Monday, 31 January 2011

Coffee and a View

Monday January 31
We'd decided not to go out to-day as it will be a long day to-morrow. Getting up to a beautiful sunny day, it wasn't long before Pam suggested a trip to Cley Centre cafe. We both love the view from there, Pam wishes that home had something similar.
At my instigation we drove via Felbrigg. The main coast road between Antingham and Cromer is closed for ? weeks (that's what the notices say!). Our chosen detour is the minor road past Gunton - first left at the first closure notice.
The main gates to Felbrigg are also closed, the work on the new pillars still incomplete. On the offchance that access was allowed from the back entrance, we drove that way and,  found that it was. As soon as we parked, a Little Owl was visible, hunched on a branch in it's nesthole tree. The sun had indeed brought it out.
Luckily, two people vacated seats at the window whilst Pam was ordering the coffee, their seats didn't get cold.
I was busily scanning the narsh when I became aware that someone was talking to me. Our near neighbours, Jackie and Colin, who were on the reserve for the day.  I can often be oblivious to all around me and Colin's greeting wasn't his first. They're very keen but, not knowledgeable so we tried to help them out a bit with ID info on American Wigeon and Brent Geese in flight etc.
As we left the car park our first (!) Song Thrush flew across the road. Not a vintage January, 131 birds in total, all but one in Norfolk though.
Early start to-morrow, must clean up Robbie's sick and go to bed.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

A White One

Sunday January 30
Disgusted with our batsmen's capitulation in the Gabba ODI and Murray's anhilation in the Aussie Open, we drove to Lowestoft late morning. Ness Point was grey but not too cold. No sign of our target bird but three Purple Sandpipers on the rocks with Turnstones.
A slow drive along the front, inspecting all the gulls on the buildings, especially the Birdseye factory, mainly Black-headed with a few Herring.
Next stop, a seaside car park at the end of Corton Road, it's entrance blocks too narrow for all but the smallest saloons. We parked outside.
Jammy, a scope was already in situ, it's owner looking at the Iceland Gull perched on a distant groyne. Good year tick and, our first non Norfolk addition.

Cropped Photograph taken with 400 lens

Nothing ventured........I haven't tried photographing through my scope simply holding my Ixus to the eyepiece.
This is the result, not scintillating but better than I expected. Must practice.

Leathes Ham is like someone's very large duckpond, full of many duck species - but how many are genuinely wild? No sign of the eight Scaup reported seen this morning though.
Home in time to watch Man City score a late equaliser against Notts County in the FA Cup. We've drawn (Man U) Crawley in the next round, the last 16. Should be a nice little earner for Crawley.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Success this Time

Friday January 28
Yes, Sculthorpe Moor reserve was open. To be fair, Monday is the only day it's shut.
Puddles thick with overnight ice, we crunched our way to the boardwalk. Close inspection of the first group of Alders brought views of about a dozen Lesser Redpoll, as usual keeping to the top of these tall trees. The Alders at Titchwell are shorter. 
Jarvis Hide feeders were as popular as ever with the commoner woodland birds. Over a dozen Blackbirds, 1 Redwing, eight Greenfinches, an in and out Marsh Tit and Coal Tit, 30+ Chaffinches, the occasional Dunnock and a male Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Shy - but proof it's a male
I do find the bench name 'Old Gits Corner' rather offensive but, appreciate the seat. A well filled feeder but no birds, we've seen Willow Tit here in the past.
Making our way along the river to Whitley Hide, we saw no birds at all, maybe because we kept our heads down, huddled inside coat collars, avoiding the biting wind, not strong but icy.
Whitley Hide has views of two feeding areas. The one at the far end was in the sun but lacks near cover. Our favourite, just inside the door, has many birds and the cover of a close shrubby tree from which the birds can venture forth and, return to cover, or, to crack open the sunflower seeds provided on the open table. There's also water and a reed bed which stretches into the distance, dotted with the occasional birch tree. Marsh Harriers often quarter this area but not to-day.
We stayed for about three quarters of an hour - until rigor mortis started to set in - enjoying the two male and one female Bramblings, a pair of Bullfinches, Coal, Blue, Great and Marsh Tits  and a host of Chaffinches.

A dozen delightful Long Tailed Tits descended on the table

and a Water Rail made two foraging raids on the seed strewn ground under the feeder, before dashing back into the reeds.

