Norfolk Trip Day 4

Where to go on my journey back home, after much deliberation I chose on Eyebrook Res, mainly due to the wader reports coming from there and its a place I hadn’t been to in numerous years, so Eyebrook it was.

I parked in the Eyebrook Smokers Corner Car Park and from here you walk along the road that runs parallel with the reservoir, there is grass verges from which you can view the reservoir from in safety.

So I made my way down to the inlet area where the mud was exposed, stopping at various places on the way down, seeing Gadwall, Great White Egret and Little Egret.

At the inlet various waders were seen, these being Common Snipe, Ruff, Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Black tailed Godwit. Whilst here I had a brief look over the fields nearby and picked up on a pair of Yellowhammers along one of the hedgerows, also had Red kite and Raven.

Making my way back to the car I picked up on Great Spotted Woodpecker and a few House Martins which were passing thru and a Linnet in one of the bushes on the reservoirs edge.

Out on the reservoir were Cormorants and Black headed Gulls and a single Common Tern was on one of the rafts, nearly time for me to go but my last bird here would be a immature Little Gull giving me a great ending to my days away

Birds : Black headed Gull, Black tailed Godwit, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Common Tern, Coot, Cormorant, Dunlin, Gadwall, Great Crested Grebe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great White Egret, Greylag Goose, House Martin, jackdaw, Lesser Black backed Gull, Linnet, Little Egret, Little Gull, Long tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Mute Swan, Pintail, Raven, Red Kite, Reed Bunting, Ringed Plover, Ruff, Shelduck, Shoveler, Snipe, Teal, Wigeon, Woodpigeon, Yellowhammer (36)

Ringed Plover
Common Darter

Norfolk Trip Day 3

Back to Titchwell, well I like the place, and I could so I did. The days weather looked good, the plan was then to head down to the beach first, come back for dinner then hopefully head out for Dragonflies.

I headed towards the beach, Golden Plover were still around in good numbers, still on the banking of the fresh marsh. I sat down again on one of the benches and set about scoping the marsh. A Sparrowhawk was picked up at the far side of the marsh, happily sitting on a fence, a Wheatear was nearby, but yesterdays Little Stint was nowhere to be seen, still plenty of Black tailed Godwits on the scene with Lapwings a few Pied Wagtails, Ruff, Redshanks, Dunlins, Avocet and a couple of Curlew Sandpipers with a Cetti’s Warbler calling nearby.

Down on the beach were Sanderling, Turnstone, Bar tailed Godwits, Oystercatchers, Curlew and a large flock of terns over the sea, not being good at terns at a distance, I presumed Arctic.

Back at the visitor centre, with the day warming up I came across a couple of damselflies and to my surprise I made them out to be Willow Emerald Damselflies, a few males, I wasn’t expecting that, I hung around taking photos with people asking what they were etc.

After dinner camera in hand, scope now put away, I was out hunting dragonflies around the meadow trial, it wasn’t long before I found Common Darters along the boardwalks, a favourite place for this species. Moving on I found a few more Willow Emeralds, and took a lot of photos, even finding a pair egg laying in one of the nearby trees, which is unique to this species, unlike many Damselflies which lay into submerged vegetation, there was also a few Migrant Hawkers about, these were the only dragonflies I saw, it was great however to get great views of Willow Emeralds this time.

At the far end of the reserve I managed to pick up on a few House Martins going thru, and on the nearby marsh area were Gadwall, Shoveler, Little Grebes, Mute Swans and Pochard.

To bring the day to a close I went back to the bench near the freshwater marsh to spend some last moments, scoping the marsh once again, I saw Marsh Harriers, Spoonbill, Little and Great White Egrets, Grey Herons in the fading light, an ending to a great day.

