Saturday, 21 May 2011

First of the Month

Friday May 20
To maintain our personal challenge of 100 birds per month in Norfolk, it was time for our monthly North Norfolk trip.
A May visit to Sculthorpe Mill is a must and it came up trumps. Two delightful Spotted Flycatchers flitting amongst the branches of a willow near the Hotel building. 

The surprise was a pair of Grey Wagtails fossicking amongst the planted urns outside the front door. We usually manage to add some of the commoner finches here too, along the wooded entrance road.
This Grey Partridge was in a hurry to get away....

Tree Sparrows in the usual place before breakfast (muesli) at Abbey Farm whilst scanning the area. A lone Ruddy Shelduck appeared from a creek, our first here, otherwise it was very quiet - until Pam went to get my camera from the car and a Kingfisher flew through! Oh dear.....

 I did find a Little Owl, sitting on the ground, to partially make up for it though.
We'd hummed and hawed about including Snettisham as most of the waders will have gone. Imminent high tide and my painful back changed our minds. Good thing it did. We had a thoroughly enjoyable half hour watching summer plumaged Sanderling, nesting Oystercatchers, Knot and Turnstone. No sign of any Ringed Plover nests. 

Sanderling photos taken by Pam, using my camera - they were on her side of the car

The Horned Poppies are beginning to look their best too, all in warm sunshine against a high tide foaming onto the shore.

Holme was only remarkable for a delicious  Ronaldo's raspberry  icecream...........
Whilst returning from Thornham, Pam spotted a raptor flying west. I got out of the car for a view of a male Montagu's Harrier flying away. Pam had seen it side on before we stopped.
Titchwell Fen Trail had at least three singing Reed Warblers, none of them showing despite some efforts to view them. One did show very well further along the path to Island Hide. While we were waiting for a  Reed Warbler to show, this Little Grebe showed well.

 The pasture full of Marsh Orchids has even more than in the past. Lovely.
Glimpses of the Bearded Tit family flying over the waterway near the pools where the Rudd show well, was all we had of them. 
An unusually large flock of Black-tailed Godwits for the time of year, took to the air, along with many Avocets. At least a dozen of the latter's chicks dashing about on the muddy islands. We'd missed - by 10 minutes- an Osprey fly through. Other migrating waders had cleared out overnight. I was hoping for a Wood or Curlew Sandpiper.
I photographed this Corn Bunting near Choseley Barns,  through the car sun roof, whilst it rested on the wire above. It seems to have a bit of a deformed lower mandible.

Lunch at our beloved Brancaster Staithe added Little Terns to the year list. None at the Ythan this year.
Cley Beach for Sandwich Tern, another icecream from the van at Salthouse duck ponds and home via Sainsbury's.
Not the best of days species wise but, a satisfactory count of 86. That makes 92 for the Norfolk month list when we include those seen in the garden and at Buckenham Marsh ( we made a short sortie there yesterday, the best being a very fresh Swallowtail butterfly on the rhododendron bushes at the Level Crossing).
Our Scotland trip list totalled 142, a good average.

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