August 2021

 August was a split month for the weather, the start was warmer than expected or indeed forecast and then the last half took a grey and windy turn for the worse, but I still managed to obtain some decent sightings and photographs. First up at the start of August was a message of 15 Spoonbills heading east along the coast from Cley, Spoonbill was a new species for me to see here or from the garden but I haven't managed to get a photograph of any as of yet, so as the birds were being tracked along the coast and they reached Cromer still heading my way along the coast I took my Dad, staying at the time, and headed for the clifftops and looked towards Overstrand eagerly awaiting their arrival. It wasn't long before we distantly saw the group all lined out following the cliffs, as they reached Trimingham they seemed to head inland....!! It seemed I wouldn't be getting any photos this time either. But they came back into view and seemed like they couldn't decide on what direction to take, just circling around, luckily they kept to the shoreline and proceeded towards me. 

Happily I now have my Spoonbill photos.
On the 7th Sarah and I watched a lone Red Deer along the lanes towards Gimingham, and also a single Banded Demoiselle along Church Road. I had a few sightings of Curlew moving along the coast during the second week. 
During the warmer days at the start of the month it was very noticeable that Peacock butterflies were having a fantastic year. I have never seen so many, the garden seemed full of them, along with a couple of Commas and Small Tortoiseshell and just one or two Painted Lady's.

This Southern Hawker rested up in our holy tree for a short time.
And a Banded Demoiselle kept hanging around the garden one afternoon, a real delicate and beautifully coloured Damselfly.

My second only Garden Tiger moth (both being seen in Trimingham) this one was crossing the lane on our morning walk, I carefully placed it amongst the side verges.
The second half of the month saw the winds pick up and blow in continuously from the North, sea birds and wildfowl started to move through in numbers, Gannets, Wigeon, Teal and quite a few numbers of Skuas were being reported from along the coast, but mainly distant. Double figures of Swallow passed the coastline on the 21st, probably the last ones to be seen this year?
In July we saw a remarkable number of Mistle Thrushes together, and on the 29th we counted another 9 together heading southeast. Not a packed month I thought but remembering the Spoonbills made it a rewarding one until the last day of the month that all escalated then!

On the morning of the 31st Sarah said to me that she had seen a bird flit over the garden fence into the neighbours, not sure what it was she described the tail as being a red colour, I thought Redstart or Black Redstart, the latter would be new for the garden if it was still hanging around, and sure enough as if on cue the bird flew onto a shed roof and displayed  itself as a Common Redstart, still a lovely bird and only the second one from the garden. I rushed inside to get my camera to get a photograph, it had probably just arrived that morning and as I clicked off a few images it was to be the start of 40 minutes of awesomeness! Not only did it hang around but it began to feed and pose around our garden, over 400 photos later it flew off. What a momentous visit though.

Being a newly arrived bird I thought that I would go and check around the churchyard to see if any other birds had dropped in.
Heading into the churchyard after the episode with the Redstart I was eager to see if maybe a Pied Flycatcher had arrived too. I moved onto the east side and having only been there a minute I saw a bird flit out from under the small yew bush, catch an insect and then zip back in. I picked up on buffish colours on the underparts and thought maybe it was the redstart again, but it was slightly smaller and as it flew out of cover again I immediately saw white in the tail, not a redstart then, and I knew  that I was watching a Red Breasted Flycatcher. Panic set in and I ran straight home, just across the road, to get my camera, this was another species I had seen before and in Trimingham but a photo had eluded me so far. I headed back towards the churchyard and met a fellow birder/friend at that precise moment and eagerly stated "Red Breasted Flycatcher".... we moved on around the church and I located it still in the same yew bush feeding. For the next hour we patiently waited to see this lovely little, elusive and flighty bird move around the trees and give itself up every now and again but it was dull and it kept to darker areas of the trees causing a lot of manual adjustment settings on the camera to be made and a big headache,  happily for me I managed to grab a couple of photographs. It was mentioned that this was the first one to be seen this year which put a silver lining to the day and indeed month.

Plenty to look at in June 2021.

