Sunday, 2 March 2014

Dydd Gwyl Ddewi

March 1
Leaving soon after 6 a.m, a little later than planned, turned out to be advantageous. As we left Holt, the slight drizzle and leaden sky became freezing fog, thick in places.Grey Wagtail had been seen back at Sculthorpe Mill, we couldn't see one this morning. Biting air, and a rushing torrent in the mill race, wasn't good for us nor them.
Harpley was hardly visible, Blue and Great Tits, no tree Sparrows again. I think we'll have to give up on this site soon. A Song Thrush sang as we left home and another was in good voice here.
Valley Farm Lane was also devoid of activity, usually a banker for both partridges, Redlegs only this time. We were to dip on Grey Partridge for the first time in at least a year. BUT as we drove away, two Tree Sparrows were on a well hidden peanut feeder. At last.
A flurry of activity in the hedge approaching Abbey farm turned out to be 30+ Brambling changing into breeding plumage. Two men ensconced in the hide thought we were joking when we told them. They were to be the first this year for one of them. One had his scope trained on the Little Owl in the oak tree. The fog gradually lifted enough for us to see it, the whole area had been invisible. Two Fieldfare, two Teal, a dozen Greylag and a Stoat didn't keep us there long. As soon as we'd finished out porridge pot breakfast, we left.
Golden Pheasant have been regularly reported recently, not to-day despite doing two circuits of the triangle. 
Debating the wisdom of driving to a foggy Snettisham, we decided to give it a go. Until we reached the first pit which was invisible. 
Fortunately, Hunstanton was an improvement but not clear enough to seawatch. After ticking off Rock Dove and Fulmar, Holme NOA was the next destination.  The best thing there was a hot chocolate from the NWT machine! Up to eight Little Grebe on the Broadwater and a few duck, still couldn't see well enough to scan for raptor
Thornham was considerably clearer, the tide well out leaving a trickle of water in the  creeks and very little on the beach. P was there having walked part of the way along the bank, seeing nothing of note. And... the sun broke through, shining for the rest of the day.
Titchwell can add ten or more species. We had to park in the far end of the car park, 'our' place was taken. What a delight. Part of the way along the main footpath past the shop, a pair of Long-tailed Tits were putting the finishing touches to their nest. I've always wanted to find their nest. Surprisingly, it was attached to the main trunk and a side branch, an extension to the lichened bark. It's probably normal but I didn't expect that. 
Dragging ourselves away, we walked as far as the freshwater pool where we found the backless bench empty. So many people here to-day, we're not used to visiting at the weekend. We succeeded in adding the ten expected species, I heard a Cetti's which Pam missed and, she didn't manage to point out a flying Snipe before it disappeared. Pam was having a painful walking day, another 5+ species were possible if we'd walked as far as the sea. I was very happy not to do so......I tried some digiscoping on a Pintail........

 and Pam took some Long-tailed Tit pics.

At last, good views of a Water Rail in the ditch near the feeders.
Lunch at Brancaster Staithe added Ringed Plover, Knot and Bar-tailed Godwit. On to Cley scanning all areas along the way. We couldn't park overlooking Gun Hill, it was full of cars. As was Lady Anne's Drive on our there and back no parking (no payment) loop. 
Three Buzzards over Cley and an adult Spoonbill viewable from Salthouse duck pond

before our second Little Owl of the day at Felbrigg brought the long day to a close. 

Carrion Crow in the car park
 Most enjoyable and 77 species seen, the most this year - thanks to Titchwell.
We now know our 'new' car a little better too having thoroughly appreciated its comforts. Most appreciated - by me - was individual temperature control for the front seats. Pam could turn hers down and I could stop myself from going blue!

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