Posts Tagged ‘Norfolk Wildlife



02
Oct
14

Just the tip

To break up the boredom during a wait for a rather elusive Bonelli’s Warbler the other week David showed me his secret stash of Caterpillars.

Buff Tip moths are corking little creatures and their larvae are no less endearing.

 

Buff tipped Moth Caterpillars

14
May
14

Common or Harbour

The Americans call them Harbour Seals. We call them Common. Same species different race. On a photographic tour the other week we found this little chap on the beach. He came towards us as though he wanted his photo taken.

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Common Seal

30
Apr
14

Six Whistler

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There’s a strong passage of Whimbrel at the moment. I think these are charming birds. The old English name for them is ‘Six Whistler’ which originates from the call they make. I have sometimes heard their call at night as they migrate.

I was taking a couple of photographers down the beach the other day when high above us we could see a group of waders flying east out to sea. I couldn’t hear then because of the waves on the beach but it was possible to see they were Whimbrel. I emulated their call. When I’ve done this in the past a flock usually alters course, swings around me and given me a closer look before continuing on their way.

Sure enough the birds dropped a little and came for a closer look. I was quite surprised however when they pitched lower and landed on the beach in front of us. The beach was busy with dogs and people so they didn’t stay long before they were once again on their way. So wonderful to have a close look at them.

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Whimbrel 1

The hanger-on at the tail end of the flock was a Bar tailed Godwit – I guess if you’re a Godwit and need a friend any long beak and a decent pair of legs will do.

Whimbrel 2 Whimbrel 3

20
Apr
14

A close scrape

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As we scanned through the flock of Crossbills they fed avidly; initially on the seeds from Larch cones. As they erupted into a chirping mobile flock we followed them to deciduous trees. Here they landed on the trunk of the trees. Like parrots at a salt lick they scraped at the bark with their bills. At first I thought they were after insects, but as I got closer I could see they were scraping the lichens from the bark. Something I have never seen them do before.

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2014 04 07 Crossbill Lynford Norfolk_Z5A2444

09
Mar
14

Black Diamonds

Coal Tits are amusing little birds at the worst of times. Add a little familiarity and they increase their charm a thousand-fold. A group of these tiny avian feather dusters were landing on our hands and head for peanut rewards last month.

Coal Tit

27
Feb
14

Truly Barnacles

On our Solway Geese Tour last weekend we had some terrific views of winter wildfowl. Perhaps the highlight however was the vast flocks of Barnacle Geese; already girding their loins to travel back to Svalbard in a few weeks. The noise and sight were truly breath-taking.

Barnacle Goose 1

Barnacle Goose

02
Oct
13

On the fly

Spending time with our good friends Chris and Ann over the last couple of days we jammed in on several good birds and mammals.

A herd of Fallow Deer and a rather distant Cattle Egret punctuated our first day.

A morning walk along the beach on the second day to look at Belamites forged into the Cromer chalk saw us watching a couple of Snow Buntings feeding under the cliff face. A boat trip to Blakeney Point witnessed a fantastic movement of thrushes including an odd Ring Ouzel, Lesser Whitethroat, Redstart and Bramblings as well as a hoard of Common and Grey Seals. Brents were falling from the sky and a Red breasted Merganser sat out among the myriad of waders as a couple of Spoonbills and Marsh Harriers flew over. We finished the day watching Badgers changing their bedding.

This morning we continued the sightings as we watched an Otter swimming across the broad and a Fox that had me back switching on side roads for a better look.

It was after they left this afternoon that I settled into a little laptop work. A few longing looks out of the window later meant that this didn’t last long. Andrew had heard a Yellow browed at Trimingham this morning – I thought it may show in the late afternoon sunshine.

When I arrived the wood was silent… no people, no birds. Almost immediately something small swung up from the deck and perched in front of me. Not a Yellow browed but a fine Red breasted Flycatcher; a nice addition to my local patch list. A little later the muted Yellow-browed shot past showing its wing-bars and supercilium for nothing more than a millisecond.

It started to drizzle when I left. I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

Red breasted Flycatcher

28
Feb
13

Rays of sunshine

As the sun broke through we walked down the beach to see what we could find. The sea was retreating and making the sand into a wide firm walkway. As we ambled our way along our eyes were drawn down. It’s impossible isn’t it? to walk along a beach without beachcombing is like having a fruit pastel and not chewing.

As we continued to walk it became apparent the high tide had left spoils. There had obviously been a hatching of Thrornback Rays (among others) as their egg cases littered the tideline. This is a fish that has shown philopatric behaviour; that is the returning of a migrating fish to a particular area to feed or breed. The Shark Trust (Rays are closely related to Sharks) run an interesting website with an Egg case id guide. http://www.sharktrust.org/en/great_eggcase_hunt/

Thornback Ray Eggcase

25
Jan
13

Hare today gone tomorrow

The collective noun for a gathering of Hares is a Drove. I have also heard a Down of Hares used too, although I believe in the states a Husk of Hares is more appropriate.

On moonlit evenings and bright short days it is now possible to see Droves of Hares. They make fascinating watching. Contra to popular belief they box for much of the year. They breed for much of the year and so the pre-mating ceremony of boxing when the female tries to fend off the attentions of the male also takes place throughout most months. Perhaps it is the snow covered fields and/or short crops that make it more obvious during spring. It may also be the short days forcing this normally nocturnal activity into daylight hours that make boxing Hares easier to see

One or two were chasing around within a group of around ten opposite Falcon Cottage at the weekend but none came close enough to offer a real photo opportunity.

Hares

24
Dec
12

Attracted to the Bright Lights of Northrepps

With the current wet weather comes milder temperatures. Around the entrance porch light the other day was a cluster of moths. Around a dozen male Winter Moths were sitting on the walls and doors. This is a species that has found a niche during the winter months when predators such as bats are not a threat. Although they are not the worlds most interesting insect to look at they are fascinating in having a natural form of Anti freeze for blood, enabling them to withstand very cold temperatures. The flightless females attract the males by scent. However it appears the bright lights are more of an attraction in Northrepps!

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish a Merry Christmas to all readers of Letter from Norfolk and all customers of Wildlife Tours and Education. Sharon and I hope you have a good one.

Winter Moth




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