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Friday, 27 July 2012

26th July One Day tour

26th July 2012 - One day tour North Norfolk.

We started the day with a walk out along Burnham Overy Staithe, a reasonable selection of commoner shorebirds plus several  Whimbrel. Great views of Little, Sandwich & Common Tern. In the dunes, lots of Linnet, Skylark, scarcer & a little more exciting were 3+ Dark Green Frittillary on the wing, eventually settling & we gained good scope views. A single Pink-footed Goose, presumably a sick bird from the winter was out on the grazing marsh, & along the shoreline there was a nice small flock of Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Sanderling & Knot. 

Sunday, 22 July 2012

22nd July 2012 Day Tour. Birds, butterflies & orchids

A nice day tour today with a nice variety of wildlife. From raptors, to waders, to butterflies & orchids.

We started the day with excellent views of several Marsh Harrier, which are no at the height of activity. Adults are feeding young & many juveniles are now on the wing. We also had good scope views of 2 Red Kite, plus Hobby, Kestrel & Buzzard. 

We moved on to another watchpoint & from here we saw more Marsh harrier, plus 2 Grey Partridge, Yellowhammer & Whitethroat, the first autumn Golden Plover also passed overhead.

We then headed on to Holme where we had excellent views of a very close SPOONBILL, I was left ruing the fact the camcorder & camera were left at home! From one of the other hides, there was a few Avocets, plus I found a nice adult MEDITERRANEAN GULL amongst the Black-headed Gulls. Also here a nice roost of 30+ Sandwich Tern.

Wandering into the dunes we were able to take in 3 species of orchid, "coccinae" Marsh Orchid, lots of Marsh helleborine plus small numbers of Pyramidal orchid. Insects are still recovering from the wet summer, but small no's of Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Red Admiral, Large White, Meadow Brown, plus single Comma & 2-3 Oak Eggar moths, & dragonflies; 2-3 Common Darter & 1 Ruddy Darter.

We then moved on to Titchwell, a single Yellow Wagtail was seen briefly, before we watched over 30+ Dunlin, 2 Knot, 3 Spotted Redshank, c10 Ruff, 2 Little Ringed Plover, plenty of roosting Avocet. Then a little later 3 more Golden Plover dropped in showing very well, partially still in summer plumage. Then a lovely fly over of c70 Black-tailed Godwit, just as 2-3 young Marsh Harrier took to the sky.Then another returning species of wader, again my first of the autumn a single Grey Plover. The only disappointment was the lack of any sign of the Roseate tern. The walk back produced another Hobby, plus very brief views of Bearded Tit.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Thursday 19th July - Migrant waders return

A short afternoon guiding session for a group & their 2 children. Interested children are always a delight to show birds too! Plus they don't feign interest or excitement, so when they do get excited it may not be when you most expect them to be! 

Titchwell produced a nice total of 54 species in 3 hours, plus some good birds. A young Sedge Warbler sitting atop the reeds did look rather cute, it was the first bird the kids really enjoyed, they wanted a pet one to take home!! Marsh Harriers impressed them, they really liked the half dozen Ruff in fact more so than the nest bird of the afternoon a moulting adult CURLEW SANDPIPER, which I definitely enjoyed. They also loved the c50 Avocet, but mainly as they watched them feeding, swishing bills from side to side......... acknowledged as "really cool"! Plus! 3 Spotted Redshank were nice especially one still in mainly summer attire. Other waders of note were 2 Whimbrel & 2 Little Ringed Plover, plus c20 Black-tailed Godwit. Again the kids were really impressed with the Swifts, especially after I explained they slept on the wing & could be in the air for 2 years! 

We finished off with a lovely hunting Barn owl, another favourute, this time with everyone the children & the adults1

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Sunday 15th July 2012 Macro day

A One to One day on Macro photography we ran through basic principles & looked at tripods, lenses etc before starting on some of the moths caught in the trap last night. We then headed off to some local heathland where there was the opportunity on work insects & orchids

There were lots of lovely fresh Marsh Helleborine, plus Fragrant Orchid & Southern Marsh Orchid.
Keeled skimmer were on the wing, as were Common blue & Large Red Damselfly. 
We did see an Adder as well briefly, sadly it didn't want to hang around to be photographed!

The client was using a 300mm lense with a macro facility & these lenses aren't dedicated macro's, most people when they get into macro will find this slightly limiting with the longer distance between lense & subject matter. Still we managed to get a range of images, one of the really nice Helleborines is below.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Saturday 14th July 2012 Orchids & more orchids!

