A Couple of Hours at The Lodge. 10th December 2014.

 It seems ages since I last ventured out, so I headed up to the Lodge RSPB for a couple of hours in the hide. There was a cold wind blowing into the hide but it was dry with a few sunny spells. The usual common species were present, unfortunately no sign of Redpolls or Siskin to brighten the morning.

 There was no visits from any Nuthatch, they were on the feeders near the shop. Then a Grey Wagtail dropped into the rear pool and began to feed around the edges, disrupting the leaf litter for food.

 Gladly it moved to the pool in front of the hide, and kept still long enough for a shot or two. It then moved to the grass edge and froze in a flattened position, I knew a predator was around and with the immediate alarm calls from the other feeding birds the threat then gave itself up. Sparrowhawk!
It had landed about 10 feet from the Grey Wagtail, which dare not move at all, and with the Sparrowhawk having not noticed it it then turned it's attention to another bird in the opposite direction and it was gone.

 The Wagtail cautiously began to move around again before it departed, but not before a couple of nice poses. It had only been a couple of hours but I thoroughly enjoyed being back out, and with the report of Redpolls and Siskin on the reserve from another birder, I planned for another visit soon.

Rome. November 2014.

A few weeks ago I went to Rome and although it wasn't a birding holiday I couldn't help but notice what was there. Every morning the loud calls of the Parakeets could be heard as they flew back and forth over the hotel, then upon looking out of the window we were greeted by Hooded Crows. Additional species around the hotel were Goldcrest, Coal Tit, Sardinian Warbler and Blackbirds. One day whilst sat outside at a restaurant we had Italian Sparrows as company. But by far the most numerous were the Yellow Legged Gulls, they were everywhere and as you can see from the images below, very approachable. 

Surf Scoter brings the Holiday to and End! Oct 2014.

With a few days left of our holiday in Norfolk, Sarah and I were joined by my Mum and Dad. Good news was that a day or so before their arrival, I had heard a Yellow Browed Warbler outside where we were staying, and even better when I got views of it feeding in the trees, I didn't have the camera to hand but after so many attempts to just see a Yellow Browed I didn't care. And it also stayed for a couple of days enabling my Dad to connect and even my Mum to pick up on the call early one morning...nice one Mum.
Shopping trips, pubs and meals out ensued but on our last day out we took a walk out into Holkham Gap and connected with the adult Surf Scoter ( my Dad hadn't seen one before). A fitting end to a great holiday in Norfolk, a shame we had to leave.

Birding at Cley and more Rutting at Holkham.

 Sunday the 19th and we were out and about, back in Norfolk. The time in Warwick had been lovely but we were glad to be back here. We started the day at Cley and after a short spell looking for the Grey Phalarope, most of which was spent in amongst the reeds, we walked along the beach towards Salthouse. We found a solitary Snow Bunting and Wheatear, both giving themselves up for some photos.

 Once back near the car park, I spent some time getting some record shots of the Phalarope, this time showing somewhat better than earlier. Now it was time to move on to Holkham for the Fallow Deer again.

 The next few hours at Holkham provided a great show of the rut, with quite a few fights between the Stags. I was in a good position and at times the stags came so close I could only manage to fit the all important head clashes in the frame, most of the time!

 With Sarah sat up on a fallen tree trunk, we continued to enjoy this spectacle well into the afternoon.

 On the way back we stopped again at Cley to see the Grey Phalarope. With the sun in a different position than the first visit, it put on a good show before once again moving into the reeds.