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 30 April 2023


Goosander numbers had been building on the inland lakes and reservoirs near my home. So lovely to look at and watch, but they tend not to venture too close and remain quite distant. This doesn't give for good photos unless there is good light, and that was the case last week when I was able to get some nice bright images. Most have now dispersed and will be having young. They will be back again late summer.

Two female Goosander

A female with two sleepy Tufted Ducks

Two females in flight.

Monday 24 April 2023

Salthouse - Norfolk

There is a pool of water at the bottom of Beach Road, Salthouse, that I always stop at to have a look. It can appear to many at first glance as quite insignificant, but I've had some good birds here over the years, so I am always happy to spend a good half an hour or more watching and waiting. This visit was also productive as it added two more to the year list, in the form of Ringed Plover and Bar-tailed Godwit. A pair of Avocet were working the water, and a Little Egret dropped in too.

In the fields around the pool were Lapwings, Oystercatcher, Linnets and the Yellow Wagtail that I found on my way back to the car. It may not look like much to most people, but it's always worth a stop and look to see what's around and on the pool. As always, the early morning is the best time. The Early Birder catches the bird 😉

Bar-tailed Godwit

Little Egret

One of two Ringed Plover at the pool.

Thursday 20 April 2023

Hickling Broad

The weather forecast was good, but it turned out to be a bit gloomy on my visit to Hickling Broad over the Easter weekend. It seemed as though there wasn't a great deal around either as we followed the 3 mile path around the Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve. The reedbeds were very quiet, and not much was on the water or flying overhead. Quite possibly things will hot up a bit in the coming weeks.

That said though, and on reflection, we did see and hear some very good birds. One of my warbler highlights of any year, is the return of the Sedge Warbler. A fantastic little bird that will sing and climb the sedge or reeds that it is in. This was my first seen of the year, so it was a nice to see it performing.

Sedge Warbler

Another unexpected find was this Egyptian Goose, that was stood alone in a field.

Initially when I saw this swan in flight I thought it could be a Whooper Swan, but having taken a few pictures and zoomed into it's bill, I am more convinced that it is in fact a Bewick's Swan. At the time it was very distant and difficult to tell. 

Bewick's Swan

There were lots of Chiffchaffs around and to hear. Not as nice as hearing a Bittern booming though. We heard one of these booming several times as we sat in the aptly named Bittern Hide. Unfortunately we didn't see it, but it was nice to sit and listen to it.


Friday 14 April 2023

Wheatears and Wagtails in Norfolk

An Easter trip to Norfolk meant a very determined look for Spring migrants. There were lots I'd been looking forward to finding, and one on my list was the Wheatear. I'd looked a week or so earlier around my local area, but had not found any. We stopped in at Cley beach, as I'd often seen them in the fields here in previous years. Initially it wasn't looking promising, with only some Ruff, Meadow Pipits and a couple of Golden Plover of note. A bit more time spent scouring the ground and I noticed a female Wheatear hoping around. It was swiftly followed by a male. I was delighted to catch up with them again for the first time this year, and hope to see many more as we go through the breeding season.

Female Wheatear standing nice and proud.

The more colourful male.

Now, some birds you hope to find on your trip and others you just get very fortunate and stumble across. The Yellow Wagtail is a bird that I always hope that I come across during the year, but not one I ever go out expecting to find, unless there is some go info available on a particular bird. 

On this particular morning I was happy adding year ticks of Ringed Plover and Bar-tailed Godwit at a very quiet Salthouse, near Cley. Meadow Pipits and Linnets were keeping me company, and the odd Little Egret flew by, whilst the Oystercatchers made sure there was some sound in the air. I got back in my car very content, when I caught a glimpse of bird that I assumed was a Grey Wagtail. All I caught was some yellow as it hopped from the road to the fence line. As I focused properly I could see that it was in fact a Yellow Wagtail!! I stayed in the car and grabbed the camera. It was only a few feet away and I just let it do it's own thing while I snapped away. 
What a fabulous bird, and how lucky I was to be there at that time. The Early Birder does often catch the worm.

Yellow Wagtail

Thursday 6 April 2023

Purple Sandpiper

On my winter visits to Norfolk, I will always seek out the Purple Sandpiper. It's a real favourite of mine and not that easy to spot. The rocks along the Sheringham shore are the perfect location to find them though and they are regular here through the winter months, you just need to be patient and be prepared to have a proper look for them. Timing can be crucial. High tide is the best time, as this pushes them closer in and they will look to rest up and sleep if they can. As soon as that tide turns they like to get up and carry on looking for food. 

Their location at Sheringham means you can look down on them on the rocks below. This gives you a good view and you can appreciate the plumage against the rocks and how well camouflaged they are. Lovely looking birds, and ones that I will be looking out for again as winter comes round.