Beacons Birder in Norfolk, Spring 2012

31st May 2012
We have just been to Norfolk again, our second home, not literally I'm sorry to say. As usual, we were based right up on the North Norfolk coast, this is a prime birding location and for us the best birding in the UK. We went a little later than usual because of commitments, while there we encountered the coldest spell of weather we have ever known in May. The wind blew from the north west and made the days very cold indeed, we always take warm clothes whenever we go to Norfolk and It's a good thing we did because we would have had to buy coats in order to go out, it was literally that cold.
The birding was a little bit slow, but the beauty of Norfolk is whatever the wind direction you always have nice birds to see all year around. We tend to keep away from the big reserves such as Titchwell etc., preferring to spend our time on small areas where things are a lot quieter, after all Norfolk is one big reserve! These big RSPB reserves, although they do a great job for conservation and I fully applaud and support them morally and financially through membership, they are not a place for a photographer. There is a palpable resentment from some birders for anyone with a largish lens, I suppose people dressed from head to toe in Camo clothing standing in front of people or taking up all the room in a popular hide with their equipment doesn't help the situation. I have given my wife permission to shoot me if she ever sees me dressed in this way. There are plenty of very nice images to photograph without this type of behavior. I stand by my mantra, "do your homework, get up early, keep quiet, be patient and work alone".
Moving on, it just goes to show what a difference wind direction makes in Norfolk, one day the wind blew strongly from the east and the following two days produced a plethora of very good birds: European Bee Eater, Red Backed Shrikes, Bluethroats, Icterine Warbler, Common Rosefinch, Red Breasted Flycatcher. It is quite remarkable when it happens, unfortunately it doesn't happen that often these days, weather systems seem to be predominately from the west driving the birds away from the east coast. It days gone by falls of birds were legendary in Norfolk after a good 'Easterly'.
We bumped into Tony Peach a gentleman we met on Hols in Cyprus some years ago, he and his wife Margaret, like us, were staying in a small hotel in Nikoklia, this little hotel which only had eight rooms was a little jewel and birders came from all over to stay there. It was a lovely time with very nice company and it was great to see him again, he lives in Norfolk and is a very active birder. He had come to see the European Bee Eater, he has been birding for thirty years and this was like me his first Bee Eater in the UK.
I managed to photograph a very nice selection of birds notably, Cuckoo, Marsh Harrier, Red Backed Shrike, Barn Owl and Short Eared Owl. I also photographed a variety of other birds and I have put together a portfolio of images.
Please see Norfolk Birds, Norfolk Spring 2012.