Norfolk Birders

Norfolk Birdwatching and beyond!

1st February

What a beautiful afternoon! I had made the right decision to delay my exercise today until later and reaped the benefits. After ordering a new bridge camera to replace my Canon camera which I managed to lose at Sandringham I didn't set off until after lunchtime. Many areas are still under water which the ducks are really enjoying. Mallard, Teal, Wigeon and Shoveler joined the Greylag Geese as a flock of Pink-footed Geese flew over. It wasn't the only flock in flight as many Curlew joined them. A Cetti's Warbler called and I was just in time to watch it as it moved through a bare-leaved bush.

I watched a Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel but the Common Buzzards were all sitting around today. A Stonechat flitted around as a few Starling enjoyed finding food in the damp ground.

Later I heard a slow flapping sound right above my head. I looked up just in time to see a Raven carrying nesting material. My view was obscured but I knew where to go to see the bird again. A Common Buzzard eyed me intently as a Common Crossbill flew over calling.


                                              Common Buzzard
2nd February

Rain prevented me from getting on my bike this morning and so I decided that it was a good opportunity to get a supermarket shop done. The weather was quite unpleasant as I started my shopping but it had stopped raining by the time I had finished going through the checkout. Although I had not planned to, I stopped at Nar Valley fisheries on my way home for my day's exercise. This meant that I had not brought any cameras with me, so it will be only images from my iphone today. Nar Valley has a series of gravel pits that are now flooded and given over for conservation and recreational purposes as well as extraction of gravel still taking place further along the valley. Only those holding a permit may enter Nar Valley Fisheries.

I walked around the pits where Canada Geese, Greylag Geese and Tufted Duck were the predominant species. A few Great Crested Grebes added interest along with many Black-headed Gulls. A Grey Heron stood motionless watching me approach before taking flight and landing in a tree. As I walked along side one of the lakes I spotted a Great White Egret sitting at the top of a tree with another Grey Heron. Cormorants were drying their wings as a pair of Kestrels also sat motionless.

In the trees a Goldcrest flitted around as a Treecreeper kept pace with me. A beautiful pair of Bullfinches called adding colour to the day as many Blue Tits flew from tree to tree. Redwings looked down on me as I listened to a Song Thrush singing along with a Great Tit. A Robin joined in the choir. A Little Egret sat amongst some Lapwings as I scanned the islands.

I turned around and walked back to my car but was stopped in my tracks as 100+ Siskins landed in the Alder Trees. I scanned through them for any Redpolls but I could not find any amongst them. A Common Buzzard took off which I had not seen sitting there and flew across the river. Crows were calling as I reached the car and watched all the Rooks and Jackdaws feeding on the flooded field.

Mute Swans

                                    Great White Egret

I had intended to take part in the birders quiz again this evening as Ashley, Mark and Nick have done a fantastic job on it. They had transferred it to zoom meeting this evening and I signed in. However when I learnt it was going to be based around Fair Isle my heart sank as this was probably the worst birding holiday that I have ever experienced anywhere in the world and although I know many old British birders have memories about it I think it is very over-rated as a birding destination and so I decided not to take part this evening and signed out.

2nd February

it was a bit milder today and so John and I went for a walk later in the afternoon and had one of the most confiding Kingfishers that I have ever seen. It wasn't a bit bothered as we both tried to take photographs of it in the gloom. A friend had alerted us to a Tawny Owl that was not showing at all and so we continued our walk and watched two Little Egrets on the meadow as well as many Black-headed Gulls. We retraced our steps and waited by the tree we were told held the Tawny Owl. At dusk one of the Tawny Owls poked its head up but I suspect that you will not be impressed by my photo of it!


Tawny Owl...............yes there really is a Tawny Owl hiding here!

I am very proud of one of my former college boyfriends who is a member of the Isle of Man's Government who introduced a private member's bill to ban sky lanterns and helium balloons on the Isle of Man. It has passed it's 3rd reading and these dreadful things that kill and maim so many birds and wildlife are now banned on the Isle of Man. Why anyone with even half a brain would ever buy these wretched things is totally beyond me. Its about time our politicians did the same! Please let's all educate the ignorant people who buy them that it is not OK to kill and maim wildlife the way that they do. I see so many of them that drift on to the reserve where I work causing so much havoc.

