"For now we are young let us lay in the sun and count every beautiful thing we can see" Neutral Milk Hotel.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Gulls, gulls & more gulls!

Just back from the "Thornham channel" pre-roost, boy oh boy - there was some gulls tonight. Never seen so many Common Gulls, in fact after 2-3 estimates around 4500 of them! Also 400 Herring Gulls, 70 Great black-backed Gulls & 1 Lesser black-backed Gull. I did see a good candidate on mantle colour for Yellow-legged but couldn't get the primary pattern or legs, so that one escaped. 60 Golden Plover again here.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

More of the same as those guys!

Ditto the rest of the guys -  Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl & Barn owl. Although have to say best views yet of this ringtail, she is an adult female, with noticeably paler than usual upper secondary wing coverts, she is also being seen regularly at Titchwell. The "massive" female Peregrine was perched out on Thornham marsh & lots of Marsh Harrier activity, including one from the back garden over Ringstead Downs, 5+ Buzzard here as well.

I raced back here after having 10 Bewicks flying west over Burnham overt just after 4pm, but never got them from "the patch".

The sea seems to be getting quieter, but still plenty of GCGrebe, c10 Red B Mergs & c3000 Common Scoter.

The same but somewhat different

Extraordinary how the same location at different times can give some quite different records( birds ). Yesterday Andy recorded from the sea at Holme and the grazing marsh, locations that I covered between 2.30 and 4.00, the same day. The sea provided a Bonxie over the shore which then retreated out of the Wash and apart from the now omni-present Barn Owls and Short-eared Owl a ring tail Hen Harrier appeared over Lavender Marsh and moved rapidly east. The north fields of the gazing marsh held a terrific range and number of birds, as Andy had noted, but my count of Lapwing was 275 with only 4 Ruff. Meanwhile a group of at least 20 Dunlin had joined the crowd. All really confirming the dynamic nature of the bird populations in this area.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Monday 27th January

The sea was very quiet today - 3 Great Crested Grebes was all I could muster and little appeared to be moving save for a party of 62 Snow Buntings which made their way west along the beach. The now very wet North Fields held 11 Ruff, 50 Lapwing, 30 Golden Plover, 40 Curlew, 48 Dunlin and a lone Bar-tailed Godwit. The Kingfisher was, as usual, very confiding in front of the hides on Holme Marsh but three Water Rails feeding in very close proximity to each other, out in the open, was an unusual sight. A bank of Winter Aconites in the village was a sign that the longest nights are behind us. A few more mosses grabbed my attention today - photos, with tentative identifications, appear below.

Winter Aconites, Holme Village 27th January 2014

Capillary Thread-moss Bryum capillare, Holme Village, 27th January 2014

Endive Pellia Pellia endiviifolia, in dune slack, Holme Dunes NWT, 27th January 2014

Great Plait-moss Hypnum lacunosum, Holme Dunes NWT, 27th January 2014

Whitish Feather-moss Brachythecium albicans, Holme Dunes NWT, 27th January 2014

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Sunday 26th January

A short session on the cliffs this morning, ahead of the rain, produced a small group of foraging Black-headed Gulls, a Great Crested Grebe, a single Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Cormorants, a Shag and best of all, an extremely smart, adult Lesser Black-backed Gull which beat its way into the Wash after a spell sat amongst Black-headed Gulls on the sea below the cliffs. A herald of the spring to come perhaps, these are uncommon birds on the coast in winter and this is the first I've seen on the patch since at least October.

Yesterday's mosses were Wall Screw-moss Tortula muralis (abundant on walls virtually everywhere) and Sand-hill Screw-moss Syntrichia ruraliformis subs. ruraliformis, which is abundant all along the dunes, forming extensive patches of several square meters or more.

Wall Screw-moss Tortula muralis, Holme village 26th January 2014

Sand-hill Screw-moss Syntrichia ruraliformis subs. ruraliformis, Holme Dunes NWT 27th January 2014

An hour on the Prom

Me & Nick had an hour along the Prom, mainly scanning the sea before the weather set in!

