27
Nov
14

Uplanders

Out across the marsh flew a wheeling flock of finches. I could see Goldfinch among them … and Linnet. By far the majority however were Twite. We estimated maybe 90 to 110 of these beautiful uplanders. It looks like Twite at last have had a good year as flocks on the coast are beginning to gain in number and size. I guess they could be from the Pennines (or maybe even Wales). At least one in the flock bore colour rings so we should be able to find out eventually.

Twite

 

26
Nov
14

Norfolk Wing 2014/15

Some interesting articles on Capercailles, Sea Watch Foundation, Norfolk Cetaceans, our new tours and much more…

See the  publication at http://issuu.com/wildlifetoursandeducation/docs/norfolk_wing_7060aa543c99dd

The Norfolk Wing Cover

25
Nov
14

Third time lucky?

For the second time in as many weeks a bird at Cley has led me astray. The first occasion was when a Heron with white wings and a peach mantle got up and flew directly away from the vehicle. In the brief view suspicions of a Squacco Heron came to mind. A phone call and a text later qualified it had actually been a stained Little Egret. Damn!

Yesterday as we were checking the finch flocks at the eastern end of Blakeney Point a bird among them made my heart miss a beat. The peach and white pretender turned out to be an aberrant Greenfinch. Double Damn!

Greenfinch

 

23
Nov
14

Snow on the ridge

As we walked north to the sea and across the shingle a large flock of Linnet raised from the marshy pools. I couldn’t see anything among them until they got up a second time. The unmistakable white wings disclosed a Snow Bunting. Out away across the fields it flew. Later we stumbled upon a flock of 13 sat peacefully pecking the sparse vegetation and shuffling their way first up and then down the shingle slope. Standing out like a beacon was this white male in his winter garb.

2014 11 18 Snow Bunting Salthouse Norfolk_Z5A2107

21
Nov
14

Pupping Season

It’s that time of year again. The Grey Seals have started to pup their way through the winter. The beaches around Norfolk are now starting to fill with creamy white young seals that will quickly fatten to become the round balls of fur that all too soon become independent from their mothers.

This pup was one of many on one stretch of beach at the weekend. Having just been born I think his mum was just a tad unsure of what had just happened!

Grey Seal Grey Seal_Z5A2064

2014 11 18 Grey Seal Horsey Norfolk_Z5A2202

19
Nov
14

A Sweet Desert

Well, it wasn’t a North African dry arid semi-desert but Gorleston promenade was about as close as you can get to it in Norfolk. The Desert Wheatear that visited us mid November chose a mild Southerly wind to travel north and find favour among the grass verges and beaches of our seaside town.

Desert Wheatears are not super rare. They tend to turn up most years, but they always mark the end of migration for me. OK we’ll get the odd very late bird winging it’s way in but the arrival of a Desert Wheatear marks the beginning of the winter drought of migrants. Our only chance now of something pretty good is an unusual weather event. A harsh cold depression over Russia spurring movement from the continent perhaps or something riding on the back of a strong southerly mild wind.  Who knows? There may even be something special already lurking in Holkham Pines … waiting to be discovered.

2014 11 10 Desert Wheatear Gorleston Norfolk_Z5A1378 2014 11 10 Desert Wheatear Gorleston Norfolk_Z5A1491

 

17
Nov
14

Pilot Whale Update

The Pilot Whales after heading off east from Norfolk last Monday tried the continent for approval. Seen off the coast of Belgium on Friday they then zigzagged their way back west and were seen yesterday off the Isles of Grain in the Medway (per RBA). The British Divers Marine Mammal Rescue were again put on alert but as yet, fortunately, there’s no sign of them stranding.

http://deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws.english/videozone_ENG/1.2148448

It’s always difficult with these deep water species to know what they are doing here but the late autumn spawning Herring may be a factor. Pilot Whales will eat Herring as a substitute for their preferred diet of squid.

It seems ‘lost’ whales travelling down from the Arctic have an instinct to move west into where they think the open water of the Atlantic should be. Of course if they are on our East coast this can have dire consequences. The lure of the Wash and The Thames are often their downfall. I always feel with potential ‘strandable’ whales on the east coast that if they make it around ‘the toe’ of Kent they’ll maybe be ok. I hope so.

 




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