short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Update .........

Three good birds spotted in this past 2 weeks- Firstly a trip to lynford in hope of a 2 barred crossbill and hawfinch. Well I got the hawfinch fairly quickly, in fact two of them . Out on a bare branch which made for super viewing !

Then a scan through a small flock of 7x crossbills which showed a possible 2 barred but for me it was lacking the correct ID so I discarded it only to see that some are actually saying this is in fact the reported male 2 bar. I'm personally gonna leave this one and wait for another one to appear that i feel more confident in and tick able
 The other nice experience is seeing & hearing that true winter flight call of the Pink footed goose. A flock of 80+ over my house while me and George left for fathers stay & play class( a class consisting of dads all chatting and kids running around with brushes full of paint !) this Saturday.
Me and George just starred up as they made there way, noisely over head heading north west. Only my 2nd house tick of this species . Other then plenty of more goose flocks overhead while at work its been pretty quiet.
Happy birding

Friday, 18 October 2013

Back to the patch!

Quick visit to the patch in hope of something "special" to be in among the tit  flocks. I picked up 2 x Gt. spotted woodpeckers as I made my way to the marshes and a calling Cettis . As I scan the marsh scrape which now has some water on it I heard that all familer autumn call over head of a Redwing. Not just one but 75 and as they head east bound they turned back towards the march and dropped in among the trees and along the railway track. 
Nothing much on the marsh other then a single common Snipe and a flushed Meadow pipit. 
I decided bungalow lane was worth a walk with a better chance of a tit flock . I eventually found a tit flock but nothing of note was in there. As I walked up further I heard the crows kickin off- Common Buzzard was the reason . It came over very low and showed some nice markings, juvenile I think. 
Other then a few more Redwings and 2x  Fieldfare over , and a total of 2 more Cettis that was that!
Happy birding ,

Sunday, 6 October 2013

east coast birding

 So I finally got out to the coast and was glad to be joint by Jim. We started up at Caister and from the car park we noticed a flock of 7x  Redwings over including a single Fieldfare and too a rather large amount of Meadow Pipits, at least a 100 if not more passing through and some landing on the golf course. It was then  that we caught up with 3x Stonechats

Then we headed of further up the coast line to where the snow buntings are regularly seen.We didn't get to see them but did get a flock of 4x Brent Geese heading south and a good few Red Throated Divers on the sea. Then Jim spotted a lonely looking Knot on the shore and then as we were heading back to the scrubby heath land ,we had 2 or possibly 3x Wheatears.  In the heathland scrub we had 5x Blackcaps(4x females and a a single male) and a common Whitethroat.


 Back to the cars and to Hemsby a new area for me .We had a singing Goldcrest ,along with a calling Chiffchaff in the scrub/ woody area but not a lot else. After a bit more searching we had a distant skein of Pink-feet ,a nice returning sound and sure sign that winter is arriving.
 We finally headed off to Winterton and although it was seriously lacking of any migrants did pick up a lifer for me but not of the bird kind, a butterfly- a small copper. Also while we are off the subject of birds, something that we kept coming across was this little fury chap

After a quick email to James(birdsandbeer) he identified it as a Fox moth caterpillar.We saw these every where we went along the east coast and were very welcome sight on the quiet pathways of the Winterton dunes.Also we had Munjunc deer popping out of the bushes as we walked back to the car and that was that, well apart from a bit more birding chat that is!
Happy birding,

Monday, 30 September 2013

Osprey & September patch round up .......

So lets start with the patch! One visit in the middle of the month produced me with a common buzzard over head and my first singing cettis after a quiet month or two from them. A tit flock got the  blood pumping, containing 2x coal tits and a single great tit,4x blue tits and 3x juv chiffchaff s which were very entertaining to watch. A male blackcap and a couple of grey herons over ,ended a quick but pleasant visit
 A more recnet visit produced more the same but a bit more action . 2 x cettis singing was very welcoming and then too was a huge flock of lapwings which took to air from marsh scrape.Two counts of 68 and one of 69 . My second highest count for the patch!
 As I walked along I got some pictures of a few darters . Not the ruddy darters from last month but these were common darters. A picture of one below from the cattle pen

