Archive for September, 2021

29
Sep
21

High Tide

Last week’s ‘Snettisham Spectacular’ day tour to The Wash was just that … spectacular.

23
Sep
21

Arrivals

As we sat at the top of the beach waiting for cetaceans that never arrived this week, Tania and I were pleased to see some new arrivals.

Signposting the end of good weather Winter visitors are perhaps given a mixed welcome, but when they come still dressed in their summer garb they are a delight. Four Red-throated Divers, maybe fresh in from Scottish Lochs, were fishing just beyond the surf. How could I not get the camera out?

21
Sep
21

A Stained Window

Perched up in a sunny bush … a handsome mature male Migrant Hawker. Lots of them around at the moment.

18
Sep
21

Wild Boar

I have just been reading a facebook page which had a slice of video on it that stated the film was taken in Norfolk and it featured a wild boar.

I have no doubt the person that posted the video did so in good faith. In fact it featured an Iron Age Pig rather than a Wild Boar. Iron Age Pigs are hybrids between Wild Boar any any breed of domesticated pig. They are used by land owners that are rewilding their land. Several farms in Norfolk are now beginning to put land aside for rewilding. They use pigs, usually Tamworths, but a few use Iron Age, alongside Exmoor ponies and Cattle. The turnover of the land by the pigs and the browsing and grazing by the cattle and horses, alongside wild deer, keeps the land from ‘wooding-up’. The bushy, scrubby landscape that ensues is ideal for such species such as Nightingale, Turtle Dove and Warblers like Whitethroat and Blackcap.

There are no Wild Boar at large in Norfolk as far as I’m aware. Although I did investigate a couple of reports about 10 years ago that didn’t come to anything. However, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again … anythings possible.

15
Sep
21

Conflict with Nature

There are a lot of good people in the world. People that wouldn’t dream of causing suffering to others humans or animals. Sadly there are people who care not for life in any form. They are capable of deeds that right thinking individuals could not contemplate.

The Faroe Islands are not British but they lie just outside British waters north of Shetland. The Faroes belong to Denmark.

The Faroese people periodically hold something called a grind. It’s a traditional method of hunting where dolphins are driven onshore by a flotilla of boats. About 600 pilot whales are caught every year on average. White-sided dolphins are caught in lower numbers, such as 35 in 2020 and 10 in 2019. The islanders have been warned not to eat cetacean meat because it’s invariably toxic with heavy metals. However, they continue to run the grinds.

On Sunday night a super-pod of 1428 Atlantic White-Sided Dolphins was driven 45 km by speed boats and jet-skis into the shallow water at Skálabotnur beach where every single one of them was killed with knives. This is said to be a record catch. Again … 1428 animals.

You will have no doubt have seen this on the news and read about it in the newspapers? No? … Why? Let me tell you why. Because it has not been covered widely by mainstream media in any sort of depth that’s why. Yet we have headlines for a week over a single Alpaca that was humanly destroyed … all be it sadly incorrectly. Sometimes I don’t understand the press and the media I really don’t.

Each Atlantic White Sided Dolphin would have been 2.5 to 2.8m long. Take a look at the door in the room you’re sat in. All the animals would have been as long as that door is high … and some. That’s a lot of flesh. What in Gods name are they going to do with that lot?

It saddens me. The dolphins are now dead. We can’t bring them back. There’s nothing we can do for them. It saddens me that there are people who do not realise the true nature of their role on the planet. People who don’t realise they are the custodians of all life on Earth. I feel sad for them.

I can’t bring this to the attention of as many people as mainstream media. However if everyone reading this article shared it … it may gain a little traction. Remember most people are good. We need to spread the story of the antics of these sad sad people and persuasively, legally and calmly stop this happening again. After all it’s wrong … isn’t it?

Photo courtesy Sea Shepherd website https://www.seashepherdglobal.org/
05
Sep
21

One Day

It doesn’t often happen that a customer cancels a tour but occasionally everyone gets ill. So it was last Friday. The day was mine to do with as I wished.

I thought I’d have a go at the Red breasted Flycatcher that had been around Trimingham churchyard the previous day. Busmans holiday and all that. As soon as I arrived a Pied Flycatcher flipped into an eye level branch of a beautiful open Cherry tree. It stayed just long enough for me to un-clip the camera bag and get the camera out. It had vanished by the time I’d raised the camera to my eye. I waited another hour before I saw it again. It perched just above an old girl kneeling at a gravestone, whispering to herself or maybe her interned loved one. Rather than disturb her I went for a walk to the sea. The scene was grey. The wind was whipping in from the North off the water. There was a smell of rare bird in the air. It was palpable.

