Norfolk Birders

Norfolk Birdwatching and beyond!

1st June

                                Sedge Warbler

                          Red-backed Shrike

I had a lovely walk down the West Bank path at Titchwell this morning with so many birds singing in the glorious sun and slight breeze. I watched a newly-fledged Bearded Tit sit for ages on a reed stem, sadly too far away for my camera. Cetti's Warblers called and Reed Warblers sang. A Sedge Warbler was singing close by as I walked back up the path.

Later at Cley I watched a Red-backed Shrike but as it was far away I only managed a phone-scoped image. At home a Marsh Harrier flew along my road. Such a wonderful bird to see so close to home.

2nd June

After a day's gardening John and I had an evening drive and watched the male Grey Wagtail at West Newton catching flies. Five Woodcock flew around calling as Muntjac bobbed around through the trees. On the road a Little Owl sat mesmerised by my headlights with a rat running behind it!

3rd June

                                            Turtle Dove


John and I had an early morning local walk where we saw 3 Turtle Doves and a few Avocets. Reed Warblers and Cetti's Warblers were singing as we walked listening to a Cuckoo which sat on several bushes and flew by us. A Barn Owl flew in the distance as I watched a Red Kite. We watched two Spoonbills and a Great White Egret amongst several Little Egrets. There were many Black-tailed Godwits flying around with Oystercatchers and a few Ringed Plovers with Turnstones. A Jay alighted onto a bush with a Lesser Whitethroat that sang for us. 

After a few hours of gardening I was excited as my new camera had arrived and I could not wait to pair it up with my new lens. I phoned Jim and he kindly set it up for me. We went for a practice locally where we took some photos of a pair of Spotted Flycatchers and two Grey Wagtails. We also watched a Hobby fly overhead.




                                                  Spotted Flycatcher


I took my new camera set up to Dersingham Bog this evening for its first real challenge. It was nearly dark when a nightjar came and sat on a tree just off the board walk. It was quite a distance from where I was standing but I thought I would give it a go. I would never have even have bothered taking my other camera there at dusk.

4th June

Mute Swan and cygnets

I was up for the crack of dawn to conduct my Turtle Dove dove survey. I had been allocated Hillington Hall and the village of Flitcham. The owner of Hillington Hall had granted me permission to enter through the archway to the estate but I was too early to get through the barrier beyond the archway and so completed the village part of the survey first. It was a glorious hot summer's morning as I wandered around. I had 10 other species to look out for too. Later I drove up the access road to the hall where I conducted the survey. I watched a Barn Owl hunting and a Grey Wagtail along the River Babingley which runs through the estate. It was a stunning morning and wonderful to have the estate seemingly all to myself. As I neared the hall the owner greeted me and we discussed what I had seen and the decline of some of the species. What a beautiful place to live.

When I had finished John and I drove to Hickling where we watched six Hobbies in the air together but failed to see the reported Red-footed falcon. We watched a Crane and a Mute Swan with its newly hatched cygnets.

5th June

After sorting out John's laptop and accepting an invitation out to lunch in the wonderful sunny weather, I wasn't in a fit state for as much gardening as I had planned. However I managed to complete the gardening in time to have a wander at West Newton in the evening sunlight where one of the Spotted Flycatcher was sitting atop a tree and catching flies. The pair of Grey Wagtails were at the mill also catching flies whilst a Song Thrush serenaded us all. The twittering of the Goldfinch masked the sound of a Blackcap and a Reed Warbler close by.

                         Spotted Flycatcher

                                                  Song Thrush

7th June

Michaela Strachan

It was my job today to welcome some of the Springwatch crew to Titchwell today. Michaela Strachan has supported our Ringed Plover project as we try to save the Ringed Plovers nests from tourists who bring their dogs to beaches (why?) and then let them off their leads causing adult birds to desert their nests leaving the eggs and chicks vulnerable to predation. This year nests have also suffered from Quad bikes being ridden over the area of shingle where the nests are at Snettisham. It is just heart-breaking.

This evening I enjoyed a lovely walk with Andy along the Kelling/Weybourne clifftop walk where we watched a Hobby and a Cuckoo. Sandwich Terns and Little Terns were fishing offshore as Linnet numbers were swollen by many young birds.