4th February

It was such a beautiful day that I could not resist a walk along the River Nar not far from my home. I used to visit the reserve at Tallents Meadows much more frequently than I do now as it was managed by some of my bird club members who sadly moved away. The reserve hide was at least 6 inches under water and the scrape badly neglected. The Gadwall, Coot and Mute Swans along with the Little Grebe did not seem to mind though as they swam around in the sun.

In the woods I watched a Jay, Goldcrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Blue Tit and listened to a Marsh Tit. A small flock of Siskin called in the Alder trees above me. Down at the ford it was difficult to ascertain where the river was as it had burst its banks and flooded all the surrounding area. The walk to The Stag pub was impossible as the water along the lane was too deep. I could have done with a snorkel! However it was so warm that I shed a few layers and sat down on the seat for a couple of minutes for a rest letting the sun warm my arms and face and enjoyed the peace whilst listening to all the birdsong before continuing on my way. Just wonderful!

                                          Great Spotted Woodpecker
                                                          Carrion Crow


5th February

After walking along the old railway line at Roydon I headed up to Grimston Warren. A Red Kite was soaring over the heather as I walked beyond the stand of Pine trees and over onto The Delft. I watched a ringtail Hen Harrier quartering the ground and spooking some of the eleven Roe Deer present. Down on The Delft  3 Common Snipe were in the Juncus which has badly taken over this site. I retraced my steps and watched a Little Owl fly from one of the trees and out of sight. Back on the common a Stonechat sat on the top of a Heather bush. Skylarks were singing and a Meadow Pipit flew over as I made my way across the road where there were 50+ Linnets sat in the trees on my way back to the farm. By the time I returned home I had walked nearly 7 miles.

George and Teddy

Happy 2nd birthday to my darling little twin grandsons George and Teddy. George has a real interest in animals and birds (I don't know where he has inherited that from?) and loves watching them either in books or in real life. He even took part in the RSPB's Big Garden Bird Watch! How I would have loved to have been with them this weekend!

6th February

With my front lawn fast disappearing under water and many lanes around where I live flooded I chose to walk today with my boots on during my exercise. It was pouring with rain when I woke up and rain was forecast for most of the day with a short break over lunchtime. My new bridge camera had arrived and I was keen to give it a go. I could not have chosen a worse day in the gloom as most of you know that light is everything in photography. My cause was not helped by the freezing cold north-easterly wind that froze my hands. After thhe rain stopped I took photos of Goldeneye, Gadwall and Coot on the water, all in motion. I had no spot focus so trialled intelligent autofocus. A Greenshank was distant along with a Redshank and Ringed Plover. A Sanderling came reasonably close but as usual was like a little clockwork mouse and would not keep still. Shelduck were numerous as I walked and scanned the bank. I located a distant Short-eared Owl that would test the 60x zoom ability but now it had started raining and light conditions were really poor. A few Linnets posed on a nearby bush but I needed to walk faster and get home bufore I got saturated.

                                                  Herring Gull

                                                 Short-eared Owl

7th February

With snow forecast for most of the day I had planned a day inside but my weather app seemed to suggest that snow was not due for at least another two hours no matter what time I looked at it! I decided to brave the elements and walked around an area at Sandringham. I was horrified by what greeted me. Sandringham has undergone a transformation in the last year and is losing its wildness as people are now being managed everywhere. Most of the trees in the car park have been felled (no more Two-barred Crossbills then!) and today I discovered that my favourite Nightjar spot has been fenced off and all the understory of the trees taken out. Grrrr...........................I don't know where the birds were today but with the exception of a few Goldfinches I saw very little! I saw more on my garden feeders!

New fences at the Sandringham Nightjar spot

                         Fenced-off Nightjar Spot

                                             Long-tailed Tits

           Black-headed Gull wandering around my front lawn

8th February

It was a wintery scene that greeted me this morning as I woke up. Snow was still falling and the wind was blowing. I snuggled back under the duvet and dreamed of hot and sunnier climes where I could be to see the other half of the world's birds that I still have yet to see. Half an hour later it is still snowing and I am still stuck in the UK in freezing blustery snowy weather. Grrrr

There was nothing for it..........dress up in my winter gear, grit my teeth and make the most of it. I have been fortunate to have been given some Muck boots from a friend and how they have stood me in good stead keeping my feet nice and toastie as I have waded through all the flooding around my village on my daily exercise.

