with  2x Common Terns  ( another for the year list) . As well as them i  enjoyed watching a pair of  Great Crested Grebes   , displaying to one another. Other birds of note were a Reed Bunting, Little Grebe and Grey Heron, along with a singing Cetti`s on  the walk back. I wasn't done there as i drove back through Neatishead i notice some Partridges in a drilled field and pulled over to check for a Grey, but they were only Red Leg`s. I decided to scan the hedges and in doing so noticed a robin like bird flying to and from ground, to fence post. I got excited  and got a little closer along with my scope. I struggled to pick it up again as it hurried across the mud. But when i did i was pleased to see i had got a female Black Redstart!

Black Redstart
 Only my 3rd sighting of this cracking bird in my few years of birding also my best self found bird of the year by far!I took plenty of time enjoying it as it was very aware of me but after a few minutes started to come a little closer , making for some good pictures!

Black Redstart
Roll on April...................

Last week of March .....

 At work last week i got some cracking views of 2x Goldcrests in a garden in Old Catton area. They seem to be doing some courtship display to one another,involving lots of chasing and dancing! Also i saw a couple of very friendly Coal Tits calling away to each other while i sat and had my lunch in Hellesdon, and a nesting Blackbird that didn't seem at all bothered about me as i  brushed by the bush she was nesting in to clean a conservatories very messy windows & best of all i headed to Horsted for lunch end of week and got some cracking sights of a Grey Wagtail in the beautiful sunshine on the River. It was a very handsome looking bird with the bright Yellow really standing out in  the sun.
Horsted Mill
Grey Wagtail