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July 2007

Previous months: January 2007 ; February 2007 ; March 2007 ; April 2007 ; May 2007 ; June 2007


Tuesday 31st July

Summer has arrived at last - hope it doesn't stay too long as I don't like the heat! Spent lunch at Holkham Park today: a Grey Wagtail was the highlight.

Tufted Duck, Holkham Park, 31-Jul-07 Tufted Duck, Holkham Park, 31-Jul-07

Tufted Ducks, Holkham Park, 31st July 2007


Grey Wagtail, Holkham Park, 31-Jul-07



Grey Wagtail, Holkham Park, 31st July 2007


Monday 30th July

Went back to Flitcham at lunchtime to see if the Stoats were performing again. They weren't, and nor was anything else. Only interesting observation was a Pink-footed Goose among the Greylags - an escape, or a wild bird that got left behind?

Shelduck, Flitchamm, 30-Jul-07  

juvenile Shelduck, Flitcham, 30th July 2007


Sunday 29th July

Had a couple of hours or so at Sparham Pools this morning, but bird-wise it was extremely quiet - even most of the common birds were keeping hidden and silent. A couple of Kingfishers were best of a small bunch. Insect-wise it was a little more interesting.

In previous years I've only seen Brown Hawkers in the Broads area, but in previous years I've not watched the Wensum Valley much, so I wasn't sure if they were supposed to occur here or not. After a couple of recent glimpses of what seemed to be this species a more obliging individual allowed me to get a better view today. In the same area a couple of Red-eyed Damselfly sp. were present. The male was clearly a Small Red-eyed Damselfly and I assumed the female or young male that was with it was the same specices. This species is rapidly spreading northwards across Europe and eight years ago there hadn't been a single record anywhere in the UK. Within 2-3 years of the first record, large numbers were being seen across the whole of the SE of England, including Norfolk. I've no idea whether or not they're already known to be established locally, but this was another new species for the valley for me.

Back at home I checked the identification of the female-type individual, as much as anything because I've rarely seen the females and have little experience identifying them. To my surprise, a number of features seem to make this a (large) Red-eyed Damselfly, not a Small Red-eyed Damselfly. This species likes pools with plenty of lilies and although there are a few lilies at Sparham Pools, there aren't many that I'm aware of and I've never seen any Red-eyed Damselflies on them (although admittedly, I've not visited here much since Red-eyed Damsels have been out). At a site where I haven't seen either species before and wasn't aware that they are known to occur (though that doesn't mean they don't), at a location a good few metres from the water (unusual for either species in my experience), the chances of two individuals belonging to different species seems quite low.

Small Red-eyed Damselfly, Sparham Pools, 29-Jul-07 Small Red-eyed Damselfly, Sparham Pools, 29-Jul-07

male Small Red-eyed Damselfly, Sparham Pools, 29th July 2007


Red-eyed Damselfly, Sparham Pools, 29-Jul-07 Brown Hawker, Sparham Pools, 29-Jul-07

teneral male (or perhaps female?) Red-eyed Damselfly (left) and Brown Hawker (right), Sparham Pools, 29th July 2007. The all-dark legs and short antehumeral stripes appear to make this a Red-eyed Damselfly, despite the fact that it was a few inches away from the male Small Red-eyed Damselfly.


Saturday 28th July

Having so far completely failed to find Spotted Flycatcher in any of the areas I regularly bird within my 5 km circle I decided to give Bawdeswell Heath and Bylaugh Water Treatment Works a go this morning, both containing perfectly good habitat for this once-common but now fast-declining species. There were a couple of Grey Wagtails at Bylaugh, but despite the site holding everything a Spotted Flycatcher could possibly want, no luck with the target bird.

A stroll round Bintree Woods produced Willow Tits calling, another species once common but now rather rare. They were too far in to see and although I can't be certain there were more than two, it sounded like several. Bintree Woods is the only site I know of this side of Fakenham where this species can be found now. A pair of Chinese Water Deer in the valley between the wood and North Elmham were unexpected - I didn't realise they were in the Wensum Valley, though I suppose it's not greatly surprising.

I wasn't particularly expecting to see the next bird at Bintree Woods as I've checked this site since they should have arrived for the summer, but I was very pleased when up popped the morning's target bird: a Spotted Flycatcher (at last).