 JUNE 2021

The month got off to a good start with decent weather. The local birds were doing well with producing young, in the garden I was starting to see younger Blue Tits ( the most numerous of new birds) Great Tits, another Robin and a couple of new Blackbirds, everything was lively. Locally on the walks the Yellowhammers were in good song, as were Common Whitethroats and Skylarks, and Blackcaps still collecting food for young. During the first week, from the garden I spotted a Ring Necked Parakeet fly past, and also a pair of Spoonbill heading along the coast. 

_DSC0686-Female Blackcap.jpg
Female Blackcap
On the 10th I watched 2 Little Egrets fly over the garden, this was one of 3 sightings I had of Little Egrets over the next few days around the village flying over, maybe the same birds or birds on the move? We had a couple of Painted Lady butterflies in the garden, and although there was apparently a large movement of them on the continent the numbers didn't get any higher here.
_DSC0458-Painted Lady.jpg
Painted Lady
_DSC0483-Painted Lady.jpg
Dot from next door brought us a freshly emerged moth which she had found in the garden, this turned out to be a lovely Lime Hawk-moth, the wings were only just 8mm in length so it hadn't emerged too long ago, Sarah placed it among one of our Clematis where it clung on under the shelter of the shade. What we didn't expect was just how quickly it then transformed itself into full adult size! Five minutes later Sarah called me to the garden, the wings were now curled up but almost half the length of the moths body, I then went to grab the camera for some photos as it transformed.
_DSC0494-Lime Hawkmoth.jpg
Lime Hawk-moth.
_DSC0504-Lime Hawkmoth.jpg

_DSC0513-Lime Hawkmoth.jpg
It didn't take long for the wings to reach and then stretch beyond the body length.
_DSC0535-Lime Hawkmoth.jpg
This was 12 minutes after the first photograph!
And 24 minutes from the first photo it had finished, wings fully spread out and in it's typical resting position. What an absolute delight watching this progression unfold, and later as it grew dark it departed, wonderful.
_DSC0582-Lime Hawkmoth.jpg
Mid month I spotted a Red Kite from the garden, heading in my direction. I dashed inside to get the camera and hope for it to fly over. On watching it approach I could see that it was holding some form of prey and eating it in flight.
_DSC0946-Red Kite.jpg
As I zoomed in on the image I could see it was the leg of a bird! It continued to slowly circle and approach the garden.
_DSC0951-Red Kite.jpg
On a couple of occasions it dropped the prey as you can see here in these two images, the speed of how it reacted and then caught in mid air was phenomenal! 
I think the prey was possibly a Jackdaw by the size and feather colour before it dispatched it, there are a lot of Jackdaw creche' groups flying around at the moment especially around the church! I can imagine that the group saw the approach of a raptor as a threat and tried to move it on, but a less experienced bird fell victim to the Kite perhaps? When you see corvids mob a bird of prey, the raptor sometimes flip over and faces the aggressor with legs and talons fully stretched to defend itself, so it wouldn't be hard to pick of a inexperienced bird.
_DSC0952-Red Kite.jpg

_DSC0614-Red Admiral.jpg
Going into the second half of the month a lot of people might have noticed a lot of Red Admiral butterflies in their garden. A huge influx of these lovely butterfly was happening around with large numbers being reported, there were 20+ feeding on the Valerian along Church Road. Probably from a new hatching or maybe migrants, they were reported in numbers along upto Titchwell that I know of.
_DSC0731-Red Admiral.jpg
On the 24th of the month I went to photograph Bee Orchids. I had been informed of around a dozen spikes of these lovely plants on waste ground near the end of the village where I had seen a couple of plants a few years ago.
_DSC0844 (2)-Bee Orchid.jpg
_DSC0887 (2)-Bee Orchid.jpg
I actually counted 22 spikes/plants and there were probably a few more hidden, what a great sight to see so many, with the Early Purple orchids earlier in the year it seemed a productive time for the orchids.

