Posts Tagged ‘Wildlife


The Norfolk Bird & Wildlife Fair 2016

You will be able to find us at the Norfolk Bird and Wildlife Fair this coming Saturday and Sunday.

All our tour for 2017 will be open for booking and by popular request I will have a few mounted wildlife photos and cards (Norfolk & Scottish Collections) for sale.

Look forward to seeing you there.

Norfolk Collection

Scottish Collection


Starling without an abacus

Finally … proof that Rose Coloured Starlings can’t count!

This individual was at Land’s End and was just one of the birds we saw on our tour to Scillies this year. An excellent tour with fantastic scenery, a wonderful hotel, good company and some great birds: 117 species including Garganey, Balearic Shearwaters, Storm Petrel, Red Kite, Osprey, numerous Merlins and Peregrines, Jack Snipe, Grey Phalarope, Mediterranean Gulls, Ring billed Gull, Short eared Owl, Firecrests, Yellow browed Warblers, a rather contentious (what I presume to be an eastern race) Willow Warbler pretending to be an Arctic Warbler, Rose Coloured Starling, Ring Ousel, Black Redstarts, Red flanked Bluetail, Pied Flycatcher, Whinchat, Richards Pipit, Blyth’s Pipit, Short toed Lark, Cirl Bunting, Little Buntings and a Common Rosefinch in addition to four species of cetacean– could you ask for more?

Places on next year’s tour are now open for booking. See details here where a full itinerary can be downloaded … but don’t hesitate to give me a call if you have any questions.

2015 10 16 Rose Coloured Starling Lands End Cornwall_Z5A1900


Hedgerow snuffler

My father-in-law may not be able to hear well but his eyesight lacks nothing. As we were driving down a side road the other week he spotted something I missed on the road verge. After their population has decreased by a third in the last 10 years Hedgehogs are becoming rare beasts. Why wouldn’t I stop to photograph it?



The Marshes

Out on the marshes it’s wonderful what you can come across sometimes. This Sperm Whales skull is approximately 15 years old. Given the measurements, the animal was a sub adult and would undoubtedly have been a male. Almost without exception the Sperm Whales cast up on Norfolk’s shores are male. Come to the Cetacean Workshop at the end of October at NWT Cley to find out why.

Sperm Whale skull



Who will you vote for?

Given the impending election I decided to see what the main political parties were promising around the things I see as being important; Wildlife and the Environment being the key areas. If your priorities lie in a similar plane, here’s a summary of what I found. Obviously if you see other areas as more important you will have to do your own bit of research.



I couldn’t find a copy of their manifesto – which says a lot. I enquired. They replied that one would be available in the next few months! Remind me. When’s the election?

After the Badger Cull, the Fox hunting fiasco, the Buzzard ban and the threat of losing our forests I don’t believe the Conservative party have fulfilled their promise to ‘Protect the Environment’ and I helped vote them in to power on the back of that promise.



The website has a very ‘them and us’ theme – easy to see why many label them as racists. No official Manifesto but they do have a ‘Policies for People’ section on their website which states the following loosely related point.

  • Foreign trawlers would have to apply for and purchase fishing permits to fish British waters when fish stocks have returned to sustainable levels.


Liberal Democrats

Didn’t mention Wildlife but the environmental policy was summarised as follows:

  • Creating 200,000 new green jobs by investing in renewable energy. We have already doubled the amount of electricity generated from offshore wind.
  • Planting 1 million trees in England, the first government tree planting programme since the 1970s.
  • Introducing a 5p plastic bag charge to help clean up our environment and protect Britain’s natural habitat.



  • Set a target for decarbonisation of our electricity by 2030.
  • Strengthen the Green Investment Bank with borrowing powers.
  • Prioritise flood prevention and introduce a new climate change adaptation plan.
  • End the badger cull and maintain the ban on hunting with dogs.


