Let me know when that tide's coming in won't you

Let me know when that tide's coming in won't you

Sunday 28 September 2014


I've seen more Wheatears this year than any other. I'm not sure if this is down to me being more observant, in the right places at the right times or if their numbers are increasing here.
I love to see them arriving in late March and early April in all their fine Summer plumage. This is a clear symbol that Summer is on the way for me and an exciting time.
At this time of year the colouration is a little less exciting but they're always a joy to watch as they run along and perch on fence posts or atop a tree. It's sad to think they're leaving these shores now for about six months, but they will be back and looking better than ever.

This little guy sat nicely for me in the warm morning sunshine.

In typical pose.

Thursday 25 September 2014

Little Egret - Snettisham

In Norfolk when you see a big white bird take to the air or hunched on mudflats or marsh, your overwhelming desire is for this bird to be a Spoonbill. Alas, I'd say 99.9% of the time it is a Little Egret, much to frustration of my parents. Not so long ago Little Egrets were a good find, but they are doing rather well now and a common feature along the Norfolk coastline. I like to see them. There's something very intriguing about them that draws me to them. Fascinating to watch them patrol the waters and catch fish.

Strolling around the mudflats of Snettisham.

Monday 22 September 2014

Turnstone - RSPB Snettisham Beach

I do like the Turnstone. In breeding plumage it's a really striking little wading bird. As its name suggests it does quite literally turn stones over with it's bill. If you are ever fortunate enough to be around them when the sea is out and there is little other noise the sound of the stone being turned or flipped is sure to put a smile on your face. It did mine at Snettisham beach last week. I was watching some Ringed Plover close by and suddenly I could hear this constant tapping of shingle. It took me a few seconds to hone my ears in the direction that it was coming from because just a few meters in front of me had sneaked this little guy. I almost missed him as he was so well camouflaged amongst the stones on the beach, but the sound gave it away.
This bird was very confiding and not in the least bit concerned by my presence. I'm not sure who stumbled on who first. Cracking little bird.

The great muddy conditions at Snettisham.

Friday 19 September 2014

Weasel - Holme-next-the-Sea

My parents and I had a lovely walk along the boardwalks at Holme. The beach and sea were on one side and heathland on the other. It was pretty quiet on the bird front, but on the walk back I walked on the path through the heath and bushes. I came across this little ginger guy. He was so cute. I think we were both surprised to see each other. He kept looking at me then scampering away. Then he'd come back and take another look, almost to say I can't believe you're here. This happened a few times before it disappeared down a hole.
Cute little paws and a very short ginger tale. It's been confirmed as a Weasel, and yet another first for me.

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Looking a little Ruff

Ruff seem to be in very good numbers this year. Either that, or I've not paid enough attention previously. Each wetland site I've been to recently has oodles of them. Every time I look up and wonder "ooh what's that" the binoculars confirm its a Ruff. I suppose it could be a lot worse, they are actually a really lovely looking wader.
These pictures were taken at Titchwell last week, where once again there were lots.


Sunday 14 September 2014

Red-backed Shrike

I've just come back from a long weekend in Norfolk, my favourite birding place. I went with my parents and had a brilliant time. I think it is only your parents that truly share your enjoyment and happiness in a way that is so special. The euphoria of a moment can last and last if someone is as happy for you as you are for yourself. This was the case just yesterday when I saw my first ever Red-backed Shrike. We had tried to find this bird the day before without any luck, but then news came through that it had returned in the evening. So I made my plans to leave before dawn and try and catch this little fella. I arrived at Blakeney Quay just after 6.30 and made the walk to where it had been seen. Tell tale signs of flattened grass where other birders had been stood told me I was in the right area. I waited and waited. At 8.15 it arrived. I was watching some Blue Tits flit around as there was sod all else going on and then I saw this pale bellied bird sat motionless in a bush. I hadn't seen it land but who cared. I got the bins on it and the joy was palpable. My back was aching and I was close to leaving the site but my patience paid off. What a bird!
Now I know these pictures are not great. The little swine seemed to be very sleepy and just kept on the inside of bushes even after switching bush. Then some flappy pigeons forced it right into the thicket of brambles, but at least I then got to see its red back.
Hopefully I'll see another one day and get some better pictures, but the hour I spent with the bird was memorable. Yet another lifer.

This is a juvenile

Look at that lovely rusty red back

Wednesday 10 September 2014

Common Darter Dragonfly

At Burton Mere last weekend, we came across quite a lot of dragonflies with most of them perching on the fences and railings along the boardwalk. They were kind enough to let me get a few shots. These I believe are the Common Darter variety.

A lovely Speckled Wood butterfly joined them for good measure.

Tuesday 9 September 2014


Our little blue birds, the Swallow, will soon be making their way back to South Africa, in fact most are probably on their way already. I keep looking up when I'm out thinking it won't be long now. The Swifts have already gone, so I thought I'd pay these guys some attention before they depart my neighbourhood for another year.

Some of the juveniles looking nice and pristine in the warm evening sun.

Saturday 6 September 2014

Cattle Egret and Red-necked Phalarope! What a day.

What an afternoon I've just had. I had to sweet talk my daughter into going to Burton Mere RSPB reserve. There were just too many good birds around to not make the 50 minute drive.
I managed to pick up two lifers in the form of a Cattle Egret and a Red-necked Phalarope. On top of that we had two Little Stints, a Pectoral Sandpiper, Bar tailed Godwits, Ruff, Dunlin plus lots lots more.
Eleanor wasn't too impressed with the one mile walk to the second hide, especially when we got there the Cattle Egret had moved back to where we'd come from. Still, we caught up with it when we got back and I've had to promise all sorts of goodies in return.
A special day with special birds and lots of very nice people met too. It's what birding is all about.

Here's the Cattle Egret in amongst the Greylag Geese, a bit ruffled after a preen.

Pectoral Sandpiper in the middle with the Lapwings.

Red-necked Phalarope. Very distant from the hide, hence the very poor record shots here.

Friday 5 September 2014

It's just a Sparrow

Before my Yellow Wagtail turned up I had been watching some Swallows and some juvenile Sparrows. The Sparrows make quite a racket from within their hedges but are a lot less bold when they venture away from its security. So I was happy to have them in front of me feeding, somewhat oblivious to my presence.

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Yellow Wagtail - Woodford

I had a little bit of excitement the other night on my patch, in the form of a Yellow Wagtail. I hadn't seen one this year and had put off several attempts to visit a well known spot where I could probably have seen one. So I was delighted that one turned up rather unexpectedly just a few miles from home.
I managed to see one here in the Spring last year and thought that was a one off. Maybe I just need to look more regularly.
Anyway, it's a cracking little bird and one I'm grateful to for popping in while I was there. The pictures are not great, as I was desperately trying to hide behind a hedge and keep out of sight. Add to that the excitement that was induced, I was a little shaky with the camera.