Blackbirds and Robins were everywhere and I stopped to take a photograph of a perched Kestrel before hearing the familiar call of Redwings.......but where were they? I could not see them. I crept forward and realised that they were hidden amongst the old fallen leaves and were being turned over by the flooded areas at the base of the Silver Birch trees. I tried to get a photograph but there were far too many branches in the way. At least 30 of them were in amongst the trees.

The snow was falling even faster and so I didn't get far before deciding to return back home to the warm and another Sunday/Monday roast. Yummy!

                                             Roydon Common
9th February

It was another snowy day as I set off for my morning walk. I lurched from sunny weather to intermittent snow storms within a few minutes. I stopped to watch a particularly pale Common Buzzard as it flew to a tree top. Further down the road a Red Kite flew overhead. A hare bounded across a field but didn't want its photo taken. Over the road 3 Fieldfare sat by a snow-covered puddle along with a Mistle Thrush as Chaffinches hid in a cover crop. I paused to admire a few icicles hanging where the the hedge had been wrecked. The snow was falling fast as I reached West Newton Mill and I struggled to see anything.
A group of 20 Meadow Pipits landed by the wood mill as I made my way up to the lake. Here a Redwing perched in tree as so many Blackbirds and Robins flitted around the snow on the ground searching for a tasty morsel. I could hear Siskins but could not see them.

After some soup and a piece of my home-made flapjack I retraced my steps and stopped just after the mill where a Green Sandpiper was prodding the mud around a puddle edge. A Barn Owl flew over towards the sheep before I stopped by the cover crop once again. Something had spooked the birds as over a hundred Chaffinches flew to the nearby hedge. I could only find a single Brambling amongst them. Over the woods there was a kettle of eight Common Buzzards all interacting with one another. It was fun to watch them tumbling around.

                                            Sandringham Estate

After wishing my granddaughter a happy 7th birthday it was good to listen to Rockjumper's Webinar this evening about cruising around some of the islands west of West Papua taking in the Vokelkop of West Papua too. It brought back such good memories of the amazing trip that I did there 2 years ago. The islands were fantastic and the birds of paradise just stunning. I cannot wait to get travelling again but it looks as if all our plans for this year will not happen. I thank my lucky stars that I did have a foreign trip last year just before the pandemic struck. 

10th February

With another 4 or 5 inches of overnight snow, it was still falling as I opened the curtains this morning. I was undecided whether to brave the elements or not or whether to have an admin day. With all the extra food that I seem to be consuming (goodness knows where all the chocolate, crisps and wine are coming from?) I knew that I had to get out and walk some of the extra calories off before I am the size of a house. Cycling was quite clearly not an option today.

I set off on one of my more familiar routes and saw very little as I was concentrating hard where my feet were going. The middle of the road seemed to be the best option as the snow was still very powdery here and not squished down to slippery compacted snow by vehicles that had been down the lane before me.

Blackbirds and Robins still dominated the hedgerows as a Common Buzzard flew over. By the time I had arrived at the mill at West Newton I still hadn't seen much except a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a baby Munjac that had hidden in the hedge along with a Hare. At the wood yard a Stonechat flitted around as did four Meadow Pipits. There were several Redwings and Blackbirds all scratching around a frozen pool turning over dead leaves for a Robin to zoom in and pick up a morsel or two.

A lone Siskin flew over as a Pied Wagtail crossed the road. To my delight there was a Barn Owl quartering the ground here too. They are such beautiful birds as they twist and turn whilst hunting. I back-tracked to the gap in the hedge where a public footpath follows the hedge to the Babingley River. Over 100 Chaffinch were in the cover crop along with a couple of Brambling. I heard a tapping noise and it was a while before I saw a Song Thrush that must have been trying to extract a snail for its shell.

