Friday, February 26, 2010

Visit to Norfolk

Had a really busy time recently and one cat in the vets costing an arm and leg- whilst her teeth are cleaned and 3 extractions...poor liitle thing.

Interviews all day Tuesday for our new Deputy Head at my Primary School. Governors involved at that level. Really difficult in that we had 4 good candidates and finally two very close but different people after the final interviews. I think we made the right choice.

Sowhen Bob rang Tuesday night and we decided not to go for the London Dusky Warbler again but to Norfolk! (We got drenched on Sunday morning trying for it!_
On route on Wednesday there had been an accident on the M11 - so we changed our minds and went via Welney to see Whooper and Bewick Swans. Lovely! We also got bonus Tree Sparrows there.We didn't see the Bean Goose - looks like we will have to wait until the winter 2010 to see this bird!

Then it was on to Hunstanton for Fulmars - but little else after dipping Golden Pheasant at Wolferton Triangle!

Then on and by now the rain was raining so it was straight to Titchwell to see if the Mealy that Bob needed was still about it was and we saw it really well! Despite a Bang on the head from Bobs bins!

Then we had to go for petrol and decided as the Snow Goose had been seen up til 12 we might try for it at Holme NOA ....we did at 3!
My first really wild Snow Goose! I heard the familiar calling of pink feet and several thousand were in the sky. The skies were alive with their spectacular presence - thousands! I looked at the front as the birds neared and you just knew they were coming in to land and the 6th bird from the front -Snow Goose- adult and soooooooooooooooo white!I got Bob on it and we watched as it flew strongly with the other Geese and then landed in the field south of Broadwater -where they had been in the morning!

Now it was to Salthouse for Snow Buntings - well the flock was about a 100 strong with some well marked adult males.

We then went to Sheringham and had lovely sightings of a young Glaucous Gull - his head a deep dark shade with the back a contrasting colour and somewhat biscuity wings!
What a big gull they are - seeing it in the water alongside a bh gull was revealing!

Then we tried for a Purple Sandpiper at Cromer and dipped that but worth going as on our way back we saw a Tawny Owl in a tree - our 2nd owl of the year! Oh we had seen Barny today but after our 4 on sheppey.....and also a little later I spotted a Barn Owl on one of the sign posts of one of the villages!

Despite the grey wet day that was the opposite to the weather we were supposed to enjoy in Norfolk - it was a good birding day.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Med Gulls - the "posh" gull!

A fabulous head shot of the gull I always think of as the "posh" gull- its its call
yarrh as in "OK- yarrh" the Mediterranean Gull or Larus melanocephalus.
This is Tony's flicker site.

His blog is here where I see there is an even "smarter" head shot! You might have to scroll down a little.

(hope you likethe links Pauco!)

Monday, February 15, 2010


Sunday - Eagles nearly beat Aston Villa - according to Neil Warnock and the slow mo TV we should! Their last goal should not have happened if the lino had spotted that the ball came off our goalies head and straight back from the on-rushing Villa forward and out for a goal kick! I must admit the tv didn't show this in real time at the time - but if you were there it was clear!

A replay will give us money - hopefully they cant play their best team as its a few days before their Wembly final for the other cup!

We can dream!

Just switched the tv on to see Sachin Tendulker score his 47th century! India are in command at mo against SA - as I suspected when SA won the first test!

I have some work to do now - so i will have to tear myself away from this exciting Cricket! 331 -3 Partnership 249 - Sehwag out for 165

Olympics - in Canada have started - I expect the sad news that a competitor died flying off the track in the Luge practise is know by non sports followers.
I quite like some of the events - the Hockey is totally frentic! Ski-ing is so exciting - down hillamazing and the jumping - thats mental! I once stood at the top of the Hill in Oslo (1977) and stood where they do before going into the middle to whizz down that slope - that was scary enough in the summer!The hills are higher now!
Obviously we are all Curling lovers now - so will be following our men - they havesome chance of success.