Common darter



I bumped into Chris on the way round and we got chatting as we walked.He shared some of his knowledge of insects (among other things ) with me something ive got to sharpen up on . We noticed a number of butterflies (comma, red admiral  and small white .) and a huge amount of hoover flies.
As we walked I spotted a high soaring Common Buzzard and then among  the trees and bushes  further along  calling was a quietly singing Garden warbler . Then viewing the broad a single juv swan with both parents and an Egyptian goose. On the shingle spit was 4x common snipe at rest along with a juv moor hen .
Common Snipe

  Now to today!
   As I worked in 3 scores,Bowthorpe  looking up at the remaining House martins I noticed over the lakes(Colney GPs or also known as Bawburgh Lakes) a low flying  Osprey!
It was casually fishing and dropped down 3 times , but without any meal  to show for it. This was my best find to date and a work tick too. Earning while birding....just the way I like it -;)


The bird was present the whole time I was there (11.20- 1.55pm) . I had no internet excess so let Jim know to put it out for me so hopefully some other birders would have also got to see this super bird.

 Happy birding

Sunday, 1 September 2013

George's first reserve visit!

With George now fast approaching 2 yrs old I thought it was time he graced the field and I decided that Strumpshaw fen would be the best place to start . We turned up around 2 pm, & George was all freash  faced as he had had a nice little hours kip in the car . As we approached reception a quick look at the feeders and a beautiful Nuthatch was in full view. I was able to point it out to him and was surprised to see it wasn't bothered by George's eagerness as he leant forward towards the bushes at the edge to get a closer look!
Cracking bird to see this close, (one of my favourite british birds along with the Bullfinch )
We strolled into the reception and after George proudly showed off his membership card he was more then chuffed to realise he would be receiving a sticker from the friendly staff .  In fact she gave him a few to take away( all of which ended up in his animal scrap book. )
We walked along the path slowly with butterflies galore for company.  When we arrived at the meadow trail George immediately picked up on all the camera men and begun to investigate . He was loving the little Damsal flies( azure in think ?) chasing then around through the grass. A dragon fly whizzed over head and landed on a stick which was at the dyke edge. I careful held him up and luckily it stayed there long enough for George to view it and then  you guessed it.... He reached out for it , but he's gonna have to get alot quicker if he's gonna catch one of these speedy Gonzales !
We made out way back ,in doing so watching the beautiful butterflies gently passing by in front of us. I really couldn't have picked a better day for it with the weather being perfect conditions for them.
Back at at reception hide we told of an otter which was in the water. Sadly it wasnt close enough for George to see but what he did get he's keen eyes on was a kingfisher. It was calling away as it made its way towards us and landed on the favoured perch ( those regulars to strumpshaw will know the spot)
How much of  it he saw i don't know but what was more important for me was that he was getting excited about seeing wildlife and in its natural  environment . As we left I begun reminding  him of what animals we had seen- birds, dragonflies, and butterflies and then .... The train flew by as we approached the crossing !
Well u can Imagine the excitement of this , for a boy  who is Thomas the tank engine mad this was fantastic !
When we got home Caterina started to ask what it was like at the reserve and what he had seen but all his reply was  "Cho choo ,Cho chooo!" Mum looked at me confused and i begun to explain. The wildlife might have come second to the train on this occasion but there be more visits to the reserves !
Happy birding

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Well that wasnt how i expected today to go ......!

 Working on a Saturday is something I rarely do nowadays as weekends are kept free to be spent with my wife and kids but job came up in Snetterton which was too good to turn down. With the hot heat and tough work to be done I wasn't that excited as I pulled up outside the dirty huge unit i was to clean.

 Once I set up & begun to wash it down I immediately noticed a huge amount of white moths taking to the air only to return again to the unit. I stopped and inspected . There were a few together low down so took a snap on the old  I phone ( other phones are  available ) and sent it to James (birds and beer) and sir Bradley( no not wiggins the other well known one..... Jim from Jimsbirdingblog) . I knew between then they would ID it. Well within minutes a reply! It was a yellow / brown tailed moths I was told. Inspected a bit more and they were Brown tails.  New to me but what was more interesting and made for rather a beautiful sight ( considering I was looking at a filthy warehouse unit!) was that there were a total of at least 17 and probably more! Once again explain by the knowledgable pair , that there had been a recent emergence and this was the result-Marvellous !

