Photo Diary 5

November 3rd - 7th


However, there is a sour note to the sighting of this bird!  I thought the discovery by Sally was worth mentioning to Steve Smith of Yare Valley Wildlife, in case it was of local interest, but on the proviso the local ringer (P. Noakes) was not informed as this is an individual who will stop and nothing to ring any bird he can get in his mist nets, as he does in his garden and elsewhere in Burgh Castle, an activity which is inconsequential and antiquated and carried out by one of many hobbyist collectors, who have no scientific knowledge (see BTO’s website for acceptance criteria to become a ringer), let alone ethical science practices in the UK.  

Nevertheless Mr. Smith directly sent a Tweet to Mr. Noakes, ignoring totally what I had requested and he then went on to inform me that Mr. Noakes is involved with running Yare Valley Wildlife, something else he failed to mention, knowing my stance on the tagging of birds!

Anyone with a basic grasp of population dynamics will know that any data (which in terms of ringing returns is minute), is totally ‘by the by’ without habitat.  There is also enough scientific evidence now to clearly show that practices involving capture-tag and release are detrimental to animals (e.g. metal and colour rings (multiple in most instances!), tags, bill shields (usually on ducks) and neck collars) and the laws of physics prove that, let alone mate-recognition etc!

Observation of ‘presence and absence’ is not rocket science and is an ethical and contributory practice in assessing our wildlife, without the need of interference by the BTO and their recruitment of their amateur (at best!) ‘workforce’.  Indeed, who oversees the BTO?!

These practices need to cease, now!  Individuals supposed to support wildlife are actually destroying it or handicapping it at best.  We once accepted Fox-hunting as a traditional ‘sport’, too many people are still accepting this particular malpractice, (which has repercussions to the animals) as important scientific data; it bloody well isn’t!

*Be careful who you report wildlife to, especially those that serve themselves and do not respect the biotic and abiotic aspects of our environment, which we all depend upon!


Burgh Castle Hoopoe, but beware who you inform about wildlife!


A Hoopoe was found feeding on the grass verge, along the approach road to Marina Park, Burgh Castle (3rd) by my good friend Sally Clarke; a marvellous find!  My friend Jason Nichols looked for the Hoopoe the following day (4th) but could not find it.

A subsequent search (5th) by Jason saw the Hoopoe fly up from the grass verges along Lord’s Lane, Bradwell and his one and only photo of it with his camera and ‘small’ lens captured the image below.

Hoopoe, 'Photo of evidence' by Jason Nichols

An overcast Norfolk coast, but a 'hat-trick' of Egrets......


Another dull Thursday (7th) with showers, but a welcome ‘outing’ with Jason Nichols along the Norfolk coast nevertheless.

With not too much of note at Salthouse and at Cley’s Beach Road (except for Brent Geese), we moved on the Morston Quay.  Brent Geese were also present here, as were one each of Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Redshank and Curlew!  A Little Egret was also present.

From, the lay-by on the A149 overlooking the marshes at Burnham Overy. Some ‘white dots’ could be seen alongside the cattle.  These were the 8 Cattle Egrets being reported from the area for some time and also close by was a Great White Egret, making a ‘hat-trick’ of egrets for the day, which, although is a far more commonplace feat in Norfolk nowadays, is still good to see.  46 Barnacles were also counted here alongside Pink-footed Geese.

No sign of the Long-tailed Duck reported from Burnham Overy Staithe but 9 Ringed Plovers, Little Egret and a Great Black-backed Gull were of note.

Our usual lunch spot at Brancaster Staithe held a few waders; Turnstone, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Curlew and 3 Bar-tailed Godwits, but human activity here is getting beyond a joke, with people (on this occasion a ‘teacher’ led school party) walking along and through the channel putting up all the feeding birds for no purposeful reason that I could see and I should know having taught at a number of levels (sorry, beginning to sound like ‘Birds of the Heath’!).  A Little Egret and a male Marsh Harrier (to the disdain of the Wigeon!) were also seen.


DSC_2531 DSC_2544

On the way back along the coast, another Great White Egret was seen flying over Holkham Freshmarsh (what is going on here, deforestation etc?!) and 2 Common Buzzards were also of note.

A stop at Felbrigg Hall saw a Muntjac appear, that is until people and their dogs appeared and a 20+ strong Titmice flock, containing 11 Long-tailed passed through the trees.  3 Greenfinch, Jay and a calling Nuthatch ended an overcast but far from dull day out with Mr. Nichols (without any ‘teething issues’ this time!).

Cattle Egrets with Cattle

A juvenile Cormorant against a grey sky at Salthouse