Friday, 30 September 2011

When Autumn leaves....29/09/2011

....start to fall and the temperature is in the high 20's it is a surreal feeling! I went for a mid morning walk along the bridlepath next to Bunkers Hill Wood, the sun was already giving off quite a bit of heat!! Birds were few and far between with Blue Tits being the predominant species seen and heard closely followed by Robins! A Mistle Thrush flew into the wood followed shortly afterwards by a Jay. A Green Woodpecker was heard only and apart from the Buzzard that deemed to take flight just as I was about to get into my car that was as good as it got for birdlife...nearly forgot Magpies and Woodpigeons put in appearances! Unusually no Yellowhammers today!

The faded Ferns along the hedgerows looked a treat in the sunshine and the leaves that had fallen were a colourful mixture of mainly gold and copper colours! As I walked the odd acorn fell like a missile, a hard hat it seems would come in handy at this time of year!! No doubt Squirrels were at work!

As I walked back down the path I became aware of huge...well they seemed huge...insects flying past me! I watched as several of these insects flew to an oak tree and seemed to just hover around the leaves and then disperse and return again, they were I believe Hornets! I have never knowingly seen them before! I have since read up on them and I am so pleased that they did not take a disliking to me standing there and trying to get a pic of them...they have a right sting in the tail!!!!

A clear blue sky and warm sunshine!

The same view ( a closer shot) taken on Christmas day 2010 when out viewing the Waxwings which were in the area! A taste of what is to come for Winter 2011/2012? Hopefully Waxwings again but without the snow!!!.lol!!

A Hornet is there in the pic...honest!!

How about this little beauty...well it was quite big actually...that I found hanging around in my greenhouse!!!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

A refreshing break around Brake Lane....24/09/2011

After a busier than normal week it was good to be out in the early morning fresh air and taking in the sights and sounds around me! It was misty on the start of my walk though the sun did put in an appearance later, but it was still cool in the shade, especially when lingering in the small woodland area of the walk. Blue and Great Tits were numerous and so where Robins on the walk, it seemed as though there was a Robin around every corner singing. Lovely to hear! Woodpigeon and Carrion Crow numbers had increased since my last walk here along with Jackdaws and Magpies. On the lake were several Black-headed Gulls, Mallards, Coot, Moorhen with young and the Mute Swan family! The four Cygnets are almost as big as their parents now, good to see they are safe and still thriving. A Pied Wagtail flew overhead, 3 House Martins, 2 skeins of Geese (distant but presumably Greylag or Canada) and a Buzzard mewing. I was delighted to see a Kingfisher fly in low over the lake! I had been told that a pair had been spotted here so I was thrilled to see my first Kingfisher on this walk! A noisy Jay flew on to the low branches of a tree that was overhanging the water and then flew down to the water to bathe. The adjacent fields held a few Jackdaws and Crows and a delight to see and hear was a Green Woodpecker that flew from the ground to a distant tree!
The wooded area gave me sightings of Chiffchaff, Wren and Dunnock. A Starling flock were perched on wires by the paddocks when I started my return walk with a Mistle Thrush perched a few feet away from them, I later spotted 2 Mistle Thrush in the paddocks. I was surprised to see a pony that was lying down in a paddock tolerating the Magpies that were around it and on it's back! I watched for a good 5 minutes as the Magpies hopped on and off the back of the pony, I wonder if the Magpies were just sunbathing or perhaps finding a mite or something off the pony? I can imagine the Magpies in Spring would help themselves to loose mane hair or fur for nesting material but at this time of year I cannot see what benefits they are getting?

A very enjoyable 3 hour walk...I linger a!!!

The Obelisk on top of Wychbury Hill can just about be seen in the mist! On a clear day a good view can be had from this point of the walk.

Monday, 19 September 2011

North Norfolk Trip....11th-15th September 2011

The journey to North Norfolk was a good one, not much traffic was met until nearing Hunstanton and then the Mods on scooters appeared, seemingly hundreds of them! They slowed the traffic down somewhat and the smell of the 2 stroke from their scooters was a little too much at times. I learnt later that this was a regular weekend event, the 'Mods' meet at the beach, have a chat, coffee and then depart!
I must say that the sight of some of them wearing Parkas complete with fur around the hood took me back just 'a few years'...those were the days, though I didn't personally wear a Parka!lol!

