Doing some garden chores today when a mixed flock of juv Long-tailed Tits and Blue Tits came through. It was a shame that the Long-tailed's moved on but the Blue Tit did hang around long enough to get this video.
Down on the patch, it was great to see huge numbers of Swifts soaring low over the tree tops one flock over 100 strong.
It was also nice to see a mixed flock of juv Linnets, Goldfinch and Greenfinch this also 100 strong.
A pair of Grey Wagtails also have a nest and seem to be feeding young.
Then back to the garden where this Goldfinch was feeding on the lawn.
It started with the 1999 Breydon bird missed that, next was the 2001 Cantley/Strumpshaw bird when I was on holiday in Wales. Then dipped the 2002 Hickling/Filby/Rockland bird. Then dipped another Breydon bird in the same year. I also dipped three times in trying for the 2005 Breydon bird and missed it again two days later at Rush Hills. An exact carbon copy happened in 2006 when I dipped again at Breydon and a few days after at Rush Hills. The 2009 bird at Welney was also missed when I could not go anywhere that weekend. So after late news of another Caspian Tern roosting at Thornham Habour last night it got me up early today and I arrived at Thornham at 4.30am to try and stop the dipping madness. I parked up at Thornham Harbour car park in torrential rain, so I postioned the car so that I could stand under the boot lid and scan the harbour. I watched as Gannets flew past west struggling against the wind I did count them but gave up after 100 had been through. Penny Clarke arrived at 5.15am and she went and scanned the channels and creeks. I continued scaning a few Sandwich Terns and Little Terns were floating around, and 2 Little Gulls flew through. Connar Rand then arrived and him and Penny took to the bank for a better view. I stayed in the 'comfort' of under the boot lid and kept scanning. A Guillemot flew low over the harbour and a Peregrine perched on the nesting Terns fence, a few Fulmars flew through and two Eider sat on the beach. Waders were plentyful with Black and Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Ringed Plover, Knot, Greenshank, Redshank, Curlew, Whimbrel and Oystercatcher. I waited until 6.45 when I thought maybe this Tern changed its roost during the night and decided Titchwell would be best leaving rainy Thornham behind.
I got to Titchwell and walked out in the 'still' pouring rain I scanned the all the pools on the way to the beach. At the beach I came up with the bright idea of walking out to Thornham Point to have a back scan of the Harbour. I got to the point at around 7.30 and scanned but still saw nothting, a Manx Shearwater flew past on the sea when I looked at the pager and found out that the Caspian Tern had been seen from Thornham at 7.15-7.18 when it then flew west. I could not believe it, I dipped a Caspian Tern again, I stood there pondering what to do, I thought from here I keep seeing Terns going in and out of the Harbour so thought I would wait it out and hope it came back. It was about 8.15 when I noticed that the pager said the Caspian Tern was roosting at Holme at 8.00 so with this I walked back down the beach and through the reserve at Titchwell and drove to Holme. I got to Holme to find people milling about which it never a good sign and was told it had flown back east, I dipped again. With this I went to Thornham and scanned the habour, no sign of it there so I went on to Titchwell. I set off again and just as I was leaving the trees I saw a large bird over the left hand pools, I put my bins up and couldn't believe my eyes it was the Caspian Tern and my own little Self-discovery. I then notice the RSPB warden and another chap up the track and before I could shout they were pointing it out to me also.
It flew around the pools for 20mins or so before flying off over the reserve only to return again. It was fishing (although I didn't see it catch anything) and showing well for the hour or so that I was there.
Started the day at West Runton in hope for the Bluethroat but no luck there.
It was great to watch the Brothers and Sisters of a Linnet family hound their parents for every scrap of food that they found. Also baby Sparrows, Goldfinch's and Whitethroats were in and around the field.
On the way home from work I stopped at Horsey where the Red-footed Falcon gave brilliant views.
The one thing that worried me a little is how tired the bird seemed, at one point it was closing its eyes and nearly fell off the post.
The first 10 seconds of the video is a little jumpy but is much better after.
When I first started birding I picked three birds I really wanted to see, Hoopoe, Bee-eater and Golden Oriole it didn't take long to see all of them so I picked three more but said to myself I want these in the UK and these three I would make an extra effort for if any turned up. I picked 'the next three' back in 2000 and these were Bluethroat, Red-flanked Bluetail and Roller.
