Norfolk Birders

Norfolk Birdwatching and beyond!

Sue's Diary 2013


1st January

Happy New Year!

I was off to a good start to the day as I watched a Barn Owl in the gloom on my way to work at Titchwell RSPB. There we a flock of Brambling in the hedgeline at Choseley.

I was working today out in the car park, where as usual for the 1st of January, it was chaotic. The birders were on site early for the start of year-listing followed later on by all the visitors on holiday. The car park was soon full. I managed to see a few Goldfinch and my usual Robin kept me company as I talked to people. A flock of Golden Plover flew over which was the highlight of my day! I finished the day with a yearlist of 26 species!

2nd January

Still working at Titchwell I added Lesser Redpoll and Marsh Harrier to my year-list but finished the day with a yearlist of 34 species!

3rd January

A few Siskin at Titchwell meant that I now have 38 species on my yearlist!

6th January

Paul and I thought we would visit some NarVOS sites and started at Fakenham where we saw a Grey Wagtail. We moved onto Sennow Park where a walk along the railway line produced several Bullfinch and some Fieldfare in a nearby field. At Raynam I tried to show Paul a Nuthatch and a Treecreeper but they were too quick for him as they disappeared round the back of the trees and promptly disappeared! At Castle Acre we watched a Kingfisher as it flew over a bridge. I ended the day on 55 species for my yearlist.

7th January

I had a day out with my friend Jill and my daughter Kathryn today. We headed up to Cley and decided to walk right around the reserve. Kathryn and I needed to burn off a few mince pies! We started at Dauke's Hide where we added Shoveler, Pintail, Teal, Wigeonand  Dunlin to our yearlists before setting off along the road to the beach, as the West Bank was a bit muddy. Brent Geese were present in Eye Field but there was nothing of note on the sea. Heading along to North Hide I spotted what I thought could be a flock of Snow Bunting flying along the shingle ridge. After a brief stop in North Hide, Jill and I had another view of the Snow Buntings as we made our way towards East Bank. On Arnold's Marsh I added Ringed Plover, Redshank, Knot and Oystercatcher to my yearlist before heading along East Bank and back to the Visitor Centre where we all enjoyed lunch in the warm.

9th January

At lunch-time today I grabbed my sandwich and headed down the West Bank at Titchwell where a Green Sandpiper was lurking on Thornham Pool. Near Parrinder Hide, a Water Pipit was moving along the bank in amongst the Teal down at the water's edge. I spotted 2 Common Snipe there too. Out on the Freshmarsh Avocet and a Lesser Black-backed Gull put themselves of my yearlist. Back on Thornham Pool as I walked back up the Greenshank had reappeared and a Water Rail was in the ditch by the Visitor Centre (thanks Andy!). My yearlist has swelled to 81 species!!

13th January

NarVOS Bird Race Day!

Paul and I teamed up with Trevor and Ben Rackstraw to compete in the NarVOS Birdrace today. With the exception of the river at King's Lynn the NarVOS area has no coastline which makes the birdrace a bit more difficult. We started in the dark at Tottenhill where we saw a few species and saw a Tawny Owl at Watlington before making our way to Stowbridge. Here we walked down the side of the channel where we saw at least ten Green Woodpeckers. This is the most I have ever seen on a birdrace. Common Snipe flew out of the grass as Whooper Swans flew over and at least 6 Goosanders swam on the river.

At Lynn Point we struggled for waders as the tide was still too high but we did see Green Sandpiper, Little Egret, Marsh Harrier, Great Crested Grebe and Common Buzzard here.

We had a short walk around Sandringham where the woods were deathly quiet. We saw out usual Tree Sparrows at Flitcham before arriving at Narford Lake where we added Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye and Pochard to our list.We were lucky with a Grey Wagtail at Narborough and returned to King's Lynn  where the tide had dropped to add Ringed Plaver to our list. Late in the day we watched 3 Hen Harriers at Roydon Common before meeting up with all the other teams at Knight's Hill.

We came a creditable second with 96 species.

My yearlist is now 103 species.

15th January

Driving to work near Heacham I had a Woodcock fly over the car. It was hazardous driving as we had a lot of snow overnight.

19th January

With a lot of snow lying on the ground still, Paul Kathryn and I watched a Woodcock and Redwing scratch around for food under the shelter of some trees by the postbox in Roydon.

20th January

Paul and I braved the snow and wind and drove to watch the birds from all the bridges along the River Great Ouse Relief Channel from Saddlebow to Stowbridge. We saw at least ten Goosander and a Red-breasted Merganzer amongst all the Mallards and Coot. At Tottenhill there were four female Smew.

22nd January

A flock of Barnacle Geese at Titchwell today will keep everyone guessing as to whether they are feral birds or not!

23rd January.

I walked very carefully down the icy path at Titchwell where Tony alerted me to ten Bewick's Swans flying over towards Brancaster. Two Spotted Redshanks were in the channel on Volunteer Marsh before one took off leaving the other all alone. I picked my way very carefully up on to the boardwalk, where after  a short wait, the Lapland Bunting fed amongst the Skylark and Linnet. This was a different bird to the one that has been present for the last few days. Later I joined Phil for the harrier roost and we watched as several Marsh Harriers and a Hen harrier drop into the reedbed. Many Curlew took off from Thornham Marsh at dusk and as we waited and we could hear Water Rail and Bearded Tits calling. My yearlist has climbed to 111 species. 

26th January

Paul and I joined the NarVOS group outing to Welney where the snow still covered most of the ground. The heated hide was certainly a good place to be in the freezing conditions. Whooper Swan were in front of the hide along with hundreds of Pochard. Over 200 Black-tailed Godwit were standing on the ice before they took to the air in a whirling display for us all to see. Further over a few Bewick Swan swam in a small piece of clear water surrounded by ice. A couple of Meadow Pipit flew around before a warden threw out some grain for the swans and ducks to feed on.

On our jouney home we admired a Red-breasted Merganser and Goosander at Magdalene bridge on the relief channel of the River Great Ouse.

27th January

Paul and I stopped off at Hunstanton cliff top to add Fulmar to our year list before heading to Titchwell where we met up with Trevor on the platform at the end of the pathway. He alerted us to a Scaup on the sea as well as telling us about the Twite that we had missed flying by! Common Scoter were tea-leaves in the distance but a Common Eider was much closer. I added Bar-tailed Godwit to my yearlist but could not find the Purple Sandpiper that had been reported yesterday.

At Holkham we stopped to add White-fronted Goose to our yearlist before heading home. At King's Lynn we watched a Barn Owl at the end of the day.


2nd February

On our way to Andover at Oundle Paul and I saw several Red Kites.

3rd February

Paul and I took Paul's mum for a stroll around Rooksbury Mill in Andover. Here we were delighted as two Otters played in the lake and allowed us to watch them as they swam after fish.

5th February

Now that I have a bit more time by only working three days a week I eventually got myself to Thetford where a Black-bellied Dipper has been on show for several weeks. It is unusual for dippers to be in East Anglia and when they do arrive they are usually of the black-bellied form.

Black-bellied Dipper









9th February

For once it was a still sunny day and Paul and I made our way to Titchwell where we walked down the main path to look at the female Long-tailed Duck sat on a pool on Thornham Marsh. It seemed unusual for a Long-tailed Duck to be away from sitting on the sea but this bird does fly around from time to time. After watching all the Common Scoter out at sea and scanning through the birds on the beach we walked to Patsy's Pool where a Bittern flew across the reeds. Two Common Snipe were probing in the mud as we watched a flock of Pochard take off from the Freshmarsh.

Later we joined birders at North Wootton marsh where we watched Pink-footed Geese.

10th February

Paul and I joined the NarVOS group outing to east Norfolk. We had a wild goose chase and it took us over 3 hours to find the Taiga Bean Geese. They had been hiding along side the railway track at Cantley and it wasn't until lunch time that they became visible. It was bitterly cold and we had had several false starts at Buckenham, Cantley and Schoolhouse road. White-fronted Geese, Canada Geese, Pink-footed Geese and Egyptian Geese were all seen as well as a hybrid goose. We also visited the hide at Buckenham where Wigeon, Teal and Gadwall were out in front of the hide. We watched a couple of Common Buzzards as well as a Marsh Marrier.

We travelled on to Fritton and Waveney Forest where at the mound we could view Haddiscoe Marshes. After a short wait and much searching we located 2 Rough-legged Buzzards being mobbed by a Marsh Harrier. A Peregrine flew across as we all complained about the cold.

12th February

Taking Paul with me, I searched whilst he sat in the car for the Slavonian Grebe that was still being reported at Wiggenhall St Peter. After much searching and walking along the Relief Channel I managed to get a distant view of the Slavonaian Grebe. I drove to Polver Sluice and Paul and I searched once again, only to find the bird had resurfaced right back where I had parked the car the first time by the sewage works! We also saw a couple of Goosanders and a Red-breasted Merganser amongst many Tufted Duck and Mallard.

16th February

Paul and I made our way to the outskirts of Norwich near Spire Hospital where at Bowthorpe Marshes a Great White Egret had been seen. We soon located it feeding in a flooded area along with a Little Egret.

