Sunday, 28 July 2013


On Saturday morning when I saw that by late morning heavy rain would arrive I thought that if I was going out with the camera I'd better go very early.As I hadn't been to Brandon Marsh for a while I headed off there.

I entered to the Steetly hide just before 8.00 AM and was surprised to find it empty.There were no Kingfisher watchers there !!!! I gave it half an hour but saw nothing so I headed off.By this time it was a cracking morning sunny,warm and very still but unfortunately there were no birds around and it wasn't till I was near the Carlton hide that I met up with another birder.It was that Brandon legend and photographer Keith Yates.

Keith and I spent a while at the Newlands screens and although there were plenty of butterflies and dragonflies around there were very few birds.In fact the only shots I took were of a young Goldfinch that was wearing a nice hat.

On the walk back I popped into the Teal Pool hide again.There was an unfortunate Lapwing with a badly injured leg but it seemed to be managing quite well and a lone Green Sandpiper.There was no sign of yesterday's Wood Sandpiper that showed so well.

By midday I'd had enough and headed home.On Sunday morning I headed off to Marsh Lane to see if anything had dropped in after the overnight rain.

There was good news and bad news.The good was that there was a Wood Sandpiper on the railway pool.The bad was that yet again it was a long way off and it soon went out of site.

When I left there was a bit of disturbing news.By the main gate by the cottages there was a chap sitting behind a small desk on a chair.He was doing a survey who was using the old road.This was in connection with the high speed train construction and the use of this area as a construction depot/compound.Oh Dear !!!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013


Yes I went out this morning with the camera when there were thunderstorms all over the place.Pretty amazing when I am president of the fair weather birders club.

So how did this come about.I'd been out early shopping in Knowle and was in the Kitchen unloading the purchases I'd made.I was also feeling sorry for myself as I'd been feeling lousy lately in all this hot weather when I received a text from Nic Barlow "Wood Sandpiper on CP pool". No one was more surprised than me when I said Sod it !! I'm going for this.

Got to the car park at Marsh Lane not long after 9.00 AM just as another thunderstorm was going start.Wanting to get in the hide dry I jumped out the car with the camera unaware that I'd parked in a puddle and my feet got soaked. Damnation !!!

Two friends Brian and Pete were in the hide and pointed out the WS which was of course at the far end of the furthest island.Also it was very dark and the thunderstorm broke and the rain cascaded down.All I got in the first hour were these crappographs but still very nice to see.

Between storms it did get a bit brighter and a little closer but not close enough for my lens.I still do not have a good shot of a Wood Sandpiper but did enjoy trying in horrendous weather this morning.It was still there when I left at 11.00 AM

Monday, 22 July 2013


I have been out with the camera since my last blog but I confess the heat has curtailed my efforts and sent me racing home to cool down.

I was very chuffed to get a shot of a Red Kite in Knowle not that far from where I live.

A visit to Marsh Lane was hard work with the camera but I managed a few butterfly shots.A Large Skipper and a Small Tortoiseshell. 

The only bird shot I managed was this Reed Warbler but I did miss a Blackwit by about 10 minutes.

Didn't go out with the camera then till Sunday morning when not wishing to go far I went to Brueton Park.I got there just before 9.00 AM and was not surprised to see loads of dogs there.There were more dogs than people as  most bring more than one dog and the owners look at me and and seem to say "Where's your dog".

As it was a Sunday very soon the children arrive and the place is quickly swarming with very small kids racing round on very small bikes all playing who can scream the loudest.So why did I stay ? I found just a short walk down the main path a family of at least 4 Goldcrests pinging around in the conifers.So I got some great shots then.No don't be silly as usual with these chaps I struggled to get onto them.Far too quick.Great fun though.

Sunday, 14 July 2013


Yes after my few days in Norfolk it was back to local birding.Not surprisingly being July I struggled to find anything to point the camera at.

I tried for the Wood Sandpiper down at Marsh Lane but could not find it.Visits to Lapworth, Baddesley Clinton and Packington went unrewarded and I couldn't find the Spotted Flycatchers  in the Berkswell churchyard although I did get a Green Woodpecker.

On Saturday morning I paid a visit to Brandon Marsh and went straight to the Steetly hide to join some friends who were after the Kingfishers that have been showing well there.I didn't have to wait long before a male turned up and I was able to get my first KF shots for quite a while.

It flew off but soon returned with quite a large fish which I am told is a Pikelet.It did the usual battering on the pole to kill it then flew off again with the fish still in it's mouth tail first presumably to feed young.

I then left the hide and walked up to the Newlands screens to try for the Hobbies.This turned out to be a mistake because it was so hot now it reminded me of when a plane I was in crash landed in Death Valley California and the heat nearly killed me.Oh No !! That wasn't me that was John Wayne in an old film.Anyway it was very hot and the Hobby soon flew off.

Later that evening whilst washing up the dishes a Sparrowhawk landed on my fence.In raced upstairs grabbed the camera pointed out of a bedroom window and managed one shot.This shot is very special as it may be the only one taken when wearing yellow Marigolds. 