Nothing of real note c160 Brents, still Red-B-Merg moving west, 1-2 Red-throated Diver few Common Scoter & 2 Eider offshore. Plus a call from Gary Elton Black Brant off Gore Pt

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Saturday 25th January

Eager to get out and about today, I was disappointed that the dawn was greeted by thick fog. I dawdled for a few minutes as a result  - but a call from Robert alerting me to a lone Waxwing in Old Hunstanton had me on the move in a short space of time.  Though it was gone as soon as the call had been made, a great hour near the pond produced Marsh and two Coal Tits, at least two Nuthatches,  a distant calling Green Woodpecker and a good deal of bird song. Muntjac and Grey Squirrel were new to me for the patch this year. Christopher's Stonechats were nowhere to be found on the beach but the Short-eared Owl made a fine sight as it hunted the dunes beyond Lavender Marsh in the bright noon-day sun. Whilst photographing some glowing-orange lichen, a Water Pipit called overhead as it headed out onto Redwell Marsh - my first on the reserve for a year or more.  A dead common toad in the dunes wasn't entirely without interest and, fearing the advent of some miserable weather, I collected a couple of scraps of moss to keep me busy with an identification challenge during the day ahead.  A small number of Lapwing moved west during the day - perhaps 150 in total  - maybe a sign of cold weather to the east. The male Marsh Harrier put on a fine high altitude sky-diving display over the grazing marshes in the early afternoon.

A day of dipping & sniping!

I woke early & the day dawned with a heavy mist & dampness! I thought I was safe to head out for a bike ride, but this was proven the wrong decision & brought to an abrupt end after a call from Robert, he had just found a Waxwing at Old Hunstanton! I was at Heacham so I raced back, Andy had already joined him. But despite there being lots of activity - Marsh & Coal Tit, Nuthatch, Great Spotted & Green Woodpecker,  there was sadly (from mine & Andy's point of view!) no sign of the Waxwing! 

I then had to head for Kings Lynn to pick up birding mate for the day - Nick Moran, his train was suddenly cancelled for no apparent reason & without warning, thanks East Midlands Trains! Sat around waiting for an hours & in the meantime I received a message from Andy & Robert who had clinched a Water Pipit on call overhead at Redwell, despite my sniping about the difficulties of the Water/Scandi Rock call id they were adamant & I was left gripped & still sat waiting for Nick & EMT!

We eventually made it out & re-checked the afforementioned Waxwing location, no sign!
At Holme a visit to Redwell revealed no pipits at all, let alone anything remotely spinoletta or  littorals. Although 1-2 Snipe flew over & at last a decent new year bird was added!

At Gore Pt we scanned the sea for a couple of hours, the 1st summer Black-throated Diver  was again present, several Red-throats, Red B- Mergansers  mainly west & Great crested Grebes on sea. Plus a Common Porpoise briefly
Although already added to the YL today, it was really interesting picking a Snipe up around 2 miles out to sea & watching it arrive over land high in the sky.

Friday, 24 January 2014

GSWP & Stonechat at last

Guiding today but again Holme was a great place to start! Gore Point started well, with cracking views of Short-eared Owl hunting, also a rocket-fuelled female Peregrine tearing through the Wigeon, this massive female appeared as big as the Wigeon! We also witnessed the biggest arrival on the grazing marsh of Pink-fett this winter with around c10,000 Pink-feet on the marsh by 10am!!  Out on the sea 5-6 Red-throated Diver, Common Scoter & 10 Red-breasted Merganser.

There was a few Fieldfare again in the horse paddocks along with 6 Mistle thrush & c100 Curlew around the reserve. The Kingfisher was yet again showing very well (pic today below!), along with an obliging Cettis Warbler in front of the hide. Also here 6 Marsh Harriers & Bullfinch.
As we wandered back I at last could here the distinctive "chip, chip" of a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Also after a tip off from a couple of visiting birders, a short walk out to the beach also added a pair of Stonechat, yee-haa , 2nd patch year tick of the day. Takes me to 119, sadly both not on my NMYL!

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Wet & cold!

I managed again to weave a few hours in at Holme whilst guiding today! Although the very cold SE wind, soon gave way to a couple of hours of heavy rain, it wasn't a great start to the day! Birds were few along the shoreline, but 1-2 Red-throated Diver, Common Scoter & 3 Red-breasted Merganser on the sea close inshore. A flock of 80 Linnet on the saltings but no sign of any Snow Bunts. 

A nice surprise was c25 Fieldfare in the horse paddocks, the first decent flock of the winter! Also 4 Song Thrush, 6 Mistle thrush & 40 Curlew between here & Redwell.