As I continue my morning more different types of moths/ Microsoft were taking off as I disturbed  them. A Buff ermine being one particuly enjoyed.
 I would point out at this point that I tried my very best to get them off without any damage to them before i washed but obviously I couldn't spend all day gently tapping away near them , waiting  till they took off... I had work to do!
The afternoon brought more surprises ( not my lunch , although rather good I must say) , in the form of a number of butterflies in the meadows surrounding . But one small one landed in the small pool of water that I had created through my washing of the unit on the groubd beside me. It seemed to be drinking or at least  doing something with it? I sent yet another picture to jim and James am,to be pleasantly surprised to find out it  was a Purple Hairstreak -Another newbee for me!
This was turning into a pukka days work.

I noticed after speaking to Jim that two more purple Hairstreaks- male & female ,flying around the tops of the Oak tree behind me .  Such a great moment .
I also enjoyed a pair of Pied wagtails feeding young in among the  roof vents , along with some rather noisy Swifts overhead .
I hope that next weeks work there is half as good as this day ,then I know itll fly by!
Happy birding

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Hirundines at the patch

Another sunny afternoon  and another trip to the patch.
 On arrival i had a chiffchaff in song quickly followed by a second one at the bridge. Then as I made my way towards the river a very showy Cettis was on view. I stopped and watched it as it did some sort of display. I couldn't see another near but assumed this was possibly courtship ?
Among the broad was :
2x Pochard
72x tufted
4x Gadwall
2x great crested grebes
And the single little grebe still remained.
On the spit was a common snipe along with a pair of Oystercatchers.
Over the broad I had my first hirundines for the patch this year with 2x Swallows  and then a single House Martin . I think this is the first time I've ever seen a house Martin before a Sand Martin here. But that's the type of spring  it been so far ay?!
At this point I bumped into Paul who I last meet here last spring so a lot of catching up was had about patch sightings - always a pleasure Paul .

As I approached the marsh scrape around 15 x teal took to the sky and a Green woodpecker flew across. 
On the marsh was nothing other then 4x stock doves feeding at the back. Too much water there to see any waders appearing .
As I walked back I heard and saw a reed bunting(3 rd of the day) and another cettis . 
Here's  waiting for  that osprey !
Happy birding 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Sun comes out and too the birds!

With the afternoon forecast  predicting clear skies and  temperature  of around 10 degrees I thought it was about time I nipped to the patch to c what's returned.
Immediately at the bridge I had 2x Chiffchaffs singing and then as I walked to the broad a cettis in full voice was nice. A male reed bunting was one of 4 in total calling as I viewed the shingle spit.
7 x Lapwings , 4x Oystercatchers and 6x Stock doves made for a nice sight. The Oystercatchers making a hell of a racket as one pair approached the others area!
A total of 36x Tufteds along with a pair of Gadwall were of note on the water as was the stil remaining  Little grebe, looking rather smart in the sunlight. A pair of mute swans stood over there nest and a pair of Grey Herons flew over and dropped in to one of the dykes. I made my way round to the marsh scrape and picked up 12x Teal and a pair of Pied wagtails, then the bird I was hoping for... A little ringed plover . A true mark of spring here when they arrive although a little late this year but then again everything is. As I watched it make its way around another was heard calling from the shingle spit.. As I left 2 x common snipe took off and a flock of 7/8 Gold finch flew over . I arrived at the bridge and decided to give the blue sky 20 minutes as it was good day for some raptor watching-
Well after 15 minutes I had seen just a Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel but still no Buzzards , then bird of the day , a Red Kite flew over . A cracking bird for the patch and took my species total to 97 for the patch. A good days birding and surely now to get even better !
Happy birding

Monday, 8 April 2013

and finally a Chiffchaff!!

