Norfolk Birding. A great day out. January 2016.

 Redshank
It had been so long since my last birding trip out that I needed to get back into it sharpish. So I arranged to go to Norfolk with my Dad. We arrived at Titchwell for first light and took a slow walk through the reserve. A large group of Siskin were feeding above us near the start of the track as groups of geese flew inland to feed. There were a few target birds to see whilst in Norfolk but it was good to get back into the rhythm of photographing birds at Titchwell first. 
 Curlew
There were a few waders close enough to snap away at, it was bitterly cold the nearer we got to the sea front though.
 Redshank
 Spotted Redshank
Whilst waiting for my Dad to catch up after visiting the hides I found this elegant Spotted Redshank, such a lovely wader.
 Spotted Redshank
 Teal
There were Teal everywhere it seemed, the males are such a colourful little duck.
 Brent Geese
 Black Headed Gull
Arriving on the beach we were soon joined by a friendly Black Headed Gull which never left our sides until we departed the sea front. There seemed plenty of activity going on, Bar tailed Godwits lined the surf line, but anything caught had to be gulped down in a hurry before the gulls pounced to steal.
 Bar Tailed Godwit
 Grey Plover
There were a few Grey Plover present, always nice to see, and out on the sea were a number of Goldeneye present along with a handful of Red Breasted Merganser's. We stayed on the front for some time then decided to head back to the car for a coffee as it was bloody cold on the beach and both of us were saying we couldn't feel our fingers.  
 Bar Tailed Godwit
 Common Gull
 Grey Plover
 Reed Bunting
Reed Bunting
Coffee break over and it was time to head for our first target bird of the day, Rough Legged Buzzard.
Only a short drive away at Choseley drying barns we stopped and started our search for the Rough Legged'. A group of 3 Grey Partridge was a welcomed sight, we moved further along the road and joined some other birders looking for the Buzzard. We couldn't believe how many Hare there were in the fields, I think my Dad tallied up 18 from just the fields infront of us!
Then across the fields adjacent to us on the other lane we noticed a couple of cars pull up with birders disembarking and setting up scopes, followed by a message on my pager informing me of the Rough Legged we were on our way.
 Rough Legged Buzzard
 Rough Legged Buzzard
Once there we were told the Buzzard had gone down behind a tree line and out of sight, but it wasn't long before I noticed it fly behind the line of trees and perch up on a bare branch in a pine tree. This gave good scope views before it took to the air and passed by us and off towards Thornham. A great bird to see and a stunning pale juv. 
  Rough Legged Buzzard
  Rough Legged Buzzard
 Rough Legged Buzzard
With the Pallid Harrier not being reported since 2 days ago, we decided to head along the coast and try for the 3 Tundra Bean Geese near Langham. Being some time since we had both seen a Bean Goose this was a good chance to catch up with some.
 Tundra Bean Geese
  Tundra Bean Geese
As we drove east away from Langham we scoured the fields for the group of Pink footed Geese which would hopefully contain the 3 Tundra Bean Geese, as we headed further along the road it didn't look promising. As we were starting to think they had moved on somewhere else, we caught sight of a flock of Pink foots', surely this must be the group. Once parked up we slowly moved to view the geese and it wasn't long before we had picked out the Tundra's. Luckily for us we had picked the correct side from where to view them as they were on the outer edge of the large group and showing well.
 Tundra Bean Geese
After a few minutes we realised that there were more than the 3 reported and in fact we counted 9 Tundra Bean Geese. This turned out to be a great brush up lesson in ID. Updating Rare Bird Alert with the info, we then decided to head back towards Choseley to see if the Rough Legged Buzzard had returned and to have lunch.
Scoffing the rest of our rolls and the last of our coffee we scanned hopeful that the Rough legged would return to where it had been frequenting everyday. But great news on the pager had us getting back into the car quickly and heading off to Flitcham!.....Yes!, the Pallid Harrier had been reported again. With the afternoon staring to get on this would be our final stop before heading home and we both hoped it would show before the light failed.
On arrival we had the traditional news of " it showed just now but has dropped out of sight!" and so we set up and waited. What a fantastic place Abbey Farm is though, so much bird activity going on, we had Bullfinches feeding to our sides, then a couple of Harriers took to the air, these turned out to be 2 ringtail Hen Harriers though.
 Bullfinch
 Bullfinch
 Hen Harrier
Just as I was about to use the scope and get onto a Harrier that was sat in a distant field, my Dad let out "look what's this, that's it" and literally just yards away following the hedgeline towards us was the Pallid Harrier, it seemed just as surprised to see us and before I could get to my camera it turned away from us across the stubble field. Luckily it made a few circuits of the field in front of us before dropping out of view.
 Pallid Harrier
  Pallid Harrier
  Pallid Harrier
  Pallid Harrier
  Pallid Harrier
  Pallid Harrier
 Pallid Harrier
  Pallid Harrier
 Barn Owl
Sadly the Pallid didn't show again but as a final touch to a great day out, we were treated to a fly pass by a Barn Owl. I definitely won't leave it so long before venturing out again.
 Barn Owl
 Barn Owl
 Barn Owl

Hundreds of Hoodies in Berlin! And trying to paint with a French Bulldog on your lap!

 Tucker the French Bulldog
 ( reason for not getting out)
It is ages since my last entry, I haven't been able to get out and do any birding or photography, this has been due to the little sod pictured above! Tucker is his name and although the stepdaughter bought it for herself, what with her shifts it seemed that we housed him for most of the time!!
So with not being able to get out, it seemed the days we had him were on my rest days from work! funny that, I picked up my artist brushes to keep busy. During November Sarah and I were able to spend 3 nights in Berlin with my brother Matthew and his wife Jacqui. This was a fantastic break with the christmas markets and tourist attractions along with, of course, a few Gluhwein's.
 Berlin
Bird wise in Berlin, the only bird of note was the Hooded Crows, and they were everywhere in their hundreds. One night when walking the Berlin streets we came across a row of bare trees adjacent a row of shops and I kid you not there were several hundred Hoodies' taking up their roosting position...what a sight.
 Hooded Crows

Berlin
 As November came to an end I had a few paintings completed. A couple of Zebra close ups were first, then I had a request from my youngest brother for a Jaguar cub for his daughter, this needed to be in time for Christmas.

 With the finished Jaguar out of the way I tried something different and challenged myself to paint a head study of a Silverback Gorilla. You should also take on board the fact that whenever I set up to paint Tucker wanted to set up camp on my lap and either gaze out of the window or curl up and go to sleep! Not an easy task when trying to do fine line work!
 That brings me up to present time and a finished portrait of a Rhino, now into 2016 and hopefully I will be able to venture out sometime!

Fallow Deer. Norfolk.

 Selection of images of Fallow Deer in Norfolk, taken during my week there in October.