Sunday, 21 November 2010

Norfolk Review (Part 1).

For those who may have wondered about my recent blogging absence I can assure you that all is well in the Early Birder household. A mixture of family commitments, poor weather and hence a lack of photo opportunities plus a great deal of laziness on my part (early winter blues maybe!) led me to take an break from posting so regularly.

A week ago we travelled to the North Norfolk Coast to spend three days birdwatching with two of our closest friends. We initially meet up at Welney WWT and spent a cosy hour watching the wildlife from the heated observatory with masses of Wigeon, Teal, Pochard and Lapwings; a few Whooper Swans plus  distant views of 2 Marsh Harriers, Pintail, Shovellers and Black-tailed Godwits. Kestrel and Peregrine were also observed but regretfully no sign of the Glossy Ibis that had been present for a few days which had probably relocated somewhere nearby after everything was flushed earlier in the day by the Peregrine.   
Continuing our journey we headed to the Titchwell RSPB reserve and as usual the first encounter was a very friendly Robin waiting for a handout along the pathway to the reserve centre. 
The new Parrinder Hide is still under construction (completion due by the end of this month hopefully). Apart from Avocet, Lapwing, a few Black-tailed Godwits, Redshank and Ruff plus a single Snipe there were very few waders to be found on the main pools. I did however locate a single Spotted Redshank on a tiny pool on the grazing marsh together with Little Egret and Curlew. A flock of Golden Plover flew over but didn't stop for a rest. During a subsequent visit we did locate a single Smew (Red-head) and a sizeable flock of Twite. With just an hour of daylight left we headed towards the beach.     
 Brent Geese flying off towards Thornham.
 Black-headed Gull.
 Herring Gull lazing about on the brackish lagoon.
A quick scan across the sea produced a number of small flotillas of Common Scoter a long way offshore. Along the retreating tideline we watched Oystercatchers, Grey Plover, Bar-tailed Godwits, Turnstones and Dunlin feeding but too far away for any photos.
Just before we decided to head inland I did manage to capture a couple of images of Sanderling feeding hide up on the sandy beach.
I actually walked nearly a 100 yards to get ahead of a small group as they stopped briefly to search for a meal but every time I settled down to take aim their little legs went into overdrive as they skitted on past me!

The final highlight after logging 7 Marsh Harriers coming into roost was the gathering waves of Starlings wheeling back and forth over the reedbed; the numbers growing minute by minute until eventually they all dropped out of the sky and disappeared into their night-time home.
With the light fading fast and the temperature dropping to nearly freezing point we headed back to the cars for the short journey to our local hotel. The forecast for the next day was better than expected so during our tasty evening meal we decided on a visit to Cley ..... to be continued.    FAB.  


  1. Great sellection Frank,that Hide looks the Bees Knees,could do with a few of them in Cornwall.

  2. Good to see you back mate.

    Nice to see the little Robin, and love the Sanderling shot. They're pretty quick on their feet lol

  3. Gosh! That's some hide. Lovely pictures: I'll look forward to your follow-up parts.

  4. Hi Frank, it is good to have you back amongst us. I was wondering what had happened to you....I had you sitting on some exotic beach somewhere drinking a cocktail....ha!

    Great images....I particularly love the robin....feel as though I could almost touch him.

    Glad you enjoyed your trip to Norfolk......lovely part of the country.

  5. Just what was needed to re-invigorate the early birder :-)

  6. Thanks for the update on the new Hide Frank. It looks very good, its a shame they haven't camouflaged it though

  7. So happy to see you back and it does look like you must have enjoyed yourselves and the fresh new images keep up with the brilliance of all your earlier ones. Glad you had a rest. Happy week ahead~

  8. I'm glad you're blogging again! I've been lazy, too, but keep vowing to blog more often.
    Your photos as usual are wonderful. My favorite is the little robin--so different from our robins (which are really thrushes). I loved these little birds when we visited England a few years ago. Your photo brings it to life.

  9. Hi Frank, it's nice to hear from you. I thought you had given us up.
    Lovely Sanderlings and the Brent Geese.

  10. You were missed, Frank! These are lovely shots of a beautiful place. Your 'robins' are just adorable. What is a smew? I'll have to google that one! Someday, I'm going to find a way to go birding in your little part of the world! ~karen

  11. That's a nice lot of birds you enjoyded! And so did I! Thanks.

  12. What a lovely day. You have some great shots. Thanks for sharing once again.

  13. Welcome back! I've been wondering where you were. Nice set of images again. Looks you had a good outing!

  14. Good to have you back - and a good collection of photos and birds.

  15. Hi JRandSue. It will certainly be a palace compared to it's predecessor!

    Hi Keith. It's good to be back my friend. Yes, you certainly appreciate the term 'clockwork' when you try to get close to the Sanderlings.

