Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Early home from the continuing corgi course, managed to squeeze in a pooch walk up the track that kindly coincided with a Stealth-like Peregrine cruising eastwards over the fields, behind the church and then off over Felbrigg Great Wood.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Felbrigg Lake

It was more like summer here this afternoon, a mild bright day with peeps all over the place! Birds were still about though, with significantly three Stonechat now in attendence, a pair on the marshy south side and a smart male on the orchid bog next to the lake. Also here a Barn Owl was on early patrol, with a second later on. The Mandarin are still present with an additional female(thats a total of 5 females and 7 males now) and the Siskin flock still number about 30 birds (though no Redpolls yet) No sign of any Barnacle Geese!

Stonechat - back in force!

Barn Owl going away


Ran the moth trap for the first time this year, a few hours before bedtime predictably attracted a Pale -brindled Beauty and a couple of Spring Ushers

Pale-brindled Beauty

Spring Usher

Friday, January 25, 2008

Tunnel, lights, end of.

In between either side of a days Corgi training I managed to see day light, just, from the confines of the village, oh and a Barn Owl on the 'strip of doom' (set aside behind the pond)

Day Break

Just add buildings...


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bob the Builder, **** off!

We have just received the somewhat disturbing news that North Norfolk District Council have put forward a proposal to build affordable homes on the set aside land directly behind the village pond, adjacent to our house. When this land (it was still part of the main field when we moved in) was sectioned off with hedging we all feared that the ultimate goal was to turn this area into building land, but over time assurances came that because it was outside of the village building boundary (and through searches made by ourselves prior to purchasing) planning permission would not be granted. Things change. Things have changed. So we now wait at the mercy of the Parish council and its residence to decide if this little piece of wild space, that is actually in the village, is of any worth to them against a housing project that potentially could expand to bigger things. We'll wait and see. "Thats all I gotta say about thayt"

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Overcast mild WSW 4-5

A walk up a soggy track produced 3 Common Buzzard up over the wood. Also noted (and new for the year) were 10 Meadow Pipit and a Cormorant flying NW. The bare, ploughed fields behind the west side of the village (presumably waiting to be sown with either Beet or Spuds) is attracting good numbers of Golden Plover and Lapwing, with c300 and c50 respectively this afternoon. A couple of shots from the bottom of the garden before it got really dark!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Direct Hit! (possibly)

News came through this morning of a possible Great White Egret flying west over farmland just south of the village. Seen by a neighbouring birder, I gather veiws were not good for a definate ID - the dreaded 'one that got away'.
Spurred by this report I decided to visit Felbrigg Lake late afternoon to see what (if) herons came to roost.

Tufted Duck 16
Mandarin 11 (seven males 4 females)
Gadwall 6
Pochard 3 (all males)
Mallard 35
Coot 5
Mute Swan pair

Additionally were c30 Siskin, hunting Barn Owl and a calling Water Rail. Unfortunately the three Barnacle Geese were seen in with the Grey lags again, the longer that continues the less likely they will be of wild origin. Typical!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Special Sparra'

Work took me along to Holkham Hall this morning, birds and deer everywhere! Unfortunately I didn't have too much time to spare, but did manage to return to Cley and get another look at the White-crowned Sparrow with a slightly reduced crowd in attendance.

White-crowned Sparrow ...most photographed bird of the year so far.

Near Miss

My bird pager informed me of a Great Grey Shrike at West Beckham yesterday morning, about 2 miles from us as the crow flies - guess what I'll be looking for at the weekend! (See predictions beginning of the year)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Co-operative Waxwing

Waxwings are smart little birds from from northern Europe, arriving in Britain in varying numbers, year on year. Their penchant for red berries mean that modern supermarkets (whose carparks are generally landscaped with Mountain Ash, Rowan and the like) are often a good, though unlikely, place to look for these birds. Over the past couple of days a Waxwing has taken up residence at Rainbow in Cromer, and after a second visit, I managed good veiws of the bird on a somewhat dull gray day


this bird gets its name from the wax-like drops on the end of the covert feathers, seen below.

Possey Blue Tit (a blog 'first'!)

Sunday, January 06, 2008


Felbrigg Lake again this morning, and there seemed to be more birdwatchers than birds! I counted at least a dozen birders, and started to think I'd missed a rare bird or something but I think the majority were looking for the (still absent) Mandarin. A number of year ticks were secured, the best being Marsh Tit and a couple of Snipe

Tufted Duck 7
Gadwall 8
Teal 5
Shelduck 5
Mallard c30
Mute Swan 2
Grey-lag Goose 40



Just after lunch I casually checked my pager and nearly dropped it as I read "White-crowned Sparrow Cley Village 1228"!!!!!!!!!! Now this little beauty from North America is a very very rare bird in Britain, what we term a mega! With additional news that viewing was difficult and the bird only shows occasionally my mind was cast back to the summer when I DIDN'T see the Dark-eyed Junco. I really was in two minds whether to go or not but caved in after ooh... ten seconds! The viewing was cramped to say the least, with the bird showing on an enclosed drive way facing the road. Its in these situations you realise how fat the human head is, especially the great big fat one that was directly in front of me! (Oi mate, you need to go on a head diet!) Another annoyance was that a sign clearly saying that the bird would not show if anyone stood infront of the gate was being blocked by a well known local photographer by standing infront of it! Amazingly, when he did finally move, the WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW showed well but briefly, proving the bloody point! Come on guys its not rocket science!

