Thursday, 28 January 2016

Plus Two

Thursday January 28

Sculthorpe Moor Reserve has beckoned since the year started. Too much rain...too much wind.....could Pam do the walking.....all the good boxes ticked to-day. A lovely winter day. Rather cold, frost-solid car wndows to clear first but, good conditions all day.
I went to reception to show our membership card, saying 'Pam had a hip operation 5 weeks ago....' Immediately the old boy behind the desk asked if we'd like to drive down as far as the boardwalk, especially as the entry road was both muddy and heavily pot-holed. Brilliant. The other, equally elderly, man had opened the gate for us by the time we drove round - and shut it afterwards. Great service.
  Pam decided that we should walk directly to Whitley Hide, best for photography. I was concerned that it would be packed, the car park was full. Unfounded. The right hand feeder is now a much smaller table, thickly filled with unhusked black sunflower seeds. The Chaffinches stay and gorge, squabble for position and fly off when the Bullfinches arrive. 

The Great, Blue and Coal Tits do a nick and fly, to eat their trophy in the bushes. Two Bramblings were an addition to the year list.
The birds arrive in busy waves with gaps in between.I tried very hard to take photos of the birds in the trees but, the dark sun-dappled shade and thick twiggy branches were not helpful. I managed a few pictures of the ground feeders, using manual settings, before moving to the left side of the hide.

Why do I not take photos of Robins? I found this one irresistible - it was still AND clear of twigs.

A Nuthatch had shown here earlier. We had one short visit by one, same applies to a Reed Bunting, with a longer spell from a small flock of Long-tailed Tits. That was fun, trying to catch them both still and clear of branches. I managed one of the criteria.

After Monday night's excellent discussion, led by Justin, on Continental Coal Tits - aper race - and Northern Treecreeper, I again inspected the Coalies here, as I did at Natural Surroundings on Tuesday where we had coffee with some of the moth-ing group. All Brittanicus race. 
We remembered to look for Elf Cap fungi on the way back to the car. Pam found a lovely, fresh trio on moss but I only had my 300 mm lens with a 1.5 extender fixed, hence, poor depth of field. I should have concentrated on the two undamaged specimens.

Here's the culprit.... dragonfly larva? 

Would the Wells Shag show to-day? Eventually, we had good views as it returned from a seaward direction before fishing directly below.


 It was very active - many of my photos looked like the above.

A Hen Harrier at Stiffkey and Golden Plover at Cley were the day's full stops. 

To-morrow will bring a third hunt for the Walcott Purple Sandpipers and the Gimingham Goosanders reported to us by Bob. I think I'll ask him to stay put and phone me next time he sees either or both !  
Friday - mission aborted - blowing a gale. 


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