Sunday, 22 June 2008

Norfolk birding holiday - 4th June

At 9.00 in the morning I was walking down East Bank (east of Cley NWT) enjoying the lovely weather, and listening to the frantic calls of the Reed and Sedge Warblers. Marsh Harriers were exchanging food in mid air, with what is known as "sky dancing" it was a magnificant sight, and one I will remember for the rest of my life. So many birds, added to the brilliant start to the holiday, with a flock of Black Tailed Godwits flying over head, a Ringed Plover feeding and Avocets (one of my favourite birds) sweeping their bills from side to side to disturb the prey.

I briefly heard a noise which sounded like someone blowing over a milk bottle, I didn't think anything of it to start with. A few minutes later I heard it again, this time I paid more attention to the sound, it then occured to me that it was a Bittern booming. I was so thrilled, I had never in my entire bird watching years heard a Bittern "booming" and it made my day, I was shocked to have heard it, and felt privileged, as a lot of people I had spoken to so far in Norfolk had not heard the Bittern "booming". I never managed to see the Bittern (I have seen them before), yet I was happy enough to have heard it.

Reed Warbler:

Later on that morning I went to Salthouse Heath for a little while. I got good views of a Grey Heron, and of Marsh Harriers.

Grey Heron:

I took the opportunity while I was by grassland to study the insect life. I managed to see a Scorpion Fly, a Yellow Tailed Moth Caterpillar, and a Blue-Tailed Damselfly.

Yellow Tailed Moth Caterpillar:

Blue-Tailed Damselfly:
(This is a teneral female- newly emerged)

On the way back to the campsite, I saw plenty of Barn Swallows and House Martins. To me when I see Swallows, Martins or Swifts, I always think Spring is here.

Barn Swallow:

Off to Cley Nature Reserve in the afternoon. Hear I heard the Bittern "booming" again. There were a lot of Black Tailed Godwits, Shelduck and Gadwall. There were very few Waders, a lot of people agreed with this, know one seems to know why.

(Female with chick)

Back to the campsite for something to eat. The campsite seemed to be invaded by rabbits, and Wood Pigeons.


Wood Pigeons:

Later that evening I went back to Cley NWT, were I saw a Lapwing chick, which I saw earlier. One of the parents was keeping a very close eye on it, especially with a family of Redshank near by. Both the Redshank family and Lapwing family felt threatened by one another, even though they posed very little threat. They have to be protective though with predators around.


My dad got talking to someone who said there was a Nightjar Walk at Kelling Heath, by this time it was 20.00, and the walk began at 20.30, it was a reasonable drive from where we were. On the way back to the car I saw a Barn Owl hunting, it was very close. It did manage to catch something, which was fantastic to see.

Barn Owl:
(sadly very far away by the time I got my camera onto it)

The walk was excellent, we were led by a very experienced guide, who was very, very knowledgeable. I managed to see quite a few Nightjars, and heard a lot of them "churring" and clapping their wings together. The Nightjar was a first for me. After the walk there was a Moth trap set up, the same group that went on the Nightjar walk came and looked at the Moth trap. A lot of people left. There was nothing exciting to begin with. We waited, yet I was getting very tired, so we said out farewells, and began walking back to the car, when someone shouted "there's an Elephant Hawk Moth", I had to go back and see this. What a beautiful moth it was, one I had wanted to see for years, I saw a caterpillar last year at my families allotment, yet never thought I would see the actual moth. A fantastic way to end off the first day.


Josh Jenkins Shaw said...

Sounds like a great day! I heard my first Bittern a few Months ago at Titchwell RSPB in norfolk then it flew up and gave great views! Well done with the Nightjars, i'm yet to see them...and Elephanthawk moth , brilliant! Fab photos.

David B said...

Thanks in particular for pic of yellow tailed moth.

Do you think this is one, too

I took it this spring, and have been wondering what it was since then. Looked quite hard, at the time, too.

Anna Simpson said...

Hello David, yes I do believe the photograph you have published is a Yellow Tailed Moth caterpillar. Great photograph!