I didn't fancy the proposed trip to Titchwell, after a poor night's sleep. It was mainly so that we could buy bird food anyway, our birds have really taken to Buggy Nibbles and the RSPB is cheaper than CJ Wildbird Foods (debatable after the petrol costs!!).
Instead, we went to Felbrigg in search of Mandarin, which we'd been planning to do for a while. Yesterday's strong wind had abated and the morning felt spring-like. The path down through the woods was almost completely dry, a nice surprise. Nuthatch calls rang out, as usual. Great and Blue Tits were singing well.
Our usual vantage point is from the gate at the far end of the lake, from which we can view the heavily wooded and brush lined shore. The ducks like to roost amongst the roots, seldom venturing forth for long. A lone fisherman was a surprise too, never seen one here before. He had 4 rods set up for Pike and Roach. The Rudd had been decimated by the large number of Cormorants which wintered on the lake (he said...).
I stayed, scanning constantly. After a while, Pam walked off to inspect the wooded shore from the footpath, it sometimes succeeds in flushing them into the open for a while.
Meanwhile David (Geordie) and new black Lab, Ben - the last one was called Ben too - stopped for a chat. He was looking for Little Owl and Kingfisher. I put him on to the nesting tree in the car park area and he told me that the Mandarins could be viewed from the fenced off area near the footpath.
Pam arrived back having seen a pair at the site mentioned. Walking to the area, we had very good views through the scope, good through bins and badly obscured - by branches - ones through my camera. When did that ever stop me.....
A Treecreeper did its thing nearby and a pair of Long-tailed Tits flitted through the trees overhanging the water. We eventually saw 3 Mandarins, one male and 2 females, before home via Sainsbury's.
Southerly winds this weekend. Hoping for an early Wheatear and /or ChiffChaff/ Sand Martin.