Garth Peacock
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Two visits to West Norfolk in one week

Wednesday 29th March 2017

The UK's most easterly point

Tuesday 28th February 2017

Fortunes improved - finally

Tuesday 21st February 2017

Last week in not-so-many pictures.

Monday 30th January 2017

My first day out in 2017

Thursday 26th January 2017

Locally based for a couple of weeks

Friday 23rd December 2016

Last weeks events

Tuesday 22nd November 2016

Testing the new camera

Tuesday 15th November 2016

The good and the not so good

Tuesday 8th November 2016

Once again - the last couple of weeks.

Tuesday 25th October 2016

A couple of weeks to update

Monday 10th October 2016

Was the Pectoral Sandpiper still there?

Saturday 24th September 2016

Littlle Stints on the agenda

Sunday 11th September 2016

Hungary Days 7 and 8

Tuesday 23rd August 2016

Hungary Day 5

Friday 19th August 2016

A windy day with not much to show for it

Wednesday 10th August 2016

Hungary Day 4

Friday 5th August 2016

View Blog Archive >>
Wednesday 29th March 2017

Two visits to West Norfolk in one week

West Norfolk is my fall-back destination when I cannot think of anywhere else to go. It is just over an hours drive for me on a good traffic day and, with decent weather forecast on Tuesday 21st, I headed North.

My usual trip is to Hunstanton cliffs and then Thornham harbour with a possible diversion to Holme Dunes NWT depending on the time of the year. Problem was that the road between Holme and Thornham is currently closed during weekdays for road repairs. My Sat Nav took me to Burnham Overy so a quick call into Burnham Overy Staithe to see if anything of interest was there. Only bird was a Ringed Plover.

so I made my way back to Thornham harbour via Brancaster Staithe harbour which was even more disappointing than Burnham Overy Staithe - zilch!!! The main problem, I think was that there was a strong South westerly wind (not forecast, of course) so the birds were keeping to the sheltered areas

The usual Curlews were at Thornham. Seems surprising to me that Curlews are now considered to be endangered - I must have counted 20 or so in the area, with one posing nicely after a short fly-by to get my attention.

By now it was lunchtime so I decided to spend the afternoon at Titchwell RSPB. The usual Sanderlings on the beach - just cannot resist them despite having loads of photos of them already.

With the strong wind, I decided to try flight shots with the Canon 5dmk4 attched to the 500 lens and a 1.4 converter. Very pleased with the results.

I then relocated to a bench overlooking the freshmarsh - just for half-an hour, I thought, but with the sun on my back and being sheltered from the wind, I stayed there for most of the afternoon, continuing with the flight shots. Tiring with the concentration but very enjoyable never-the-less. Loads of Brent Geese

Flocks of wheeling Knot

and Avocets.

So not a bad day overall.

A friend also wanted to visit the same area so we made our way there on Friday but this time with a strong biting Easterly wind.

Curlews at Thornham still very evident with one, in particular, being very co-operative.

Brancaster Staithe only produced a posing Herring Gull

and Burnham Overy Staithe nothing at all.

Back to Titchwell RSPB with nothing at all of note. Once again, the water levels seem to be much too high for any predominance of waders close enough to photograph. On the beach there was just one Sanderling that was very co-operative so I took even more images but with the object of raplacing some of those I took some years ago that really do not cut the quality mustard any longer.

On the way back, my friend noticed a Water Rail that quickly disappeared into some waterside undergrowth. However, patience finally paid off as it re-emerged having caught a Stickleback.

Back to the freshmarsh where the only activity of note was a drake Shoveler landing.

Really, the strong Easterly wind really killed off any chance of good photography so not the best day.

More images from the two days in the Recent Additions section.

 

 

Monday 20th March 2017

Catching up on the last couple of weeks or so.

When are you going to update your blog, someone asked me last week, much to my surprise. I have now met a few people who regularly read it - many more and I will feel like a celebrity!!! Anyway, here is the update starting with Monday 6th March.

A new species for me, Little Bunting, has been regularly reported just over the Cambs border at Great Barford, Bedfordshire. Being advised that the morning  light was better, I arrived to find a few birders already there with confirmation that the bird had been seen several times so it was a matter of being patient. Several appearances later, it never came out into the open, feeding on seed under scrub so it was a case of making the best of it.

Certainly not a prize winning shot but a new species for me anyway.

The following Monday, I returned, with a friend, but this time it only showed for a few seconds - disappointing - so I made sure the camera was still working by taking a few shots of the Reed Bunting flock

and a Red-legged Partridge that suddenly appeared to feed on the seed.

With nothing more to show from the couple of days, readers can now understand why I have not rushed to update this blog.

A few days of being rather under-the-weather then prevented me from any further outings until last Friday when I visited nearby Paxton Pits as a small flock of Scaup had been reported. They was no sign at the place where they had been seen the previous evening and with nothing of interest from Hayden hide, I carried on to the new Kingfisher hide overlooking Herony North - and there they were - in the South West corner so distant and constantly feeding but a total of 8 birds.

Maximum distance required - 500 lens and 2x converter, trying both the full frame Canon 5Dmk4 and the cropped sensor 7Dmk2 to give more reach.

even males displaying to a female

and a male wingflap

Surprisingly, the images taken by the full frame 5Dmk4 were much better, despite the extra cropping required so they made up the majority of the keepers.

With the dark background of the trees, a Great Crested Grebe stood out for a more atmospheric shot.