This week I've had some much needed sightings
Most common sight of the working days was Common Buzzards( seem to be every where now in Norfolk?!)
Up to 4 south of Norwich at the usual spot. Also a pair of Sparrowhawks  displaying over woods was a nice reminder of start of breeding season( even if it was freightening to snow at any opporturnaty !)
Thursday was another good work day as I picked up around 10 waxwings at the Wensum river near the playhouse . I was cleansing the windows behind and was also lucky enough to see a pair of Grey wagtails on the pump station. The sun was out although cold and was giving hope to spring finally being here!

Also a nice experience on Saturday while at work. I was in drayton and busy clearing a customers gutters when I realised some Long tailed tits coming and going from the hedge below. On my lunch break I decided to to take note of where they were going. It wasnt long before I was witnessing the making of possibly the most beautifully  constructed nest there is! I was lucky enough to watch as they each took its turn in hopping into the half constructed nest and begun to add to it with every small and delicate mouthful. Not my first sight of a LTT nest but my first as regards seeing one being made- a truly wonderful experience and one that made working on a Saturday that bit more easier
But probably bird of the week or even better.... Song of the week  was while in Tescos carpark on Sunday. A singing Chiffchaff ,My first of the year ( cant believe I'm  saying that, second week in may!) . It wasnt the most romantic of spots to  be at but I wasn't fussed as to finally hear that spring time song was a joy to the ears. Little George was awake and too was fascinated as he'd pretty much not heard any real bird songs  for the pass few months and enjoyed watching daddy try to track it's where abouts down while he pretended to drive the car;-)
I hope this it finally it now as for that snow, cold and cloudy days , replaced by sunny days and birds singing !
Happy birding,


Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Patch visit

A trip to the patch in the sunshine for a change was a rather cold one with the biting wind.i made my way to the Broad. - 
I had  9x teal, 13x Tufted ,11x Pochards & 7x Gadwall.
A rather cute  Litte grebe was my first ever count on the actual broad so was a nice bird to watch. 
On the shingle was 2 x mute swans and a single Stock dove .

3 x Grey herons took to the air as I walked past the marshes along bungalow lane and then I heard some calling Common Snipe. I soon had 11 x snipe together , and at that point a male Marsh Harrier took my eye. This was obviously the reason for the appearance of the Snipe. I watch it hunt over the marsh for near on 10 minutes until it went over the river towards postwick . Beautiful bird and made my day ! 
As I passed the marsh scrape I had 
7x stock doves  and 6x  teal .
Happy birding 

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Patch visit....

   A trip to patch  yesterday started with a male Pheasant along the railway line and a single Lesser Redpoll  in the tree. 2x Grey Herons flew over as I approached the marsh scrape. On the scrape itself were 12x Lapwings and 45x Teal  along with 5 x Mute swans in the dyke's.
A single male Reed Bunting was calling as I approached the hide. A good number of wildfowl on the water but I was more drawn to a calling Treecreeper on the tree behind. It was among a Tit flock which also contained 1x Goldcrest, 2x Coal Tit . This  made great watching and was all the more pleasing as I'd only ever had a Treecreeper along bungalow lane .
As I scanned the broad spit among the resting Lapwings a Water Rail appeared 

Water Rail and Lapwings


A nice bit of birding.
  Happy birding,

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Dipper & Waxwings

  On Tuesday morning as I was about to step into the van for work I heard and saw a flock of Waxwings drop onto the telegraph pole in front of me. I just stood and smiled as these charismatic  little birds called away to one another before taking off again, only to drop and settle in the next street , (Gloucester st). I watch em for around 5 minutes before work came calling! (Always nice when the birds come to you I think!)


  After work today I decided to finally go get my self a Dipper! Now I know it's been there for a few months now but i just haven't had the time to nip off & see it. I arrived at the bridge and along with two other birders : Richard & Eddie ( very nice chaps ) we begun to scan the stream. After around 10 minutes I picked the bird up, bobbing away on a branch on the water- (just as i imagined  it!) This is a bird that i always wanted since owning my Collin's a few years back ,due to its fantastic bold contrasting colour and its cool look along with that smooth bobbing action- it's one smart bird and what's even better is its only 35 minutes from home!
 A few  record shots:
Black-bellied Dipper

 Happy birding,

Monday, 11 February 2013

Thanks James!

  I had so many titles for today's blog with the name of this species of bird but held back from the smuttiness and simply decided to thank local birder James for not only finding a cracking bird but  sharing the info of the birds where abouts to me  before I left off for work , helping me change my route and sneaking a peak of a Shag.
 This is a lifer for me, I know some of you out there probably saw one within your first year or so of birding but the truth is I've not done too much sea watching and never gone out looking for one .So this was a fantastic tick for me ,especially as its  virtually on my door step. The bird looked pretty happy to me when I saw it , diving regularly for food. I whipped out the iphone and took a few record shots as it came close to the bridge. A Super bird  to look at , and a real treat to have it this close showing of its greeny shine against its black feathering . As I said earlier, a big thumbs up to James  !


Happy birding,

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Big garden birdwatch and the patch in the Sun!

   After me and George had finished our breakfast (weetabix, for those wondering) i topped the bird feeders up &  pulled the blinds  & began our hours bird watch for the RSPB.
 George excitedly pointed out a Blackbird and soon after a couple of Dunnocks arrived. Another female Blackbird soon appeared,as did a few Wood Pigeons and too a few Blue Tits. As the hour approached i was a little disappointed as a couple of Great Tits have been regularly visiting here but today were absent. But our local Robin did turn up and that was that.
 Now to the patch:
  It was a rather wet start this morning but as i got to the top of the Bridge the rain had already passed and the sun was shining.I scanned away to see that the wildfowl numbers were still large and decided to head there first. As i did i immediately heard the call of a Siskin .I looked up and there were 5 x Siskins sitting on the tree tops.A Greater Spotted Woodpecker flew over as i approached the Broad. I decided to do  a full count, which was as follows:
Gadwall x 137
Pochard x  27
Tufted x 43
Teal x 12.
 Also presumingly the same single Greylag and Canda Goose were on the water as last few visits.
On the shingle was 2 x Lapwings and a single Crow.
 I decided to next walk up Bunaglow Lane to try pick up some more year ticks. A huge tit flock flew into the bushes the other side of the Railway track but nothing exciting.Then a huge Finch flock gave me my first Chaffinch .Then i heard that piping call that always puts a smile 'on me old Boat' (as my cockney speaking dad would say) and i just simply stood still & waited for the magic to begin......  and there they were, 4x Bullfinches in all there glory. I watched as they made there way through the hedgerow and then out on top ,to lap up the sunshine & giving me around 10 minutes of super viewing -pukka!
3 of the 4 Bullfinches

male Bullfinch

  I picked up a few more Chaffinches and a Tit flocks as i made my way back to the van. A steak dinner awaited me at me in laws which topped off a super morning for me.
 Happy birding,

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Another trip to the "all white" Patch..

 As I approached the little mooring area I checked the frozen dyke and saw among the edge was a Water Rail. I watched as it went about its business out in the open, and it wasn't long before I saw another , this time it ran along the frozen water in front of me - I had now seen as many Water Rails as I had seen all last year here- super !
  A rather nice Tit flock contained 9x Great Tits and a single Blue Tit , a case of looking in numbers.
The broad held much the same as yesterday but in addition a single wigeon resting on  the shingle spit along with some Teal ,was a good patch tick for here.
As i walked round towards the marshes i picked up 2x Reed Buntings (first for me in this particular month) & yet another Water Rail!This one was just asking to be pictured, so i did:

Water Rail

a very frozen Marsh scrape
As i left ,walking past the frozen marsh scrape i flushed up a single Redwing &
 2x Fieldfare-Luvly jubly!

 Happy birding

Monday, 21 January 2013

Patch in the snow .....