Great White Egret

We stopped off in Hellesden where we failed to locate any Waxwings that had been seen earlier in the week at Nursery Close. We then made our way to Salthouse where Paul spotted a Shag out to sea along with a Razorbill. Unfortunately we were just a bit too late to see the Shore Lark that had been flushed by a walker and so Dave Holman told us where to look for the Purple Sandpiper at Cley. We cut our losses and drove to Cley where we eventually found the Purple Sandpier on Eye Pool. A pair of Stonechats flitted around as we ate our crab sandwiches in the car. The flock of Brent Geese filled the air honking as we ate the last few crumbs.



Luckily Dave had re-found the Shore Lark at Salthouse and had been quick to put it back on the pager and so we returned back to there. A quick walk on the shingle ridge to the other side of Gramborough Hill saw the Shore Lark feeding near the edge of a puddle. Out at sea were a string of Wigeon and six Red-throated Divers.

Shore Lark








17th February

At last the sun shone as Paul and I made our way to Titchwell. We headed straight down to the beach as I was keen to be there early, as the Twite flock is often seen first thing in the morning flying up and down the beach from the end of the boardwalk. Here we met Trevor Girling and together we scanned the sea. A few Red-throated Divers were offshore along with a few male Eider Duck. A few Goldeneye added to the scene before a Black-throated Diver came close inshore and drifted towards Thornham. Paul picked out a Guillemot for a yeartick. After a couple of hours of watching we heard Goldfinch fly over us that setted down just along the beach. I quickly moved my scope and scanned them, picking out two Twite before a birder walked right through them and flushed them. Luckily Paul managed to see one just before they flew.

We slowly headed back along the path and stopped to see the Red-crested Pochard along one of the main drains of the Freshmarsh. Bearded Tit called from the reedbed and did a couple of flights over it.

At Holme we walked out over the golf course and watched 34 Snow Buntings on the beach along with a big Linnet flock. There were Goldfinches and Greenfinches amongst them too. It was a beautiful day and it was good to have some good weather to admire the birds in.

19th February

A wander around The Brecks yesterday produced a pair of Willow Tit. Paul and I were treated to good views as one called even though it was still quite foggy. We went on to Boughton Fen where a female Marsh Harrier emerged from the reeds before disappearing from view. By now the sun had come out but we were surprised at how few birds we saw here.

21st February

By 7.30 am Paul and I were at a vantage point near Houghton to see if we could see the reported White-tailed Eagle that has been in the area for a few days. For two hours along with Andrew Bloomfield we did not see any raptors at all. However it was good to see 50+ Lesser Redpolls and a few Mealy Redpolls that landed several times in the hedgerow along with 20 + Bramblings. Later a few Linnets landed a bit further along the hedgeline. Paul and I decided to drive to another location and were rewarded with magnificent views of a Goshawk that certainly frightened the Rooks, Fieldfare and Redwings that were around. A male Sparrowhawk flew over the bonnet of the car later on as we drank our coffee and soup.

We drove back to a view of Houghton hall and met up with David Norgate where we watched Common Buzzards for a while.

Deciding to return to our original location we watched a Barn Owl before moving once again, this time to an area not far from Anmer crossroads. Here we watched a Red Kite as it flew overhead several times.

Red Kite



Feeling hungry we returned home for a quick lunch before making our way to the back of the hospital at King's Lynn where we searched for Short-eared Owl. After an hour we saw one hunting alongside the dyke. We then returned back to the Anmer crossroads and positioned ourselves to overlook Bunker's Wood. We waited in the cold for a while before David alerted to the fact that he had sighted a large bird along with two Common Buzzards behind us. We thought it was worth investgating and started driving back towards the crossroads. Soon an emergency stop was required as the White-tailed Eagle literally flew right over our heads. (Thanks David!) Where was my camera?.............I had left it at the bottom of the stairs at home when we had returned for lunch. Curses!!!!!!!!!!!!

26th February

After several attempts in Downham Market and Swaffham over the last few weeks, I finally caught up with Waxwings at the top of Tumbler Hill in Swaffham thanks to a message from Ian on the NarVOS Yahoo group page.































28th February

As I got up this morning the sun was shining and so decided to see if I could see the White-tailed Eagle again. After standing over-looking Bunker's Hill for a few hours, all I saw were a few Common Buzzards and Alan Livingstone (lovely to see you again Alan!). I decided to try my luck at Wolferton for the Golden Pheasants after watching a Sparrowhawk at Anmer, when the pager said that the White-tailed Eagle was flying around the Flitcham Area. Here I joined up with Carl Donner and together we just missed seeing it despite being told by many other birders where it had flown to. We tried along at Harpley Dams and managed to see the WTE being mobbed by a Common Buzzard. It flew back towards Flitcham and I stopped off at Happy Valley Road and watched two Hen Harriers in a field before joining Carl once again to watch the White-tailed Eagle being mobbed by several Common Buzzards.




2nd March

Paul and I arranged to have a day out with John and Judy Geeson. We started at Wolferton where after an hour and a half wait and a bit of help from Dave Jackson we watched a Golden Pheasant run across the road.









                                                                                              Golden Pheasant

We continued to the Houghton area and watched many Common Buzzards and a Hen Harrier before having a lovely pub lunch at Harpley. As the White-tailed Eagle had not been seen we went for a walk and watched many woodland birds including a pair of Willow Tit. As I would not want this pair disturbed I shall not say where we were.


Willow Tit










3rd March













                       Reed Bunting                                                                                Water Rail

Paul and I took a stroll at Sculthorpe Moor where we watched flocks of Redpoll, Siskin and Bramblings before admiring a Reed Bunting and Water Rail from The Whitley Hide. En-route to the Wensun River we watched a Bank Vole scurrying about.

Bank Vole









12th March

Another cold day in Norfolk and Paul and I ventured to Houghton once again to follow up a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker report that had been seen dumming. Unfortunately the wind was rather bitter and I felt it was just too windy where the bird had been seen a day or so earlier. We drove to a more sheltered spot and watched a Willow Tit for a while before it disappeared. We walked in Bunker's Hill Wood where a Treecreeper crept up a tree and a Tawny Owl called.

14th March

At Cockley Cley Paul and I went in search of Woodlark. After abour 3 hours of searching we finally caught up with one singing above our heads. A Hen Harrier swooped low across one of the fields as a Common Buzzard came to inspect us. We walked around Lynford Arboreum where apart from a few Siskin and Lesser Redpoll we saw very little for our efforts.

17th March

Paul and I started our day at Shingham where we walked through the woods and scoured the hedgerows. It seemed hard work as very little was singing. A Treecreeper kept my interest as Coal and Marsh Tits flitted through bushes. A Hare ran across a field and then stopped for its photo to be taken. We drove to Boughton Fen where once again I failed to see the Great White Egret. At Pentney Lake there were four Pink-footed Geese.








19th March













Spot the bird!     Lesser Spotted Woodpecker                       Firecrest

I ventured out early in the fog and walked down by the side of the river at Santon Downham. Luckily the murkiness lifted and the birds were full of song. Siskin, Nuthatch and Marsh Tit were in action as I walked down the muddy path. I could hear Great Spotted Woodpeckers drumming and stopped to watch a pair of them in action as I followed the river downstream. After about 3/4 mile I stepped over the fallen tree across the path and almost immediately heard a quicker drumming. I joined two other birders and together soon located a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker in a distant tree. It was very mobile and we had some difficulty in keeping up with it as it flew from tree to tree. It was a shame that it never came close for a decent photo! Nearby I watched a Firecrest.

After seeing very little at Lynford Arboretum I made my way to Boughton Fen where after my fourth attempt I finally managed to see the Great White Egret from Eastmoor Bridge. It did not show for long as it flew back along the dyke and completely out of sight!

22nd March

Happy birthday to my son Mark who is 30 years old today!

I popped out from work today at Titchwell to see 3 White-fronted Geese at Titchwell this afternoon after discovering that I had no record of me seeing them at Titchwell before (although I felt certain that I have!)

23rd March

A few Siskin and Long-tailed Tit in the garden today whilst the snow is falling. When will Spring arrive?

25th March

A pair of Mallards took a swim in our garden pond today!










29th March

An early morning flight from Gatwick Airport saw us arrive in Gibraltar. We soon headed into trouble as the car hire office was located in Spain and we had to walk across the border with all our luggage and find it! After a lot of hassle and queues we found our hotel, off-loaded our luggage and found our car had a flat tyre! More hassle and by the afternoon we headed to the lighthouse to the raptor migration spectacle!

Luckily for us there was a strong westerly wind and the sky was clear. Booted Eagles and Sparrowhawks were flying over from Morocco. Paul and I watched in wonderment as raptor after raptor flew over us. The majority were Booted Eagles and Sparrowhawks but we also saw several Marsh Harrier, Short-toed Eagle, Black Kite, Common Kestrel, Peregrine and Lesser Kestrel.

We made our way up to Jew's Gate where the Gibraltar Ornithological Society have a base and birders were doing a count as the birds poured over.

Booted Eagle

As the wind was strong we sought some shelter from further around Europa Road in the lee of the rock. Here we watched Booted Eagles and Sparrowhawks land on the cliff-face to catch their breath before moving off again. Red-rumped Swallow and Barn Swallow came through in small parties.

