Historic Churches of Norfolk – Route 14

For the May HCN ride I caught the train to Hoveton & Wroxham station where I met Helen. Travelling east, our route took in the churches north of the river Bure, as far as Hickling Broad, then out to the coast to Waxham – lunch was in the cafe at the impressive Waxham Great Barn, returning west, along the B1151 to Stalham and finally to Hoveton, by criss-crossing the A1151. A total distance of 48 miles and 21 churches.

The Route:


The Churches:

St John and St Peter Hoveton, St Benedict Horning, St Catherine Ludham, St Peter Bastwick (ruin), St Nicholas Potter Heigham, All Saints Catfield, St Michael Sutton, St Mary Hickling, St Margaret Sea Palling, St John Waxham, Holy Trinity Ingham, St Peter Brumstead, St Mary Stalham, St Peter Smallburgh, St Mary Tunstead, St Lawrence Beeston St Lawrence, St Michael Barton Turf, St Michael Irstead, St Peter Neatishead & St Swithin Ashmanhaugh

The photos:

Hoveton, St John

St John the Baptist Hoveton

The best feature of the church is the stained glass

St John the Baptist Hoveton 2

St Benedict, Horning

St Benedict Horning

St Catherine, Ludham

St Catherine Ludham

The unique rood screen and canvas, rediscovered by the Norfolk Archeological Society in 1879. For the full and fascinating story, read Simon Knott’s account.


Squint: ‘an opening cut through an internal wall.. (to) synchronise the ceremonies of the Mass’


St Peter, Bastwick


St Nicholas, Potter Heigham

St Nicholas Potter Heigham

All Saints, Catfield

All Saints Catfield

Wall painting, depicting the stoning of St Stephen


St Michael, Sutton

St Michael Sutton

St Mary, Hickling


St Margaret, Sea Palling

St Margaret Sea Palling

Detail of stairs to the rood loft and piscina


St John, Waxham

St John Waxham

Holy Trinity, Ingham

Holy Trinity Ingham

St Peter, Brumstead

St Peter Brumstead

St Mary, Stalham


St Peter, Smallburgh


St Mary, Tunstead

StMary the Virgin Tunstead

St Lawrence, Beeston St Lawrence

St Lawrence Beeston St Lawrence

St Michael, Barton Turf

St Michael Barton Turf

Detail of the painted rood screen.. ‘the best I’ve seen in England.’ Simon Knott


and an interesting ‘Conglomeration of medieval glass..’


St Michael, Irstead

St Michael Irstead

St Peter, Neatishead, at Threehammer Common

St Peter Neatishead

St Swithin, Ashmanhaugh

St Swithin Ashmanhaugh

and finally, St Peter, Hoveton

St Peter Hoveton

Ticking up, Home and Away


Greater Yellowlegs, Titchfield Haven – 14th June 2015

What an unbelievable weekend this has been for rarity hunting. The lure of an Eastern Black-eared Wheatear in the New Forest was too much to resist, particularly with the attraction of a supporting cast of Hudsonian Whimbrel and the long-staying Greater Yellowlegs. In the event, unfortunately, the Wheatear didn’t hang around but the other two did – the former giving acceptable views, the latter exceeding expectations. By early afternoon we were back on home ground and trudging up Blakeney Point in pursuit of two rare warblers. The Paddyfield Warbler had arrived last Thursday but, due to a string of prior commitments, we’d been prevented from going for it – despite it being a ‘first’ for the Cley square and only the fourth Norfolk record. The Blyth’s Reed Warbler, pretty much annual in Norfolk nowadays but something of a ‘bogey bird’ for me, turned up on Saturday evening. Both birds proved to be rather tricky, particularly as the weather began to deteriorate with strong northwesterly winds and increasingly persistent drizzle. Naturally we concentrated on the Paddyfield Warbler but it took well over an hour and a half before we managed acceptable flight and fleeting perched views. Things were brought to an abrupt halt with the news that an adult Laughing Gull (only a handful of Norfolk records) had been seen flying west over Halfway House – just a few hundred yards down the Point. A mad dash up onto the shingle bank delivered the goods as the bird hurtled by! On our somewhat jubilant walk back towards the car park a small crowd was showing intense interest in a patch of suaeda near to Halfway House. It turned out that the Blyth’s Reed Warbler had just been relocated – showing occasionally in flight. Eventually we did see it on the ground and were able to absorb it’s relevant id features. Outcome of our birding adventures – four UK ‘Lifers’, three Norfolk ‘ticks’ and a fun time had by all! The only slight disappointment was that,¬†apart from the ‘Legs’, the birds proved pretty nearly un-photographable – it was one of those occasions when seeing the birds was challenging enough.

