Posts Tagged ‘Birdwatching Tours



26
Aug
14

Tideline discovery

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There’s been at least one maybe two Red Breasted Mergansers here in north Norfolk since mid summer. Relatively common here in winter; summer visitors are scarce. It was a shame to find what was presumably the female dead on the tideline last week. She appeared to be in good condition so I’m not sure why she died; maybe just old age.

If you look closely you can see why mergansers belong to the ‘Sawbill’ group of ducks. The ‘teeth’ along the cutting edge of the bill mean business when it comes to hanging onto to slippery fish.

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Red breasted Merganser

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Red breasted Merganser2

 

24
Aug
14

Gatherings

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The Swifts have all but gone; just a few straddlers. Each day that passes I’m seeing fewer and fewer hirundines. The Swallows are sitting on the wires strung between the fence posts around the cattle enclosure here on the hill. The House Martins are perched in neat rows on the telephone lines and the Sand Martins are fly catching in tumbling groups over the reservoir. All are surely contemplating the journey south ahead of them; feeling the urge to migrate. Soon they will all be gone … until next year.

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House Martin

 

16
Aug
14

The Jurassic Coast

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The early morning sun backlit the bracken and gorse revealing the silver threads of spiders webs. I was in Dorset overlooking the expanse of Poole Harbour doing a bit of investigation for our tour next year to the Jurassic Coast. Having walked a little too far I rested on a mound of soft green moss. A Spotted Flycatcher had come down from the trees and was making the most of the insect life on the edge of the heath. As I watched it fly catching I heard a Dartford Warbler’s raping call close by. I waited. Curiosity getting the better of it the bird soon revealed itself atop the gorse almost too close for the camera.

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Dartford Warbler

04
Aug
14

To see a Sika

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A couple of weeks ago we stumbled across this young fellow. The spotted pelage coupled with the non-palmate antlers, the dark dorsal strips,  the white brow and pale gland patches on the hocks as well as the pale rear end with no dividing dark tail all help to distinguish the Sika Deer from Red, Fallow and Roe.

A big stocky deer the Sika interbreed with Red. This may eventually lead to the demise of pure Reds within England as the range of the introduced Sika expands.

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Sika Deer

31
Jul
14

Lounging Around

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When I’m setting up new tours I like to do a reci! A good look around the area’s we’ll be visiting pays dividends rather than ‘going in cold’.

When doing a visit to the south coast last month for just such a future tour (details to be issued on www.wildlifetoursandeducation.co.uk soon) we stumbled across a few Wall Lizards. The origin of these reptiles is uncertain, they may have been released from captivity or they may be a relict population. I guess we will never know for sure but they are certainly breeding and have established a viable population that has been there for a good number of years. Whatever their source they are smart looking!

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Wall Lizard

Wall Lizard2

29
Jul
14

Spoonprints

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A good number of Spoonbills started to gather at Cley last month. Evenings seemed to be best to see them. As I sat in the hide photographing them I began to notice the intricate patterning on the bills of the adults and wondered if they are unique to that individual. In other words can we identify individuals by their bill pattern? A bit like fingerprints. A nice spot of study for someone?

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Spoonbill1

Spoonbill3

21
Jul
14

Eye Eye

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It never ceases to amaze me what flies around in the darkness of the night. A beautiful Eyed Hawk Moth in the moth trap the other day. Exquisitely beautiful.

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Eyed Hawkmoth

 

17
Jul
14

A start on the heath

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It’s like being in a crowded room with everyone talking and amid the cacophony of noise you hear your own name. You pick it out as if it’s the only thing being said. It stands out from the background like a black silhouette on white,

I have been walking the heaths and searching this summer; searching diligently but to no avail, for a daytime roosting Nightjar. I’ve never seen one during daylight other than in flight. Great care has to be exercised not to wander from paths – the last thing in the world we want to do is disturb breeding nightjars or indeed other breeding birds.

I look at every likely log, post and branch I pass to see if that familiar shape leaps out at me. I thought I’d found one the other day as the form of a bird materialised on the end of a log. It took me an instant to recognise it was in fact a young fledgling Redstart. I stepped back to a reasonable distance to see if the parents came into feed as it was obviously quite young. In fact it started to hop about and find food itself. It appeared to be already independent.

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Redstart

Redstart 1

01
Jul
14

Our Largest Butterfly

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Swallowtail Butterflies are just the best aren’t they? There were many around the broads after their first hatch this year – ideal for photographers.

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Swallowtail

07
Jun
14

Crowing about it

Hooded Crows that are common further north in the UK have had a chequered history with regards to their status as a species. They have shuttlecocked between sub species and full species for some years. They are currently regarded as a full species.

We encountered several on our Mull trip in early May. This particular individual was scouring the beach for a tasty morsel among the seaweed.

Hooded Crow




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