Lesser Grey Shrike.Norfolk.28th September 2008.

My dad and i set off for Norfolk first thing and went straight to West Runton to try and connect with the Blyths reed warbler, but after some time and no sign we decided to move along and try for the Lesser grey shrike. After a bit of a slog from the car we located the shrikes whereabouts and although a bit distant for my camera at first it started to show closer.

It certainly fed well and was very active catching insects and returning to the same bushes. The pink flush on the breast could be seen well, this was a first for my dad and only the second for me, and certainly closer than the acle bird some years ago.

It stayed loyal to a set of bushes then flew towards the coastal path and gave even closer views to everyone there. It certainly was a cracking bird and perfect compensation for not seeing the blyths.

Titchwell and Holme.Norfolk.September 2008.

My dad and i set off for an early start to norfolk with nothing in particular to bird, first stop was titchwell. The wind was stronger than i thought it would be and blowing in on the coast so we headed straight to the beach. Besides which the view of the freshmarsh first thing just silhouettes everything with the rising sun.
I left my dad at the dunes edge whilst i headed off to try and photograph the waders along the shoreline and hopefully something in close due to the winds. On approach i noticed an eider sat up on the rocks, he wasnt in too much of a hurry to get on the water.
The exposed mussel beds attracted quite a few waders mostly knot, turnstone and curlew. After a short while they became accustomed to my presence and provided some close views. The curlews kept themselves to their own small patch and chased any newcomer away. I singled out one or two knot and waited to catch an image when it arose, with them happy about my proximity it was a case of waiting.

Every now and again small flocks of gannet would come soaring and gliding through. A mixture of young and adult birds. The turnstones are always confiding and blended in so well amongst the mussel beds you dont pick them out till your almost upon them.

On one occasion a pair of young gannets flew along the shoreline and provided a great chance for a few close up shots, it looked like they were about to land as they circled the beach but decided to carry on. A few great crested grebes were on the sea and stood out with their prominent white markings when flying past.

We moved up to holme off the golfcourse and on heading through the dunes picked out 3+ wheatear. We headed down to the shoreline and with the dog walkers and horses out of the way traced our footsteps back with the rising tide. I got the chance to keep an eye out for birds flying past and to photograph one of my favourite waders, the sanderling.
I never tire of watching them and their speedy antics. And keeping ahead of them gives you the chance of close encounters as they move along the beach. One in particular was happy to stay and feed in and out of the surf just feet from me.I was concentrating on it so much with my eye to the camera i didnt see the tide washing over my feet until i felt the wetness soak through, by then it wasnt worth moving in a hurry.
There were a few brent geese moving along the shoreline, one group was accompanied by a cormorant flying alongside them. A large group of geese flew in from the sea distantly which gave a reminder of the huge flocks to come very soon. And heading back to the car now the weather had turned dull, we found the wheatears still flitting about the dunes edge.

Holme Norfolk Sept 2008.

My dad and sarah joined me on a morning trip to the coast. I was only staying till midday but hoped for some variety in the photographs. The tide was still coming in on arrival and the terns were feeding close to the shore. Huge flocks of waders could be seen further up the coast but we were unable to get closer, so we moved towards thornham. Keeping close to the water i took advantage of birds flying past.

The terns were feeding well and it wasnt long before the skuas started to turn up with a few individuals showing. At times they would approach close by as they made a direct route to the sandwich tern it spied catching fish. From hundreds of metres away they locked onto their target and skimmed the sea till the ensuing dogfight.

It was a marvel to watch as they twisted and turned before triumphantly retrieving the dropped catch. This action continued throughtout our stay there with all arctics showing and a possible pom flying past.

There were a few groups of wader stiil around on the few sandbanks left above water. Mostly knot with some grey plover and a few sanderling,ringed plover,dunlin. A solitary wheatear made an inquisitive visit and even came closer as if to check us out. After just four hours it was time to make a move but it was a great morning especially for watching the skuas.

Stewartby Bedfordshire.Sept 2008

I spent a couple of hours looking around here with just common species to photograph, there were good numbers of goldfinches notable. There were a few chiffchaff around the sewage treatment area along with a female blackcap and a pair of lesser whitethroat feeding among some dead wood but too elusive to capture on camera.

Waxham,Norfolk. September 2008

After reports came through of a semi-collared flycatcher in norfolk came through i decided to set off early on the morning of sept 16th. There were good numbers of birds all about with plenty of wheatear, redstart, and flycatchers. There were a lot of features differing on a few birds, at the end of the day i was happy to get some of my first ficedula images.

There were a number of redstarts present along the dune edges perching up and shoing well at times and a few spotted flycatchers were present too.