8th June


                                              Little Ringed Plover

After wishing my son a happy birthday I headed for work where I had yet another very busy day. Staycations have made the Norfolk coastline a very popular place and Titchwell is coping with many new birders and visitors. I showed visitors our Bearded Tits and Reed Warblers as well as watching a Sedge Warbler carrying food to its nest. Lisa and I were kept busy for most of our shift until 'team Titchwell' had a meeting out on the reserve instead of sitting watching a virtual teams presentation. What a good idea that was too, on this glorious afternoon. Marsh Harriers were flying around as Avocets fed close by. Down at the Parrinder hide Trevor and I counted four Little Ringed Plovers flying in whilst Lizzie explained forth-coming events.

9th June

After 3 exhausting days at work I was going to have a lie in but a message from Trevor had me scurrying to Titchwell to try and see a Rose-coloured Starling. I met Trevor halfway down the West Bank path who said the starling had flown towards Thornham and so Kathryn, Gwinn and I drove to The Green at Thornham where we could see the starling flock in flight but the light was against us as the sun was still low in the sky and we could not see any colour on the birds. Tim phoned as he could see us from Titchwell and he encouraged to return to Titchwell as he could see the bird in the flock with better light conditions. We drove back and despite our best efforts and watching the flock for a long time the pink one did not appear again. It had vapourised! With news of two Rosy Starlings at Warham Greens, I was determined not to be defeated and drove onwards along the coast. It was a beautiful day as I walked the coastal path and joined the other birders all scanning the hundreds of starlings out on the marsh and watching the close birds sitting in the bushes. After a bit of a wait the adult Rosy Starling came and sat in a Hawthorn tree. It didn't sit for long in the open before hopping up and hiding in the thickest part of the tree, mostly obscured except for its pink breast.

The BOURC have announced that Brown Booby has been added to the British List. There are now 3 accepted records. Luckily I saw the bird down on the Lizard after an overnight drive and it will now get added to my British List. 

After a discussion with a member of the BOURC, I have it on good authority that there will be a review of Subalpine Warblers as many early records were never assigned to what is now either Eastern or Western Subalpine or Moltoni's Warbler. At the moment I am waiting for the Subalpine Warbler which has an excellent chance of being an Eastern Subalpine Warbler that I saw many years ago in 1996 on Portland to be assigned as one. Fingers crossed.

                                         Little Owl


It was far too hot to do gardening this afternoon and after dead-heading my roses and trimming my hedges this evening when it was a bit cooler, I saw a Little Owl sat on a telegraph pole as the light diminished.

10th June

Red Kite

After an emergency visit to the dentist who kindly found a slot for me to see him I continued gardening but was conscious of the local Oystercatchers continually taking to the air above me calling. They were obviously upset and I soon saw the reason why. A young Red Kite was circling overhead. This scenario played out several times during the day. Whilst John and I were having our tea in the garden I grabbed my camera when the Oystercatchers were once again airborne and it wasn't long before the Red Kite came right over our heads.

I have been trying without success to photograph two Great Spotted Woodpeckers that are frequent visitors to my garden. They have been sitting in my Cherry tree calling but like to play hide and seek by moving around the back of the tree trunk. I am being eaten out of house and home by the young starlings who seem to be permanently on my suet pellet feeders. I live in hope that one will be a pink one but sadly it hasn't happened yet!

12th June

I wandered down the West Bank path at Titchwell before work and watched a Marsh Harrier take a bird and carry it to its mate who took it to its nest. On one of the islands a Wood Sandpiper was lurking as I enjoyed the reserve all to myself. A Redshank and a few Black-tailed Godwits were on another island as Avocets were feeding in the shallow water. There were many new young Shelducks being protected by their parents as they hid and then took to the Fresh Marsh. 

At lunchtime I took a walk along the Fen Trail and watched a Four Spotted Chaser in the sunlight.

                                                       Marsh Harrier

                                                  Four Spotted Chaser

After work I made my way to Kelling Quags where it was just like old times on a Norfolk twitch. There were many familiar faces and it was nice to catch up with everyone as we stood on a wonderful sunny evening and listened to the Marsh Warbler singing. We watched it pop up and fly around several times and sit and perch after flying across to the hedgeline.

