Posts Tagged ‘Accompanied Wildlife Tours


Tree top visitor

The cold Northerly and grey skies over East Anglia of late have made for limited Butterflies on the wing. However, there’s always something to see. Indeed the cold windy weather had perhaps driven a usual tree top dweller down to eye level on one butterfly tour last week.

I’ve always wanted to see the unusual looking Snakefly. However, they rarely come down from the tree canopy. Thanks to Tim, friend and guest on a tour last week, I eventually crossed it off my bucket list when he found a couple one of which was this female. It was friend James that ‘keyed it-out’ for us to identify it to Oak Snakefly, one of the four British species.

That neck – just amazing.



As we entered the RSPB hide in Scotland last week I beckoned my guests to approach quietly. A pair of Slavonian Grebes were just outside. They were probably closer to the hide than I’ve ever seen them previously at this location. Photographing birds with a few grands worth of equipment only to have a 10p piece of glass in the way can lead to disappointing results. So now came the tricky part; raising the hide flaps without disturbing the birds. I needn’t have worried; they were otherwise engaged. Or at least the female was. She was trying hard to tempt him, to seduce him into the act. He was having non of it. Despite her laying submissively flat on the water and making it easy for him he just wasn’t bothered. Well … it was a cold day!


Lovin’ Scotland

Don’t you just love Scotland and its birds? Carl Chapman is out of office.


Waiting on Red

Whilst waiting for one of the Alpine Swifts to turn up in Sheringham the other week a Red Kite swung low over Sheringham and I couldn’t resist taking a few shots. It’s getting hard NOT to see a Red Kite on a day out in Norfolk these days. However, I’m in no way complaining … they are a superb contingent of the county’s fauna and long may they flourish.



The protracted stay of the Long billed Dowitcher at Cley can’t go on much longer can it? It’s perhaps overstaying it’s welcome more than Donald Trump. We were watching it yesterday and it appeared to be getting a little frustrated. The target of all that pent up aggression was an unfortunate Black tailed Godwit. The Dowitcher certainly wasn’t daunted by the larger size of the Godwit but a particular method of attack was employed presumably for its own safety. Firstly the Dowitcher debilitated the sword like bill of the Godwit by clenching it shut with its feet and then proceeded to give headache inducing blows to the poor Godwit’s head. A pure ‘Get-art-a-moy-pab’ moment (to be said with a Barbara Windsor accent)



There’s nothing like a pair of displaying summer plumage Slavonian Grebes to lighten the heart – photo taken from an RSPB hide. We saw many more on the sea pending their return to breeding lochs inland.


Science Week Walk

Yesterday I hosted a walk around the perimeter of Cley Marshes. The walk was just one of the events for Norwich Science Week. It was well attended by a variety of guests of varying ages; however they all exhibited somethings in common. Enthusiasm and a keen urge to learn.

We discovered Winter visitors that use the area, we discussed the migration that got them there and we steeped ourselves in the history of the North Norfolk coast. We explored how the ice age shaped the landscape and how our birds use it to feed, migrate through and over-winter. We discussed how the NWT (Norfolk Wildlife Trust) was begat from the womb of the NNNS (Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists’ Society) some seventy odd years ago with a specific aim of purchasing the marshes and we talked of some of the local characters that shaped bird watching today!

The birds put on a good show with a singing Cetti’s Warbler, a stooping Peregrine, Marsh Harriers a plenty and a Red throated Diver that did everything but come out of the sea onto the beach. A flock of wintering Snow Buntings gave us a flypast as did a small flock of Bewick’s Swans and out on Arnold’s Marsh were a variety of Duck and Waders; including the over wintering Long-billed Dowitcher.

Arnold’s Marsh is named after Edward Carleton Arnold. A headmaster from Eastbourne who was no stranger to the Cley area in the early 1900’s. Edward (or given his headmaster status should we refer to him as Mr Arnold?) wrote several books back in the day. One of them, “British Waders” sits on my bookshelf. A signed copy, number seven of only fifty copies printed, with some stunning watercolours by the author.

There’s something humbling about watching the Redshanks yesterday illustrated in the book by the author who gave his name to the marsh where we were watching them.


Good numbers

Seems to be some good numbers of wild swans about this winter. These Bewicks did a nice flypast last week.


Fabulous fabalis

There are two species of bean geese. Anser serrirostris the Tundra Bean Goose which occurs erratically but regularly in the UK and Anser fabalis the Taiga Bean Goose.

A regular flock of Taiga Bean Geese occurs near Falkirk each winter. This flock used to be on the itinerary of any winter visit North of the border. A regular flock also used to occur in the Yare Valley here in Norfolk. No more. Long gone are the days of 70 or 80 birds viewable from the end of the railway platform at Buckenham. They were always the subject of a regular winter visit to the Buckenham and Cantley marshes. The flock has diminished over time and for the last few years there have been few if any. A sad indictment of the current biodiversity depletion. As a consequence they have become a scarce visitor here in the South.

Taiga (pronounced Tiger) Bean Geese are larger, longer necked and bigger billed than their Tundra cousins; almost Swan like. I’d forgotten what a graceful bird they are until Tania and I saw a small group of four this week. Always distant and always wary we spent a little time watching them at Ludham. Fabulous fabalis



A subtle but firm ‘tack’, gave away a Stonechat calling to his mate.

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Jun 2023


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