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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Twite

Me scanning at Titchwell
Had a great day in Norfolk with my good friend Jono Dudley yesterday. We hit the road at 06:00am putting us near our destination (Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve)  around 09:30. However, we made a quick pit-stop at Thornham Harbour where 65 Twite had been reported by Rare Bird Alert. 

Thornham Harbour
Though it was freezing cold the weather was perfect; with beautiful winter sun making everything look incredible. We bumped into a few other birders who too were looking for the Twite. It didn't take long to spot the first group of about ten birds; perched on top of some grass near the water. They were highly mobile which kept us on our toes but we managed to get some good views. 

Twite
Wind, distance and frantic feeding habits of this species made photography very challenging. I didn't manage to get anything - I NEED a KOWA adapter but they have still not released it for the Iphone6! Jono, however, did get some good record shots which is amazing under the conditions...check his website here: http://composeandshoot.wordpress.com/





Twite was a lifer me, so our day got off to a great start! Next we stopped at Titchwell Marsh where we spent a few hours birding the reserve. We tallied up 50 species, with good looks at most, though the high tide had put many species at distance.

Jono at Titchwell Beach
There was a good selection of waders to sort through including Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Avocet, Redshank, Ruff, Curlew, Snipe, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Grey Plover, Turnstone, Dunlin, Sanderling and Oystercatcher. Next we headed to Wells-on-Sea to chase a Red-necked Grebe reported in the harbour. En-route we spotted a gathering of twitchers at the side of the road - stopped and got a distant look at Rough-legged Buzzard. The grebe at Wells was a no-show so we hit the road back to good old Woking! Good day, great company and a lifter in the bag - TWITE!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Norfolk Gaggle and a Hike in Wales


My wife Lori and I decided to spend a couple of days in Norfolk just before Christmas. We stayed at the Cromer Country Club but made a trip up the coast to visit Titchwell  Marsh RSPB reserve. En-route to Titchwell we noticed a big flock of geese get up and settle again at Holkham. Here we got great looks at hundreds of Pink-footed Geese. 



A little further up the road we pulled over again. Here there were more Pink-footed Geese, Greylag Geese, 2 tundra Bean Geese and 12 White-fronted Geese.



Titchwell as usual produced lots of birds-56 species including: Marsh Harrier, Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, Avocet, Sanderling, Black-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Ruff, Curlew, Goldeneye and Water Rail. 

Pink-footed Geese going to roost
The following day we took a walk from our accommodation along the coastal path to Overstrand. The birding was a little dull but the views and scenery were beautiful. A good time to reflect the past year. I totaled 199 species for year including 18 lifers. The highlight for 2014 other than some new birds was birding with my old Canadian pals - Mike Force and Chris Charlesworth. 

Cromer Lighthouse


31st December 2014 - Pen y Fan-Brecon Beacons - WALES

Stuart, Den, Nolan and Rich at the old red phone box - Storey Arms
Our last 2 days of 2014 was spent in Wales with our good friends Stuart and Catherine. We also hooked up with our other good friend Den for a walk up Pen y Fan on New Years Eve. Bird species-RAVEN. The wind was absolutely horrendous but at least we didn't get wet!


At 06:00 am New Years day I awoke with 'Auld Lang Syne' still ringing in my ears until the sound of a Blackbird's alarm call blasted across the garden outside; confirming my first bird of the year. With the excitement of a new years bird list ready to begin I got up, guzzled bucket loads of coffee, and stood at the bottom of Stuart and Cath's garden - still in my pajamas. A great place to start a new year - the river Taff at the end of the garden and Garth Mountain looming above. 25 species were tallied here and a further 6 when Stuart and I took a stroll up the road. A great start to what I hope will be a fantastic year with many more adventures to come! Thank you to Stuart and Cath for being amazing hosts and making our visit such fun!

King Arthur - On stag and guarding a precious cargo