13th June

It was a beautiful day as the NarVOS crew all met for the WeBS count this morning at Nar Valley. It was soon apparent that we were going to spend far more time looking at the various insects than counting wildfowl! With John's expertise we soon knew what we were looking at.  Banded Demoiselles,  Azure and Common Blue Damselflies were in abundance along with Black-tailed Skimmers, Four Spotted Chasers and Emperor Dragonflies which were a sight to behold. 

                                               Banded Demoiselle

                                  Banded Demoiselle (female)

                                                Black-tailed Skimmer

                                            Emperor Dragonfly ovipositing

We watched Garden Warblers and Reed Warblers as we counted Mute Swans and their cygnets, Coot and Tufted Ducks as we wandered around in the hot sun. A Painted Lady landed in front of me, my first for the year.

                                                        Mute Swan


As usual for our count we arrived at the last lake where all the geese congregate. John drew the short straw and counted all the Greylag Geese. There were over 300 of them! I got to count 67 Canada Geese. A Reed Bunting caught an insect to take it to its nest. It sat and posed for us to watch.

                                               Painted Lady

                                                        Reed Bunting

It was now very hot and we retired for lunch at the pub. The count had been thirsty work!

A Cattle Egret had been lurking at Holme and it did not take long to find it amongst the cattle but the heat haze was impossible for the telescope.

I had a lovely evening with a glass of wine watching Tree Sparrows and Blue Tits all recently emerged from their nest box. Thanks Tim!

Cattle Egret

15th June

Mediterranean Gull

It was another busy day at work as the reserve gets more and more popular. With Garganey, Wood Sandpiper and a Spotted Redshank on offer as well as the popularity of Bearded Tits, Avocets and a Booming Bittern being desired by visitors, Denzil and I were kept busy. At lunchtime I took a walk down the West Bank path and answered many questions about the birds before pointing out a Mediterranean Gull flying above our heads.

16th June

After working through most of the hot weather it was nice to be able to get out and enjoy some of it to try out my new camera and lens which Jim Lawrence had kindly helped me set up. It was put to the test this morning at Hickling NWT where two Glossy Ibis had been reported. Walking down towards Stubb Mill the Glossy Ibis suddenly appeared in flight but the vegetation was too high for me to get a photograph and so along with friends we made our way to the gate on the track where we could gain a little height as they appeared to land on Brendan's Marsh. It didn't take long to locate them in the distance but they soon flew again and we decided to walk back along the Stubb Mill track after watching some Common Terns.

                                                              Glossy Ibis

                                             Common Tern

It was soon very hot and I needed a change of clothing. I stopped to change and checked my phone. It was just as well as a Collared Pratincole had just been seen over the marsh. It didn't take long before we saw it in flight and for once I seemed to be able to focus on the bird as it flew above us all before it landed on the marsh where the Glossy Ibis had been moments earlier. Back we all went to the gate and were soon joined by other birding friends to admire the Collared Pratincole as it flew around.

                                        Collared Pratincole

                                                Collared Pratincole

Little Egrets, two Great White Egrets and Lapwings were all on view as well as an abundance of Norfolk Hawkers. A Black-tailed Skimmer also put in an appearance as well as a Swallow-tailed Butterfly but the butterfly did not stop as it flew by us.

The verges on the way home were full of Oxeye daisies and upon stopping to look at one verge it was wonderful to find some Bee Orchids out in flower.

                                       Bee Orchid

Oxeye Daisies

17th June

A big thank you to the 300+ people that liked or sent me messages about the photo that I took of the Collared Pratincole yesterday on the various social media platforms. I was just lucky to be in the right pace at the right time, although my new camera and lens helped, I'm sure!

18th June

It would seem that John and I made the correct decision to head north-west as the weather has been beautiful in Cumbria. With my last UK butterfly as a target species it was time to climb up Irton Fell to see Mountain Ringlet. What a day we had chosen to make the climb! The views were stunning as ascended following a specific set of instructions on where to look. We failed at the first site after a search but I was not at all disappointed as it meant we could climb higher where the scenery just got better and better.

After shedding a few layers as the early morning sun warmed us up we climbed to the next site where Mountain Ringlets abounded. Success! I was delighted as I found a mating pair and managed to get some photographs of them. After a celebration it was still early and persuaded John to walk further up the fell as it was such a beautiful day. Tree Pipits gave way to Meadow Pipits and a pair of Wheatear put on a display as we neared the top of the fell. Small Heath butterflies were everywhere as we enjoyed the day walking in the sun.

