As we turned in to Sculthorpe Moor reserve, a car approached and stopped opposite. 'Were you ladies expecting to bird here to-day '? David Smith who organises the talks etc. They're closed on Mondays and were taking the opportunity to fill in some potholes on the approach track. Bother. I was looking forward to some woodland birding and photography.
We arrived at Titchwell at mid-day and Pam managed to walk as far as Parrinder Hide entry track - although she is feeling better, thank goodness.Over 3,000 Golden Plover closely packed on the islands together with Lapwing and, about a dozen Avocets roosting at the back of another. Ray K told us that the female Red-crested Pochard frequents the new pool, we intended walking there on the way back but left it for another day.
A handsome Spotted Redshank flew in to the brackish marsh as we were leaving.
Things can change in a minute. The freshwater pool now held a few Dunlin and at least 30 Ruff flew in over our heads. We saw nothing on Thornham Marsh but J and D had a Red Kite here. We met them at Cley to-day (Tues), we'd obviously missed each other yesterday, they'd walked to Thornham Point for the flock of Twite.
High tide at Brancaster, all the waders were massed on the far spit instead of being scattered in the distance. 60+ Knot, Bar-tailed Godwits, 30+ Ringed Plovers, a few Curlew and Dunlin, rather more Lapwing. Lying in the middle of them was an adult winter Mediterranean Gull which later flew in to the water in front of the car. I attempted a pic through the windscreen.......Bar-tailed Godwit and Oystercatchers there too.
Busy watching the Gull, we'd both missed the Little Egret in partial breeding plumage feeding in the car park pool in front of the Yacht Club.
As the light was failing, we made for Stiffkey Fen where we parked overlooking the marsh. Several Marsh Harriers distantly circling near East Hills and then landing in the vegetation to roost for the night. Two Barn Owls in the same area, we've seen 6 so far this month - none for the last three. One male Sparrowhawk rose from the top of a nearby bush before disappearing and there must have been at least 20 Little Egrets scattered about. White spectres kept rising from the creeks.
Joy. A Short-eared Owl appeared from somewhere to the west, flying fast and direct towards the conifer clump north of the beach where it hunted to and fro. I was busy enjoying the spectacle through my scope when Pam called a Ringtail Hen Harrier flying fast east towards Morston. Was it a female or a juvenile male? We'll never know. Especially after seeing a similar bird on Mull last year which had paired up with a female and bred in 2011.
A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon, woodland birds can wait.....