Monday, 18 April 2016

Sue and a Perishing North Wind

Monday April 18

We haven't seen Sue for about a year. Our regular birding days have been arranged and then cancelled, mostly owing to her father's medical needs. He's 96, blind and lives in St Ives. 
Not an early start therefore, as she lives south of Norwich and is suffering sleepless nights. So cold too - and she needed to drive to St Ives to-night for father's medical appointment to-morrow. Where to go?
Cley is always a good bet. We started at Beach Road Salthouse. hearts sinking when not even a Wheatear was in view. With patience and much scanning, the birds appeared. The first of the trickle of Swallows seen during the morning, a first for Sue.  Grey Heron, Avocets, at least ten Meadow Pipits and ... two handsome Yellow Wagtails. Probably the best photo opportunity for these birds that I've ever had, across the dyke trying to dodge the reeds on both sides. They are so active in their sprightly balletic dashes and darts, tails wagging, heads scanning from side to side.
We were all delighted.

Not the sharpest but, I love the worm
Wheatears are one of Sue's favourite birds, we saw both male and female before leaving. 
More Swallows and Sand Martins from Iron Road, one Curlew and a large group of Greylag. I read recently that Curlew numbers have crashed and they are becoming endangered. Still large numbers left but, far fewer.
A walk at Walsey Hills might be a good idea. Well, it added a Willow Warbler - another first for Sue, not a lot else. As we parked there, a larger group of hirundine hawked the marsh and the pool, a first for us too, House Martins at last.
From the Beach car park, we added Stonechats and more Wheatears, perched on the fence posts in front of us. I stood out with my scope and got as cold as I have all winter, such an icy wind. Maybe I should have worn gloves........
The tide was well out at Morston, the usual Redshanks edging the stream, two Greenshanks the month bonus.I tried some photography of an active bird in poor light.

Further on, an always photogenic Little Egret did its foot probing dance in the diminishing water, seemingly successful in its beak stabbing angling.

What was that bird upstream? Our first Whimbrel, always a special pleasure for me. Not photographable.
To end the outing, a hot drink at Cley Centre, Sue's treat for us as thanks. Most welcome.

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