Posts Tagged ‘Birdwatching Tours


Charming Choughs and Delightful Dolphins

As one of my guests put it this weekend: “Charming Choughs and Delightful Dolphins”. She was referring to the Wild Weekend in Wales tour we were on. We got to see both Choughs and Bottlenose Dolphins. Among everything else we saw for me it has to be the Red Kites that topped the list. They are so enigmatic and powerful. To see 250+ of these birds wheeling in a kettle above us is just one of the UK’s wildlife spectacles. Next year’s tour is up on the website and open for bookings.


On the lookout

On tour last week this Meadow Pipit was tightrope walking on a gate at BuckenhamFen. I couldn’t help thinking he was looking over my shoulder all the time … at the perched Peregrine!




One lonely Common Seal!



Third time lucky

Sat in the hide we waited patiently for Water Rails to appear. There had apparently been three but we saw only two. On the first occasion one came so close he was within my minimum focus distance.

The second time he showed, the card in my camera needed changing – schoolboy error.

The third time he came right out of the reeds and showed in bright sunshine.

Water Rail


A bit of Spring Movement

The wind was in the east for a day or so last week and here on the hill the fields filled with Reed Bunting. One or two even spilled into the garden for a while. Is spring at last on its way?

Reed Bunting



A walk on the beach

It was about time we took a walk on the beach. New Year’s day seemed like an ideal opportunity. You know what it’s like, the heaped dinners, optics of spirits and enough sugary stuff to double the share price at Tate & Lyle. The coast at Happisburgh was calling. The problem is it was calling every other person in Norfolk too … and their dogs! Big dogs, little dogs, running dogs, leaping dogs, single dogs, multiple dogs. You get the picture; it was heaving. We’d brought camera and bins. I now wondered why.

Normally we walk south east along the sand but we decided to walk north west at the back of the sea defences. Apart from a lone couple it was surprisingly abandoned. The cliffs might hold something. We had walked less than half a mile before a couple of birds dropped off the boulder clay and magically disappeared among the pebbles all around us; Snow Buntings. Distantly at sea the odd Gannet and Scoter flew through. Closer there were good numbers of Red throated Divers and among them a lone piebald individual with ruddy great white thigh patches and a dagger of an un-tilted bill; a Black throated Diver.

Things were looking up.

Snow Bunting


A stoop made me stop

Driving and looking out the side window is never recommended. When something caught my eye the other day I pulled over so I could take a good look. I could have carried on but I’ve done that before only to have that nagging feeling 15 minutes later that I’ve thrown something away. Hate regrets!

I’d seen a kestrel stooping; taking a deep dive, mobbing, not once … but twice. As I watched the mobbing continued. It had obviously taken a dislike to something. An even closer look revealed a large raptor sat on a post. The pale head, black belly and white in the tail all pointed to Rough legged Buzzard. I hung around for a couple of hours before getting any sort of photo in what has to be said were atrocious conditions of poor light and drizzle.

Rough legged Buzzard


A tad rough

A small influx of Rough legged Buzzards into the county in the last few weeks have meant birds gravitated to a few usual hotspots; places where they’ve been found in the past. Many of the birds we’ve seen loitering around on the ground; even running after rodents on a couple of occasions. When they get into the air however … they really are in their element.

Rough legged Buzzard_Z5A9915



Just Chatting


The short sharp chacking call of a Stonechat is never too difficult to hear in Norfolk. The heaths and coastal dunes hold pairs which although moderately dispersal never roam too far. On a tour the other week we watched this bird hawking insects from atop a bramble and being very successful too.




An ‘Icky’ & Greenish


It was nice to see good friend Andy during my early morning walk. Neither of us had been able to get out during the late arrival of migrants the previous day and we were hoping for a consolation.

I’d already had a Hobby stirring up the hirundines and a Whimbrel heading high to the south. The target however was small passerines. A few Whitethroats and a Lesser Whitethroat had set the scene and Andy and I watched a couple of Blackcaps rumble through an elderberry as we stood chatting. We were just about to move on when the elongated form of a pale warbler perched up in front of us; an Icterine Warbler! It showed a little and then it too moved on. The hill here in Northrepps is good at turning things up … but they don’t stick. It’s nearly always a case of find it or miss it.

Revelling in our good fortune we both eventually returned to our timetable.

I checked a few other likely places and turned up Chiffchaffs and the like but as the day cleared it was obvious things had in the main resumed their migration.

Back at Falcon Cottage a tame Southern Hawker demanded a macro lens to show her off in all her glory. As I lay recumbent on the lawn I heard a scalding squeak behind me, A Greenish Warbler landed among the wild flowers called again and headed off west; the second good bird of the day but far too brief. Despite looking in all the likely places down in the village I couldn’t relocate it.

A flock … well, three … Pied Flycatchers and a dark Chiffchaff, I couldn’t metamorphose into anything else, were consolatory.


2014 08 27 Icterine Warbler Sidestrand Norfolk_Z5A1385


2014 08 27 Icterine Warbler Sidestrand Norfolk_Z5A1420


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May 2023


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