As the ran set in we headed to the village hides, the Kingfisher was faithfully perched & added a great splash of colour to a grey morning! Then the rain abated, brightness prevailed & 6 Marsh Harriers took to the skies, with some display & calling. Further colour & brightness arrived in the form of 3 male Bullfinch & 2 females. Still no Great Spotted Woodpecker for me!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Yesterday, once the fog lifted, and a truly sparkling Winter's day arrived so did the gunfire. The continuous shooting, echoing around the reserve, put me in mind of the anniversary of the First World War, 100 years ago- the Somme but in this case more like the Battle of the Hun!
Somewhere over the Downs a lot of creatures were biting the dust (mud).

Meanwhile all was harmony on the reserve. That is until the attacking squadrons arrived. Four Marsh Harriers suddenly appeared quickly followed by a low attacking and very robust Peregrine Falcon. Than mayhem!! Highlighted in a brilliant sun, the heavy mob arrived. Every bird on Lavender marsh panicked. Wigeon, Teal, Redshank, all in the air at the same time. The chocolate brown and cream Marsh Harrier casually swung around the marsh with a concerned Short eared Owl in attendance. Simultaneously a close ring-tailed Hen Harrier quartered the dunes.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Moth course

Coastal Speciality Moths at Holme Dunes Norfolk by Dave Grundy and Jon Clifton 

Wednesday 16th July 10am to 4pm

For details contact Dave Grundy on dgcountryside@btinternet.com


Sunday, 19 January 2014

Rain, heavy rain, just clouds then brilliant sunshine

I was up early today, eager with anticipation. I wolfed down some toast and tea, donned my trusty birding kit and made for the door. But I hadn't noticed it was raining. I decided to wait a minute or two for it to stop (as it so often does), but it got heavier and heavier. I eventually ventured forth about mid-day, heading up Chalk Pit Lane in a ridiculous and, needless to say, fruitless quest to find some farmland birds. Utter silence reined on the ridge - save for the distant guttural notes of a Pheasant and the distant strains of a singing Mistle Thrush. I did note White Campion, Pineappleweed, Red and White Dead-nettles, Scentless Mayweed, Field Forget-me-not, Petty Spurge and Hairy Bittercress in flower though, but this was scant compensation for the lack of a Corn Bunting.

During a brief visit to Thornham Harbour I spied my first Gannet of the year, an adult heading east way offshore, over a raft of some 2000 Common Scoters which were distant off the harbour mouth. Unable to walk any closer because of the closure of the sea-wall footpath, I made my way round to Broadwater by road. The scoter were still hugely distant. A Barn Owl and male Marsh Harrier hunted the nearby grazing marsh. I met Mark E and his wife and we chatted for half an hour or more, then exchanged notes with Robin and Wendy, who later - and rather disconcertingly - robbed me of a a fly-over woodcock at dusk by quite deliberately engaging me in some distracting blather about cameras or wood pastures or some such. I was determined though and stayed until I could barely see - accompanied into the darkness by Phil who chatted about flood risk management, the prominence of jupiter and its moons, diver movements off the Lincolnshire coast and the merits or otherwise of blogs (and much else besides). Luckily, reward came in the shape of a surprisingly close, fly-by Woodcock. I then whiled away far too much time in the evening trying to identify a scrap of moss I found in the village - it turned out to be the virtually ubiquitous Common Feather Moss - Kindbergia praelonga....my fifth Bryophyte for the patch.  Here's a photo in case you were wondering.............what a day !

I met up with Andy at dusk. It was over looking the paddocks at the end of Broadwater Road. Andy was hoping for a late glimpse of a roosting Woodcock. As I distracted him with a taxing conversation on esoteric environmental matters I had a brief view of a Woodcock as it sped to the safety of the scrub on the banks of the Hun. Sadly Andy missed it. Sorry mate!
Earlier, as the rain moved over for a calm and bright late afternoon, I found myself at the dead end track over-looking the Freshwater marsh. The Pink footed Geese were leaving the marsh in some numbers and amongst them was a gaggle, or is is skein, of five Barnacle Geese, the first of the year for me. Soon afterwards five Snipe flew over , another year first.
A male and female Marsh Harrier came into roost as two Barn Owls and a Short eared Owl quartered the scrub behind, all watched intently by a hoard of birders silhouetted on the coastal path to the north.
One of the Barn Owls was closely attended by a male Kestrel in parasitic mode hampering the Owl's efforts. I had seen the same behaviour a couple of days earlier when  a Merlin lost its prey, a Skylark, because of the unwanted harrassment of a Kestrel.

End of 3 day tour allows a quick visit!

