Sunday/Tuesday January 16/17
Such a miserable day, it never really got light. The drive to Horsey was virtually birdless until the usual lay-by. Pam scanned the flooded field to the west, I scanned to the east, vision hampered by the now tall reeds lining the road.
I saw a myriad Lapwing, a few Golden Plover and masses of sheep. Pam picked out a small distant wader. Green Sandpiper.
The sea at Winterton was birdless. For the last two winters, the regular wintering Red-throated Divers and Common Scoter seem to have moved elsewhere.
A short night and a late start aborted the plan to go to Sculthorpe. J and D had mentioned seeing- at a new site for us - Siskin and Redpoll. Selbrigg near Holt and on the Hempstead road. Parking the car near a gate which forbade entry, we noticed a Grey Squirrel feeding from the top of one of the gateposts. No birds until a passing dogwalker frightened the animal away. Then, a pair of Marsh Tits, Blackbird, Dunnock, Robin and Coal Tit soon appeared.
What did Cley marsh look like to-day? Friday the 13th's storm surge had broken through the shingle near East Bank, flooding the marsh and making the A149 impassible. Approaching via Old Woman's Lane, the water had receded to below the hide base level whilst leaving much more surface water pools than is normal.
Seeing lights on at the Centre and cars appearing, we drove as far as the entrance gate, the last 100 yards or so on the remaining and rather bumpy debris covering the road. The road east beyond the entry is till 'Closed', the bottom car park also coned off as it was flooded and needs clearing.
Sylvia, one of the cafe ladies said that they were, officially, only open for walkers and serving drinks, cake and bacon rolls only. Elf and safety. The boardwalks needed to be cleared before the reserve is open again.
Nothing new for us in the bird line, plenty of ducks exploring the new waterways, a passing Marsh Harrier and the highlight, a perched, and then fly-past, Barn Owl. Always a pleasure.
I wonder if the very recent plaque commemorating the death of the USA helicopter crew two years ago is still in situ. Is it buried in shingle?
Felbrigg Park on the way home. YES. The Little Owl was well in view, sitting in its nesthole.
An Email from Daile, saying that he'd come this afternoon instead of this evening, to sort my PC - it will not boot up after last Friday's electricity cut - shortened our birding plans.
Yes, we knnow Aylmerton...... where is Appletree Cottage? Several slow drive arounds later, we found the cottage. Roadside with nowhere to park, one vehicle width only, one tree in a tiny side garden. Why would 5 Hawfinches be seen here for several days ? Not by us to-day.
We seemed to be dogged by road closures. We'd had to go straight on for Cromer at Roughton, taking back lanes to Aylmerton. More back lanes from Aylmerton, parking in the entrance car park to Felbrigg at the bottom of Lion's Mouth.
Coal Tits and a Goldcrest in the conifers, Grey Squirrels feeding on the shell peanuts left on a picnic table. Again, the squirrels had to leave before two Jays arrived to feed. Trying to take my first ever photograph of a Jay was as frustrating as always. We get them in the garden pretty frequently, still no pics. To-day, it was dark, 30 metres away, the birds dashing in and out, occasionally stopping for a sort through - and viewable through Pam's window.
More excuses for less than good photos. One day.......At least they were recognisable, my Green Sand wasn't.