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Deeping Lake NR & Snettisham
21st February 2020

We went to Norfolk for Mum's Birthday weekend & on the way we popped to Deeping Lake NR in Lincolnshire, to look for the Long-eared Owls. Sadly due to very windy conditions, it meant that they were keeping their heads down and not showing themselves. We continued on to Norfolk & Snettisham, where the roadside fields were full of Pink-footed Geese. There were a few Greylag Geese & a couple of Egyptian Geese as well. We saw a couple of Muntjacs & a small herd of Fallow Deer including a white one.  Sadly it was far too dark for pictures, lovely to see nonetheless.

Pink-footed Goose [Adult]

Norfolk weekend

Sedgeford, Thornham & Titchwell RSPB
22nd February 2020

Our first port of call on our first day in Norfolk was near Sedgeford. On the way, we saw a couple of Brown Hares in the field. We went to Sedgeford to see the Blue-headed Eastern Yellow Wagtail of the race [tschutschensis] which had been present since December 2019. The bird had been seen feeding around the dungheaps & foraging in the field with other Wagtails. When the Wagtail appeared on the dungheap, we were the only birders there and unfortunately it had also started to rain at this time. However the bird showed very well until it flew over the hedge to join the other Wagtails in the field. We then went to Thornham Marsh to look for the Twite. We saw a Rock Pipit, which I originally thought was a Water Pipit feeding on the mud. A couple of Skylarks were on the roadside verges. In the creek were Oystercatcher, Common Redshanks & Little Egret. Sadly no Twite that day. We went to Twitchwell RSPB to look for the Woodcock. The bird was still seen from the Meadow Trail, but was asleep most of the afternoon. We headed along the West Bank footpath to the Island Hide. We a few Common Teal close to the hide, Common Redshank & a couple of Avocets. We went to Parrinder Hide & on the way I stopped to photograph an Eastern Greylag Goose. From the Parrinder Hide, we saw 4 Dark-bellied Brent Geese on the saltmarsh & a Grey Plover. A few more Avocets were seen from the hide. Me & Dad walked along the West Bank Footpath to see what was on the beach. Along the way, we saw a Water Rail on the freshmarsh pool & a Little Egret. The beach was relevantly quiet this time, so headed on back. On the Volunteer Marsh was a small flock of Red Knot. The Eastern Greylag Goose was still present along the footpath. After lunch, we headed to Stiffkey Marshes to if any Harriers were coming in to roost. On the way we saw a Brown Hare near Warham. Sadly no Harriers were seen that evening.

Eastern Blue-headed Yellow Wagtail  [1st Winter Male]

Brown Hares

Rock Pipit [Winter]

Oystercatcher [Winter]

Common Redshank [Winter]

Dark-bellied Brent Goose [Adult]

Grey Plover [Winter]

Avocet [Adult]

Water Rail [Adult]

Little Egret [Juvenile]

Eastern Greylag Goose [Adult]

Eastern Greylag Goose [Adult]

Skylark [Adult]

Red Knot [Winter]

Brown Hare [Adult]

Salthouse, Holkham, Sedgeford & Thornham 23rd February 2020

On Mum's Birthday we started the day by having another look for the Wagtail. Due to rainy conditions, we unable to see whether the bird was there or not. We then decided to continue on to Cley and Salthouse. Near Ringstead, close to where were staying I spotted a pair of Grey Partridges in the field. A few more Grey Partridges were also present in the next field with Red-legged Partridges. A few Brown Hares & a Chinese Water Deer were also seen nearby. At Salthouse only 5 Turnstones were present feeding in the field, a Ringed Plover & 5 Dark-bellied Brent Geese. We went to Holkham Gap to look for Shorelarks as they had been reported. We didn't see any, but saw about 40 Snow Buntings feeding in a roped off area on the beach. We headed back towards Sedgeford, seeing a few more Brown Hares on the way. We had another look for the Wagtail, but by then the light was at it's worst. A few Yellowhammers were feeding on the lane. We finished at Thornham & on the approach to the village we saw a Barn Owl on a tree guard. We also had another look around the marsh for Twite, but again failed to put in a appearance.

