Late start again but, an hour earlier than last time. Pam had to call the AA out yesterday, rear offside, pancake flat tyre. Not a problem, the car was in the drive. Pam was not happy with our custard yellow, temporary spare fitted!
Our Mundesley garage mended the puncture whilst Pam waited, first thing this morning.
Halvergate Marsh beckoned, the leek and potato soup making will have to wait. Not the best of weather, watery sunlight low in the sky giving a hazy scope view directly into the light. Again, hundreds of birds, mostly Lapwing to-day. A Club member approached us to say that the Roughie had been perched on a gate earlier until a Quad bike riding shepherd had startled it off.
Gradually, the 'crowd' rose to about 10 birders. We decided to drive on and take the track out along Weavers Way again. 200 yards along the road, the juvenile Rough-legged Buzzard was perched, relatively near, on a gatepost. I persuaded a very reluctant and complaining Pam to stop on the single white line........As she slowed, the bird took off. No pics to-day. Good bin views for me. The juvenile's pale tail with banded end is very mucky looking compared with an adult.
Where next? We try to see winter birds in January, leaving resident species for later. After January 1st that is. Breydon South Wall was the chosen destination, south of the Rugby Club car park. We walked to the first gate, meeting four very pleasant male birders who greeted us with 'You're in for quite a walk girls'. That was for the Richards Pipit which was too far for us. Our aim was much nearer, the field near the farm barn.
By the time I reached the gate I had very little breath. I stopped there and set up my scope whilst Pam walked on a little way as we'd been told that the two birders near the farm were looking at the bird (s). I scanned assiduously, finding a pale lump - too still to be a bird. Pam and the men returned to tell me that there were two birds down in the field. I allowed the older man to commandeer my scope but it was the younger, Angus, who located a Short-eared Owl showing in the tallish grass. Taking my scope back, I found it for Pam who was lucky enough to see it fly - whilst I was blowing my nose. One of my favourite birds in a favoured family.
We told the men about the Roughie and the older man said he was a Suffolk man and no way was he going to enter green and yellow territory. Very jovially. Breydon South Wall was in Suffolk until the boundaries were changed last century. Both Norfolk and Suffolk records include birds seen on South Wall !
Just as well there was very little wind. My face was numb.
Leaving the car park we met Peter A . We discussed our Shrike submission which I wanted withdrawn from the Club 'best bird of 1914' competition as it hasn't been ratified by the BBRC. Peter told me that the club rules are that it will be admissable anyway and a previous winner had had his entry declined as 'not proven' but kept the Cup. I don't agree with that rule and neither does Pete.
We all think that the Halvergate Roughie is probably the easiest of the winter influx into East Anglia.