My tour group were treated to 2.5 hours of excellent birding from Gore Pt as the 3 day winter tour drew to an end. The highlights from 2PM till dusk were 22 Eider flying east, close inshore , a few Red-throated Diver, Fulmar west, c2000 Common Scoter, c2000 Pink-feet arriving on the marsh, 2-3 Barn Owls hunting, c40 Snow Bunting passing along the shoreline, & a beautiful Short-eared Owl perched on bushes affording brilliant scope views.

All of these birds on a day that finished in fantastic light & a beautiful sunset.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

January 18th

Quiet today - overcast and, on occasions, rather wet. Nevertheless, Gore Point delivered, with 60 Snow Buntings on the beach, 13 Red-breasted Mergansers, 8 Great Crested Grebes, 7 Red-throated Divers, 60 Wigeon and an Eider on the sea, whilst three Marsh Harriers, a Short-eared Owl and what just may be the largest Peregrine I've ever seen hunted the grazing marsh. Plants seen in flower for the first time this year were Red Clover, Red Dead-nettle, Germander Speedwell and Hogweed, whilst a Sea Buckthorn Bracket was the fungi highlight of the day.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

A bird, a butterfly, a mammal & a fungi!

Having worked till late last night & with 3 days guiding just ahead of me, I decided a few hours of peace on the bike around the lanes on to Holme would be good! 

The Downs were very quiet,  a single Jay, a few common birds & still no Great Spotted woodpecker! If the Downs were quiet then Green lane farmland was even quieter, save a Grey Squirrel just before the main road.

Thornham harbour produced little of excitement either, so on to Holmhurst track. I photographed some fungi, I have no idea but I know a man who will! (over to you Andy!)  Then along the sheltered wooded edge a Small Tortoishell flew by! 
I reached the grazing marsh & was met by a field full of Pink-footed Geese, in fact around 3000! The biggest number I think so far this winter. Despite searching I couldn't find anything too exciting amongst them. 

The return walk was good first a "pinging" from the reeds & then up popped a smart male Bearded Tit, followed by 3 Barn Owls hunting & then super views of a ringtail Hen harrier hunting the field just to the north, it also put up 4 Grey Partridge. 

Will pop a picture up of the fungi - soon!

Monday, 13 January 2014

Spring !

A stunning day with cloudless blue skies, bright sun and, at last, something that couldn't be described as a strong wind.

I headed out early for the Downs, where Great Spotted Woodpeckers drummed and the calls of various tits, Nuthatches, Chaffinches and Treecrepers rang out across the slopes. A Rook was new for the year, as was an unseasonable Chiffchaff, foraging amongst the Beech leaves on the woodland floor. Some Candlesnuff Fungi appeared fresh and the Lords and Ladies are fully 6 inches above the leaf littler now. I photographed my first snowdrop of the year.

I next headed to Green Bank and the arable fields on the ridge top and was met by total silence, so quickly moved onto the Holmhurst Track - now a mud bath thanks to the diversion of all coast path walkers onto what, until recently, has been a relatively unused and hidden track through the woods and onto across the grazing marshes.

I saw little of note other than two Bearded Tits at the Hun sluice  - my first of the year. The sea at Gore Point held many Great Crested Grebes and Red-throated Divers and in a short space of time I counted about 200 Lapwings moving low over the sea, westwards into The Wash. Before dark I paid a quick visit to Hunstanton promenade to check for colour-ringed Turnstones (one found) and then headed back for a spot of DIY and to chop some wood for a fire.

A beautiful day of birds & blue skies!

Today was both interesting & beautiful! As you can see from Robin's previous post there was a significant movement of Lapwing, I noted around 1500, just a third of Robin's 4500 which doesn't surprise me as I was late out & not counting too carefully.

However, I also had other birds of note on the sea, 2 drake Goosander west & one on the sea, also 12 Goldeneye, plus Shoveler, Wigeon, Teal, Shelduck & Pintail all west. So the question is why the sudden movement of birds? The clue lies in the weather over Scandinavia, where until now mild weather has dominated. But today in SW Norway it was minus 13 & snowing from Stavanger across to Oslo. Surely the origin of the Lapwing & possibly causing a push of wildfowl, that thus far had stuck it out further north. It may be interesting to see what happens in the next few days!

My other highlights today were 2 Greenshank on the beach, plus c40 snow Buntings, by far my biggest count of Common Scoter with around 2500 offshore but as usual distant & c20 Kittiwake were following a fishing boat with a plethora of other gulls. 

Most incredible was watching a big fem Peregrine chase & dive 4 times after a Woodcock, eventually giving up after the Woodcock dived into cover! Consolation for dipping Bearded Tits on the Broadwater.