We wandred through the botanical gardens and added Blue Tit, Greenfinch, Sardinian Warbler, Woodchat Shrike and Blackcap to our list before retiring for the day.






30th March












                                             Yellow-legged Gull                                                               Barbary Apes

We took the cable car and went to the top of The Rock. Here Yellow-legged Gulls were in abundance as the flew around The Rock. Barbary Apes also sat around hoping for ususpecting tourists to snatch food from. We played tourists and admired the view from the top of The Rock before descending back down to watch Gannet and Great Skua on the sea as well as one of the resident Shags. A Northern Wheatear looked tired as it sat on a rock near the sea edge.

31st March













                                          Audouin's Gull                                                                         Woodchat Shrike

Paul and I ventured out around the perimeter road stopping off at suitable places searching for migrants. Subalpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Common Redstart and Tree Pipit were found lurking in bushes or on rocks as Common Swift, Sand Martin flew overhead. On the sea we watched several Auduoin's Gulls and an Arctic Skua. In the cemetery we eventually found Spotless Strling as well as several Woodchat Shrikes. Rain stopped play for a while and little else was found back at the botanical gardens.


1st April

We had to get up early to cross the border once again to go to Spain to take the car back to the car-hire venue. Once we had disposed of the car we crossed the border once again and made our way to Gibraltar Airport where we added White Wagtail to our Gibraltar list. Soon we were on our way back to England and the cold!

I shall do a trip report with some more photos as soon as possible and load it onto my trip reports page.

4th April

I have just uploaded my trip report to Gibraltar on my trip reports page for those of you that are interested!

6th April

Paul and I started the day at Pentney where a Little Ringed Plover was running around the lake edge. Two Common Snipe were also present. At Great Cressingham six Stone Curlewswere hunkering down along a hedgeline to keep out of the wind. We drove to Great Yarmouth where we were on the Acle Straight when news of a White Stork came on the pager at Breydon Water. We still managed to miss it! At the sea-front we watched 12 Mediterranean gulls and a Caspian Gull befoe watching a pair of Garganey in Bure Park. Driving onto Sea Palling it took us a while to find two Glaucous Gulls as we tried several spots north of the slipway. There were hundreds of gulls to work through! One of the Glaucous Gulls flew right over our head. I also year-ticked Kittiwake and Gannet here.

We drove onto Hickling NWT where we were lucky to see two Common Cranes in flight before making our way to Strumpshaw RSPB reserve where a Merlin disturbed two of the ten Common Snipe feeding infront of one of the hides. Two male Marsh Harriers and three female Marsh Harriers were a delight to watch as they skydanced in courtship displays.

7th April

After not being able to find the Great Grey Shike near Egmere, Paul and I went to Titchwell where we watched a Cetti's Warbler in the sunlight. Five Chiffchaff were also present and Paul had a brief view of a Bearded Tit. At Holme NWT a Tree Pipit was a freshly arrived migrant but we saw little else here.

9th April

An enjoyable day out to Minsmere with Jill. A Garganey was feeding in front of Island Mere Hide whilst a Bittern flew over the reed bed along with 3 Marsh Harriers. The woods held Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Marsh Tit and Great Tit but still no migrants. On East Scrape we watched a pair of Smew along with hundreds of Black-headed Gulls all gearing up for the breeding season! Two Black-tailed Godwit fed along with a couple of Turnstone. Along the beach we could not find a single migrant!

12th April

Working in Titchwell car park I saw the first migrant Barn Swallow and Sand Martin of the year for my Norfolk year list.

13th April

At Pentney Paul and I watched two Mediterranean Gulls flying around as well as 3 Swallows sitting on the overhead wire. At Narborough maltings there were two House Martins. I drove to Heacham and walked towards Snettisham Coastal Park where two Northern Wheatears literally dropped in front of me as I was making my way back to my car. They were not there earlier. A Marsh Harrier was hunting over towards Ken Hill.

14th April

After we walked over Roydon Common, Paul and I headed for Holme where we failed to find the reported Black Redstart. We then proceeded to Walsey Hills where we took a while to see a Firecrest lurking in some Ivy along the footpath. At Horsey Gap we joined a merry throng around a small patch of trees where we had excellent views of a female Red-flanked Bluetail. From here we drove to Winterton where a kind man let us up his steps to view two Long-eared Owls hiding in a big Holly bush. The wind was persistant all day but at least it is now a bit warmer!

15th April

A quick walk after work at Titchwell to see the Common Sandpiper that was present on the Freshmarsh. It was also good to see a pair of Mediterranean Gulls present too.

16th April

After a day doing a food-handling course I was pleased to escape and go for a walk on Roydon Common where I surprised a Ring Ouzel from one of the top fields. Thirteen Wheatears were in the model aeroplane field.

19th April

A Common Swift flew over the car park as I arrived at work at Titychwell this morning. A pair of Blackcaps were singing in the corner of the car park too. At lunch time I saw a Willow Warbler and Sedge Warbler singing on the reserve. Warblers were everywhere, Spring has sprung!

20th April

An early morning walk at Snettisham Country Park along the inner seabank had me watching a Grasshopper Warbler as it reeled and then dived for cover in the brambles. It was such a change to be walking in the sunlight without any wind. Two Whimbrel alighted from the field and flew towards Ken Hill Woods before settling down in a further field. Whitethroats sang as did Sedge Warblers but I did not hear any Lesser Whitethroats. At Roydon Common Paul, Dylan and I watched a Cuckoo and 2 Whimbrel. Later in the day Paul, Dylan and I walked from Heacham South Beach to Snettisham Country Park where Sandwich Terns were on the beach. A pair of Stonechats kept us amused for part of our walk as hirundines flew above us.

21st April

Paul, Dylan and I joined the NarVOS group at Wretham Heath where two pairs of Redstarts flitted around. A pair of Yellowhammers were a surprise in the woods. On the mere, Gadwall, Teal, Shoveler and Shelducks were all present. Later at Santon Downham we watched a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers along the river as well as two Grasssnakes and a huge Pike in the river.

24th April

I took a walk after work at Titchwell and watched a Cetti's Warbler near the Fen Hide and a Water Vole in the Dragonfly Pool, I could hear a Lesser Whitethroat calling but did not see it. I showed a visitor a Water Rail lurking beneath the shrubbery who was very pleased to see it. I am glad that I made someone's day!

Water Vole








25th April

At Snettisham I met up with Trevor, David L, David A, Ann, and Rob. We had all seen Cuckoo and had listened to a Grasshopper Warbler reeling. Yellow Wagtails were passing overhead as were Lesser Redpolls and Whimbrel. Near the end of our circuit a Lesser Whitethroat posed well for me to add it to my year list. Rob suddenly spotted a Whinchat a few feet in front of us on the flat area. It was good to see one.

Trevor and I made our way to Barton Bendish but failed to find the Woodchat Shrike that had been spotted. We admired a Red Kite and a couple of Common Buzzards as well as listening to Common Whitethroats and Blackcaps singing. However on our way home we stopped at the side of Narford Hall and looked towards the trout farm. A Common buzzard flew across and at the same time Trevor spotted an Osprey that dived down between the trees. A minute later it flew up and perched in a tree to give us good scope views.

27th April

Starting the day early at Snettisham for the high tide, Ze and I walked to the second hide admiring some of the swirling parties of Knot. A Grey Plover was on the tide line. Once inside the hide I located a pair of Mediterranean Gulls amongst the Black-headed Gulls. We could see that the far bank was already covered with Knot with a few Oystercather as well. We decided to walk to the bottom hide where there was a gathering of Icelandic  Black-tailed Godwits. They looked spectacular in their summer-plumage. Bar-tailed Godwits were also present as were some mating Avocets. We watched as the Knot began to leave and decided that we would be better placed back on the sea edge. Together we admired all the waders flying over our heads as they headed back out to The Wash to feed. Small parties of Dunlin also joined them.

At Titchwell, Ze, Fernando and I enjoyed watching the Water Vole that has been present in the Dragonfly Pool for a while now before preceeding down the West bank path. A Red-crested Pochard was present on the Freshmarsh as were three Little Ringed Plovers. Along the hedgline, viewed from the carpark, we watched a Common Redstart but it was a shame that it was so distant. A Lesser Whitethroat was also here.

28th April

At Barton Bendish I called in on my way to Lakenheath to see the Woodchat Shrike that has been difficult to locate, as it seemed to take a liking to hiding when I go to see it. Luckily it eventually gave itself up and showed distantly in the hedgerow.

Ze, Fernando and I walked down the riverbank at Lakenheath and I managed to locate a Whinchat on the Norfolk side of the river opposite the second set of Poplars. A bit further on the lone Whooper Swan swam across the river. A Hobby flew over as we made our way upstream to the reserve. At a view point several Marsh Harrier flew above the reedbed and I located a Hobby sat on a distant gate. The wind had now grown quite strong and small birds were reluctant to show. I heard Bearded Tit but we failed to see any.

At Weeting Heath Ze and I watched a pair of Stone Curlew as well as a Marsh Tit.