Ice dance might be interesting this time....

then there are the really exciting races on the snow boarders...never done it and knees wont let me but I am sure I would have had a go when I was in my twenties!

AC Milan (my Italian club) v Man U (my second club in England) should be interesting on Tuesday evening.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sussex on Thursday - Birding

2 New Sussex ticks! Red Kite and Hawfinch plus Firecrest and Marsh Tit = 4 Year ticks!

Burton Mill pond produced 2 Marsh Tits and 3 showy Firecrests altho we also heard at least 2 others in different places!
No sign of the Tawny Owl who has been seen recently - so our owl drought continues!

Only those 4 Barn Owls on Sheppey to show for our endeavours having dipped Little, SEO and now Tawny!
No sign of the Bittern(s) at BMP in the time we were there - we didn't return to see it roosting as we needed to get back to West London!

At West Dean I saw my new sussex ticks - first a lovely Red Kite and then we had 3 Hawfinches -such stonking birds!

So not a bad day even if it was vvvcold! in the wind it was eye watering.....still it was dry and we did have some sun!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

20 years ago Nelson was released!

One of those where were you moments!

So where were you?

I was living in St.Pauls Cray where I was a local Cllr. I watched the momentous occasion on the TV - no satellite then for me!

link here for younger viewers!

Its really good to know Nelson is alive and enjoying his time as a free man....quite apart from what he then achieved after being freed! A true World Hero and icon - I love the man!

Monday, February 08, 2010

East Norfolk

10.30 found Bob and I at Walkers. Lovely hot cup of tea and then the Sausage and Bacon roll - large for Bob and small for me. Thats 2 sausages and 3 Bacon rashers in the small! I leave your imaginations to the large!

A new site to visit today - easily found on the outskirts of Norwich, Whitlingham CP.
A collection of ex gravel pits - now at least on the Large Broad full of waterfowl!

The Red-necked Grebe gave itself up very quickly as did the Great Northern Diver who was out in the middle of the Lake eating at Crayfish!

Then it was to find the female Ring-billed Duck - we looked down the lake and realised just how many Tufted Ducks there were - now this is where our research could have been better as I saw this morning when I looked at photos of the diuck on RBA! Itwas with the Pochards - and since there were considerably fewer Pochards - we could have saved ourselves considerable time - looking first at those- mind - since we interrogated all the female tufties - we would have ended up doing that anyway - of the RND - NO SIGN! Whether it was around the back of the island - well but it could have been tucked into the reeds - considerably cover there!

Then we spotted a Goosander - female but a first for the year....since we usually pick these up locally early Jan - but there has been very few! Then Bob found another - very good disguise against the trees and shrubs - its markings breaking up its position!

After seeing every variety of colour in a female tufty posible - Bob spotted the 1st winter scaup.

We had been here now for far longer than we had anticipated and the RLBuzzard we also wanted to see over on Chedgrave Marshes near GYarmouth had come up on the pager - I was getting a little twitchy! (There is a long staying RBD at Foxcote which we could go to see......I would prefer one to show up in ent or Sussex).

So we left - and had an adventure to get to Chedgrave Marshes.We came up to try for the Taiga Bean Geese which had been on the Cantley Marshes or Buckingham Marshes...
they had been reported on Saturday . So Cantly Marshes and to our usual place where we get good views across the Marshes - Taiga Goose - any Goose? Nope! In favct there were few birds- Mutes /Lapwings and Crows/Starlings!

