Saturday, 2 March 2013

Dydd Gwyl Dewi (St David's Day)

Friday March 1

Having barely managed three hours sleep, our 6.30 a.m. planned start became 6.40. No Siskin on our feeders yet but several species of common birds were singing. Spring on its way. 
Tree Sparrows in the hedge at Harpley, 50+ Fieldfare at Flitcham - no Golden Pheasant sighting in two circuits of the Wolferton triangle - despite almost daily sighting reports on the pager. Must come with that sole aim and be patient I reckon.
We also did a Houghton Hall rectangle just in case, no luck, the White-tailed Eagle wasn't reported until the afternoon.
High tide at Snettisham was at 8.28, still plenty of water when we arrived. Amazing how quickly it drops once it starts, quite alarming if you're not used to it. Interesting to see the bird population changes. No Grey Plover, there were dozens last month, only a small flock of about 50 Golden Plover, many more Dunlin and Bar-tailed Godwits, fewer Knot - still plenty though.
We met Bob C on the Holme reserve entry track, digiscoping our second barn Owl of the day viewable from  the entrance to the house where his newly bought caravan is situated. One of four on site. An excellent base and he's excited about it - especially when it was his non birding wife who suggested it.
A pair of Pintail was a new Broadwater sighting for us, Avocet are not back yet. It was lovely to watch a pair of Buzzards in their courtship dance against a now blue sky,  patches of it anyway.
There are usually Konik ponies grazing fenced off areas at Holme. To-day these shown below had appeared. They look like a moorland type such as Exmoor. Shall have to find out.

Thornham came up trumps today. Water was rushing out of the channel where we watched two Spotted Redshank and a Greenshank feeding avidly. 


Greenshank on the move

Shankless Spotted Redshank

Spotted Redshank in winter plumage
One Curlew - far fewer of those to-day, probed the mud, Skylarks rose from the marsh and, a Peregrine flew towards Titchwell. I then scoped the beach and picked up a Merlin perched on a dead tree stump. 

Togged up, we walked the west wall at Titchwell. A Water Rail fed in the dyke beneath the trees  lining the bird feeding area. Good start. As we left the shelter of the treed area, I could have gasped out loud. It was icy cold on exposed flesh - not that there was much of that. A northerly wind again in 4C maximum. Eyes streaming, tears running down my face and nose in constant need of a handkerchief, I scoped the full of water freshmarsh . More Avocets than last month, one Black-tailed Godwit, three Snipe and the usual ducks was the reward for our efforts. No... not going as far as the sea to add Slav. Grebe.....
We got to Cley in enough light to see that the Purple Sandpiper had gone to roost, two Gannets flew past far out, the flock of Snow Bunting showed enough white to distinguish them in flight at the side of Gramborough Hill.
Another of the day's highlights was the number of Hares we saw, I gave up counting after 60. One group of five were chasing around in circles, using each other as mobile hurdles over which to do aerial leaps, 'boxing' and then going off calmly as though nothing had happened.
I only had a couple of short naps whilst out. Boy was I tired when I got in. When we eventually forced ourselves to do the day's recording and count before bed, we'd managed 86 species with which we were pleased. 
Including a woodland area in the day would add several species.Shame that Sculthorpe Moor doesn't open until 10 and closes at 4 so it isn't convenient to include it at either end.

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