Desert Wheatear. Horsey, Norfolk.

Horsey Norfolk. 2007.
I made two trips to photograph this bird, the second trip wasn't planned, only due to the fact that my computer/card reader deleted all my photos as i downloaded them. Even the recovery disc couldn't retrieve them, a few choice words were uttered. The bird showed extremely well and was too close too focus on a lot of occasions, walking around our feet. The second trip was spent alongside photographer/birder Garth Peacock, and we both obtained some good shots, and we also spent some time photographing the Grey seal colony on the beach, a great day out and some good stuff captured and they all downloaded okay later at home.... Phew.

Warham greens Norfolk.
I travelled to norfolk to try for the wryneck at warham, and also to see whatever else was about. On arrival myself and one other birder were the first to arrive, followed after a while by others, but after a couple of hours searching there had been no sign. I decided to leave and next went along the coast to holkham to see the yellow browed warblers and maybe the humes yellow browed, no sooner had i walked along to the western end of holkham that the pager quoted ' wryneck at warham greens', just my bloody luck. But now i was there i stayed a while until i had seen the yellow browed' and then decided to head back to warham and try again. Was i glad i did too, it showed really well and for the first time i was able to photograph this species. I left for home well pleased i can tell you. Sadly a couple of days later it was found dead, the night before being a very cold one may of been too much.


American Buff-bellied Pipit

Despite torrential downpours i arrived at Farmoor reservoir on the 9th of oct' and on joining the evergrowing crowds i was greeted with great close views of the bird. It showed well for the whole time i was there, unfortunately i didnt take my usual camera gear due to the weather so i only had my coolpix, which for the life of me i could not remember how to get the right settings so i wont be using that in a hurry again, but with growing crowds i could only grab a record (CRAP) shot of the bird and crowd. But a great twitch none the less.

Subalpine warbler.
Burnham Overy dunes. Norfolk. 4th October 2007.

On arrival at the dunes i saw the great grey shrike atop a bush, but it did not stay there for long and moved west. I started searching the scrubland on the top of the dunes where the subalpine had been showing. It wasnt long before i located it and what a stunning little bird. This was a 1st for me in the form of a subalpine and also as for the race 'moltoni's'. It showed well for myself and the few birders that arrived shortly after. It began sticking to a circuit whilst feeding so i positioned myself where it frequented and sure enough flew in soon enough. I was able to gain some record shots but as the breeze picked up it began to become elusive in a small dell area of scrub that was sheltered from the wind. A welcome addition to my list and a lovely bird.

Norfolk 1st october 2007.

Unfortunately the blyth's reed warbler had departed so i headed along to cley and started to walk towards blakney point. Not far from the car park i noticed the sabines gull that had been frequenting the area for some time, it gave good views in flight and landed on the sea close by too, this was only the 2nd sabines for me and in a different plumage than my 1st bird.

On the way back to the car park i found a red throated diver close in to the shoreline, it was moulting from adult plumage to winter plumage and had a reduced but still bright red throat patch, but all the same a lovely bird.

September 2007.

I made a couple of trips to titchwell in norfolk to get some wader photography, there were plenty of birds to capture on camera, and on the 2nd trip i was joined by sarah. On arrival we had great views of 20+ bearded tits, also good views were had of a solitary snow bunting and a pom skua and a pair of purple sands'.

September 2007.

News of a redstart just outside my village prompted me to visit, it showed well albeit a bit distant and elusive to capture on camera, although i dont list in bedfordshire this was a new species for me in this county, shortly followed by another which i found just outside biggleswade but was even more elusive.

Earith, Cambridgeshire. SQUACCO HERON. August 2007.

Only the second squacco' for me and this one not far up the road. Nightmare journey getting a cracked windscreen from a stone and then realising when i got there all my spare batteries had been left behind, so only the one in the camera, and when switched on was totally flat, so back home and then come back. But i did get some good views although a bit far for the camera it made a great scene on the lilly pads.

**MEGA ** Sharp - tailed Sandpiper.

*** MEGA *** MEGA *** MEGA ***
Oare marshes. Kent.
After a 12hr night shift and only an hour and a quarter away this was too good an opportunity to miss, who needs sleep anyway. So at 5.30am i set off and on arrival, after some haystack dodging, i was there and soon viewing this great bird. Good views were had but a nightmare for pictures looking into the sun, but i was happy with a few record shots and a welcome addition to my list.

Bedfordshire. July 2007.

I visited a local patch to check on what was about. I eventually got good views of some adult and juvenile little ringed plovers and was able to get some photos also.

Priory Country Park. Bedfordshire. July 2007.

I spent a couple of days trying to get some shots of a pair of great crested grebes with young. On the second day they had moved to the larger lake and photography wasnt good enough but i managed to get some shots on the 1st day and also tried to get a different shot by staying to photograph them when a storm started. I was soaked but it was something new.

Little Bittern at Titchwell Norfolk. 25th June 2007.

After not being able to get to see the 'LB' the week before it looked like the bird had moved on. Then news came through it was seen again at titchwell, so an early morning start to arrive in torrential rain didnt look good but i covered up my camera and lens with my poncho and off i went. One other birder appeared and then the rain started to ease off. Another birder arrived and then the wait started. It wasnt too long before we saw the 'bittern' in flight and it seemed to land fairly close by. So we all repositioned ourselves and no sign but the bird then started to call and what a weird call too. I can only describe it as an aging old dog barking softly, it was weird. And then it appeared from nowhere even closer climbing some reeds. What a stunning little bird, in a panic i clicked away some record shots and then it flew off out into the reed bed further away but still showing. Everyone was well happy having seen it so well, and a new tick for me too.

