Archive for the 'norfolk birding' Category

07
Sep
17

Visiting Travellers

As we walked down the dunes on Sunday there was a flock of swallows making their way slowly south towards Africa. Feeding as they went. Then they rested a while before moving on again. They are enough to lift any heart. Unencumbered, no ties, able to fly where they wish. Not without reason we say something or someone is as free as a bird. They travel between continents at will – do you envy them?

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04
Sep
17

Breaking Cover

Sat in the hide last week as we looked out over the marshes this little fella broke cover. He came out of his hidi-hole and stepped into the sunshine for a bit of a preen; and who can blame him. Some good weather over the last few weeks here in Norfolk. However, experience tells me we’ll pay for it in the long run.

01
Sep
17

AFON

Wouldn’t it be good if the politicians sat down and talked properly with the CEO’s of the wildlife organisations in the UK? Wouldn’t it be good if the CEO’s talked among themselves and they all sang from the same hymn sheet when lobbying the politicians? Just think what could be achieved if this happened.

The only way of making this happen is to bring these people together at an early stage. AFON (A Focus On Nature) probably has the future leaders of the RSPB, Wildlife Trusts, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Natural England, The Forestry Commission etc, etc, already within their ranks. These people know one another. They know one another NOW as they are developing their skills as individuals within a group. They are experiencing their early years TOGETHER. There are probably future wildlife law makers among their number too.

I am a mentor for AFON and have been in there from the start. I realised then, and I maintain now, that we must rear a new breed of wildlife enthusiast to protect our future.

I went out again with Catherine Bullen the other week. I am one of her AFON coaches guiding her on the next steps within her career as a wildlife photographer. Note her name. She’s good. You will be seeing more of her work in the future I’m sure. Take a look at some of her photos on her website http://www.catherinebullen.co.uk and by friending her on facebook. https://www.facebook.com/catherinebullenphotography

To reach people; to touch people’s hearts and minds, sometimes words are not enough – you need a good image to make them sit up and listen. Caroline is one of the people that will help to do that in future.

29
Aug
17

Spoonies

After the first breeding a few years ago spoonbills are now very much a part of the Norfolk bird-scape. On tours last week it didn’t matter where we went, east , west, coast, Brecks or Broads there they were. These two, an adult and a rather vocal begging youngster, were at Holme.

23
Aug
17

Turn Turtle

The way we treat our land and the wildlife that occupies it is coming to a watershed. Some would say we have already reached a point of no return. One bird that has become very scarce in the UK is the Turtle Dove. A massive reduction in numbers has been caused by insecticides in the UK, destruction of their wintering habitat in Africa and sky pointed guns in the Mediterranean. This is a bird that’s onto a loosing streak wherever it goes.

This summer a pair have sought breeding sanctuary at Titchwell RSPB here on the north Norfolk coast and have been frequently visible in the car park. I photographed one there last week. Reading old copies of the Norfolk Bird and Mammal Report it wasn’t uncommon to see hundreds during a day on the coast. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a sizeable flock of these birds. Do I think they will be seen again in the UK in those numbers? No; but we can hope.

07
Aug
17

Kelling Heath and the Chalk Reef

If you have visited North Norfolk to bird watch or you live locally you need to be aware of something. DONG Energy (a Danish Company) have given planning notice of an offshore windfarm development called the Hornsea Project Three.
 
In a nutshell the offshore 342 wind turbines, 19 or so offshore platforms,12 transformer substations and up to 3 accommodation platforms will be located 121km northeast of the Norfolk coast and 160km east of the Yorkshire coast. They will be connected to the shore by up to six undersea cables running in a south-westerly direction from the windfarm to the proposed landfall at Weybourne in North Norfolk via a possible booster station based out at sea. From here it is proposed the cables will be buried in up to 6 trenches, running in a south/south-westerly direction for approximately 55 km and will connect to the national grid between Swardeston and Stoke Holy Cross in South Norfolk. the development area will be up to 200m wide along it’s length.
 
The construction of booster stations along the route may also be required.
There will be construction of temporary haul roads and temporary access tracks, both alongside and separate from the cable route used for the purpose of enabling the underground works
Notice has been given of the required temporary stopping up, alteration or diversion of any street and the permanent and/or temporary compulsory acquisition of land.
A couple of maps are available here Hornsea Project Three_Onshore_Statutory_Consultation_Plan_July 2017 Hornsea Project Three_Project Overview_Phase 2_Statutory_Consultation_Pl.._ showing the seabed route which importantly bisects the offshore chalk reef and also the proposed alternative route across Kelling Heath.
 
Birds such as Dartford Warbler and Woodlark will probably be effected. Adders and butterflies such as Silver studded blue may also be effected. It’s up to you, me and the rest of us to object if we find these plans unacceptable. You have until 20th September to make representation to DONG Energy, by email to HornseaProjectThree@dongenergy.co.uk or by post to Hornsea Project Three offshore wind farm, DONG Energy, 5 Howick Place, London, SW1P 1WG.
I have been sent details in my capacity as an interested party using the county for wildlife tours for my comments.
 
My thoughts: The government has stated that by 2040 there will be a major move away from petrol and diesel vehicles to electric cars and are investing heavily in battery technology to make this happen. This is good. We have to move away from the use of fossil fuels to countermand global warming effects. Power supplies must be developed to enable this change. We have several choices; wind and wave electricity production are two of those choices. So love them or hate them windfarms are part of the resolution. However North Norfolk does not feel like the place development of this kind should take place. I feel we could use the area around Paston to land the cables thereby keeping the heavy industry within Norfolk contained in one place and make the transport of energy to the grid without cutting across an internationally important chalk reef and a nationally important heathland area.
06
Aug
17

Snouty

The Common Shrew is one of the two most commonest mammals in the UK. However despite that they are hardly ever seen; most often observed by cat owners or clutched in the talons of Barn Owls and Kestrels. They are without doubt elusive. When you are just a couple of inches long I guess it pays not to put yourself on general show.

It was Phil who pointed out the grass moving as we returned to the vehicle. We were out on tour in the overflow car park at Hickling NWT. The twitching grass yielded this little fella. Nose or what?




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