Showing posts from August, 2017

U.K. for Independence Day (Part 2 of 2 - Norfolk & vic)

Mid-afternoon on July 5th, Julian and I were picked up in Bolton by Si Smethurst, one of Julian's birding friends from back in the days when short shorts were cool. Our destination would ultimately be Norfolk, which, for context, is a few hour's drive north-northeast of London. On our way we would detour for a rather rare breeding bird in England, and one that was not on my radar for this trip: European Bee-eater. The bee-eaters, a group of them actually, had set up a small colony at gravel pits in East Leake. The local turnout for these birds had been impressive, especially from the standpoint of an American - even the biggest twitches in the US pale in comparison to those in the UK. We were told that a couple thousand people had gone to see the birds over the preceding weekend. The scene was rather tame during our weekday visit with only a few dozen folks coming and going, but as you can tell by the photo below, this was a bit of an event! Could you picture a sign for r

U.K. for Independence Day (Part 1 of 2 - North Wales)

My European birding experience has been just about nil, save for sneaking out to city parks during a high school trip to London and Paris when I was 17 or so. So I was more than pleased to play sloppy seconds to Ingrid when Julian asked if I would like to join him for a week of visiting family, friends, and of course birding England (and Wales). Count me in! Julian got a bit of a head start on me by a couple days, but I flew the redeye to Manchester on July 2nd-3rd and we returned home on the 9th. Read Julian's more thorough account on his blog . Long story short, we spent a couple days birding with Paul Derbyshire in North Wales and a few days in Norfolk with Simon Smethurst, Andy Culshaw, and Chris Mills. You couldn't make up WASPier names if you tried!! North Wales: The most scenic portion of the journey, North Wales combined quaint rural countryside and rugged coastal cliffs. I could understand Paul's affection for the area. Hey, there were birds too. We began