Over Sandringham woods the sky looked threatening as a large black cloud was heading my way......more snow for sure. I made it back to the road before I had to batten down the hatches and put my hood up. It was very unpleasant as I walked back to the main road but at least I had a nice warm home to return to, not like all the wildlife with a cold night to face. The hill to my home was now a different prospect as it was now very slippery and there was no where I could walk in safety. It wasn't long before my vertical stance was horizontal and I was flat on my back...thank goodness I have a lot of padding at the moment to break my fall!

Pheasant standoff!
                                              Pied Wagtail

11th February

The birding community have been shocked at the news from Fair Isle that the the wardens of the observatory have been made redundant. I suppose given the fact that there is no observatory at the moment it is hardly surprising with no income the situation of employing people would not last for long and in fact have done really well to employ them for two years since the devastating fire. However I feel sorry for the family concerned, given the fact that they lost everything in the fire. It will be quite a while before a new observatory will be built as the latest tender has been turned down.  


Having cleared an area of snow away from underneath my feeders, I had a few scraps from my roast dinner last night to put out on the frozen ground. It was not long before the dominant male Blackbird who chases all other Blackbirds away was enjoying them. I added a few suet pellets to the mix and scattered them around too in the hope that the bird would allow a few other birds to feed too.

                                         Black-headed Gull


So with many of the lanes around me still covered in compacted snow, it was still too dangerous to get out my bike. I was going to stay in today but with a clear blue sky, it was too tempting to get outside for my daily exercise. After a treacherous walk up the lane by the church, stopping to take a photo of a Black-headed Gull posing on a lamp post, I arrived at the farm and met up with the game keeper. He was on his way to feed the local Red Kites. Red Kite is a now a frequent sight around my home now and with a good food supply I'm sure they will continue to be so. I watched a Red Kite drift over and wanted to tell the bird where it could find food but I guess it probably knows!

By a cover crop I stopped to watch all the birds coming and going. They were obviously delighted at all the conservation work going on. Chaffinches, Linnets and Goldfinches were the dominant species but a few Meadow Pipits popped out along with 12 Woodlark. I would have liked a decent photo of one but they were having none of it as they were continually disappearing down into the crop and I could only see them when they crossed the ginnels. I cut across, following a footpath up to the A148 where I stopped to have some soup that I had brought with me. It was a glorious day and good to be out and about. I felt sorry for those having to work and missing the opportunity to watch nature at its best.

A few Hares ran over the fields but darted away as soon as they saw me. A pair of Bullfinch called as I made my way back home down the footpath that runs behind the houses opposite me. I was glad the ground was frozen otherwise it would have been exceptionally squelchy. Back at home my car was still unrecognisable under a mountain of snow. I managed to move it into the sun and hoped that the sun would at least have some effect on melting some of snow on it.

12th February

With a really bad migraine all day, the only birds I have seen are the Blue Tits, Long-tailed Tits and Starlings on my feeders and the Blackbird hoovering up the suet pellets that I have put out for them.

I also had a surprise present today, after a knock at the door from a delivery man. My wonderful son-in-law and daughter sent me some traction cleats to put on the bottom of my Muck boots to give me more traction in the icy conditions. Hopefully I won't fall over on the icy roads now again! Thank you both!

13th February
As many of you know I suffer badly with migraines which often incapacitates me from taking part in normal life. The last couple of days have been particularly difficult and I have missed my normal exercise routine of getting out either cycling or walking whilst taking a few photos along the way. However the beauty of birdwatching is that it can be done at many levels. I have spent most of my life travelling the world seeing over half of the world's birds which I have thoroughly enjoyed but today I have sat most of the day sitting on my sofa watching a bird feeder that is only two meters from my lounge window. All my photos have therefore been taken through the double glazing of the window.

I am used to the many Blue Tits that dominate the feeding station and birds hopping around the ground picking up the bits that fall from the hanging feeders. However the weather has changed and the last few days have seen my garden covered in snow with temperatures below freezing, meaning that birds are struggling to feed, especially those that rely on poking and prodding their beaks into the ground. I cleared the snow from around the feeder and made sure that I scattered some suet pellets and apple cores on the ground. I had no idea at how often I was going to replenish the supplies throughout the last couple of days.

