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

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

More of the Hunstanton Purple Sandpiper, 23rd December 2015

Off patch highlights 2015

Steve (left) & Andy (right) turning rocks in the River Glaven looking for fish, crayfish and inverts.
Over the course of the year, as well as thrashing the patch, we had field trips around the county mainly focused around the Brecks, Broads and North Norfolk coast. We visited STANTA twice, both times assisting Rob Hawkes with his PhD studies and Darren Mann and Steve Lane in finding dung beetles. We also took part in the National Trust's Bioblitz of its Brancaster estate, joining Neil Lawton, Mike Rooney and John Williamson on Scolt Head and spent various other days inverting and botanising in the Brecks and North Norfolk.

A small selection of images...

Marsh Warbler, Narborough, June.  Quite probably my bird of the year due to its mimicry alone!
Purple Milk Vetch, Cranwich Camp, June.  One of many cool species seen during a afternoon botanising
Fen Potter Wasp, Sutton Fen
Great Silver Diving Beetle, Sutton Fen.  Unfortunately No water Stick insect.
Glow Worm, Dersingham Bog
Antlion, Burnham Overy Dunes.
Starlet Sea Anemone, Salthouse
Bullhead, River Glaven
Keeled Skimmer, Holt Lowes
Bird's-nest Orchid, N. Norfolk
In 2016 we plan to continue hitting the patch - focusing our attention towards the less well-recorded taxa on the patch (Spiders, Lichens and Leafhoppers), try out the new guide to Bees, mop up some dips from 2015 (Nebria livida), get out more onto the local heaths of Dersingham Bog and Roydon Common and spend a warm summers evening watching the giant Tanner Beetle.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Sunday 27th December 2015

Natterjacks still active!!

After another balmy winter's day at NWT Holme Dunes I made another search for a "late" natterjack toad just after 9pm. Temperature was around nine degrees so really wasn't expecting to find anything, but just after reaching the ridge to the beach in the pines I came accross this natterjack, running around actively, although a similar size to the animal I saw a few days ago it felt to me to be much fatter and healthier looking.

I then carried along the footpath and back around the west end of the pines and over the established grey dune, really not expecting to find another one, but doing just that! Sat on a small mound of sand as if waiting for the next meal to crawl to him (or her).

Apologies for poor quality of photos but using torch and camera combined as I have no flash in camera.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Holme sightings

A superb days birding on the patch with highlights including Iceland Gull, 3 Shorlarks, Slavonian Grebe, 3 drake Velvet Scoters, 3 Snow Buntings, 2 Greenshank, 85 Lapwing west, 30+ Kittiwake, Merlin and a Stonechat.

Could resist more photos of the Iceland...

Photobombing Snow Bunt...

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Iceland Gull eating Sunfish

First time the two have ever been photographed together?!?

North meets South: Iceland Gull and Ocean Sunfish

A lunchtime stroll today produced the goods at Holme. First I flushed an Iceland Gull from high on the shore at Gore Point - my first here in many, many years and then, on going to check whether there was anything of interest near where the gull had been standing, I found a dead Ocean Sunfish - long dead, in tatters and rather smelly. Its rather worrying that at least two Sunfish should be so far north in our waters and more worrying still that they died. Interestingly, there cant be many occasions when a bird from the far north gets to feed on something from the far south. I hope Robert can post better pictures than I.

Iceland (and Great Black-backed) Gull, Gore Point, 17th December 2015

Ocean Sunfish, Gore Point, 17th December 2015

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Ocean Sunfish: off and maybe even on patch.....

We followed up a report of a dead Ocean Sunfish on Old Hunstanton beach on Monday, but could not relocate the beast. This one was washed up at Titchwell and may possibly be the same individual.

Ocean Sunfish, Titchwell, 16th December 2015

Monday, 14 December 2015

Back to patch!

Today we had the rare opportunity to go out on some of the grazing marshes at Holme which is probably the most under recorded area on the reserve and where a few patch firsts probably lurk.  The main aim of the day was recording the aquatics that frequent the ditches and ponds out there but to be honest after an hour or so the catches were very repetitive and lack a patch first.  Steve located a Moles castle, dug the nest out and sieved it...this resulted in what is potentially a Norfolk first!  It was the small Staph' Achenium depressum.  Earlier this morning Steve sieved some tidline refuge and took two Water Beetles(!) and several Aphodius contaminatus - what are they doing out there?

Achenium depressum, NWT Holme Dunes (Grazing marsh), 14th December 2015
Following a report of Sunfish washed up on Hunstanton Beach the four searched with the failing lights this afternoon to no avail.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

The 1953 flood at Holme

The wreckage of beach huts on Holme Beach

This old photo puts in context how lucky we were back in Dec 2013 during our most recent surge tide. The image was taken looking back from Holme beach over the west end of Lavender Marsh towards Flaxley House. The dunes in the foreground completely flattened out. During 1953 the dunes  would clearly have been lower than the ones that exist today, something we are all thankful for in present times.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Well Off Patch: a Rubythroat on tidal flats at Donglin, Rudong, China, 2nd October 2015

Off Patch: a Red-necked Grebe at Brancaster Staithe

Off Patch: Monday club at Horsey and Hickling

After several amazing away days in the Broads, Brecks and N. Norfolk coast this year we thought we might share some of are off patch days.

With some of us (Steve!) keen to see the Grey Seal spectacle in East Norfolk we went off patch and headed across the county.  As we reached the top of the viewing point we were greeted by the sight off 100's of Grey Seals (including several impressive beach masters) spread as far as the eye could see north and south.  While Andy, Philip and I enjoyed the seals Steve found and sieved a dead Short-eared Owl he found resulting in what was probably several Catops species - imagine that label!

In the afternoon we headed to Stubbs Mill where eight Cranes past by and another two stood out on the grazing marsh and briefly displayed to one another!  Lots of Marsh Harriers graced the sky giving superb views with Brograve Mill in the background.

Grey Seals

Grizzly Bear

Brograve Mill and Marsh Harrier