Bluethroat I got in 2001, Red-flanked Bluetail I eventually got in 2006 and since then they are now common as muck, but Roller always all has been the bird that got away until now.
Was extra busy at work when a text from Adam saying have you gone for the Roller yet? threw my off my stride. A quick look at the pager confirmed that the Roller had been seen at Upper Hollesley Common which was great as we had only been there in the spring to look at a Great Grey Shrike after seeing the Short-toed Treecreeper.
I then worked exceptionally hard and luckily after working Sunday Night and starting early I was only 45mins short for the day when I left at 3.15.
Foolishly I had left all of my gear at home so decided to go back and get it and by 4pm I was on my way, with Adam who had been waiting at my house and we pick Philip up on the way.
We arrived at Hollesley Common not much before 6pm and after spotting James we walked down to see him and I got my first view of the Roller through his scope.
They are a truly spectacular bird and on our own doorstep.
We watch the bird for an hour flying down to the ground and catching Bettles then flying to different perches. The bird seemed to be feeding really well and looked very alert and with the skies clearing tonight I would be suprised if it is still there in the morning, but you never know.
The Twitch itself was great and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. Below is a video of the bird and the twitch itself.
As I was leaving for work a message regarding the Black Stork flying north at Waxham came on the pager, I went back in and grabbed by gear. I waited near Happisburgh for around 30mins but had no joy in seeing the Stork flyby.
At Lunch a message saying that the Broad-billed Sanpiper had been see from the southwall sent me out to have a look. I arrived to find three other birders watching the bird. I managed to get on the bird as it took off a flew left. Nobody seemed to know how far left it went.
After another 5mins of scanning with no sign of the Broad-billed Sand a small part of the Dunlin/Ringed Plover Flock flew left also, I followed them until they went and landed much futher west.
I then marched a mile or so along the wall and arrived at the channel first, it only to one scan to re-find the Broad-billed Sandpiper.
After work on the way home I stopped near Worstead to scan a large raptor, only to discover it was a classic adult male Honey Buzzard this drift off fast and I couldn't find it again.
Later that night I went to see a Quail where there were at least 1+ birds.
All these years of birding and general wildlife watching I have never actually seen a British Swallowtail. After reading Jim's Blog on the way home from seeing King's of Leon in Coventry on Monday night I decided that I would head out to Strumpshaw the next day and have a look.
Previous attemped have resulted in seeing the caterpiller only or have been to late or raining but Tuesdays weather was near perfect so the Family and I set off in search of the Swallowtail.
I had suggested to Claire that it would only be a 5 minute walk and we would see one and bizzarly I was right. Luckly the Sun had gone behind a clould just after I spotted this one which made it sit still so I could get a picture.
But once the sun came out again it became lively and flighty feeding franticly, two other then joined in the mix before we headed off for lunch at the Maltsters where we saw Common Tern, Great Creasted Grebe, Chiffchaff and two brand new 'Pub Birds' which were Cuckoo and Bullfinch.
If anyone ever gets a day when nothing seems to go their way with birding Sunday 29th May was 'One of those days' for James and I.
We started at Swanton Nova's in hope for a Honey Buzzard and after a good hour of waiting only Commons soared above us, could it of been the wind that kept the Honey's away or could it be the fact that there are none to see?
Next stop was Sculthorpe Mill in hope of a Spotted Flycatcher or two and once again the wind took its toll and after another hour or so Spotted Flycatcher was heard but could not be seen as they seemed to be hiding deep within fully leaved trees.
Our next stop was to try and see Montagu's Harrier but again a good hour spent here and no sign, although we did see 2 Red Kite, Buzzard and Marsh Harrier.
So after this we thought we would try for the Curlew Sandpiper and Turtle Dove that had been seen at Titchwell, and upon arrival seeing that a Ruddy Duck had been noted also we headed out to the reserve.
We saw Black and Bar-tailed Godwits (below) and a Pied Wagtail just after a wash. But once again no sign of the Curlew Sand nor the Ruddy Duck nor the Turtle Dove.
We then set off to one more place where we didn't see another bird.
Welcome to my birding blog. I am Gary and I really enjoy birding and wildlife watching. I love going to see new UK birds and really like it when they turn up in Norfolk. I now aim to find a few more birds and hopefully on my two new patches.
More details, photos and reports can be found on my website.
My patches are in North Walsham and Gimingham so if you have any news please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
My List Totals
UK - 438 Norfolk - 368 Garden - 94 Self Found - 259 From the Pub - 131