18th May 2014 - Cliffe

Despite hearing many Nightingale in different places, I was yet to actually see one in 2014.  Therefore a quick trip to Cliffe Pools was in order to hopefully finally see one.  In Nightingale song terms, it was a lot lot quieter than the previous visit.  Again I was hearing the birds and not seeing them and had completely given up on seeing one and was just enjoying the glorious day.  However, we then turned a corner and got views of two great Nightingale - woo!

The number of Whitethroat was ridiculous, with a count of around 25.  A surprise was also the two Black-winged Stilt, our third and fourth for the year. Great birds.  Baby Long-tailed Tit were wonderful to watch, flitting about and a Cuckoo just by the car was an excellent end to the short trip.

Green Hairstreak
Baby Avocet
Black-winged Stilt
Trip list: 40
Year list: 175
Lifers of year list: 8

17th May 2014 - Weeting Heath, Lynford Arboretum and Cley

Off to Norfolk again but this time we hadn't really thought about what we were going to see.  The first stop we ended up at was Weeting Heath to hopefully see some Stone Curlew when there wasn't a ridiculous heat haze.  Heading to the hide we saw a great little bird, a first for the year, the Spotted Flycatcher.  There were also a couple of Goldcrest.  Looking out from the hide we soon saw a Stone-curlew which funnily enough, are much more active when it's not boiling hot!  Unfortunately the chick was nowhere to be seen.

Then it was on to Lynford Arboretum for yet another attempt to see the Two-barred Crossbill.  Funnily enough, yet again we didn't connect.  Never mind!  I was happy within 2 minutes of arriving - a family of Treecreeper took care of that.  What an excellent bird.  A few more Goldcrest were around and also our first UK Firecrest for two years.  A few Siskin were calling and there were Spotted Flycatcher abound.  A couple of Crossbill caused some excitement but they were quickly confirmed as Common.  After a Nuthatch, Pied Wagtail and Coal Tit we decided to move on.

Green Woodpecker
Cley was next, and last, on our trip.  For a short time there, we did quite well with 29 species.  Stuart also managed to procure a new set of binoculars from the small Cley Spy shop.  There were two of my favourite ducks, Pintail and others including Gadwall and Teal.  A Kestrel and Reed Warbler completed the list and we headed back to London.

Greylag Goose
Common Sandpiper and Shelduck
Trip list: 40
Year list: 174
Lifers of year list: 8

5th May 2014 - Holme & Titchwell Marsh

Dotterel have been on our to see list for nearly 3 years now so when they were continually appeared on the alerts as being up in Norfolk, we ummed and ahhed for only a short while before making the slightly ridiculous day trip up.  Of course, the day we decided to go was the day they decided not to be there, reappearing the next day.  Thanks guys.

Instead, we had a great day out at Holme and Titchwell Marsh.  Upon arriving at Holme we went down to the beach in the hope of seeing something fun, but there were only a couple of Sandwich Tern and a large flock of Common Scoter to see.  Back on the reserve however, there were a great number of birds including Whimbrel, Sparrowhawk and lots of Avocet.  There were plenty of goslings for me to aw over.

We then headed into the NWT reserve to see if we could find the pair of Turtle Dove that had apparently been displaying that morning.  As soon as we reached the paddocks area we could hear purring and it was not long before both of the birds were visible, a great sight.  To add to this a Cuckoo was sat in a tree not far from the Turtle Dove, and another was calling off into the trees.

Reed Bunting
It was then to Titchwell Marsh for a walk around.  As usual the place was glorious, with a great year lister to start with, Red-crested Pochard.  On a little further and we were stopped short by a Cuckoo flying in front of us, then I had the closest ever views of a Little Tern I had ever had.  So cute.  Plenty of Brent Goose were about with Canada Goose and Greylag Goose also present.  A stunning male Pintail was close to the shore although he later completely disappeared and there were tiny Mallard ducklings a few feet away from me, from which I had to be physically restrained.  Apparently I'm not allowed to take one home.

Is this a Lily Beetle?
On the field behind there were a couple of Grey Plover in lovely plumage and a flock of gorgeous orangey Turnstone flew in as we were moving on.  However, we didn't even make it to the first hide as an alert came in for a Subalpine Warbler at Holme and it was straight back to the car and back to Holme.  45 species in half an hour is pretty great though!

We joined the twitch at Holme only to find out the bird hadn't been seen for an hour.  After a bit of peering into bushes we realised we had to get back on the road and reluctantly returned to London.  A great, but tiring day out in Norfolk.

Trip list: 60
Year list: 170
Lifers of year list: 8

4th May 2014 - Kensington Gardens

We made  a quick jaunt to Kensington Gardens in the hope of catching up with both the Tawny Owl and Little Owl.  Despite numerous trips, I have never seen the Little Owl and this was still the case today.  However the Tawny Owl was sat at the top of his tree, shaded a little by the leaves but still great to see.  We didn't spend too long in the park but there were also Blackcap and Mandarin amongst other species.

Tawny Owl

Trip list: 16
Year list: 166
Lifers of year list: 8