Spotted Flycatcher, Bintree Woods, 28-Jul-07 Spotted Flycatcher, Bintree Woods, 28-Jul-07
Spotted Flycatcher, Bintree Woods, 28-Jul-07 Spotted Flycatcher, Bintree Woods, 28-Jul-07

Spotted Flycatcher, Bintree Woods, 28th July 2007


Peacock, Bintree Woods, 28-Jul-07 Gatekeeper, Bintree Woods, 28-Jul-07

Peacock (left) and Gatekeeper (right), Bintree Woods, 28th July 2007


Helophilus sp., Bintree Woods, 28-Jul-07 Southern Hawker, Bintree Woods, 28-Jul-07

Helophilus sp. (hoverfly) (left) and Southern Hawker (right), Bintree Woods, 28th July 2007


Essex Skipper, Bintree Woods, 28-Jul-07  

Essex Skipper, Bintree Woods, 28th July 2007


Friday 27th July

Saw a rare bird today - Yellow Wagtail - in the same spot as yesterday's Monty's. OK, so they're not really rare, but they are declining fast and I haven't had a good look at one on the deck for ages. Unfortunately it was more interested in getting run over than having its photo taken - the only decent views were through the front windscreen. Moths this evening included Red Twin-spot Carpet, Spectacle, Dingy Footman, another Dwarf Cream Wave and a small moth which looks vaguely familiar but which I can't identify... please let me know if you can identify it! (Update - thanks to Tony Morris for identifying it - it's Evergestis pallidata).

Yellow Wagtail, N of Stanhoe, 27-Jul-07 Evergestis pallidata, Bawdeswell, 27-Jul-07

Yellow Wagtail, between Stanhoe and Brancaster Staithe, 27th July 2007


Evergestis pallidata, Bawdeswell, 27th July 2007


Dwarf Cream Wave, Bawdeswell, 27-Jul-07 Small Blood-veins, Bawdeswell, 27-Jul-07

Dwarf Cream Wave (left) and Small Blood-veins (right), Bawdeswell, 27th July 2007


Thursday 26th July

On the way back to work from lunch at Brancaster Staithe, a superb male Montagu's Harrier flew over the road in front of me (minor road somewhere between there and Stanhoe). All too brief, but a cracking bird while it lasted. Perhaps a failed breeder from the regular site not a million miles away.

Black-headed Gull, Brancaster Staithe, 26-Jul-07  

juvenile Black-headed Gull, Brancaster Staithe, 26th July 2007


Wednesday 25th July

My 57th species of bird for my house flew over as I parked this evening - a Cormorant. My first summer in the house has failed to produce the hoped for surge in my house list - I've seen more species of moth in my bedroom than birds outside it.


Tuesday 24th July

Nothing to report today (the Stoats weren't so obliging) so instead here's someone else's YouTube video clip of the famous shoplifting Herring Gull from Aberdeen: (click here to see it).


Monday 23rd July

A family of Stoats provided lunchtime entertainment at Flitcham today. They were having their lunch too - Rabbit pie was on the menu for them. Unfortunately I was either too slow or looking through too much vegetation to get any decent photos, but I'll try again tomorrow perhaps.

Some interesting moths last night, but unfortunately the last couple of nights there's been incredible numbers of mosquitos coming in with the moths and it takes me half the night to get rid of them before I can sleep. A Bordered Pug was a new one for me, the Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet would have been a second-generation moth and another Dingy Footman belonged to the straw-coloured form stramineola. Usually when I find new moths that I've not identified before I check the Status notes in the book and it says "common". If it says anything else it usually means that I've made a mistake but I can't turn today's "local" moth into anything else but a Dwarf Cream Wave. I suppose "local" doesn't mean it's not common round here, just that it's not common everywhere. I'm sure Andy will tell me if I've got it wrong anyway.

Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, Bawdeswell, 23-Jul-07 Dwarf Cream Wave, Bawdeswell, 23-Jul-07

Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet (left) and Dwarf Cream Wave (right), Bawdeswell, 23rd July 2007


Dingy Footman, Bawdeswell, 22-Jul-07 Bordered Pug, Bawdeswell, 22-Jul-07

Dingy Footman f. stramineola (left) and Bordered Pug (right), Bawdeswell, 22nd July 2007


Stoat, Flitcham, 23-Jul-07 Stoat, Flitcham, 23-Jul-07
Stoat, Flitcham, 23-Jul-07  

Stoats (with a Rabbit), Flitcham, 23rd July 2007


Sunday 22nd July

Once the rain lifted I had a good look round Swanton Morley. As the sun came out, so did the birds - nearly every bush seemed to be alive with warblers. Very enjoyable, although mostly basic stuff really - kept me entertained for over four hours anyway. Just as I was getting in the car to leave, I lifted my bins to check a Swift and there behind it, high up in the sky, was a raptor which soon revealed itself to be a Honey-Buzzard. Not only a Honey-Buzzard but a displaying Honey-Buzzard! Over the next few minutes I was treated to a marvellous spectacle of wing-clapping as the Honey-Buzzard put on one of the best performances I've ever seen.

Honey-Buzzards are very rare breeding birds in the UK (much commoner in Europe) and there's only one site in the county where they are known to occur at the moment. That site is Great Ryburgh, in the Wensum Valley but just outside my patch. I've often thought I would stand a good chance of picking up one of these birds distantly from Bintree Woods, though with all the miserable weather we've had lately I haven't had many opportunities to try. To see one wandering this far was quite a surprise.

The Honey-Buzzard was also my 100th species at Swanton Morley so far this year.

Chiffchaff, Swanton Morley, 22-Jul-07 Sedge Warbler, Swanton Morley, 22-Jul-07

Chiffchaff (left) and Sedge Warbler (right), Swanton Morley, 22nd July 2007


Blackcap, Swanton Morley, 22-Jul-07 Blackcap, Swanton Morley, 22-Jul-07

male (left) and female or juvenile (right) Blackcaps, Swanton Morley, 22nd July 2007


Great Crested Grebe, Swanton Morley, 22-Jul-07 Great Crested Grebe, Swanton Morley, 22-Jul-07

juvenile Great Crested Grebe, Swanton Morley, 22nd July 2007


Little Grebe, Swanton Morley, 22-Jul-07 Little Grebe, Swanton Morley, 22-Jul-07

Little Grebe, Swanton Morley, 22nd July 2007


Mute Swan, Swanton Morley, 22-Jul-07 Mute Swan, Swanton Morley, 22-Jul-07

adult Mute Swan, Swanton Morley, 22nd July 2007


Mute Swan, Swanton Morley, 22-Jul-07 Pochard, Swanton Morley, 22-Jul-07

Mute Swan cygnet (left) and male Pochard (right), Swanton Morley, 22nd July 2007


Red Admiral, Swanton Morley, 22-Jul-07 Gatekeeper, Swanton Morley, 22-Jul-07

Red Admiral (left) and Gatekeeper (right), Swanton Morley, 22nd July 2007


Cormorant, Swanton Morley, 22-Jul-07 Woodpigeon, Swanton Morley, 22-Jul-07

Cormorant (left) and Woodpigeon (right), Swanton Morley, 22nd July 2007


Banded Demoiselle, Swanton Morley, 22-Jul-07  

female Banded Demoiselle, Swanton Morley, 22nd July 2007


Saturday 21st July

What happened to the last month? Realised I'd not visited Sparham Pools for over a month so popped down this evening between showers. A Common Sandpiper was struggling to find any suitable edges to settle on and a Grey Wagtail flew over.

Apologies for the boring Blackbird and practically hidden Reed Warbler, but I need a fix of bird photos after all those moths and these were the best I could manage.

Reed Warbler, Sparham Pools, 21-Jul-07 Reed Warbler, Sparham Pools, 21-Jul-07

Reed Warbler, Sparham Pools, 21st July 2007


juvenile Blackbird, Bawdeswell, 21st July 2007


Marsh Woundwort, Sparham Pools, 21-Jul-07  

Marsh Woundwort, Sparham Pools, 21st July 2007


Thursday 19th July

Thanks Andy for correcting the Footman ID (Dingy Footman is a new species for me, though it should be common) and for confirming the Endotricha.

Large Yellow Underwing, Bawdeswell, 19-Jul-07 Dingy Footman, Bawdeswell, 19-Jul-07

Large Yellow Underwing (left) and Dingy Footman (right), Bawdeswell, 19th July 2007. The latter had just had a bath with my wife - I'm not quite sure which one it was I was rescuing, the moth or Vitty...