Green Party

  • Promote landscape-scale conservation, using reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and the planning system to encourage restoration of heathlands, woods, marshland and other important habitats.
  • Reduce dramatically the use of pesticides and introduce measures such as ‘buffer zones’ around sprayed fields to protect humans as well as wildlife.
  • Oppose the introduction of a non-elected Planning Commission, particularly for new roads, runways, incinerators and inappropriate housing developments, and ensure that sustainable development, not just economic development, is at the heart of the planning system.
  • Press to extend the amount of land covered by the EU Habitats Directive in the UK, and ensure that protected sites are in good condition.
  • Set up a national Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) to promote and integrate research and development on public health and environmental protection.
  • Protect wildlife abroad by cracking down on the illegal trade in wildlife products such as ivory, protect biodiversity in British Overseas Territories, and oppose all forms of commercial and ‘scientific’ whaling.
  • Increase the tranquillity of our urban environments, with less litter, less noise, reduced light pollution and more green spaces. Everyone should live within walking distance of natural green space.


I guess manifestos can’t state everything. None of these go as far as I would go in protecting the environment but I know where my cross is going. Do you?

2015 01 17 Avocet Cley Norfolk_Z5A7911a

Overwintering Avocets on the North Norfolk Coast this week – a sign of the temperature gradient moving North? How long before groups overwinter in the Scottish Estuaries? Global Warming is here. What are we doing about this single problem among so many concerning the basic water we drink, food we eat and air we breath?

I’m already fed up with politicians knocking seven bells out of each other over things that are comparatively unimportant and we still have four months to go before the election. I have lots of conversations with like minded friends, guests and others about changes our countryside and wildlife need.  It’s pretty plain to me and many others that we need to make changes … and make those changes fast. If we are not to sign our own death warrant the environment should be at the hub of all political manifestos.


We must stop this

The single greatest threat to our environment and our wildlife.

2014 10 31 Northrepps Norfolk_Z5A0425


Bit of a Pansy

We were walking through stubble; a misty morning with little to look at. I almost trod on it. A tiny, tiny window of light among the furrows. A Field Pansy wet with dew shone like a white hot ember.

Now getting scarcer to find, it brightened up a grey day.

Field Pansy






Delicate and small we eventually found them. The grass had been mown late; far too late. The orchids had probably been topped. However, we searched anyway and Bob managed to find a couple of spikes that were so small they’d escaped the blades.

Autumn Ladies Tresses are so called because of their resemblance to plaits of hair. This is also reflected within the Latin name of Spiranthes spiralis. I’m not sure what the passing builders thought of me lying flat out on the ground photographing them but it sparked enough interest for them to ask a few questions about what they were.


Autumn Ladies Tresses


The Black Heron

I don’t do reviews of accommodation… but … if you’re going to California birding you would do a lot worse than calling in to see Bill and Marmie at the Black Heron.

Situated close to Point Reyes Station it’s well placed for migration. A bed and breakfast American style the Black Heron sits in its own grounds surrounded by prime ranching ground. From the five species of Woodpecker to the Californian Towees and the ever present American Robins and Wild Turkeys on the front field to the colony of Black crowned Night Herons at the end of the drive and the Hooded Mergansers on the pond it really is a place to spend a few days. Just a stone’s throw from nesting Snowy Plovers, a colony of Steller’s Sea Lions, Elephant Seals, Guaranteed Tule Elk and migrating Grey Whales and you have a place made in heaven.

Black crowned Night Heron


Pure Beauty

The main reason for our trip to California earlier this month was to see Grey Whales and Bobcat. Birds however played no small part. Over the next month or so I will endeavour to share, from time to time, a little of the experience of being on the Western seaboard of North America.

California is a wonderful place with some amazing wildlife; some large, some small. Small like this Anna’s Hummingbird. No bigger than a butterfly this beautiful male buzzed around us flashing his face shield of metallic feathers catching the evening sunshine in a display of pure beauty.

Anna's Hummingbird

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Sep 2022


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