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. http://suebryan.webs.com/uganda-2017 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 where 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 walked 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 holidays 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 http://suebryan.webs.com/greece-and-bulgaria-2017


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!


23rd January


After a report of a Hawfinch in the churchyard at Great Massingham yesterday and contacting a friend I started my day just after first light there. There was light rain falling and it was still very murky but I made my way to the back of the churchyard where there was a Hawfinch sat at the top of a tree. I tried to attach my phone to my scope but all of a sudden another nine Hawfinch flew in and landed. They only stopped for a short while before flying off, calling as they went. I cursed as I wasn't quite set up for a photo. I walked round to the side of the church where there was another Hawfinch sat. It too flew off before I was set up. After waiting for a few minutes another Hawfinch flew and I managed to get a poor phone-scoped photo of it the poor light before it too disappeared.

Hawfinch

I continued to Sheringham where I met John and together we watched the Black Redstart that was hopping around the lifeboat car park in the rain. We walked down to the rocks in front of the Funky Mackerel cafe where there was a Purple Sandpiper running around the rocks along with a Turnstone.




























                                        Black Redstart



























Purple Sandpiper

We made our way to Mundsley where after parking in the clifftop car park John located the Glaucous Gull sitting on top of one of the groyne baskets. We then drove to the practice green of the Cromer Golf Club (actually in Overstrand) where the Iceland Gull was busy feeding along with a Black-headed Gull.































                                   Glaucous Gull

































                                    Iceland Gull

At Upper Sheringham we had a Red Kite fly over the car.

Redpoll sp




Our next stop was Kelling where we admired the Mealy Redpoll flock that was present. It was good to see the very controversial two 'grey-toned' birds that have been reported as Coue's Arctic Redpolls.

After having a Snow Bunting fly over our heads at the beach at Salthouse we failed to find the Snow Bunting flock that had been spooked out into the marsh by a military helicopter a few minutes earlier. We drove to Stiffkey and joined Ashley and Marcus that both had groups with them and admired a male Hen Harrier, a couple of Marsh Harriers, a Merlin and a Barn Owl all hunting out on the marsh. We finished our day with a lovely evening meal in a local pub where we thought how lucky we were to live in Norfolk where even on a Winter's day good birding could be had.


25th January


I paid a quick visit to Great Massingham Churchyard where at least 4 Hawfinch were still lingering in much better weather today. On my way home I watched 50+ Fieldfare and 2 Kestrels on Massingham Heath.





























                             Hawfinch




























Hawfinch






















                                                     Hawfinch

A big thank you to all those who attended my talk at the local members group of the NWT in Hunstanton this evening and to all the kind comments that I have received subsequently.

28th January

I saw a large flock of Yellowhammer as I drove near to Choseley Barns on my way into work this morning. It was one of the largest flocks of Yellowhammer that I have seen for sometime now. It was also nice to see some Grey Partridges too there.

29th January

Cruising my way along Hunstanton clifftop, I added Fulmar to my yearlist as several birds flew along the cliffs.

30th January

Great White Egret


I joined Terry and Joy Elliott and together we watched the Great White Egret that has been at Nar Valley Fisheries for a few years now. There was a male Goosander on the pit too. From Wormegay High Bridge we saw 8 Whooper Swans on the fields. We drove to Tottenhill where we watched a pair of Goldeneye displaying and at Watlington I joined Tony Prater where we also had a Goldeneye. Later at the Tail Sluice in King's Lynn a Green Woodpecker flew from the grass as a Bullfinch disappeared into the hedge.


This evening NarVOS had an excellent talk about the work of the Cape May bird observatory in the USA. Having visited there many years ago it was good to see so many wonderful photos of some of the species of the birds that I saw whilst I was there.

I have at long last re-built my trip report page to Colombia. It can be seen at http://suebryan.webs.com/colombia-2015

31st January

A late afternoon visit to Roydon Common where there were two ringtail Hen Harriers looking for a roost site in the bitingly cold wind. A pair of Common Buzzard we up above the trees as a Little Egret flew from one of the ditches near the treeline.

3rd February

The winds had died down and so an early morning walk along the West bank path at Titchwell seemed in order. There was a Water Rail in the ditch as I made my way down and a Reed Bunting calling from the top of a bush. The water levels in the Fresh Marsh were very high after all the recent rain. I did a quick scan through the ducks present and picked out a male Red-crested Pochard amongst the Tufted Ducks and Common Pochards. However I was keen to get down to the sea as it was high tide. We scanned out to sea and after a bit of a search I managed to find two Long-tailed Ducks flying towards us. They were later joined by two others. Red-breasted Merganzers were flying as were several Red-throated Divers and Guillemot. There were huge rafts of Wigeon and smaller rafts of Common Scoter. Steve picked out a Kittiwake. Like me neither of us had done too much coastal birding this year and we added many year ticks in the shape of Ringed Plover and Knot. On my way back up the path a Skylark began to sing as I admired all the roosting Avocet and year-ticked Pintail too. I failed to find the Water Pipit as the bird pointed out to me on Thornham Pool was a Meadow Pipit. Hey ho! I stopped in the Visitor Centre to warm up and grab a cup of tea.

On the Choseley - Ringstead road there was a big flock of Brambling, Linnet and Goldfinch. My day was cut short by the rain but as I had a lot of domestic duties to attend to as well as birding adventures to sort, an admin afternoon was not a bad idea. A shame I could not join my daughter on her way for a week's skiing in Switzerland...........I wonder if she will see Alpine Chough?

4th February























                                       Roydon Common





















                                        Stonechat
As I had other commitments today I only had a quick early morning walk on Roydon Common where the ground was extremely soggy to say the least after all the rain that we have had. A Stonechat soon announced his presence as I emerged onto the common from the track. A Skylark was singing above my head as a Robin flew in front of me. Although the sun was out it was bitterly cold with a chill breeze blowing, I made my way up to the top of the common where I saw a pair of Stonechat. I was just about to take a photo when two dogs off their leads came running up to me. To say that I was annoyed was an understatement!. I had already noted a plastic bag of poo left on the ground. This is a nature reserve!! The owners of the dogs could not have cared less or had any regard for the Stonechats who were frightened away.

A Common Buzzard was being mobbed by a flock of corvids as a Kestrel hovered in the wind. Later I noted another Kestrel back down by my car.

7th February


Shorelark


I joined several other walkers and made my way down onto Holkham beach where a group of nine Shorelarks were very flighty on the beach. They really didn't settle very well so it was difficult to take any photos of them through my scope as they were constantly on the move. Trevor and I then walked to Holkham park lake where we failed to find the reported Scaup. Worryingly we did see a scaup-faced Tufted Duck amongst the many Tufted Duck, Pochard. Shoveler and a lone Red-crested Pochard. I stopped by the pull-in where I could scan the Holkham marshes where I watched a Great White Egret and a large group of White-fronted Geese.













8th February



Short-eared Owl


Walking down to the RSPB reserve at Snettisham I crossed over the concrete strip so that I could look inland to watch the flocks of Fieldfare flying over my head. I also scanned the the scrub between the two hides where there were two Short-eared Owls roosting. Unfortunately my migraine thatI had woken up meant that I had to return home for more medication instead of carrying on around the pits where Goldeneye, Teal, Shoveler, Mallard, Cormorants and Greylag Geese were gathering.



After a busy day at home I drove to North Elmham where Mike Edgecome was giving a talk at Elmham House to raise money for the church. It was an all ticket affair with a superb buffet afterwards. I was entranced as Mike regaled us with his tales of his trip to Ladakh to see Snow Leopards. His photographs and video clips of Snow Leopards were amazing and awe inspiring. I fear my bucket list has just grown by one more mammal still to see!















9th February



Harriet and Constance


This is Harriet, my guide in Uganda with Constance, a little girl that we are trying to support in Bwindi. Constance is ten years old and is an amazing birdwatcher who can already identify 100 birds in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. She has my field guide and some binoculars that I hope will start her on her journey as she wants to be a bird guide like Hariet when she grows up. Harriet and I would like to encourage more children into birdwatching and I am hoping that if any of my readers have any old binoculars lurking in a drawer or cupboard and you would like to make a difference to a child who faces many issues with poverty, where funding a pair of binoculars would be extremely difficult, would you please be kind enough to give me at Titchwell and I will make sure that Harriet receives them in Uganda.


Thank you so much.

























11th February


Starting early I drove to Ringstead where I arrived at the flock of Pink-footed Geese. After the events of yesterday when a birder arrived after me, got out of his car wandered up to the flock and was then surprised when they all flew off, I was determined to be early before any bafoons arrived. I scanned the flock, staying in my car and eventually found a lone Tundra Bean Goose. It had the brightest orange legs that I have seen on a Bean Goose but perhaps it was just the way the early-morning light was catching them. I looked for the Hooded Crow at Choseley without sucess and continued on my way to work. I watched a Barn Owl from the Visitor Centre at Titchwell and enjoyed a young boy's delight at seeing one. His joy was delightful. Getting children to enjoy birds and nature is the only hope we have for protecting our natural world in the future.


12th February


It was a glorious sunny Winter's day with a very light breeze and so ideal Goshawk watching conditions. I joined Marcus and Peter and together we watched two Goshawk over Swaffham Forest. A Red Kite flew over our heads and a Sparrowhawk flew along the treeline. Eight Common Buzzards added to the scene. After a walk at Santon Downham I returned to Beachamwell where six Lesser Redpoll sat in a tree in Allan's back garden.

Red Kite

17th February


It was a glorious Winter's day as I walked down the West Bank path at Titchwell. After watching a few Meadow Pipits on Thornham pool, I made my way to the Parrinder hide where Tony and Jenny were helping visitors. A Rock Pipit was bathing in the water. After a while a pipit called flying by the open window. Luckily it landed and together we had good views of a Water Pipit. A Mediterranean Gull was amongst the Black-headed Gulls and Avocets.


I made my way down to the sea where I added Eider to my my year list. There were mant Great Crested Grebes on the sea but as the tide was a long way out I followed Dave back up the path and into the warmth of the staffroom for a cup of tea.


18th February


After watching four Siskin on my garden feeder I drove to Santon Downham and joined Kathryn and Gwyn along the river where after a short wait Kathryn spotted the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker flying in. We watched it searching out nest holes before we walked back up the path. 






























Lesser Spotted Woodpecker






























Lesser Spotted Woodpecker





























Lesser Spotted Woodpecker





























Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

Treecreeper


We watched a Treecreeper actively feeding by the church.


Later at Drymere I watched three Marsh Tit, three Goldcrest, Green Woodpecker and a Woodlark singing.













21st February


Having the morning spare I made my way over to Natural Surroundings at Glandford where after parking up I walked through the gate to the flooded area alongside the River Glaven. I scanned the area and noted a few Mallard but little else. I decided to walk the very muddy path towards the church but didn't get far as there was an Otter in the river just a few feet away. I could not believe my luck as I was here all by myself and could take photos without upsetting anyone. The Otter was not a bit bothered by my presence at all and just kept swimming and diving catching fish. The River was in full spate and I wondered how the Otter could see in the murky water. However the Otter was extremely successful as it caught many fish. Eventually the Otter swam upstream and I walked back along the path not realising I was walking right beside the Bittern that had been loitering in the flooded field. By now Steve and Sue as well as Bob had arrived and I joined them taking some photos of the bird.























Cryptic camouflage of the Bittern!


Can you see it?






















Bittern

Bittern






















Otter catching fish


















Otter catching fish

27th February

After spending the morning packing ready for my next trip, I felt in need of a short walk and did not want to go far because of the constant threat of snow showers. I ended up in a small wood opposite Reffley Community Centre, King's Lynn not far from the Asda supermarket on the Wootton road. After admiring Mallard Ducks and an assortment of hybrids I crossed a small wooden bridge and entered the woods. I was immediately surrounded by birdsong and birds. Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit and Marsh Tit were all actively feeding and singing. Blackbirds were scuttling around on the floor and Grey Squirrels were running along branches in the old wood. A Great Spotted Woodpecker drummed noisily above me before I heard the familar call of a Firecrest. I knew it must be nearby but could not see it. I soon realised that I was looking far too far as it was literally right in front of me. I cursed as I had to get my small bridge camera out of my bag. I'm not keen on using my bridge camera but my DSLR was all packed ready for my flight and I did not want to unpack it again. In a second it was off. I waited and it soon returned. However bridge cameras are the most frustrating things on earth and I missed many opportunities at taking a decent photo due to the extremely slow focusing mechanism. I have so many out of focus shots as the Firecrest was simply too quick for me and it! I had a feeling that I was being watched. I was! A Muntjac Deer had appeared from a woodpile nearby and was curiously watching me.

