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

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

Friday 29 April 2022

A Moorland Feast

I'm so fortunate to live close to some fantastic bird habitats. One of those habitats is upland moors. Go at the wrong time of year, and you'd wonder if you're the only one alive up here, as it can be very desolate and the weather unforgiving. The wind howls through at speed and the icy chill can be felt no matter how many layers you have on. Fast forward to Spring, and it's still not particularly warm, but signs of life come from all angles. The Curlew can be heard bubbling, the Red Grouse pop their heads up and the Meadow Pipits are like swarms of flys as they are absolutely everywhere. Throw into the mix returning Wheatears, Golden Plover and if you're very lucky the Ring Ouzel, then it's a very special place to be.

Every year I make numerous visits hoping to see the Ring Ouzel return. I saw none last year, and was beginning to wonder if disturbance by many more walkers since Covid lockdown had pushed them on to other parts. Thankfully this year I have seen them on a few occasions and in song too. I hope this means that last year was just a blip. 

The female, which is brown and the bib not so crisp white as the male.

The male, black and a clean white bib.

Distant male Wheatear

Meadow Pipit

Thursday 21 April 2022

Red-breasted Goose Norfolk

An Easter weekend break at my parent's in Norfolk gave me an opportunity to top up my year list. It also gave me the chance to look for a rare goose that had been in the area around Cley and Blakeney for a few weeks. The Red-breasted Goose was associating with a flock of Brent Geese, and most likely had joined the wrong flock as it left it's wintering grounds. This was the first seen in Norfolk since 1988 and the first time I had seen one outside of a Wildfowl and Wetland Trust centre, where they help to captively breed this endangered bird. With only 40,000 of these birds estimated to be in the wild, these really are on the brink. Whatever this birds origin, it was a real pleasure to be able to see it and spend some time with it.

It wasn't an easy find. Blakeney is quite a vast area with long grass and vegetation. Add to that, multiple flocks of Brent Geese to scan through, it was down to my trusty side-kick Lisa to actually pick it out and make my day. We were able to follow the path in it's direction to get closer views. There was the river Glaven between us and it, and a good 50-100 yards. It continued to feed and walk towards us and gave me a great opportunity to get some shots that I didn't think I would ever get. What a special bird it is.

Red-breasted Goose

With a Brent Goose for company

A Little Egret joined the party too

Thursday 14 April 2022

Looking for some old friends.

The weather is improving, the temperature is warming up. The blossom is on the trees, and some of our Summer migrants are starting to return. Things are looking good again, and the air is filled with bird song that I've not heard for a long time. Chiffchaffs in particular are now here in abundance, and they aren't wasting any time in letting people know that they are here. Other than the Wrens, Tits and other garden birds, they are a real noticeable call to hear, and it makes me smile. They will soon be joined by Willow Warblers, Whitethroats and some other more exotic looking birds, but right now I'm loving hearing them call incessantly. It adds a little extra joy to my walks.


Grey Wagtail