30th April

I started the day at Derby Fen near Pott Row where a Blackcap greeted me with song. A Whitethroat was also competing with it. On the short turf a female Wheatear ran around taking a risk whilst a female Sparrowhawk flew low down over it. I could hear Chiffchaff and Willow Warblers singing but I got a bit fed up with all the agricultural machinery and plane noise overhead and so decided to leave.

On the North Norfolk coastline I met up with Chris and together we watched a male Montagu's Harrier as well as Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel hovering right above our heads. Such a shame that my camera lens is still not back from repair yet! Later I walked at Barrow Common where I enjoyed watching a Chiffchaff fly-catching from the Gorse bushes.


1st May

A Turtle Dove sat on the wires with a Wood Pigeon at Choseley barns as I was on my way home from work. There was another one in the field by the barn hiding in the Red Campion.

Wood Pigeon and Turtle Dove









2nd May

At Pentney Lake two Common Tern sat on the near edge resting before they flew off leaving the Little Ringed Plover that was nearby alone. I drove on to Nar Valley Fisheries (permit only) where there were two Nighingales singing. It took a while before a cyclist and I got to see one of them. I continued up the path and enjoyed Blackcaps and Willow Warblers singing.














                                       Willow Warbler                                                                  Muntjac Deer

A Muntjac Deer was munching its way around the lodges before standing out to be photographed. Back at the car I was having some lunch and was aware that there was a small raptor overhead. I was a bit surprised when I realised that it was a Hobby and quickly grabbed my camera just in time!














4th May

I took a quick walk dodging the rain showers at Wolferton where I watched a newly-arrived Garden Warbler singing.

5th May












                              Brent Geese                                                                                    Barn Swallow

Paul and I walked around Kelling Heath where we admired a Dartford Warbler flitting between the Gorse bushes. It sat for a couple of seconds before disappearing. At Kelling Quags there was little on the quags except an Avocet that was enjoying its bath. After a Crab sandwich at Salthouse, we walked out at Morston where we watched a couple of Little Terns in Blakeney Harbour as well as a few Brent Geese still lingering. We had not timed it well as it was low tide! Still it was good to get away from the crowds.












                                             Blackcap                                                                     Montagu's Harrier

At Holkham we watched a Blackcap. Further along the coastline we watched a ringtail Montagu's Harrier as well as two Marsh Harriers. One of the Marsh Harriers swooped down and caught a poor unsuspecing animal for its tea!

6th May

After watching Nightingale, Garden Warbler and Blackcap at Nar Valley Fisheries, Paul and I made our way to Lakenheath where we watched a Red-footed Falcon amongst all the Hobbies. There must have been at least 15 Hobby in the air together. We admired a Common Crane which was mobbed by a Marsh Harrier at one point. On the way back we had a Red Kite flying along the riverbank as a Whooper Swan swam amongst the Mute Swan.












                                          Whinchat                                                                               Common Redstart

Later at Wretham Heath we saw a Whinchat and a few Common Redstarts.

7th May

After visiting Dereham I motored across to Filby Broad where 2 summer-plumaged Black-necked Grebes looked very resplendent. A drake Garganey was behaving like a phalarope as it chased around the water. On the platform a Common Sandpiper shared the area with a plastic owl designed to frighten the Common Terns away. They took no notice of it at all!

At Cley I walked to North Scape where a Temminck's Stint had been. Avocet, Little Ringed Plover and Black-tailed Godwits looked good in summer plumage but I could not find the Temminck's Stint. Luckily I met up with John and Judy and together we walked to Dauke's hide where we watched the Temminck's Stint on Simmond's Scrape and a pair of Tufted Duck in front of the hide. A Lesser Whitethroat called from the triangle car parking area.

Tufted Duck








8th May

Arriving at Titchwell early before work I scoured the reserve for the reported Wood Sandpiper. It was nowhere to be found. It had apparently flown off yesterday before it was on the pager. However (here comes a great big moan) it was reported again during the day on the Freshmarsh so once again I walked down to the Parrinder Hide after work, being told all the way down the path that the bird was still present. I could only see 2 Ruff from the path and guess what? they were still 2 Ruff when I got into the hide as well! One bird was moulting into summer plumage but it was still a Ruff! Along with Dave Holman  and Christine I checked Patsy's Pool as well but still no Wood Sandpiper. Grrrr.......

On a better note I enjoyed the Little Gull present as it had a wonderful pink blush to it and the Spotted Redshank was stunning in its summer plumage. The morning's Common Sandpier was still feeding on an island edge and a Little Ringed Plover was still present. The Black-tailed Godwits flew around and gathered with many Oystercatchers.

14th May











                                                                                                              Wood Warbler

Arriving very early at Wretham Heath with not a sole around I listened intently near the bench by the mere. I thought I could hear two Wood Warblers singing and so set off following the sound. I soon located a Wood Warbler in the trees singing its heart out! On the loop trail I searched for the other bird but as it had ceased singing I had to be content with a singing Blackcap. A Speckled Wood Butterfly perched on a nettle in the sun. The first one I have seen this year. I had quite a search before I located a Common Redstart singing at the top of a tree.













                                   Common Redstart                                                                                 Speckled Wood

16th May











Grey Wagtails

Spotted Flycatcher




At Sculthorpe Mill I watched a Spotted Flycatcher singing for a mate. I do hope one arrives! By the bridge it was lovely to see a pair of Grey Wagtails collecting food.













                                                                                                           Grey Wagtails

18th May

After spending the morning at Wild about the Wensum at Pensthorpe (where I watched a Kingfisher and Little Ringed Plover on the scrape) as Paul was manning the NarVOS stand, we eventually set off for Kent where a Dusky Thrush had been found.

Luckily John Geeson gave us directions on where to go as we were driving, as we had not had chance to research this before we left home. Once we had arrived the bird was viewed straight away through another birders scope. Thanks!

This Asiatic bird was most obliging as it posed for birders to see.

Dusky Thrush








22nd May

Between leaving work and an RSPB work meeting, I scurried onto the reserve at Titchwell to see three Temminck's Stint in front of the Parrinder Hide.

Temminck's Stints








23rd May

Although the day was very cold and windy I walked up East Bank at Cley and after a quick discussion with a fellow birder soon located the Wood Sandpiper feeding near a Common Redshank with four young chicks. I cursed that I had left my camera behind as I had not expected the the Wood Sandpiper to be so close. Avocets and Ringed Plovers were on Arnold's Marsh and Sandwich Terns were flying overhead. In North Hide I met up with Penny Clarke and Pete Snook who quickly gave me directions for the Curlew Sandpiper lurking not far from the Dunlin.

25th May

A visit to Lynn Point produced a Common Sandpiper and a pair of Marsh Harriers. We later visited Titchwell where summer-plumaged Sanderlings were causing confusion on The Freshmarsh. Two Little Gulls were on one of the islands  but I failed to find either of the Spoonbills.

26th May

Paul and I walked up East Bank at Cley and watched the Wood Sandpiper on the Serpentine. We then attended the Neotropical Bird Club meeting at Cley Village Hall. This is an excellent meeting and some of the photography and birding knowledge is of a very high standard. We were enthralled by the talk given by Jim Lawrence on the work by Birdlife International to save the Hooded Grebe in Argentina and by a talk by Graham Ekins on Bolivia.

After the meeting was over Paul and I walked to North Hide and watched the Spoonbill on Cricket's Marsh and the Temminck's Stint on North Scrape. It was good to see some Avocet chicks too.

27th May

An early morning call from Ashley Banwell had me scurrying up to Roydon Common where he had located a Firecrest by the gate of the car park. (Thanks Ashley) I watched two Long-tailed Tits and a couple of Dunnocks and stood and listened to Chaffinches and the toy planes whining overhead. I could hear the Firecrest distantly but it had quite clearly moved a bit futher in. It took me a while to locate it in the trees as it called incessantly above my head. Getting a photo of it proved problematical in the boggy area beneath my feet!

I continued onto the common where I was incensed by thoughtless dog owners who were letting packs of dogs run off their leads into the heather while the birds are trying to nest on the ground. I could see I would come to blows with one pack owner and decided I had better return to the car park! Grrrrr........



1st June

I walked up East Bank at Cley and joined several birders all staring at the distant bushes in the cold northerly wind. We watched a Marsh Harrier as it took a Swift that it had caught into its nest. Avocets were chasing a Grey Heron over the reed bed as we complained of the cold given the fact it was meant to be June. Eventually the White Spotted Bluethroat came up to the top of the bush but it did not show its white spot. We had to wait until its 3rd appearence until we could see that well.

After a brief walk along Sheringham seafront watching gulls following fishing boats I joined the many other world-listers to celebrate Andrew's 60th birthday. It was a very enjoyable evening as we shared birding stories from around the world. Happy Birthday Andrew!

3rd June

I have spent five evenings over the last few nights looking for Nightjars at all my usual spots, Sandringham, Dersingham and Roydon without success until last night at Roydon Common. At Sandringham there has only been one pair which never showed when I was there for four evenings getting very cold. Goodness knows what the birds are feeding on as there were no moths either! Dersingham also drew a blank. However last night there were three birds churring at Roydon Common and by walking to the top of the trackway leading up from Pott Row I finally saw a Nightjar as it flew form its perch after churring. Once again it was very cold and I only saw two moths flying.