Couldn't resist adding this Goony bird
A female Reed Bunting was a surprise visitor.

Hot chocolate from the machine in the Centre was most welcome !

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Lunchtime Outing

Tuesday January 25
Pam wanted to go out 'somewhere' - but it took most of the morning to decide where and, to actually set off. Last night's GYBC meeting - when we saw some great photographs taken by Peter Ransome - tipped the decision towards Winterton beach via Cart Gap, Horsey and Somerton. The informal chat with friends, including Bob, told of a Peregrine regularly seen sat in a field north of West Somerton.
We saw little of note until we reached Winterton Beach and parked in the turning area so that I could scope the sea - the car park was closed. There was instant action. During our half an hour stay, we counted a minimum of 40 Red-throated Divers, 1 Great Northern Diver and 1 Gannet. The Red- throats were largely flying north but some flew south so we couldn't be sure of numbers as some may have been returning. The GND was obvious, it's straight neck and heavier, slower wingbeats, stood out amongst it's smaller, faster flapping cousins. We also saw 30+ Cormorants, many sporting their breeding plumage white 'price tags'.
More careful field scoping on the return trip, adding one Barn Owl and two Marsh Harriers to the day list.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Gate Open - Reserve Closed

Monday January 24
We are both members of Sculthorpe Moor Reserve, how could we both have been unaware that the reserve shuts on Mondays? I thought that ALL Norfolk reserves are now open seven days a week and didn't think to check. The car park had several cars and one gate was open because there was a meeting at the centre. Very disappointing. We made the best of it and drove towards home along the coast.
Hundreds of Pinks from Lady Anne's, a mere fraction of the numbers seen there last week though. The park gates were still closed to all but deliveries, no info as to why.
About high tide at Wells, the water was barely a foot below the quay, not as high a tide as that expected to-night either, we've never witnessed it as high. It looked lovely, boats and wildlife almost level with the marsh stretching away to the shore.
Our first 2011 visit to Stiffkey, expecting to see the usual dozens of Redshank on the small amount of mud left uncovered in the creeks. One lovely silvery grey Spotted Redshank the only bird in view.
The 25 Snow Bunting at Salthouse allow remarkably close parking but are in constant flight from one side of the area to another and along the shingle bank, hardly settling to feed. I took a few photographs but am not really happy with any.

Male Snow Bunting
We always said that Sheringham was the coldest place in Norfolk but have added several other contenders. took first place. A biting easterly which led to streaming eyes and nose as we walked the seafront, inspecting the rocks for Purple Sandpipers. Thank goodness we soon found them, just east of the steps on rocks near the out jutting shelter. The reported two, there together - along with up to 20 Turnstones. Such delightful little waders. Not showy but with endearing ways, scuttling mouse-like along and down the rocks, dodging the waves.

Purple Sandpipers

Friday, 21 January 2011


Friday January 21
Even with very little wind, Titchwell in January is COLD. 2C at the coast. I should have bought that furry cap with ear covers which caused Pam such amusement when I tried it on. My ears were singing and cheeks stinging for much of to-day.
We set out from home in rain. Thankfully, the promised sun had appeared by the time we arrived at the reserve, via Choseley and a single Corn Bunting at last. Third time lucky.
A female Bullfinch appeared just past the feeding area, others saw six, silvery grey enough to be a Northern?
Stopping to admire a Great Crested Grebe on the first pool to the left of the path, we also heard our first Cetti's of the year. Good start.

Great Crested Grebe

Two birders blocking the path, redeemed themselves by pointing out the Northern Harrier perched in a dead tree about a mile away in a large copse. The one with the old tower at the far end. Later, I set up my scope and viewed the large blob preening, its russet breast gleaming in the sunshine.
Many Snipe on an east marsh pool to-day, they've been absent for a month or two.
I love to hear geese, especially Brent with their soft gargles, and to see them fly overhead down to the freshwater pool to drink and ablute.

