Sunday, 2 September 2012

85 Species - How did we manage that........

Saturday Sep 1

Finding no jackets of mine in the car was a b....., a short-sleeved cotton shirt was not appropriate wear on its own. Who removed my fleece and birding jacket? We'd been promised dry and warm weather in the west of the county. Wrong. We set off soon after six a.m. in fine misty drizzle which did not stop until until tennish. 11C is not comfortable.
The birds weren't around either, we'd barely reached double figures before Abbey Farm, but that did include Tree Sparrow and a Buzzard, the latter seen along the Abbey Lane. The hide log book mentioned Honey Buzzard on the previous two days. How competent were the recorders? A short flying view was not enough for us to declare either way.
The only bird of note at Abbey was a Kingfisher. The nesting bank is now completely obscured by trees and vegetation. Our bird was sat on a low post, partially obscured, in the near lefthand pool - along with all the manky Mallard. Pam spied it a few seconds before it disappeared, looked like a young bird.
Checking the tide timetable took us to Snettisham in a hurry. High tide was at 7.30 and it was a 7.1 , a high one. It was lovely to be back there again, we tend to give it a miss in July and, this year,  August too. It was an hour after high tide when we got there, but it still lapped the shore, edged by a scattering of feeding Dunlin, Turnstone and Ringed Plover. A single Knot explored the seaweed line. What looked like distant mud became thousands of waders when scoped. Too far to identify all but, the mass of Oystercatchers, Godwits, Curlew and Wheeling Knot were obvious. I scoped the receding water, exposing food rich mud, finding Golden and Grey Plover in addition to all the birds previously mentioned plus Redshank and Whimbrel. Five minutes later when I lifted my eyes from the scope, it was all mud,the water had disappeared into the far distance. The speed at which the water floods in for its final zenith and then nadir is amazing and awesome. We once saw it come in at the western end, after hearing a strange and eerie sussuration as it sped across the mud. Unforgettable.
Still cold, I shed my scarf and gloves to do some shopping in Hunstanton Tesco. After a delicious breakfast in their cafe and the necessary shop (plus some treats), I was warmer and it was 16C outside.Next stop after the cliffs where Pam caught sight of Fulmar, we drove to Titchwell. The new Trail is officially open to-day, we expected crowds when we saw the sign but it was a normal weekend population. Pam didn't want to do the new trail as she'd left her boots in the porch and was wearing socks and sandals (!!). Walking to the Freshwater Pool it was a good idea. The trail goes as far as the east bank and then a good way along it. We could see three viewing platforms spaced along it.
We sat scanning the pool which held a lot of birds but not much variety. In total we added five species of duck including Pochard and Pintail. I saw a Red-crested Pochard on the first pool but it disappeared......Three Greenshank was a good sighting, as was a Little Stint. Still very overcast and murky, awful conditions for photography. I couldn't resist having a go at digiscoping a Black-tailed Godwit feeding in the near channel.

Black-tailed Godwit
 (At last !. I've tried umpteen times to upload this photo over the last day and a half. I succeeded by using Comodo Dragon - my new browser - said to be safer and less prone to error than Google Chrome. We'll see...)
 Nothing at Choseley nor at Brancaster Staithe, we took the inland route from Stiffkey to CleySpy so that Pam could have her binoc. piece glued back on. En route, I dropped off for five minutes and woke to find that we were parked in Morston with Pam asleep beside me. Three early mornings with little sleep had taken their toll (poor old things).
Via an ice-cream at Salthouse and a drop in to Gunton Park where we added Long tailed Tit, Chiffchaff and Great Crested Grebe, we got home at tea-time to do the adding up. Astonishing. How did we manage 85? I re-counted, still correct. And we didn't see a Dunnock.
Nothing to be seen in the garden at the moment as the feeders are empty. We saw several young rats around and Kevin put poison down, well pretected of course but we were horrified when ginger cat Robbie brought a couple of dead rats in. He doesn't catch anything live any more and he didn't eat them either so that was fine.

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