Many thanks to Ben Andrews for letting me use his stunning photograph of a Swift. With it emerging from the dark, the image immediately grabbed my attention and being a favourite species for me I could not resist creating a painting using gouache and pencil. Made a nice break from painting dog portraits.
My Dad and I set off early for Easington and the Siberian Accentor. But despite it showing well till dusk the previous evening the bird was not to be seen. Fortunately the Isabelline Wheatear was still present and showing well, a welcomed substitute and a new species for us both. We headed back to the area for another stint hoping the accentor would be found but everybody drew a blank.
It was only a few months ago that I was watching and photographing Purple Swamphens in Spain, and here I was watching one at Minsmere RSPB in Suffolk. On one encounter in Spain we were looking down on it from a bridge, closer than this bird but then again this was a Mega 1st for Britain, if accepted, so the excitement was a tad more urgent.
I set off at 3am and arrived at Minsmere for 5am, I immediately set off for the South Hide and the expanse of water behind it where the bird was staying loyal to. On arrival I was greeted by a few birders/photographer and shown the bird in one of their scopes, many thanks for that, and there it was, connected at least!
It stayed at the rear of the stretch for most of the time, the sun slowly illuminating the reeds as it rose in the sky. Now the Swamphens colour shone.
It continued to slowly move it's way around the waters edge, stopping to feed here and there, moving into a inlet it disappeared for some time before popping it's head up closer in front of us. After a brief session in and out of the reeds it once again moved back along the side it had just worked along.
It slowly moved closer and shone like a good un' when the sun was on it.
Looking through the vegetation I was happy to get a shot of the bird considering the size of the gap the camera was looking through.
A fly by of a Bittern was a welcome addition.
The Swamphen then moved back along the farthest edge again and seemed settled, despite the odd flight cutting off the corners of the reed beds. I left after 4 hours pleased of the views I had gotten, and a couple of shots in the bag too. Great stuff.
Stunning field of poppies at Blakeney.
Took a walk from Holkham to the start of Burnham Overy dunes then back along Holkham Bay to Wells woods and back along to Holkham Village.
Holkham pines were full of Foxgloves.
The rain fell as we got out into the bay, decided to carry on as it was half a mile or more to the nearest cover.
Our second walk was from Sheringham along the coast to Weybourne.
There were Stonechat,Skylark,Meadow Pipits scattered along the cliff path whilst Swifts and Martins whizzed past feeding on the insects.
There were a few species of butterfly around but the most numerous were Painted Lady.
Four Spotted Chaser
Once at Weybourne beach we headed into the village for a pint, along the way we saw Four spotted Chaser and Black tailed Skimmer dragonflies.
Black Tailed Skimmer
This young Blue Tit almost collided with my head on two occasions as it flew from hedge to hedge along the pathway!
Small Eggar Moth
This Small Eggar larva was a new one for me.
Stopping briefly, just along from Weybourne beach Sarah and I stopped for some time to watch a large group of Swifts feed on the many insects around a clifftop bush, absolutely brilliant watching the Swifts shooting past us so close, one of my favourite birds.
This insect was the last photo of the day as the rain once again caught up with us just before reaching Sheringham.
Our third walk of the week was from Salthouse to Cley beach and then into the village. Plenty of activity along the coast from the screeching Sandwich Terns, and a few Little Terns.