Wasn't working today, but had a lovely walk from Thornham to Hunstanton - a love;y mixture of flowers plus lots of orchids 100"s of Pyramaidal Orchidsplus lots of lovely fresh Marsh Helleborine, small clump of Broad leaved Helleborine, a few slightly over "coccinae" Marsh Orchids. 
The orchids were all sitting amongst a vast backdrop of masses of Lady's Bedstraw, Stoncrop & smaller stout Centaury. A real lovely spread of wildflowers.A few insects mainly in the dunes at Holme out in warm cloudy conditions, small single no's of Ringlet, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown, Common Blue, Speckled Wood, Large Skipper, Small Heath plus 20+ Silver Y moths & a Hummingbird Hawkmoth at the NOA observatory.
The only dragonfly was a single female Black-tailed Skimmer. Natterjack toad was heard reeling from the wet depressions in the dunes.

Birds of note were pair of Bullfinch, Little Egret & 2 juvenile Marsh harrier, 150 Sandwich tern roosting at Thornham channel.

20 second footage of the Pyrmaidal orchids below!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Saturday 7th July. Norfolk Wildlife Day Tour

Today was a day tour with birds, dragonflies, butterflies & orchids all part of the itinerary.

We visited Holt CP &  were very successful with lots of insects; 5+ Black-tailed Skimmer, 5+ Four Spotted Chaser, Azure Damselfly, Large red damselfly, Banded Demoiselle & several smart Keeled Skimmer, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral all put in an appearance. Also of note was a strong singing Woodlark overhead. We also noted Treecreeper, Marsh tit, Nuthatch & commoner woodland birds

We then headed up to the coast & visited Blakeney, a tremendous spread of over 1000+ Bee Orchids, stunning & great to see such a wonderful spread.

After a picnic lunch, with Bullfinch, Little Egret & Marsh harrier for company! We then moved on to Cley star birds for the clients were around  c10 Bearded Tit showing very well. Marsh harriers showed well & a food pass was great to watch. Also a nice selection of early returning waders - 3 Whimbrel, Green Sandpiper, c50 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Knot, c10 Curlew & a nice selection of terns, c100 Sandwich tern, c10 Common Tern & c10 Little Tern, the latter giving nice views diving in after the close in fry.Also 4 Gannet also passed offshore.

We then tried another coastal location & had very close views of Little Egret

We finished the day with a short raptor watch 4+ Buzzard, 2 Sparrowhawk & several kestrel.

Friday 6th July 2012 Nightjar & Owls evening. Great session!

The evenings birding was a fantastic session, with near perfect conditions, warm, still, sunny! Hard to believe after the downpours & storms about 12 hours ago.

The group of six for tonights session arrived, only to find me & my wife still wading through a huge quantity of moths caught from last nights trap!  None of them had seen the contents of a moth trap before, so we of course showed off the big garish ones. They were bowled over by the size & colours of the hawkmoths, there was Privet, Eyed, Elephant & Poplar all side by side!!

We then headed off out for the Owls. First up great perched views of a young Little Owl perched on a fencepost, lapping up the evening sun! Then on to  my usual  Barn owls.  This  pair of Barn owls then provided fantastic, unbroken flight views for over 20 minutes. One of the Barn owl  perched on a post & every one had lovely scope views, back lit by the falling sun.

Another stop produced a roadside Little Owl, quickly joined by a second
Little Owl.  These two Owls sat side by side squeaking & calling just a 25m away from the van.

We headed for the  heathland location around 9.30PM, but it was nearer 10Pm before the magical "churring" of the first Nightjar could be heard. We then heard 2-3 birds & then had nice perched & flight views of 2 Nightjar, plus a further male after the light had faded, displaying near the car.

The evening finished with 2-3 Tawny Owls very close by calling, after a bit of walking & calling  we eventually had a great views in the torchlight of young Tawny Owl sat out on the branches of a tree. Great session.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Weds 4th July Norfolk Birding Guided Day

Today was a day tour for two birders, starting just after lunch & running through till dark.

We started the day off at a good vantage point, looking for raptors & scanning produced a good selection of birds 6+ Marsh Harrier, 8+ Buzzard, 2 RED KITE,  Sparrowhawk & Kestrel.  We moved on to another vantage point after an hour & eventually had further  good views of  Marsh Harrier,  Buzzard,  Sparrowhawk & Kestrel plus superb views of a beautiful perched Turtle Dove.  Nearby we also located 3 3+ Tree Sparrow, 2 Grey Partridge & plenty of Linnet, Whitethroat & Yellowhamer.

We then headed over to Titchwell, dodging the heavy afternoon showers!  A good selection of birds from the hides on the way out 2 Spotted Redshank, 500 Bar-tailed Godwit, 60 Knot, 10 Curlew, 2 Ruff 2 juv Bearded Tit,  & lots of Oystercatcher & Avocet. 

Out on the beach we had nice views of Sandwich, Common & Little Tern, & on the return leg past the scrapes a SPOONBILL had arrived & 7+ Spotted Redshank were all roosting together. Also noted first Emperor dragonfly of the year, during one of the drier spells.

We finished the day with 4+ Barn Owl, with one bird sitting perched in the drizzle very close to the car affording very close views, plus 2 Woodcock, 3 Nightjar, 1 Tawny Owl & lots of midges!