A new mammal was added today, a Muntjac was feeding out in the open in the dunes, just near the thick buckthorn in front of the Firs.

Last off there were 2 Short-eared Owls crossing paths near the entrance gate at 3PM, plus a Water Rail crossing the channels in Lavendar marsh &  2 Barn Owls hunting.
No year ticks for me today, but just great to be out.

An almost windless view for the first time in a while looking towards the Firs!

Incredible Lapwing Movement

Quite out of the blue, on this beautiful day, was a heavy Lapwing movement over Gore Point into the Wash. At least 4,500 birds passed over in the three hours after dawn. I would normally associate a movement like this at this time of year with very cold weather on the continent. But I haven't heard of any and generally there would be other species involved. Any ideas boys?

Sunday, 12 January 2014

No Ibis takes the Gloss(y) of another good morning!

Another good morning, despite me Andy or Rob failing to see the Glossy Ibis after a 2 hour vigil off Thornham Bank. Still plenty of action though, with 2 Peregrine perched out there & a distant ringtail Hen harrier, 2-3 Marsh Hr. & an (overdue!) flyover Egyptian Goose

Another hour at Gore Pt produced 2-3 Barn owl, the Short-eared was again showing well, plus a female Merlin went hurriedly overhead with prey, pursued by 2 Kestrel. 

2000+ Pinks, dropped in on the grazing marsh & Robert pulled out a Barnacle Goose amongst them, interestingly it was still with these birds a couple of hours later on the sugar-beet fields inland, proving it's provenance!!

I managed to eventually locate c15 Ruff, a grip back from the boys whom had 40 odd yesterday. Obviously quieter on the sea, few Red-throats & GC Grebes, plus 2 Kittiwakes west. 

Short-eared Owl

female Merlin with prey

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Blasts from the Past

Here's the first of a series of notes and photographs concerning some of wildlife interest recorded on the patch in the recent past. Further notes and photographs will be posted in the new 'Blasts from the Past' page.

1. Sperm Whale in snow, Holme, 27th January 2004

2.  A flock of Barnacle Geese, Holme 18th December 2012

Movement !

A cold sunny day and with the wind in the west rather than south-southwest, there was some different bird activity today. Watching from Gore Point, Robert and I counted 83 Red-throated Divers westwards into the Wash, together with 188 Shelduck, 8 Great Crested Grebes, a Red-necked Grebe, a Goldeneye, an Eider, 2 Guillemots and 3 Red-breasted Mergansers between 08:00 and 10:30. The choppy water made observing birds on the sea difficult and we saw little of note.  A Pied Wagtail and about 60 Snow Buntings were on the beach. On the grazing marshes, a party of 15 Ruff on the north fields caught our attention and from the hides we saw they were joined by flocks of 4 and 17: any number is unusual but 36 is pretty exceptional. We watched a female Marsh Harrier fly out across The Wash but it was called back by a displaying male high over Gore Point, repeatedly uttering  its odd, peewit-like mew. Great views were had of a Tawny Owl as it left its roost at dusk and it brought the day's owl tally to three as one of the Barn Owls was active virtually all day and a Short-eared Owl was hunting the grazing marsh shortly after dawn. The Kingfisher was again on the village pools with unseen Bullfinches calling both here and in the forestry.

Invertebrate highlight of the day was the first Seven-spot Ladybird of the year basking in the sun on some Sea Buckthorn, whilst new plants in flower were Feverfew, Greater Periwinckle and Shepherd's Purse.

Friday, 10 January 2014

A really lovely day ( for a change) with a light south westerly and plenty of sunshine. Not a heavy birding day for me but watching from the house, a close view of Short-eared Owl and female Marsh Harrier together, was a bonus. First Song thrush for the year in the garden and on a short sea watch at high tide nothing out of the ordinary but a count revealed 55 Great Crested Grebes and 15 Red-throated Divers in a section in front of the Firs of approx 0.5 sq miles.
Socialising this weekend so over to you.


More of the same!

With another days guiding in the area I did almost a repeat performance of yesterday! Many of the same species but no Peregrine or Little Gull today from the cliffs or the prom.

Kingfisher again, 3 Barn Owl, 4 Marsh Harriers, Water Rail, Bullfinch & c3500 Pink-feet from the village end all around last 2 hours of light & 2 Woodcock at 4.25pm

Thursday, 9 January 2014

My first ever blog

Thanks to in depth tuition by Chris I have now been able to join you and the 21st century in blogging.
Yesterday, 7th Jan, I carried out a partial, all day, walking count of bird species at Holme (excluding the village etc).
Only 71 species with some notable omissions like Rock Pipit and Reed Bunting.

