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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 (female)
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
Sue holding a Mountain Ringlet
Sue at the top of Irton Fell
Mating pair of Mountain Ringlet
Osprey (phone-scoped through the heat haze)
Large Heath Butterfly
Dark Green Fritillary
Pearl Bordered Fritillary
Northern Brown Argus
Chimney Sweeper Moth
Common Spotted Orchid
Common Spotted Orchid
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
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.
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!
A rather beaten-up Painted Lady
Northern Brown Argus (Artaxerxes)
Northern Marsh Orchid
Female juvenile Peregraine
Male juvenile Peregrine
Common Redstart (juv)
Heath Fragrant Orchid
Heath Spotted Orchid
Lesser Butterfly Orchid
Small White Orchid
Highland (Common) Darter
Sue at Loch Shin
Sue at the tip of Cape Wrath
Sue at Cape Wrath Lighthouse
Northern Emerald and Exuvia
Red-breasted Merganser and ducklings