I persevered until a black Labrador dog appeared and thought I was put on the earth to throw its ball. Although a friendly-enough dog, birdwatching and dogs do not go together and I had a very frustrating time as the Labrador would not leave me alone. It was really annoying as the Firecrest was now displaying beautifully. I cursed to say the least!























Firecrest







                       















Muntjac watching me with some curiosity

The evening was spent at NarVOS watching Chris Knight's talk about birding in Norfolk. He had some wonderful photos but we were all keen to get home early because of the snow.


28th February


I spent the day catching up with my data in my records since I had been given the day off because of the snow. I also enjoyed watching my garden birds.


2nd March


I had been invited to join in with a trip to Fuerteventura to twitch a Dwarf Bittern, a Western Palearctic tick that many Western Palearctic listers were all going to see on the Canary Island. It seemed a good opportunity to get away from all the snow and so a very early morning flight was taken from Stansted to Fuerteventura. Once we had landed, we drove to the Barranco a few miles from the airport and walked across the plain in sunny weather and descended into the gorge. Thanks must go to Dot and Steve who had twitched the bird the previous weekend as without your help and instructions I doubt we would have found it! Lesser Short-toed Larks, Plain Swifts and Berthelot's Pipits were flying around as an Egyptian Vulture soared overhead. We soon settled down watching a pair of Fuerteventura Chats, another world tick for me as well as Spectacled Warblers and Hoopoes. After two hours we saw the Dwarf Bittern in flight and for today had to be satisfied with those views of the bird. We drove to the Tindaya Plains and watched a Houbara Bustard displaying , another world tick for me having been split from the Israeli McQueen's Bustards. Black-bellied Sandgrouse were good to see as well as Cream-coloured Coursers running around. It was good to be in the sun and away from all the snow in England. It seemed that we had timed our trip perfectly!


As usual I will be writing a trip report so I will only be brief in my diary pages.


























Fuerteventura Chat




























Displaying Houbara Bustard























Black-bellied Sandgrouse
























Cream-coloured Courser

3rd March


We were up early and returned to the Tindaya Plain to get better views of Houbara Bustard as we had only had distant views yesterday. We were not to be disappointed as Houbara Bustards were not at all shy as they came closer and closer to our car. A Berthelot's Pipiy posed for the camera too.



























Houbara Bustard






















Berthelot's Pipit

As we had only got flight views of the Dwarf Bittern yesterday we returned to the Barranco near Puerto del Rosario to stake it out. After a bit of a wait with us perched on the cliff-face the Dwarf Bittern emerged from the vegetation for us to get better views than yesterday. After we had taken a few photographs we drove to Costa Calma in the south of the island and walked the wood admiring Little Buntings, Serin and Olive-backed Pipits. We motored on to a reservoir, Embalse de los Molinos where we admired Pallid Swift and Marbled Teal before making our way back to Oliva for an evening meal and our accommodation.




























Dwarf Bittern

























Pallid Swift























Little Bunting






















Olive-backed Pipit

4th March


As the gorge was such excellent birding we returned once again admiring Trumpeter Finch, Hoopoe, Canary Island Chiffchaff and Spectacled Warbler before driving to Salians del Carmen where w watched Sardinian Warblers and Laughing Doves.
























Trumpeter Finch






















Laughing (Palm) Dove

8th March

John and I made our way to Sculthorpe where we watched several Mealy Redpoll coming to a feeder from the new Volunteer Hide. It has been sometime since I have visited this reserve and was unaware of the new hides and boardwalks. The feeders were well topped up and were very busy with Lesser Redpoll, probably 6+ Mealy Redpoll, Siskin Great Tit and Blue Tit. From one of the old hides we watched Water Rail, Bullfinch, Reed Bunting and a Muntjac Deer. Although we saw several marsh Tit on our walk we failed to find any Willow Tit or Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers that had been reported.




































                         Mealy Redpoll (left-hand bird) showing a white supercilium



































Siskin and Mealy Redpoll (showing a white supercilium and white background colour to the dark streaks on the flanks)

Water Rail

9th March

Snowy Owl (a rubbish hand-held phone/scope photo but you get the idea)


Working at Titchwell certainly has its advantages as we had a 'heads up' message about a Snowy owl sitting out on Scolt Head and could be viewed from Burnham Deepdale. Lizzie and I went to investigate.


Lizzie and I sped along the A149 and joined ten other birders, luckily before the masses arrived to see the Snowy Owl sat out on Scolt Head. John and Marcus let us look through their scopes at the Snowy Owl and I attempted a phone/scope hand held photo. We didn't stay long and soon got back to work to let other staff see the bird too! (Great team effort guys!) I was very pleased at this long-overdue Norfolk tick and Lizzie was pleased at a British tick. We were both very happy bunnies!



Now I must pack my suitcase ready for my flight tomorrow morning!
















10th March

Sue at Lake Bled Slovenia.


Kathryn and I flew to Ljubljana in Slovenia for a Mother's Day treat for a few days. After picking up the car we motored to Lake Bled where we had booked a lovely hotel right next to the lake so that we could spend a few days walking and relaxing in the mountains together as well as enjoying some good food and time together. We could not believe our luck at the location as the hotel was in a beautiful setting. However there was rather more snow than we were expecting and I was glad of a winter coat!


Lake Bled was a magnet for birds and I noted Mallard, Mute Swan, a pair of Gosander, Hookded Crow, Jackdaw, Blackbird, Greenfinch, Song Thrush, Chaffinch, Rock Dove, White Wagtail, Common Buzzard and Starling before we delighted ourselves partaking of the local cream cakes and tea at a wonderful cafe overlooking the lake. We both enjoyed the serenity of it all as we both have very hectic lives and it was good to have some chill-down time.















11th March























                        Hooded Crow






















                                  Sue beside Lake Bled

Breakfast was accompanied by a Hooded Crow sat in a tree outside the window. It a meal fit for a king and we both felt that we needed to walk. Looking at my weather app on my phone it was clear this had to be a morning activity as rain was due later in the day. The perimeter of Lake Bled was 4 miles and seemed a option.We set off and I was rather surprised to see a Swallow circling around one of the trees. A Nuthatch was calling as we left and I added Great Tit and Robin early in the walk. 



















                       Black Redstart sitting on the stump



















                                       Island castle in Lake Bled

Kathryn and I continued our walk around Lake Bled admiring the views. I heard a Willow Tit call to its mate and watched the pair actively feeding in the trees. I had not brought a camera with me and only had my phone so even though I tried to take a photo of one of the birds the results were not good! At the same point a Black Redstart appeared sitting on a tree stump. You can just about make out the bird with a bit of imagination!! Blue Tit and Magpie were also added to the list as we completed the circum-navigation of the lake.


































                  Kathryn at Vintgar Gorge


































                      Kathryn at Vintgar Gorge

We had raided some food at the sumptious breakfast and drove to Vintgar Gorge where we had a picnic lunch. We were a bit surprised at the amount of snow here as the roads were clear except for last few hundred metres down into the gorge itself along a track. The path looked a bit slippery to say the least and we were joined by another adventurous couple. We slipped and slithered along the track and boardwalk admiring the scenery of the gorge. It was birdless however except for a couple of Blue Tits. 


On arriving back in Lake Bled we found a liqueur shop where we were offered a tasting session. We can both recommend Fig and Honey Liqueur, Blueberry Liqueur and Cherry Liqueur. We bought several bottles and ceratinly had a merry evening after our meal!!!!!


12th March


We awoke to pouring rain and after another big breakfast decided to make the most of it and drive to Bohinjsko Jezero lake set up in the moutains near a ski resort.






















                               Sue at Mala Savica

































                                  Mala Savica

Arriving up in the mountains the snow got deeper and following a trail to a waterfall was probably not the best idea that we have had in pouring rain! However we both have an adventurous spirit but after walking up a steep snow and ice covered trail common sense prevailed and we did not make it to the top as we realised getting back down was going to be more difficult. We actually could have done with a set of crampons and walking poles. After a slithery experience and a twisted ankle we both made it back to the car and drove to Lake Bohinjsko, where we found a hotel that served a delicious hot chocolate and yes, another creamy cheesecake! The rain had now eased off aand after consulting the map and advice from the local tourist office we decide to return to Lake Bled up and over a mountain pass on alternative much longer route back. I was assured that road had been cleared of snow and as long as I took it slowly it would be driveable. Since we had all afternoon at our disposal we decided to go for it.






















                                  Bohinjsko Jezero lake






















                                  Bohinska Bistrica

After watching Blacl-necked Grebes and a pair of Goosander on the lake Kathryn spotted a Grey Heron, another addition to my Slovenian list! We admired the hardiness of the people living in villages up in the mountains and the amount of snow that had to be cleared to keep the roads open. I drove up to 4000 ft up many hair-pin bends and although the small minor mountain road had suffered from land slip in many places was completely clear of snow. we wanted to stop to show how deep the snow had been and take a couple of photos.





















                                     Bohinjska Bela

































                           Sue at Bohinjska Bela

After taking a couple of photos of the deep snow I heard Crossbills calling. All of a sudden a flock of Crssbills landed in the tree right above my head. How I cursed at not having a decent camera with me. There were some stunning red males in the flock too! A Coal Tit was also an addition to the list here.


We motored on and arrived back at lake Bled where we drove to a vantage point overlooking Lake Bled before the sun set. 

 

Lake Bled

13th March


Kathryn and I flew back to England and drove home. We had really enjoyed our visit, even if we had been caught out by the 'Beast from the East' affecting Slovenia's weather as well as here. Sharing time with my children has always been a delight for me as I realise how lucky I am to have three of them that I am very proud of. 


On my way home from Stansted I called in at Welney as it was a beautiful day and I was gasping for a cup of tea! Several fields had just been harvested for sugar beet and the Whooper Swans were making the most of the sugar beet tops. Down at the Visitor Centre I was surprised at the number of Tree Sparrows coming to the feeders.






























Whooper Swans feeding on Sugar Beet






























Whooper Swans

Tree Sparrows


I made my way home and was very pleased to receive an email confirming my next trip away in a few weeks time. Hopefully I can add to my world list once again!

17th March


Having been invited to a party at Barnham Broom Golf and Country Club, I was concerned about the snow that had been falling all day and the driving wind as I had to drive from Titchwell after work. Snow had begun to accumulate along the A1067 as I approached Fakenham and I was surprised to see ten Kestrels along the stretch of road from Fakenham to Lenwade so late in the day. I think the birds must be having a hard time finding food/prey in the awful weather conditions that we have been experiencing just lately.


19th March


John, Stu and I walked down the main path at Titchwell in the gale-force, bitterly cold wind. It was very unpleasant but we staggered down to Thornham Pool where two Little Ringed Plovers were running around. We had difficulty watching them as they were either running too fast or kept hiding up behind the Juncus. I managed a very poor photo of them but had such difficulty in keeping my scope still I will not inflict the results of my efforts on you! Down at the sea the waves made any sea-watching impossible, especially as sand was whipping up into our eyes. Stu soon gave in and we made our way back to the Parrinder hide where 5 Mediterranean Gulls were amongst the Black-headed Gulls. Most of the Freshmarsh was frozen and the reeds had ice-collars on them. After a chat with Trevor and Chris we had an early lunch and drove to Snettisham after a few brief stops in Hunstanton where there seemed be a huge number of gulls feasting on the wrecks of Razor shells.


At Snettisham we watched Goldeneye and very little else for our efforts except for a few Avocet, Cormorant, Moorhen, Greylag Geese, Mallard, Tufted Duck and Wigeon with a few Dunlin and Bar-tailed Godwit out on the mud in the Wash.


I am very busy with my trip report to Fuerteventura, which is almost finished. I have started to upload it to my website and you will find the page at the top. I have moved my last two trip reports to the trip reports page. I am struggling to keep up with all my photos but will hopefully get them all processed soon, hopefully before my next trip!


