Archive for the 'norfolk birds' Category


‘all white

On tour at Hickling the other week a large Egret flew up out of the reedbed. The yellow bill and completely black legs immediately confirmed it as a Great White. They bred in Norfolk last year. I suspect with the number we have around us the event will be repeated and become the norm.


they’re back

With the recent warm weather the migrants came flooding in. I was walking on the clifftop here in Runton the other evening and a Whinchat and a Wheatear dropped in to rest for the evening. Swallows were flying purposely west … on there way to who knows where. This chap was resting at Minsmere on the migration day last weekend.


A bone to pick and a beard to trim

Last week I was asked to identify a bone that had been found on Titchwell beach. If you are interested a photo and write up can be found here

The journey over to Titchwell from West Runton isn’t a short hop so I thought I’d go onto the reserve and take a few photos; making use of the time I had to enjoy myself. The sun was still low over the reserve, Titchwell comes into its own during the afternoon when the sun moves behind you; so conditions were not ideal for photography. However the Bearded Tit were performing so I fired off a few shots. I like the golden quality of ‘into the light photography’ that you often get in reedbeds.

It’s worth noting during my visit to Titchwell and the tour to Minsmere two days earlier I never saw or heard a Cetti’s Warbler. Purely anecdotal of course but I wonder if the recent cold weather has reduced numbers.


Fancy a Shag

Well if nothing else the title to this blog should ensure it gets a lot of hits!

This Shag was resting between bouts of fishing at Sheringham on the Norfolk coast the other week … the 7th March actually. He, or is it she, was sporting some jewellry. A nicely marked colour ring on the right leg and a BTO ring on the left leg. The ‘BTT’ code of white on green lettering could be clearly seen; the lettering on the BTO ring was less distinguishable.

I guessed it would have been ringed on the Isle of May off the east coast of Scotland and indeed it was. Details sent off to the ringer, Mark, brought about a swift response.  He tells me it was ringed as a chick (BTO ring: 1493017 ) on the Isle of May, Fife on 19/6/17 as one of a brood of three. He also tells me  BTT was still on the isle when he last went out on 20th February but since the extreme weather a lot of the shags have disappeared.

I’m resisting the temptation to make any comments about shags in the snow!



On the 2nd of March I was beginning to get cabin fever. With a tour cancelled because of the snow and my supplies here at the flat exhausted, it was time to venture out. The snow was no longer falling but temperatures were low. I mean … low. The cold wind was one of those winds that didn’t go around you. It cut straight through. Two pairs of overtrousers, two coats, gloves, hat and all I could get on and still walk, and I was still bloody cold. I took the camera to the beach here in West Runton. Ten minutes later I was thinking to myself ‘What the hell am I doing here’. Cabin fever seemed like the better option. As I approached the boat ramp I could see gulls were flocking on the tideline. A sheltered spot and I was able to do a sweep through them. An Iceland Gull and a Med Gull … unlikely bedfellows. I decided to venture onto the beach and get a photo of the Iceland. As I picked my way between the boulders the slicing wind took on a new energy; seemingly determined to push me over. I got to the tideline and no sign of either gull. All that was left was me and a lonely Sanderling, both of us leaning into the wind.


Breckland Round-up

Although I only advertised one trip to Breckland this month, I ended up doing several due to demand.

I thought I’d give a bit of a round-up for all my customers.

Some of the classics gave excellent views; Goshawk were not difficult at all again this year and Woodlark could often be heard singing before we left the car! Lesser spotted Woodpecker were more difficult – unusually when we saw them they were silent and when we could hear them they were so far in dense woodland we couldn’t see them. Firecrests were there but not yet as active as they can be. Hawfinch didn’t show on all occassions and were in relatively small numbers compared with last year. I wonder why that is when numbers are seemingly everywhere else in the county after a continental influx. Crossbills are in short supply but again we did see them although they are a very nomadic species. A bonus this year is of course was the Parrot Crossbill flock that has been floating around Santon Downham. Starling murmurations were at their peak last week – I couldn’t be sure but I reckon on Sunday last we watched close to 500,000 birds coming in to roost right at the side of us. The sight, sound … and smell of them will live long in the memory. All good value birds with a few Otters, Hares, Roe Deer and Reeve’s Muntjac all putting in an appearance. Rabbit numbers seem to have decreased everywhere of late. RHD2, the new viral strain from the continent, has obviously taken a hold. I do hope this does not have an effect on the Stone Curlew population which thrive on the rabbit grazed short swards of our heaths.

Anyways, all that aside, I thought I’d show another photo of the Parrot Crossbills … just because I like them so much!

Next years tour to Breckland is already on the website – Book Early!


three degrees and a rising tide

A temperature shock greeted me as I walked along the beach. Three degrees of mercury and a cutting wind which took no prisoners. A far cry from the searing Antipodean heat. Here on the North Norfolk coast a long staying Glaucous Gull was playing ball and being photographer friendly. Not so the reported probable Viking Gull which never made an appearance,

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May 2018
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