Friday, February 29, 2008


Had the moth trap running pre-bedtime last night, the clouds and lack of wind being the first appropriate night for a while. A nice little selection with Early Grey, 2 Dotted Border, Chestnut and a Satellite.

Early Grey

Satellite showing wing detail

Dotted Border

A walk up the Track this morning had me dancing a little jig as it was apparent that the hedge that was put in a few years ago and that had grown so high it blotted out the view to the Holt-Cromer Ridge had been hacked back to a reasonable height, and before the breeding season too! A Lesser Redpoll flew west calling.

Dawn over the village

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Earth Not Moving!

Being a deafy I slept through the whole Earthquake thing tuesday night, although both the dog(who shot out of her bed quicker than a bullet) and the wife (who thought a plane had gone over, about to crash in the field!) were none the worse for the experience. Managed to get the moth light running for a couple of hours before the frost set in last night, 3 March Moths and a Pale-brindled Beauty were the grand total, though a Dotted Border was found in the phonebox this morning. Had an attempt at photographing the stars last night, but it got too cold for me!
March Moth
The Hunter with Orion's Belt

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Felbrigg Lake

Mild overcast WSW 3-4 0820- 0945

The lake was really low on wildfowl this morning with just Tufted Duck (8), Pochard (1), Mallard (10), Mute Swan (pr) and Coot (8). However there were a pair of Shoveler on the marshy area to the south, where a pair of Barn Owl were hunting. The Little Owl was seen again, with another heard very close by, and a pair of Oystercatcher came in piping from the west before settling with the Shoveler. The Oicks presumably a breeding pair returning.

Hawthorn breaking out

Marble Gall Andricus kollari (agamic)

Barn Owl

Little Owl...."you ain't sin me, right!"


Friday, February 22, 2008

Sculthorpe Moor

A late/extended lunch break after an appointment in Fakenham took me to the Hawk and Owl Trust reserve at Sculthorpe Moor, just west of the town. This smashing little reserve is well worth a visit , and with the completion of the visitors centre and a wader scrape with hide on the way, I can see this becoming a regular lunch time haunt when I'm in the area. Today didn't disappoint, with great views of Brambling, my first Grey Wagtail of the year, and, as seen below , even better views of Water Rail! If you would like to see Water Rail, there's no better place than here, there were three while I was here, great stuff!

Marsh Tit

Brambling, apparently being robbed!

Brambling, female...

...a male, feathers starting to wear through to black on head.

"Felbrigg Water Rails please take note!"

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Lunar Eclipse on the way!

Just to prompt those that may not know, but there is a Lunar Eclipse due tomorrow late in the evening through to Thursday morning. Lets hope the clouds keep at bay.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Good Sign

Even by leaving off work 10 mins late it was still light enough for me to nip down to the lake on my way home to see if the continuing hard frost had delivered us any surprises- the light is coming back! It hadn't (any surprises) but the majority of the lake was fairly well covered with about an inch or more of ice, it was obvious by the amount of debris on the top that several attempts to break it had failed. Only 2 pair of Mandarin were present, but a Little Owl in an 'often seen' tree was a nice sight. The Barn Owl was quartering Doom strip again this morning.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Brass Monkey's!

Woke up to a toe tingling -4C this morning with the ground rock hard under foot, such temps did not warrant much hanging around along the track this morning with just the Golden Plover flock of any note, looking like chocolate chips on an ice dusted cake.


The lake was partially frozen over but no influx of waterfowl were present, though first thing the bathing gull flock did hold an adult Mediterranean Gull briefly before it was seen to make off. A full compliment of Mandarin were also present, with 7 males and 6 females, also noted were at least 2 Water Rail, one of which was down too 10 yrds but remained expertly out of veiw enough NOT to get any pics, the other gave itself away with its cartoon rooster walk.

Kevin Keegan...sorry my mistake, its a Coot!