21st March


I have uploaded my trip report on my 'twitch' to Fuerteventura. It can be seen at http://suebryan.webs.com/fuerteventura-2018


It was a beautiful day and so John and I were up early and set out for Welney where we searched the fields for Bewick's Swans amongst the hundreds of Whooper Swans still present. After driving for several miles we failed miserably but enjoyed the Spring-like morning. We called into the Visitor Centre at Welney and John located a Bewick's Swan having a good wash and preening session on one of the pools. We admired the Tree Sparrows in the car park and saw a Common Crane in one of the distant fields as well as a Great White Egret and a Little Egret.


We drove onto Lakenheath and watched Pintail, Tufted Duck, Shoveler on Hockwold Washes as well as watching a Bank Vole whilst we chatted to Dave Jackson.


We walked 110 at Cockley Cley and stood and waited for a sighting of a lone Willow Tit. It took quite a while until we saw one but were entertained by a Treecreeper, Nuthatch, and many Blue Tit, Coal Tit and Great Tit whilst we were there. We also saw 2 Red Kite as well as two Common Buzzard. After failing on Stone Curlew we drove to Pentney where we saw Tutfted Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Reshank and a Dunlin. It was a delight to have a Spriing-like day after all the cold winds and snow that we have endured lately!

Red Kite

24th March


We had a dead Marsh Harrier brought into the office today that had been picked up on the beach at Titchwell. It was such a shame to see such a beautiful bird with no life left in it but all covered in sand.


25th March


It was a beautiful day and I had been assigned to be outside in the car park recruiting. For once the weather was on my side and I had a lovely day talking to visitors and birders, one of whom I will be sharing a customised trip with next year. We were both very excited about it. 


Chiffchaff were singing most of the day and were joined by Brambling calling above my head. I could hear Mediterranean Gulls on the Freshmarsh joining in with Black-headed Gulls all calling probably all competeing for nesting spots. Long-tailed Ducks were reported by visitors on the sea but sadly I did not have time to see them.   A bit of sun makes all the difference to the mood of visitors and I had so many compliments about how wonderful Titchwell is. There are big plans ahead for Titchwell and all the staff are working hard to try and raise the funds. Let's hope we can achieve our aims!
























                                              Bearded Tit






















                                          Bearded Tit






















                                      Bearded Tit (female)





















                                               Reed Bunting

26th March


John and I were once again up early and drove to Eastbridge where we failed to find any sign of the Glossy Ibis that had been present in the area for weeks. Cutting our losses we drove to Minsmere and walked towards the sluice stopping off in South hide where there were at least 60+ Mediterranean Gulls fighting for space on the islands amongst the Black-headed Gulls. Along with a a few Dunlin we located a winter-plumaged Little Stint feeding along the edge of one of the islands near the beach edge. A Redshank flew by just as we were leaving to walk to the sluice.It was a beautiful day and we were enjoying the sun as the pager alerted us to the fact that the Glossy Ibis had reappeared back at Eastbridge. We retraced our steps and were concerned by the fact that we had not heard or seen a single Cetti's Warbler. We wondered if the snow had had an impact on them.





















                                    Glossy Ibis





















                                                   Mute Swan























                                 Sue at Eastbridge























                                     Sue on Westleton Heath

Back at Eastbridge I located the Glossy Ibis on one of the fields by the side of the road and after taking a few photos we watched Marsh Harriers and Common Buzzards before returning to Minsmere where we met up with Jill and Richard. Together we enjoyed good views of the Firecrest at the entrance track to the Island Mere hide. In the hide two red-head (female) Smew were out in the middle of the water but a pair of Mute Swan right in front of the hide kept distracting us with their beauty.


We drove to Westleton Heath we we saw a DartfordWarbler even before we got out of the car ! Two Woodlarks were singing above our heads as we walked to some gorse and watched several pairs of Dartford Warblers zipping about. However none wanted to pose on the gorse today.

















Dartford Warbler

















                                       Smew

Sue watching from 'the mound' at Waveney Forest

John drove to Waveney Forest via a back route around Lowestoft through Somerleyton where we were delighted with views of three Short-eared Owls, two Barn Owls, three Common Buzzards and a host of hovering Kestrels.  Later we had a delightful meal in St. Olave's before meeting up with Ann and Andrew for John's talk on birding in NW Argentina at the Great Yarmouth Bird Club.


30th March


Mick East and I noticed 16 Curlew in a field at West Newton as we drove into work at Titchwell today. Around the staff car park we have had a big flock of Brambling all week. The noise from them as we left this evening was incredible.


We often get dead or injured birds brought into the Visitor Centre and today it was the turn of a Kittiwake which will hopefully survive to be released back to sea. The recent bad weather has had a terrible effect on our birds with many birds washing up dead on the tideline and beach. We have still not heard a Cetti's Warbler on the reserve since the snow.





























                                                Kittiwake





























                                              Kittiwake

1st April


John and I started the day at Heacham in the hope that there would be a few migrants around for us to see. How wrong could we be?? We met up with Paul Fisher who was similarly perplexed at the lack of summer migrants. With the exception of Linnets, Reed Buntings,Curlews and Gulls it was almost birdless. We heard a Cetti's Warbler but did not see it. 


At Thornham harbour we watched a few Common Redshank, Common Buzzards, Marsh Harriers and Brent Geese but little else. At Ringstead we found two Corn Buntings amongst a flock of Yellowhammers. We decided to try inland and drove to Houghton where we watched a Red Kite and two Common Buzzards. Later at Great Massingham churchyard a Nuthatch called and flew to a feeder recently put up there. Three Redwing sat at the top of a tree whilst we listened to a Mistle Thrush singing across the field.


Very sadly the Kittiwake that was brought into the Visitor Centre yesterday died.

Nuthatch

3rd April


John, Ed and I visited Lowestoft today at Leathes' Ham to see a Penduline Tit. It was nice to have some Spring-like weather at long last. We also enjoyed  watching three Chiffchaff.


At Breydon Water there were good numbers of Avocet, Curlew, Pintail and Shelduck as well as a Peregrine sitting on one of the wooden structures.

Penduline Tit

4th April


I stopped off at Guist on my way home where I was surprised to see the high water levels. The field by the river was completely submerged. Greylag Geese, Black-headed Gulls, Coot and Tufted Ducks were all enjoying the water. I walked to Bintree Mill where two Grey Wagtails landed on some floating debris in the fast-flowing stream as Tufted Duck swam on the lake with some Coot. In one of the fields a Little Egret stood still whilst a Grey Heron stood on one of the banks. It has been lovely to enjoy some birding in the sun in Britain.


After spending the day on the garden setting out my raspberry canes and laying some new paving slabs I went for a short walk on Roydon Common where I saw a pair of Stonechat collecting nesting material. Further up on the common another male Stonechat sat watching my movements before flying off. 


5th April


There was a lone Swallow feeding over the field as I drove into work this morning.


6th April


John and I worked the dunes of east Norfolk with little result and went onto Strumpshaw where we added Common Tern, Sand Martin and Blackcap to our yearlists. John also added Swallow to his year list. At Buckenham we watched Pintail, Wigeon, Ruff and Avocet.


7th April


Passing through Guist this morning, I stopped off to look at the flooded field south of the river. I joined Dave Appleton and we watched a pair of Garganey swim across what was left of the flood. The female settled on an island whilst the male swam around her. A Black-tailed Godwit was also present.


During my lunch break at work Jenny alerted me to a Garganey on Patsy's Pool. I made my way round and joined Trevor, Kathryn and Gwynn to admire it.





















Garganey at Guist




















Garganey asleep on the bank with Mallard, Shoveller and Greylag Goose.

9th April


John and I started early and met up with Alan to stand on the little wooden bridge at Carlton Marshes in Suffolk. As we were some of the first there we had a good view across the reeds and fields towards the Juncus. John walked to the bank where a few others joined him so that they could see the area down the lines of Juncus with the idea that we could communicate between us as there were not as many birders here as we expected. It didn't take long before the American Bittern flew a long flight right the way across the marsh for us all to see. We were all delighted as it was a British tick for me and I don't get many of those a year now! We walked back and watched a Cetti's Warbler and were all back in the car park by 9am which meant that I then had plenty of time to go shopping ready for my dinner party tonight to discuss another birding adventure being planned for next year.


On my way home I saw a Red Kite at Gayton. Opening my post a field guide had arrived that I ordered many weeks ago readery for my forth-coming trip. I was beginning to wonder if I was going to have to do a birding trip with a general guide for the area. I'm certainly hoping that the weather is going to be better than here!


10th April


I made my way up to the top of Roydon Common and was hugely relieved that there were not any dog walkers in sight. These are a huge nuisance on the common as dog owners will let their dogs off from their leads causing disturbance to gound nesting birds as they scamper through the heather. I watched ground-nesting Lapwings chasing off Crows that were on the hunt for eggs and chicks. I followed the fence-line and turned the corner, slowly walking in case there were any Ring Ouzel close by. There weren't! However raising my binoculars I could see a pair of Ring Ouzel ahead of me on the short grass. I took a few distant photos before the birds flew to join three other Ring Ouzel sitting in a distant tree. A pair of Woodlark flew over me calling as they went. I walked back towards the car and watched a pair of Stonechat but could not see any colour rings on them. A dog owner then appeared with both his dogs totally out of control running all over the common. The owner quite clearly did not read the signs on the gate. Needless to say he incurred my wrath!!





















                                          Ring Ouzels





















                                              Ring Ouzel

11th April


It started as a misty unpromising day at work today, where because of the weather made it pointless being out in the car park at Titchwell recruiting new members. It was delivery day so I helped Sally and Kieren restock the shop. However shortly after lunch a visitor came into the shop with a photograph of a Hawfinch that he had taken near the Island Hide. Some of the staff went down to see it but as I already had Hawfinch as a Titchwell tick I stayed to man the shop and went down last. I dipped it as the Hawfinch flew before I got there! Curses! Lizzie was soon on the radio as the Hawfinch had flown to the Visitor Centre and our kitchen volunteer, Mandy had spotted it on one of the feeders at the front of the Visitor Centre.


The rest of the afternoon was spent in great excitement as the staff showed visitor after visitor the bird. At one point the Hawfinch sat on top of one of our bird tables that was within six inches of our window staring in at us all !!!! Magical!























Hawfinch looking into the Visitor Centre (taken from inside the VC)





















                     

                            Hawfinch tucking into Black Sunflower seeds





















            


                                            Hawfinch       























                                           Hawfinch

12th April


The Hawfinch was still present at work today. It was very foggy on the reserve but the staff knew it was going to be an interesting day as we were having new displays fitted. The Hawfinch was just as confiding as it had been yesterday coming within inches of the Visitor Centre. Sally and I remained busy and enjoyed the visitors arriving to see the Hawfinch. In the afternoon I walked down the West Bank path to see the Little Gull present on the Fresh Marsh. Whilst I walked back two Spoonbills flew over Thornham Marsh.


13th April


As Mick arrived to pick me up for work this morning a Lesser Redpoll alighted on my garden feeder. I was delighted as I don't often get Lesser Redpolls in my garden. After work Mick and I watched two Red Kites and a Common Buzzard over Sandringham.


John arrived for tea before we set off and headed for Scotland.


14th April


At first light John and I were in position at Musselburgh, Scotland.  We thought we would have a weekend 'Scoter Fest'. It was evident that the tide was out and so we went in search of a Ring-necked dick in Edinburgh which we could not find. However a Goosander on the island was good to see. We returned to Musselburgh and walked alongside the River Esk and followed the seawall. Mallard, Curlew, Turnstone, Redshank Mute Swan and Shelduck were all feeding on the river bed as we made our way out to the river mouth. Gazing out to sea we could see many small flocks of Velvet Scoter, Goldeneye, Wigeon, Eider, and four Red-breasted Mergansers. We soon located the Surf Scoter but could not find our quarry of White-winged Scoter. A few other birders arrived and we located Red-throated Diver, Black-throated Diver, several Long-tailed Duck and three Slavonian Grebe in Summer plumage. We were to be in for a long day and hunger had set in, so after swopping a few phone numbers we made our way to a local cafe for a magnificent Scottish breakfast of Haggis along with the more traditional fare.