A stop off was made at RSPB Titchwell before heading on to Wells-Next-The-Sea where we would be staying for the duration of the trip. The carpark at Titchwell was heaving to say the least, not surprising as a Little Bittern had been present for a few days. The path and embankment next to the pool where the L Bittern had been showing was filled with at least 40+ people waiting for a sighting of the bird. I was told it hadn't been seen for a couple of hours, so needing a walk after the journey we headed for the Parrinder Hide. On the return walk all eyes (well bins)were on the pool!! I clambered up the embankment and a kind gentleman was very patient as he told me where the L Bittern was, after a minute or maybe two I had it in sight! Great, my first UK Little Bittern! Whilst having a coffee at the visitor Centre I met the gentleman who had put me on to the little Bittern and thanked him once again for his help. I learnt that he was from Gambia and is/was a Bird Guide in Gambia! He is to settle in the UK hence the 'was'! How lucky was I to have stood next to him, he was determined to get me on to the bird, a very nice gentleman.

Next stop was Wells-N-T-Sea! The caravan we had rented was splendid, a real home from home feel! On the evening Tawny Owls were heard, it was such a calm and warm evening but not so for the next three days as the winds took hold and goodness me did they take hold!

Salthouse (12th).
In hindsight Salthouse was not the place to be on such a windy day! A climb to the top of the shingle ridge to seawatch was an experience as once on the top the wind almost blew you down to the! The view was great but the only bird seen over the sea was a Cormorant, brave bird!! The Moorhen in the photo was pottering about next to a pool by the roadside. Mute Swans with Cygnets, Coot, Mallards, Greylag Geese, Lapwing and B H Gulls were in the pool also Pied Wagtail, Goldfinch and Marsh Harrier were spotted so at least some birds were seen at wild and windy!

NWT Cley Marshes (12th).
After a coffee and a break from the mind-boggling winds a walk to the hides was taken.
Highlight birds were Spotted Redshank, Ruff, Wigeon, Bar-tailed Godwits, Little & Ringed Plover, Shoveler, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Green Sandpiper, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper and a Marsh Harrier that sent the waders up a couple of times!

RSPB Titchwell (11th & 13th).
The Little Bittern had not been sighted today so I was well pleased that I had seen it on Sunday! Highlights today were Little stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Ringed Plover, Redshank, Little Egret, Stock Dove, Wheatear, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Robin, Linnet, Cetti's (heard), Grey Heron, Sanderling, Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Curlew, Godwit (sp)and Grey Plover! Not a bad haul to say how strong the winds were once again! Nevertheless the weather did not spoil a visit to this wonderful Nature Reserve!

Burnham Overy Staithe (14th).
The walk along the path to the dunes and beach was a blustery one, trying to look through bins made your eyes water!! Scoping the area I found Grey Plover, Tern (sp), Curlew and 30+ Redshank that were all in a line facing the onslaught of the wind! This is the highest count of Redshank I have ever seen! A little Egret was sheltering alongside rocks in a pool and then ventured away from them, talk about 'Ruffled Feathers' once it was in the open!! It did not hang around for long, no doubt it was off to find better shelter. A Little Grebe was spotted diving in the water by the reedbeds but sadly no Bearded Tits to be seen or heard today.

Holkham Pines (14th).
The walk to the hides was pleasant as the trees acted a windbreak and most welcome it was too! Blue Tits and Robins were the only passerines seen on the walk. A Spoonbill was a delight to see, viewed from the George Washington Hide! A Marsh Harrier was also seen from the same hide along with Greylag Geese. From the Joe Jordan hide two distant Kestrels hovered over the fields and a glimpse was had of a Marsh Harrier as it flew through trees heading towards Burnham Overy. I scanned the beach and just 3 Oystercatchers were seen, not a Wheatear in sight! The walk at Holkham was a long one but a great one!

Marsh Harrier was seen daily hawking over the fields on early morning walks in Wells Wood, other than the M Harriers the woods had been so quiet during the three days of the gales blowing but on the last day of the trip (15th) the sun was shining and joy of joys there was hardly a breeze blowing! Robin, Goldfinch (flock), Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Long-tailed Tit, Jay and Green Woodpecker all put in an appearance on the calmest day of the trip! Hooray, Wells Wood has!

Hirundines were seen at many places visited, great to see them in good numbers. Several Starling flocks were also seen during the trip and also flocks of Greylag Geese! I watched several large flocks of Greylags as they came in to roost in the fields adjacent to the caravan site, a lovely sight and sound especially as the sun was setting giving a lovely backdrop.

Comma, Speckled Wood and Red Admiral were surprisingly spotted at most of the places visited. I was particularly pleased to see eleven Red Admirals sunning themselves on two caravans on the last day of the trip, a lovely sight to see one let alone eleven!

A very enjoyable and memorable trip!