Shall we do a long North Norfolk Day? Or, target specific birds locally? Absolutely low tide at Snettisham made the decision for us.
Buckenham Marshes first, to view the area at the far end of the Mill. Dot had told us approximately where to look, ' among the cabbage things'. Not cabbage, purplish dock-like leaves on the near side of the pool. What is it really called?
We must have scoped to and fro for nearly an hour before Pam first spotted the Pectoral Sandpiper which was in lovely plumage. A few minutes later, it had disappeared from view again, despite my never taking my eye off the scope. Elusive indeed.
There was also a splendid ginger Ruff, at least eight Redshank, a few Avocets, 60+ Mute Swans - and the RSPB Warden driving about on his quadbike and then walking the marsh, recorder in hand. Probably monitoring the breeding Lapwing as they did last year. We saw two delightful well fledged young near the pool. To be fair, the birds didn't appear to be spooked at all.
Strumpshaw next, for the walk to Tower Hide, which we last did in the early eighties ! A very pleasant walk, the last 800 metres along the riverbank. Many singing birds along the way, Willow Warblers, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Sedge Warbler and, at least seven Cetti's shouting.
Dot's instructions again. Look for the three bushes over the spit on the left. We did, until 2.30 when we gave up. No sound nor sight of the Savi's Warbler, noted on the wall as 'showing and reeling well at 5.30 a.m.'.
I enjoyed sitting up there - two flights of stairs - surveying the scene. A Bittern boomed three times, two male and one female Marsh Harriers flew about as did a single Common Tern, the latter landing below us to eat a fish. Six male Tufted Ducks raced about in a testosterone fuelled frenzy after a single female who had obviously made her choice. She was also singling out one of the chasers for attack by her mate, she chased it and then stood 'pointing' until her mate arrived. The poor victim had a large de-feathered and red raw patch on his neck.
Because I was constantly looking at the three bushes we thought were the right ones, I saw a hovering bird, and called 'Kingfisher' as it dived and flew off across the reeds. before diving again. Pam saw it but the others didn't. Same goes for a Sparrowhawk which arrowed low across the pool.
It took us 35 minutes to walk back to the car, we didn't stop at all. We are not the world's fastest walkers.........
A most enjoyable day, nearly 70 birds on the list. Shame about the Savi's.
My mobile was sounding when I got back to the car. Yesterday's message from Steve re the Savi's and to-day's from Sue H about next week's day out which she can't make and wants to re-schedule. Probably another hospital app for her Dad.