Saturday, 2 January 2016

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda - Happy New Year

Friday January 1

The strangest first of the year day ever. Pam is still on crutches after a hip replacement exactly two weeks ago and a long day is not advisable nor planned. We couldn't do nothing though. 
Getting ready to leave late morning, a flock of tits descended on the fig tree feeders. It contained, Blue, Great, Coal, Marsh and Long-tailed, all that could be expected.
Ludham Marshes, viewing across to Thurne, were a bird-free zone to-day but,  also the desired (by Pam)  birder free zone. Apart from dozens of Mute Swans, one Kestrel, a Marsh Harrier, all the Corvids and the, often missed, Grey Heron.
Finding Ludham Airfield can be a problem. Although one can see swans in the distance from the maze of small lanes, finding the entrance to the re-cycling dump can be tricky. Pam directed me well and we parked as close as we could, the 60 or so wild swans still about 200 metres distant. And.........they were all bodies and heads down asleep. By the time I'd got out and set up my scope a few birds had lifted their heads and a few were grazing so I took a few hopeful photographs with my 300 mm lens.

Part of the flock

They were mostly Bewicks, a small group of Whoopers towards the right hand end with only five of this year's young amongst them. An accurate count was not possible due to the head hiding.
We decided to travel home via Potter Heigham, Martham and Winterton.  A mistake. It started well when I pulled off into a gate entrance in order to avoid the unusually heavy two way traffic. A female Sparrowhawk flew towards us scattering the ten Snipe which had been feeding near one of the pools on the water-logged pasture.
As we passed Horsey Windmill and car park, the reason for the traffic problem became apparent. We queued for at least 10 minutes in the car mob going to see the seals at Horsey Dunes. One or two of us were not going there but, couldn't overtake as there were also cars coming from Sea Palling and turning in, delaying our queue from doing so. Entry was only possible when a car left - slowly. There were even parked cars in a field before the car park entry through the alder carr approach. We'll know now!
We managed a total of 40 species despite the restrictions. It's obviously a slowly, slowly start to the year.

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