Dark-bellied Brent Geese
What a relief to find the seat empty when we eventually arrived at the beach. Maybe the wet wood had put people off......
My torn calf muscle (Scilly last October) was sore to-day. I could have done without carrying my DSLR camera as well as the scope - but I'm delighted I bothered.
There must have been nearly three thousand Common Scoter on the sea. Distant in a long straggling line, in two seperate groups. As we scanned the sea, admiring two Red-necked Grebes, the Scoter flew, enabling both of us to pick out at least three Velvet Scoter.
Half an hour was enough, my bones felt cold again.
It really was a trudge to the superb Parrinder Hides We joined the birders scoping from outside, seeing a Bearded Reedling, a flock of 50+ Twite, 30ish Skylarks and a few Ruff on the brackish marsh.
Sitting comfortably in the hide, we scanned them all again - in between regular mass departures - before the flocks returned. The RSPB warden called a fast flying Sparrowhawk, which we both managed to latch on to before it disappeared over the bank. A loudly calling Curlew was the last bird to leave.

At last, the shelter of the trees near the Centre and a view of a Water Rail skulking around the tree roots, constantly hassled by a Moorhen. Our first actually seen bird.
After lunch at Brancaster Staithe , we drove home to enjoy the fire, after adding a very satisfactory 8 birds to the year list.
News has broken of a Dusky Thrush in a non birder's garden in Dec 2010. The photos show a lovely adult male. Wow - that would have been some tick.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

No Opportunity Wasted

Thursday January 20
Pam had a physio appointment in Norwich and I needed to visit the Apple shop in Chapelfield, so I went with her. This decision entailed a 45 -50 minutes wait in an increasingly cold car - the forecast was right, 5C on the way in. Still no breakfast for me and we didn't leave the Mall until 1.00 p.m. My choice......
Should we try? We weren't successful the last time they were reported in Lower Clarendon Road. Don't try, don't get.
The road is a loop off Thorpe Road/ Clarendon Road with a large P.O depot half way along, the other side overlooking the station. The birds were reported to be feeding on apples, where on earth were there apples? We parked in order to wait a while and saw a birder further down the road who ran back to us and pointed out both the apples (hidden behind the railings) and some of the Waxwings distantly perched in the top of a tree on the main road. He thought it was Thorpe Road. He then told me that  he worked for the RSPB. Pam viewed from the car whilst the helpful birder and I watched  c20 Waxwings flying down to feed on roadside privet berries. Constantly spooked by noisy buses and lorries, yet staying in nearby trees. Lovely birds with at least one adult male.
I took photos but will have to load them later as my PC is playing up.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

More in Hope.....

Wednesday January 19
Having perused the weather forecast and planned a long day out on Friday, a shortish trip to-day.
We started at Strumpshaw Fen, our first visit of the year. It didn't look promising as we walked to Reception Hide, there was a lot of shooting going on, Wood Pigeons fleeing by the score. The day warden told us that most of the reserve is privately owned and the RSPB had to agree to 8 days of shooting per year in order to acquire the right to develop the area . Hm. Seems odd but it's reared pheasant rhey're after. A bit like the argument of grouse moor owners that it's their careful husbandry of the land which makes it such prime habitat for other birds.
We sat in the Centre Hide for about half an hour as we'd been warned that the paths were very muddy. Good choice. We had a Bittern stand in front of and then, fly and land out of sight at the back left of the pool, within ten minutes of arriving. About ten minutes later, one flew the length of the pool from the area where it had landed, flew towards us and, again, landed close but out of sight. Shortly afterwards another Bittern rose from the same spot at the back of the pool, flying away from us into the far distance. A definite two birds sighting.
 We were told that a probable 7 were present as it had been a good breeding season.
This reserve isn't specifically managed for Bitterns, unlike Titchwell, Minsmere and others. Why is this one so successful? Naturally correct conditions I suppose.
One more year list addition on the drive down to Buckenham Marshes, a small flock of distant Eurasian Whitefronts. Fancy getting a Lesser first.
No sign of the Hooded Crow, yet we drove home very happy and content with both our additions.

Ladies who Lunch

January 18
What a beautiful winter's day - and we'd arranged to take a friend out for lunch. Joan chose Cley Centre cafe, which raised hopes.
The marsh was teeming with birds, mostly duck species. A large flock of Golden Plover and a smaller one of Black-tailed Godwits rose in a fright but I couldn't spot the raptor which was probably responsible. Half a dozen Avocets back too.
When Pam and Joan had finished eating, I tentatively suggested a ride to Holkham - which Joan immediately agreed to. Great!
Thousands of Pink-feet were visible from Lady Anne's Drive. I scoped them, hoping for something different - just a Ross's Goose (!!) in the distance which almost immediately took flight. There was a continuous rise of geese, moving inland for a last feed I guess.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Sunday Sunday......