We returned to the seawall and sat on the bench that Justin Lansdell had said that most birders had viewed the White-winged Scoter from. We had Sandwich Terns, Fulmars and Gannets fly by as Swallow, Sand Martin and Reed Bunting all added themselves to the day list. A Shag and Bar-tailed Godwit were viewed as we wandered along the seafront searching every Velvet Scoter flock. By 5.30pm I made arrangements for our accommodation for the night as it seemed that we were not going to see the scoter. We started driving but hadn't got far as Bill Unwin phoned to say a local had relocated the White-winged Scoter further along the coastal path. I phoned other birders who had also left and with a quick U-turn and a mile's hike along the seawall John and I joined a small group of delighted birders. Hugs all round! We admired the White-winged Scoter as it got gradually nearer so thatI could attempt a few phone-scoped photos. It was a sunny evening as John and I walked back to the car. We had a celebratory meal and drink in the wonderful Laird and Dog pub where the Chicken stuffed with Haggis cooked in a white wine sauce comes highly recommended!

Goosander













                  Surf Scoter with fish

















                           White-winged Scoter




























                            White-winged Scoter































                          River Esk at Musselburgh

15th April


After a delightful breakfast in the pub where we stayed the night, we motored on down to Lindisfarne where the sun had come out. We crossed the causeway and met up with Bill and Chris again and some of the birders that we had met at Musselburgh. We parked at the end of the causeway and walked over the dunes. We soon located the Black Scoter along with a few Common Scoter. Eider graced the sea as we celebrated seeing, Common Scoter, Velvet Scoter, Surf Scoter, White-winged Scoter and Black Scoter all in one weekend! It's been a longtime since I've had two British ticks in one week!

















                      Black Scoter

































                  John and Sue on Lindisfarne

16th April


I met up with Allan, Brian and Phil at Nar Valley Fisheries who were going to do the WEBS count. After a brief chat I walked the track up to the lodges where five Blackcap were competing with each other for territory. They were all males. Chiffchaff were also in full song. I did not want to stay long as I have lots to organise back at home. I saw many Tufted Duck, Greylag Geese, Canada Geese and Great-crested Grebe but little of any consequence. 


At Derby Fen a Willow Warbler was singing heartily alongside a Chiffchaff, whilst a Mistle Thrush was in full song at the top of a tree using the full capacity of his lungs!


On Roydon Common there was the usual problem of dogs off from leads tearing all over the place disturbing the ground-nesting birds. A Woodlark sang above my head before setting back near the cars. A lone Wheatear was chased about by a dog that would not let it settle to feed. Back by the car I watched a pair of Woodlark feeding in the long grass as a Stonechat sat on the fence.
























                 Woodlark singing above my head






















                         Woodlark feeding by the car park






















                                         



                                                          Wheatear


























                                           Willow Warbler

17th April


John and I had been invited by Patrick and Claire for lunch to see photos of their recent Antarctic trip taken from New Zealand down to the Ross Ice shelf via the NZ islands. They had already done the Antartic trip that I had done from Ushuia taking in South Georgia and the Falkland Islands and so I was interested to see the alternative trip. Their photos of New Zealand brought memories flooding back of my 2010 visit there but the photos of Emperor Penguins and the other islands certainly had me drooling. It gave me yet more ideas!


John and I walked Rockland Broad but apart from the House Martin that flew over Barnham Broom golf club we added no new year ticks. Three Marsh Harriers flew over the reeds and a Cetti's Warbler called from the side of us. Two Blackcaps sang from the Willow trees but the only other migrant was a lone Willow Warbler that was singing near the car park.


18th April


What a beautiful day it was to be out birding along with friends! I started at Snettisham where there were newly arrived migrants. I could hear Sedge Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat as soon as I started to walk along the bank and it did not take long to locate them. I joined Dave and Christine and together we watched Yellow Wagtail, Common Whitethroat, Chiffchaff building a nest and Whimbrel. I walked to Heacham where a Red Kite and a Swallow flew over as well as watching Marsh Harriers and Common Buzzards displaying. I retraced my steps and rejoined Dave and Christine and watched a Grasshopper Warbler reeling. A Willow Warbler sang as I walked back to the car. At Desingham Bog I saw my first Cuckoo of the year before catching up with Marcus and John.

Grasshopper Warbler reeling

19th April


A walk after work down the West Bank path at Titchwell after work made me realise what a beautiul place that it is and how lucky I am to live here in Norfolk. The reserve was almost deserted and I had the whole of the beach to myself as I scanned the sea. Great Crested Grebes were pairing up as Red-breasted Merganzers dived for food. A flock of Common Scoter had a Red-throated Diver amongst them. I walked back up the path and listened to the cacophony of sound coming from the Black-headed Gulls and Mediterranean Gulls on the Freshmarsh. Several Ruff were feeding along with a few Dunlin. Avocet and Mute Swan were also present but it did seem weird not to hear any Cetti's Warblers. Sedge Warblers were testing thier lungs as they alighted from the brambles and Willows behind the reeds.


20th April


As I was running an errand along with a colleague for Titchwell in the reserve vehicle, a Marsh Harrier flew right in front of us across the road carrying a pigeon. It was incredibly close and we were lucky not to hit it as it swooped across the hedge.


At lunch time I walked down the West Bank path at Titchwell as it was such a beautiful day. There were over a hundred Mediterranean Gulls on the Freshmarsh. A Common Tern was a fresh arrival as along with others we searched through the multitude of birds present.


After lunch I got called down to the West Bank path again to help a visitor and to sort out a technical problem. A Great Grey Shrike had been reported but along with several others I coluld not find it. Mick located a Short-eared Owl flying over Thornham Marsh. Several Ruff were looking very smart in their summer plumage as I enjoyed the sun and the amazing place that Titchwell is.


21st April


After a very successful day at work, John and I walked down the West Bank path where over two hundred Sandwich Terns had dropped into the Freshmarsh earlier in the day. Now there were only ten pairs left but the sound from the 130+ Mediterranean Gulls present was amazing. Sedge Warblers were singing from the iand the Blackcap that had sung on our way down was still singing on our return back up along the path. We finished our evening after a delightful meal in a local pub planning yet another trip that fulfill another target species of mine.


22nd April


By 6am John and I were down at Dersingham Bog where two Grasshopper Warblers were reeling. A pair of Stonechat were keeping one of the Grasshopper Warblers company. It was a beautilful morning as we watched the early morning sun rise in the sky.






























                                    Grasshopper Warbler






























                                        Stonechat

Dersingham Bog in the early morning looking from the John Denver seat

23rd April


John and I started the day at the Babcock Hide at Cley where the Black-necked Grebe was swimming and diving, often behind the reeds on the far island. It was extremely dificult to photograph as it was spending most of its time beneath the water. A Spoonbill was amongst the Greylag Geese as Pochard swam around the pool.
































Black-necked Grebe































Stew's Winter and Summer plumage!

We met up with Stew at the Cley Visitor Centre and saw three Yellow Wagtails at Gramborough Hill plus a Blue-headed Yellow Wagtail. Sand Martins were flying around as we admired several Wheatear. At Warham Greens we saw seven more Wheatear before watching Great White Egret, Glaucous Gull, Dunlin, Knot, Black-tailed Godwit and summer-plumaged Ruff at Cley. Our first Swifts of the year also flew over.


The evening at Great Yarmouth bird club was entertaining as Steve rekindled memories of birding in the Western Sahara. It is good to belong to a club where all members are birders and share experiences.


26th April


It's been a frantic week as I have been out every night and with two solid days of RSPB training ahead it was nice to take a break and go birding on the reserve at Titchwell in the afternoon. The Sandwich Terns that have arrived and stayed en-masse are still with us and are a delight to listen to. Many Mediterranean Gulls are now nesting. It will be interesting to see how many stay and breed. Many Ruff were looking good in the summer plumage that they were attaining. I spoke to many visitors who were excited about the birds that they had seen today.


28th April


Having arrived in Horsham to see my son's new house I was delighted when I realised its setting. The house is set so that it has a wood as its back garden. The panoramic windows look directly onto the wood. How wonderful! My grandchildren and I spent much of our time watching all the birds in the trees. They will soon have a big bird list! We watched Blackbird, Robin, Jay, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Woodpigeon, Crow and Jackdaw besides an abundance of Grey Squirrels. They are going to be so lucky to just run out into the woods as well as playing in the stream that runs through their garden.


During the afternoon we went to the National Trust property Nymans where Finlay put his binoculars to good use!


Finlay needing a bit of tuition as to which end to use on his binoculars!

29th April

My son Mark and grandson Finlay walked in the woods at the back of Mark's house where we delighted in all the Bluebells present. We watched Blackcap and Marsh Tits singing as well as listening to a Nuthatch calling above us.

Finlay and Sue in the Bluebells

1st May


I had intended to spend the day gardening and doing the household chores but the lure of the sun was far too much so I started the day at Roydon crossroads where a Garden Warbler was singing. After a quick chat to the warden, and stopping for a few essential supplies I made my way down to Lynn Point where a Lesser Whitethroat was singing competing with a Common Whitethroat. Another Common Whitethroat soon joined in along with a Chiffchaff. Down at the point I watched a Common Buzzard soaring as two Little Egrets were feeding at the side of the river. Along the footpath there was a commotion in the bushes as four Blackcaps were chasing each other around. A Kestrel hovered as I made my way back to the car. Swallows were flying over the fields chasing insects as I left. 


I made my way to another site within NarVOS away from the Brecks and met up with a friend who I have promised that I will not reveal and together we watched a Raven mobbing two Common Buzzards.


Later in the day I walked at Snettisham and along with Rob and Ann Gordon we watched a Common Redstart.























                            Garden Warbler





















                                                        Blackcap

Common Redstart

2nd May


After meeting up with friends for a lovely pub lunch in Wilsford Lincolnshire, John and I came back home via Frampton Marsh RSPB. It was a beautiful afternoon and we were soon making our way along the footpath to the reservoir. Here a Wood Sandpiper and Common Sandpiper were keeping some summer-plumaged Ruff company. A Little Gull was dipping in and out of the water along with many Swallow, Sand Martin, House Martin and Swift.  Over on the fields we watched a Garganey and Whimbrel along with many Golden Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, Lapwing and Dunlin. The probable escapee Carolina Wood Duck was swimming in one of the dykes before hauling itself out onto one of the banks. The flooded fields were full of birds. It was delightful birdwatching. The staff and volunteers have done an amazing job here. Driving down the road we admired the many Avocet nesting.
























                       Carolina Wood Duck (probable escapee)

























                     Carolina Wood Duck (probable escapee)

Wood Sandpiper

3rd May


After being in charge of the shop all day at Titchwell, I was relieved to have a half-hour break in order to walk down the West Bank path where I watched a Reed Warbler singing in the reeds. I could not find the reported Pied Flycatcher.


After work I drove to Holme and after watching the Whinchat in the pony field, I joined Richard Brooks. He thought he had briiefly sighted the Wryneck flying towards a Bramble bush. After a short wait I spotted the Wryneck peeking out the bush. I took a quick phone-scoped photo and decided to return to my car for my camera. Billy Rand joined us and together along with a few other birders enjoyed watching the Wryneck feeding on the ground before a dog walker came along the board walk with Greyhound dogs off their leads and flushed the Wryneck which flew out of sight. Dogs are such a nuisance on bird reserves, why do people take dogs to them?? Ground nesting birds do not stand a chance. I felt sorry for a pair of Stonechats that were trying to feed their young near where the dogs were. Grrrr...






























                                          Wryneck


























                                                          Wryneck

Stonechat

4th May


After a lovely evening meal spent with Stew and Tess I was a little worse for wear after sampling a little more than I should have done of Stew's pink Gin and so our early morning start was just a tinsy-wincy bit delayed! However after a bit of a prod and a cup of tea I was revived enough to face a small breakfast and John and I eventually made it to Potter Heigham where we walked around the lagoons which had a lot of water in them from all the rain that East Norfolk has had recently. A Spoonbill was sitting atop a tree and when it flew we realised that it was a bird from last year as it still had black wing-tips. Avocets were sitting on nests as a Cetii's Warbler called at the side of me. We watched Reed Warblers singing in the reeds and a Willow Warbler sang above us. On our way back to the car a Cuckoo perched and called as if it had a sore throat! It was a beautiful morning (what was left of it) and after a quick check of my  iphone alert from RBA, made our way to Cley and joined many of our friends watching the Purple Heron. It was good to see everyone as we swapped information on various other species that we all wanted to see. 


We motored on to Choseley and met up with other friends and thanks to Steve and Neil Bostock we located the heads of three Dotterel. It was some time before one of the birds stood up and revealed itself. There was a lot of banter and laughter amongst friends that we had not seen for a while and the sun had brought out.

