15th to 19th May in Norfolk I have just returned from 5 days birding in Norfolk with my brother and Mark. The winds again weren't favourable being cool north-easterlies 4 for days and then dropping to know breeze and foggy on the last day. The highlights were 7 Dotterel, 5 Temmink's Stints, 5 Wood Sandpipers and 1 female Ring Ouzel. There were of course other goodies but in very low numbers.
Below are some of the images that I managed to capture during our time there.
The last chalk ridge before the North Norfolk coast just inland of Titchwell RSPB reserve is a favourite stopping point for Dotterel during May, finding them can be difficult.
The same area the Dotterel find attractive is a good place to find Corn Buntings
Mediterranean Gulls at Titchwell RSPB reserve
Little Gull 1st summer, one of 2 birds present at the RSPB reserve
We did see a couple 3 Avocet chicks but they were near Wells-next-the-Sea, this pair had lost their eggs when we next visited them at Cley NWT.
Temmink's Stint 1 of 5 seen at Cley NWT
Redshank are still displaying,we didn't see any chicks
Whimbrel, the only one that I saw in 5 days.
Red Kite's were seen along the north coast and this bird was a first at Titchwell for me.
Regent's Park 24th April to 3rd May These last 9 days have continued in the same vain with the winds either from the south west or from a northerly sector. We can usually rely on the odd Willow Warbler and certainly at least a dozen Chiffchaffs stopping off on route to their favoured UK woodland. We missed the Meadow Pipit passage and we have only had a handful of single Yellow Wagtails and only 3 Wheatears. This is all very sad, the bad weather in southern Europe moved off a while ago so you would have thought birds would have been eager to head north. Maybe the light winds have helped them, why stop if the going is good.
Below are some of the recent park visitors and a short clip of some recent habitat improvements.
We normally have several days where we have lots of sun with high patchy cloud. Days like this are ideal for large raptors to move, this spring we had a day in March and the last day of April looked ideal but the only raptors seen were 10 single Common Buzzards, a couple of high Peregrine Falcons, no doubt local birds.
Even though we have had a lack of rain the Song Thrushes and Mistle Thrushes have been able to find worms for their young.
I have seen Little Egrets flying over the park but this was the first time that I had seen one on the deck. Once we had spotted it the bird was only on show for 4 minutes before it took flight and headed off to the north west.
Sparrowhawks have been spotted at some really high altitudes, whether they are Londoners or passage birds who knows?
At the moment we have 7 singing male Reed Warblers present.
This Common Whitethroat is in area 39 and has been performing his display flights for all to see. There is another male in the Chat Bushes but he's only recently arrived and as yet has not performed a display flight.
This Lesser Whitethroat was only present on the 2nd in area 39.
The sound of Blackcaps singing can be heard from most suitable areas of the park.
We have had Olympic Aquatic Engineering in constructing 2 reed beds, we hope to plant them in the next month or two.
Looking at the reed bed on the south eastern shore of Heron Island from the main land you think it is very small but up close it is much larger.
The other reed bed is an extension to the small one just west of Long Bridge in area 36, this year it has played host to Cetti's, Sedge and now a Reed Warbler.
The last photo show Trust for Conservation Volunteers planting some gores in the middle of the Open Spaces.
A quiet April. This seems to be the worst April that I can recall with migration being very slow or non existent. There has been some good moments unfortunately I have been away when they happened. The best birds were 3 Green Sandpipers flushed from the pile of soil by Dave's reed bed, a stunning male Common Redstart one evening early in the month when I was to ill to care. Wheatears have been seen on 3 dates, with only 1 Yellow Wagtail record, when other parts of the country have had good numbers. Unfortunately that is birding you never know what each year will bring.
Below is a pictorial of my best bits
The pair of Cetti's Warblers were seen carrying nesting material
Chiffcahff numbers are very low at the moment with only 3 males singing
Willow Warbler passage dried up in early April
A male Sedge Warbler male is holding territory in area 2
We had one of our best Sand Martin movements mid month with birds heading north west from mid morning and on through the afternoon.
Female Wheatear looking fed up with the British weather
Stock Dove's will nest in any cavity given the chance.
This is the first recently fledged Stock Dove to visit my garden this year.
Rarely seen anywhere else in the park I am lucky to have a small colony ZSL House Sparrow visit my garden.
I have never seen a Heron land on such a small post before, this bird is gradually improving his landings.
We have 4 pairs of Great crested Grebes present on the lake, the latest pair arrived today 29/4, 2 pairs have brought off chicks but are struggling to protect them.
