Posts Tagged ‘North Norfolk


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


Just Bee’n?

There’s a thin ribbon of land twix saltmash and seawall along the Norfolk coast. This narrow habitats is the place to find a very rare bee. We saw them on a tour last week. Sea Aster Bees are active right now.

Sea Aster Mining Bee



“Where is it?” was the question.

“The Garganey?” I replied.

“Yes!” which was said in a slightly incredulous tone; as though he couldn’t have possibly meant anything else.

“It’s way at the back of the scrape … among those Teal” I volunteered.

“Ah! I see it. The one doing an Anne Boleyn?”

This was no doubt a reference to the ducks amazing propensity for losing its head. For the main part tucking it beneath what would be a snug warm wing. Indeed, this bird spent so much time sleeping you would be forgiven for thinking it may well have been hibernating; and who would blame it? The whistling north easterly wind here on the Norfolk marshes was a little sharp. Not the sort of weather you would expect an early spring migrant to use as a returning vehicle to its breeding grounds. The earliest date for returning Garganey in Norfolk last year was 18th March so maybe this bird has overwintered among a seclude flock of teal somewhere in an undetected backwater. Several others splattered through the UK have over wintered this year.


A record shot of a very distant bird in a rare moment of consciousness.


Glaucous Gull

Over the past week or so the northerlies have raised the waves and poured them over the beaches. Thrown up onto the shore were many thousands of Starfish attracting clouds of gulls. Among them were Icelands and Glaoucous’.

As we drove along the north coast road we called in at Salthouse where a Glaucous Gull was being watched. It was distant. Crouching on a distant island it was resting seemingly disinterested in anything and anybody. I decided to try and coax it a little nearer.

 I thought a morsel of bread might do the trick, homemade I’ll add, no additives here. Not that a self-respecting Glaucous Gull would ever condescend to bread. The raucous gathering of feeding gulls however attracted its attention … and it flew over. Now more than just a blob in the distance it showed its features to all.

Glaucous Gull _Z5A8689a Glaucous Gull _Z5A8715



A Dead Fish and a Lively Weasel

A beached Sunfish at Titchwell the other week had me combing the tideline for the corpse. I had been requested to take samples for DNA analysis so I was keen to photograph it, measure it and package up samples. The tide had taken it or the sand had covered it so I never did get to play with my scalpel and collection jar.

Consolation came in the form of a rather wick mustelid running down the path to the sea. Short tail, small size and a wiggly demarcation between the brown back and white belly told me it was a Weasel. Always nice to see.




Make like a rock

As the Snow Buntings rose like a drift of flakes on the wind a darker mist followed them. No white on these birds, nondescript and silent they landed on the shingle and disappeared. As the flock of Twite rolled out onto the sea wall they took on that invisibility that small birds have when they are on the ground. Unless they moved they were undetectable. They were still there of course just unseen and so flighty there was no way they could be approached. I decided the best tactic was to let them approach us; which they eventually did.

2015 01 17 Twite Salthouse Norfolk_Z5A7802


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




You would think it would stand out like a new shilling in a sweeps … well … pocket; but it didn’t. An all white goose among the many grey geese in North Norfolk this year should have been easier to locate. No matter where we searched for the Lesser Snow Goose floating around Norfolk among the 10,000 or so Pink footed Geese it just didn’t materialise. We played hide and seek for hours and couldn’t find it no matter how hard we tried.

The search starts with harvested sugar beet fields. The geese just love the sweet taste of those sugar beet tops. When we found a good field and then returned to it the following week we discovered it had been ploughed. Tut. However a tip off (thank you Pete) that it had been around Egmere in mid Norfolk saw us giving it a go. Sighting skeins of Pinks  in the distance and watching them land we soon found the flock and there … eventually … at the back of the field was the white goose we’d been seeking.

I’d only just crept around the back of the car to get the camera out and the geese were flushed by the farmer. Double Tut. I managed to get a few flight shots but would have liked for us to see it for longer. No matter how many more fields we looked in we just couldn’t relocate it. I suppose we’ll cross paths again as it will probably be around all winter. Who knows it may even fly over Falcon Cottage at some point … plenty of Pinkfeet do!

2014 12 12 Snow Goose Egmere Norfolk_Z5A5641


… 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


Pupping Season

It’s that time of year again. The Grey Seals have started to pup their way through the winter. The beaches around Norfolk are now starting to fill with creamy white young seals that will quickly fatten to become the round balls of fur that all too soon become independent from their mothers.

This pup was one of many on one stretch of beach at the weekend. Having just been born I think his mum was just a tad unsure of what had just happened!

Grey Seal Grey Seal_Z5A2064

2014 11 18 Grey Seal Horsey Norfolk_Z5A2202

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Aug 2022


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