Spot the Purple Heron

(let's play hide and seek!)

6th May 


At lunchtime I ran from working in the cafe at Titchwell to the gate overlooking the horse paddocks joining Kathryn and Gwyn where 2 Hobbies were flying up high over the Freshmarsh. It was a busy bank holiday and Lucy, Maureen and I had our work cut out serving all our visitors on one of the busiest days of the year. After work Lucy and I made our way to the second car park to help visitors see one of the Turtle Doves that had arrived today. Luckily it was posing on one of its favourite trees that on the assumption it was a returning bird from last year it liked to pose on last year.

Turtle Dove

On my way home I stopped at Docking and admired 3 Dotterel in one of the fields. Later at Flitcham I watched the Little Owl perched in its usual tree.


7th May


John and I decided to spend the day in Suffolk but called into Santon Downham first to find Tree Pipit. It was already twenty degrees and rising fast. We watched a bird singing and displaying before calling into Weeting Heath for a few minutes to see the two pairs of Stone Curlew present in the heat haze.





















                                                    Tree Pipit

















                      

                                   

                  Stone Curlew in the heat haze

It was a glorious day and we were full of hope to see the specatcle on offer at Lakenheath RSPB. For the last few years Lakenheath has amassed many Hobbies as they arrive from East Africa on their migration. Today we were not to be disappointed. In the sun and heat we walked to the Joist Fen watchpoint passing a singing Common Whitethroat en-route as well as a Bittern booming. When we arrived we listened to a calling Cetti's Warbler and admired all the Hobbies wheeling above our heads. I counted twenty-six at one point but there were obviously more over towards Botany Bay. All of a sudden two Bitterns got up and flew around making a most peculiar sound before being joined by a third Bittern.























                               Common Whitethroat






















                                          Hobby






















                                               Bittern





















                                              A flock of Bitterns!

The views of Bitterns and Hobbies were amazing as we sat in the sun and enjoyed our picnic lunch in the heat of the day. We walked back to the car and drove to Great Livermere and joined Dave and Christine as well as Paul Varney enjoying the views of the White-winged Black Tern. We felt in need of a celebratory drink and found a delightful local pub where we could sit in the garden and enjoy a beer and a cider before making our way to New Buckenham to admire all the Green-winged Orchids on display. It had been a wonderful day made all the better by amazing birds and fantastic weather all shared with people who share the same passion for the natural history of our area.






















                                      White-winged Black Tern































               Tree-perching White-winged Black Tern

Green-winged Orchids

8th May

After a glorious day working in the car park at Titchwell I joined several other birders at Ringstead Downs where a reported Iberian Chiffchaff was singing its heart out at the top of an emerging Ash tree. It was certainly a mixed singer! I have never been to Ringstead Downs Nature Reserve before. What a lovely reserve on such a sunny evening.





















                        Chiffchaff sp (reported as Iberian)




















                               Chiffchaff sp (reported as Iberian)

9th May


The radio crackled into action as I was working out in the car park at Titchwell with Les saying that there was an American Wigeon on Patsy's Pool. I made a quick phone call to Dave Holman who was on site and he confirmed that he had found it before letting Les know. An early lunch break was taken and I met up with several staff all admiring the American Wigeon following a female Eurasian Wigeon around the pool.



















                       Eurasian Wigeon with American Wigeon



















                                      American Wigeon

10th May


It was a beautiful evening and after leaving work I met up with Peter Dolton and together we walked the seabank at Burnham Deepdale in the hope of seeing the reported Harrier sp that has now been sighted several times along this stretch of coastline. One of the visitors to Titchwell had managed a photo of it earlier in the day and I thought it was worth investigating. It was a beautiful evening as we watched Redshank, Shelduck, Curlew, Dunlin, Ruff, Little Tern diving in the channel in front of Scolt Head and a lone Spoonbill preening. Two Marsh Harriers were in the distance. One sitting on top of a bush feeding whilst a female quaretered the ground in seach of prey. Two more Spoobill were feeding in the channel as yet another four Spoonbill flew in.Two Little Egrets could be seen in the distance . It was a lovely still sunny evening as I blessed my good fortune of living and working and working in such an amazing place so that I am able to do these evening strolls with friends after work. Peter and I admired a Reed Bunting and a Skylark singing as we walked back along the bank.


12th May


John and I were up early prepared for a busy day birding and gardening. We visited several local sites, nurseries and landscapers eventually arriving back home armed with plants and delivery notes. However after one walk we needed to investigate further and after listening to a Raven calling we discovered a nest with a sitting bird and chick with another adult sitting higher up. The deep racous call left us in no doubt to the Raven we had just seen.


Raven

After enjoying a beautiful morning we stopped off at West Newton on our way back where an adult Grey Wagtail was feeding four juvenile Grey Wagtails. The male bird was certainly being kept busy as it flitted around catching the many flies to satisfy its youngsters' hunger.






















                                  Grey Wagtail chick being fed

                                             





















                                          Five Grey Wagtails

13th May


After a morning of chores, sorting out final details with John on our forth-coming adventure and a few more gardening tasks I took a ride to check on the Ravens. An adult was still present but as I was keen to motor on, I didn't stay long. At Pentney Lakes there were very few birds present, mostly Mute Swans, Coot and a Great Crested Grebe. I drove to Nar Valley where the sun came out and a few birds were singing. I could hear a Blackcap and a very close-by Cuckoo. I stopped to retrieve my camera from the boot of my car in the hope that I could creep up on it but I was too late as it flew across the track along with a Hobby. A Kestrel joined in the fun and also flew with them. I walked the track in the hope of a Nightingale but no luck as two Blackcaps competed with each other either side of the track. Down on the lakes a few Tufted Duck and Mallard were present but the lack of hirundines was worrying. Four Swift passed overhead as I listened to Long-tailed Tit in the hedge and a Reed Warbler calling as I made my way back to the track.

Hobby

14th May


I started my day to check on the Raven's nest. The chick was still sitting tight but the adult birds were calling from the top of a tree a short distance away but I could not see them. The raucous call could be heard some distance away. I had already decided to check out another site for Spotted Flycatcher and so walked to where I had seen them before. The Ravens flew over my head calling as they went. Sadly despite searching I could not find any Spotted Flycatchers.


According to Birds of Norfolk (Taylor et al.) Ravens...."Fairly frequent breeding in the county into early/mid-19th C, but the usual persecution drove them back towards the W & N of Britain; the last nest was "taken" at Beechamwell in 1859". So finding a breeding pair of Ravens in the county has been quite exciting but I suspect they have been breeding for a few years now largely unnoticed! I know that they have been seen down in The Brecks fairly frequently this year.

























                                                      

                                                                       Raven



























                                                  Raven

15th May


John and I started the day at Potter Heigham where we noted three drake Garganey, four Common Crane that were calling and feeding in a distant field, several sitting Avocet and a few Redshank. There had been an arival of Common Swift and there were many birds screaming over our heads. We failed to find the reported Curlew Sandpiper but located two Ruff that were on the bit of mud where the Curlew Sandpiper had been reported from.


We walked to Rush Hill Scrape where apart from some Shoveler and a Shelduck there was little of note except for a few Common Terns. We returned to Potter Heigham for a final look and located six Curlew Sandpipers on the bit of mud that we had looked at earlier.

Curlew Sandpipier

17th May


It was a busy day today as Bob, Sheila and I started the task of the start of landscaping the back garden. With Bob as foreman and both of us as labourers we achieved great things. John busied himself supervising the unloading of materials as Sheila stacked all the paving slabs up ready for use. A great team effort guy! Needless to sat with the exception of watching my little garden Robin there was very little birding done!


18th May


I was working at Titchwell when a Firecrest was claimed along the entrance path. Lizzie and I went to have a look and there at the top of one of the conifers was a singing Firecrest. What a shame that Idid not have my camera with me!


After work I visited the Raven's nest in North Norfolk to find that the two chicks had fledged and were sitting nearby being attended to by one of the parents who was flying in with food. 


On returning home I watched a Long-tailed Tit bringing food into the nest that it has built in my hedge. It was such a joy to watch this delightful little bird.


19th May


After work and planning our next landscaping project, John and I drove to Sandringham where we watched two Woodcock and two male Nightjar displaying. We could hear their wing-clapping as they flew around us.


20th May


After watching Mediterranean Gulls flying overhead in the car park at Titchwell where I had a successful day it was nice to meet up with some old friends. I had permission to leave work early and headed for home.


21st May


I was meant to be packing for my next adventure but having the day off coinciding with some beautiful weather I could not resist a quick visit to Pentney, where there were eight Common Terns on the newly exposed island and a wonderful walk around Nar Valley Fisheries. Here too there were Common Terns and a Hobby flying out of the same tree that I have seen it in for the last few visits. Two Cuckoos flew across the track as I left. It was nice to meet you Sonja!


I returned home and packed my suitcase in earnest and got all my optical gear into my camera bag. I watched my Long-tailed Tit catch flies and take them to the nest in my hedge. It has been a real joy to watch its antics. However I needed to escape again and joined Ashley at Flitcham where besides a couple of House Martin, Lapwing, Pheasant, Canada Goose, Greylag Goose, Egyptian Goose, House Sparrow and a singing Yellowhammer there was little of note. I hope my notebook will be fuller next week!


22nd May


John and I drove to Gatwick where we stayed the night. As we entered the hotel room we heard a familar sound. On looking out of the window I spotted a Ring-necked Parakeet sitting in the tree outside. It was soon joined by another.


Ring-necked Parakeet

23rd May


John and I flew to Hong Kong where we later caught a flight to Taipei in Taiwan.


24th May


After clearing immigration at the airport Avis refused to let us have our booked car as they will not accept UK driving licences. In all my years of hiring cars around the world, I have never encountered this problem before. Luckily after getting a taxi to our hotel, Richard Foster arranged a guide and driver for us.


We spent the afternoon in the Botanical Gardens in Taipei.



Although I have been to many countries birding, my former partner had a dislike of Asia that prevented me from birding all round the world. I now intend to put this right and have several trips planned to fill the gaps.


John and I wanted to concentrate on the endemics and so with this in mind sought out the Taiwan Barbet and a tick that we both needed the Malay Night-heron. We saw both. As I will write my usual trip report, my diary will be brief.

Taiwan Barbet

25th May


After the disasterous start of yesterday, Richard Foster, whom we had met at Birdfair, arranged a local guide and driver to pick us up at our hotel. He had a look through our wants list and took us straight to the coast to show us the Asian Grey-headed Lapwing, a gap in my wader list that I was very pleased to see. A local park produced Taiwan Blue Magpie before we motored on to Dasyueshan for the two pheasants that are rather iconic Asian species. Patrick knew the spot and we soon had Swinhoe's Pheasant on our lists. We had an amazing day with Patrick as he knew all his calls and was very tuned into the species that we wanted to see and how important the endemics were to us.


Swinhoe's Pheasant

26th May


Patrick decided to rearrange much of our booked accommodation so that it would put us in the best spots for the birds as he knew some places that did not appear on the internet. We stayed at the top of the mountain in Dasyueshan so that we could get some early morning birding in before being at the 43km mark for 7.30am. Sure enough just after this the Mikado Pheasant appeared with its female in tow. We had another amazing day with Patrick as he found us 15 endemic birds. Nearly all the birds that I saw today were lifers

Mikado Pheasant

27th May


We started the day walking over a big suspension  bridge where we saw another two endemic birds in the shape of Chestnut-bellied Tit and Taiwan Scimitar Babbler. It was extremely hot and sunny. We drove back to the coast and birded the extensive fish ponds that were full of waders where Patrick knew had held Asiatic Dowitcher a few days previously as this was a lifer for John. The pools were full of Sharp-tailed Sandpipers but sadly no dowitchers. We admired the Great Knots and Lesser Sandplovers whilst admiring the Red-necked Stints on the bunds.



Sharp-tailed Sandpipers in the shimmering heat

28th May


After a night in a men's dormitory in a back-packers hostel on a top bunk, we were up early and drove to see a Golden Parrotbill. The altitude of 8500 feet was noticeable as we walked and waited for the birds to appear. We had delightful views of Collared Bush Robin as well as White-browed Shortwing and White-browed Bush Robin. The endemic Barwing took us much longer to find in the forested area although it was a relief to escape the extreme heat and sun for a while.


