Tuesday, 15 February 2011

A New Lane

Monday February 14
During their visit yesterday, in a vain search for the Parakeet, Dot and Steve told us of a lane which leads to Breydon south wall marshes. Always eager to find a new no-walking birding viewpoint, we went the 'pretty way', via Winterton, always hoping for Cranes. To-day we found them. A group of three on the eastern side of the road between Horsey Mill and Somerton, viewable from THE layby. Probably a family group, one of them was lying down and well hidden in the tallish grass.
A dozen Common Scoter and a fly-by Red-throated Diver on the sea at Winterton Beach, followed by a few Med Gulls, black heads coming along nicely, amongst the Black-headed behind the Sealife Centre in Yarmouth.
Harpers Lane is unmade, about a kilometre long, rather holey and bumpy, past the MacDonalds roundabout en route to Burgh Castle. I found it disappointing as I hadn't witnessed the conversation and expected a view of Breydon Water. Instead, it stopped at a field gate with views of the fields and mashes only. In an hour and a half's stay, during which Pam ate her lunch, we saw 2 Marsh Harriers and a huge mass of birds lifting off Breydon. There were thousands, rising in a very long, horizontal, smoke-like cloud above the Wall. They rose and fell twice before settling again. The flock of Pale-bellied Brent also appeared for two short flights seen by Pam. Our first butterfly of the year, a Red Admiral, hastened past.
Buckenham Marsh looked lovely but relatively birdless - until I looked through my scope and a Marsh Harrier flew over. The biggest flock of Lapwing I've ever seen, about 2,000, rose from the increasingly tall grass and sedge. Through my scope, I'd already seen at least 50 Ruff amongst them on the ground. Driving to the Mill, I spotted the largely albino Lapwing Justin told us about at Club, it's wings and much of the body white. Leucistic I suppose would be more accurate than partial albino. A Chinese Water Deer came trotting along, facing the mid afternoon sun.

Chinese Water Deer
Pam was lucky at Strumpshaw, managing to get a view of the short flight by a Bittern just before we left. I love the view from the Centre Hide but found myself descending to counting Greylag to-day. One day, we'll be there when an Otter appears, on its reportedly daily visit - or two - or more....

Part of the view fron the Centre Hide at Strumpshaw RSPB


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