Archive for Jan, 2020


Just not Black and White?

There’s a goose at Holkham among the Brents. Some say it’s flanks aren’t chalky enough for Black Brant. It must be a hybrid. Some say the chinstrap doesn’t meet in the middle Others say the mantle isn’t black enough. I’ve even heard it said the black belly is not extensive enough. Looks good to me. Well within the range of variations I’ve seen in Canada.


A casual glance

The dining table catches the sun in the flat. Working there is infinitely preferable to the much darker study however this looked slightly different.

I was working away at the laptop and making phone calls when something flew passed the window. Gulls and Jackdaws are passing all the time. I only caught it out of the corner of my eye but I could tell it was worth getting up for and walking over to the window. I was surprised to see a jackdaw with a frosty twist to its plumage.



Norfolk Fur-ball. Taken at some considerable distance with a long lens.



As Tania and I were walking through Cromer we both heard a screaming above us and instinctively looked up. The Peregrines are back!

Chasing one another in courtship display around the church tower they were making such a din. This went unnoticed by the majority below however friend Eddie was also staring upwards from the pavement. It was good to see him looking so well. It was also good to see the Peregrines back too. It looks as though Cromer church is going to be well established as a breeding site. Eddie and I wondered how long it would be before Southrepps and perhaps even Northrepps church was similarly blessed.

As we drove the coast road the other evening a dark shape in the centre of a grazing marsh attracted our attention. As we pulled over to take a closer look we could see it was a Muntjac. Two to be precise. It appears the mild weather is prompting everything to pair-up!


The morning after

On the 1st of January we braved the crowds and ventured over to Holkham Hall. It took quite a while to make our way through the melee of people but make it we did.

A couple of Great White Egrets and the reported Black-necked Grebe were without the best birds but a Red Kite and a Marsh Harrier also put in an appearance.

Black-necked Grebes are one of those birds that are difficult to photograph. If the light is wrong and the exposure is not quite right they look like a waterborne devil. Sometimes they can take on the appearance of the hound of the Baskervilles’ or appear if they have bright red LED’s for eyes. The dull light on the 1st was ideal and the Grebe, perhaps the most difficult of the grebes to see well in Norfolk, was showing ideally.



Desert for starters

The main course today was forsaken for dessert.

We set off to seek out a Bittern but were waylaid by Cart Gap’s Desert Wheatear. I always regard these as November birds; harbinger of winter. Not so this individual, more a forerunner of the new year. On the walk back along the sea wall a surprise Spoonbill flew south. Where had that been? where was it going? What a weird early January it’s shaping up to be. There were some reliables; a Black throated Diver along with a Red throated offshore; three species of swan in one field at Ingham gave Tania a good comparison and a field full of Redwings at Hickling put on a good show.

The work that has been ongoing at Hickling has formed a wonderful flood meadow, full to the brim with winter wildfowl. Perhaps the flood work was too good. The water around Bittern Hide made it unapproachable.

Nearby we searched out up to six Water Deer. For me, they are the most beautiful of our deer species. Small compact and elusive. As we watched the last animal of the day a ghost of a raptor flew over it and into the distance. A male Hen Harrier glowing in the dying light.


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Jan 2020


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