I needed to take a mal - functioning machine back to Staples in Great Yarmouth. We drove there via St Benets and back home via The Sealife Centre and Horsey. As you do....
Driving carefully down the uneven concrete slabs with eroded joins and holes which constitutes the track to St Benets car park, I noticed 8 Common Cranes flying towards Thurne Mills. Two peeled off and flew towards Upton Marsh, the others landing near the mills.
Scoping from the car park, the flock very distant, my attempts to count them became a reason for hilarity. Tall reeds, ditches, bent over feeding Cranes and constant movement........maximum 17, minimum 14. I tried hard to find a Short-eared Owl but failed.
After Staples, the beach behind the Sealife Centre held 13 resting adult Mediterranean Gulls. Bob tells us that there's one at Walcott, last year's bird maybe. Not when we're there.
It was 3.30 when we reached Horsey straight where we were due to have Tunch - very late lunch, early for Tea - in the birders layby. Two more Cranes fed on a green bank to the east of the road. Lovely.
Saturday January 10
The rain stopped and the howling, gusting wind eased a little. The sun even came out and the sky blued. Was it worth a seawatch although the wind was southwesterly and not the best? I was hoping that Scotland's hurricane might have pushed something south.
Nothing at all off Walcott, apart from the magnificent sight of heaving whitecaps, crests blown back, crashing onto the sea wall.
Horsey Straight. Yes ! The pair of Cranes were in the identical spot. They WERE moving and not tethered.
The sea from Winterton Beach car park was even more spectacular, higher and more unevenly breaking whitecaps with deeper troughs. I counted about a dozen Gannets swooping distantly south in singles before ceasing. Cormorants and juvenile Herring and Black-backed Gulls fought the wind. Why do they bother trying to fly into the wind? Same goes for the Cormorants. Many of them gave the battle up and allowed the wind to take them south again. What a waste of energy.
A quick look at the large and well scattered Pinkfeet flock on the Hemsby Road until I found one of the Tundra Bean Geese before driving home to watch football.