Sunday, 17 December 2017

David's Brents: a garden tick!

Appropriately enough, I added this species to the 'over the garden list' from the office window! A single Brent followed by a pair a minute later allowed just a single photo. Interestingly, there were several Brents in ones and twos along the Acle Straight yesterday: these dinky little geese are not that common in the Yare Valley...

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Bewick's (but no Whoopers) and a possible Rough-leg..

Since Linda was spending the day with her daughter and grandchildren in Coventry (and since I had parcels to post!)  I decided on a drive out to Walcott to see if the northerlies had brought any seabirds inshore. They hadn't! On the drive south towards Horsey, I saw a Buzzard drift across the road and land in a tree. In flight it looked a lot like a Rough-legged Buzzard, with a white rump and dark sub-terminal tail band...

Nothing much else to report: there were still 30-odd Bewick's Swans at St Benet's Abbey, but no Whoopers today.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Whoopers and Bewick's at St Benet's Abbey.

Linda and I needed to pop into Wroxham mid-morning, so we carried on to Ludham to search for owls out on the marshes. None of those to be seen, but the first decent flock of wild swans of the Winter were feeding (and bathing!) by the track down to the Abbey ruins. The only other noteworthy birds were a pair of Kestrels hunting along the track.

Acle Women's Institute

Last night I braved the sub-zero temperatures (and ignored a really decent bottle of Chablis) to give a talk to thirty or so members of the Acle WI.

Twenty years ago I was KS2 leader at the village primary school, leaving after serious ideological differences with a new headteacher: no thanks to this humourless individual, but the decision to change career was the best thing that could have happened at that stage in my life!

You can imagine, therefore, that I was a little apprehensive when I discovered that many of the group were parents of children I'd taught at the school! I needn't have worried: it was a marvellous, attentive audience and before I knew it the forty minute talk had extended to a full two hours! I really enjoyed the evening and hope the ladies did too!

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Goose for Christmas? And my big Bro' gets a surprise!

Linda and I had a quick drive around on the way back from Tesco's: there was a large flock of  Pink-footed Geese on the Hare field above Buckenham (The birds were there yesterday, too) but no sign of anything with orange legs among them!

My older brother Rob lives in Orpington, Kent, but has a house in France, too. He arrived home a couple of days ago to find this fabulous Hawfinch feeding on his drive! It was nearly dark, hence the grainy images, but what a bird!

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Great Northern Diver: Oulton Broad and Lowestoft clean-up!

Brian, Norman and I grabbed a brief window of opportunity (and dry weather!) to visit Oulton Broad and Lowestoft to catch up with the long-staying Great Northern Diver, as well as Purple Sandpiper and Rock Pipit at Ness Point.
The diver was absolutely fantastic, swimming very close at times and allowing great views of its checker-board back and flanks.

(Oh! Nice to bump into 'Lounge Lizards' Jane Ferguson and finder Richard Smith at OB this morning!)


Tuesday, 12 December 2017

International Space Station - two passes in one night!

The ISS passed directly overhead at 4.17 this afternoon: although the sky was a little hazy and far from dark, it was so bright (magnitude -3.5) that I managed to take some photos. Ninety minutes later it went over again - this time to the south. It really is a splendid sight!

If you look closely, there is a second object orbiting parallel to the ISS on its first pass - presumably a supply craft (or something more interesting!)

An Otter day at Strumpshaw!

No dropped 'aitches': despite the cold I took an early morning  walk around the Fen and was rewarded with my best views for a year or two of a pair of the resident Otters. Most of the reserve is flooded, so I passed a pleasant hour with Brians S & T (and Tuesday regular Robin) before going home to sort out my car (Flat battery!)

Apart from the Otters, a couple of Kingfishers flew backward and forward, while a wisp of Snipe did a few low passes. Lots of Marsh Harriers (including 'V V') and a pair of Sparrowhawks to the left of Fen Hide.

Back home, the Starlings enjoyed a cold bath in the sunshine: what beautiful birds they are...