Western Purple Swamphen. Minsmere, Suffolk. Aug 2016.

 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.



Images from Norfolk Holiday. June 2016.

 Stunning field of poppies at Blakeney.

 Meadow Brown
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.

 Large Skipper
Our second walk was from Sheringham along the coast to Weybourne.




 Stonechat
There were Stonechat,Skylark,Meadow Pipits scattered along the cliff path whilst Swifts and Martins whizzed past feeding on the insects.
 Painted Lady
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.
 Painted Lady
 Weybourne Windmill
 Common Blue
 Agapanthia Villosoviridescens
This insect was the last photo of the day as the rain once again caught up with us just before reaching Sheringham.
 Guillemot
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.

Great Knot. Titchwell Norfolk. 17 June 2016.

I wanted to get to Titchwell, Norfolk, early  for the hopefully still present Great Knot, so I set off from home at 3:15am. I arrived just before 5am and set off with another birder from Leicester. Already there was a small group of birders checking the group of Knot on the freshmarsh, after a while and no sign we headed towards the beach where it had been frequenting a lot. At the end of the boardwalk we turned right heading for a group of 4 birders scanning a huge flock of Knot. With others soon joining it wasn't long before a possible bird was picked out, tucked in amongst the numerous Knot it was looking promising, then as if commanded the said bird moved out to the edge of the flock and duly gave itself up, the Great Knot. It was distant for a set of record shots, but I was luckily given the chance on a few occasions to view the bird through birders scopes. Happy faces all round.








 After the flock had decided to land I decided to head slowly back towards the reserve, as the Great Knot was now a bit further away. I met up with an old friend and we birded our way back to the car park, which actually turned out to be very productive.

 The 2 Little Gulls were still present and being moved on by the Avocets. A Spoonbill flew to the adjacent marshes, a Fulmar flew low past me which I didn't expect to see there, we had a Bittern in flight, earlier I had heard it booming. 

 We then watched a group of about a dozen Bearded Tits, comprised of young and female birds, they gave a great show and end to the morning.