Sunday, 25 August 2013

A weekend of two halves

Although yesterday was good, the birding didn't really match up to the rest of the coast so I hoped for a better day today.

Things didn't start well. I decided that there wasn't really time to go ringing before the WeBS count which soon backfired when I got a call saying they had caught a pied fly!! I missed the last one too.

I was determined to hit the reserve hard but had the count to do first. The fresh marsh has been great for birds in the last few weeks and today was no exception. 20 curlew sand, 5 little stint, green sand, 12 greenshank, 15 spotshank, 12 spoonbill, 350+ golden plover, 200+ dunlin to name a few. The people who keep saying that there is nothing about are either idiots or blind!!

After a quick stop to look for the red necked grebe on the sea (didn't see it), Thornham Point was my base for the rest of the day. The plan of booting through every bit of scrub didn't prove successful with only 1 dunnock, 2 skylark and a handful of pipits. It seemed the Titchwell rarity forcefield was turned up to full power...! A massive female peregrine stooping on a little egret and then chasing a group of wigeon over the saltmarsh was an impressive sight.

Reaching the Point the first decent bird I saw was a lovely little pied fly feeding on the edge of the buckthorn. Could be better but that would do.

A walk around the edge of the dunes produced a cracking redstart and a small brown warbler flushed out of the long grass. After a couple of unsuccessful attempts to get any views I nailed it, my 1st ever migrant grasshopper warbler. All the others I have seen have been singing males.

I then began to notice that birds were beginning to appear, 3 whinchats in the dunes became 5 and another redstart appeared in the buckthorn.

I then noticed a group of birders come into the dunes from the beach. It turned out to be Ashley Saunders. They were looking at the brambles and what I assumed to be the whinchats. As I headed over to see them I noticed a greyish bird on the same brambles. I didn't have my scope with me but I thought it was a wryneck. I shouted to Ashley if it was and sure enough it was. It turned out that they had already seen it at least once! I didn't know that so I'm having it as self found.

Birds were still arriving; 2 wheatear, willow warbler, 2nd pied fly, lesser whitethroat and a spot fly when Ashley shouted Icterine warbler. The bird flicked up into the the top of the buckthorn, showed well for a short period then vanished. A further 5 whinchat on the way back from the point made it a day to remember.

Sueda, bramble and blackthorn scrub at Thornham Point

Saturday, 24 August 2013

"I love my camera"

Was a famous quote from a friend almost every day on our trip to India last year. Well now it is my turn.

Since I have had my new Panasonic TZ9 compact camera I have found a feature that is great for capturing insect photos without getting too close disturbing the subject. The camera has a great 32x zoom that allows you photograph from distance. Once the subject is located, just 2 presses of a button and you are in close. I know that it is digital zoom and the quality is not great but with the powers of photoshop I think the results are perfectly acceptable for blogging. If you need a quick shot to get an ID then it is perfect. I know I am not going to win Wildlife Photographer of the Year but I am pleased.

Grayling butterfly in the garden. One of 2 new species recorded in the garden in recent weeks. The other was a wall brown.

Hoverfly Myathropa florea in the garden. The 1st hoverfly identified using my new fieldguide

Clouded yellow at Titchwell

Common darter

White cheeked pintail at Titchwell

Black tailed godwit at Titchwell


Tuesday, 13 August 2013

I've got the blues

A couple of years ago I heard about a site in North Norfolk that held chalkhill blue butterflies, a species I had never seen before. After seeing messages on Bird Forum and Twitter I visited the site a couple of days ago and wasn't disappointed by what I found. I don't think there was the 6500 individuals that were reported a couple of weeks ago but they were everywhere. sadly they are not getting a bit worn but my new camera worked wonders and I am well happy with the results.

I don't know much about their history in Norfolk but they were introduced to the chalk grassland of the Warham Camp site. I was really nice to walk amongst the clouds of butterflies trying to find the best individuals to photograph. They were a bit flighty due to the wind but I know where I will be visiting again next summer.

Also present was a painted lady and at least one small copper along with loads of whites and meadow browns

Sunday, 11 August 2013

New camera

Since being out on the patch this summer I have been struggling with macro photography of insects and plants with my compact camera so it was time to bite the bullet and get a new one. For once, I actually did some research and decided to stick with Panasonic as a make but go for an updated model.

After a few near misses with Ebay auctions, I finally managed to get a Panasonic DMC-TZ9 for a decent price.

I haven't had time to have much of a play yet as I have only had it a week but I am pleased with the early results.

Painted lady


 Rosy rustic

Male orange swift

 Female orange swift

 Ear sp

 Chocolate tip