Mandarin (check out the obscured right hand male)



After lunch decided to take a walk over to Great Wood (Felbrigg Park) where a sunny spot held lots of Goldcrest (but nothing else!), a few Siskin and at least 2 Lesser Redpolls feeding high in the spruce canopy with the latter. With the tripod at full extension I was able to 'scope one bird which proudly was showing off its heavily streaked brown rump and upperparts, a good bird to clinch in the parish as more often than not they're just fly overs.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Bits and Bobs

Cold, bright ESE 2-3

A very chilly walk up the track at about 0830, with the ground hard with frost and a biting breeze. Good count of 430 Golden Plover included a single black bellied bird but little else. At least 3 Brambling remain in the cover crop, along with my first Linnet of the year (!) The Brown Hares seem to be sorting themselves out with mates!

Late morning took a walk over to the lake, couldn't see any Mandarin but a pair of Wigeon were recently new. What was interesting was the rise in Coot numbers with 10 now present after starting with 3 at the start of the year. Why do I never see them arrive (or depart for that matter) thinking back, I have never ever seen a Coot not on a body of water, be it the sea, a lake or a pond, you just never see them anywhere else, but the must fly/walk over fields and stuff if only to get to Felbrigg! Anyway not alot else to report from here, the male Stonechat continues to feed in the orchid bog and, as usual for this species, has become rather bold.


Another fairly close body of water (and where Coots also occur!) to us is Blickling Lake near Aylsham, and with a report of a Great Northern Diver there this afternoon me and Dad took a drive over there and got some good views of this master swimmer.

Great Northern Diver

"ooh its murder getting shoes that fit!"

Thursday, February 14, 2008

F'Once Bittern, not too shy!

Bitterns are skulking, rare (in Britain) birds of large reed beds, a typical veiw is of one flying away over such beds before plonking down out of sight. However Bitterns also arrive from the Low Countries to winter here, and these birds tend to find and use smaller areas making them a bit easier to see. One such bird has taken up residence on Beeston Common pond in Sheringham (apparently for the past couple of weeks) and is feeding quite happily on the frogs and toads within 10 yrds of doggy walkers, and now of course camera toting birders! If anyone ever wanted to see a Bittern, this one is probably the best chance you're gonna get, you don't even need binoculars!

The Beeston Bittern, camoflaged to perfection

Sunday, February 10, 2008

So Close

Took a walk up to the bit of Aylmerton north of the main road (AKA 'the posh end!') with Dad and ended up missing a parish Firecrest by about 10 yards! The little blighter would not work its way south just a little more, staying firmly in Beeston Regis! I'll catch'em over here one day!

Saturday, February 09, 2008


An absolute corker of a weekend weather-wise here, with blue skies and nearly warm sunshine, it felt like spring had got a rush on winter! First thing Saturday after walking the dog I nipped down to Felbrigg Lake, the wildfowl appear to be thinning a little;

Tufted Duck 8
Gadwall 2
Pochard 1
Coot 5
Shelduck 2
Mute Swan pr
Mallard 30
Mandarin 7 (at least)

Elsewhere here the Great Spotted Woodpeckers were out in full force with at least 6 drumming away, and the pair of Stonechat were still present. Best birds of the morning were also the most frustrating, with a flock of eight, silent wild Swans flying west over the Lake. Initially I thought they were Bewick's as they went away and disappeared over the trees. However about 10 mins later they were seen again, going south-east at distance, when they looked fairly hefty and more like Whooper's! This is the second occation I have managed to 'lose' an ID of wild swans in the parish- poor show! To make matter's worse I took a nostalgic trip over to Gunton Park this afternoon, the site of my first Norfolk patch. It was pretty dead, but there were 3 familiar faces over there with the Grey-lag and Canada Geese- Barnacles!!! So now I find I'm going out birding and coming back with less birds on my year list than I went out with-Typical!

Day Break

Female Mandarin, cute but wary

Marsh Tit, tantilising but no poser!

Lesser Celendine at the pond

time for reflection...

'nother day done gone

Oak Beauty at the moth trap