Round up of the last few days

There really hasn't been a whole lot to blog about recently but some winter flowers have brightened proceedings up a little.

On Saturday (12th) Belinda and I did a long walk around the Beccles area and then another at Ness Point/Lowestoft North Denes. Despite having no optics 3 Purple Sandpipers were found roosting on the rocks at Ness Point and in Sparrows Nest a few flowering Winter Helliotrope added to the flowering Hubei Cherry tree I'd seen earlier in Beccles churchyard. My first Snowdrops of the year were along Riverside Walk in Norwich on 11th.

Yesterday (13th) I did a 10km walk at Whitlingham. Again with no bins which didn't help when I found an odd-looking gull on the pontoons which looked very good for a 1w Caspian Gull. Others think it may be a strange looking Lesser Black-backed Gull in delayed moult but the white head and warm one to the back/wings has got me wondering. Sadly my poor phone photo won't help much! Also around the CP I had Kingfisher, Siskins and a new fungi for me - Winter Polypore. Again there were plants in flower including loads of Yarrow plus White Dead Nettle and Bramble.

Winter Helliotrope

Hubei Cherry


possible Caspian Gull (right hand bird)

Winter Polypore

White Dead Nettle



The winter blues but Vietnam soon!

This time of the year is my least favourite and the weather for the last few days hasn't helped. Just grey, cold and dull and it hasn't inspired me to go out at all. Fieldfares in the garden and the Pulham area have livened things a little. There is a flock of c200 down the road (with a few Redwings too) and you can't go out into the garden at the moment without the accompaniment of lots of 'chakking'. This is by far the best winter for them since we've been here.

Thankfully I have a trip to Vietnam coming up in just 2 weeks time and I can't wait for some exciting birding and some warmth in my bones! I'm going on a guided tour for the very first time with Boletas and all the final details are in place ready for the off. The tour starts in Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon) and takes in the southern and central parts of the country. As ever I have no 'must see' birds, I will see what I see but with some top notch local guides we should hopefully do well. A glimpse of the recently discovered Golden-winged Laughingthrush would be fantastic ;-)


A whizz around NE Norfolk, 3 January 2019

Despite a big dip on the Briggate Black-bellied Dipper I salvaged a few bits out of a few hours in the field. A fly-over Grey Wagtail was all I managed at Briggate so after a chat with Chris B I headed off to Barton Broad. Here I quickly found the female Long-tailed Duck and 2 female Scaup looking right from the viewing platform. 28 Goldeneye there was also a good count while a Kingfisher and Water Rail were both heard but remained unseen. The delightfully named Dog Sick Slime Mould was all over a tree trunk on the walk back along the boardwalk.

With the light pretty bad I ploughed on to Ludham airfield where 57 wild swans were easily found consisting of roughly 50/50 Whooper Swans and Bewicks Swans.

On the way home a single Waxwing flew over the A140 near Swainsthorpe and the 5 Waxwings were still present in Long Stratton. c200 Fieldfares were in a meadow at Colegate End when almost home.

Scaup x2

Long-tailed Duck & friends

Goldeneye (mostly)

Dog Sick Slime Mould

 Whooper & Bewicks Swans

Local Waxwings in Long Stratton, 1 January 2019

It took me ages to see Waxwing last year but this year the species falls on day 1!

There was no news on them this morning so I made the short drive this afternoon not really expecting them to be there. So to see all 5 sat high up in a silver birch by the police station on arrival was a nice surprise. They ventured down onto some rowan berries a few times but remained high up most of the time. One was ringed with  variety of plastic bling! The only other bird of note today was a Great Spotted Woodpecker in the garden while collecting firewood this morning.

Stop press - still present at 14.55 on 2 January as I drove past!