Whilst waiting for it to get dark, Paul and I had good views of Hobby, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Buzzard as well as listening to a Cuckoo.

5th June

During my lunch break at Titchwell, I joined Andy and we enjoyed watching the pair of Garganey on Patsy's Reedbed Pool. Later we also enjoyed watching the Black Tern flying over one of the islands in The Freshmarsh.

9th June

Paul and I arrived at Cley and after talking to Penny Clarke walked up East Bank where we watched the White-spotted Bluethroat singing from some bushes to the west of East Bank. A Reed Bunting seemed to be in competition with it. Just in front of us Reed Warblers and a Bearded Tit called whilst behind us Lapwing chicks were running around near The Serpentine. A female Marsh Harrier sat atop a distant bush as we made our way back to the car. In North Hide Penny joined us again and together we watched a Little Stint amongst the Tundra Ringed Plovers. Paul counted 93 of them (sorry can see how infuriating he is.....I know you only had 89!!!!)

At Cley Spy a Hobby flew as we entered the shop.

At Great Ryburgh we searched in vain for Honey Buzzard but could only see Common Buzzards, of which we must have had at least 6 individuals. Two Hobbies flew through the many Swifts, one giving us quite close views.

12th June

Whilst working in the car park at Titchwell I had six Crossbills fly over calling as they flew. After work I walked down the main path where there was a male Mandarin duck going into eclipse plumage. Debbie and I battled against the wind to watch it amongst all the other ducks and Avocets.

13th June

Paul and I made our way along East Bank at Cley but it took us a while in the wind to locate the Pectoral Sandpiper as it had disappeared up a channel of the Serpentine. There were several juvenile Redshank which were good to see lurking around too. We could see black clouds gathering and decided to make our way back to the car for our coats. At Walsey Hills the heavens opened and I took refuge with Penny in the hide. Once the squall had passed through the wind dropped and we could hear the Marsh Warbler singing. We watched the bird and I went to get Paul who had taken refuge in the car. The Marsh Warbler lurked in the bracken but came close as Penny and I watched it move through it.

15th June

Paul and I were up early and drove north to Langdon Beck in Northumberland. It did not take long before we were watching eleven Black Grouse. We drove towards the reservoir where Golden Plover in summer plumage, Redshank and Curlew all posed on the moor. A Common Sandpiper flew to a puddle before we located a Dipper in the beck. On the hillside we saw a distant Red Grouse. We motored on to Seahouses and booked an afternoon boat to Inner Farne. It was good to have some sunny weather after all the gloom in East Anglia.












                                                                                                             Arctic Terns










                                                   Arctic Tern                                                                    Common Tern

We were soon aboard Glad Tidings and set sail for Inner Farne. It has been a few years since we had both been and we enjoyed watching the terns. Once we had set foot on the island we were immediately attacked by the Arctic Terns, who were nesting close to the footpath. Even though I wore a hat, one managed to draw blood on my head!

The Puffins were delightful and I had fun trying to take a picture of a Puffin in flight. They are just so quick!











It was delighful watching the Puffins bring in small fish for their chicks but not so delightful watching the gulls attack the Puffins, once the Puffin arrived back on land. The Puffins were often forced to drop their catch unless they were quick enough to scurry into their burrow before the gulls attacked.


Paul and I wandered round the island enjoying the many photo opportunities of seeing the birds close by. A Rock Pipit had made its nest under one of the walkways. Not such a good idea with hundreds of tourists walking around !

We watched Kittiwake, Shag, Guillemot and Herring Gull all using the island.


















                                           Herring Gull                                                                                   Kittiwake











                                                         Rock Pipit                                                              Shag

We sailed back to Seahouses and then motored north once again finding a delighful B and B not far from Holy Island. We had been very lucky with the weather and certainly enjoyed our day.

16th June










Paul on Holy Island

Sedge Warbler




After a very lazy breakfast which we could take at leisure because of waiting for the tide to drop we drove across the causeway to Holy Island. Once again the sun shone and we walked around the island admiring the scenery and birds. At the bird hide a Swallow was nesting inside and a nest of Carrion Crows outside kept up the noise levels. Sedge and Reed Warblers sang from the reeds as we watched some young cygnets, Tufted Duck, Moorhen and Coot on the pool. We walked over the dunes and watched Dunlin and Sanderling on the expanse of sand. Out at Sea Arctic Tern, Sandwich Tern and Gannet were fishing. Northern Marsh Orchids were in the dune slack as we made our way back to Lindisfarne village. We were sad to leave as it had been such a lovely break in the sun.

17th June

Once again Paul and I were up early. A Roller had been seen at Edgefield yesterday, which we both needed as a Norfolk tick. By 5.45am we were on site and the hunt began. We joined Gary White and started searching. Gary and I searched both sides of the road at Holt Lowes and Paul did a circuit around the clearing. An early morning phone call to Penny helped enormously and soon I located the Roller sat in the exact tree she had described to me. Thanks Penny! We rallied the other birders and soon we were all admiring the Roller sat in the tree.

As none of us wanted to flush the bird I am afraid the photo is taken from a long way off!











28th June

Paul and I were up at 3.30am to drive to Gatwick for our flight to Jersey. Apparently I had mentioned months ago that it was one of the few Channel Islands that I had not been to and Paul thought it suitable for a surprise birthday treat for a short break. We arrived at 10am and were given a brand new car with only 13 miles on the clock when we arrived at the airport. Given how narrow the lanes are on the Channel Islands, this could be a testing time for the driver, especially as he was already in the middle of the road when a Marsh Harrier flew over! We checked in at our smart hotel (a bit unusual for us!) and soon left to start our coastline tour.

Rock Pipits seemed to be everywhere as we noted the abundance of Herring Gulls. On the rocks Curlew and Oystercatchers were the only waders that we saw. Overhead Swallow, Sand Martin and Swift were common. Goldfinch seemed to be in good numbers as they twittered around us. Down by St Ouen's Pond, Reed Warblers sang from the reeds as Marsh Harriers glided overhead. Coot and Greylag Geese kept a pair of Black Swans company!

Herring Gull

After such an early start we were bushed by early afternoon and watched Andy Murray back at the hotel before having a wonderful lobster meal at the Smugglers Inn.




29th June

Early morning sea mist meant a later start than we anticipated. Luckily it cleared by mid morning and we were blessed by the sun for the rest of the day. We walked around Val de la Mer Reservoir where we watched Short-toed Treecreeper singing. We added many common woodland species to our list before continuing with our coastline tour stopping off at many harbours and sampled some wonderful Jersey ice-creams!

30th June

My birthday was spent in a leisurely fashion exploring St Helier, which being a Sunday was shut ! We drove to Devil's Hole and watched a young family of Peregrines quartering the cliffs. After a pub lunch we drove to Piermont Point, where after wallking on the beach, we climbed to the clifftop and watched a lonely Puffin flying out to sea. We returned once again to the Smugglers Inn for another lobster meal in the evening.



1st July

After walking along St Brelade's Bay we drove to Portelot Common where we soon found a Dartford Warbler. Rock Pipits were around once again as was a Meadow Pipit feeding its young. In the trees we watched two Great Spotted Woodpeckers. We enjoyed our trip and the sun as well as the wonderful relaxation. Thanks to Paul for my surprise birthday treat!

Paul overlooking St Brelade's Bay

















                     Dartford Warbler                                                              Meadow Pipit

4th July











                                                                                          Muntjac Deer

I woke up to find a Muntjac Deer asleep in my garden this morning. I carefully opened the window to take a photo of it, whereupon it woke up not too pleased with me!

6th July










                                                        Orford                                                              RSPB boat to Havergate


Jill drove me to Orford in Suffolk where we caught the RSPB boat to Havergate Island (this can be booked via Minsmere RSPB) at 9am. After a brief safety lecture we sailed down the channel in the sun and alighted on a small jetty on Havergate Island. Lesser Black-backed Gulls were everywhere. There were many still sitting on nests but there were many juvenile birds around all begging for food. There were also many Herring Gulls around too. Jill and I wandered from hide to hide and admired the Avocets, that Havergate is famed for as well as scanning the newly erected platforms for the Spoonbills. Three were present although they were fairly distant. At the North Hide we watched Common Terns come and go as well as a Sandwich Tern. The day was now very hot and Jill and I sat down for lunch at a few picnic tables near the small Visitor Centre. Time was marching on and we made our way down to the southern end of the island. Much of this is roped off to give the birds protection. We caught the boat back to Orford Quay where we had a welcome drink in the pub!











                                        Avocet                                                                                Shelduck


Spoonbill on newly constructed Platforms



A walk on Dunwich Heath produced very little and we were disappointed at the lack of birds but I suspect the heat had got to them too!






7th July

I met Ze and Fernando at Minsmere and we walked to Bittern Hide where a Bittern was already on show in the nearby reeds. The hide was full of excitement as the photographers tried to get photographs of it. Luckily it stayed on view for quite sometime. Down at Island Mere Hide Bearded Tits flew across a channel but they were so quick it was impossible to get any photographs of them. We watched Marsh Harriers before I noticed that all the Mallards were swimming towards us. It seemed strange until someone noticed two Otters playing at the back of the pool.