I eventually ventured out today, at noon, after the rain moved on and the sun emerged. On Lavender marsh I found amongst the Redshank our resident Greenshank and also Short-eared Owl,  another long stayer.

Despite the raking wind, which today had edged to a very cool westerly, I holed up on Gore Point for an hours sea watch. It was largely as the previous days, loads of GC Grebes, assorted Divers , Guillebills , Mergs , Kittiwakes and Fulmars. Unexpected were two Bonxies which beat their laborious way into the Wash at 1300 hrs a good first 2014 for me.

A days guiding pays dividends!

Today I was guiding a group of four persons & fortunately was able to spend some of my time around the patch!

I had a round 30 minutes before picking up my group of 4 up, so I took the opportunity to have half an hour on the North prom. Surprising what you can manage in 30 minutes, a 1stwinter Little Gull was just offshore & 3 Pintail flew east & there was enough birds along the shoreline to warrant popping back with the group!

A few minutes later I was back with the group, the shoreline held 200 Brent Geese, Bar-tailed Godwit, Knot, Turnstone, Sanderling & Redshank. We were scoping the c50 Fulmars along the Cliffs when everything went into orbit, the culprit was soon a visible - a very smart male Peregrine. After attempts at a Feral Pigeon, a Redshank & tangling with a Herring Gull he decided to hunt elsewhere. Another addition was a  lovely flock of c50 Snow Bunting flying along the shoreline.

We had a brief foray around Holme in rather poor weather, lots of Wigeon, Teal & 2 Marsh Harrier &  100+ CurlewThe fields nearby produced the highest count of Brown hares this year with 8 in a field.

We finished the day off back at Holme, with superb close ups of Kingfisher & Barn Owl, plus 4 Marsh Harrier roosted & Chinese Water Deer. Here's the Kingfisher video from today!

Chris 112 (sadly all via the minibus!)

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Benefits of non-motorised year-listing ?

Much impressed by Chris's approach to low-carbon, non-motorised year-listing (see last post but one), I thought I'd nip out today for a quick lunchtime birding session. I didn't really have time to cycle to the reserve then walk all the way back and I didn't really fancy dumping my bike in a bush for an hour, so thought I'd just do the drive there and back bit (but in a car, not in a van, hopefully producing less by way of carbon emissions) and do some birding, without a bike to get in the way of my scope.  As it happens, I went to the cliffs on foot, got blown about a bit, but I did see an adult Little Gull. The highlight though was some Common Mouse-ear in flower, which I'd certainly have whizzed by whether on my bike or in car or van. Just goes to show what you can miss if you get from A to B too quickly !

Monday, 6 January 2014

The first moth of the year

One of two Winter Moths found moribund at the base of a beech tree in the downs on 1st January. On the previous evening, I drove through hordes of them along the Old Hunstanton to Ringstead road. Let's hope 2014 turns out to be as good as 2013 was for moths

A Punctuated Day with more new birds & mammals

I started out aboard my mountain bike, pulled in at Old Hunny church again, no Long-tailed Tit or Great Spotted Woodpecker but recompense in a single Fieldfare.

On to Holme a quick stop at Redwell produced a squealing Water Rail. Then mega close up of the Short-eared Owl off the boardwalk I wheeled past at 5m!  Then an almost repeat of yesterday's birds on the sea all 3 Divers, very good views of Great Northern & Black-throated, plus Red N Grebe, 3 Velvet Scoter (2E & 1W). Highlights for the year-listers  & me 3 Pintail, Pied Wagtail & I at last caught up with Greenshank. Both Common & Grey Seal 
were also seen & the 2 Chinese Water Deer were again in the fields near Redwell.

I then headed to the village & frustration arrived in the form of a puncture! I really didn't want to lose my Non-motorised year list (NYML) birds, so there was nothing for it.......a long walk back to Hunny. my mood was immediately brightened as 2 Long-tailed Tit, called from nearby bushes.

I arrived home around 3.30pm quickly snaffled some food & headed back in the minibus to collect the bike. I decided to hang around & 2 Barn Owls & 1500 Pink-feet were nice. But a stroll at dark down the dead end drove produced 2 more year birds - Tawny Owl & Woodcock! These will have to be recovered on the NYML at some point---hopefully!

Chris 109