Endotricha flammealis, Bawdeswell, 19-Jul-07  

Endotricha flammealis, Bawdeswell, 19th July 2007


Tuesday 17th July

Fan-foot, Bawdeswell, 17-Jul-07  

Fan-foot, Bawdeswell, 17th July 2007


Sunday 15th July

Top tip for the day: next time your wife asks you to help cook burgers and sausages for 250 people, say no.

Not much time for birding after that, so here are a couple of moths that came in last night. The Small Fan-footed Wave was the first for the year and I think the other one is probably another Bee Moth - can anyone confirm?

Small Fan-footed Wave, Bawdeswell, 14-Jul-07 Bee Moth?, Bawdeswell, 14-Jul-07

Small Fan-footed Wave (left) and presumed Bee Moth (right), Bawdeswell, 14th July 2007

Yesterday's Junco wasn't seen today but an intriguing report concerns a possible Dark-eyed Junco seen briefly on the coast at Waxham this morning. The same bird leaving the country? Or a mini-influx?

(Update: apparently it was a mini-influx, another bird was reported from Terrington on 14th. How very bizarre.)


Saturday 14th July

A couple of weeks ago Britain's first ever Yellow-nosed Albatross was discovered exhausted on a Somerset beach. It was taken into care and released the following morning, but unfortunately the rescue centre concerned failed to make anyone in the birding community aware of this momentous discovery until it was too late. Unfortunate for us that is, but unfortunate for them too, as had they charged us for viewing it I reckon they could easily have made a few grand out of it. Presumably it headed on up the Bristol Channel and then overland, for what must surely have been the same bird was swimming and flying around some fishing lakes in North Lincolnshire a couple of days later. The local fishermen obtained some fantastic photos but again, sadly, they too failed to recognise the potential to swell their coffers and they didn't alert the birding community either. This must have been particularly painful for the local birders, one of whom was standing 150 metres away at the time. The next sighting of what may well have been the same bird was in the strait between Sweden and Denmark, and meanwhile a different individual has been seen several times off the Norway coast. An incredible sequence of events for a southern oceans species which has hardly ever before been witnessed in the north-east Atlantic (I only knew of one previous claim, also off Norway, but a few more seem to be creeping out of the woodwork now).

In the light of this I was tempted to trot up to Sheringham for a seawatch but in the end I decided that if Lincolnshire fishing lakes could host an albatross then so could the fishing lakes at Swanton Morley. Yeah right. 3 Teal was the best I could muster up.

Song Thrush, Swanton Morley, 14-Jul-07 Hoverfly, Swanton Morley, 14-Jul-07

Song Thrush (left) and Hoverfly Volucella pellucens (right), Swanton Morley, 14th July 2007


Common Darter, Swanton Morley, 14-Jul-07 Common Darter, Swanton Morley, 14-Jul-07

Common Darter, Swanton Morley, 14th July 2007. I'd love you to think that I'd skillfully captured this in flight, but in reality the only thing this was captured in was a (hard to see) spiders web.


Banded Demoiselle, Swanton Morley, 14-Jul-07 Ringlet, Swanton Morley, 14-Jul-07

Banded Demoiselle (left) and Ringlet (right), Swanton Morley, 14th July 2007

I was just about to sit down to lunch when the pager brought me news of a first for Norfolk in someone's back garden in the village of Langham. Twenty minutes later (I took a wrong turn) I was watching a splendid Dark-eyed Junco, a vagrant from North America. Unfortunately I'd left in such a hurry that I just grabbed my camera bag without noticing the camera wasn't in it, but views would have been too brief to get anything much anyway. It remained all afternoon, though only showing occasionally, so I returned to get some photos later on.

Dark-eyed Junco, Langham, 14-Jul-07  

Dark-eyed Junco (aka Slate-coloured Junco), Langham, 14th July 2007


Monday 9th July

Can anyone tell me how to pronounce Riband Wave? Is it Rye-band Rib-and or more like Ribboned? I really ought to find out as it seems to be the commonest moth round here (it used to be when I lived in Norwich too).

