Monday, 2 December 2013

Lows and Highs

Sunday December 1

A high of 8C and a low of 0C, very low tide at Snettisham, Long-tailed Duck, Short-eared Owl, Hen Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Kestrel, always a high, epecially the Owl and the Long-tail.
The morning got sunnier, the fog cleared and the temperature dropped, the further west we drove. Pockets of frost at Harpley but no Tree Sparrows - again. 
The RSPB office is closed to-day. Despite having an out of date permit and knowing that it was a very low tide, we drove to Snettisham. The first pit near the caravan park had a close female winter Long-tailed Duck, obscured by bank  foliage but a joy.

Many more Goldeneye to-day on the two RSPB pits. 
How can I get so much enjoyment from looking at miles of glistening mud and creeks? I love it. Best birds were Pintail and a  prey-carrying  Sparrowhawk which landed near us before hopping into the bushes. A missed photo opportunity. I did manage one of a young Greenfinch mashing rosehips in its beak.

The drive out to Holme NOA brought the surprise Owl. It appeared from nowhere, landing in the field right next to the car, the other side of the landward fence. I dived for my camera, it took one look at us and flew away very strongly. If it caught anything it must have left it. I love all owls, Short-eareds are one of my favourites. Probably because they show well in daylight.
Thornham looked lovely although the only birds we saw were the usual gulls on the beach, a flock of Pipits and a smaller one of Skylarks. AND... a female Hen Harrier flying low over the marsh from the direction of Titchwell, its fast progress east was betrayed by a scattering of birds from the reedbed, no views of the Harrier at this time.
Brancaster Staithe was remarkably empty of people and cars and water. Two waders fed nearby.

A lone Bar-tailed Godwit

A Curlew feeding mid stream -  that's how little water there was

We enjoyed lunch watching the mussell fishermen at work, hands bright red and mottled blue and purple. Don't envy them. 

At their roadside table, we bought a bag of mussells for Rainer and Barbara, as a thank you for the odd jobs Rai has done for us this week.
One more stop at Cley adding no new birds. We haven't walked at all to-day, ending with a total of 71 birds seen. My intention was to walk Titchwell which would have added 10 or more to the list, idleness/ reluctance to put pressure on both participants' joints, won out. Plenty more days this month, many of them already taken up though.

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