Archive for Nov, 2019



We were stood on the beach a few weeks ago and watched as two distant specks became larger. As they got closer the two dark birds became wildfowl, then geese. Eventually they revealed themselves as a pair of Dark-bellied Brent Geese. Reaching the shore they circled and came down to the sand where they rested a while, before once again moving on.



We stumbled across this Curlew the other week. Flagged and numbered I suspect he was ringed and tagged on the Wash but I’ve not yet received information back from the ringer.



Roughing it

The sun was out the wind was down. A quick late afternoon visit to Wells was on the cards for the Rough legged Buzzard that had been seen there quartering the fields.

Stood looking North overlooking the eastern pines a Swallow flew through; an amusing distraction. I can’t think what it was feeding on as there were few flies. It was also good to see a ploughed field heaving with Lawing, Golden Plover and a few Snipe.  Pied Wagtails were gathering to roost seemingly ignoring the hanging Marsh Harriers that were steadily working the field borders. Out from grass tussocks flapped a buteo obviously of some size. The white uppertil and the solid black belly were dead giveaways as to it’s ID. It never did come close but it had a regular hunting circuit. It eventually went back to its favoured bush, presumably to roost.

Always attractive these visitors from the Arctic. Such powerful birds. We always seem to get a splattering each Winter.




Good friend Simon and I were on the shingle bank at Cley not but a day and a half before Mark Golly found his Isabelline Wheatear. In fact I distinctly remember saying “Let’s have a walk down here Simon you never know what we might find” We found nothing of note; but Mark found a first for Cley and nobody deserves it more.

In yesterday’s bright sunshine I joined friends Bob and Bill to see if I could better photographs I had of the last Norfolk bird which turned up at Gun Hill in the later part of October 2016. It wasn’t a problem. The bird performed admirably. Fearless and confiding are perhaps the terms I would use. As we stood chatting and enjoying one another’s company the erect portly little fella approached us. Flycatching, sallying and running along the shingle completely oblivious of our admiration. This species breeds not much nearer than Turkey and covers a range East all the way out to Turkestan. Raised in steppe-desert perhaps it had never seen people before.

Nearby was a moving wave of Snow Buntings rolling over one another along the sea wall. These as well as the long staying Long tailed Duck were a supporting cast. A couple of Otters even got in on the act. A distant calling lark at the back of Snipes Marsh just may have been Short-toed … maybe!

As I carted my much too heavy photo gear back to the reserve centre the whole scene got me a-thinking-back to the Isles of Scillies when I saw my first Isabelline Wheatear. I stood on the Golf Course; the high point of St Mary’s. The view from there is to die for. Islands, sea and setting sun heaven. On one particular October day in the 1990’s it was enhanced by a similar sallying Wheatear. The supporting cast then was a Red throated Pipit and an Upland Sandpiper. A sort of East meets West mix. It was possible to stand between all three and ‘do a 360’ to take them all in. Heady days.

I had lunch back at Cley. Looking out from the busy restaurant, over the seemingly even busier marsh. I couldn’t help feeling how lucky I was to live in such a beautiful place as North Norfolk. There’s just one thing missing … soon to be corrected.



Licking lips

Well! I was licking my lips at the thought of the hoards of migrants that would trip onto the Norfolk coast from the continent this Autumn. The situation can be summed up by telling you the total number of Fieldfare I’ve seen so far totals no more than a score … it appears lip-licking was unwarranted.


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Nov 2019


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