                       Sue holding a Mountain Ringlet

                                        Sue at the top of Irton Fell


                                                Mountain Ringlet

                                    Mating pair of Mountain Ringlet

            Osprey (phone-scoped through the heat haze)

                                    Lesser Redpoll

                                   Large Heath Butterfly

                                               Beautiful Demoiselle

Later we returned to Foulshaw Moss to watch the Ospreys on their nest along with Large Heath butterflies, Lesser Redpolls as well as Tree Sparrows on a few feeders before enjoying a well earned meal and drink in our hotel. What a day. Just beautiful!

19th July

After yesterday's successful day of seeing the last of the U.K's butterflies, I have been busy also trying to see all of the U.K's dragonflies. I actually saw a White-faced Darter briefly yesterday but it was less than a satisfactory sighting and my photograph was not one that I would have been proud of!

We managed to persuade our hotel to cook us an early breakfast so that we could make the most of the day and ventured out to a few nature reserves where we could see a variety of dragonflies, orchids, butterflies and flowers. We started at Foulshaw Moss but as the day had not yet warmed up sufficiently for dragonflies we de-camped to Latterbarrow nature reserve. Once again we enjoyed some good weather and wandered around admiring Dark Green Fritillaries, Pearl-bordered Fritillaries and Northern Brown Argus butterflies as well as a Chimney Sweeper Moth. The flowers were wonderful and was a mass of Oxeye Daisies, Aquilegia, Rock Rose and Common Spotted Orchids.

                                             Dark Green Fritillary

                                  Pearl Bordered Fritillary

                                            Northern Brown Argus

                                          Chimney Sweeper Moth

                                           Common Spotted Orchid

                                     Common Spotted Orchid

Foulshaw Moss

We returned to Foulshaw Moss where we watched the Ospreys on their nest as a Tree Pipit serenaded us as we wandered around. We found another pool where we had much better views of White-faced Darters than we had yesterday.  It was soon very hot and we ventured to Arnside where we have enjoyed holidays in the past and sat like a pair of oldies on the seafront enjoying our delicious ice-creams watching the estuary and the magnificent railway line that transverses it.

                                   Four Spotted Chaser

                                                          Tree Pipit

                                                       White-faced Darter

                                                     White-faced Darter

22nd June

After welcoming several members of the NarVOS and Wensum Valley bird clubs that I have known for over 30 years whose ribaldry caused many issues as they arrived at my work today because of their failure to read even the simplest of signs, who shall remain absolutely nameless, I was not impressed by their observational skills!!! Banter was had and laughed at but I suspect the bird list was much smaller than it should have been due to the chatter ;-) (and they say women can talk!) 

The only bird of note that I saw today was a Red Kite on my way home from work near Anmer.

23rd June

As I am still at work I was unable to see the Bee-eaters and Black-winged Stilts in East Norfolk that were present over the last few days and was too late to the party as John and I searched for both at some unearthly hour this morning at Hickling and Great Yarmouth. However Hickling was alive with birds, butterflies and dragonflies on a gorgeous summer's day. We watched a Common Whitethroat singing as a beaten-up Painted Lady flew by and dived into a ditch. Red Admirals flew around as we watched a Hobby overhead and Avocet chicks feeding. A Black-tailed Skimmer posed nicely as we walked to the other track where we watched Northern Hawkers flying around. It was rather annoying to learn that one of the Black-winged Stilts had appeared briefly after we had left site!

                                       Common Whitethroat

                             A rather beaten-up Painted Lady

                                          Black-tailed Skimmer

                                                      Norfolk Hawker

24th June

Today John and I headed north into Scotland to add a few wildlife specialities to my various lists. We started at St Abb's Head where I wanted to add another race of Northern Brown Argus to butterfly list as a sub-species. This form has white discal spots on the forewings and I have not seen this form of Northern Brown Argus before now. It took some time to find the larval food plant of Rock Rose and yet more time to find its nectaring plant. Once we had, we waited and waited. Common Blues and Meadow Browns abounded but we began to despair on the very steep slope until at last one flew by us at a great rate of knots and did not stop! There artaxerxes had us beaten! Being the determined sort, I sat it out as did two juvenile Peregrines who were bemused at my antics on the slopes as they perched on a rock and fence above me watching my every move (or bum slide as it often was!)

