Friday February 3
Written on Saturday the 4th - and my memory is fuzzy....birding after 4 hours of sleep didn't help concentration. I don't need much sleep, the last few days have seen less than usual.
Odd, the usual edge of anticipation for first of the month birding, was blunted by the previous two days' experiences. Still enjoyable, and we managed over 70 species, despite a scarcity of chance sightings and no walking in the icy wind. We hit the first snowfall at Hunstanton, it petered out by Thornham. I'd said before setting off that if we did see snow, it would be around the Wash. Not much anywhere, it varied from an icing sugar coating to a couple of centimetres on Hunstanton cliff car park.
A lone Buzzard 100 yards from home.
Abbey Farm as poor as expected now, frozen pools too. Yellowhammer and Tree Sparrows in the approach hedge.
Over a dozen Grey Partridges in a ploughed field the other side of Flitcham.
The sea so distant that it was barely visible through my scope! Five male Goldeneye on the pits, displaying to a lone female.
Our first Corn Bunting of the year and 20 Yellowhammers, mostly vivid males.
My heart sank as I saw a tractor ploughing the stubble field. No problem. The extremely skittish and active flocks of Skylark and Lapland Buntings landed near enough to scope on the ground. I can tell the difference in flight but nothing beats a settled scope view.
Salthouse Beach Road
Two Whitefronts standing alone on the marsh to the east, attracted my intention. They looked different...On closer inspection, one had a pinkish beak, the other, orange. The belly stripes were heavier on the orange-beaked bird and the neck darker. As I called out what I saw, Pam was reading the Collins beside me and confirmed what I thought. One Greenland Whitefront and one European. I took some photographs, none of which pleased me - distant for my 400m lens.
I don't think the photographs are that conclusive...
If anyone disgrees with my ID, please let me know. The beak colour was much more obvious through my scope.
|Greenland Anser flavirostris and European White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons|
|Greenland White-fronted Goose|
|European White-fronted Goose|