On the way back to the car, I stopped at Hayden hide and was tempted by a Great Tit near the feeders

and a Collared Dove. Despite being very common these days, I have very few decent shots of this species - too common so usually ignored.

That wound up the last couple of weeks or so. More images in the Recent Additions section.

Sunday 5th March 2017

Objective for the day - two dificult species

Last Thursday, a friend and I decided to visit the Brecks in Norfolk with the objective of finding and photographing Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and Goshawk - quite a challenge but this was the time of the year when they are at their least difficult.

An early morning start for Santon Downham in Norfolk for the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker with a 20/25 minute walk along the bank of the river Little Ouse and we were at a known area for them - and the weather turned very dark and started to rain - not a great start. A couple of hours later, we had seen just one for a couple of rolex replica watches minutes or so in the tree tops with the resulting photographs so good I have decided not to publish them. Well who wants to see a small black outline at the top of a tall tree with a background of heavy black sky?

We then moved on to Cockley Cley to see if we had any better success with Goshawk - and the sun came out for a really glorious afternoon. About 400/500 yards away there was a tree line and raptors were circling, mainly Buzzards with a Goshawk making an occasional appearance but so distant that they were no larger that a camera focus point.

A Buzzard came closer

and eventually a Goshawk came closer - in reality beyond the limits of of a DLSR and lens but what the hell, it was a Goshawk and any photographs worth taking would be better that any others I have (this was my first ever sighting of the species).

We were told of a spot where we could get closer, went there, but by then the display had stopped.

Still, a new species for the website, even though the images are only just passable - well it is possible rolex watches to identify Goshawk from them - just!!!

 

Tuesday 28th February 2017

The UK's most easterly point

A friend had asked if I knew where he could photograph Purple Sandpipers - Ness Point Lowestoft, I said, so last Friday saw us heading there. I was not unduly bothered about it as I had already taken some decent shots of the species but life is full of surprises and this day was to prove it.

Arriving at Ness Point in heavyish cloud, we looked around and saw two or three on the rocks near the promenade. I picked out one on top of a rock, pointed it out to my friend and held back for him to get close for a decent shot. He surprised me by walking straight past it, flushing it and missing the opportunity. They then all flew with no shots taken.

However, at the end of the promenade I spotted a Shag, posing perfectly. Taking great Breitling Replica Watches care, I got into a close position and took my first shot.

With the sun suddenly appearing, I carefully moved position and shot again.

The bird was fully aware of my presence but was not at all fazed by me so I continued to shoot with more confidence, moving position to suit and getting what I think is my shot of the day.

and even getting full frame close ups.

What an amazing confiding bird.

It was now approaching mid-day and the Purple Sandpipers had not reappeared so we moved to a car park on the north of the town to see if any interesting gulls were around - no such luck - had lunch and retuned to Ness Point. A flock of ten or so Purple Sandpipers were right on the point so some distant shots were possible.

A small flock of Turnstones flew in to feed much closer.

and this seemed to encourage the Purple Sandpipers to gradually move closer for some colourful shots on the seaweed.

After really filling our boots, we decided to move up the coast to Great Yarmouth to see if there were any Meditearranean Gulls on the beach. We soon found a few, mixed in with some Black-headed Gulls but by then the light was deteriorating rapidly so we only managed a few shots before they were all flushed leaving an empty beach.

Anyway, despite only four species during the day, I was very pleased with the results.

More images in the Recent Additions section.

 

Tuesday 21st February 2017

Fortunes improved - finally

After a poor start to 2017, last week was much improved with generally good weather and a couple of successful trips.

The previous week, a trip to Lincolnshire for the rare White-billed Diver proved fruitless as it had apparently been flushed by a barge the previous afternoon and not seen again. However, on Tuesday of last week, a friend and I made another trip to Lincolnshire as a first winter Bluethroat was being very co-operative at Willow Breitling Replica Watches Tree Fen. Bluethroat is a Robin-sized infrequent vagrant to the UK from Europe so it was not surprising to arrive at the reserve to see it very busy.

It was easy to find where the bird was as there was a large group of birders and photographers in the middle of the reserve. It was good to catch up with a few acquaintances in the crowd and then the bird arrived fron the nearby reeds to feed on mealworms thoughtfully provided by others. Further away that I would have liked but a good start.

We ended spending a very pleasant morning there with the bird being very co-operative, not at all fazed by the large group watching it and allowing close views.

A very successful morning and hundred of shots later we returned to the car for lunch and to decide where to go then. Not knowing the area particularly well, we moved to Frampton Marsh, despite there being nothing there of interest the previous week. However, blue skies could mean some decent images and this proved to be correct with the sun bringing out the breeding plumage of the common wildfowl particularly well.

Male Teal

Male Wigeon

and close views of a male Pintail

The local Gadwall were starting to show signs of choosing a mate

Altogether a good afternoon winding up a successful day.

Closer to home, at Fen Drayton Lakes, there were reports of a Great White Egret being seen in an area that could be good for photography so, with a couple of hours to spare on Friday I went to check it out. Great White Egret is a Heron sized bird that is becoming much more prevalent in East Anglia due to the effects of global warming. Still not common like it's cousin Little Egret, I had previously only photographed the species during my trips to Hungary so this could be a first for me.

Shortly after I arrived, it flew in and started to feed in the shallows of the scrape.

A local Heron took exeption to it so some flight shot opportunities occurred.

Very distant was a male Smew on the further lake, certainly not photographable but I was please to point it out to a birder who had turned up. Very surprisingly, he admitted that he read this blog. Well at least someone does!!!