Eventually I obtained a very poor photo.............but it was all the evidence that I needed! Result!

Upwards and onwards..............Aviemore here we come!

                                   Northern Brown Argus (Artaxerxes)

                                  Northern Marsh Orchid

                                        Female juvenile Peregraine

                                             Male juvenile Peregrine

25th June

After travelling up to Boat of Garten yesterday to our delightful accommodation with our hosts, John and I made our pilgrimage to Loch Garten. Last year the visitor centre was shut when we arrived, so it was good to see the brand new centre operational even though there have not been Ospreys here for the last 3 years. We wandered around the forest after watching the feeders for a while observing, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Siskin, Chaffinch and Coal Tits feeding on them. A Treecreeper caught my eye but clearly the Crested Tits were going to take a bit more work. We wandered down the side of Loch Garten and still no Crested Tits. Luckily my hearing is still good and I heard Crested Tits calling. A short while later a pair alighted high up above us. The poor light and intermittent rain did not make for good viewing conditions and even less good photographic conditions.


                                                       Crested Tit

Common Redstart (juv)

We walked around Loch an Eilein and watched some newly fledged Common Redstarts being fed by the female bird whilst the male flitted around the other side of the path. A young Spotted Flycatcher was also being fed by a parent.
We moved onto Pityoulish and knocked on the door of the cottage to ask permission to wander their land to look at the stunning display of the thousands of orchids. What a sight they made. By now rain had set in and we had to abandon any birding whilst out walking and so we drove to Lochindorb where we watched a Black-throated Diver and Common Sandpipers on the Loch. Redshank and Oystercatchers were also present as were Teal, Wigeon, Mallard and Greylag Geese on our drive back to Boat of Garten.

We were welcomed at the Golf Club in the evening where we enjoyed a hearty evening meal.

                         Heath Fragrant Orchid

Heath Spotted Orchid


                          Lesser Butterfly Orchid

                              Small White Orchid

Common Sandpiper

26th June

Today was a day of mixed fortunes as John and I worked hard for the wildlife that we saw and dipped. An early morning walk from our accommodation produced a lone Red Squirrel at the Boat of Garten along with a single Roe Deer. After visiting the Speyside Centre adding a Sparrowhawk to out list we drove to Findhorn Valley where I have always enjoyed my birdwatching over the last 30 years when in Scotland. Here we watched two Golden Eagles, Buzzards and a Raven as well as watching Curlews doing display flights. The goats on the mountains were noisy as we watched herds of Red Deer and a Meadow Pipit taking food to its nest on the mountainside.

I always like a visit to Loch Ruthven where 5 Slavonian Grebes swam on the loch as a Stonechats kept us company in the car park over lunch time. From here we drove to Loch Bran where we failed to find Brilliant Emerald but did see Highland (Common) Darter. Large Red Damselflies, Four Spotted Chasers and Downy Emeralds were flying around as we left for a quick look round back at Loch Garten before a well deserved glass of cider was enjoyed.

                                          Red Squirrel

                                        Slavonian Grebes


                                   Highland (Common) Darter

27th June

Sue at Loch Shin

                                                    Black-throated Diver

Black-throated Diver

                                   Frog Orchid

                               Scottish Primrose

28th June

Today was an exciting day as I crossed off one of my bucket list dreams. Having been to John O'Groats many years ago I had always wanted to visit one of the remotest corners of the UK and visit Cape Wrath in NW Scotland. It is impossible to drive here. I have been to Scotland many times but have never ventured further north of Ullapool on the west coast. It is a spectacularly pretty coastline with wonderful scenery around every bend of the narrow roads.

Having arrived in Durness and stayed the night we had rung ahead and spoken to the operators of the ferry and minibus combination. No bookings were allowed so we made sure we arrived in plenty of time on the little jetty at Keodale to be sure of a place in the ferry and the limited capacity of the minibus the other side once we had arrived in Cape Wrath.