Grey Partridge [Female]

Brown Hare [Adult]

Grey Partridge [male]

Ring Plover [Winter]

Dark-bellied Brent Geese

Yellowhammer [Male]

Barn Owl [Adult]

Snow Bunting [Flock]

Brown Hare [Adult]

Barn Owl [Adult]

Titchwell RSPB, Thornham & Snettisham RSPB 24th February 2020

We went back to Titchwell RSPB to look for the Woodcock. It was still not showing as well as we liked & was asleep at times. We went to have lunch in the cafe & afterwards we headed back down. A Young Muntjac Buck as showing extremely well by the visitor centre. In fact, we spent so much time watching this obliging Muntjac that we nearly missed seeing the Woodcock. Fortunately, the bird was still showing reasonably well through the branches & I managed a pic of it. We headed back to Thornham Marsh to see if the Twite were there this time, but nothing. A Curlew was foraging in the marsh. A Little Egret flew along the creek. We went back to Sedgeford to have another look for the Wagtail, but there was an even bigger problem. The dungheaps were being removed & are being spread onto the fields, which would make re finding the bird much more challenging for other birders. The Brown Hares were still present in the field. We finished the day at Snettisham & the fields were full of Pink-footed Geese with Greylag Geese. A couple of Grey Partridges were also present. In the field near the RSPB car park was a solitary Egyptian Goose. Me & Dad walked along to the beach. It was very long walk, but it was well worth it for the 5 Snow Buntings that showed very well in the evening light.

Muntjac [Juvenile Male]

Eurasian Woodcock

Muntjac [Juvenile Male]

Curlew [Adult]

Little Egret [Winter]

Brown Hare [Adult]

Pink-footed Goose [Adult]

Egyptian Goose [Adult]

Snow Bunting [1st Winter]

Thornham, Burnham Overy, Holkham & Welney WWT 25th February 2020

We had a very early start to get to Twitchwell RSPB. This came about because we were informed that some early birders which arrived at the car park, found it apparently full of Woodcocks! But of course that didn't happen with us, because the car park was in fact empty apart from one other car. After having a quick look in the wooded area from the meadow trail. We headed back to Thornham to look for the Twite for the last time, still no sign of them. A small flock of Dark-bellied Brent Geese & a pair Red-breasted Mergansers were seen. Near Thornham village, we saw a Red Kite flying past & disappeared over the trees. Afterwards we headed back to the cottage for breakfast. After breakfast we made our to Holkham. Near Burnham Overy, we saw 3 Barn Owls briefly hunting in the field before they went they separate ways. A Red Kite was seen in the same area behind the tree line. Went back to Holkham Gap for the Shorelarks, but no sign. The 40 Snow Buntings were still present in the roped off area on the beach & this time, we had better views of the flock. We went via Swanton Novers Raptor Watchpoint, where a Rough-legged Buzzard was reported flying over a 10AM. We didn't see it unfortunately, but saw a distant Goshawk flying over the forest. Next port of call was Fincham for the Great Grey Shrike. It was very elusive & the views were distant. When the bird appeared in the far tree, it was very brief & Dad was the only one who saw it through the scope. We headed to Welney WWT, which was our final port of call on the last of the Norfolk Weekend. We had another encounter with a Barn Owl on the approach road to the reserve. We drove alongside it for a few miles until it flew over the field on the right hand of the road. It was a truly amazing experience of having a very good prolonged view of this wild bird. The fields are also favoured by Whooper Swans. From the visitor centre, we saw Reed Bunting & other common garden birds on the feeders, but no Tree Sparrows sadly. Still it was excellent way to end the weekend in Norfolk.

