Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Not a Fool's Day...NearlyThough

Easter Monday, April 1st

An inordinate proportion of the day was spent trawling lanes trying to follow pager instructions - our early effort was unsuccessful.
We had to work hard for a single Tree Sparrow yet, had a list of 39 by the time we drove in to Abbey Farm. A few Fieldfare flew from the field, all the ducks were Mallard, a single Coot and a few white-tail flashing Moorhens added to the few Greylag. The highlight was a Little Owl perched low in the fallen oak tree. He put on a good show flying down to forage on the ground before flying up and moving perch several times.
The large holes on the right hand side of the Kingfisher bank were obviously much larger beasts, two smaller holes on the left will be obscured from view when the trees leaf.
I thought we'd be at Snettisham in good time for high tide, we weren't. The Wash was full, the huge congregation of birds very distant on the western side. Too far for me to distinguish the smaller ones through my scope.  Many of the Dunlin - closest line - had black bellies, then came the Godwits, behind them the Curlew and Oystercatcher, the back mass was Gulls.
At least a hundred Avocets on the pits plus three Goldeneye and a Little Grebe. The pit on the chalet road  held a few Pochard, nice to see.
The wind was bitter, even the Fulmar were lying low on the sea at Hunstanton. As I got out of the car at Holme, it snowed......Avocets huddled on the far pool, Shoveller hid in the vegetation and a Buzzard soared undeterred over the far trees.
What about Thornham? The road was wet from the tide surge, driven by the wind, not due to be a high one to-day. Creeks were full, the beach covered with water, no sandbanks in sight. I scoped a Grey Plover int he bushes and tried to get Pam on to it. Trying to do so, she saw two sleeping waders in the undergrowth. One was a Greenshank, the other, a Spotted Redshank moulting into summer plumage. Its and wings heavily spotted.
It was all lovely to look at, Pam ate some food whilst we enjoyed the scenery.
Maybe we should have another go at finding Winterden Farm near Egmere. The latter is a mediaeval village which only seems to have some unsightly metal buildings, near Walsingham. Rather nearer where we were now  than we were this morning.
After a fretful half an hour or so, totally failing to follow the sparse instructions, I saw Winterden on a signpost. Shortly after turning into the lane , we passed a drive on the left. Pam reversed so that I could read the sign 'Private road to farm only' . Raising my bins I saw a Great Grey Shrike perched in the hedge. At last. Lovely pristine black and white beauty. 
I got out and tried some distant digiscoping in a blustery wind.

The SatNav took us via very rambling lanes, quickly and easily to Beach Road, Cley. The Purple Sandpiper was on its favourite pool and , at last, a male Stonechat on the fence between the car park and Eye Pool. Our first of the year. We also had a Pale-bellied Brent amongst a flock of  at least 500 Dark-bellied Brent at the end of Beach Road.
The ice-cream van was at Salthouse duck pond........Whilst Pam bought the cones (small) , I couldn't resist photographing a male Mallard gleaming in the sunlight. So beautiful.

Turnstone at Salthouse beach was our 82nd bird, Siskin at home the 83rd.

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