Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Norfolk Part 2

Hey! I'm back with part 2 so check out day 1 and 2! Because I've got quite a few days left to cover I will make this short...again these pictures are not mine.

Day 3 - it was so rainy we went and watched wildlife - indoors! We headed to the nearest sealife centre to sea the seal hospital and how we are affecting our planet.

Day 4
We set off slowly and so did the birds for a good 10 mins we didn't see a single bird in sight. We got slightly too excited about a little grebe, a nice spot to start the birds which then came thick and fast. Pintail, teal, mallard, goldfinch and dunlin. We got some sea watching over the mud flats and the creeping sea. Oystercatchers, Curlew, Avocet, Redshank, Ringed Plover and Turnstones. We walked to the hides and added Greylag geese, skylark and Song Thrush. We then spotted the first lifer of the day a slightly lost Barnacle Goose. We trundled are way back to the car for another picnic as it threatened to rain. Along the side of the large filled gravel pits were little houses and we had fun picking our favourite one. For the last 10 minutes we walked along the beach as we watched the flocks of oystercatchers and dunlin fly across the skyline. After the picnic we headed back to the cottage!
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Snettisham!

Day 5
Finally sun! We went on a seal boat ride. We set off towards the open sea and after seeing a ton more Brent Geese and after setting into the harbour we saw our first common seal. After learning loads of interesting facts about the harbour and the amazing wildlife that lived there we got into the rip where the two currents met. It was here we saw a huge male Grey seal. In fact I got some good pictures so I am really sad I can't show you!
We also went to Cley Marshes and had a guided tour and it was really good. We had some great views of Black tailed Godwit, Gadwall and Marsh Harriers. After some great views of a Redshank we had a super nice meal out!

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Blakeney Point


I would advise visiting Norfolk because of all the amazing birds and wildlife ☺


Norfolk

Hi everyone! I know this is a bit late but I am ready to do a full write up. Unfortunately all my photos didn't saved to my device when it crashed and then I deleted them off my camera so I lost all my pictures which I was so proud of! None of the pictures featured today are mine...

Day 1
After a long journey from Whixall we finally arrived in Norfolk! We saw Red Kites and my personal favourite "Bunny Island" a roundabout in Kings Lynn where the local bunny population was happily munching away on grass. This probably isn't the best place to raise a family as the term 'like a bunny on a motorway' (I just made it up...) would definitely apply.

The first day birding was to a local bird site called Holme Dune Bird Observatory. As we walked onto the beach we saw a few stonechats in the Dunes and a Knot on the beach. I was really pleased because I don't often see Knot so I was already pretty pleased by the time we had added Black headed gull (pairing up), Little Egret, Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Oystercatcher. We walked along a rather muddy path and I was shocked to see plastic because when we were on the beach it was completely spotless. Turns out a high tide had swamped it but it still shows the issue of plastic in our oceans.

Just before we reached the café we spotted the first lifer *Common Scoter* in a little raft out to sea. Thank god we had our spotting scope! When we reached the hides we added 4 Marsh Harriers and a variety of waders like Curlew and Avocets. At the car park we also saw a Muntjac deer which was
really good.
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Holme Dunes

Day 2
We set off to RSPB Titchwell and immediately spotted a Brown Hare and Grey and Red-Legged Partridge.

When we got there we were told the Bearded Tits were showing well, and with the help of a guide (Thank you to the staff there) set off towards the boardwalk. For a good 35mins we just watched the Beardies flit between the reeds and there was about 2 pairs and a couple of lone males. They were tiny rays of sunshine on a grey morning. Another little gem was a WATER VOLE and I was so pleased to see it! We continued to the hides and added Dark bellied Brent Geese, Teal, Greylag Geese and Mediterranean Gull. One of my favourite parts of Titchwell is the different habitats that are so close to each other. As you head towards the beach there is two different main habitats; fresh and salt marsh habitats. I enjoyed seeing the gull colony and lots of different wildfowl. I got in some gull identification skills and managed to spot a few Med gulls! In the mud flats we saw avocets, curlews, redshank and lots of shelducks.

Heading towards the beach we made a few mistakes (just because you accidentally mistake a linnet for a small kestrel) but managed to correctly identify a Red headed Pochard and a great crested grebe out at sea this time. After lunch we had a quick look at some of the reed beds and saw some more Marsh Harriers. Ending the day with fish and chips as we watched some Lassie films (cute little collie).

Part 2 coming soon
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Golden Plover and the Parrinder Hide (Not mine)


Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Bird Boxes

Sorry for not posting in absolutely ages, but homework, schoolwork and loads more has had me busy almost everyday. Anyway today I thought I would do a post about bird boxes, specifically how to clean them out ready for spring.

Bird Boxes: Operation Cleaning!

1. First (of course) get the box down from the wall/tree/post and lay it own on the floor. Take the front off the box and place it near by. (always get an mature adult to help you though they maybe hard to find! 🙂)

The bird box
2. When you open up the box there may be a nest or some dead chicks inside. The nest and the dead birds can be put in the compost bin (or whether you feel fit). Any unfertilised eggs can be placed in the compost bin but legally they should be destroyed.
                                   
Unfortunately some of the chicks died (blue tit nest)
3. Pour boiling water throughout the box. This can kill parasites likes ticks ad fleas and could affect success rate. Wait until fully dry and put back together again. If you want you can add hay or sawdust though they may take it out or put it in the nest. Tip: do not use straw as it will mould

4. Put it back up and wait for the Spring and see what you could get.
Last spring we had a family of Blue Tits and we saw 4 fledge!

My Top Tips: Bird Boxes
1. Place it in a place where you know it is safe from predators and won't fall off. Another handy feature is near a tree or a natural perch so they can rest on their way in and out. This is good as well when the young fledge.

