July 22, 2006


This morning, the Spoonbills at Cley were doing what Spoonbills like best - sleeping.

Instead, we enjoyed the close-up Marsh Harriers, Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits and, especially, the pristine, breeding-plumaged Knot.

Why is rusty red so popular among Arctic-breeding waders?

Species added today:
185. Spoonbill
Yellow-legged Gull

July 21, 2006


The phalarope was miles off but the Avocets looked lovely

Female Red-necked Phalarope reported at Titchwell.
Drive there after work.
See it swimming about distantly.
Have to leave quickly as it's dusk and we have to put the tent up at Stiffkey, 15 miles along the coast.
Get to campsite (the one that had the overwintering Yellow-browed Warbler the other year) in a rush.
Put the tent up.
Go to the Stiffkey Red Lion for dinner.
They've stopped serving food, so eat some nuts and drink some more Aspall's.
Regulars give rousing rendition of first verse of Bohemian Rhapsody with beautiful piano accompaniment.

Species added today:
184. Red-necked Phalarope

July 17, 2006


Black-necked Grebe reported at Grafham Water.
Drove there after work.
It was swimming about just off the car-park.
Watched it for 15 minutes.
Went home.

Species added today:
183. Black-necked Grebe

July 16, 2006

Suffolk cyder and other treats

This weekend we headed to the Suffolk coast and all its delights. En route, we dropped in at a few Breckland sites. RSPB Lakenheath Fen (pictured above) was where we heard a distant Golden Oriole singing. It was horribly hot so we didn't hang around to try to see it - we're setting the rules for this year's list attempt so we don't care if we don't see stuff. Well, I don't, anyway...

Since we bought a tent to take on the Exmoor Dartford Warbler survey weekend, camping has been the name of the game. It's cheap and fun (most of the time). This time we ended up in a farmer's field in the hamlet of Eastbridge.

Though the facilities in the field were limited to two loos and a tap (good, for £3 per night, you could say), the Eel's Foot pub just down the road provided magnificent Aspall's cider and top food.

(The campsite at the back of the pub would have been the ultimate in convenience camping, but they were fully booked.)

We went to Minsmere, where we had our first Bittern of the year (after a bit of a struggle) and the nuclear power station at Sizewell, where we saw Black Redstarts frolicking in the relative safety that the razor wire, high fencing and surveillance cameras offer.

On the rigs just off Sizewell beach, Kittiwakes were breeding at one of only two colonies in Suffolk

Species added this weekend:
180. Golden Oriole
181. Black Redstart
182. Bittern