The price of petrol and the weather has made our random birding trips more considered.
When Pam discovered that the Man U/Spurs game was on at tea-time, not lunch-time,  a woodland birding trip was mooted. Despite it being lunch-time, Felbrigg woods came up with Nuthatch for both of us, a Great Spotted Woodpecker for me (Pam saw one at the Hughes's) and a Treecreeper for Pam.
Gunton Lake added a Great Crested Grebe, at last, and we arrived home to find a female Siskin feeding on the niger seed.
My main aim in Jan is to see birds which become more difficult - usually winter migrants. We shall try again for Greater White-fronted Goose on the way to lunch with friends to-morrow. Titchwell (Velvet Scoter) and Lyndford (Hawfinch) are also planned for the next week or so.
My pager has appalling reception at home, worse than usual to-day. Very galling to discover that someone saw Waxwings in N Walsham Sainsbury's car park this morning......

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Birding with Sue

Monday January 10
I didn't want to walk in the strong cold wind (infected gum problem) so we started with Snettisham. It was Sue's first birding of the year and the Wash always comes up trumps with waders and ducks.
Three Red-breasted Mergansers off Hunstanton and another from the NOA hide at Holme. The Whooper is still amongst the Mutes at Titchwell but, again, no birds at all at Choseley.
After a quick lunch at Brancaster Staithe, we'd driven as far as the layby overlooking Burnham Marsh, seeing a distant Roughie, before a pager message alerted us to a Ross's seen one and a half miles inland of Brancaster.
More peering through hedges at hundreds of Pinks before seeing the big white Ross's Goose blob before it took off. This flock was very mobile, groups constantly leaving and others flying in.
Next stop, a field between Holt and Salthouse Heath for a second Ross's which again flew off almost as soon as we'd arrived. Nothing to do with us though.....
More hedges, no openings, I hate them ! There was one gateway but that was occupied.  I also found a leucistic Pink but didn't use my scope in difficult viewing conditions so missed the Barnacles and a single White-front, despite patient scanning. If the parked car had gone I would have scoped them but it was getting very dark and Sue needed to get home.

Wild Goose Chase

Sunday January 9th
Wanting to be home for the Man U / Liverpool Cup match, we left early for the north coast on a superb looking day. Cloudless with not a lot of wind. We wanted to tick off a Ross's Goose for the year before they disappear and made for the Wells area, trawling inland lanes looking for harvested beet fields and flocks of Pinkfeet. We found two very large flocks of c 2-3,000 each, which we had to survey through hedges, trying to find a less dense patch. No sign of a white blob.
In between we made a couple of visits to Wells pitch and putt, finding a Black Brant on the second visit - despite four pitch and putters pushing the flock to the back of the field.
At least Man U won......

Thursday, 6 January 2011

A Good Year tick

Thursday January 6
Dull and overcast but dry. Scanning a flock of Wigeon, rather distant, feeding actively amongst clumps of dried sedge type grass, Pam was first to see the American Wigeon when it raised its head in view.
Scanning the flock of several hundred Dark-bellied Brent - again - and failing to find a Black Brant when, we were again scuppered by a flying object. A metal one this time, a loud and low single-engined plane from Weybourne we assumed. It seemed to enjoy puitting up birds. It made several passes, disturbing a flock of about 3,000 Pink-feet which seemed to fill the sky above and around us. The Brent totally disappeared, none along Beach Road, flew to Wells or Blakeney  I should think.
A cup of hot chocolate from the van at Salthouse to accompany our packed lunch whilst watching the Turnstones, Common Gulls and Teal feeding on the grain the drinks man had spread for the Snow Bunting.  The flock of 17 Snowies flew by along the shingle bank but didn't stop.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Curate's Egg

