Saturday, 28 December 2013

Better than a Building Site

Saturday December 28

Where to go on a beautiful day? The North Norfolk coast would be heaving with non birders, the Chelsea set, as well as birders. Ludham Marshes looked like a good bet. It was.
Not much from the first muddy track out to a farm, a few Whooper Swans amongst the Mutes and, a Red Deer with a flock of sheep. The latter has been raised from a faun.
The track out to St Benet's Abbey was infinitely better. I wanted to scope some distant Swans, fetched my scope from the boot and tracked a male Marsh Harrier causing havoc. A few hundred Golden Plovers and  Lapwings rose from the meadows/reeds plus a couple of birds I thought were Cranes at first  - until they transformed into geese.
Blast, we had to move on, single track road and two cars coming towards us. Rush hour.
Another stop, another scan.... two European Cranes (don't like the term common) flying right and landing out of sight. 
Another car, another stop. 
Careful scanning in the very distant crane landing area, brought more and more birds into view. First a group of eight and then another of five appearing from the reeds and dykes. 
Without warning, they all took off, SEVENTEEN birds in all. Waw. Still no nearer though. I took some photos anyway. I texted Birdline but they weren't reported on the pager. I also tweeted the sighting with a better site description.........

Can you spot 17?   True distance through a 300mm lens

Heavily cropped.

Home via Ludham Airfield where a mixed herd of Whooper and Bewick Swans had been reported. They were still there but distant.

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