Wednesday, 10 July 2013


After breakfast on Saturday morning I paid the bill (Ouch !!!!) and set off down the A 149 to Titchwell.Got there just after 9.00 AM and was not very surprised to find the car park almost empty.

It was another cracking morning weather wise as I headed down the main path.Just where the view opens up on the left I had a Grasshopper Warbler reeling away from the top of a distant bramble,a Cetti's Warbler calling out at the bottom of a nearby bush and 3 Bearded Tits pinging out in some reeds.Not a bad start to the morning.

That's where the good news ended because the very bright weather made it almost impossible to get any shots if the sun was in your face and as luck would have it it nearly always was.The Island hide was particularly bad and the only shot I got there was of a Little Egret.   

From along the main path I found a Spotted Redshank, a Little Gull and a group of birds including another six Spotted Redshanks and a couple of Bar-tailed Godwits.As you can see from the shots the light was horrendous and disappointing.Next time I go to Titchwell and it's very bright I will wait till the afternoon/evening.

The morning was saved by the presence of a Spoonbill that could be seen from the first section of the Parrinder hide.The light here also was not good but manageable.

The Spoonbill was at the back of an island that was dominated by a 100+ Avocets.These chaps are taking over the place and were very aggressive with any birds that came near their island.The Spoonbill was a real pain it never moved for over an hour and a half as it was sleeping.It was on it's knees which I'd never seen before.

Getting a bit bored I was about to give up when a couple of friends ( Ian and Beth) from my local patch entered the hide and I stopped to chat.This was a good move because it began to wake up but remained on it's knees.

Quite soon it stood up and did a few exercises.A good sign it was going to fly off.

As anticipated it then flew off luckily not into the sun.

After a quick bite of lunch I headed a bit further down the main road to call in at Thornham harbour.This is a place I've done well at over the years but not this time.In fact I did very badly indeed.

I parked up by one of the creeks and headed off for a look round but it only took me 20 minutes to see that it was very quiet.When I got back to the car a very sick Gull had left "deposits" all over my windscreen and bonnet.The hot sunshine had baked it into a compound harder than titanium.I spent the next 30 minutes using an ice scraper and a nearby puddle to get the damned stuff off.

I then set off home.A great break with good weather but as expected except for the Spoonbill not good on the birding front.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013


After breakfast on Friday morning I headed down the A149 again but this time I headed for Holkham Pines.A few Autumns ago I had one of my best birding days ever there getting 3 life ticks in two hours comprising a Great Grey Shrike, a Lesser Grey Shrike and a Subalpine Warbler.This was July however so there was not going to much about. 

My excellent mood was somewhat dashed even though it was a fine morning when I had to cough up £4.50 for "up to 4 hours" car parking.I had hoped this included lunch but no.

It was very pleasant walking in the woods in the smashing weather but I was seeing very little on the birding front.Mind you it was a nice surprise to find a bush with loads of young Long-tailed Tits in it.

Saw nothing at all from the Washington hide but from the Joe Jordan hide there were 12 Spoonbills,4 Marsh Harriers and numerous Little Egrets on show but the trouble was they were so far away they might have been over the border in Suffolk.

I then decided to check out the dunes and soon found a Butterfly I'd not seen before.I think it's a Dark Green Fritillary but I'm not certain.

Half way along the dunes I settled down for a bit of lunch.Like a top birder I was still scanning round but what I spotted was not a rare bird but a nude man staring at me from about 50m away.I immediately went into panic mode grabbed my stuff and raced away along the pathway.Mind you if it had been a nude young lady I might well have gone into voyeur mode.

As I neared the Holkham gap I spotted about 40 horsemen exercising their horses in the sea.Intrigued I had to find what was going on because there were a lot of people watching.I asked one of the riders and it turned out it they were the Household Cavalry giving their horses a holiday.

Just after lunch I headed inland a little to a spot I'd been told a pair of Montague Harriers were nesting.It was not too far away from where I'd seen them in previous years (North Creake) and I soon found the set aside field.As soon as I got out the car I saw a large grey raptor flying just above the undergrowth.Was it the Male ???? I grabbed the bins just as it flew over the hedgeline and away.I waited an hour and it never returned.I didn't get a good view so it was more likely to have been a male Marsh Harrier.

I then headed back down the A149 and called in to Morston Quay and parked up but only after negotiating the worst set of speed humps in England.It was very pleasant walking round and checking the creeks but as expected there was nothing about.A Skylark who was clearly upset at the woeful time I was having with the camera put on a private display for me.Got my best Skylark shots. 

After the evening meal I couldn't resist going down to Cley again and standing on the path by the Bishops hide and have another go at the Marsh Harriers.This time there was an added attraction because at the far side of the pond there at least 6 juvenile Bearded Tits showing.Too far for decent shots with my lens but great to watch.

The Marsh Harriers were again very active but if anything were staying further away than yesterday with one exception when one very briefly came a bit closer.