Thursday, 8 January 2015

Ahead of the Forecast Storm Bomb

Wednesday January 7

To-day's morning sun was watery and low in the sky, giving a soft focus edge to the scenery and trees. I love winter trees best of all, their bare branches allow a more expansive view, their shapes and form beautiful in themselves. But what about spring trees with their fattening buds followed by the so delicate and tenderly unfurling soft green leaves? And the colours of Autumn? It's the full blown blowsiness of dark, tired and dusty green late summer which I like the least.
Apart from Felbrigg and Cley, our day's plans were as amorphous as roosting Starlings. 
Yes ! A Little Owl was huddled in one of the holes in the favoured dead tree, viewable from Felbrigg car park. No winter thrushes though.
Parking in the field entrance at the start of Beach Road, Salthouse, to view the several hundred Brent Geese, it took a while to find the Black Brant. It must have been down in a dip on the first scans. Pam found it first.
It was very dark and gloomy by now - late morning - we still decided to make for Titchwell shop where we needed to buy a new tide timetable for the Wash. It was good to be out. Pam dashed in for those and then on to Thornham.  We didn't stay long but there was no sighting of  the reported Twite - again. Low tide too, so Snettisham was ruled out.
Apart from one car, we had Old Hunstanton beach car park to ourselves. Hundreds of waders on the beach, a few Knot amongst them. Too far for Pam to see using bins, though she managed the three Common Scoter which were even more distant. Shape, blackness and size make them much more discernible.
After lunch in Tesco's cafe, we tried the town beach where Pam caught up with Knot. I've never seen the tide as low here. so much mud with  scattered sand banks like islands in a silver sea.
Flitcham Village where the garden of the last house before Abbey Farm is usually worth a look. As we pulled in to the lane entrance opposite, a large flock of finches rose from the muddy and weed strewn area inside the field entrance. Many perched in the bare hedge, others soon returned to feed on the ground. One male Brambling was the highlight amongst the Greenfinches, Chaffinches and House Sparrows. I saw three Yellowhammers when we first arrived but never again. Pam didn't see them at all. A very active and restless flock, groups departing to roost all the time. We were hoping for Tree Sparrows but didn't see any in the rapidly fading daylight. No birds at all in the area behind the hay bales protecting a field entrance near the barns.
Abbey Farm record book had a report of two Rough-legged Buzzards earlier to-day. It was now raining as well as dimpsy, no chance of raptors in this. There was a large flock Of Pink-feet at the back of the filed with a small number of thrushes hopping through the tussocks, Redwing amongst them. Suddenly all the birds, apart from the geese, took off, two workmen walking through the field the other side of the pond. Cue to leave.
Where the path to the hide fencing ends, Pam found a Treecreeper making its syncopated way up a small tree trunk. Lovely. Common birds according to the books but, always a joy to me as I seldom see them. We don't spend much time in woodland
High winds and rain are forecast for to-morrow, the so called weather bomb. All these new and dramatic terms to describe weather. I rather like them really.
I have now sent in my final Isabelline Shrike record submission to the County. If passed, it will then go on to the BBRC for ratification - or rejection. Oh for a photograph. Fingers crossed.

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