Monday, 17 February 2014

Sap starting to rise: Monday 10 to Monday 17 February

A relatively quiet first part of the week with the highlight perhaps being a Barn Owl in my headlights near Heacham, as I returned home from Norwich one evening.
Common Buzzard

A drive around the back roads on Sunday 16th was enlivened by two Common Buzzards drifting low over the car whilst no 2 son took his afternoon nap in the back. But the highlight of this drive was a couple of Brown Hare's that I spotted in a roadside field, normally these would have run off the moment I stopped the car but they had their minds on other things and I had a great five minutes watching them chase and box around the field, the sun even came out for a short while. You can see a few more pictures from this session on my Flickr page.

Another feature of the weekend was noticing for the first time in ages Skylarks in full song, a great sign that as the days draw out we are inexorably moving towards Spring.

Boxing Brown Hares

Today was taken up with a family outing to Wells Beach, all very quiet for birds although it was nice to hear a Little Grebe 'laughing' on the boating Lake where a male Goldeneye was great to see.

Shags on Hunstanton Cliffs at dusk

This evening I managed a walk at dusk under Hunstanton Cliffs, highlights were a pair of Red Breasted Merganser on the sea, c 350 Brent Geese over, lots of Fulmars on the cliffs, plus four Shags sitting on the sea that one by one took off into the wind and circled round over the sea before landing on the Cliffs to roost. As I headed home , in a bit of a hurry kids to bath, I flushed Peregrine which landed on a rocky bluff and allowed me to take some very grainy and distant pictures with the compact camera I had in my pocket. A nice end to the day.

Grainy, distant, slightly blurry shot of a Peregrine on Hunstanton Cliffs

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Muntjac & Shag

Muntjac, Ken Hill Wood
A very quiet week with little time for lunchtime walks and a weekend dominated by children's parties on Saturday and a sick child on Sunday. Having said that I did manage a couple of 20 minute walks around Ken Hill Wood on Thursday and Friday lunchtimes. These walks started with the song of a Mistle Thrush singing from the top of an old Oak in some horse paddocks by the office. The wood's themselves were pretty quiet bird wise but on both occasions I saw the tell tale rear end of a Muntjac disappearing into cover and this one turned to stare at me.

Hunstanton Beach on a 'small' high tide
This afternoon I managed a 90 minute walk under the cliffs and back up Chapel Bank, the shot above was taken at high tide. It was disappointing not to see any waders perhaps they had taken shelter from the strong wind or been flushed by Sunday afternoon walkers.  However a pleasant surprise was a single shag roosting on the cliffs and it's always nice to see the Fulmar's gliding around the cliffs and over the sea in between bouts of chattering away to each other. 

Fulmar, Hunstanton

Shag, Hunstanton Cliffs
Chapel Bank was pleasantly sheltered form the wind but again pretty unexciting with the best birds being a pair of Grey Partridge.

All pictures above taken with my compact camera a Panasonic Lumix TZ30.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

On reflection not a bad week, I had to spend 4 days working in Norwich and had very little time for lunch time walks. On the one brisk walk between meetings that I did manage I grabbed the shot below of a Grey Squirrel in the Rosary Cemetery, this was one of 3 or 4 animals feeding close together and occasionally chasing each other around the Gravestones and trees.

Grey Squirrel, Rosary Cemetery, Norwich
The commute to Norwich sometimes goes by in a daze of Radio 4 or music on a CD, this week I did manage a sighting of a Barn Owl near Docking and a Muntjac.

Friday saw me taking a few hours off work and I chose to spend them walking around Holme, I dipped on the Short Eared Owl and Snow Buntings, but did see 45 species including Peregrine, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel and Common Buzzard which was nice.

On Saturday I grabbed a couple of hours in the cold wind under the cliffs in Hunstanton and spent most of this trying to photograph Bar Tailed Godwit's, the shot below is my favourite image of this session.

Bar Tailed Godwits, Hunstanton, The Wash

Sanderling, Hunstanton, The Wash
Sunday morning was taken up with a nice family walk along the boardwalk on the edge of the Marshes in Brancaster, followed by a lunch of some rather nice takeaway Pizza's from the Jolly Sailors in Brancaster Staithe. The shot below is of cropped shot from my compact camera of a Long Tailed Tit on my father in laws bird feeders. After lunch I took number two son for a drive to get him to sleep and spent the last part of this parked in Brancaster Staithe harbour photographing feeding Bar Tailed Godiwt's. All in all not a bad week.

Long Tailed Tit, Brancaster