By the time I returned to the churchyard I had it to myself again. I heard the Pied call and followed the sound to a spreading oak, before seeing it in the canopy and firing off a few record shots. As I was watching the bird something caught my eye. It was a bat circling the church. A Natter’s Bat. I tried to take a few pictures but as soon as I’d altered the settings on the camera it disappeared under the church eves. Presumably it was late in from a night shift. I never did see the Red breasted despite assistance from Paul and Rose that popped in for a quick look, so I presume it had moved on. Curiously a good number of Speckled Wood butterflies were alighting on gravestones. Not sure why; absorbing salts maybe?

I used to visit this area a lot when I lived at Falcon Cottage. It’s grown up a little and the trees in the churchyard are now ideal habitat for migrant birds. The area suffers from an absence of parking. Something to consider if anything truly amazing turns up there. In fact when I returned to the vehicle I had a polite but lengthy note on my windscreen asking me to consider where I parked as they couldn’t reverse into their drive opposite when approaching from the main road. Well my lovie, if you couldn’t reverse into your drive given the space I’d left …. I think it’s about time to give up your licence. It did occur to me they could have rung me in the time it took to write the note, the mobile number is on the side of the car. I was only yards away. I’d have gladly come and moved the damn thing. I did think I’d leave a ‘counter-note’ where they could read it but thought better of it. Some of my friends still watch this area. I didn’t want to escalate anything that would reflect upon them when they visit. I resolved not to park there again.

Home for lunch and then I though I’d take a drive West to Cley. As I pulled away from Sheringham a beautiful green locomotive was steaming its way towards Holt. I got ahead of it and took some photos of the stately beast as it crossed the road. Steam engines still hold a thrill. I guess it comes from having a father who gave most of his life to British Rail.

A message on my phone regarding a Sykes’s Warbler was going to change my afternoon. This is a bird from the Middle East that winters in the Indian subcontinent. It’s occurrence here is accidental with less than twenty previous UK records. I missed the first one in Norfolk in August 2002. It would have felt churlish to ignore the second.

The bird acquired its name from William Henry Sykes, a naturalist serving with the British Army in India. He discovered fifty six species of bird new to science and several species, including the warbler, bear his name.

The bad news is this individual was on Blakeney Point; well half way up Blakeney Point to be exact. Another avian progeny of James McCallum and Kayn Forbes. I hate Blakeney Point. Three steps forward and two back. All that calf burning shingle. I took my time walking out there; a bit like a reluctant kid going to the barbers. Walking along the suaeda edge was no fun at all. The only passerine I saw in the two mile walk was a single Reed Bunting.

When I arrived at Halfway House the bird was still being watched at the end of ‘the runway’; a short turfed area amid the shingle and suaeda bushes where I’ve seen several rarities over the years. It was periodically being glimpsed by a line of optic toting admirers as it flew over the sea of fruticosa. I joined them and managed to watch from a high point and get one or two distant photos but I wanted to get a good look at the bird rather than photograph it. Over the years I’ve found in these instances it’s better to give the bird room and wait for it to show. Some in the crowd even voiced this … but it fell on deaf ears. Bush bashing, drive type twitching in my eyes is impatient bird watching and no longer appeals to me. I would rather the birds welfare came first. The bird needs to rest and should be left to show on its own terms. However, this sort of habitat, deep bootlace ripping growth, doesn’t promote the bird being seen without some intervention. I left slightly disappointed, with mixed feelings and perhaps earlier than I would have normally.

I dragged my feet walking back as I contemplated the day. Would it be better to make a ‘second plantation’ at Half Way House duplicating the area at the point to make observation a little easier for bird and birdwatcher alike? I don’t know.

I decided to make the return journey on the seaward side, along the beach; still shingle but maybe a little firmer and a bit of sea to look at too. It was good to have Ian’s company for part of the walk East. When Ian strode out ahead I was joined by a Grey Seal curious enough to follow me for a while; although she wasn’t up for much conversation

All in all … a mixed day.

03
Sep
21

In flight

A Southern Hawker in flight showing those bright yellow/green headlights behind the eyes that make this species so distinctive in flight.




Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

September 2021
M T W T F S S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Archives


%d bloggers like this: