And the bush has friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him, In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended, And at night the wonderous glory of the everlasting stars.

Banjo Paterson (1889)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Travels in the U.K.

We were back in the cold weather of the UK again, after the hot humid conditions of Dubai. This holiday was the usual birding type of holiday that we often go on, but we also had to visit more of the family this time.

Arriving in Ellington in the northeast of England, our first morning's plan was to head down to Cresswell Pond. As you can see it's a little wet and misty, and of course cold!

The view from the hide at Cresswell Pond, lots of Dunlin, Redshank, Snipe and Lapwing.

It's good to be back at this great birding spot.

Some of the locals look a bit strange!

Soon we were travelling a bit further a field, such a Kielder.

Interesting countryside, but lots of biting small midges at Kielder.

An unexpected find was this beautiful bird hide hidden in the forest near Kielder Castle.

Very artistic with different shaped windows at various levels.

Bird feeders were almost at every window allowing good close views of birds, such as this Chaffinch.

Next day a trip to Hauxley north of Cresswell, but as you can see not many birds.

I like this surreal photo of a coastal church, south of Cresswell.

Liz dressed for the cold, at another good birding spot west of Newcastle, Bolam Lake.

We headed over to Manchester to visit Liz's brother with a visit to nearby a great bird reserve, Martin Mere.

The great bird hide at Martin Mere. Fantastic!

We even got a warm sunny afternoon to spend with Liz's brother and family.

It was off east to Lowerstoft to do some Noffolk/Suffolk birding. Thanks to Steve from Miri whose house we were able to use as a base.

It was a sunny, but very windy day during our visit to Hickling Broad, but a wonderful area.

A big bird area with lots of hides. Maybe a Short-eared Owl, that would be nice!

One of our main targets were Bearded Tit, there's a few somewhere in the reeds, but we couldn't get on to them. The broads are interesting places with lots of canals, often we would see big white boat sails that appeared to be travelling across the land.

No luck at Hickling with Bearded Tit or Cetti's Warbler, our other main target, so it was off to the great reserve of Minsmere. A Common (Viviparous) Lizard (Lacerta vivipara) enjoying a warm rail on a Minsmere boardwalk, watches us.

The Sizewell nuclear reactor is really close to Minsmere! Hope it's ok!

A still day.

The weather at Suffolk has been kind and Liz enjoys the afternoon sun in Steve's garden.

The Mute Swans may be common in the UK, but are always stunning.

Liz scanning the fields of Minsmere, lots of snipe and other waders in the wet fields.

An afternoon drink at the Blue Boar pub, toasting our success at getting some of our target species, Bearded Tit and Short-eared Owl.

We headed northwards birding and found Great Yarmouth.

A interesting coastal town with weird beach sheds.


The Cley Marshes were more our style with the modern visitor centre.

The classic windmill that is the well known symbol of the Cley Marshes. A fantastic birding area, shame we didn't have more time here.

Typical pebble beach in the UK.

A good place to stay when birding in the Norfolk area is the Gate Lodge in Hunstanton.

Another of the great English bird reserves, Titchwell Marsh.

The old bird hide and the mega modern new hide at Titchwell.

Titchwell is one of the best birding place we have been to in England and it was here that we got our long awaited Cetti's Warbler.

The big new hide is fantastic with lots of bench space and big sliding windows.

A Spotted Redshank, one of the many nice birds at Titchwell.

The blackberries were sweet and ripe, attracting us for a feed as well as the birds!

The last great bird reserve we visited was Welney with it's long entrance walkway. The only trouble is as we found out, if you arrive before the visitor centre is open, you cant get into any of the reserve because the only way in or out is via the walkway which starts inside the centre.

The walkway is an amazing piece of work.

Welney reserve has this wonderful big heated hide, for long hours of watching the huge number of geese and swans that gather there during the cold winters.

A small break for birding with a day in the historic city of York.

York Cathedral.

Hmmmmmmmmmmm? Bile beans?

The weather was a bit stormy at first, but a walk along the ancient York city walls is a must.

So that's how they mow the grass along the steep city walls, a remote control lawnmower.

It's a long walk around the city walls.

One of my favourite photos of the holiday, the historic city of York.

It was then off to Wales to meet up with the rest of Liz's family. We even got a nice warm afternoon for drinks outside.

Almost time to leave the UK and fly to Turkey for some more birding and history. A few drinks with Liz's cousin in Bath before we leave.

One of the foods I have long wanted to try were Faggots. Not something you would say out loud in Australia!

Faggots are basically a big meatball made of liver and onions, usually served with some hot big green peas. Very nice indeed.

Birding in the UK was pretty good even with the rainy windy weather we usually had, with 7 new lifers (Bearded Tit, Marsh Tit, Cetti's Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Short-eared Owl, Stock Dove and Common Scoter) and a total of 127 species.


Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

A good haul ok top UK (English bit) reserves there Richard but you shoulda done Marton Mere at Blackpool rather than 'the other place we don't mention by name' south of the river. Coulda got you your Cetti's and Long Eared Owl too.
Warmth in Wales? What day was that?

Looking forward to your adventures in Turkey


Stu said...

I grew up near Martinmere.......

LOL, bet it wasn't THAT cold!