Heavy overnight frost delayed our departure until 9 a.m. It was still -4C with a cloudless sky. That meant that driving through the countrysidewas lovely, trees, verges and meadows a glistening, shimmering silver. The roads were reasonable as it had been dry yesterday.
Still no Grey Wagtails at Sculthorpe Mill, very few birds of any species as we cloudy-breathed our way across the bridge.
Several Tree Sparrows at Valley Farm Lane and our first sighting of Nuthatch on the Gamekeeper's bird feeder. He appeared for a chat, saying that they were recent additions to his garden. We must ask him his name !
The track out to Holme has a 1001 potholes, a painful couple of kilometres drive. Sitting in the NOA Broadwater Hide. my heart dropped. There were more birds on the water than I've ever seen there before. Wigeon, Mallard, Teal, Shoveller, Pochard, Tufted Duck and a few Little Grebe. We eventually located the Ferruginous Duck present for at least a week, a warm chocolate brown with a white tail. Iffy views unfortunately, I hadn't carried my scope.
The fields opposite the hide had many Common Snipe, Curlew, even more Wigeon and a few Greylag.
Our beloved Thornham and Brancaster Staithe added a Rock Pipit at the former, too many amateur photographers at the latter. No wonder, it looked glorious on a fast ebbing tide.
In plenty of time for thr raptor roost at Stiffkey - and lucky enough for someone to pull out of the front row overlooking the marsh. Why do people, especially dog walkers, park their cars in the best spots and then go off walking. Grumpy Old Woman............
I scoped from the car, Greg was a car away, standing out with a friend. He eventually saw us and came over to say that NS is open to-morrow.
We added Hen Harrier to the year list, only a ring-tail was obvious. Dot and Steve drew alongside later and said that Eddie had a perched male at Warham. Greg's friend had also called a male earlier but I couldn't see it. One of the Marsh Harriers passing through over the far dunes, startled a Barn Owl into flight, it soon settled again. We once saw a Harrier try to catch one here, repeatedly knocking one down into the sueda. We were rooting for the owl and were pleased when it stayed in cover and the harrier flew away empty clawed.
I've changed to blue for year birds, the green didn't show up well enough. I may well alter the earlier posts........