We walked on through the woods and stopped to watch Garden Warblers but they were not keen to have their photo taken! After a lovely lunch Ze and I walked around the scrape circuit where several Spotted Redshanks were in summer plumage. A Ringed Plover came close to the hide as Common Terns were flying around. It was now getting hot and birds were lazing around. The Swallows were enjoying a rest down at the sluice. There were many juvenile gulls all making quite a din. After bidding goodbye to Ze and Fernando I listened to the final moments of Andy Murray winning Wimbledon. Well Done Murray!

9th July

Annette and I enjoyed a walk in the sun at Snettisham where there were many summer-plumaged Black-tailed Godwits. A huge gathering of Knot were also on the roost at the southern end of the pits. The water had totally disappearred from The Wash as we watched small parties of Dunlin flying around as well as a few Redshank. Juvenile Oystercatchers were still with their parents as a Ringed Plover fed nearby.

13th July

Paul and I took a stroll with John and Judy around Holt Lowes and Holt Country Park. A Keeled Skimmer posed for its photograph before we watched four Woodlark. We wandered around admiring Meadow Brown Butterflies and a Kestrel before making our way to the pond. Here we were delighted by a Silver-washed Fritillary feeding on the brambles. We wandered up the trackway next to the entrance to the car park and after a bit of a wait we saw another Silver-washed Fritillary but it failed to stop for a photograph. I have seen this insect abroad before but it was nice to see one in Norfolk!

Keeled Skimmer
















                                                                    Silver-washed Fritillary

14th July

A stroll at ride 109 at Cockley Cley produced a Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth on the Bugloss. I also saw 3 White Admirals and 2 Tree Pipits here too. Meadow Browns were in abundance and there were also Ringlet, Large White and Comma Butterflies on the wing.








Tree Pipit


















                                   Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth

16th July











                           Spot the Little Owl!                                                                             White Admiral

A short walk this afternoon at Roydon between the crossroads and the old dragonfly pool produced 11 White Admirals. On my way back home I watched a Little Owl fly between the hay bales less than 200 metres from my home.

20th July

Even though it was a cloudy day I decided to head for Fermyn Wood in Northamptonshire in the hope of seeing Purple Emperor. They have shown very well this year and I was a bit miffed that I woke up to a full covering of cloud. By timing my arrival for around midday I thought it would at least be warm. I was lucky that I found one on the ground as soon as I started to walk down the track. I met up with a few friends for a quick chat who were returning to their cars and decided to head for Lady Wood by walking a mile or so further on down the track. A Red Kite soared overhead as I made my way by the field between the woods. The walk turned out to be a good decision as a kind man gave me his map and told me where he had seen several Purple Emperors. After about a mile and a half I saw about 25 Purple Emperors along with another couple of people. Purple Hairstreaks were chasing the emperors around at the top of Oak and Pine trees. We also saw several White Admirals. Ringlets were abundant as were Meadow Browns. Large Whites were also seen.

Purple Emperor













                                        Purple Emperor                                     Purple Hairstreak                                         White Admiral

After a delightful time of watching I returned to the car and almost trod on a Purple Hairsteak that was clinging on for dear life on some grass in the wind right near the boot of my car. I had been distracted by a Red Kite flying overhead.

21st July

Paul and I started at Holme NWT where four Common Crossbills were feeding in the pines. After watching for a while we moved onto Titchwell where three Curlew Sandpipers were in front of Parrinder Hide. Twenty Dunlin fed nearby, most still in Summer plumage. It was a while before we located a Little Stint on one of the spits amongst Turnstone and Lapwings. There were many Black-tailed Godwits on the Freshmarsh and some wonderfully summer-plumaged Knot. Spotted Redshanks were beginning to lose their summer plumage amongst the Ruff. A Kestrel flew around as we admired the scene. We shared our sightings with Debbie and her friends.

24th July

Debbie and I decided after a day working at Titchwell it would be good to have a walk on the reserve as it was a wonderful summer evening. We admired Ruff, Spotted Redshank and a lone Spoonbill. Once again there were many Knot and Black-tailed Godwit.



3rd August

I decided to take a walk around Gooderstone Water Gardens on a lovely sunny day. It was very warm and I needed a cup of tea and a piece of carrot cake that I had spied when I had paid my entry fee at the tea-rooms. I sat on a table outside and was convinced I could hear a Spotted Flycatcher calling. I could not see one, but after 10 minutes a family party of four spotted flycatchers emerged from the trees. A juvenile bird was begging for a Peacock butterfly that a parent had just caught.

Spotted Flycatchers

I apologise to my regular readers but I am having telephone line/broadband issues with BT which is making uploading to my website extremely difficult at the moment!




10th August

A quick jaunt to Cley saw Paul and myself walking to North Hide. Three Yellow Wagtails and two Wheatears were in the Eye Field. On North Scrape a Red-necked Phalarope was picking off insects in amongst the Dunlin. One of the Dunlin had a broken wing. Eddie had found a Caspian Gull on Pat's Pool and so we made our way round to Teal Hide only to be told by Richard that it had just flown to North Scrape Grrrrrr........

20th August













                                   Clouded Yellow                                                                         Painted Lady

After work I stopped by the bend above Choseley drying barns where seven Clouded Yellows and a Painted Lady were feeding on the cover strip. There were also numerous Large Whites. Some of the Clouded Yellows continued their migration westwards and some lingered a bit longer.


24th August






















                                                     Icterine Warbler                                                   Pied Flycatcher


Barn Owl


An afternoon at Salthouse and Cley had me changing into winter gear as I had left home in sunny weather only to be met with grotty weather at Salthouse and Cley.


After watching a Pied Flycatcher at Salthouse I saw another one whilst watching the Icterine Warbler in Teal Hide and yet another one whilst watching a Barn Owl whilst walking along the beach at the back of North Hide.











25th August


A day spent dipping a Barred Warbler at Holme but there were lots of common migrants top see including Pied Flycatchers, Common Redstarts and Whinchats.


A Lesser Whitethroat was causing some confusion at the Barred Warbler bush!


Lesser Whitethroat




















27th August


At least I caught up with a Wryneck today at Salthouse even if I did not see the Barred Warbler! A Hobby flew along the sea edge as Jim and I walked back to the car.


Later at Cley Spy, Andy kindly pointed out the Red-backed Shrike sitting in the hedge.




7th September
















Paul and I were called to a neighbour's garden over the weekend where a juvenile Sparrowhawk was a bit non-plussed and sat for hours on his garden fence. We were a bit concerned when it let Paul pick it up. It was very thin but eventually flew off. I guess it needed to learn some hunting skills!
Sparrowhawk sitting on Paul's fingers

9th September


I gave my ‘Birding a Dream’ presentation to the Norwich RSPB local members group last night about the trip that Paul and I did around the world in 2010.


10th September


After having my ‘Smart’ electric meter installed I joined the other hardened souls in the sea watching shelter in Sheringham. I joined Dave Hawkins and James Mc Cullum and enjoyed some light-hearted banter about how dire the sea watching was. Birders are forever optimists! We watched as Manx Shearwater, Arctic Skua, Purple Sandpiper, Common Tern, Bar-tailed Godwit, Common Scoter all flew past but the Puffin and Black Tern eluded me in the gloom! Claims of Long-tailed Skuas kept us amused!


13th September


After work I walked down the West Bank path at Titchwell where Julian kindly pointed out two of the three Pectoral Sandpipers that were busily feeding. Another birder kindly let me look through his scope at them. Two Little Stints came fairly close as I tried to take their photos in the failing sunlight.


Little Stint


17th September

After a few domestic chores I made my way across to Cley where a Wilson’s Phalarope was present on Pat’s Pool. I joined other birders in Bishop Hide and watched many Black-tailed Godwits and several Ruff. Amongst the Greylag Geese the Wilson's Phararope was actively feeding. It was good to see Jill again and we walked back to the car park together.


Ruff, Wilson's Phalarope and Black-tailed Godwit





23rd September

Meeting up with Ze at Lynford Arboretum we watched small flocks of Common Crossbill along with Siskin in the Larch Trees. Coal Tit, Blue Tit and Goldcrest were also present but none wanted their photos taken. Ze managed some photos of Common Crossbill and Siskin as I kept watch for a Two-barred Crossbill. However after waiting for quite a while we walked around the arboretum that was almost devoid of birds in the overcast conditions. We re-joined the birders waiting for the Two-barred Crossbill as a flock of Common Crossbill flew in. I picked one out and Ze managed to get a photo of it just before they flew. We started to walk back to the car when the birders re-located better views of the Crossbill behind the wall. I managed to engineer Ze into a space so that she could get a better shot of one of the three Two-barred Crossbills present. It was all quite a squeeze amongst all the other birders!

A quick walk at Santon Downham produced very little and we drove to my favoured spot near Hillington/Flitcham where we admired a small flock of Tree Sparrows.

