Showing posts from 2015

Gulls At Play

Let's Play Fetch (or as Herring Gulls call it, 'Drop-Retrieve') Little did I know I was going to Herring Gull playschool when I popped down to Walcott a couple of weeks ago. I was intending to watch the migration flypast , but got a little distracted by the antics of a group of this year's young Herring Gulls, and most entertaining it was too! The bell for start of playschool seemed to be an adult with a crab who was willing to give it up to the youngsters, it was like getting your mini bottle of milk to start off the session. Once the crab had been 'seen to' a group of a dozen or so young birds decided it was time for a game of drop-retrieve. Some picked up a favourite stone, others a bunch of seaweed, then proceeded to drop it from about a metre above the water and dive in after it. There was no attempt to catch it before it hit the water, that would be drop-catch, not drop-retrieve. A crab is a gull's mini bottle milk to start playschool

A #30DaysWild Ride Home

It took me almost an hour to get home yesterday, day 12 of #30DaysWild. I regularly cycle to work and normally it takes 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the wind direction. Yesterday it was almost an hour in only a light breeze.  It wasn't a puncture, or the choice of a longer route that made me take much longer, no, it was all the wild distractions, so many brilliant encounters that are great for #30DaysWild which is an initiative for June being encouraged by  The Wildlife Trusts  . So here is the story of 'My #30DaysWild ride Home'. When I left work I started a list in my head of bird species I saw or heard on the journey; Woodpigeon, Herring Gull, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Jay, Dunnock, Greenfinch, Whitethroat, Wren, Jackdaw and I had barely gone 400m. I paused on the bridge over the river Yare to check out the fish (obviously inspired by the hero of this year's Springwatch, Spineless Si). There were lots of fry and some bigger fish too, guessing

Fifty Shades of Grey, Cley Style!

There was a touch of Fifty Shades of Grey about Cley the other day, and not just in the sky.  Despite the grey, murky weather the Cley wild things were gearing up for spring, the crossover, when briefly a bit of winter and summer collide.  There are still plenty of geese about, Brents mainly and a few Greylag. It's as if every grey that was in their feathers had been picked from the sky's palette.  The Wigeon are not thinking about heading East yet back to the breeding grounds, and are just focusing on looking and sounding gorgeous. They do pretty well on both counts. This lot of Wigeon were set up by a cruising Marsh Harrier, who was looking to impress his girl with a nice juicy duck breast. Pinging could be heard coming from the reed bed as the Bearded Tits flirt. I had hoped they might show out on the path to pick up grit but I had to make do with a pair of Reed Bunting instead. Still cute though, even the blurry female. Oystercatchers were line dan

Why Blue Tits are like Snowboarders & the Brilliant Thing about Gardens in Winter.

The days are short in January and leaves very little time for birding during the working week, but its not all gloom and doom because there's a lot going on if you just take a few minutes to look out of the window. Winter is a great time for watching birds, not only for the big spectacles out on the marshes be they salt or grazing marshes, but also for those birds that get driven by hunger into your garden at this time of year. Chris Packham described it as the "hunger gap" which starts in late January, early February and is when the birds are finding it more difficult to source a good meal in the 'wilds' beyond the garden boundaries. All sorts of species start to sneak in if you put out some treats and wait, some in quite large numbers. I had twenty-four Blackbirds, just like the nursery rhyme, in my tiny garden all at one time last February. There's a Blackcap back in my garden at the moment. Could it be the same one as last year, I like to think so. His M