Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Norfolk Day 1 - RSPB Titchwell & Holkham

We have just returned from a wonderful week in Norfolk, despite two or three days of  bad weather. I will start with our first day, when we had the best weather of the week, with glorious sunshine, but shall we say the wind made it a tad on the cool side (actually read that as bl**dy freezing!)

We were down there as usual with Jo and Jimmy, but were joined for the first two days by our great friends Tim and Wendy. As they hadn't done a birding trip to Norfolk before we elected to start with RSPB Titchwell and then head down to Holkham for the Pink-footed Geese arriving at dusk.

Titchwell was brilliant as usual with plenty of waterfowl and waders. We started by heading down to the screen in case there was anything of note on the pool, on previous visits we have seen Waxwing and Red-crested Pochard down there and with this being a Waxwing year we had our fingers crossed, however nobody had told the Waxwings we were coming! Never mind.

We did find some Red-legged Partridge down in the field, though proving to be a bit camera shy.
The pool was pretty much empty apart from Mallard and Coot, so we went back and walked to the main part of the reserve, stopping at the first hide, walking on to the shore and then back to the main hides and here are a few shots of some of what we saw on the way:
Marsh Harrier
 Teal, Wigeon, Lawpings.....
 Little Egret
 Ringed Plover

 Black-tailed Godwit
 Little Grebe
 Common Gull
 Whooper Swans
Bar-tailed Godwit
Plus much more of course, we left Titchwell about 2.30pm to drive down to Holkham and get set up in the hide for the Pink-footedGeese coming in. There were plenty of Wigeon, Lapwing and Geese already there:
The Geese did come in, but not in the numbers that we have seen in the past, can't win them all!

More to follow!

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

An Upton Warren Afternoon - 10/11/16

A lovely few hours were spent at Upton last Thursday, a bit late posting this but we have been too busy enjoying ourselves and haven't had time to catch up!

So we started at the Moors and went to the Lapwing Hide overlooking Amy's Marsh, as we entered the hide we didn't even have time to sit down as a Kingfisher turned up and gave us a show:

Just wish it had turned to face us, but you can't have everything!
As the Kingfisher was sitting on its branch a Little Egret walked by
a great start to our afternoon.
There were plenty of Teal about
 and a few Snipe hiding,
 and at least three Grey Heron around the pools.
Lots of Cormorant and Shoveler were about too. We stayed for about an hour, but as the sun was coming around and would make it difficult to see through the glare we decided to pop over to the Flashes and see what was there.
We had good views of a Snipe feeding near the Avocet hide, he was one of 6 or 7 mooching around.
 A couple of Buzzards were causing a stir over the far side of the flashes, this one took something up onto a post for a late lunch.
 Not that they bothered the Lapwings much, they were content to stand and sun themselves.
Again after an hour or so we headed back to the Moors and decided to stay until dusk on the off chance of an Otter. But no such luck, We did get a flight of Curlew passing through, some Mute Swans with Cygnets arrive and a fleeting glimpse of a Water Rail.
As the sun went down and lit up the Moors it did look stunning:

A lovely afternoon

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Attenborough NR, Notts

Thursday saw us meet up with our good friends Wendy & Tim at Attenborough NR. After a spot of lunch in the visitor centre we went for a walk around the reserve on what was a cold and mostly very dull (weather wise!) day. The birding was far from dull, not many species seen but some quality close ups starting with some Egyptian Geese:

and Great Crested Grebe:
There was quite a variety of ducks around the reserve, Shelduck, Shoveler,
Pochard, Wigeon, Tufted Duck,
Goldeneye, Mallard, Gadwall,
Teal and a solitary female Mandarin
Plenty of Cormorants were about

The smaller birds were very difficult to find, Tina had a glimpse of a Kingfisher, some female Reed Bunting put in a distant appearance,
keeping the Little Egret company,
The only other bird that gave me a decent photo opportunity was a Long-tailed Tit
I had hoped we would see some winter thrushes but sadly none put in an appearance, hopefully we will see plenty in Norfolk in a couple of weeks time, plus here's hoping that the Waxwings and Shorelarks that are there at the moment hang around for us! Fingers crossed.

Attenborough is a great reserve and well worth a visit if you are in that neck of the woods (I would avoid weekends though as it can get busy)

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

RSPB Marshside, Southport

We made only our fourth ever visit to Marshside yesterday and the weather gods shone on us! It was a lovely mild sunny day, a great day for a walk.

We started by parking up at the small reserve car park and crossing the road down to the visitor centre and one of two hides on the reserve. Our attention was drawn immediately by the locals and warden to the 4 or 5 Cattle Egrets dotted around the lagoon in front of us. While we have seen Cattle Egrets before on our travels these were the first we had ever seen in the UK.
So a really good start to a very good day! As you would expect at this time of year there were plenty of wintering duck around, mainly Wigeon,
but plenty of Teal as well,
but the Duck highlight of the day were the 20 or so Pintail that we found at the second hide:
In  addition to these were of course Mallard, some Shoveler and a few Shelduck.
On the wader front the only sightings were Black-tailed Godwit and
There were a few raptors about with all this free food on offer a couple of Buzzard put in an appearance, a Kestrel showed well,

and a Sparrowhawk gave us a hunting demonstration:

One of the reasons for visiting Marshside was to get our first views of Pink-footed Geese this Autumn and there were plenty about,

Other birds of note during the day were a Great White Egret, Water Rail and Tina had the briefest view of a Kingfisher as we left the golf course on the circuit of the reserve.

We also had some distant sightings of Brown Hare which was nice, so a lovely day out and a great days birding!

We finished the day by dropping by Martin Mere (WWT) on the way back for a final cup of tea and a doughnut as it got dark in the hope of seeing large numbers of Pink Foots and did we!!