After adding a few more specialities we drove to Douliu where Patrick found an excellent sushi restaurant. Yummy!































                                                                Collared Bush Robin

29th May


Having stayed the night in Douliu John and I were very excited as Richard Foster had arranged for Mr Pitta to guide us today to find the Fairy Pitta and to help us locate the very difficult Taiwan Bamboo Partridge, the endemic that many birders fail to see on visits to Taiwan. We were hopeful that with Mr. Pitta to help with local knowledge we would be successful. Pittas can be very difficult to locate as they hop and lurk under vegetation completely out of view and so it was a great surprise to us both that after following Mr. Pitta on his motorbike into the forest we were greeted with the Fairy Pitta singing its heart out at the top of the tree as we arrived. We couldn't believe our luck having prepared ourselves for a long 'sitting it out' vigil. I needed to set up my scope so that I could phone-scope some photographs of it singing.


We watched the endemic Black-necklaced Scimitar Babbler before the quest of the Taiwan Bamboo Partridge started. Mr Pitta heard one calling and so did we but after a stake out the bird did not move out of deep cover and we gave up. However Mr. PItta knew of another area for them and we had a stroke of luck as three birds appeared in front of us before flying away into the Bamboo. Result and high fives all round!


We drove to Budai on the coast for some more wader watching and then onto Pintung University to see a Savannah Nightjar nesting on a roof that Patrick had known about since his university days there.



Fairy Pitta

30th May


Birding in mainland Taiwan had gone so well that we had nearly cleaned up on the endemics as well as gaining other lifers. We had motored from the north to the south of the island and  I was keen to get to Lanyu Island to finish the clear up. Patrick had done us proud and was really good company. He arranged a ferry crossing for us as well as some accommodation. We set sail in the sweltering sun and heat early in the morning and had a very enjoyable crossing. John does not relish boats like I do but the flat-calm sailing and with it being so hot he was as thrilled as I was to see the seabirds and Flying Fish as we approached Lanyu Island. We watched Black-naped Terns, Bulwer's Petrels as well as Short-tailed Shearwaters before stepping off the boat. We had several lifers to get on the island and Patrick felt under pressure to show us them all on our short visit of a one night stay. We hired a car and were soon in the forest watching, Phillipine Cuckoo Dove, Whistling Green Pigeon and Ryukyu Scops Owl, a tick I was delighted with since I had missed it on Okinowa along with Gunnar last year. Japanese Paradise Flycatcher took a bit more effort as we had to climb up a forested gully and wait for a pair to show themselves, which after a bit of a wait they did.





































Lanyu Island































                                                           Ryukyu Scops Owl

31st May


We had a few hours before catching the ferry back to the mainland and although we had cleaned up on the endemics, Patrick had a small surprise for us, as being a local he was constantly in touch with friends who had the latest gen on where birds were being seen. He constantly reviewed our wants-list and had had a tip off on where he could show us a another lifer. We walked up a little lane and disappeared into the forest once again, scrambling over rocks and looking up. All of a sudden Patrick found what he was searching for a Northern Boobock! I was thrilled, especially when a family party of Japanese Paradise Flycatchers were also flitting around above us.





























                                                  Northern Boobock







































                                    Japanese Paradise Flycatcher

We sailed back to the mainland and Patrick had another surprise up his sleeve! We were invited to go snorkelling in the tropical seas. After putting on our lycra swimsuits we were supplied with snorkelling gear and taken out into the hot water where the tropical fish were just amazing. What a superb holiday this was turning out to be! John and I enjoyed our experience very much and realised just how lucky we had been to have Patrick as our guide, who not only stepped in at very short notice but had looked after us well, as well as being excellent company. He even indulged us in my request for finding as many sushi restaurants as he could find whilst we were travelling!




































Sue and John in hot water snorkelling!

































Sue admiring all the fish.


























                                          It's a great life!


























                           Cuttlefish lurking as we swam around it

1st June


From the southern tip of the island we motored back up north stopping off at a temple en-route. Richard Foster had sent me a tip-off about going inside. Religious buildings are not my natural places of fascination. However there are times when I will get down on my knees! Using my telescope and pointing it up at the roof inside the temple we found a Collared Scops Owl! The officials inside the temple were so proud of their owl and even offered me a cup of tea to celebrate. The Taiwanese people have been absolutely delightful and so friendly throughout our visit.



























Zhushan Temple



































Collared Scops Owl

2nd June


After visiting a ceramics museum John and I wandered the road around Shimen Reservoir watching a Taiwan Barbet excavate a nest hole. We watched for some time as the pair knocked out more and more wood. Our time in Taiwan had come to an end and after thanking Patrick for being our guide for the duration of our holiday we flew to Hong Kong. 


Once I am back home I will set about the task of writing up a my usual trip report. I am very much looking forward to my next trips and hope they will be as successful as this trip to Taiwan has been. John and I are both indebted to Richard Foster and Patrick Lee who with out their help at the fiasco that Avis Cars left us in at Taipei Airport our holiday would not have been as successful as it was. Needless to say Avis Cars will not be having our custom again! Thank you Richard and Patrick.


5th June


Arriving back at work extremely jet-lagged I needed some fresh air at lunchtime and wandered down the West bank path at Titchwell to see the Bee Orchid alongside the path. It was a wonder that no-one had stepped on it. Seven Little Gulls were flying over the Freshmarsh as Mediterranean Gulls were loafing around on the islands. A Summer-plumaged bar-tailed Godwit was a sight for sore eyes as it joined all the other waders on view.


Later in the day I joined Lizzie, our new warden and Chris Booth to watch the Tawny Owl that had been causing problems for the other birds on the back feeders. It was now sat resting in the trees. I realised how lucky I was to work on such a wonderful reserve as we wandered down the West bank path.
























                                          Tawny Owl

































                                     Bee Orchid

8th June


After wishing my son a happy birthday, John and I made our way down to Lynn Point where we enjoyed watching the Peregrine sat in King's Lynn docks before going for a walk. We enjoyed views of a couple of Blackcaps and Common Whitethroats whilst a Little Egret took off. Sedge and Reed warblers were singing as was a Reed Bunting that sat and posed for us. We felt sad at the lack of hirundines around for the time of year. 


After completing a garage repair John and I drove to Flitcham where although NarVOS and Edward Cross have made an effort to attract Swifts to recently made and erected nest boxes, not a single Swift was seen. We enjoyed views of some Oystercatcher chicks and some Lapwing chicks being kept watched over by their parents. 


10th June


Two Red Kites made my journey home from work more enjoyable this evening.


12th June


I have spent the last two days working on my trip report to Taiwan. I have made a start on uploading it to my website and if you look at the top bar you will be able to see the section that I have uploaded so far. Apologies that I have not had time yet to finish it!


John and I had a wonderful evening walk at Barnham Broom. Down at the bridge a Kingfisher was lurking and flew off up the river. On some of the floating vegetation a Grey Wagtail was busy collectig food for its young. We walked up the farm track to the church and watched Swallows and Swifts hunting insects and as we walked back a pair of Red Kites flew over us.


13th June


Starting at Wymondham John and I watched a pair of Spotted Flycatchers collecting insects. It was good to see this fast-disappearing bird from the UK. Such a delightful bird to watch in the Sunmmer.
























                                            Spotted Flycatcher























Spotted Flycatcher

Great White Egret  



Round at Rush Hill Scrape John and I delighted in the Swallowtail Butterflies that were flying around. We saw several and had fun in the sun photographing them. A Great White Egret flew as a Black-tailed Skimmers and Norfolk Hawkers flew by us. ret White Egret
























                              Swallowtail Butterfly





















                                  Black-tailed Skimmer

As it was so hot John and I decided that a visit to a local pub was in order to quench our thirst.


We motored onto Lodden where we saw a rare form of a Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera var. chlorantha ). I have never seen this white form before.


A text from Tim Allwood alerted me to a sighting of a Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Potter Heigham. Thanks Tim. We parked on the track and walked down the track to the mill where meeting up with Patrick, Dave , Christine and Richard we admired the Buff-breasted Sandpiper on the pool running around with the Avocets, Swans and Gadwall. On another pool a Greenshank joined a Summer- plumaged Ruff. It did look amazing. It had been a beautiful Summer's day and walking back to the car Patrick decided to join us on our next venture! 

A white form of Bee Orchid


( Ophrys apifera var. chlorantha)

14th June

I have finally finished my trip report to Taiwan. It can be found at: http://suebryan.webs.com/taiwan-2018 

or use the navigation bar at the top of the page.

15th June

it was nice to see a Tawny Owl and chick at work today.

16th June

As I walked into work today I took a few photos of the Tawny Owl and chick that have been sat in the trees above the access track at Titchwell for the last few days.

An early finish at work today gave me the opportuninty to wander down the West Bank path at Titchwell and join Tony Gray watching five Spotted Redshanks feeding on the Freshmarsh. A Curlew Sandpiper was in amongst the Dunlin and Avocets. Common Redshanks were calling overhead as a Little Ringed Plover was running around the mud in front of us. A young Marsh Harrier was on the wing as well a female Marsh Harrier causing angst among the Black-headed Gulls, Mediterranean Gulls and Common Terns that all took off and flew around. Black-tailed Godwits and Bar-tailed Godwits abounded as a pair of Shoveler flew over us. We were a bit taken aback at the lack of hirundines given the fact that it is the middle of June. A lone Swift flew over as I walked back up the path.

























                                              Tawny Owl

























                                           Tawny Owl chick
























                                     Spotted Redshank

































              Curlew Sandpiper and Bar-tailed Godwit in flight

17th June


With a major air and sea search underway at Titchwell for a missing person, I started my day walking to Thornham Point. With high tide expected at 9.45am there was not much beach left as I made my way along. LittleTerns were feeding offshore. I stopped and looked over Thornham Marsh at several points as the sea raced in covering much of the marsh. As I got nearer the point Ringed Plovers and 60+ Summer-plumaged Sanderling were feeding along the tideline along with a couple of Dunlin. I tracked inland to avoid them and gazed over the marsh again. The tide was now fully up as I rounded the point. Thornham Marsh was now completely underwater. I made my way to the brick-built pill box where Linnets and a lone Grey Partridge flushed out of the bushes. I tracked my way back along the inside of the dunes and more Linnet flew in front of me. A lone Meadow Pipit sat at the top of a bush as I made my way back to Titchwell.


This afternoon a police drone located the missing person trapped in the saltmarsh to the east of the East Bank. After being rescued by the emergency services I do hope that the missing person will recover.






















               Coal Barn from Thornham Point






















       The Coal Barn from Thornham Point at high tide

Titchwell from Thornham Point at high tide

18thJune


After touring some garden centres with John, we made our way to Potter Heigham where John soon located the Black-winged Stilt. Waders abounded on the pools in the wonderful Summer weather. Three Green Sandpipers were feeding behind two Little Egrets as we watched a Greenshank busily running around feeding avidly. There were many Black-tailed Godwits and Dunlin as well as a Summer plumaged Ruff resplendent in its white attire. A Spotted Redshank was also sporting its Summer plumage as Avocets actively fed. There were many Gadwall, Shoveler and Mallard cygnets along with the Mute Swan parents. Marsh Harriers flew overhead as we admired the Norfolk Hawkers flying along the dykes. Thank goodness we could escape the football madness!


19th June


Patrick, John and I drove to Hockley Wood in Essex where following a set of instructions we soon found a small area of coppiced wood. Here we saw over 100 Heath Fritillaries. I have been adding to my British butterfly list for some years now and was pleased to add another one to it. It was good to see so many thriving here on such a lovely Summer's day. 






















                                    Heath Fritillary

                                       






























                          Heath Fritillary






















                        Patrick and Sue at Hockley Wood






















                                        White Admiral

There were also one or two White Admirals around too but it was now so hot they were very flighty and quite difficult to photograph.


We continued onto Abberton where we watched not only Banded Damoisell but Beautiful Damoiselle too by a small stream. 






















                                   Banded Demoiselle





















                                        Beautiful Demoiselle






















Sue and John relaxing in the sun watching an abundance of Banded and Beautiful Demoiselles.






















                                  White-legged Damselfly

We spent about an hour at Fringringhoe Wick where we listened to Nightingale singing which only John saw.


We drove back north to just over the border at Creem's where after a bit of a search we found our next target species, a new dragonfly for me: a White-legged Damselfly. After braving head-high nettles we soon found about ten specimens. In the heat and sun we all felt we needed some sustenance and enjoyed a welcome meal and drink in al local hostellry!


