Friday, 23 January 2015

Many Miles, 4 Year Ticks

Friday January 24

After dropping a casserole off at Kate's - she had a hip operation last Saturday and Jim doesn't cook - we drove to Sparham Pools near Lyng.

It's about the only reliable place we know of for wintering Goosander in Norfolk. We forgot about frozen water due to the present cold snap. Hearts sank. Such a beautiful sunny day too.  At least 6 Goosanders were distantly viewable, asleep in a patch of clear water against a far bank. Thank goodness for that.
No sign of the Great White Egret, as I had suspected. Reported 'at the far end',  we can't walk that far at the moment.
Next stop, Wells Harbour. Avid scanning did not produce either the Shag nor the Red-necked Grebe. After consulting another birder, we found the Shag - below us -  tucked in between some temporary pontoons and the harbour wall. He hadn't seen the Grebe either. It was a very low tide, maybe it had drifted towards the harbour mouth. As I got out to photograph the Shag, it rounded the pontoon and started diving in the centre of the channel.

Early for the roost at Stiffkey, we decided to have a look anyway. I quickly located a male Hen Harrier perched on a raised mound - through scoping to see what some other birders were looking at. Later, I re-found it flying near the derelict boat on the beach side of the track out to the sea. Excellent. Lovely birds and, this was a full adult male.
Having endured the painful speed bumps and then the deep and frequent potholes en route to Morston Quay, we were rewarded by good view of a Greenshank
Just in time. A woman plus FOUR dogs came down the mud bank to cross the ankle deep water - the labrador having first run through the creek to frighten off all the birds. Not even an attempt to stop it by the owner.
I love boats, water and mud, especially in sunshine. A true East Anglian adoptee. Weathered and rotting timbers make it even better.

Our third attempt to see the Purple Sandpipers seen on the rocks on Sheringham front, had the same result as the previous two. Nothing. Again, it was low tide. We've always walked to locate them in the past, but not in this cold.

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