Barn Owl [Adult]

Barn Owl [Adult]

Dark-bellied Brent Goose [Adult]

Curlew [Adult]

Red Kite [Adult]

Barn Owl [Adult]

Snow Bunting [Male]

Whooper Swan [Pair]

Barn Owl [Adult]

Snow Bunting [Male]

Barn Owl [Adult]

Thornham Coal Barn & creek

Blackminster, Upton Snodsbury & Bredon's Harwick 6th March 2020

We went to Blackminster near Evesham in Worcestershire to see the Waxwing, that had been present for a about a week. It was first seen digesting the berries in the tall tree, but flying back to berries to feed on some more. Occasionally after feeding on berries, it would come down drink from a puddle in the car park. The bird showed fairly well but not on top as there were no berries left & spent more time feeding at the back. We went to Upton Snodsbury to look for the Glaucous Gull that has also been present for a week. The bird had been roosting at nearby Upton Warren NR overnight & early morning flies down to the field north of A422 road, where it spents the day feeding. This bird is just coming in 1st Summer plumage. After a day's feeding, it flies back up to Upton Warren NR to roost every evening. It was a very lovely bird to see & certainly not difficult to find as it sticks out a mile. The last species to look for was a Male Snew, that had been reported on the fishing lake at Bredon's Hardwick. We spent a bit of time searching on the fishing lake, but no sign of it. Eventually we spotted it on the floodplain near Tewkesbury, but too distant for a photo. Still it's always a lovely bird to see & a lovely way to end the day with.

Waxwing

Waxwing

Glaucous Gull [1st Winter]

Glaucous Gull [1st Winter]

Chew Valley Lake
13th March 2020

In the afternoon, we went down to Chew Valley Lake to look for the Laughing Gull that had been present for a couple of days. We had a look at Heron's Green Bay, but only saw Canada Geese, Mallards, Black-headed Gull, Coots, Common Gulls & Lesser Black-backed Gulls. We went to the Stratford Hide, where we saw two special birds in the form of a Male Ring-necked Duck & a Winter plumaged Slavonian Grebe. A Juvenile Marsh Harrier also flew past in front of the hide twice. A couple of Greater Scaup were also present amongst a group of Tufted Ducks. We eventually managed to catch up with the 1st Winter Laughing Gull off Woodford Lodge in the evening, roosting with the other Gulls & occasionally doing a bit of flying.



Devon
16th March 2020

We went down to Yarner Woods NNR in Devon to look for the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker again. Despite the fact, we were a month & year later since we last went to Yarner, we still didn't see any. We had a brief of view of a Nuthatch climbing one of the trees. We were in the company of 2 Dartmoor Ponies. Back at the car park, while we were having lunch I photographed a Female Grey Wagtail perched on the bridge. In the afternoon, we headed to Aylesbeare Common RSPB to look for the Dartford Warbler. One bird showed a few times briefly. The common is grazed by the local Devonshire Ponies. As well as the Dartford Warblers, Stonechats also thrive here. We headed to explore the River Otter for our final port of call. A Dipper showed very well feeding along side the fast current. We had a brief view of a Kingfisher flying up & down. A Little Egret was unexpected bonus to be seen along the river.

Tufted Duck [Male]

Great Crested Grebe [Summer]

Marsh Harrier [Juvenile]

Great Cormorant [Juvenile]

Tufted Duck [Female]

Marsh Harrier [Juvenile]

Laughing Gull [1st Winter]

Laughing Gull [1st Winter]

Tufted & Ring-necked Duck [Males]

Laughing Gull [1st Winter]

Dartford Warbler [Male]

Dartmoor Pony

Grey Wagtail [Female]

Devonshire Pony

Stonechat [Female]

Tree gnawed by a Beaver

Stonechat [Female]

Little Egret [Juvenile]

Dipper [Adult]

Dipper [Adult]

©  Christopher Teague 2020