Tag Archives: RSPB

Demons Of The Swamp Vol.3

Fans of The Cramps will get the title and if you don’t like The Cramps a. What is wrong with you? b. Why are we friends? Maybe we’re not.

Anyway, a blog post. First in a year? Does anyone still read blogs? If so read on.

Yesterday I went on my first twitch in absolutely ages. What did I twitch? A Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio, some call it Western Swamphen, I still prefer Purple Gallinule. Will it ever be accepted onto the BOU British List? I doubt it but then Chinese Pond Heron made so maybe.

Anyway one arriving at RSPB Minsmere we were soon watching Sizewell B Nuclear Power Station. I mean the Swampmonster.


Sizewell B


Purple Swamphen


Purple Swamphen

After a while of watching the Swampdonkey walk round a pool a sort of purple haze descends on a man and it was time to head off to the visitor centre to buy some china tea cloths or something and a coffee and bacon butty.

Around the centre, as well as the stench of composting toilets, are lots of Buddleia bushes. These attracted a steady stream of insects and a steady stream of photographers.


Migrant Hawker


Migrant Hawker


Migrant Hawker


Peacock & Red Admiral

By now we needed to see more birds and better insects so yomped a whole 300m to look at the Stone Curlew, two adults and a chick. Can’t be too many places you can see Purple Gallinule and Stone Curlew in the same reserve.

Back towards the centre we dipped Pantaloon Bee but scored with the Beewolves and a bonus if somewhat shy Purple Hairstreak.






Purple Hairstreak

We finished our day watching a pair of Honey Buzzard put on a full flight display over Westwood Lodge at Walberswick. The three lifers in the day Brian Moore’s granddaughter Rosie certainly hit a purple patch!

All photos were either iPhonescoped (still or 4K video) or taken using the camera on the iPhone 6S. Stills from video were taken using the StillShot app.





Blade Runner Birding

This morning I headed back North for another bash at the Yellow-rumped Warbler at High Shincliffe in Co. Durham. Our car consisted of Brian Moore, Dave Gray and me and we rendezvoused with John Walters, Colin Green and Steve James for a McDonalds breakfast at Markham Moor before heading North. We passed through a snow storm near Scotch Corner but otherwise things weren’t too bad and we made our destination by 08.00.

Thankfully the Yellow-rumped Warbler was on show as we arrived and despite the Baltic conditions we enjoyed it for well over an hour. It never gave itself up for photos though. Here’s a rubbishy video grab.


Yellow-rumped Warbler… Honest!

After having our fill we headed off to RSPB Saltholme. A cracking reserve in a very Blade Runner like landscape. The reserve staff were welcoming and we soon got ourselves into the café for a coffee and in my case a sausage bun*. Out on the reserve we failed with the Green-winged Teal (and dipped it again later) but the birds and landscapes kept us entertained.


Little Egret, RSPB Saltholme


Middlesborough Transporter Bridge



Our next stop was Cowpen Marsh where Greeny picked out the Tundra Bean Geese at distance. They did fly closer but dropped out of view. A Short-eared Owl was very welcome as it hunted below the tip.


Tundra Bean Geese

Can Anyone Identify This Bird Book?

Can anyone help me identify this bird book? I managed to grab a couple of photographs in Singleton Hide at Blacktoft Sands RSPB reserve this afternoon. I think it might be Peterson Guide but my friend thinks it shows characteristics of a Macmillan… I’m just not sure.



Phonescoping Workshops

After plenty of emails back and forth, I’m pleased to announce my first phonescoping workshops at RSPB Titchwell on 1 November 2013. For details see here.



Another, shameful attempt to show off my very limited photography and photoshop skills. I took this shot of a summer plumaged Turnstone at RSPB Titchwell back in May on a day out with The Llama, The Hooded Birder and Dave (Tea Boy) Gray.


Titchwell RSPB

Another selection of images, mainly of Turnstone – doing what Turnstone do. When you’re as used to seeing winter plumaged birds as we are it’s a real treat to see some smart summer plumaged birds.








A bit of wader action video too taken with Nikon Coolpix P310.

The sunshine had brought some insects out. This lovely Wall butterfly sadly went a bit shy.

Odes were also out in the car park in the form of Large Red Damselfly. Shame there were no Hairy Dragonfly around.

Large Red Damselfly

Turnstone And Other Waders

A few digiscoped photos from North Norfolk yesterday. A fuller post will appear later. I love the new Nikon Coolpix P310… have I said that before? I do. I love it and I’m still learning with it.



Grey Plover

I also unearthed some old footage of bird spotters from Snettisham in the 1960s… note the futuristic optics.