24th September

Ze and I walked down the main path at Titchwell where the mist was just lifting to reveal a beautiful day and wonderful birds on the reserve. A Little Stint was amongst the Dunlin and Curlew Sandpiper and a curious very small Dunlin. Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank and Ruff were all feeding on the mud and several Spoonbill were roosting on the island. We watched Bearded Tits but they were a bit too quick for the camera. Down at the beach the tide was very hide and we watched two Red-necked Grebes make their way to Brancaster and four Great-crested Grebes out at sea along with many juvenile Gannets.

After a cup of tea back at the café we walked back down to the beach where after a slight disagreement with two other birders Ze succeeded to get a photo of an Arctic Skua after being told she would not get one. I was proud of her! We also saw a Great Skua before we walked back up to the reserve where we missed the Pectoral Sandpiper that had just flown back out to Thornham Marsh after bathing for just 10 minutes on the Freshmarsh. Grrr.........

After a delightful lunch along with Fernando, Ze and I watched the Red-backed Shrike at Walsey Hills. A couple of Chiffchaffs were in the foliage as we walked back to the car. Ze and I then settled in Teal Hide over-looking Pat's Pool and watched two eclipse Pintails amongst many Common Teal and Wigeon. Many Black-headed Gulls were bathing in the water as I watched the large gulls descending from the sky. I asked Eddie and Sue to keep an eye out for any Yellow-legged Gulls and Caspian Gulls. After several scans through another birder in the hide spotted a Yellow-legged Gull. It was quite a challenge for Ze to get a photo of it amongst all the other gulls. On our way back along the coast road the sunset was stunning and I stopped the car to admire the skeins of Pink-footed Geese just arriving back for the winter. Wonderful!



2nd October

Paul and I left home and headed for Gatwick Airport bound for Lima in Peru via Madrid. We were delayed in Madrid due to luggage handling problems. I will eventually write a trip report which I will upload onto the trip reports page when I find the time!

3rd October

We were met at Lima Airport and were driven to Lomas de Lachay, about an hours drive north of Lima. Here we looked for Cactus Canastero, a bird we had missed last time we were here. Up a dry valley the canastero was soon located along with Chestnut-throated Seedeater. Least Seedsnipe was sitting beside a trackway as we seached for other birds. After a bit more birding we drove back to Lima to meet our guide Eduardo at our hotel. After finding our room we walked the park and had an evening meal.

Least Seedsnipe







4th October

At 6.30am we headed for Pucusana and watched Humboldt Penguins and Peruvian Diving Petrels. We took a small boat and watched Surfbirds and Seaside Cinclodes as well as Peruvian Boobies in the harbour. It was strange being back here again but wonderful to see Inca Tern again. We then headed for the airport and flew to Tarapoto in the north of Peru, west of the Andes. After collecting luggage we met our driver for the trip and we drove up a hillside to a hummingbird station where we watched many hummingbirds coming to the feeders. The towerhide gave us good views over the hillside.

Inca Tern






5th October

We drove along the side of Huallaga River and birded a dry tributary streambed. After lunch we drove to Moyobamba to another hummingbird lookout and watched Golden-tailed Sapphire and many other hummingbirds. We birded the grounds of the lodge before driving into town for an evening meal.

Golden-tailed Sapphire









6th October

Using the services of Hosea who owned the lodge we walked up a hillside besides the lodge. He was good at imitating the birds. The tanagers and Tyrannulets came thick and fast as we bent our necks trying to see them in the canopy. Once we had returned I took a few photos back at the tower hide of White-necked Jacobin before driving to some grasslands to find a Masked Duck in a farm pond.

White-necked Jacobin







7th October

At the lodge a party of Swallow-tailed Kites flew through before we left for an unproductive trail en-route to the Long-whiskered Owlet Lodge.

Swallow-tailed Kite











8th October


Having spent the night at the Long-whisked Owlet Lodge we drove back out onto the road and birded along the roadside below the lodge. I was thrilled when an Andean Cock-of-the-Rock flew out and landed in a near tree. Unfortunately I was not quick enough with my camera before it disappeared into vegetation. The birding was superb and we had an excellent morning.


Long-whiskered Owlet


After a bit of a rest and lunch we geared ourselves up for the main event, the trek for the much sought after Long-whiskered Owlet. Walking sticks were used and Raul kindly carried my camera. After a short distance of the steep descent, Paul felt ill and one of the guides carried his heavy camera bag. There was no way that Paul was giving up. We continued down through stream beds, in the cloud forest picking our way very carefully over the slippery boulders and we descended through thick forest and the muddy trail. I was very thankful of my stick at times! At the end of the trail we waited until dark. It was soon pitch-black and we could not even see a hand in front of our face. With the aid of a head torch we moved into position and waited. We heard the owl call and after a nerve-wracking 45 minute wait the guide put on a spot light and there in front of us was a magnificent Long-whiskered Owlet! A few photos were taken before the gruelling steep climb back to the lodge. I really am too old for this now but we were both very happy bunnies!


9th October


Woken up in the middle of the night with a bad migraine I was not feeling well as we birded the roadside once again. Abra Patricia was alive with birds and we really enjoyed the morning’s birding with Eduardo. We managed to see the endemic Lulu’s (Johnson’s) Tody-flycatcher. Unfortunately it started to rain and after lunch we got rather wet up at the canopy tower as we did our best to add to our bird list. After supper we drove to our next hotel where we spent the night.


Lulu's Tody-flycatcher














10th October


After watching Golden-bellied Grosbeak in the garden of the hotel we drove to Huembo Hummingbird Centre where we walked down to some hummingbird feeders that had been set up in a shady area with a few benches. A Marvellous Spatuletail flew to one of the feeders but getting photo of a fast-flying hummingbird in shady conditions was a challenge to say the least, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching it! We were thrilled that the trip was going so well.


Marvellous Spatuletail


We drove through the Utcubamba Valley and onto Chillo where Eduardo soon located a Koepcke’s Screech Owl roosting just outside our accommodation.











11th October


After a discussion last night I decided to risk taking the opportunity of Eduardo’s offer and try to go birding at a higher elevation. We were now up in the Andes at Lemebamba


Mountain Caracara


We drove up to 3300m where the scenery was stunning. Although I felt a bit light-headed after taking some medication I felt fine. We noted Andean Flicker, Andean Lapwing and Rainbow Starfrontlet before a Mountain Caracara flew over my head. After some lunch we drove up a bumpy trackway and visited a hummingbird feeder in a private house where we sat and admired a Sword-billed Hummingbird.










12th October


After another effort of high-altitude birding we had very few birds to add to our trip list but once again the scenery was stunning. We drove along the Utcubamba Valley which was now a raging torrent after some rain in the high Andes. We stopped to admire a Pearle Kite and searched for the Little Inca Finch which was very obliging in the roadside scrub. It was very hot as a Long-tailed Mockingbird sat and posed for us.


We retraced our steps and motored onto Jaen where after leaving our luggage went looking for Blue Ground-Dove and Ecuadorian Ground-Dove which we soon admired.


Long-tailed Mockingbird













13th October


 After birding a trackway where we had better views of Blue Ground-Dove we left the noisy town of Jaen and drove up and over the Andes and down into the low area of Salas where we stayed in a private home. En-route in the Andes we had an amazing view of an Elegant Crescentchest. Those of you that know me, know that I don’t do tapaculos but here was one that was showing well instead of lurking in deep vegetation not showing!


Elegant Crescentchest












14th October


After an early breakfast we drove 13km above Salas where we were treated to a wonderful area for birding. It was alive with birds and the ticks came thick and fast. I enjoyed Whooping Motmot and Scarlet-backed Woodpecker whilst Paul ticked off his 4000th world species in the way of an Ecuadorian Piculet. I shall have to watch my back I can’t have him catching me up!


Peruvian Thick-knee


The afternoon was spent picking up camping equipment ready for our expedition into Limon Valley in search of the critically endangered White-winged Guan. We enjoyed some Peruvian Thick-knees en-route as well as a surprise Rufous Flycatcher. Once the tents had been set up we were joined by a local guide and off we trekked up the ever-narrowing valley. It wasn’t long before he found us a White-winged Guan, our target species. As a young lad it was him that had re-discovered the species that was thought to be extinct.






15th October



After a night under the stars in our tent we grabbed some breakfast and set off once again up the valley. The pressure was off as we had seen the guan the evening before and so anything we saw was a bonus. We added two new Brush-finch in the way of White-headed and White-winged Brush-finch. We were also extremely lucky to see 2 Pale-browed Tinamou well.


Peruvian Pygmy Owl


Once the camp had been packed up we drove out of Limon Valley and had lunch back at the private home. We set off to a local reservoir where we added Comb Duck and Black-necked Stilt as trip ticks. The evening was spent watching West Peruvian Screech-owl at the back of the home.










16th October


After adding Cinereous Finch at a roadside stop we headed for Bosque de Bomac where it was extremely hot. We failed miserably to see Peruvian Plantcutter despite hearing it and making great efforts to find it. A White-tailed Jay lurked in the bushes. We were much luckier in our search for Tumbes Swallow though and found a few easily. Near Tacume we watched Least Grebe, Wilson’s Phalarope and more Black-necked Stilts. At Chiclayo We added Western and Semi-palmated Sandpiper as well as Andean Coot and White-cheeked Pintail.


