Archive for Nov, 2015


Bit of a mess

Walking out through the saltmarsh the other day we happened upon this little chap. Truth is he was in a bit of a mess. In full moult, a damaged left eye and some ear injuries this Chinese Water Deer looked far from his best.

Chinese Water Deer


The Twoo of use felt a bit of a Twitt

I went to the North West Bird Fair last weekend at Martin Mere in Lancashire. I’ve been to Martin Mere many times before but not to the bird fair. It was good. There was a steady stream of people past the stall and I was amazed at how many people from that part of the world visit Norfolk.

One chap I struck up a conversation with mentioned there were a couple of Tawny Owls out on the reserve roosting in a tree.

“Are they photographable?” I asked;

“Absolutely” he replied.

I grabbed Julian from the Wildsounds stall as I knew he, as well as I, would want to photograph them. Even though the reserve staff knew nothing about them we pushed on to where I’d been told they were. When we arrived at the place there was a small throng of people gathered looking towards the canopy

“We’re in” said I. How wrong could I have been?

When we got closer to the crowd we realised there was much rubbing of sore necks and mutterings of “where?”, “what branch?”, “well I can’t see them”, “come on I’m fed up we’ve been here 30 minutes” – hardly encouraging.

Although Julian found them with relative ease it took me a bit longer. No, they weren’t photographable at all. Photographable is when they are close and have no intervening vegetation. This is the best shot I could achieve.

2015 11 22 Tawny Owl Martin Mere Lancashire_Z5A4877

I know… but they are in there.

2012 12 18 Tawny Owl Christchurch Park Ipswich Suffolk_Z5A4904

This is photographable. Taken a few years ago in Suffolk.



Humpbacks and Hoopoes

After receiving information from Ryan Irvine last Wednesday morning I had the time to pop down to Winterton and take a look at the Humpback he’d been watching off Winterton.

An entourage of gannets were feeding above the animal and although the whale was distant their presence always gave the Humpback’s location away. The bushy water spout shot above the waves and was periodically followed immediately by a stubby fin atop an arched hump. All classic signs of a Humpback . Such a wonderful animal and  although it was quite distant I was so pleased to see it on what presumably (if it’s the same individual) was its third consecutive year of visiting the Norfolk coast.

I was out. So why not make the most of it. A deviant route back home via Crostwick saw me standing on tip toe looking over a fence into grassy paddocks. It didn’t take me long to find the reported Hoopoe which was trying to hide among a distant weedy patch. Photographing it though was a different matter. However, it eventually came a little closer for a record shot or two.

I wonder how many people in the UK have seen a Hoopoe and a Humpback on the same day?





I was just tidying up one or two photographs the other day and came across this one I took on Scillies.

We were walking back to the quay on St Agnes having been entertained by a Red Flanked Bluetail in bulb fields nearby. The pittosporum hedgerow we walked beside was spilling over the path above head height and forming an enclave free from the wind. Where the hedgerow gave way to a few deciduous trees the sun sprayed shafts of light through the leaves to the ground where they danced around us. It was the sort of scene more typical of a late autumn woodland than of a footpath between fields. As I looked up something caught my eye. Against the backlit translucent pale green was the distinctive shape of a warbler. It was hanging and hovering as it picked insects delicately from the dappled foliage. A closer look revealed it was yet another Yellow browed Warbler.

Yellow browed Warbler St Agnes Isles of Scilly_Z5A0965


Hardly Glossy

Having had a kidney stone removed the other week I was a bit sore. I was without doubt doing the ‘man thing’ of feeling a bit sorry for myself; although I was determined to get out and about as soon as I could. Just hate being confined to barracks.

I’d seen fly-by Glossy Ibis locally last year but I was still keen to see the one that had arrived recently at Felbrigg. So  on Tuesday I made the slow hobble down to the lake.

When I was showing Sharon the photos she remarked glibly ‘hardly glossy’. Well I guess not. This juvenile has yet to make the transition into the splendour of adult plumage … but I thought it was worth the effort.

2015 11 17 Glossy Ibis Felbrigg Norfolk_Z5A4041




There’s always something to watch. Even if you’re ‘laid-up’ post op. and the only window on the world you have is literal. This Brambling was on the feeders here at Falcon Cottage at the weekend.

2015 11 12 Brambling Northrepps Norfolk9Z8Z0966



Slimy Feline

On a woodland walk there were more Leopard Slugs in one place than I’ve ever seen before. This is a very large slug but I have yet to experience it’s suspended mating dance!

Leopard Slug



Some great fungi on a foray a couple of weekends ago. Amethyst Deceiver, Beefsteak, Jellied Ear and Lilac Bonnet were just a few of the forty something species we saw on the day. Not all easy to identify … it’s quicker and simpler when you have Tony Leech the county recorder to hand helping out. Thanks Tony.

Amethyst Deceiver Beefsteak Fungi Jellied Ear Lilac Bonnet


What a star

Pulling itself from under the dunes the other day was this Collared Earthstar – so alien these things … but so beautiful.

Collared Earthstar



A controversial warbler

So there we were, about a month ago now, stood with our backs arched starring into the canopy of the trees draping the Garrison on the Isles of Scilly. We were looking for the reported Arctic Warbler. Amid calls of ‘Here it is’, ‘it moved left’, ‘Yes it’s an Arctic!’ ‘That’s not an Arctic!’ and miscellaneous other contradicting information; it all got a bit confusing.

I regrouped the team on our tour and discussed with them what I thought we were looking at. Others may have been looking at something different. The following isn’t meant to be contentious just an honest judgement of the bird WE were watching. I’m sure there probably had been or even was an Arctic Warbler there … it’s just I didn’t see it.

The bird we saw and I photographed did not have tundra green upperparts like an Arctic Warbler it was greyer; nor did it have an endless supercillium, but it was prominent. It did however have silky white underparts, pale legs and a nicely coloured bill. I saw a suspicion of a wing-bar … but I think it was probably a Willow Warbler. What does the eastern race yakutensis look like?

2015 10 12 Willow Warbler The Garrison St Mary's Isles of Scilly_Z5A0860 2015 10 12 Willow Warbler The Garrison St Mary's Isles of Scilly_Z5A0890 2015 10 12 Willow Warbler The Garrison St Mary's Isles of Scilly_Z5A0893


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Nov 2015


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