After a disturbed night - smoke alarm bleeping right outside my bedroom and unable to remove the battery - I was reluctant to leave my warm bed at 6.30. It was 7.20 with a lovely golden and deep pink sunrise before we set off. Too dozy after a mere 3 hours sleep to consider photographing it........
It seemed to take forever to reach our Tree Sparrow spot, caught in work traffic, and then we didn't manage to see one. Nor much else either. It was an apparently birdless morning everywhere. Pam ate her breakfast at Abbey farm hide whilst I scanned, seeing a few Curlew, Egyptian Geese, Gadwall, Teal and Mallard. The best was a cock-tailed Wren singing its heart out on top of a post directly below the hide. I needed earplugs.
The hide log stated that a couple of feeders have been hung near the car parking area. Not easy to find at first, one of peanuts and the other millet seed. Two birds came in...Coal Tit and Marsh Tit. Very nice.
A quick check showed that it was high tide at Snettisham, we went directly there as fast as possible - legally of course !
The chalet pits had few birds, two Goldeneye the highlight and, then Little Grebes and Tufted Duck on the reserve pits. I scanned the muddy shore from the car , even though the temp. had risen to 2C, it was still very cold in the onshore wind. I love to watch the serpentine , water-filled channels , as the tide recedes, sunlight gleaming off the wet mud.
The usual goodly variety and number of waders, Knot much the most prolific. Swirling groups lifting and adjusting their position as new feeding areas become exposed. It's only the Oyks that fly directly away in large pied flocks.
Tesco in Hunstanton for the loo, one bacon and egg sandwich to share and some bananas before Holme NOA and NWT. Yet another house is being shoe-horned in along the approach road, even more potholes and mud and a large scaffolding lorry being unloaded to evade.
Our first group of six Fieldfare on the approach road, a distant flock of Pinks and a few Magpies. Then... the centre was closed. No hot chocolate to-day.
Thornham's creeks were emptying rapidly. Waw. A handsome Greenshank fed on the far bank. Our first for months. Always a treat to find a wintering one. I went camera crazy.
Have I become an even worse photographer or, was the camera auto focusing not working properly? Or, was the dark water backed by shiny mud banks, pale bird and sun combination too much ? Maybe a combination of all three. Or was it my 18-270mm Tamron lens at full zoom? Conjecture, conjecture..........
At Titchwell, we walked the east trail for the first time after ticking a Brambling on the feeders. We got as far as the first wooden screen viewing point over the large pool where the gravel and soil was removed for the new Parrinder Hide bank. We had lovely raised views over the marshes and the muddy edge should be good for waders. A few ducks and a Little Egret to-day, one Marsh Harrier distantly over the east bank towards Gypsy Lane. Three Waxwings had been feeding along the berried hedge until mid-day, when they flew off.
The light was fast fading, no point in going on along the coast unless we stayed until dusk for the roost. Inland past Choseley for the 'fast' way home. Grey Partridge and a flock of at least 80 Brambling along the hedges south of the barns, white rumps flashing as they hedge-dived in front of us.