White-crowned Sparrow twitch

White-crowned Sparrow (or a bad scrawl of a great bird!)

On the way home I decided to check the cover crop, just in case there had been a fall of American sparrows! No such luck, but the Bramblings were still present, though sticking to the shady side of the hedge.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

...and they're off!

With the wife out on a well deserved day of retail therapy, after spending most of Christmas cooking and working, I had the opportunity to bird for a few hours, and I'm glad I stayed local and opted for Felbrigg Park. After already seeing Barn Owl and Bullfinch enroute to the lake, I was a little disappointed not to find any geese on or around the lake - typical - the Barney's looked to have gone! Scanning the boggy field south of the lake there was no sign of them there either, just a white plastic bag I didn't notice previously... hang on, thats not a bag... thats an egret! With my prediction fresh in my mind I briefly dared to hope but it was soon apparent that it was a Little Egret. It soon worked down the field and into the ditch, then 15 minutes later whilst I was around the other side of the lake it flew off west, over my head and no doubt over my house! Nevertheless, a good bird to get on only the second day of the year. The rest of my time here was notable more for absentees rather than birds present! Not a single Mandarin, Pochard or Water Rail, no Long -tailed Tits or Marsh tits.
Little Egret (honest!)

After lunch I took a walk west of the village, along the track to check some cover crops in thenow strengthening winds. More year ticks ensued, including at least 14 Brambling with c75 Chaffinch, and the welcome sight of three Grey Partridge flying into the Rape fields.

A great start to the year, and a link on the left side will remain throughout to keep tabs on that annual list.

Kestrel at Felbrigg


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

On your marks, get set.....

So here we go again, new day, new year. With a grey, drizzley start to the year I ventured out only to walk the dog, remembering to note every sound and sight to get things started. Trying to predict what may turn up in the coming year is usually birding suicide but I think around March- April we might have a chance of Great grey Shrike, a returning bird after a really good arrival last autumn and good numbers around the country this winter. With Little Egret and Spoonbill already secured, an early May morning with a Cattle or Great White Egret moving west over the fields is almost tangible in my eyes! Ofcourse everything will depend upon the weather, but some warm south easterlies in April will do wonders for raptor expectancy! Felbrigg will get better coverage this year, a Cetti's Warbler in the reed bed could be on the cards, Penduline Tit a complete long shot! But whatever it brings...Bring it on!

Moth Year list 2008

Moth species seen in Parish this year ('first' records in bold)

1. Pale-brindled Beauty
2. Spring Usher
3. March Moth
4. Dotted Border
5. Oak Beauty
6. Chestnut
7. Satellite
8. Early Grey
9.Common Quaker`
10. Clouded Drab
11. Double-striped Pug
12. Yellow Horned
13. Hebrew Character
14. Small Quaker
15. Engrailed
16. Early Thorn
17. Shoulderstripe


The following list includes all the presumed wild occuring birds within the parish boundary of Aylmerton or seen in flight from within the parish boundary.

1 House Sparrow
2 Starling
3 Chaffinch
4 Great Tit
5 Blue Tit
6 Jay
7 Magpie
8 Wood Pigeon
9 Collared Dove
10 Mallard
11 Greenfinch
12 Moorhen
13 Rook
14 Jackdaw
15 Blackbird
16 Black-headed Gull
17 Common Gull
18 Pied Wagtail
19 Goldfinch
20 Great-spotted Woodpecker
21 Robin
22 Pheasant
23 Grey Heron
24 Barn Owl
25 Carrion Crow
26 Lapwing
27 Skylark
28 Bullfinch
29 Green Woodpecker
30 Egyptian Goose
31 Grey-lag Goose
32 Tufted Duck
33 Gadwall
34 Coot
35 Teal
36 Little Egret
37 Coal Tit
38 Goldcrest
39 Herring Gull
40 Lesser Black-backed Gull
41 Kestrel
42 Yellowhammer
43 Siskin
44 Brambling
45 Red-legged Partridge
46 Grey Partridge
47 Mistle Thrush
48 Mute Swan
49 Nuthatch
50 Pink-footed Goose
51 Sparrowhawk
52 Stock Dove
53 Shelduck
54 Wren
55 Snipe
56 Long-tailed Tit
57 Marsh Tit
58 Fieldfare
59 Common Buzzard
60 Meadow Pipit
61 Great Black-backed Gull
62 Mandarin
63 Water Rail
64 Cormorant
65 Stonechat
66 Peregrine
67 Canada Goose
68 Little Owl
69 Linnet
70 Mediterranean Gull
71 Lesser Redpoll
72 Oystercatcher
73 Shoveler
74 Chiffchaff
75 Sand Martin
76 Marsh Harrier
77 Red Kite
78 Swallow
79 Dabchick
80 Wheatear
81. House Martin
82. Willow Warbler
83. Blackcap
84. Whitethroat
85. Lesser Whitethroat
86. Common Crane
87. Common Swift
88. Hobby
89. Merlin
90. Whinchat
91. Yellow Wagtail
92. Garden Warbler
93. Grey Wagtail
94. Greenshank
95. Common Sandpiper
96. Green Sandpiper
97. Wood Sandpiper
98. Ruff
99. Honey Buzzard
100. Osprey
101. Little Gull
102. Black Redstart
103. Turtle Dove
104. Barnacle Goose