Posts Tagged ‘North Norfolk Wildlife and Bird Tours


Anything’s Possible

As we walked inland of the Norfolk coast on a tour a week or so ago the air was filled with the rich song of Nightingales. It was hot and it was just after lunch. We followed the sound through a gate and along a footpath. We stood, waited and listened. There were two birds. One behind us and one within the gorse in front. We were delighted with the music. It was wonderful.

What happened next threw me a little. Perhaps because we were between two competing males the one in front of us uncharacteristically erupted from the bush it was in and sat atop it for a good ten minutes.

Now, look in any bird book at the page for Nightingale and words such as crepuscular, secretive and nocturnal get a good airing. I’ve seen Nightingales singing from bush tops before; not often, but I have seen them do it. But never, … never, in full sun at 1 ’o’clock in the afternoon for a full 10 minutes.

Anything’s possible.




Early Purple Orchids were getting ready to burst the other week. They weren’t quite in their prime … yet. Although by now they will be. These beautiful flowers are fore bringers of all our Orchids.

Early Purple


Raptor fest

The warm weather with a gentle southerly last Bank Holiday Sunday prompted a raptor fest here on the hill. Initially came the first of the dozen or so Buzzards. A Sparrowhawk flying high and circling east was followed by a Short eared Owl that flew over and then landed in the garden. It didn’t stop long; the Magpies wouldn’t let it. A phone call from Andy in the village told of three Kites coming my way. Sure enough flying high over the cottage were the distinctive form of a trio of Red Kites. As I was looking at these a Hobby flashed through my view; my first for the year.



When is a bird Rare?

Some birds like the Californian Condor are truly rare. There are only a handful of them left. When the last one dies they will be extinct. No more Californian Condors unless Richard Attenborough can be recalled to ‘do a’ Jurassic Park and manifest a DNA clone.

However there is another connotation of rare status. That is, if a species is encountered infrequently out of its range … it could also be said to be rare; although within the confines of its home range the species could be quite common.

Below is a photograph I took last week of a Coot. As you know Coots are not rare and the photograph is not particularly special or indeed well taken. However, it is a photograph of a rare bird. Not because of what it is … but because of where it is.

This is only the second Coot I have seen on the local reservoir in 7 years. Mallards, Tufted Ducks, Gadwall, Teal and Wigeon come and go … but Coot … hereabouts are like Essex virgins. You see, between Hickling in the south east and Felbrigg in the west there is very little standing water. If you were a Coot why would you wish to visit an area with no standing water?

Wherever it came from it’s damn well easily spooked. You only have to show it the top of your hat and it bolts for the reedbed.



Wash & Brush-up

This Black tailed Godwit was having a good old preen when we saw it last week on tour. Several of the birds were moving to summer garb with some magnificent feathering.

Black tailed Godwit


Addition to the Norfolk Mammal list

As we were waiting for Otters on the river Glaven last week I saw and managed to get a photo of this chap. I didn’t realise they had made their way as far as Norfolk already; or maybe someone has made a concious release of Beavers locally? Whichever; the landscape of the county will now change forever.




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


Reed bed delight

Looking into the low winter sun across a reed bed the hanging seed heads took on a silvery light, a magical light; a chainmail luminescence that any photograph could never duplicate.

As we stared at the swaying stems they bent under the weight of tiny mouse like birds; Bearded Tits ‘chinked’ as they called to each other. Occasionally moving into the open but more often deep within the vegetation they hid among the myriad of stems. As quickly as they appeared they moved on and we were left with just the dancing reeds.

Bearded Tit




One of my favourite images from the summer; a purple hairstreak. Why one of my favourites? These butterflies normally inhabit the tops of trees. This one came down low enough for me to be able to climb up to it with a macro lens. I had to work hard to get the shot … and I just love his curly tongue.

Purple Hairstreak


… Tundra’s

At Weybourne here on the coast a harvested sugar beet field hosted a nice sized Pinkfeet flock. Among them were eight or nine interlopers. It’s amazing how folds in a seemingly flat field can hide something as large as a goose. Add rain, mist, failing winter light and a considerable distance to the birds into the equation and it wasn’t without some degree of difficulty we photographed the Tundra Bean Geese; pushing our cameras to the limit.

As they suddenly appeared, and then disappeared just as easily, we struggled to even find the Tundras in camera viewfinders. Big geese with sloping flat bills like wedges of orange and black compared with the stubby bills of the Pinks… and then there’s the orange feet and legs… if you can see them!

Tundra Bean Goose 2 Tundra Bean Goose

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Jun 2023


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