Sunday, 2 December 2012

Long Time - No Birding

Saturday December 1
Written on Dec 2

We think that we are very unsociable people, yet have spent a lot of time eating out with friends the last couple of weeks, with more to come. This, together with much rain and short days, has curtailed our birding to a few short trips around local lanes.
The much anticipated 'first of the month' long day out, birding the north coast, dawned to heavy frost and sub zero temperature on wet un-gritted roads. Hm. Maybe a long drive in the nearly dark was not advisable. Very disappointing.  To-morrow promises sun and dry but we are going to a - belated birthday -  lunch in Bacton. I had a cuppa, checked my farm and the temperature rose to 1C. We had to do something. 
As we set out for Cley, sleet fell, huge flakes in the heavy rain. parts of the country have had a good layer of snow already, skiing on Cairngorm has started a week earlier than usual.
Maybe the fields at Felbrigg Hall would have something, a good flock of Brambling wintered there last year. No sign of the Little Owl in its dead tree hole nor any other birds, It's not possible to drive through any more, so we returned to the main road. A dozen Blackbirds, all but one dark-beaked first winter males, probed the verges and a small flock of Redwing flew into a nearby tree. That's better !
I ate my cereal breakfast watching the flooded fields and marshes at Salthouse. About 20 Turnstone fed on scattered food near the car park, two Snow Buntings picked about the Horned Poppy and weed remains on the shingle ridge.
Parking at the triangle and trussed up against the very cold wind - not a strong one thank goodness - we walked out to Daukes. All the birds were on Pat's Pool so we moved to the other hide. Pat's was well flooded, the few remaining 'islands' not large. Plenty of Wigeon, a few Teal , Gadwall and Shoveller, eight Avocets and 20ish Black-tailed Godwits. A single Marsh Harrier quartered the reedbed. We stayed until hypothermia was imminent before returning to the car and Beach Road car park. The sea was very quiet, a couple of distant Red-throated Divers and a single Guillemot, all in flight. Comparatively few Brent Geese around so far this year, a small flock flew in opposite the Centre as we drove by.
Jeremy, in his drinks dipensing van, was still at Salthouse car park, we had hot chocolate and Eddie his second coffee of the day, before a last scan and a drive homewards.
The list stood at just over 50, what about Gunton? We took the back lane at Thorpe Market which misses the main junction and comes out on the Norwich Road. The horse paddocks are always worth a look.... definitely to-day. a handsome Green Woodpecker flew in and fed avidly ,probing the soft ground under an oak.
On the Suffield lane, a falconer was walking a field, I glimpsed a bird fly into a tree and sit silhouetted with its back to us. We reached the beet concrete pad at the same time as the man.  The bird was a male Goshawk which he has started training. He'd returned to his car to get a dead crow with which he hoped to entice him back. Can't count that........very tempting !!
Gunton lake produced plenty of Tufted Duck, three Little Grebe and two Egyptian Geese. No Great Crested Grebe to-day.
Sunset from North Walsham Waitrose car park, taken by Pam

Home in time to watch Man U beat Reading 4-3. All the goals in the first half, terrible defending. Rafael taken off after 20 minutes, threw a strop, refused his coat and had it thrown over his head by the kit man. He then sat in the subs seats like a sulky child, the solicitous Welbeck patting his knee before tucking the coat around his legs. All this whilst Rafael stared straight ahead with his arms folded. Not to be applauded but funny!

No comments:

Post a Comment