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Saturday, 30 June 2012

Saturday 30th June - Norfolk Birding Day Tour

Today was a day tour, we started with running through the contents of last nights, moth trap. Unsurprisingly, in the warm weather there was a nice selection - highlights from the trap were:-  2 Burnished Brass, 2 Eyed Hawkmoth,  Elephant hawkmoth, Peppered Moth, Scorched Wing, Latticed heath & Ghost Moth. Including Small Magpie, there was 29 species & around 60 individuals.

We then headed up to the coast, a really nice surprise drifted low across the road -  a male HONEY BUZZARD, it appeared to have come down low after a squally shower had just started we had brief but very good views as it flew east & was mobbed by crow. We hung around for 20 minutes after the shower cleared but didn't see it again. We then headed on further north, we stopped off at a good vantage point & scanning produced a good selection of birds - 6+ Marsh Harrier, 8+ Buzzard, a RED KITE,  Sparrowhawk & Kestrel. Plus good views of a Turtle Dove.

We then tried another location - more raptors, in fact raptors galore! 10+ Buzzard, 10+ Marsh Harrier, 2 Hobby, 3+ RED KITE, but star & unlikeliest bird was an adult dark phase ARCTIC SKUA, which flew towards us & then overhead flying strongly & inland.

We then headed over to an estuarine area, here on arrival we had a SPOONBILL fly over. We then had nice views of 2 Little Terns fishing, plus Common Tern. Several more Marsh Harrier put in appearances, plus another Hobby. Less expected was a single Pink-footed Goose, an over summering bird that was probably unwell in the spring & didn't make the journey north.

We rounded the day off at a coastal fen, with a good selection of birds, a summer plumaged Spotted Redshank, 2 Little Ringed Plover, & at least 6 superb adult Mediterannean Gulls!

Back to Norfolk Birding website

Friday 29th June 2012 Nightjars & Owls

This evenings session started with an overviews of Barn owl, Tawny Owl & Little Owl, plus the opportunity to examine the contents of an owl pellet. Then I was able to show the group (rather sadly!) a recently deceased Tawny Owl - this was one of our recently fledged youngsters that had clearly starved, & was perhaps the runt of the nest. 

The evenings birding was made a little  more difficult by a blustery wind, however we still saw all the target species - some rather more easily than others!

My first Barn owl location was for the first time unproductive, but another location provided  lovely views of a Barn owl  perched on a post out of the wind against a hedgerow, it stayed sat whilst everyone had wonderful scope views. A oadside Little Owl was seen briefly by two of use, but  the nearby & recently fledged a family of Little Owls  put in an award winning performance. All four dancing up & down along a wall! 

We arrived at the heathland location around 9.30PM, but it was nearer 10Pm before the magical "churring" the first Nightjar could be heard. We hear 2-3 birds & eventually after quite a lot of effort managed to see a male & female Nightjar, plus a further male after the light had faded.

The evening finished with 2-3 Tawny Owls very close by calling, after a bit of walking & calling them we eventually had a great views in torchlight of a Tawny Owl sat above our heads.

Back to Norfolk Birding website

Friday, 29 June 2012

Friday 29 June 2012 - Photography Workshop

Today was spent with a novice photographer using a bridge camera, we worked some basic principles & then went out to shoot dragonflies, butterflies, orchids & birds. The birds & butterflies proved a little tricky with the bridge camera, but even so Richard managed a couple of nice images to take home. He also learnt about the relationship of  aperture, shutter speed, depth of field & composition.

The one thing that is always self evident though with bridge cameras is how difficult the "bokeh" (soft background) is to reproduce!

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Sunday, 24 June 2012

Sunday 24th June - Orchids & Insects Day

After the Nightjar & owl session last night that finished just after 11PM, a later start was in order. Despite some heavy showers there was a reasonable selection of moths for the group to have a look through, 18 species & 32 moths. The highlights of the moths were 2 Privet Hawk,  Elephant Hawk,Poplar Kitten, Scorched Wing, Shoulder-striped Wainscot &Light Emerald. Tree Sparrow & Marsh Tit were also noted from the garden feeders whilst looking through the moths.

We then headed over to a local woodland where Greater Butterfly orchid was still in flower & Willow warbler, Blackcap & Bullfinch were all heard.

The weather worsened & some very heavy showers, resorted to an hours tea-break with a short Norfolk slideshow of wildlife thrown in. 

The weather improved a little but ensured our "insect" day was not easy! We visited some nearby heathland in the afternoon, here we witnessed a wonderful spread 1000's of orchids, Heath Spotted & Southern Marsh being by far the most numerous. We searched for dragonflies & located 2 female Keeled Skimmers (image below), 1 Common Darter, Common Blue & Large Red Damselfly were all noted, plus single Meadow Brown & 2 Common Blue butterflies. Plus Yellowhammer, Linnet, Reed Bunting, Green Woodpecker, Kestrel & Sparrowhawk.

Roll on summer...................

Back to Norfolk Birding website

Saturday 23rd June

Guided birdwatching today started with great views of 6 Stone Curlew. Also Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Linnet in the same field. We moved on to Lakenheath, where despite very windy conditions we managed a nice mixture of birds & insects. A male Golden Oriole was still singing albeit briefly, Marsh harriers were much in evidence coming to & fro from their nesting areas. We had a couple of views of Bearded Tit, a Hobby put in short appearance & we had good views of Whitethroat, Reed Warbler & Reed Bunting. On the wing was also 4 Spotted Chaser, Broad-bodied Chaser, Azure Damselfly, Blue-tailed Damselfly, Common Blue & Variable Damselfly.

In the afternoon we tracked down Grey wagtail, Spotted Flycatcher, Marsh Tit & Treecreeper. Moving on to th Brecks heathland we then had lovely views of a singing Wood Lark, plus another brief Hobby.

Returning home we had a cup of tea & watched two freshly emerged Southern Hawker's sitting out on vegetation around our garden pond.Plus a Tree Sparrow at the garden feeders

After an evening meal, I took the group out for the evening session, which proved very successful with no less than 6 Little Owl, including recently fledged young sitting on a wall, 2 Barn owl, 3 Nightjar & 3 Tawny Owl, the latter sitting in full view of the car head lights.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Friday 22nd June

Today was a One to One photography day & the weather wasn't so great! I spent a couple of hours going through principles with Matthew before he headed out into our rear garden & hide, where he secured a  few shots of some of our birds. We then headed off in the afternoon to a local heathland area, where he was able to practice some macro photography on orchids & also had the opportunity to photograph an Adder. 

Some of the images from the workshop are below.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Thursday 21st June

If you wish to view sightings prior to 21 June 2012 - please click on the following link this will take you back to the blog on our website, where you can view all of our sightings & trips back to 2009.

Nightjar & Owl Session last night went very well, with 4 Barn Owls, 3 Little Owls, flight & perched views of 2 Nightjars & last off great views via torchlight of a perched calling Tawny Owl! June 29th session is now fully booked, but spaces on evening of 6th July.

Buxton Heath in the morning - Keeled Skimmers on the wing now, plus 4 Spot Chasers. Also very nice 1000+ Marsh Orchids. Came back after lunch to discover 3 Broad-bodied Chaser showing very well in the front garden pond, took an hour over this male get some nice pics!