"Dipped - enough said.........

SQUACCO HERON. Erith marshes, London. Saturday 2nd June 2007.
An early morning start was in order to twitch this bird. I'd never seen one before despite trying and so with sarahs daughter for company we arrived nice and early. With a few birders already there it wasnt long before the heron came into view, what a little stunner as well. The only problem was waiting to get a viewing hole when it became free, and they all seemed to be the wrong height too, what a weird viewpoint that was, it was more like one side of a pillbox with more view holes, Abby was ok due to being small she could take her pick of the lower ones. So after a short while peering over someones shoulder i got to the front and was able to grab some half decent pics. The vegetation infront of the hide was overgrown so some of the shots had some blurring, but the bird showed well, before moving out of view, and i left well happy. As we headed back to the car more birders were arriving but there was no sign of the quail that had been there.

Minsmere RSPB.

Purple Herons.Minsmere.Suffolk. May 21st & 23rd 2007.

After a pretty uneventful trip to norfolk on the 18th of may news had come through of not 1, not 2 but 4 purple herons at minsmere. Most years there is a sighting of one at this spot, and this was a bogey bird for me. For years and hours worth of trying they had eluded me, well no longer. I had gone before a nightshift on the monday 21st and had seen 1 bird distantly but i was elated and a pre-planned trip with my dad on the wednesday 23rd proved even better. One was on show as we got into the hide and then over the course of a couple of hours we had seen three individuals.I was a happy man i can tell you. And with good views of marsh harrier and the usual swallow prech at the sluice we left contented.

Hoopoe 10th May 2007.

Hoopoe. Bishops stortford.Herts.

This bird had been hanging around stortford for a few weeks and had set up on some playing fields and was showing very well at times. I went on the 10th of May and then again on the 16th but on the second attempt it was more elusive and distant. An absolutely stunning bird to see and one you never tire of looking at, i was able to grab some decent shots despite the dog walkers pets making a bee line for me as i was crouched low to the ground.

Wilsons Phalarope.May 4th 2007.

Wilsons Phalarope. May 2007.

Myself and sarah travelled to Grafham water in cambridgeshire to connect with this cracking summer female wilson's. This was a 1st for sarah and only my second, and it provided excellent views although a bit far for my camera lens hence the quality of the pics, but that didnt matter, a lovely bird to see none the less. When watching i noticed how it attached itself to a pair of gadwall, and fed in the wake of the ducks picking out what they had disturbed. Although the male didnt take kind to this and frequently chased it from the females rear! Oooh err!.

27th April 2007.

Iberian Chiffchaff. Colney, Norfolk.

I travelled with my dad to add this to my list, it showed very well and was continually vocal.Viewed from across the road and what with the size of the bird i was pleased just to get a few record shots.

April 2007.

April 2007.

Through april i visited my local patches in bedfordshire and just over into hertfordshire.I was looking for early migrants especially checking up on the dung heaps scattered around. And i wasnt disapointed either in bedfordshire i came across three Little ringed plover not long arrived, and after sitting it out for a few hours they came close enough to grab a few pics.

Across in hertfordshire the dump was proving to be excellent and i was in the doghouse because of how much time i was spending there. The yellow wags were showing well as they always do but the star of the show was a male wheatear which got so close i couldnt focus sometimes.

Saturday 31st March.

A trip with the rspb was cancelled today with news the previous night of a Red Rumped Swallow not far up the road at Brogborough lake in Bedfordshire. This was a bird id missed on previous occasions and so i could not miss the chance to get this one. And on arrival it wasnt long before it was showing, feeding overhead, i even got a couple of pics too which was a bloody marvel considering how hard it was to track it in flight. But a great morning and a new tick...

March 2007.

March was a busy month and i covered a lot of local sites. My first port of call was the local barn owls, and sure enough they were in the same area again but the light at this time of year ends very quickly and so i only had a small window of opportunity to photograph them. This was hampered also by a pair of kestrels which had set up territory in the same area, and on a couple of occasions i saw one of the kestrels take the food that the barn owl had just caught. So this seemed to make the owls come out later when there was less chance of a confrontation, but made photography out of the question. Hopefully later on as the summer gets under way ill get lucky.

A visit to a RSPB site in cambridgeshire for kingfishers drew a blank as there was a lot more area for them to fish now management work had been carried out on the reserve, so i decided to look for deer to photograph instead. And even though i found some deer and grabbed some record photos the highlight were a couple of buzzards soaring overhead trying to gain height on a thermal. It was a fantastic out of the blue chance and it wasnt long before my memory card was full and the birds had gained too much height and drifted away over farmland. And a couple of the results werent too bad either, capped off by a treecreeper staying still long enough to photograph i had had an excellent morning.

At a local site i visit some early waders had arrived , these were Ringed plover. So an early morning visit to avoid dog walkers was in order. I set up and kept low whilst camouflaged near to them and then waited in the hope that they would move closer to my position. After a few hours i got lucky and grabbed a few shots.