Riband Moth, Bawdeswell, 9-Jul-07  

Riband Moth, Bawdeswell, 9th July 2007


Saturday 7th July

Water levels are high at Titchwell and so I feared the group I was helping with would find little to see but it wasn't all that bad really. Waders included 8 Spotted Redshanks in summer finery and a female Red-crested Pochard was seen by at least some of us. An Arctic Skua flew in close enough to allow even those without scopes to enjoy it.

Spotted Redshanks, Titchwell, 7-Jul-07 Moorhens, Titchwell, 7-Jul-07

Spotted Redshanks (left) and adult and chick Moorhens (right), Titchwell, 7th July 2007


Tuesday 3rd July

Common Poppies, Barrow Common, 3-Jul-07 Dark Arches, Bawdeswell, 3-Jul-07

Common Poppies, near Barrow Common, 3rd July 2007

Dark Arches, Bawdeswell, 3rd July 2007


Monday 2nd July

Moorhen, South Creake, 2-Jul-07  

Moorhen chick, South Creake, 2nd July 2007


Sunday 1st July

Too much rain this morning to see any birds at Swanton Morley - dry when I left home, chucking it down five minutes later and didn't relent for the next hour. Should have left it a while as later on it cleared up a bit. A Swallow-tailed Moth this evening was my first of the year.

Swallow-tailed Moth, Bawdeswell, 1-Jul-07  

Swallow-tailed Moth, Bawdeswell, 1st July 2007


Previous months: January 2007 ; February 2007 ; March 2007 ; April 2007 ; May 2007 ; June 2007

Next month: August 2007

Current month


Should anyone care about my 5 km circle year-list, I've still only seen (or heard) 114 species within 5 km of my home at Bawdeswell (birds marked with an asterisk * are new this month):

  • Mute Swan
  • Greylag Goose
  • Canada Goose
  • Barnacle Goose
  • Egyptian Goose
  • Shelduck
  • Gadwall
  • Teal
  • Mallard
  • Shoveler
  • Pochard
  • Tufted Duck
  • Goldeneye
  • Goosander
  • Red-legged Partridge
  • Grey Partridge
  • Pheasant
  • Little Grebe
  • Great Crested Grebe
  • Cormorant
  • Shag
  • Little Egret
  • Grey Heron
  • Honey-Buzzard
  • Red Kite
  • Marsh Harrier
  • Sparrowhawk
  • Buzzard
  • Kestrel
  • Hobby
  • Peregrine
  • Water Rail
  • Moorhen
  • Coot
  • Oystercatcher
  • Little Ringed Plover
  • Golden Plover
  • Lapwing
  • Snipe
  • Woodcock
  • Bar-tailed Godwit
  • Green Sandpiper
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Black-headed Gull
  • Common Gull
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull
  • Herring Gull
  • Great Black-backed Gull
  • Common Tern
  • Stock Dove
  • Woodpigeon
  • Collared Dove
  • Turtle Dove
  • Cuckoo
  • Barn Owl
  • Little Owl
  • Tawny Owl
  • Swift
  • Kingfisher
  • Green Woodpecker
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker
  • Skylark
  • Sand Martin
  • Swallow
  • House Martin
  • Meadow Pipit
  • Grey Wagtail
  • Pied Wagtail
  • Wren
  • Dunnock
  • Robin
  • Wheatear
  • Ring Ouzel
  • Blackbird
  • Fieldfare
  • Song Thrush
  • Redwing
  • Mistle Thrush
  • Cetti's Warbler
  • Sedge Warbler
  • Reed Warbler
  • Lesser Whitethroat
  • Whitethroat
  • Garden Warbler
  • Blackcap
  • Chiffchaff
  • Willow Warbler
  • Goldcrest
  • Spotted Flycatcher *
  • Long-tailed Tit
  • Marsh Tit
  • Willow Tit
  • Coal Tit
  • Blue Tit
  • Great Tit
  • Nuthatch
  • Treecreeper
  • Jay
  • Magpie
  • Jackdaw
  • Rook
  • Carrion Crow
  • Starling
  • House Sparrow
  • Chaffinch
  • Brambling
  • Greenfinch
  • Goldfinch
  • Siskin
  • Linnet
  • Lesser Redpoll
  • Bullfinch
  • Yellowhammer
  • Reed Bunting



  • Blue-winged Goose
  • Chiloe Wigeon
  • Night Heron