Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Unusual. A dry (ish) Birding Day with Sue

Tuesday February 18
It must be six months since we birded with friend Sue. Either she's cancelled or we have, often for medical appointment reasons.On the last few occasions, it's rained steadily. To-day stayed mostly dry until we were well on the way home.
Thornham Harbour's reported Twite, showed as soon as we arrived and, were still bouncing their restless way around the bank, marsh and a lone tree, as we left. They used to be regular here in the winter but not in recent years. A short and light shower saw us on our way.
Titchwell always guarantees good birding. The pair of Red-crested Pochard has returned, showing briefly on the first water to the right of the path.
The Freshmarsh had me counting, not a common occurrence. 78 Avocet grouped around the marsh, noisily announcing their presence, is what prompted the maths. A large flock of Golden Plover left, swirling high and away, as we arrived. The larger group of Lapwing which also leapt into the air, re-grouped on the marsh. Three Ruff, a scattering of handsome Pintail, Gadwall, Shoveller, Pochard, Tufted Duck and one Scaup - another female - completed the picture. The so beautiful Teal deserve a sentence of their own.
A group of animated birders standing on the path the other side of the Parrinder bank, attracted our interest. Eventually, we picked out the well camouflaged Water Pipit picking its way through the bank/waterside vegetation. I tried some digiscoping, the results were rubbish.
Photos of a Black-tailed Godwit with my simple Canon were a little better. Pam took an excellent one.

 Moving on, the Brackish pool had three Little Grebe.
I found somewhere to sit on the low sandbank replacing the dunes, scanning the ebbing sea in relative comfort. Over five thousand Common Scoter formed an ever flying and changing raft way out to sea. One of a nearer, small group, showed the telltale white tick of a Velvet Scoter as it preened. Two handsome male Red-breasted Merganser and only a few Goldeneye to-day. Sanderling scurried along the shore together with Grey Plover, Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwit, Oystercatchers, Turnstones and Redshank fed on the mussell beds.
A very welcome lunch at Brancaster Staithe added Ringed Plover. The gulls did not appreciate my scattered bird seed, a couple of Turnstone did.
Via Stiffkey and Wiveton we drove Beach Road Cley. After a futile and frustrating search through a flock of about 1200 Brent Geese in the Eye Field for anything different, it was time to drive home.

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