The One Stop Nature Shop is delighted to team up with local bird watcher and photographer Oliver Reville for a series of blogs on the wildlife of Norfolk.
You can find some of Oliver's photographic work at www.oliverreville.co.uk . If you see any photos you would like to purchase then please contact Oliver to discuss the options available to you.
Several immature Glaucous Gulls have remained to the end of the month, with birds at Cley Marshes and Thetford. The bird pictured opposite is a full adult from it's breeding grounds high up in the Atctic.Several were blown south by strong northerly winds earlier in January. The most commonly occuring birds for Norfolk are immatures with their biscuity brown plumage. There was an adult in January at Cley. The immature by the beach raod at Cley was recently seen feeding on a seal carcass washed up after the floods.Main identification features include all ages having pale wingtips. It is bigger than a Herring Gull and bulkier with larger bill and a square shaped head.
About 170 over winter in the UK annually
just ahead of storm Doris and there are still up to 33 Shorelarks at Holkham Gap. These distinctive larks with yellow and black face markings are developing their black 'horns' (feather tufts) as they start to come into their breeding plumage . From Lady Anne's Drive walk along the boardwalk and then head east, they are most often seen on the sandy saltmarsh, inland of the dunes.
They are almost exclusively coastal birds. Numbers vary greatly from one winter to the next. In a good year, a few hundred may be present, but in others they can be very scarce.
The long staying Black Redstart appears to have finally moved on. For much of the beginning of February it could be seen along East Quay at Wells-next-the-Sea and was most often found near the sailing club. Richard Camopey went to look for the bird on the 9 February on a particularly dull morning with a bit of sleet thrown in. After looking around on the roof tops and slipway he finally located it running around by his car and along the pavement right outside the sailing club. The bird was actively feeding in the gardens along East Quay and then flew off to the fishing sheds further down the lane.
The black redstart is a small robin-sized bird that has adapted to live at the heart of industrial and urban centres. Its name comes from the plumage of the male, which is grey-black in colour with a red tail. With fewer than 100 breeding pairs in the UK, the black redstart is on the Red List of Birds of Conservation Concern.
Another bird to look out for in Norfolk during the winter months is the graceful and striking Short-eared Owl. These owls migrate to Norfolk from Scandinavia in the Autumn and spend the winter here on our coast before leaving again in the Spring to breed.
They can be tricky to find at times, making discovering a hunting bird even more rewarding and memorable. Their long winged, bat like flight is unmistakable and their large yellow eyes give a piercing stare.
A larger owl than Barn Owl due to the length of the wings. Both sexes have black eye masks which increase the brightness of the large yellow eyes. The wings are coursely patterned above but generally pale below with black tips. The body is also pale below with slight streaking nearer the neck and face. On occasion they will raise short ear tufts which can be tricky to see.
Norfolk, and most of the UK, is currently being invaded by groups of Bohemiam Waxwing. This northern European species migrates south during the winter to escape the freezing temperatures of the high latitudes where food is scarce. In some years Britain sees these eruptions first hand and groups of these characterful birds can be found.
The size of a starling with a compact build and thick, short neck. The large crest is distinctive, especially when combined with the black face mask and bib. Bright yellow, red and white contrasts with black on wings, tail tip is also yellow. Flight is undulating and they are often heard before they are seen. Male and Female are very similar other than under close inspection.
For 2017 The One Stop Nature Shop Blog is going to feature some of Norfolk's most iconic species and where and when to find them.
To kick off we have the Eurasian or Common Teal.
The Teal is Europe's smallest Duck species at around half the size of the Mallard. This dainty and delicate species is widespread throughout winter on the Norfolk coast and can be easily seen in the tidal pools and creaks of the coast. Some of the best spots to catch up with Teal are Titchwell, Thornham, Burnham Overy Staithe and Holkham.
Male - Largely uniform grey with a variety of markings across the body, from speckling on the chest to striped markings on the flank and wings. The tail is white with a black border, although this white area can appear yellow. There is also a white stripe across the wing. Finally, the head is a mixture of a rich brown-red with a large velvet green patch across the eye and back of the neck. In flight they are fast and agile and appear compact.
Female - As is often the case with Duck species the female Teal is rather drab compared to the male. It is uniform brown with paler highlighting to the edges of feathers which do stand out. The only real colours of note are a white patch on the tail and a green patch on the wing.