22nd June


At Titchwell the visitors have been delighted all week with an adult Tawny Owl and chick that have been sitting around the trees by the Visitor Centre. It has been a real joy watching the chick and adult interacting with each other.





























                                       Tawny Owl



























                                         Tawny Owl chick

23rd June


John and I startred our day at Maids-cross Hill, Lakenheath where we heard two Nightingales singing. After a while we saw one in flight as it dived into the brambles. A Painted Lady Butterfly was still flitting around the path as we walked back. A few Essex Skippers were also present. We admired many of the specialist flowers at this site that were open in profusion, especially Viper's Bugloss.


A walk at East Wretham produced displaying Lapwing, Shelduck, Coal Tit, Great Tit and lots of Rabbits!



































                                          

                                 Painted Lady



































                                         Essex Skipper

26th June


A wonderful evening was enjoyed by all the NarVOS members at its 'Summer Do'. After a couple of short presentations it was fascinating to see all the interesting exhibits on show. We enjoyed a social gathering with nibbles and drink and catch up with birding friends.


27th June


After an early morning of gardening and painting, John and I enjoyed a walk on Roydon Common where we saw a Woodlark and several Jays. However the sun was hot and we enjoyed a good showing of butterflies and dragonflies. We saw White Admiral, Purple Hairstreak, Ringlet, Large Skipper, Meadow Brown, Four-spotted Chaser, Broad-bodied Chaser, Keeled Skimmer, Emperor Dragonfly, Azure Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Comom Emerald Damselfly and Large Red Damselfly.


28th June


After meeting up with a friend for the evening after work and enjoying some fish and chips in Wells harbour over the high tide, I drove back to King's Lynn to watch the Fin Whale swimming up the River Great Ouse. I only had about half and hour of light left but it was good to see so many people worried about the plight of the injured animal. At oe point the animal was so close that I could not get all the whale in the photo!




















                                           Fin Whale

                                                 
















                                            Fin Whale















                                      


                                               Fin Whale














                                    Fin Whale

29th June


A frustrating morning with my bank's website trying to make my international payment for my next trip. After two and a half hours with phone calls and chat-lines I finally achieve my aim! I wonder how many hours I have spent actually organising some of my trips? I spent the afternoon gardening and watching a juvenile Great Tit in the little stream in my pond. They are just so cute when they are newly fledged!


30th June



As it was my birthday, John was treating me to a weekend away where we could spend the time with friends watching birds, butterflies and dragonflies before enjoying a meal together in a restaurant that specialised in seafood or more specifically lobster!


The weather could not have been better as the sun came out and shone all day! After receiving phone calls fom my children, we started at Minsmere where we admired Stone Curlews, Marsh Harriers and Common Whitethroats singing before moving onto Westleton Heath where we watched Small Copper and Silver-studded Blue Butterflies. At Thebberton Woods we watched Purple Hairstreaks, Emperor Dragonflies, Norfolk Hawkers and Brown Hawkers. Lin offered me a Pimms for my birthday treat which was very kind of her as we sat and enjoyed our picnic in the sunny clearing in the wood. Phil had seen a Purple Emperor Butterfly but despite Claire joining in we failed to locate it. We followed Lin and Phil to Dunwich where Phil spotted several White-lettered Hairstreak Butterflies.



Common Whitethroat






















                                             Stone Curlew





















                                          Small Copper Butterfly






















                          Silver-studded Blue Butterfly

                                            

                                        


















                                          White-lettered Hairstreak


















              Purple Hairstreak



















John and Sue celebrating Sue's birthday with a rather delicious meal!

1st July


After a full-English breakfast another hot and sunny day was before us as we made our way to Hollesley Heath where we watched Dartford Warblers and Woodlarks singing. We drove to Hollesley Marsh RSPB which was sadly all dried up before moving onto Boyton Marsh RSPB where 20 Black-tailed Godwit and 5 Avocet were finding food on the scrape. The walk at Hollesley was wonderful in the hot Summer sun as we looked over Orfordness watching all the gulls playing in the water as the tide raced in.


We stopped of at friends on the way back home where we enjoyed yet more Pimms! What a wonderful weekend it has been. A big thank you to John for making it so special.



































                  Hollesley over-looking Orfordness


































                                          Hollesley

4th July


As we were going out for a meal and I had left work early and John and I wandered down the West bank path along with Chris Mills. We watched 9 Spotted Redshank in their Summer plumage along with hundreds of Summer-plumaged -tailed Godwits. It was an amazing sight to see so many waders adorning the Fresh marsh. Over 200 hundred Avocets were also present along with a small group of Knot and a couple of Dunlin. We listened to Meditteranean Gulls calling overhead as a Marsh Harrier flew over the reed bed. John and I motored onto Ken Hill Woods where we watched Silver-washed Fritillaries, Holly Blue, Comma, Ringlet, Meadow Brown and White Admiral butterflies.





















                                    Silver-washed Fritillary

                                                      




















                                                       Comma

7th July


With the news that my son-in-law Chris had been promoted to Oxforshire's Search and Rescue as Vice-Chairman, a voluntary position in the organisation that helps to search for missing people and it was their 10th anniversary, a celebratory Hog Roast and evening band was being held in a member of the team's garden that backs onto the River Isis in Oxford. I had driven to Oxford last night after work and after watching Red Kites drifting over Chris and Kathryn's garden in the wonderful Summer sun, shopping and attending the local village fete, the three of us joined the merriment for the afternoon and evening. I consider myself very lucky to have such wonderful children and partners of whom I am very proud.Chris gives up an enormous amount of his free time to help those in trouble and we are very lucky to have him as part of our family.































                                   Red Kite

                                                       




















                                                   Red Kite

8th July


Kathryn, Chris and I went for a walk around Islip in the heat of the day and stopped by the weir where Banded Demoiselles and Azure Demoiselles were adding to the scene of Red Kites drifting overhead. We watched the Grand Prix on TV before my son Jonathan came over and joined us for a BBQ in the back garden. What could be better than Summer sun, family, Pimms and a wonderful relaxing time watching Red Kites drifting right overhead? Bliss!


10th July


A Tawny Owl kept me awake  during the night before I saw it fly out of my Cherry tree.


Now back at work after a wonderful long weekend, I wandered down the West Bank path at Titchwell during my lunch break where the Temminck's Stint had gone missing from the Freshmarsh. I sat next to a visitor who was also looking for the stint. After a search with my binoculars I spotted the stint a fair way from where it had gone missing and asked the visitor if I could borrow his scope. He was delighted as I put his scope on the Temminck's Stint.


After work I met up with John, Ann and Andrew Duff at Holkham and found the small colony of Creeping Ladies Tresses. Andew showed us a small micro moth that inhabits the Holm Oaks and a colony of Ant-lions. We then went for a marvellous meal at a local restaurant to talk about our planned three week birding trip next year. Ann has done lots of research and work on the trip and with several internal flights it should be an amazing trip!


11th July


I met up with Kathryn and Gwyn after work and together we admired the Freshmarsh at Titchwell that was 'hooching' (an 'in'word for Titchwell staff) with birds. The Mediterranean Gull chicks are all fledging now along with the Black-headed Gull chicks and 628 Avocets covered the Freshmarsh. There were many Black-tailed Godwits and a Garganey kept the Mallard and Gadwall company. A juvenile SandwichTern flew in accompanied by and adult as Swifts were catching insects overhead.


On my way home I nearly ran over a Bullfinch at Bircham as it fed in the road near the pond. A Red Kite was also flying nearby.


As my neighbour's are away and I have no interest in the football I wandered outside to water my neighbour's garden. As I walked around I had to rescue a Hedgehog in the road before it got squished. It was a very thirsty little chap/chapess as I gave it some water. I thought it might drink the bowl dry! So please remember to put some water out for our wildlife!























                                                Hedgehog













                                                   







                                                Hedgehog

12th July


It was the Wensum Valley Bird Club Summer do and so after work I joined all the other members for an evening of good food, good company and quizzes. Tim certainly impressed me with his knowledge. A big thanks to Lin for orgainising it. 

13th July

Lesser Yellowlegs


Thanks to Carrie relieving me in the kitchen at Titchwell I ran down the West Bank path just in time to be told that the Lesser Yellowlegs had just flown off. I was not a happy bunny as I made way back up the path knowing that I had missed a Titchwell tick by a few minutes. Luckily the bird returned and Margaret let me have an early lunch and I ran down the West Bank path once again. Ray kindly let me look through his scope at the bird just in front of me standing next to a Spotted Redshank. Now I was a very happy bunny and the jinx of Friday 13th was dispelled! I managed a few photos hand held on my phone through Ray's scope. Thanks Ray!


The Freshmarsh was heaving with waders. Black-tailed Godwits, Avocets, Spotted Redshank and Redshank make it a wonderful sight along with a Garganey, Little Gull, Mediterranean Gull and Swifts screaming overhead. What an amazing place to work!


13th July


John and I left home early and drove to Arnside in Cumbria. We had enjoyed the area last year and vowed to return in Summer to see the butterflies on Arnside Knott and to have a short holiday. We arrived in glorious weather and climbed up The Knott where we soon found a couple of people photographing a High Brown Fritillary. After taking lots of photos they told us about a Scotch Argus that they had seen earlier. John went in the direction that they had said and soon located it. We all enjoyed watching it and blessed our good fortune. We also saw Meadow Brown, Large White, Grayling, Gatekeeper, Ringlet, Speckled Wood, Common Blue, Peacock and Small Skipper butterflies. The weather could not have been better as we wandered around admiring the butterflies and wonderful scenery. What a wonderful place for peace and quiet to be away from all the madding crowd that seem to gather at Summer events.


The afternoon was spent wandering around Gait Barrows and Myer's Allotments where we saw similar butterflies and Brown Hawker dragonflies.


We walked along the promenade at Arnside and enjoyed an ice-cream over-looking the estuary before a very enjoyable meal in the local pub over-looking the estuary once again.
































                                                            High Brown Fritillary



                                          



























                                           High Brown Fritillary





























                                                                  Scotch Argus



























                                                      Grayling































                                                                   Arnside


Cheers!



Pimms at its best!

July 16th

John and I started the day at Fowlshaw Moss, Cumbria where we watched an adult Osprey and three juvenile Ospreys. After watching two juveniles being fed in the nest, we watched the adult attending one of the juveniles after its maiden flight in a nearby tree.


Moving onto Meathop Moss we watched another two Ospreys and a juvenile Osprey in a nest. We drove to Witherslack to investigate another butterfly site and watched a young Peregrine calling for food on the cliff edge.


We returned to our B and B at Arnside and sitting outside to have our lunch we heard the siren go to warn of the tidal bore surging up the River Kent estuary. It was an amazing sight to see the water completely cover the mud in less than a minute. We were totally taken aback at how quickly the whole estuary was completely filled up with water in such a short space of time. Anyone out on the mud would not have a chance of escape.


After lunch we climbed up to Arnside Knott once again where I located a Dark-green Fritillary to add to our ever-growing butterfly list.


The evening was spent once again in one of our favourite pubs over-looking the estuary.You cannot beat a Pimms and an excellent meal after a sucessful day over-looking the River kent estuary on a wondeful Summer's evening.























                                                Meathop Moss



                                            



















                                                Osprey
























                                                River Kent estuary at Arnside

                              






                                   

















                      The tidal bore racing up the estuary

Dark-green Fritillary






























                 






                          Sue by the River Kent estuary at Arnside




































                               John by the River Kent at Arnside

17th July


After a lovely pre-breakfast walk along the River Kent estuary where we watched Curlew and an Oystercatcher we bade farewell to our B and B and drove to Scandale Beck and Smardale where we walked along the old railway line. We admired many wild flowers and watched a family of Bullfinch in the vegetation.


Driving onto Langdon Beck we soon found two Black Grouse lurking in the grass on the lecking site after watching a Dipper on the river. Several Red Grouse were also watched in the area before we drove to Bishop Middleham Quarry in County Durham. It has been 16 years since I was last here watching Bee-eaters nesting at this site. I was now back to see the famous Dark-red Helleborine that the quarry is reknowned for. The proliferation of the species here was just wonderful as were all the other wild flowers that abounded here too. We admired the Fragrant Orchids here as well.




