What a glorious day we had chosen. The short ferry crossing over the turquoise-blue sea was idyllic as we bobbed along full of anticipation of the views ahead. We were deposited on the small jetty on Cape Wrath and being a bit crafty we made sure we had a front seat for the bumpy ride ahead along a narrow road that has seen better days. The driver asked me to look after his bugle!!!!! (I am often promoted to these very important roles!!!!)

What a wild and rugged place Cape Wrath was! We watched Red Deer as we arrived at the lighthouse and climbed to the top of the hill and touched the cairn at the top. The wind was breezy to say the least and I lost my beanie hat once again as it took off. Luckily I managed to retrieve it before it joined my Fair Isle hat in the Atlantic Ocean. I certainly suffered a bad hair day!

I was thrilled to bits to be here as I gazed over the stunning sheer cliffs with their Fulmars, Shags and a lone Bonxie as various gulls wheeled around. Soon the bugle was sounded and we returned to the minibus for the journey back. John and I acted as guides and pointed out the various birds to our fellow passengers. We watched Wheatears, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Stonechat, an Arctic Skua and a Greenshank.

What a morning it had been! The ferry crossing back yielded seals in the clear blue water and we thanked our driver and ferry man for a wonderful trip that will remain in the memory for years to come, I'm sure.

                                 Sue at the tip of Cape Wrath

                                        Sue at Cape Wrath Lighthouse

                                                  Arctic Skua

                                                          Red Deer

29th June

The weather at Poolewe did not look promising this morning as rain accompanied our breakfast. Not ideal conditions for dragonfly hunting! I looked at my weather app in dismay at a forecast of thick cloud for the rest of the day. However this is Scotland and as we all know mountain weather can change in an instant. And change it did! Glorious sun shone all day as we traversed the side of Loch Maree.

After trying several sites we finally found a site that Stew had given us hidden behind the trees. We traipsed through bog and I sunk in up to my knees. My trousers and wellies did not enjoy the experience much but I lived to tell the tale and live another day.

Four-spotted Chasers were chasing everything and male White-faced Darters abounded everywhere but where was our quarry? I managed some photos of Common Hawker and Azure Hawker much to John's chagrin as he searched in vain and unbeknown to me I had taken a photo of a Northern Emerald thinking it was a female White-faced Darter in the strong sunlight. We continued our search and were at the point of giving up when John noticed a darter that was not moving at all. It was a newly emerging Northern Emerald along with its excuvia. I was thrilled at yet another dragonfly for my list. We both took far too many photos before lunch beckoned us back to the car.

We spent the rest of the day walking and birding seeing Meadow Pipits, Red-breasted Mergansers, Shags, Common Terns and Red-throated Divers, Ravens, Greenshanks and Common Sandpipers in the wonderful scenery and warm sun before enjoying a meal over-looking Gairloch bay.

            Northern Emerald and Exuvia

                                                   Azure Hawker


                                 Red-breasted Merganser and ducklings

30th June

Today I celebrated my 65th birthday in Scotland in glorious weather. I was stunned by the amazing scenery that we travelled through on our way down south to Applecross. We stopped at places just to take some photos and to admire birds such as a Golden Eagle that was perched high up on a mountain cliff line.

Wheatears, Meadow Pipits and Black-throated Divers were all seen along with a supporting cast of Shags, Eider, Stonechat and various gulls. However my star bird of the day was not the Golden Eagle as you would expect but a stunning Golden Plover all in its sparkly plumage that glinted in the sunlight as it posed for me on a rocky outcrop.
Working on an RSPB reserve I see hundreds of these birds in the winter as they flock together and form a glittering mass as I drive down the hill at Choseley to start work in the mornings. How wonderful it is for me to see them on their breeding grounds in all their breeding finery. You just cannot beat it!

                                        Glolden Plover

Hooded Crow

So sometimes we are spoilt and I certainly was today. I was taken out this evening to a walled garden in Applecross and treated to a wonderful sea-food restaurant for my 65th birthday treat. However the evening did not finish when the bill was paid as upon returning to our guest house over-looking the mountains these little chaps and chapesses came running out to steal raw eggs, jam sandwiches and custard creams from the lawn. To see Pine Martens bobbing about right in front of us was a joy indeed and rounded off a lovely day in the Scottish Highlands. What a lucky young lady I am!


                                                 Pine Marten

                                           Pine Marten