The end of the official holiday, Titchwell at last.
Cricket is keeping me up late and awake checking the score at all hours so we didn't leave until soon after 9. The sun was breaking through, the cloud cover high, looked good for the day - but I forgot to watch the partial eclipse at 8. Still looked good until Docking when we met leaden skies and from nowhere, a snow storm. It dumped a good centimetre, covering roads and fields.
There and back to Thornham and a few Black-tailed Godwits before deciding that the cafe at Titch for elevenses seemed the best plan. It's possible to watch birds in comfort there, there's always a local DVD playing and, to-day, it covered Nov and Dec in Norfolk, including Buckenham and Welney.
The snow stopped and Pam returned to the car for scopes and more clothing - and I saw a Treecreeper in the feeders area. It didn't stay for her return.......
Walking directly out to the sea was distinctly chilly on a slippery snow and mud path. We added a Spotted Redshank and a Hen Harrier before we met Dave Holman who hadn't enjoyed sea watching.
The new Parrinder Hide looks splendid, the brightish colour gradually fading towards the promised grey. We'd visit on the way back.

Always a reflection on the near window

Parrinder from the footpath
Using Pam's hanky to wipe the bench, we were able to sit and scan the distant sea. The expected waders on the beach, including Sanderling, a scattering of Goldenye and a distant flock of 2,000 Common Scoter. Velvet Scoter amongst them I'm sure but impossible to ID surely at that distance. The new Parrinder hides were a haven from the biting wind into our faces on the return journey.
Most impressive interiors, they seem to have got this one right after the dreadful Island Hide.
Individual stools, large shelf and good windows, excellent. Soon after arriving in the seaward  facing hide, a flock of 9 Shore Larks landed nearby, stayed half a minute and flew on. An unexpected delight. As was the lone Avocet hugging the bank.
Down a few steps to the brackish marsh facing hide, which has two sections, from which we saw a Water Pipit.
We were very pleased to reach the haven of the car, turn the heater up and drive to Burnham Marshes. My legs were red and had a raised, itchy  rash around the knee area, the cold I suppose. Many geese there but no sign of Buzzards nor the Ross's.
Dave H and Bas were scoping from the side entrance to Holkham. We assumed that they were looking for the reported Ross's in front of Washington. We pulled into a lay by further on where I grumped at the poor visibility - much too low to see over the hedges. I still scanned though - and found the juvenile Rough-legged Buzzard perched in a tree.

Scanning the many Brent between Cley Beach and East Bank was fruitless with regard to Black Brant or Pale-bellied.
We overshot the only place to pull off and scan the Wigeon flock 200 yards east of east Bank, went, and turned back. As we were about to park, the whole flock sprang into the air. A Marsh Harrier fly past. They landed much too far away to scan for the reported American Wigeon.
To my surprise, we turned down Beach Road at Salthouse in the offchance of a kingfisher near the bridge. No luck there but, a flock of Snow Buntings landed on the shingle bank in the middle of the car park. I was about to click the shutter when a Kestrel prompted a rushed exodus.
Home to get warm - eventually - after a mixed but most enjoyable day's birding. Far fewer people around to-day, all birders and largely snow-topped.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Beans and Meds

Sunday January 2
Not an early start on another dull morning. The herd of c 170 Whooper and Bewick Swans  was still grazing peacefully in a roadside field between Catfield and Ludham, very few grey youngsters amongst them.

Our tried and trusted gateway overlooking Cantley Marshes turned up trumps again. There were several birders cars parked in Cantley Village and a large cluster of birders  stood on a hill in a farmer's field  scoping the marsh. I hope they had permission. The Taiga Bean Geese were feeding in a long straggly line the other side of the railway line, visible in groups between the trees. The first few scans failed to show the Lesser Whitefront reported to be with them but , groups kept wandering into the open. Last scan I said...Pam was cold....and the Whitefront appeared, smaller, in the near line , it's white arch showing clearly. There seem to be two Lesser Whitefronts reported. A suspect one accompanying Greylags and this adult with the Taiga Beans. Norfolk has a few feral / hybrid birds all year round. This one could be 'good'. We already have an acceptable tick for Norfolk and another for the UK, so I'll happily add this one to the year list.
Buckenham Marshes, driving out to the Fishermans car park, was the busiest I've ever seen it. Birders and families with a few fishermen packing up. Thousands of Wigeon, fewer Teal and, after some hard work, one Snipe, about 20 Ruff,  a few Dunlin and Golden Plover, 10+ Skylarks and the flock of feral Barnacle Geese. A delightful Marsh Tit was feeding on the hanger near the Railway Crossing hut.
Despite many people on the beach and a family with young children eating a MacDonalds and throwing chips to the birds, there were half a dozen Mediterranean Gulls on the usual beach behind the Sealife Centre.