An extended Easter in Norfolk 2019 It was a glorious 6 days in Norfolk with the sun shining every day. That doesn't mean to say it was Mediterranean, well in fact it was actually warmer in the south of England than the Med, Norfolk reached the low twenties out of the the wind but several mornings I awoke to frost on the car windscreen. The winds were in fact almost what you would like for migrants to turn up, the problem was bad weather in southern Europe was holding up the spring passage. The species creating most of the birding interest was the Ring Ouzel, birds were scattered all around the Norfolk Coast, finding them was difficult away from the hotspots. I did manage to find one in the grazing marsh at Titchwell RSPB reserve. The next top bird was a Black-winged Stilt at Potter Heigham Marshes. Below are some of the images taken during my time there, I posted some video clips on Twitter at parksbirdlondon.
Below are some of the crackers that I saw, not all are frame fillers.
The North Norfolk coastal area is a great place to see Hares.
In the last 3 years a thriving colony of Mediterranean Gulls has established itself in a fenced enclosure on the RSPB reserve
The fence was erected to protect the breeding Avocets from predation by the local large mammals
I found this female Pied Flycatcher in Sallows on the main path at Titchwell
Another find was this male Ring Ouzel in the grazing marsh viewed from the main path at Titchwell RSPB reserve.
A pair of Black-winged Stilts bred at Potter Heigham Marshes in 2017, in the 2 years since then single birds have visited in April or May but not stopped. The image at the top is normally the view you get, distant. This years bird has shown much better, particularly in the early morning.
This years weather has put the Avocets back, not one bird had a nest yet. The photo below shows what looks like an egg carrying female. That or she likes a pint or two.
Black-tailed Godwits, them and the Avocets are the most abundant waders on the coast.
Common Snipe blending in to the background
Little-ringed Plover at Titchwel, birds were also on show at CleyNWT and Salthouse
Ruff moulting into summer plumage at CleyNWT reserve
Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwits arriving from possibly the Algarve?
Whimbrel were also arriving during the last few days. a flock of 24 flew Potter Heigham Marshes.
4 Greenshank dropped in unnoticed at the Avocet Hide
Marsh Harriers are seen over marshes ans agricultural land
Marsh Harriers are chased whenever they come to close, one bird at CleyNWT is very skilled at grabbing Avocet chicks.
The last days of March in Norfolk. We had a lovely weather from Friday afternoon through to our return on Sunday afternoon. There was little evidence of spring migration on the go with the only passerines I saw and hear being Chiffchaff and Blackcap.
Below are some of my better images taken during the weekend.
The light when I reached Cley NWT was superb so I made the most of it.
Black-tailed Godwits and Avocets take to the air
Coot doing what Coots do best
Shoveler head down
Lapwing, Ruff and Little-ringed Plover
Dunlin, Ruff, and Redshank
Kelling Heath was a stop off on the way to east Norfolk and a few beers.
This Woodlark dropped down and started singing from an isolated tree with me only 15 metres away. I think the birds here are used to people as there is a caravan park close by.
Marsh Harrier (above) and Sparrowhawk (below) taken on a productive afternoons stroll at Hickling NWT reserve
Great White Egret
Bittern emerges from the reeds
My only visit to Potter Heigham Marshes wasn't that productive as it was around dawn and it was misty. It was still worthwhile as it is such a tranquil place at that time of the day.
I have uploaded some images taken 20 days or so apart, the Common Crane photos were taken on 19th January and the selection of photos from the male Hen Harrier onwards were taken around the weekend of 15th February. I didn't visit to many places but the places I did visit it were worth the drive.
2018 finishes and 2019 starts with the same goody I have been struggling with what was eventually diagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome. As the pain in my right hand and arm was so bad at times my doctor signed me off work for 2 weeks over the Xmas and New Year period. Driving wasn't comfortable but we did manage to get to Norfolk. The skies were grey almost the entire 7 days we were there. However when I needed it it didn't let me down. You can see below what I needed it for, my 3rd Black-bellied Dipper, that was available about 7 days. Due to the grey skies I only birded my local area, making several trips to the disused wartime airfield at Ludham. I say disused but there is a small hanger where a few locals fly a biplane from.
What looks like a fast flowing stream is in fact water topping a disused and damaged lock
These high flying Whoopers were heading towards there night time roost
Heard of Whooper and Bewick's Swans at Ludham
Whooper Swans (above) while below you can see a few Bewick's amongst them.
Bewick's arriving on runway 1 one morning
The heard move from ploughed sugar beet field to grassland
The first group depart for their night time roost on a shooters pool near Sea Palling
4 Russian White-fronted Geese amongst Greylags near Horsey Windmill
Female Stonechat by Martham Broad
It would have been nice if the Whooprs or Bewick's gave me a close fly by but you can't have everything.