So lets find our way to Chedgrave. I had spotted a road that crossed a river - the only one so to aviod going all round GY - we set out - Bob looked at his OS map....said its a Ferry ...what? Would it be running on a sunday? well we went Reedham - as always it takes a lot longer than you imagine to travel a mile in Norfolk!We arrived at Reedham - and a sign said Reedham Ferry Inn. We arrived and there was a Chain Ferry - the only way acxross the Yare between Norwich and GY! The car cost £3.90 (it was £7.50 for a return - which we declined!)The Bob remembered they had come this way nmany years before and the expense had been turned down by his mate!
Its a very short crossing and 2 cars can get on the Ferry!

off to the Waveney Forest and arriving there there were a number of cars parked -we walked to the mound where ther were 20 or so birders watching - fortunately there were a couple of guyts there who knew what thay were doing -

We had already seen a Harrier inthe skies on route...
then there was our target bird -up and flying - wow clear marking on its tail - really white! Adult bird....great flying sight - then down onto the ground - some of that flapping of wings on the ground I have noticed before with RLB.
Later we had two RLB in the sky - the adult and another further to the east.

We had hoped we might see a SEO - it had hunted and shown well an hour and a half earlier so another dip!

I had arranged to ring Tim Allwood up at Sea Palling to check the weather up there - it had been foggy all day on Saturday - would we be able to get to the Raptor Roost at Stubb Mill....for our other target birs - Common Crane. Great news from Tim - it was overcast (like everywhere else today!) but ok!

So decision time stay for SEO? Or go up for the Cranes?

S we then had a fast trip up there -- as fast as I could go with some driver going 40 mph on the main A47! Some one tell him limit is 50!
We arrive d and on route to the Raptor watchpoint - we heard the trumpeting calls of the Cranes - damn had we missed them? As we walked to the wtchpoint streams of birders were walking back! 3 had flown in and flown off(the birds we heard)then another small group had gone to roost. Oh well here we were - so onwards.
At the watchpoint a couple from Kent staying in Hickling so had their bicycles - good bins but no scopes - due to cycles!

Bob counted 17 Marsh Harriers - in the air!

We waited ....and waited ...and waited - then the skies were full of Pink feet! Hundreds and hundreds all calling!

We waited and then Bob spotted 4 Cranes flying we all got onto them - they flew amnd went down in a field.

The couple left shortly afterwards....we waited 5 mins andrealised we were really cold....swift walk back and on route another Crane flew gracefully out ofthe sky into a field!

As we neared the road to the CP a Woodcock flew over our heads!

So 6 new birds for the non year list!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Off to Norfolk tomorrow!

Well finally we are embarking on our annual Jan/Feb trip to East Norfolk.

So it will be interesting to anticipate what we will see - anticipate not post!
So here's hoping to a great day out!

I never did manage to complete the post re Sheppey -suffice to say it was a good days birding!

NowI am off to eat and watch the MU game to see own goals score a hatrick! yaa!

My Eagles did well today with another away win!

Cheers all!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Gull id - Caspians

Here is a link to
id - by Andy Lawson on the Kent Ornithological Society (join if you bird in Kent!) site for North and West Kent.

The report on Sheppey is on its pics of my own -a lot of birds were viewed at distance through scopes as is the way there!Where I nearly got some pics - Barn Owl eating I did the birders thing - observations first then- "try a pic" - "oh in focus" - off flew Owl!The joys or not of digi scoping!

Monday, February 01, 2010

The Big Garden Bird watch

Well having had the feeders up for over a year I have my regulars - and with the additional feeders (a christmas present) up and running since just after Christmas day - the birds have been having a feeding frenzy - especially during the snow and the freezing days...

Well they didn't let me down - I know when they arrive en masses at breakfast time - so did my hour then.

14 Goldfinches, 2 Robins (usually only 1 - so I hope he has a girlfriend!, 4 Wood Pigeons, 5 Starlings (where was the usual 6th?), 8 House Sparrows (all present and correct!), 2 Blue Tits , One Great tit, 2 Blackbirds (the resident pair), Yes - 1 Collared Dove and one of the Chaffinches!
oh and a RN Parakeet came to my tree and went back to his two mates - the branches of my tree prevent them settling on those feeders and they have never attempted the new ones- bet thats famous last words...