Birds List : Avocet, Bar tailed Godwit, Black headed Gull, Black tailed Godwit, Blue Tit, Canada Goose, Cetti’s Warbler, Collard Dove, Common Gull, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Dunnock, Gadwall, Golden Plover, Great Black backed Gull, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Great White Egret, Greenshank, Grey Heron, Greylag Goose, Herring Gull, House Martin, Kestrel, Lapwing, Lesser Black backed Gull, Linnet, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Marsh Harrier, Meadow Pipit, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Pied wagtail, Pochard, Redshank, Robin, Ruff, Sanderling, Shelduck, Shoveler, Sparrowhawk, Spoonbill, Starling, Stock Dove, Teal, Turnstone, Wheatear, Woodpigeon, Wren (54)

Dragonflies : Common Darter, Migrant Hawker, Willow Emerald Damselfly (3)

Willow Emerald Damselfly
Great White Egret

Norfolk Trip Day 2

Today was going to be a day at Titchwell RSPB site on the North Norfolk Coast, about an hour from where from the Bed and Breakfast I was stopping at in Thetford, Acer Lodge (reviews can be seen on Trip Advisor HERE).

Arrived at Titchwell at about 9:30am, when I had got myself together I headed out to the reserve, saw a Common Darter at the visitor centre feeders. On the footpath down to the beach I found a Wall Butterfly, on the banking, enjoying the sun we were having at the moment. i found one of the footpath benches vacant so I settled in, giving me good views overlooking the marsh. Nearby was a good size flock of Golden Plover numbering hundreds of birds in various transition of plumage into their winter colours. Other birds seen from here were Little Stint, Avocets, Black tailed Godwits, Black headed Gulls, Dunlin, Ruff, and Redshank, also good numbers of noisy Greylag Geese with smaller numbers of Canada Geese.

On then to the Parinder Hide, stopping outside to the left hand side so I could over look the far side of the marsh, highlights were Grey Heron, Swallow, Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, Pintail, and Pied Wagtail. From the inside of the back to where I was over looking from the path I managed to pick up the Little Stint again, it then started raining, which lasted about 15mins, after which I went for dinner.

After dinner I headed down to the beach, the tide was out, where I saw Oystercatchers, Bar tailed Godwits, Turnstones, Curlew, Little egret, Great White Egret, and Ringed Plovers, nothing on the sea after much scanning, but a Wheatear on the beach was a nice surprise.

Back at the Parinder Hide the Little Stint was still hanging around along with Snipe, Pintail, and also a fly thro flock of seven Bar tailed Godwits.

After a little break, toilet stop, I came back and and plonked myself down on one of the many benches overlooking the marsh again, mainly to watch the Golden Plovers but was fortunate to see a Spoonbill come in, but was soon off again heading east and out of sight, only to return, or a different one, flying over the freshwater marsh and heading out to Thornham, another highlight was a pair of Marsh Harriers.

News of a probable Redstart near the saltmarsh had me heading back towards the beach, whilst watching the area I did see a bird but didn’t get satisfactory views to say it was a redstart, however I did see a female Stonechat along with seven Grey Plovers.

I decided on having a last look down on the beach, since I was close, the tide was now in. Running up and down the tide line were Ringed Plovers, Knot, Dunlin and Sanderlings, I enjoyed the moment of watching these birds close by and also took a few photos.

Time had passed it was now 6:30pm, nine hours had flown by whilst I’d been on site, I had enjoyed every minute. On my way back to the car park I sat down near the Island hide and after a while caught up with Bearded Tit, I think now was the time to leave and find a meal.

Bird List : Bar tailed Godwit, Bearded Tit, Blackbird, Black headed Gull, Black tailed Godwit, Canada Goose, Cettis Warbler, Common Sandpiper, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Curlew sandpiper, Dunlin. Gadwall, Golden Plover, Great Black backed Gull, Great White Egret, Grey Heron, Grey Plover, Greylag Goose, Herring Gull, Kestrel, Knot, lapwing, Little Stint, Mallard, Marsh Harrier, Meadow Pipit, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Pied Wagtail, Pintail, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Robin, Ruff, Sanderling, Shelduck, Shoveler, Spoonbill, Starling, Stonechat, Swallow, Turnstone, Wheatear, Woodpigeon (47)

Butterflies : Small White, Wall

Dragonflies : Common Darter

Curlew
Pied Wagtail
Sanderling

Norfolk Trip Day 1

A few days birding away in good old Norfolk, first port of call on the way down would be RSPB Frampton. Arriving at 8:30am to better weather than what I was getting on the way down. Cattle Egret was the first birds of the day, distant in and amongst the cattle.