White-tailed jay


At the coast at San Jose, Grey Gull, American Oystercatcher and Eleagnt Tern were added to our list of 377 species for the trip.


We said goodbye to Raul, thanking him for all the driving and company and flew back to Lima where we bid farewell to Eduardo who had been a brilliant guide.






17th October


We flew to Madrid and then onto Gatwick where the cold soon greeted us!


I shall upload a much fuller trip report to the trip reports page of my website as soon as I have done it!


26th October


Ze and I headed down the West Bank path at Titchwell and out to the tideline where yesterday Long-tailed Duck, Velvet Scoter, Black-throated Diver and Slavonian Grebe had all been showing well. It was a glorious day but the strong wind was coming from the south-west and had quite clearly blown everything far out to sea! Great-crested Grebe was the only bird on offer. Such a shame in the excellent light. Eventually we walked along towards Brancaster where a Shore Lark showed well and two Slavonian Grebes were bobbing about distantly on the sea.


After lunch we drove along to Cromer where after a quick U-turn at Overstrand I drove up to the lighthouse. Here we were treated to fast-flying views of the Pallid Swift and Penny Clarke down below taking photographs of it. Ze did well to get some shots of the Pallid Swift as it flew over the wood.


Ze and I went onto Cley where we watched the gull roost. There were many Wigeon and Common Teal looking out from Dauke's Hide as well as Pintail. A Stonechat did its best to cling on to one of the bushes as darkness fell.


27th October


Ze and I started at the village hides in Holme where we were treated to wonderful views of Marsh Harriers and Common Buzzards interacting. One of the Marsh Harriers enjoyed playing with the reed heads. The wind was getting stronger all the time and by the time we reached the NWT and NOA reserves any sensible bird had taken shelter..........and so did we!



2nd November

We joined John and Judy and drove to the Ouse Washes RSPB reserve, walking to Stockdale Hide where we soon located several Marsh Harriers. There were thousands of duck, mainly Wigeon and Teal. Pintail were also on show as were many lapwings. Soon a harrier with a with a white rump put in an appearance and we soon realised that its orangy breast and dark hood stood out. The Northern Harrier put on a good show and was wonderful to watch as it quartered the ground. We wondered what to do next as the pager alerted us to a Great Grey Shrike the other side of the washes almost opposite where we were looking out on. We were soon on our way and climbed the bank near the bend in the road at Pymoor and looked across the channel. We had to wait a while in the strong wind before Paul located the shrike clinging on for dear life at the top of a bush. Driving back along towards Ten Mile Bank, bewick and Whooper Swan were feeding in the fields as we admired a big flock of Goldfinch.

6th November

A Short-eared Owl flew by the side of my car as I left work at Titchwell this evening.

8th November

The Short-eared Owl was performing well by the West Bank path at Titchwell today and could be seen through the trees from the visitor centre.

9th November

Paul and I drove across to Salthouse where we watched Turnstones before moving on to Cley where many Shoveler had arrived along with Wigeon and Teal. There were still many parties of Staralings arriving from Scandinavia. Out on the sea we watched a Red-throated Diver.

10th November

Paul and I took a short walk on Roydon Common where we managed to miss the Great Grey Shrike. we only saw a few Meadow Pipit and a Common Buzzard.

12th November

I have at long last finished up-loading my trip report to Northern Peru onto my trip reports page of my website. Have a look!

14th November

After visiting Holt Country Park, Paul and I went to Cley where we watched a Black Brant fly into Pat's Pool along with the Brent Geese. A Glaucous Gull flew in with the other large gulls whilst we looked for a Thayer's Gull which did not arrive.

16th November

Paul and I started the drive to Wales at 8pm. We soon discovered that the A14 was shut and began a tortuous diversion. Eventually joining the M42 we were diverted off this too as it was shut at junction 2.

17th November

After arriving near Orlandon Kilns at 3am we could not believe how long it had taken us after all the diversions! We managed some sleep in the car and at 7am were walking up the lane towards the house. We were stopped by a marshall but were soon allowed into the garden where the Orphean Warbler was already on view in the apple trees. When Paul joined me the bird flicked out into the little lane where we had good views. It flew back into the garden and was soon tucking into some apples. After admiring it for a while we gave our places up so that others patiently waiting in the lane could see it too. A Raven flew through as we walked back to the car.

We drove to Wooltack Point and looked out over Skomer. There were five Chough feeding on the grass whilst a Rock Pipit landed on the cliff edge. Several Meadow Pipits were calling as they fed on the grass and flew around. Whilst scanning the cliff edge a Black Redstart flew down to the cliffs below which caught me by surprsie. Out at sea we watched a couple of Harbour Porpoise as well as many Razorbill, Kittiwake and a lone Gannet. On Skomer we watched a pair of Common Buzzard as well as a flock of Canada Geese!

Down on the beach there were a couple of baby seals still all in their white fur. Walking back towards the coastguard lookout we saw a Stonechat sitting atop a bush. Luckily we had a much better journey home via the M4 !




19th November










Parrot Crossbill




Paul and I drove up to Holt Country Park again. This time at least 8 Parrot Crossbill were waiting for us as we arrived in the car park just down one of the pathways.

30th November

Ze and I were at Lynford Arboretum for first light. We walked down to the paddocks where I picked up 3 distant Hawfinches sat at the top of the tree over the other side. We walked down the side of the lake where a flock of Siskin flew over us but did not stop. Once we reached the bottom of the paddocks we met up with Ashley Banwell and watched 2 Hawfinches that Ze could photograph sat in one of the pine trees. Later I had another 3 Hawfinches sat at the top of another tree. We walked back up to the Arboretum where birders were watching another Hawfinch sat in the grounds of the lodge along with a Redwing. A flock of Common Crossbill flew over us.

At Santon Downham it was good to see a big flock of Brambling along with Marsh Tit, Coal Tit, Goldcrest, Blue Tit, Nuthatch and Great Tit. After picking Fernando up we motored onto Holt where we failed to see any crossbills of any type. At Edgefield we watched two Red Kites.



1st December

Paul, Ze and myself started our day at Ness Point in Lowestoft where we watched several Purple Sandpipers picking around the groynes amongst the Ruddy Turnstones. It was a beautiful morning and we were soon on our way to Cantley where we watched 27 Taiga Bean Geese feeding on the marshes. I was surprised at the lack of other geese present. A flock of Golden Plover took off into the sky but we could not see what had disturbed them. We wandered in to Strumpshaw RSPB reserve where we looked at the feeders. Paul walked further down the path and located a flock of Redpoll. I searched through them and found two Mealy Redpoll amongst the Lesser Redpoll. A Brambling alighted on the top of the tree too.

A Black-headed Gull looks down on the two Purple Sandpipers feeding on the groyne

I drove on to Edgefield where moments after arriving the flock of Parrot Crossbill landed in one of the dead trees in the centre of the clearfell where the Roller had been earlier in the year. If only they had done this yesterday! After a lovely lunch we set off to the North hide at Cley where we were lucky to watch the juvenile Glaucous Gull fly (probably) into roost to finish off our excellent day's birding.


5th December

A tidal surge has caused a lot of devastation to the reserves all along the caostline. At Snettisham RSPB, one hide has been swept away, two badly damaged and severe damage to the roost bank and sea wall with the access road unpassable. At Titchwell we have lost the boardwalk at the end of the West Bank and the East Bank has also sustained damage. The North Hide at Cley NWT has disappeared and is in bits at Kelling whilst the boardwalks and wooden bridges have disappeared. The 3 hides in the middle of the reserve are also damaged. The whole reserve is under seawater.

26th December

After the excesses of yesterday Kathryn (my daughter) and Ann (Paul's mum) and I walked along the pits at Snettisham. The Environment Agency had done a marvellous job of pushing back the shingle into the breaches in the sea wall. We walked to the only remaining hide left intact after the tidal surge and viewed the spetacle of all the Golden Plover and Knot feeding out on The Wash. There were many Bar-tailed Godwit, Oystercather, Dunlin, Curlew, Shelduck and Redshank as well. On the way back to the car the highly mobile Black-necked Grebe was diving in the pit near the chalets. I grabbed my camera from the car but a bank of sea-mist had rolled in making taking a photograph difficult.

Black-necked Grebe






29th December











                                       Brunnich's Guillemot                                                                  Glossy Ibis

Paul and I arrived at Portland at dawn where there were already a few birders gathered. Although Paul had flu he managed to walk along the harbour side to join the ever-growing crowd. Displaying Red-brested Merganzers were lovely to watch as was a Great Northern Diver and Black Guillemot. However there was no sign of the star bird. After a while the birders started looking elsewhere along the harbourside and luckily the Brunnich's Guillemot was located. We were all thrilled at seeing the guillemot so close, even though it was showing in the shade of the harbour walls. Soon illness got the better of Paul and I drove to see the Glossy Ibis in a children's park. Unfortunately a photographer got far too close and pushed the ibis up to the far end of the park! Grrrr.......

I suspect this will be my last entry for this year and so I wish you all a Happy New Year and hope it will be bird-filled as always.


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