Sunday, 2 February 2014

Forecast Looked Goodish

Saturday February 1

Despite the very high tides this weekend, 7.4 at 7.21a.m. at Snettisham, the low and dark cloud overcast did not encourage me to leave home before 7.23 (Pam is very exact with her timing). The sun and clear skies gradually appeared as we drove west, the low winter sun blinding by the time we got to the Harpley area. No Tree Sparrows again.
Inching towards 20 species as we approached Abbey Farm was not brilliant ! Three Brambling in the hedge as we turned into the car park was encouraging.  Squinting into the sun from the hide, there was plenty of water and birds - of few species. Our first Song Thrush for months sang near the car park as we left. A real delight.
After a hopeful circuit of Wolferton Triangle, straight to Snettisham chalets. I found a gap between two small chalets which had a few steps leading up to the bank and footpath. Poking my head round to view proved to be a mistake. Soooooo cold, with a gale force wind straight from the Arctic. I set up my scope on the top step to scan from the - relative - shelter. I still had streaming eyes which obscured my viewing, soon sending me scuttling back to the car. No more of that to-day, thank you. Gore Point and Titchwell can wait for another day.
The usual Fulmar and Rock Dove at Hunstanton, and a Shoveller at Holme. No sign of the Short-eared Owl at the latter. Again, no birds at all at Choseley barns. Scrubbing up the hedge near the road has definitely made a difference. I don't think they're spilling any grain either. Maybe they're trying to get rid of birders.
Whilst Pam ate her lunch at Brancaster Staithe, I amused myself by taking photographs of any Bar-tailed Godwits which came anywhere near enough. There were 50+ huddled on the sand island at the edge of the creek. A few were probing the very wet mud.

I hope it washed the mud off before it set hard.

The lone Glossy Ibis near the Three Swallows at Wiveton could be seen over the gate without leaving the car. 
Both gateways with views of the Brents along Beach Road, Cley, were occupied by cars and tripods so we drove out to the beach car park. No Stonechats to-day. There was room in a gateway on the return journey. Careful scanning added Black Brant and a couple of Pale-bellied amongst the flock of Black-bellied Brent Geese.
Felbrigg Hall main car park ended the day with the Little Owl in its roosting tree and a small flock of very bright Redwing on the grass in the car park. Low light and chasing Blackbirds made photography difficult.  I managed a few shots of a nearer bird before the Blackbird on a mission arrived.

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