Did a bit of watching around the visitor centre as I was making my way down to the Reedbed Hide, here I found Common Snipe, along with a few Curlew Sandpiper, a few Swallow and Sand Martin overhead, Avocet, Lapwing, Black tailed Godwit feeding on the mud banks.

Reedbed hide was empty of people, but the mud banks had plenty of waders on, I started to look thru. Lots of Curlew Sandpipers in small groups, I’ve never seen so many, Little Stints were numerous too, plenty of Black tailed Godwit, I picked out an eclipse Pintail, with Mallard , and Teal.

Moved on then to the 360 hide, hopefully pick up the Pectoral Sandpiper, much scanning revealed, Dunlin, Ringed Plover Ruff, Pied Wagtail but no Pectoral Sandpiper. I decided on making my way back for dinner stopping at the hump near the reedbed hide, all the birds went up, after scanning I found a female Peregrine playing havoc over the marsh, she left after about 5 mins.

After dinner back at the car I had another look around the visitor centre again, this time picking up Greenshank and a Green Sandpiper. I had a walk then down towards the sea bank and picked up a couple of Little Ringed Plover.

I made my back to the reedbed hide in the hope of the Pectoral Sandpiper, but despite the rising tide now, there was nothing new to be found. It was getting late by now, I still needed to hunt some tea and get to the bed and breakfast lodges, I’m decided on one last attempt at the 360 hide, scanned the waders, Ruff, Dunlin, Spotted Redshank, Redshank, Ringed Plover and a Common Sandpiper but no Pectoral Sandpiper. I was just about to leave when the warden came in asking if I’d seen the Pectoral Sandpiper, no I hadn’t, well he pointed it out to me where it was , down on the left side hiding behind the reeds, a couple of mins of waiting and it finally Pectoral Sandpiper was in the bag.

Bird List : Avocet, Black headed Gull, Black tailed Godwit, Canada Goose, Cattle Egret, Common Sandpiper, Cormorant, Dunlin, Gadwall, Goldfinch, Green Sandpiper, Greenshank, Greylag Goose, Lapwing, Lesser black Backed Gull, Linnet, Little Grebe, Little Ringed Plover, Little Stint, Mallard, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Pectoral Sandpiper, Peregrine, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Pintail, Redshank, reed Bunting, Ringed Plover, Ruff, Sand Martin, Shelduck, Shoveler, Snipe, Spotted Redshank, Starling, Swallow, Teal, Wigeon.

Butterflies : Small Copper, Small White

Dragonflies : Migrant Hawker

Click Images to make larger

Snipe

Curlew Sandpiper
Black tailed Godwit

Into Lincolnshire

News of a European Roller in Lincolnshire near a place called Timberland broke this week but I couldn’t get down to see it until the 28th, it was still there of the evening of the 27th. An early start, I was on site at 8am where I found a small group of birders scanning the area where the Roller had been frequenting, the bird hadn’t been seen that morning, looks like I’ll be missing out on another. I decided on giving it a couple of hours, in the mean time people came and went, birds seen in due course were a flock of Golden Plover, a Hobby hunting along one of the far dikes, landing occasionally in one of the far trees, Common Buzzard also a top of a far tree, Whinchat in the nearby wheat field along with a Whitethroat and a Reed Bunting, there was also a few Brown Hares in the nearby fields.

No sign of the Roller after two hours so I gave in and moved on to a place called Snakeholme Pits, which is a small nature reserve managed by the Lincolnshire Branch of Butterfly Conservation, a two acre site with flower rich meadows, sunny banks sloping down to a stream and a pond, so here I was hoping for Dragonflies and Butterflies. I wasn’t disappointed in my two and a half hour stop. I started looking around the pond area and soon picked up on Brown Hawkers and Migrant Hawkers, the Migrant Hawkers were patrolling the reed edge so I picked up on these fairly easily, one did eventually land at close quarters giving me a fairly good chance of a decent photo, Common and Ruddy Darters were also in attendance but these were mainly hanging out on the grass banks away from the pond.

Butterflies, I found that the most productive area today was the meadow area as you came thru the main gate, here I saw a few Small Coppers now looking a bit worn, along with Common Blue and a couple of Brown Argus.