'Comes to chips....'

After having the car washed of its salt layers, we drove home via Staples (clipboard for me and a sale Cadbury's Santa each), the Centurion beach road to dip on Snow Buntings and then, Somerton and Horsey for one Marsh Harrier. We haven't seen Cranes here since the Spring but we live in hope.
We added 12 birds to the list to-day and thoroughly enjoyed the outing.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

January 1 - and a Tick

After some deliberation - we rose at 6.15 to find thick mist with drizzle - we decided to continue with the planned north coast birding. We could always come home early.
It seemed like a foolish decision as the rain and fog continued past breakfast at Abbey Farm bird hide, Flitcham and then low tide at Snettisham. The list was growing very slowly but we'd added both partridges and Tree Sparrow which was pleasing. A flock of 100+ mainly Fieldfare with a few Redwing at Harpley Cottages. Should we re-trace the journey for the Lady Amherst Pheasant near Houghton Hall? What was its provenance, dodgy I should certainly think.....Maybe another day. (Sunday. Now described as the expected escape)
Fulmar at Hunstanton cliffs and what I described as a 'funny-looking sleeping duck' the sole bird on the calm sea. A female Long-tailed, which meant that we didn't walk to Gore Point - cars parked everywhere. We probably missed a few ticks by not doing so but, that can wait until the holiday period is over.
Brunch at the NOA hide overlooking the Broadwater, watching 3 Marsh Harriers idly hunting the far reeds, Pochard, Shoveller, one Little Grebe and Tufted Duck on the pool. One flock of Brent but no sign of yesterday's reported Barnacles and Whitefronts. The former were later reported to be further east towards the Thornham Bank. The second 100+ flock of Fieldfare flew sporadically around, seldom settling for long.
Seeing the mass of cars lining the road to Thornham and the row of scoping birders on the bank, we nearly turned round but decided to see if 'our' muddy patch was vacant. It was. The engine was hardly turned off at about 1 p.m., when a very rufous, dark Hen Harrier appeared  towards the area of the Coal Barn, flying towards Titchwell. How jammy was that? The Northern Harrier at our first attempt and a tick to boot.  Many local birders have had to make numerous futile attempts. Good views too, the white rump looked almost luminous in contrast to the body colour. Didn't think to raise my camera, too busy watching.
As it seemed to be flying away purposefully and the light was getting low, we drove on, to later find that it had continued giving good views. Time to get the scope out would have been good too.
Titchwell on Bank Holidays is always heaving, another day for that too....No birds at all at Choseley, just an irate woman we know well by sight, who'd spent the entire morning looking for THE harrier. Her greeting of Happy New Year to us soon became less jolly! She was not happy and shot the messengers.
Another snack at Brancaster Staithe watching an incoming tide, the mussell men working and a large and flighty flock of Bar-tailed Godwit.

Bar-tailed Godwits at Brancaster Staithe

What ever made us even attempt Lady Anne's? The volume of cars made it a lengthy process to turn round and come back out as fast as we could. Our new annual parking permit was the reason I reckon. Wells is included, that was the next stop. The pitch and putt course was devoid of any Geese, there went the Black Brant search. The car park had a few empty spaces by now so we were able to park and walk to scope Abraham's Bosom. Two female Smew (on the pager) and a surprise male Goosander.
Last call at about 2.45, Stiffkey Marshes. A few cars and two birders only,  Gordon Hamlett and his wife(?) Chris. We haven't seen them for a good while, so they came over and joined us. More good eyes to scan. We'd just missed a ringtail Hen Harrier but added a second Barn Owl, another Marsh Harrier and, best of all, a Short-eared Owl. The latter was flying very fast east towards the pipe line, dropped like a stone and wasn't seen again. Probably following prey and being successful. We once saw a Marsh H hunt and knock down a Barn Owl here. Kevin told us that the Cley Barn Owl had met a similar fate. The raptors have to eat but not Barn Owls please !
The final act was a scan in fast fading light, through two flocks of Dark-bellied Brent at Cley looking, unsuccessfully, for Pale-bellied.
Preliminary count of 75 birds for the day, Pam will check and compare her list sometime to-day.
Amended total, 76. I'd missed out LT Duck and Pam the Smew.