Birds came and went, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Long-tailed Tits, Starlings and Siskins were feeding on the hanging feeders whilst Woodpigeons, Robins, Wrens and Dunnocks hopped around the ground underneath. A dominant Blackbird took up position and defended his patch against all-comers as he hoovered up as many suet pellets as he could. The other birds nipped in whilst he was chasing off challengers.

Imagine my surprise when I looked out and saw a Grey Wagtail feeding underneath the feeder! It goes to show you just never know what will turn up in your garden, if for the sake of a small amount of money you provide a bit of food for our wonderful garden birds.

                                                    Grey Wagtail

14th February

A slight departure from my normal posting as there are no photographs of any birds today but I was intrigued to see some of the sights of winter that greeted me as I took part in the WeBS (Wetland Bird Survey) count today under Government guidelines on my local lakes. We all know that the temperature has been below freezing and snow and ice have been a feature of the weather just lately. However seeing the icicles along my local road and then watching ice-skaters on the flooded fields made me realise just how cold it had been!

On my WeBS count, I drew the short straw and had to count the Greylag Geese, all 150 of them! I should have chosen Canada Geese or Egyptian Geese to count as there were fewer of them. On the lakes, Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall, Mallard, Tufted Duck and Goldeneye were all present along with Coot, Moorhen, Little Grebe and Great Crested Grebes. We watched Grey Herons, Cormorants and a Great White Egret around the fringes of the lakes as well as enjoying Meadow Pipits, Reed Buntings and Bullfinches flying over us.

In the woods we watched a flock of Siskins before admiring the ice-skaters having fun on the ice. It was certainly a chilly morning with the wind whistling around me and I was pleased to get in to a nice big bowl of soup to warm up!

                                 Icicles on the Ivy

                                                             Skaters on the ice

15th February

John and I took a walk around one of the local lakes and watched the ducks all enjoying the ice that was melting fast. Gadwall, Tufted Ducks and Pochards were the dominant species. John picked out a slightly weird looking duck and decided that it was a Scaup. It did not have the usual scaup face but structurally had to be one. Some white patches at the side of the face suggested that it was a first year female. Little Grebes, Teal and Black-headed Gulls were all around the ice. I scanned through the ducks and found a Goldeneye. Coot, Moorhens and Mute Swans added to the scene. On the way back John found a Black-necked Grebe but I won't embarrass him by what he called it as! A snipe alighted from the lake edge before we watched a close Water Rail that was not at all bothered by us.

                         Black-necked Grebe

                                                                                               Water Rail

16th February

Sorry to start my post with a rant but it does make my blood boil when after my supermarket run I took a walk on my local beach only to find yet another helium balloon blowing along the tide line. What is it with these people (morons) that will buy these things? Surely it does not take much to work out the damage that they cause to our wildlife. So many seabirds, turtles, whales, dolphins end up with them either tied up in them or ingested into their stomachs? What I would like to do with these people is not suitable for me to print here!!!

Trying to calm myself down I took my exercise along the beach and enjoyed watching the birds that came and went. Turnstones were scuttling along with Sanderlings searching for any tasty morsels that the tide had brought in whilst Herring Gulls were gobbling up starfish. Oystercatchers were cracking open mussels as a Redshank ran around occasionally stopping to prod the mud. Fulmars were flying overhead and landing on the cliff edges to claim their nesting sites and calling to their mates. A gaggle of Brent Geese were on the sea but all kept very close together.


                                                    Herring Gull


                                 Another death trap released into the sea!

17th February

I was expecting some new furniture to arrive and so had to stay at home for the day. Whilst I was on the phone I watched a Red Kite flying over the houses opposite me. Now that the snow has all melted my feeders are not as active as they were but I still have Blue Tits, Great Tits and Long-tailed Tits as frequent visitors. 

18th February

Poor weather has not inspired me to get out today, but to sit and continue with my birding articles. There is some good news though as I have been invited for my vaccination next week. Hooray.....a step to be able to return to normal life as soon as we can get everyone vaccinated.

19th February

On my way to get the garage to sort a cruise control issue on my car there was a lone Siskin calling in my neighbour's tree. 

20th February

John and I walked some local woods where a Woodcock flushed out of a hedgeline and several Crossbills flew over calling. It was good to see some other birders who were also in the area trying to find Woodcock. We also saw Red Kite and a Common Buzzards soaring on this wonderful sunny, mild day. It was so good to be out and about walking in some lovely woods that I have not been to before. 