As I made my way back to the car I noticed another area further back from the gate, I decided on having a look, I’m glad I did, there were a couple of Speckled Woods in this area, there seemed to be a small ditch area with water running along the bottom, but what I saw here was a small Damselfly. The stand out feature were four white spots near the wing edges one on each wing, I was taken a bit by surprise I wasn’t expecting to see what I was seeing, my thoughts were Willow Emerald Damselfly.

I needed a side shot of the thorax to be completely sure, but they were in a very awkward place to get to, I decided on walking down the path a little bit, further on I picked up on a couple more Willow Emeralds. I did eventually manage to get a thorax shot which clinched the identity for me, a new damselfly species, one I had planned hopefully to see today but it wasn’t planned for this site, always expect the unexpected.

My other target species today was the Brown Hairstreak Butterfly and was hoping Snakeholme pit was the place to see them today, but seeing Willow Emerald damselfly made up for that, I decided on a stop at Chambers Wood Farm a well known site. I arrived at 13:30 and didn’t leave till 16:00 hours and for the time i spent here I was disappointed in the lack of butterflies, what I did see were Large White, a very worn out Purple Hairstreak, Red Admiral and plenty of Speckled Woods, another year to wait to hopefully see Brown Hairstreaks.

Brown Argus Butterfly
Willow Emerald Damselfly

Bullcliffe and the Ponds

My first port of call today was out to Bullcliffe Colliery again to find some more hoverfly species. I was disappointed this time with only a few species seen, these being Eristalix pertinax and Syrphus ribesii, however my best find here was a ternal Hairy Shieldbug, never found one before so a nice experince and a Ichneumon Wasp . That was Bullcliffe so I decided on calling at the local ponds for some more Dragonfly action.

My first target was a male Emerald Damselfly, along with still a few Blue tailed Damselflies. The bigger dragonflies were flying around one of the ponds Brown Hawker the only one that was settling, that and a couple of Southern Hawkers on the same pond. I also re-found the Ruddy Darter from my previous visit, but also pair in the mating hold.

Ternal Hairy Shieldbug

Ponds

Another sunny day and another visit down to the ponds for hopefully some Dragonfly action. On arrival there was a Common Buzzard overhead, and I was also buzzed by a couple of Male Southern Hawker Dragonflies. I got to the pond I wanted to be at and watched for ten minutes to see where the dragonfly action was, the other side., I slowly made my way around but something caught my eye in the reeds, Common Darter, I started taking a few photos and on closer inspection I realised it was a male Ruddy Darter, having not found one in the Huddersfield area before, I was a bit happy to have found it. Other dragons about were a few Brown Hawkers with females egg laying within the pond and I also found a single Common Darter. Damselflies about were Emerald and Blue tailed Damselflies.

Did observe a few butterflies, a few Gatekeepers, a Holly Blue, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown and Green veined White.

Click Images to make larger

Male Ruddy Darter
Female Southern Hawker

Bullcliffe NR

Another reserve I haven’t been to in a while mainly due to the same reason as my local ponds, the area has become neglected and is therefore becoming overgrown, with brambles and saplings.

After a good walk around I ended up with four species of butterfly, one very pristine Painted Lady along with Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, Green veined and Small Whites, no Common Blues here either.

I faired better with the hoverflies and walked away with Chrysotoxum bicinctum, Episyrphus balteatus, Eristalis arbustorum, Eristalis pertinax, Melangyna umbellatarum, Myathropa florea and Syrphus ribesii

Click on the photo to enlarge

Chrysotoxum bicinctum
Melangyna umbellatarum
Episyrphus balteatus
Myathropa florea

Ponds

A very brief visit down to the local ponds produced very little, with no Damselfly or Dragonfly activity. However its always good to check and I eventually did find a first for the ponds in the form of a single Purple Hairstreak Butterfly, so when I nearly gave up something turned up.

Purple Hairstreak

Cromwell Bottom NR

A few hours on my hands so decided on a quick visit to Cromwell Bottom NR near Brighouse, in the vein hope of a few local Dragonflies, none were seen. The bird feeding station held a few young and Adult Robins along with Great Tit, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Dunnock and Magpie.

Butterfly highlights were Comma, Gatekeeper (which seem to having a great year), Green veined White, Large Skippers and Speckled Wood today

Here’s a few photos, click on to en-large

Robin
Young Robin
Large Skipper
Speckled Wood