Archive for Nov, 2021



On Saturday I held a ‘cetacean workshop’ in the reserve centre at Cley NWT. It was a good interactive group of interesting people. The morning was classroom based and after lunch we went down to the ‘beach hotel’ to look for a few porpoise out at sea. We unfortunately didn’t see any and guests gradually bid their farewell, but there were a few birds passing to keep interest high. As the light was failing the Black Guillemot that had been moving up and down the coast for the past week or so sailed-by. All the remaining guests managed to get onto it and have a good look through the scope. Some compensation at least for the absence of porpoise.

I took a few record shots as the bird bobbed and dived in the swell. I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular given the distance and the failing light. I put the camera away and took the opportunity to look at the bird through the scope myself. It was then I saw it tilt its head sideways and look up. I’ve seen many birds do this over the years and it’s always indicative of them seeing a raptor above. However, I’ve never seen any species of auk do it previously … and I’ve seen a lot of auks.

Following the guillemots line of sight I looked up myself and very high above us was a Short eared Owl coming in off the sea. Seeing an owl come in-off is always good; a treat in itself. The owl spilled air from it’s wings and steeply dropped down onto the marsh behind us.

I pondered on the fact that the two species, Black Guillemot and Short eared Owl, would rarely be in the same environment and have a chance to interact. So how did the auk know the Short eared Owl was a threat? I guess it is just hard-wired into most birds that birds of prey, whatever the species, are just not good news.



So proud to see Holly graduate, with honors, last week. She’s come a long way … but was always ‘the performer’.


A little history and a bird and site revisited.

It’s been a long, long time since I was at Blacktoft Sands on the Humber; perhaps thirty years or more. A visit to Leeds to see Holly graduate was an opportunity to call at this RSPB reserve I once so frequently visited.

Blacktoft is an hours drive from Darrington on the A1, where I used to live. Fairburn Ings, Potteric Carr Blacktoft and Spurn were regular haunts.

The White-tailed Lapwing that had been seen briefly at Stodmarsh, Kent in June this year had made its way to Blacktoft on the 26th August. It more or less took up residence but was no longer being reported however I guessed it may still be in the area. So, a visit was planned to break up the journey North last week.

This is a species that has only ever occurred in the UK a handful of times, but I had seen one that previously turned up at Leighton Moss in Lancashire during June 2007 after I had missed it at Caerlaverock in Dumfries and Galloway the previous week. However, it would be a new bird for Tania.

Visiting the reserve brought back a lot of memories. The hides and layout of the place hadn’t changed much. It didn’t take long to find the Lapwing feeding and sleeping in front of Xerox hide. I saw it much closer that I’d seen one previously, so managed to get a few acceptable photos. We concluded that it was one of the best birds we had seen for a while and spent a couple of hours in its company before heading off West.

We also took in a little bit of history by calling in at nearby Whitgift to see the Church. Lord how we laughed … Ha Ha.



A wonderful fallow stag on the ‘Wild Ken Hill’ estate the other week. Even if he was a little lob-sided. Tours are available here


Not so Red

The Red throated Divers are still hanging around offshore here on the coast. This juvenile, which are darker on the head and sides of the neck than adults, was one of several that came in close in foggy weather a couple of days ago.


A weekend in Wales

There’s nowhere quite like Wales. The scenery is to die for and it contains some incredible wildlife.

Ever since I set the business up some 14 years ago I’ve been visiting the Kite feed at Gigrin in Powys. It never fails to impress guests and this year was no exception. The speed of the birds test the resolve of any photographer. However we had a good group this last weekend and they did well. Another trip at the end of this month will bring different sightings and different memories.



A whale was the target of our attentions yesterday. We were supposed to be travelling West but we ended up going East. We made camp at Overstrand and viewed the sea. Friend Ben had seen what was most likely a Minke travelling far offshore. Squinting eyes revealed no sign of cetaceans. However, around are feet was a more showy arctic visitor vying for our attentions. This Snow Bunting would just not leave us alone. Having first coupled with friend Megan a few days ago, it was still seeking company.

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Nov 2021


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