 Two trips to the patch , one on Monday last week ( before the snow!) and then yesterday .
Firstly last weeks visit which gave me first  views of year of Lesser redpoll , two seen but more heard as I walked round towards the broad opening.
On the broad it self;
Teal: x4
Gadwall:x 41
Tufted: x23
Interestingly coot count was up to x18 ( no doubt majority from Whitlingham )
A pair of Common Snipe sat on the shingle spit along with a few Crows,a Grey heron over head and few Cormorants dropped in to the broad.
A few Egyptian geese flew overhead as I picked up 3 x Lapwings on the marsh scrape. A large Tit flock along the railway line gave me , blue, great and Long Tailed tit for the year list .
 Now to yesterday's visit before the snow,which was quiet until I approached the broad . Immediately taken back by the vast amount of wildfowl , particularly the number of gadwall. Two counts were taken, 166 & 178 .Also
still a good number of Tufted and Teal and some Pochard.Part of broad was frozen over which a number of Coots were using to run across . As i made my way round towards the marshes i saw a Harrier flying low across, heading towards the railway line. I quickly got the bins on it and realised it was a Ringtail Hen Harrier! A super patch tick.I watched it disappear in amongst the trees the other side of the railway line & unfortunately to never see again.
 As i walked back towards the bridge with the snow just starting to fall, i  saw a pair of Green Finches up in the tree tops.
This weeks cold winter weather has brought some nice birds to the garden feeders and neighbours bushes. A few blue and gt tits , robin and 2 x blackbirds along with a few Redwings ,(cracking bird ) and a gt spotted woodpecker over the house were all very much welcomed as me and George watched from the comfort of our house.
 Saturday while walking George i had a Gt Sotted Woodpecker on the pub ariel (3rd time i seen it on there) ,a cracking flock of Fieldfare over which were probably the same flock that dropped into our neighbours front tree.  Also a Cormorant passed over head and then we had a smart little Pied Wagtail appear on the house top ,opposite our house as I approached home. I know this bird usually is seen at the the end of road near the local shops but its closest to the house I've had it.A good weeks  birding, me's thinks!
 Happy Birding

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Festive round up!

So it's that time of the year again. This time instead of visits to the patch and strumpshaw fen it was  trips to the inlaws and a magical wonderland walk  at Thursford including  a visit to the grotto to meet Santa and the elfs (little George loved it almost as much as mum and dad!)
But I have had two trips out , one to Buckenham and a mornings visit to strumpshaw and surlingham with Jim. 
  Last Sunday after a super meal round caterinas dads house we decided to nip up to buckenham to catch the Corvid roost something me and caterina have done around this time of year for the past 3 years. We arrived around 4 as it was getting dark in our nice warm car, George not lasting the distance from grandads and now fast asleep . We parked up watched as they poured in and gathered over the barn/ Large  shed  area but as quick as they started it all come to a holt. I knew that there were many more yet to arrive so decided to investigate . We drove east along the road and then to our left was an endless line of corvids making there way to roost  just as the light was disappearing - an awsome sight- one that we never get tired off. A few birders there said they estimated around 15,000-20,000 -it was a Superb 30 minutes of birding and worth another visit next month for sure!
 Now to this Sunday's trip out. I met Jim at buckenham hide for quick scan before shooting off to strumpshaw fen. He had already picked up a rather smart Water pipit , fairly close to the hide it's self . Also the expected wildfowl were present all looking superb in the mornings sunlight.
 We soon arrived at Strumpshaw where Jim and i was hoping to see the Otters. As soon as we arrived at the reception hide there it was,a gorgeous Otter making its way across the water with a huge Eel in it's mouth. What a mammal !
We managed to pick up a few marsh harriers but nothing else of note although as we left we did pop our heads back into the reception hide to be greeted with yet another stunning view of the Otter ,this  time though even closer views. 
We decided to end the morning off with a trip to Surlingham via a stop of at a field Jim had been keeping an eye on lately. It was worth the look as hundreds of Redwings and plenty if Fieldfare were feeding along with some gold finches, song thrushes and blackbirds- along with a few Teal too. 
At surlingham we picked up a nice Little Grebe along river and then with the sound of gun fire from the gun club a rather smart Marsh harrier was hunting over the reed bed. Also of note  6 x Common snipe took to the air which made for a nice sight,then as we made way back to car, we caught up with a large Tit flock. Mainly long tailed tits and blue tits with some great tits. Nothing else of note untill we were about to leave and I spotted a Common Buzzard over head.  
Here's to 2013!
Happy birding,