Thursday, 29 November 2012

29th November

Our week of sunshine and warmth is coming to an end unfortunately BUT thankfully so is this dreadful tache. Can't wait to consign it to the waste bin. As well as losing the itch I might just attract my wife again. Here are the closing photos; thanks go to Lesley for providing the sponsored shirt, it is the closest I got to a beer all week.   

Wednesday, 28 November 2012


Another day of sunshine spoiled by the odd cloud. Amazed at how little hassle we have had from shopkeepers and camel operators we must be giving off the wrong vibe. The tache is getting bleached in the sun as you will see tomorrow when Cath takes it's last picture.
On the bird front still surrounded by gulls and when we went down to the castle in the dunes so loved by Jimi Hendrix we came across two Ospreys,
Only managed to get one in the frame, but look at the clouds!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Sunday 25th November

A fellow Brit on holiday though this Lesser Black-backed Gull chose a much less pleasant roof terrace than ours.

This little fellow decided to join us on the sun terrace while we were relaxing with our books(electronic in my case.                                                                                       

Saturday, 24 November 2012

November 24th

Well we are here and it is warm, dry and sunny. I really feel like an independent tourist again once I had strapped the rucksacks on front and back! Had a relaxing(!) day in Marrakesh before setting off for the coast, where we are now.
For the birdwatchers out there the Starlings are spotless, the Shrikes are a dirty grey, the Buntings frequent houses and the Bulbuls are common. I'll get the camera out tomorrow and see what I bump into. Off now for another alcohol free meal with Cath who has rediscovered her haggling skills, once a berber always a berber!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Thursday 23rd

What a failure! I couldn't even find a Song Thrush at Brandon this morning to push the list up to 125. The previous two days had been more successful. On Tuesday, in the drizzle, I had a quick spin out to Northampton and Rutland. Eyebrook was the first stop, surprised to not find any Tree Sparrows on the feeding station but relieved to find the Great Northern Diver fishing by the dam. Considering the weather I would have been astounded if the Little Owl was sitting in it's usual tree--- it wasn't.
So it was back to Pitsford, still in the drizzle, there a good flock of Tree Sparrows were in the bushes around the feeding station and a Great White Egret was roosting in a tree in the corner of Holcot Bay. A three bird trip.
Wednesday when it eventually stopped raining went up to Brandon to try and track down a Tawny Owl. Before any owl action saw and heard a Willow Tit just before Carlton Hide and then watched as the Smew went to sleep and a Bittern flew in and roosted. The Starling roost was a bit of a damp squib but a female Tawny Owl started calling about 5 and gave me my third bird of the afternoon.
I'm off to Morocco tomorrow so that is the end of the sponsored birdwatch with a total of 124 birds in Movember. I'll attempt to blog my final mug shot whilst there and any interesting birds that I happen to  bump into.

Monday, 19 November 2012

19th November

What can I say there are no new birds to add to my list since I was fogged off on Thursday and the 'tache' is just about through the unbearably uncomfortable stage. Grey, white and mousey is not a great combo for a tache of distinction as you can see from the attached photo.

Hope to get out and add a few more birds to the list before we set off for Morocco on Friday. I've agreed that moroccan birds are not to be added to the list so all I will have to add will be a picture of a bleached tache after 7 days of glorious sunshine!!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Can you see it? This is at the end of the first week but unable (or too embarrassed) to publish earlier as we are stuck in Norfolk.

Thursday 15th

Fog today so a chance to catch up with the bird records. Early morning visits to Titchwell have managed to get the list ticking over. Loads of ducks and geese and a Brambling on the feeders though nothing unexpected. A walk from Thornham to Hunstanton yielded a lovely flock of Snow Buntings on the beach of Holme. On Monday the walk from Morston to Wells was wonderful but bird free until we were just outside Wells where a Barn Owl distracted us for 10 mins and nearly caused us to miss the bus! We had spent an hour earlier that day catching up with the Sacred Ibis and Chris and Jim, all from Brandon.
Yesterday was Snettisham as it was the last non foggy day, and what a good decision. Geese and waders in their thousands flying overhead calling and swishing their wings! marvellous. The only new bird was a Linnet, shows how things are slowing down on that front. A walk in the afternoon fron Burnham Overy to Holkham was stunning, unfortunately the Red Kite was not a new bird but I did get fleeting views of the Rough-legged Buzzard and good views of a Water Pipit.
Heading back tomorrow so with visibility down to 100m unlikely to add anything new today. The  running total is now 116. Off to shave and get ready for the second photo.
Next blog from Warwick at the weekend

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

November 6th

Here is the proof but you will need a magnifying lens!

Back from my bout of culture; Tate Britain, V&A, and Natural History Museum to find a few more birds to add to the total and raise more money. London did add two to the list with a few Red Kites on the journey down and then hordes of Ring-necked Parakeets shrieking their heads off in Hyde Park.
Today a quick trip to Brandon for the redhead Smew (a migrant doing it right, turning up here from the north when it gets cold) and then a walk round Draycote yielded a Black-necked Grebe. The only problem was that I went the wrong way round and had a 4 and a half mile walk to find the bird when the reservoir is only 5 miles around. If only I had gone clockwise!
Anyway the total has now reached 67

Saturday, 3 November 2012

November 3rd


Still not enough growth to waste an image yet. The birdwatching went well today and the total marches on, I've now seen 55 species. I'm trying to focus on some of the rarer ones assuming that I will bump into the common stuff as I wander around. So today was what some people call twitching. A trip to the Somerset coast saw me watching a Hoopoe pushing its absurd beak into the sandy soil in an attempt to find food. What it was doing here when it should have left Southern Europe for the warmth of Africa beats me. Then it was over to Chew to see whether I could find the rare American ducks that look as though they might spend the winter with us. With all of these strong westerly winds it is easy to see how they ended up here and yes I did find the Lesser Scaup and Ring-billed Duck. They were both hiding amongst the throng of common Tufted Ducks that were there in their hundreds. The most unexpected sighting was a Swallow flying low over the water trying to find some food for its journey south.
We are off to London for a couple of days of culture so no more blogging until Tuesday when I might have worked out how to transfer my picture of the Hoopoe to the site. It is amazing how quickly you forget things if you don't keep repeating them, especially when you are advanced in years!!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

November 1st- the start of Movember


Not much hair growth yet but I did manage to spend two hours birdwatching before the conservation work started at Brandon Marsh. Forgot the camera so no photographic records and anyway it poured with rain for much of the time. All the expected ducks were present but there were no grebes. The star bird was an adult Yellow-legged Gull which popped in for a wash and brush up. For the non birder readers this is the typical gull of the Mediterranean coast which has decided to spend the winter in the Midlands. I can't see the logic in this move, it certainly goes against the norms of migration where birds seek warmer climes for their winter holidays. Other interesting birds to add to my list were Lesser Redpolls(30+ in a flock) and a Water Rail that flew passed the hide whilst I was sheltering from the rain.
Total to date is 41 species