Friday, 27 November 2015

Northern Visitors and a Twilight Ghost

Thursday November 24

Charity Shop collection over, book and camera dealers  dealt with and at least an hour of daylight left. Ludham/Thurne marshes beckoned.
The track down to St Benets was very deeply puddled and muddy margined until we passed the farm. Almost as soon as we hit the concrete slab track,  we stopped so that I could scope some distant swans. Bingo. Seven Bewick's. The track is single track, an oncoming car forced us to drive on to a gateway from which the birds were invisible.
First scan from the St Benets car park produced nothing apart from corvids. Suddenly, the row of mature Hawthorns lining the river bank exploded into life. We always argue about numbers. I think that there were probably a thousand Fieldfare milling about, Pam at least 500. Take your pick. Whatever........ it was lovely to see such a large and active flock on the berry festooned branches. The sun was setting behind us but it was still impossible to take any acceptable photographs. I have one of a single tree and the sky surrounded by dark and largely out of focus outline birds. Not posting that.
Another birder arrived, his wife was first to call the Barn Owl ghosting rapidly right, disappearing over the trees and the river. Fortunately, it returned, rather distant and fast flying but, it made three passes allowing me to attempt some photgraphy. I hadn't even changed my camera settings to winter low-light high ISA settings. Idiot. Obviously never a Boy Scout.
Some were sort of acceptable.

On the way back, Pam noticed a Common Snipe in the lush grass on the other side of a dyke. Well spotted. Poor thing turned out to have a broken beak. Did it jab a hidden stone? I hope it can still feed. Pam's photograph.

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