Record shot of the Hudsonian Whimbrel – which did give one brief flight view


The adult Laughing Gull as it hurtled west past The Hood


Another shot of the long-time omission from my British List – Greater ‘legs’


Mallorca short break


Audouin’s Gull, a very scarce bird in 1982 – now rather common. Still, a truly lovely larid

We’ve just returned from a short break to Mallorca – flying EasyJet from Luton and staying at the Romantic Hotel in Port de Pollenca.

We first went to Mallorca in 1982, when our eldest was just four months old. Then, we stayed at an hotel on the outskirts of Alcudia near (well practically in!) the Albufera marsh. In those days, as I recall, access to this now internationally acclaimed wetland reserve was down a rough track to a mound, made up mostly of builders debris from the burgeoning tourist industry Рfrom where you could overlook a few wader pools and acres of reed bed. How delightfully different things are today where, thanks to the pioneering conservation efforts of ex-pat Eddie Watkins et al, the eastward expansion of the hotels was halted and the whole area transformed into a Mediterranean wildlife haven.

Like many British birders of my generation, Mallorca was my first taste of ‘foreign birding’. Looking back through my old note book of the time, I listed new species seen as follows: Cory’s Shearwater, Little Bittern, Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Purple Heron, Little Egret, Black & Red Kite, Black Vulture, Booted & Bonelli’s Eagle, Eleonora’s Falcon, Montagu’s Harrier, Black-winged Stilt, Collared Pratincole, Slender-billed Gull, Audouin’s Gull, Gull-billed & White-winged Black Tern, Pallid & Alpine Swift, Bee-eater, Short-toed & Thekla Lark, Crag Martin, Tawny Pipit, Rock & Blue Rock Thrush, Fan-tailed Warbler, Moustached Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Marmora’s Warbler Subalpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Golden Oriole, Woodchat Shrike and Serin – ah those were the days! Whilst, on that occasion, we were there for a fortnight at the end of May – our recent trip consisted of just three and a half days birding, but we still managed to pick up a lot of the same species, albeit that some have been re-named or elevated to full species. Highlights of this trip certainly included good views of Balearic, Moltoni’s and Moustached Warbler, Black and Griffon Vulture, Little Bittern, Red-knobbed Coot, Marbled Duck, Eleonora’s Falcon, Tawny Pipit & Pallid Swift.

In recent years we’ve done most of our European birding in mainland Spain and the eastern Med but this short break reminded us of just how good the Balearic Islands are and, being just a couple of hours flight away, how convenient for a quick getaway. Highly recommended! Here is a selection of some of the birds we saw:

Black Vulture – we saw twelve together, with six Griffon Vulture, feeding on a dead goat near Embalse de Cuber


Night Heron, Albufereta


Woodchat Shrike of the badius race, confined to the Balearic Islands – lacking white primary patches


Red-knobbed Coot, subject of a very successful re-introduction programme on the Albufera


Marbled Duck – also found on the Albufera, having recently colonised from mainland Spain


Another regular bird of the Albufera marshes – Stone-Curlew


Pallid Swift, seen in small numbers at various locations around the island


Balearic Warbler – a recent split. Found after many hours of searching coastal scrub locations across the island


Tawny Pipit – one of several seen during our stay


Another recent warbler split. This one is Moltoni’s – last seen only a few weeks ago on Blakeney Point!


To finish, a dark phase Eleonora’s Falcon, seen off Cap de Formentor on our last evening




Cetti’s breaks cover

There’s been a couple of Cetti’s Warbler calling – you can hardly describe their raucous utterances as ‘song’, close to the Cley NWT reserve centre for the past few weeks. As Collins Bird Guide puts it ‘generally keeps concealed in vegetation’, but today one unusually bold individual was surprisingly obliging: