Archive for the 'norfolk' Category


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.



Six Stripe Sprite

There’s something quite special about living on the east coast, a stone’s throw from the sea. Migrating birds apart, living in West Runton is very nice indeed; but especially so when the autumn wind is in the east and I can walk out of my front door and within 400m be watching three Yellow Browed Warblers, a handful of Redstarts and a Little Bunting. So it was last week. Well, I say ‘watching’ a Little Bunting. When asked ‘were we watching the Little Bunting?’ friend Bob replied … “It’s that little we can’t bloody see it” It was probably the most elusive individual of the species I’ve seen. It sat tighter than an Extinction Rebellion activist, hardly shifting from it’s field of Sugar Beet. When it did move it exploded from one patch of mugwort to another low and fast; as if it were on a zip wire. It did show for me eventually … but not well.

It was however the Yellow Broweds that made my day. I absolutely love seeing these little Siberian migrants. I’m not sure if it’s their bright plumage or the way they jauntily flit about picking-off every small insect they find. Maybe, it’s the fact they have travelled all the way from Northern Russia and crossed the North Sea that I find so incredible. Anyways, I really do think they are enigmatic and worth seeking out in the few weeks each year they pass along our coast. Terrific birds.




Peace and Quiet

I was sat alone in a hide on the coast here last week. To be honest I was just enjoying the peace and quiet and having a bit of a reflective moment. When I was jarred into life by the appearance of this little chap almost in my face. He popped out of the reeds right in front of me. He heard the camera shutter go off and ran back in as suddenly as he came out. Seeing Water Rails in good light is always a treat so when he came out again I just put the camera down and enjoyed him for a while.


Something stotally different

A Stout Stoat. When I took these photos I thought I was watching an adult Stoat that had a clearly demarcated black tail tip, with young. It’s been brought to my attention these are in fact Weasels! – What I’d been watching was an interaction between Weasels and a Stoat. I’ve learnt something – every day’s a school day!


A Cley Visitor

I’m used to seeing Black Guillemot in full breeding dress during our visit to Mull each year. They tend to stay north and west; rarely visiting the South East coasts. Not so this little chap. He spent a week or more just further out than the surf at Cley-next-the-sea in August and was sporting his casual dress.

It was quite amusing to see a whole bank of photographers overlooking the swimsuited masses on the warm bank holiday.

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November 2019
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