Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Sensational Sandpipers!

So many birds, so little time to post anything about them.

A very quick round-up of a successful trip to North Norfolk should really include the Sandpipers at Cley - White-rumped and Pectoral (presumably brought across from North America by the weather system that made for such a warm and windy week at the campsite) , plus a rusty coloured summer Curlew Sandpiper. The girlfriend spoke, in a hide packed full of genuine birders, of how all the small waders looked a like. "A variation of a theme", one chap replied. She was a little more impressed when I suggested at least one of those tiny birds hatched not long ago in the Arctic barrens of Northern Canada.

have been a regular feature at Cley and five were present for our visit, at least one of them a definite juvenile. Well done to any birdwatchers who saw those birds doing anything other than sleep!

, Spotted Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Little Gull, Knot and a single Brent Goose were the best of the rest at Cley.

Over at Titchwell later in the week Bearded Tits were the clear winner. Superb views of a family group and then a lone male, just a little patience along the path and they popped up hardly five metres away. Don't be too quick to get to the hides, is my advice there.
As per usual it was a great site for close views of Avocet and Marsh Harrier, and unexpectedly out on the beach a raft of eclipse Eiders drifted just offshore.

Elsewhere, family groups of Little Terns fishing in the channels around Wells harbour will remain memorable, a Hobby at Dersingham Bog, Med Gulls made a visit to Snettisham worthwhile even if the tide was well out, and the girlfriend enjoy stalking the Oystercatchers in the PYO strawberry fields.

Invertebrate life was pretty tops too, but I'll post about that another time. For now, what are you waiting for? Pack up, get Norfolk bound, it's brilliant!

Little Gull @ Titchwell

The Eider

The Spoonbills, surprisingly active!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Holiday Birding

Super busy at the moment so this post must fly by almost as quickly as my holidays, both the family shindig up in Bridlington and the week's camping in North Norfolk.

Birdwatcher or not, a holiday to the East Yorkshire coast really does demand you devote one day to the RSPB reserve at Bempton Cliffs. Over 200,000 birds nest on cliffs over 100m high, and the whole cacophany that erupts from that sheer mass of life makes it an inspirational place, inviting philosophy and peace of mind.
Bloody good birds around too. Gannets, Guillemots, Kittiwakes, Puffins and Razorbills make up the major numbers, with scatterings of the other commoner gulls. In the meadows behind the cliffs notables during our visit in mid-July included a juvenile Wheatear and singing Corn Bunting - that unmistakable jangling keys call.

Back in Bridlington, more Kittiwakes nesting in the streets and more than 60 Turnstones in the harbour added interest to late evening strolls. Here's hoping they will adjust to the construction of the new multi-million pound harbour/marina recently announced by the council. Fingers crossed it doesn't change the character of the town too much either.

Scenes of the day...

The Wheatear (named for its pale rump visible in flight - wheatear is apparently an old country corruption of 'white-arse')

Finally, a video of a show-off Gannet.

My Norfolk post next time folks.