_DSC0937 (2)-Bee Orchid.jpg
Bee Orchid.
The fuzzy little bee orchid flowers look like real bees feeding on three pink petals. As bees visit the plant in hopes of mating with the little fake-bees, this bit of bee orchid mimicry ensures the plant is pollinated, as the male bees transfer the pollen to nearby female plants.
_DSC1001 (2)-Bee Orchid.jpg
Back to the garden and it was nice to get Hummingbird Hawk-moths in the garden once again, I never tire of watching these stunning little moths feeding on the flowers.
_DSC1200-Hummingbird Hawkmoth.jpg
_DSC1186-Hummingbird Hawkmoth.jpg
And to finish up what was a great month for wildlife and nature, I even managed to add a new bird species to the garden list...a Gannet !!
I watched it fly along the clifftop from the garden then circle and come back towards me and then later in the day what was presumably the same bird did the same fly past again? If it was a sick bird I would have thought it would be resting on the cliffs or on the water, but it seemed to be in good health and flying/gliding back and forth okay, so was it prospecting new sites for nesting perhaps? These are the highest cliffs in Norfolk along here so maybe, either way it got itself onto the garden bird list which now stands at 115 bird species.
_DSC1107 (2)-Gannet getting mobbed.jpg
_DSC1093 (2)-Gannet.jpg

MAY 2021

 May 2021.

The month was definitely affected by the weather which wasn't great but the birds kept moving through regardless, some of the good birds unfortunately kept inland and I failed to connect with them. The month began with a few Swifts moving west, so nice to see them again, Marsh Harrier also seemed to be coming in along the coast and I saw a female type, don't think I've seen a male bird at Trimingham yet! On the 12th I gratefully found a Lesser Redpoll singing in the tree behind my garden, a new species for the garden and for the patch no less.
_DSC0319-Lesser Redpoll.jpg
Lesser Redpoll
House Martins started to pass through as the month neared halfway, a Spoonbill flew past the house, Little Egret over the fields, it almost felt like May was going to finally get going but it didn't manage to really. What I was looking out for were Golden Orioles, a super beautiful bird, and it seemed a large movement of them was taking place across europe and heading west, numerous birds were seen along the coast and as close as Sidestrand but I think they were taking a route inland and missing this corner of the coast? 
One morning whilst walking the dogs Sarah and I picked up on a Osprey flying over Woodlands which had just previously been seen flying in at Sidestrand, it wasn't long before it was being mobbed by the corvids as it headed inland. Cuckoos were being reported and heard at numerous localities but I am still waiting to hear my first one of the year. 2 Chinese Water deer hidden in a crop field was a nice sight, there seems to be good numbers of Roe deer around too.
The local Tawny Owl was again calling during the day and a Whimbrel calling at night was a lovely sound, numerous bats flew along the lanes early evening, when it wasn't bad weather that is.
Whitethroats had set up territory at numerous locations around the village and hopefully will have a good year, just one Lesser Whitethroat was seen mind you. Blackcaps sang, seemingly all the time and everywhere! Lovely to hear them singing every morning alongside the Chiffchaff.
At the end of the month I turned to photographing birds at the garden feeders, in full summer plumage some of the common garden birds looked stunning, and young birds were starting to be seen too.
The pink flush on the male Chaffinch is lovely, and the Goldfinch just looks stunning in the sun.

Blackbirds seemed to be having a good season, I had seen a couple of young birds around the garden, alongside these I noticed young Robin and Goldfinch.
The young Goldfinch have the same golden wingbars but they lack the obvious red on the head.
This young Robin kept hidden a lot of the time, very mottled on the feathering but nowhere near ready for that red breast.
This year has been great to watch a pair of House Sparrows visit the garden feeders regularly, now nesting in nearby roof eaves the adults still visited to re-energise on the feeders. The male I think has beautiful colouration, the female may be drab next to the male but still has lovely patterning. 
_DSC0533-House Sparrow.jpg

_DSC0618-House Sparrow.jpg
Talk about colour! How bright do the male Greenfinches look at the moment.
Mothing has been a wash out this spring, many inland locations have been spared the cold weather we have had on the coast here and their tallies of moth species show that, I won't be chasing the target I set last year that's for sure, but I am slowly seeing a few more species when I manage to trap.