                               

                                 Sue by Scandal Beck




































                                                Langdon Beck























                                              Black Grouse
















                                          

                                                            





                                                       Dipper





















                                         


                                    Dark-red Helleborine
























                                             





                                                            Dark-red Helleborine




































                                            Common Fragrant Orchid
































                           Marsh Fragrant Orchid






















                                                



                                                      Meadow Crane's-bill
























                                                     Six Spot Burnet

Small Scabious


I must say a big thank you here to all those of you who send me nice messages about my website. I'm glad that you enjoy it and it gives lots of ideas to those of you that like to get out and about to enjoy nature and wildlife as I do.



I must also say a big thank you to John for helping me to increase my UK Butterfly List (now up to 51 species) , Dragonfly List and Orchid List! (still to work these out!)





18th July


I walked down the West bank path at Titchwell to be met with a stunning sight of a Freshmarsh covered with hundreds of waders. Black-tailed Godwit, Avocet, Ruff, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Greenshank, Curlew Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs and a Little Ringed Plover added to other birds gracing the reserve. Eight Spoonbill flew in and joined Bearded Tit, Mallard, Pied Wagtail, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull and Common Tern all present on the marsh. I joined the other birders admiring all the shapes that the starling pre-roost was making. I know I am biased but it is an amazing reserve!























                                          Lesser Yellowlegs





















                                                  Lesser Yellowlegs


























                                           Pied Avocet






















                                                        Little Ringed Plover

19th July


I spent a lovely evening at the Wensum Valley Birdwatching Society's 'Summer Do'. It was good to meet up with friends and talk about our travels and birding. Thanks must go to Lin for organising the event and to all those who brought and provided food and drink. Once again the Pimms was fantastic Lin! (It's getting a bit of a habit Lin !)  


20th July


Working out in the car park at Titchwell today along with Ian, we managed to add to our car park year list. We added Whimbrel, Grey Heron and Great Spotted Woodpecker to it. Mediteranaean Gulls are still a regular flyover bird, especially as some of the juveniles have fledged. 


I am also a very proud mum as my daughter phoned to tell me that she had been informed that she hed been offered the job that she had been interviewed for a couple of weeks ago. It wll be quite a career promotion for her. Well done Kathryn! With my elder son having been made a director and now managing the UK arm of his company from their London office and my other son also having a new job with a bigger firm with more responsibility, I am extremely fortunate that all my three children have done so well. What a lucky mum I am!


21st July


John and I were in Norfolk searching for orchids. We found a few examples of Bog Orchid at a sensitive site. We also found a Lesser Butterfly Orchid.








































                                        Bog Orchid







































                                        Lesser Butterfly Orchid

23rd July


After spending the morning and early afternoon gardening harvesting my Broad Beans that I have grown this year in my veg plot and picking my raspberries from my new fruit cage, I finished trimming the hedges and drove to John's and then together we attended Great Yarmouth bird club. Paul Noakes was giving a talk on Bolivia. He gave a very entertaining talk which brought back many happy memories of some of the wonderful birds that I saw there a few years ago. 


I have had an exasperating few days with yet another Windows 10 upgrade causing my laptop issues with my photos and also with my website refusing to load them! Grrr!! 


25th July


After a lunchtime walk down the West Bank path at Titchwell I decided to stay after work to walk down the path again as the Freshmarsh was crammed with birds. Over 600 Avocets were a wonderful sight. So after coping with the shop's delivery day I joined Tim and John and together we watched the Lesser Yellowlegs on the Tidal Pool and then studied all the birds on the Freshmarsh. Two Little Stints were amongst the Dunlin and several Knot in Summer plumage were amongst the Black-tailed Godwit. Three Curlew Sandpiper lurked amongst more Dunlin and Tim spotted a Common Sandpiper and a Common Snipe. I helped a visitor find a Mediterranean Gull as most of our Mediterranean Gulls have now left after breeding. Three Greenshank called above Tim and I and landed on the Freshmarsh. Some of the Turnstone were still in their resplendant Summer plumage. Ten Spoonbill all took flight as the whole of the Freshmarsh birds took to the air. What a magnificent sight it was as all the birds flew around before landing back down again. Many Black-tailed Godwit are still in their Summer plumage as the Ruff are beginning to moult theirs out. Spotted Redshank can also be seen as well as Common Redshank. Bearded Tit called as we watched several feeding on the mud. Titchwell is ceratinly a wonderful reserve!


28th July


The NarVOS members newsletter arrived by email early this morning. Many members will know that our sightings sheet has not been all that it could be for a couple of years now and there have been many complaints to both myself and the committee by various members, so it was good to have a much better version this month. I know the Norfolk recorder was aware of the situation so it was good to have Graham take up the task. Knowing how thorough Graham is with his data on Butterflies and Dragonflies and is a fountain of knowledge I am sure he will make a good job of the sightings sheet and at last the teddy that has been being thrown around lately can at last be put to bed!


John and I were soon on our way a John drove down to Canvey Island. It was slow going along the M11 in some places but at least we kept going! Patrick had given us some instructions but Google maps had other ideas! After a couple of unnecessary miles at the end we found the embankment and walked the dried out ditch beneath it. It was not long before we saw our first Southern Migrant Hawker. A Ruddy Darter landed in front of me but we were keen to photograph the rare Southern Migrant Hawker. For the last 3 years this migrant dragonfly has formed a small colony along with a few other places and is a potential colonist. We walked most of the length of the ditch and probably saw at least twenty specimens of Southern Migrant Hawker in total. It was a hot windy day and taking photographs was not east as we only saw male specimens that were chasing each other off territories.































                                            Southern Migrant Hawker






























                                                    Southern Migrant Hawker 

29th July


A phone call this morning had me scurrying to Snettisham where I met up with Steve, Trevor, Ashley and Paul Nobbs. After Steve kindly let me look through his scope whilst Trevor kindly lined mine up for me I was soon watching the Semi-palmated Sandpiper along with about twenty other Norfolk birders. It was good to get yet another Norfolk tick and to be so close to home. After taking a few phone-scope photos I ran back to the car and fetched my camera but sadly the bird was a bit too distant for my lens. I contemplated joining Steve Gantlett who was sat much closer but the rain started and I was enjoying the banter with Steve and Paul.

























                                               Spot the bird !

























                                                Semi-palmated Sandpiper

and now to see the semi-palmations on feet of the Semi-palmated Sandpiper





















                     Semi-palmations on the Semi-palmated Sandpiper



























                            Semi-palmations on the Semi-palmated Sandpiper

30th July


As I drove to work just beyond Anmer I was surprised by 4 Red Kites that flew over my car in close proximity to one another. One bird was in quite heavy moult. On my way back from work I had anorther Red Kite fly over my car in more or less in the same spot.


31st July


Alerted to an Alpine Swift flying along the coast at Titchwell as I arrived at work I ran down the West Bank path jut in time to see the flock of Swifts that it was with but could not pick the bird out as they flew towards Thornham Point. A little later the flock flew back and over our heads but sadly the Alpine Swift was not amongst the Common Swifts.


Leaving work early I walked down the West Bank path and joined the other birders in Island Hide where there was a Wood Sandpiper in front of the hide. The Lesser Yellowlegs was on the tip of one of the islands. There were many Black-tailed Godwit and Avocet on the Freshmarsh as well as good numbers of Curlew Sandpipers.


NarVOS members enjoyed a talk about Spanish birding and photography this evening. The film about Griffon Vultures stripping and eating a dead sheep was most entertaining if a little gory! A select group enjoyed a drink in the pub after the meeting too!


1st August


I went for a stroll at lunchtime down the West Bank path at Titchwell to get a breath of fresh air after being in the shop all morning. It was wonderful to see the Freshmarsh looking so good packed with waders. The Lesser Yellowlegs was still present but the spectacle of all the Black-tailed Godwit and Avocet was a sight for sore eyes. There were many Ruff and a few Curlew Sandpiper. It was a shame that I could not stay longer but someone has to man the shop!


3rd August


John and I had an early start and drove down to Dorset to the Isle of Purbeck. It was a glorious day and we stopped at a small quarry face near Steeple where we found a few Lulworth Skippers. My Fifty-second species of butterfly for the UK. 

Lulworth Skipper


We saw many Common Blue, Meadow Brown and Marbled White Butterflies before moving on to Lulworth Cove. Here tourists were abundant and I wish I could say the same for the butterflies but I can't as the grass was scorched brown as we walked the coastal path. We added Grayling and Wall Brown to our day list as well as Chalkhill Blue but sadly no more Lulworth Skippers.































                                    Sue at Lulworth
































                    John taking the perfect picture!

We motored onto Portland Bill where there were many Wall Browns and more Chalkhill Blues. A pair of Ravens kept us entertained as did a young Northern Wheatear. The heat was exhausting as the thermometer rose even higher. We were expected at Richard and Jen's for the evening at Sherborne where a gorgeous evening meal awaited us. Sitting in their wonderful garden it was lovely to share a gin or two as we admired the wonderful grand rockery that Richard had constructed.


























                                                             Ravens


























                                                       Raven

4th August


Yesterday was my daughter's 30th birthday and she had invited many friends and family to a party that was due to take place in Islip village hall today. Once again it was a glorious day and a few of us had arrived early to help set up the proceedings. The temperature rose once again and we all had to drink copious amounts to keep hydrated. Red Kites flew over us as we all enjoyed the BBQ.

My children (and partners) and grandchildren

5th August

Sue with Jackdaw


Sitting on Kathryn's patio in Islip this morning just after breakfast we were all joined by a Jackdaw that grew rather friendly!

John, Carrie, Chris, Kathryn and I all went for a walk at the wonderful RSPB reserve at Otmoor. Here John spotted a couple of Common Cranes flying over as the rest of us admired all the Red Kites that were flying around before landing on the ground before sitting up in the trees.























                                        Common Cranes at Otmoor
























                                            Red Kite at Otmoor






















                                                        Red Kite























                                           Red Kite

Red Kite


With the weather being so wonderful this Summer it has been a real treat to have weekends and weekdays away seeing birds, butterflies and dragonflies sharing time with family and friends.

7th August


Today was a day where there was nothing scheduled on my calendar and so I took the opportunity to get up early to prepare a checklist for my next big trip before the heat took its toll on my computer working area, as between the day of my departure and now I really don't have many spare days. Things were going well printing out my checklist until the ink ran out half way through. Grrrrr!! Shopping was done a little earlier than planned so that I could finish printing the checklist.


My garden was in desperate need of some attention and so most of the day was spent sorting it out before the big event tomorrow! No birding was done except for watching the development of the House Martins on my nextdoor neighbour's house. At least 3 chicks are near to fledging. I have been concerned about the nest drying out in the drought, but all seems well so far.

House Martin chicks

8th August


It was the big event today and many well-respected birders and friends all met up and had a very enjoyable evening swapping tales of travels all around the globe. We started on the terrace enjoying a drink or two before tucking in to a fantastic meal. Although I have several trips planned there seems to be an endless supply of other fantastic ideas of birding destinations. John gave a short speech before circulating yet more ideas of trips past and thoughts of future trips. It was good to meet up with friends that I have shared the last few years with again.


9th August


On my way back home this morning I stopped off at Pentney where the grass surrounding the lake has grown very long because of the lack of grazing this Summer. On the island the Egyptian Geese were keeping two Black-tailed Godwit company quite an unusual bird for here. Two Common Sandpipers were around the lake edge as House Martins were feeding in the air above the lake. A few  Black-headed Gulls, Moorhen and Coot kept the Mallards and a Grey Heron company.


I have spent the afternoon sorting out my database on my computer along with IOC splits. It would seem that I have gained quite a few armchair ticks! It's a good job I have a validation facility as otherwise it would be an impossible task!


11th August


Waking up to rainit was good to see a Song Thrush on my lawn pulling up worms,a sight that I have ot seen at home for many months!


I had been invited to a meal at Snettisham sailing club along with friends that coinicided with the high tide. Although a little noisy for my liking it was fascinating watching all the seabirds flying by close as we ate.


12th August


After work today I walked down the West Bank path at Titchwell and met up with Geoff and Pat. After I had watched 3 Water Rails and twelve Spoonbills we watched a Common Sandpiper and many Bearded Tits hopping around the base of the reeds by Island Hide. There were many Avocet on the Freshmarsh as well as many Ruff and Black-tailed Godwit. We all watched a Bittern fly over the reedbed towards Willow Wood.