21st February

I walked the Nar Valley Wat today where the woods were full of birdsong. Goldcrest and Coal Tits were up in the fir trees and a small flock of Redpoll and Siskin were in the Alder Trees. A Robin sang its heart out as I crossed over a bridge but a Great Tit objected to my presence as it scalded me as I walked by. Blue Tits were everywhere or so it seemed. a Blackbird caught my eye as it sang form high up in a treetop.

Along a Hedgeline a Brimstone butterfly flew by. My first spring butterfly of the year.

At home I got the ladder out to make sure all my nest boxes were cleared out as I had seen a pair of Blue Tits prospecting one of my boxes. As I was doing this a Peacock butterfly flew around my garden. It was very mild today and it was lovely to think that spring is on its way. 

22nd February



Whilst walking along a hedgeline today I thought I could hear a Firecrest singing. I stopped for a while and listened. A pair of Coal Tits caught my eye but I was sure it wasn't them that I had heard. I waited a while and out popped a beautiful little bird that sang for all it was worth!

Back at home my feeders are still being ravaged by the Long-tailed Tits and Blue Tits. They must be most well-fed birds on the planet!

The zoom talk this evening given by Chris Lansdell on birding in Sri Lanka was excellent, one of the best set of photos and presentations on zoom that I have seen. Thank you Chris, it was a brilliant evening and brought back many fantastic memories.....I even got an armchair endemic tick out of it!

23rd February

After a day of gardening and tree trimming the only birds that I noticed were the Rooks and Jackdaws swirling around in the sky as a Common Buzzard flew over.

The NarVOS zoom meeting subject was a bit different from most of my bird club meetings as it was a history of the woman bird photographer Emma Turner who was born in 1867. As woman bird photographer myself thank goodness that I did not have to wear the type of clothing that she did or have to carry around the heavy glass plates that she did. I had to smile at one comment about the processing that takes part afterwards, it may be different from that of today but I am sure it takes just as long!

24th February

After the excitement of getting my jab this morning I stopped off at West Newton on my way home for a walk. As I opened the car door I could hear the Woodlarks singing and there they were right above my head. They have the most wonderful melodic song as they perform their courtship display, it brings joy to the heart.

A Great Tit was also in full song as I was trying to decide which jacket to put on. Why I bothered with a jacket, I really don’t know. Although the wind was gusty to say the least, my car thermometer was reading 18 degrees when I got back to the car and I had tied my jacket around my waist for most of my walk. What a crazy climate we have. Snow one week, 18 degrees the next!

Over the woods in the wonderful sunlight, I watched a Goshawk displaying and a few Common Buzzards wheeling and playing in the wind. The game keeper arrived to fill up the pheasant feeders and put all the Mallard and Greylag Geese up off the pond. The Grey Heron was none to happy either as it protested loudly and flew off. A Red Kite flew over but soon disappeared before a Peacock butterfly got taken by the wind.

26th February



I had a lovely walk today adding a few year ticks as well as watching many Wigeon and Teal. Listening to their calls in the sunlight was warming to the heart. Common Snipe, Ruff and Redshank were wading at the side of flooded areas. The last of the Pink-feet were still present but I don't suppose they will be with us for much longer. A Marsh Harrier put some Lapwing and Golden Plover to flight as I listened to a Skylark sang its heart out above me. Two Grey Heron sat in trees as a Little Egret prodded the ground. I had a lucky day seeing at least 3 different Kingfishers and 2 Grey Wagtails too.

27th February

It was a beautiful day and so I cycled to West Newton Mill where I watched a few Buzzards loafing around in the sky before continuing onto Sandringham. There were a few people around but it was nice to stop for a very short stop to have a drink and some sustenance in the sun before carrying on my way. Woodlark were singing in the sun which made for a delightful sight. Back along the track at West Newton a Common Snipe flew before I walked along the Babingley River. A Stonechat sat on top of a fence post as a flock of Lapwing were put up by something. Two Marsh Harriers were around with one male bird calling high up above me. A Goshawk flew over and gleamed in the sun. It was just wonderful to be out and about today.