Friday, 24 August 2012

Beat the Bank Holiday Crowds

Thursday August 23

Maybe a thin cotton shirt without another layer was not the best of ideas early morning......
Abbey Farm had plenty of water, Greylag, Moorhen and Coot but little else. The usual suspects off Hunstanton Cliffs before driving out to Holme NWT/NOA.  That was dodgy. The road past the houses has been re-surfaced and very frequent  angled humps put in. I can understand the traffic calming, the angled and very lumpy humps made driving a 4 wheel lurch. They are not marked either. Beware.....
It was walking to, and then sea watching, at Gore Point for an hour which brought home the lack of clothing, waistcoats helped but my arms were verging on goose pimples. Thoroughly enjoyable though. Five Whimbrel flew over and both Speckled Wood and Meadow Brown Butterflies fed in the bramble and Harebells lining the boardwalk.

Tatty Speckled Wood
I love sea watching. Gales make the birds more interesting but August calm makes it much more comfortable. The tide was coming in too which brought the waders ever nearer. The highlights were two light phase Arctic Skuas, two moulting Eider (Norfolk year tick !!), 50+ Sanderling, a lone Knot, 18 Grey Plover, two Bar-tailed Godwits, a handful of Turnstone, Dunlin and Ringed Plover. Vying for best of all - because we love them - were five Wheatears feeding amongst the greenery on the high tideline.
Time to visit the NOA centre and Sophie, she wasn't there last time when we took our raffle tickets in. We usually restrict our visits to the car park hide overlooking Broadwater. Sophie was there this time after three months of ill health - kidney stone. She set off on the net rounds and we attempted to photograph the - mainly - Peacock butterflies with a few Red Admiral and a single Comma feeding on the enormous Buddleia Globosa type bushes near the Obs. 

Sophie returned with a Blackcap, having trapped Reed and Sedge Warblers earlier, we left. 
Having thoroughly enjoyed our birding, as always really, we drove home via Drove Orchards shop and Cley Spy. The dust cap on the front centre of Pam's Zeiss binos went missing for the second time whilst we were in Panama.  We'd intended replacing it at the Zeiss stand at the Birdfair but the high temperatures put us off going. We both regret it but discretion was the order of the day. Apparently it was incredibly hot in the marquees. Cley Spy ordered one for her and said that they would superglue it on this time !
Bargain and temptation......
Cley Spy are now one of only 40 (down from 120) Swarovski outlets in the UK and have acquired 7 Leica 82 scopes, for which they are charging about £500 less than new ones - even though they are new.
I still have this submerged hankering for a Leica - and it's a bargain (!!) - so I tried one out alongside my Swarovski 82. Optically I could see no difference. I took the Leica off the tripod to return it and it felt like a brick. I held mine in one hand and the Leica in the other and the difference in weight was astonishing - although published weights are not that different. An easy decision, I don't need extra weight. Apparently the new, 3 interchangeable half  (90 mm, 80m  and 50mm? Swarovski's are heavy too, they've gone back to the old aluminium bodies instead of my light one. I think my itch has been well and truly scratched.

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