Saturday, 27 February 2016

Free Day At Last

Friday February 26

A late start with nebulous intent, apart from setting off towards the north coast. Valley Farm added Tree Sparrow and Marsh Tit before a stop on the back road to Abbey Farm to view the one foot high, dry and grey, stalk covered field - apparently empty. The field behind it was densely covered with Gulls and Lapwings, the gulls behaving very aggressively towards the plovers. Suddenly a few hundred finches erupted out of the stalks, swirled about, some heading off over our heads, others landing again. About twenty stayed perched on the top of the stalks, all of them handsome Brambling in varying degrees of moult. One near full plumaged male posed in the hedge, thin twigs across it preventing photography. Linnets, Tree Sparrows and Chaffinches made up the smallest percentage of the flock.
Both Little Owls were visible in the fallen Oak tree which is their Abbey Farm home. Best viewed from a gateway but still distant. Find the birds....

A single Fieldfare and a Redwing did not give each other any peace. I think the bigger Fieldfare was the main culprit, forcing re-location every few minutes. Although they were close to each other, it was only possible to get one of the birds in focus.

Still no Golden Pheasant for us, traffic and walkers doesn't help.
A tide timetable check showed that high tide was over four hours previously. We still drove to our beloved Snettisham, where the water's edge was scarcely visible through the scope. Two Goldeneye remained on the pits, plus a pair of Pochard which was a year's first here. Our very first was yesterday, on Wroxham Broad on the way home from lunch with friends at Salhouse garden Centre - the second day running there. The thirty Avocets looked newly painted in their Tudor half timbered black and white garb.

Eating our Tesco bought bacon roll on Hunstanton cliff top, we saw two Red-breasted Merganser fly through - and the largest, most extensively exposed sandbanks we've ever viewed in the Wash.

Wells harbour had six Little Grebes floating about. So tempting to photograph them, with disappointing results in the late golden light  - which I find difficult to edit.

I'm thinking of specialising in disappearing birds ......

A Hen Harrier  flying over the road east of Stiffkey was the only other notable sighting. Plenty of luminous Yellowhammers at Choseley, still no Corn Bunting for us but a lone Grey Partridge.
The sunset was spectacular as we drove home. So was the news of a Willow Warbler in Norfolk to-day, the earliest since records began. Roll on Wheatears, Chiffchaffs and Terns.

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