2. Try using different boxes. For example open boxes are good for Robins and Wrens. Experiment because you never know what could show up!

3. Try a box with a camera. You'll be able to watch the drama of the nest as it plays out! These can be quite expensive though so it would be a good idea for a birthday present or for Christmas.



Saturday, 9 September 2017

France

Sorry for it being so late :(
So in the summer holidays we went down to Poole harbour in a 5 and a half drive, which passed with only my dad accidently running over a kestrel (he felt terrible afterwards) stayed a night at the premier inn and got ready for France. As we crossed the channel we saw Gannets, Herring Gulls and even a Great Skua - lifer - and it was really calming. As soon as we got off the ferry we began our journey to Normandy stopping off at a local nature reserve which literally means 'the house of nature'. We saw Egrets (Great and Little), Spoonbills, Redshank, Avocets, other waders, Coypu (escaped from the fur trade), an OTTER ;) and loads more waders and ducks. At the campsite we saw only ordinary garden birds, but they had character, like the robin that perched on the other caravans and the birds in the trees. We spent a week chilling at the pool, going to the beach and visiting the local landmarks, including a WW2 jeep tour around the D-Day beaches and the American Cemetery with nearly 10,000 graves. We also visited the Caen Memorial and the Bayeux Tapestry. And soon we were on our way for Brittany, stripy t-shirt included.
This little robin used my shirt as a perch!


At Brittany, our campsite was a lot better for wildlife, including red squirrels, deer and so much more! We spent a lot of time around the site, on horseback as well, and even went to a local nature reserve. It was slightly odd because it also had the list of birds you could shoot! We went along a little track and found a lakes full of 'ducks'. As we approached a lake fill of Pintail, Mallards, Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon and some ones even I didn't recognise. I was a bit surprised when they didn't fly off. Well I had it coming, they were plastic, decoy ducks and the 'hide' were shooting hideouts. But then in a twist of events (and 30 degrees heat) we saw seals, waders and an Osprey dive in grab a fish, and come back out. On one day to the beach even turned into a Sandwich Tern, divebombing in front of us in the sea! Sun, sea, sand and a lifer. So some good news!! After a fun filled week we were heading back to the UK, with a small detour to RSPB Arne. Arne coming soon...

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

The Summer Holidays!!!

Finally its the summer and I can't believe I've the holidays are here. Soon we are going to France for 2 weeks so hopefully I can see more brilliant birds on my travels. As well we'll be stopping off at RSPB Arne and Salisbury plain to see the Great Bustards, which live there despite living on MoD land. However I can probably squeeze some extra birding if the weather becomes sunny or a least not raining. Have good birding and a good summer,
Sian🐦
Another day like this one please! New Brighton Beach

Saturday, 1 July 2017

SOS trip: Gronant Dunes and 5 lifers!!!

The day started off a bit drizzly, and dark and grey. However as soon as we crossed the border it perked up a bit and it stopped (for now!). We arrived at the car park and after a toilet break, we set off towards the dunes.
We reached the path and immediately spotted Whitethroat, Reed Bunting, Linnet and Natterjack toadlets (baby toads) which are rare and nocturnal, but the babies were out in force. Unfortunately lots of them had been stepped on which was sad, but it was a busy path with dog walkers, hikers, birders and lots more. We spotted a Heron in the reeds, and, first lifer, a Sedge Warbler singing its heart out. As we continued our journey towards the dunes we spotted loads more sedge warblers, reed warbler, more linnets, Starlings, Oystercatcher, Mallard, Moorhen, Coot, Little Egret, Stonechat, Black headed gulls and a brief glimpse of the Little Tern Colony!
A dodgy shot of a Little Tern in flight at the Colony with the beautiful white forehead.
We walked up to the colony and the first thing I felt was the sound of the terns, because it was really noisy, but the terns were absolutely beautiful and the white forehead, orange bill with black tip and size makes them really obvious to identify beside the Common or Arctic Tern. We watched them through scopes, even on the nest. Little Terns nest on the shingle stones that have washed up, but this makes them very vulnerable to threats. Foxes, Kestrels, walkers, the incoming spring tides, dogs and egg collectors (*shudder*) are all a problem for the terns and the wardens who can't watch over them all day and night. It was only recently that the Little Tern colony was destroyed, the birds fleeing the nest and the eggs gone. On the other side of the fence they found trainer foot prints and dog paw prints. Hopefully this will neither happen at Gronant.
A Bee Orchid at Burton Mere
After that we went to Burton Mere scoring Mediterranean Gull, Spotted Redshank and even the breeding Cattle Egret!!!!!!! It was a long, but brilliant, day filled with lifers and more. I hope to go again soon.

On another note I saw a garden warbler today at Whixall Moss, while bird ringing and this trip was on last Sunday.


Friday, 16 June 2017

Just an update

Sorry for not posting in such a long time. What with my year 7 exams (managed to get good-ish marks on all), practising for the school orchestra and other things, the only birding I've managed to fit in is at home. The Blue tit, Great tit, Jackdaw, Sparrow etc. have had the young fledge successfully. I have seen 5 blue tit chicks from the same family and 4 for the great tits, which is great, plus a lot more! However, they are extremely loud when they are calling outside your window at 5am in the morning.
As well, at school, I have managed to discover we have Swallow, House Martin and Swift! Swifts are the most graceful and makes the most boring lesson a bit more interesting. They often are near the Swallows and House Martin and you can really tell the size difference between them.
  • Keep reading my other posts, I will have some more soon!
  • Get out birding
  • And I hope you enjoyed Springwatch (last episode on Thursday but you can catch up on iplayer) if you watched it!!!
A beautiful Wheatear: throwback from Bardsey Island