Thursday, 25 February 2010

Tit Flocks

Ken Hill Wood [there's a Marsh Tit in this picture somewhere]

The diary has been kind to me this week and I've managed a couple of days working out of an office in Snettisham, close to home in Hunstanton. This meant that I managed a couple of lunchtime excursions into Ken Hill Woods.

These woods here can at times appear a little bird less and then with a little luck you come across a small mixed flock and things get a bit more interesting.

Earlier this week I had a twenty minute pootle and managed to 'pish' n a couple of Marsh Tits which are always nice to see and were my first of the year. Today a longer walk appeared to be a pretty bird free zone until I came across a mixed tit flock. Most of the birds were Coal Tits with a few Long Tailed, Blue and Great Tits for company. It was pleasing though to also find some Treecreepers and a couple of Nuthatches in this flock.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Mussel Harvest

Oystercatcher, Brancaster Staithe

From a purely selfish perspective, one of the great things about the winter on the north Norfolk coast is that there are fewer people around. This means that it is possible at this time of year to have the small coastal harbours almost to oneself even in the middle of the day. So this afternoon I popped into Brancaster Staithe Harbour on my way to Titchwell Marsh.

The tide was out and there only one other car on the harbour hard in which an elderly couple snoozed. Winding down the window I could hear the tell tall crack as a mussel shell hit the ground dropped by a hungry Herring Gull. I have blogged before on this piece of learned behaviour and the response of the local Turnstones to try and take advantage of the cracked open mussel shells before the Herring Gulls are able to reach the ground.

Today I saw a development on this theme as a juvenile Oystercatcher joined a single Turnstone in trying to pinch a adult Herring Gulls meal. Later I photographed an Oystercatcher asleep on top of the sacks of harvested Mussels.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

The World's still turning


Naturalised crocus
Although in today's cold drizzle it was a little hard to believe spring is coming on and with it one of Norfolk's best kept wildlife secrets the annual burst of colour in the Rosary Cemetery as thousands of 'feral' crocuses carpet the ground. I love this annual show of life bursting through the ground fed I guess in parts by the bones of the departed.
The Snowdrops which will shortly be outnumbered by Crocuses are already looking good and today I saw my first Crocus flowers. Interestingly the Butterburr flowers that normally precede the bulbs have been slow to appear this year with a only a few flower stalks present.

Monday, 15 February 2010

The World's Started Turning

Robin, Titchwell Marsh, Norfolk, February 2010

I managed an hour at Titchwell Marsh on Saturday and with a clear blue sky there was a definite feeling of spring in the air. Patches of Snowdrops were coming into bloom by the side of the path between the visitor centre and the car park and our resident songbirds could be heard flexing their vocal muscles.

The Robins at Titchwell are know for their tameness and you can get great images of them using a digital compact camera. For this shot I used a 400mm lens and I like the way that this has thrown the background out of focus.