    Hi Emma. Definitely top of the range. I look forward to using it sometime in the future.

    Hi Cheryl. Exotic beach and cocktail ... not really my style but I would have appreciated a bit of extra warmth while we were in Norfolk.

    Hi Warren. A bit of R and R plus Norfolk birding ... scores every time.

    Hi Roy. Perhaps they will sling a large camouflage net over it!!

  16. Hi Mary. Always good to return to my favourite birding area with the opportunity to capture some different images to share. I hope you also have a good week.

    Hi Kay. The Robin is definitely a charmer. It sometimes helps to take a breather now and again to rekindle the blogging enthusiasm, just like your visit to the Rio Grande Birding Festival.

    Hi Bob. Thanks agood to see you are getting out despite the poor weather.

    Hi Karen. I'll send you a link for the Smew ... delightful little duck. You know I'll be honoured to show you around if and when you get over to the UK.

    Hi Susan. Thank you and hope you'll look in on the follow up posts.

    Hi Lois. Glad you enjoyed them.

    Hi Mona. We had a grand time. Good company and good birds ... what could be better for the soul.

    Hi Chris P. It's good to be back in the swing again. Just hope I can keep up the tempo.

  17. Welcome back Frank! I did get worried and was going to email you but thought if there was something wrong it might be an intrusion.

    Anyway it sounds like you had a great time in Norfolk. A heated observatory! That sounds a lot better than some of the draughty old hides I've sat in :)

    That Robin looked very well fed, if not overfed ;)

    Did you see the item about Starlings on Autumnwatch on Thursday? If not you can catch it on BBC i-Player, it is well worth a look.

    Lovely photos throughout Frank :)

  18. Hi Jan. Thanks for your concern. Many of the WWT sites have plush observatories .... their members like a bit of comfort but large unopen glass windows are not so good for photography.
    The Robin certainly doesn't go short ... who could resist such a charmer. Yes, I saw the Starling Spectacular ... absolutely enthralling. Cheers FAB.

  19. Looks like a great spot for birding Frank! I love the "waves" of Starlings. We get GREAT WAVES of them over here across the pond! Even never ending rivers of them!!
    I'm looking forward to Part II!!

  20. Hi Frank,
    Yeh I've been wondering where you were ;-) Welcome back mate.. you got nice pictures there and I do love the sanderlings shots a lot!!!
    It is about the same over here, not to much time to bird after this nice waxwing experience ;-)

  21. I was excited to see a new post from you! Great photos, I wish our robins were so pretty!

  22. Hi Eve. One of the best areas in the country .... pity it is a 3 hour drive away! Yeh, the Starling WAVES are an extraordinary spectacle.

    Hi Chris. Would have liked to have spent more time with the Sanderlings but the fingers were freezing!

    Hi Jen. Ta very much. I'm sure the Robin just loves to have its photo taken.

  23. Wow, Frank! Lots of new photos. You're so lucky your good friends are birders. Most of my friends' eyes glaze over when I start talking about birds. It drives me nuts, but I've joined the local birding club and can at least talk birds with new friends.

    The little Sanderling is so cute. I love those little birds (but I only get to see them when I'm on vacation at the beach). The flock of Starlings looks impressive. I always love looking at the cool sweeping formations they make in the sky.

  24. Hi Frank... Well nice to here all is well!
    The ski and the waves of Starlings...that is fantastic so, so, many!!
    Thats a nice looking hide going up there!!

  25. Hi Kelly. Hopefully a few more new ones to share once I have sorted through them ... the time consuming bit of blogging! I'm delighted to hear you have found some like minded souls who share your passion....have fun.

  26. Hi Grammie. Watching large flocks of any species is always a delight but not sure any photos really do justice to how the eyes see these displays.

  27. Amazing to see them take off on the pond . Leaves me in aww . Each is so beautiful

  28. The flying Brent Geese would make a great watermark

  29. Hi Lisa. Thanks very much. Hope you enjoy the follow ups ... coming soon.

    Hi Beyond The Garden. Thanks for visiting and appreciate the comment.


I hope you enjoyed your visit and I always appreciate your comments and feedback.


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