Norfolk Birders

Norfolk Birdwatching and beyond!

Happy New Year to all my family, friends and readers of my website. I hope that 2018 will be all that you hope it will be and that together we will see many birds and other wildlife!

1st January

I was working today in the car park at Titchwell and as usual for January 1st the birdwatchers were out in force scurrying around to add to their new year list and had arrived at Titchwell early. I would have liked to have joined them but it is important that someone has to try to bring in the money so that the RSPB can run the wonderful reserves like Titchwell for the birds and wildlife that it supports. So I spent my day welcoming visitors and persuading non-members to become members whist keeping an eye on the birds for my new year list. I had a successful day recruiting new members but my year list finished on 24 species! I watched Brent Geese flying around and listened to Bullfinch and Treecreeper even though I did not see either. A Goldcrest, Chaffinch, Robin, Goldfinch, Greenfinch were all noted as well as Redwing, Fieldfare, Starling and Blackbird but other more exotic species will have to wait for another day.

In the evening I had been invited to the Norfolk birders party at Overstrand where many of Norfolk's finest birders had gathered. I saw a Woodcock at Felbrigg in flight on my way there.  Once at the party, I was enthralled listening to the birders tales of birding and their travels all around the globe and made a note in my diary for a future trip that interested me with a few fellow birders. The food that Val had provided was scrumptious and I rather greedily tucked in as I had forgotten my lunchbox today and was starving! It was a wonderful party and was also nice to meet up with some prominent names that I had not met before. 

I have several trips booked and in the planning stage this year which will hopefully keep my birding dream going and am looking forward to them. I hope your birding year will also be successful!

2nd January

I was once again out in the car park at Titchwell and had a delightful chat to the now-retired head of the RSPB's head of  international affairs dept. We shared some great travel tales. It was nice to meet you Tim. I added Treecreeper and  Pink-footed Goose to my list as well as a few other common species before rain stopped play!

3rd January

I made my way over to Cley Spy where Andrew kindly rebuilt my tripod which had fallen apart in the back of the vehicle whilst travelling on the bumpy roads in Uganda. A big thanks to him for his excellent customer service.

7th January

It was the day of the NarVOS January bird count and we had been told to register with Jasmine the area we were going to cover. I told Jasmine that John and I would be birding the NW ten kms squares around my home. We stopped in King's Lynn docks where two Peregrines were sitting on the white tower in their usual spots. In past years we have done a bird race to contribute to the bird count but as the number of teams have fallen in recent years, very sadly it was decided to just have a leisurely day instead and hope some members will just count birds in an area that they wish to. So with this in mind John and I went for a walk at Lynn Point. We watched many common species including Common Snipe, Little Grebe, Golden Plover, Reed Bunting, Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard and Mute Swan. There were many Fieldfare passing overhead as well as Shelduck, Brent Geese, Pinkfeet and Little Egret on the river edge. We were surprised at the number of Meadow Pipits that were around.

After visiting several other areas en route to Sandringham we watched many Common Buzzards displaying over Wolferton, where Redwings and Mistle Thrushes were running around the grassy areas. The walk at Sandringham only added a Treecreeper to our day list. A visit to Flitcham added Gadwall and Canada Goose but it was good to see the Kingfisher bank being rebuilt. A Little Owl was sat out in the sun at Ashwicken and we had a short visit to Pentney where Great Crested Grebe was added to the list. We met up with other teams at Roydon Common and we all decided to adjourn to the pub early where we had an enjoyable recount of the days events. Allan showed us photos of some of the redpolls that he had ringed in his garden recently as Ian did a composite sheet of all our sightings. Ian conveyed our total count to the Wensum group who were also counting today and would seem that our totals were similar. A lovely leisurely day's walking just noting down the birds that we saw!

10th January

It's been a busy few days and I have finally finished my trip report to Uganda. I shall eventually move it to the trip reports page. I have made a start on the Greece and Bulgarian trip report but it all takes time as I am also planning my next trip!

13th January

Along with Tony Gray, I sped along the A149 from Titchwell during our lunch break to the orchards at Thornham. We met up with lots of birders and watched the two Waxwings sitting in a tree.  It was good to see a few friends that I had not seen for a while to wish them happy new year. My evening was spent having a delightful meal planning our next few trips together. I just wish there were more hours in the day!

14th January

After seeing a Barn Owl at Bircham, I made a quick dash before work and joined several other birders who were enjoying watching the Twite in Thornham harbour.

17th January

Flights booked for my next trip in a few weeks time as amazingly I have some holiday allowance left!

18th Jan

John and I staked out the car park at Santon Downham. Eventually after a bit of a wait we saw 14 Parrot Crossbills arriving to drink in the puddles just north of the level crossing. We also admired a flock of Long-tailed Tits and a couple of Marsh Tits whilst we were waiting. After a walk to try and see the otters we made our way to Lynford Arboretum wher the high winds had brought down two trees narrowly missing the Visitor Centre landing either side of it.

                                          Parrot Crossbill

Parrot Crossbills

The high winds bringing down two trees either side of the Visitor Centre at Lynford Arboretum.

We walked down to the paddocks where scanning over the trees a Hawfinch was sitting at the top of one of them. It reminded us of our recent trip to Northern Greece and Bulgaria where we had seen so many of them. There were many Coal Tits, Blue Tits and Great Tits using the feeders on the bridge as we alked back to the car.

Stopping at Great Cressingham we watched a Brambling and Two Tree Sparrows amongst many Chaffinch in the hedgeline.

19th January

A flock of Pink-footed geese flew from The Wash over Flitcham as Mick and I travelled along the Anmer road on the Sandringham Estate this morning against the backdrop of the sunrise this morning.

I was super-excited this evening as I received some good news about a prospective birding trip next year. A family of birds that I have always wanted to see more of  (I only have a single example of one currently on my world list) should be available in this foreign country! My next couple of years are going to be super-busy with 3 foreign birding trips planned and another foreign trip with my daughter looming as well as wildlife hiloidays in this country planned. Goodness knows where my open invitation of a foreign RSPB birding trip is going to fit in ???

20th January

My son Jonathan and I enjoyed a walk along Holme beach where the tide was going out. Sanderling, Turnstone, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Oystercatcher, Grester Black-backed Gulls, Common Gulls, Herring Gulls were all seaching for food. A Curlew flew over the sea as we walked along. On Broadwater Mallard were present as Wigeon called from the marsh.The rain set in so we returned to the car.

I have uploaded my trip report to the website. It can be seen at

21st January

After waving goodbye to my son Jonathan who was off to play indoor reality golf (whatever that is?) with a friend the snow had already started falling. So plan B was to stay indoors and sort out my Colombia trip report which has mysteriously lost all its photos on my trip reports page. Having contacted freewebs, my website host, it would seem that I am going to have to re-do the whole page! Grrrr...So this afternoon seems an ideal opportunity to do it and my birding is confined to watching from the windows of my house. The feeders are busy with Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit and Blackbirds pecking underneath keeping a Pheasant company whilst Henrietta (my chicken that has adopted me) has attracted the cockerel once again that has been wandering around the road for a few years now. I do hope he doesn't stay..........otherwise I could be in for a few more early-morning wake up calls again!!! Joy of joys!