Monday, 20 March 2017

Catch-up Day Out

Sunday March 19

We managed to be out by 7.00 a.m. despite it being a very dull, overcast start with very little birdsong. At least it was dry, after a wet night.
At last, two Grey Wagtails showing well at Sculthorpe Mill. Two walkers put paid to any photographs, we didn't even leave the car. My knees are still pretty dire.........
Two silent Chiffchaffs at Harpley Cottages, seen flitting in a bush, not even starting to compete with the noise from the Dogotel, were our second of the year. We had two singing birds on the way to Walcott earlier in the week. Our first Wheatear flew from Beach Road, Cley, on Thursday. 
A quick Tree Sparrow month tick, nothing else to linger for.
Abbey Farm field had a scattering of Fieldfare and Redwing still feeding up for their journey north. Again, no hide visit, it looked devoid of birds. 
A big effort added one Grey Partridge crouched low in the field margin near a feeder, on the lane north of Flitcham and an Egyptian Goose near the horse stables.
Maybe we'd catch high tide at Snettisham ? Yes, we did, but it was a low one. Still acres of mud in view. Plenty of waders to sift through. Best was a snow flurry of Sanderling, restlessly moving territory as the water flowed in. Lovely to see the migrant birds back from their North African wintering grounds.
A large group of Avocets sheltered, on an island in the last pit, from the very brisk and blustery westerly. More Turnstones than usual, no Golden Plover and very few Curlew. Handsome male Pintail still lingering along with the Knot and Wigeon.
The Wash was white waved turbulence, devoid of seabirds. The Fulmars are back and active, cruising just below hedge height above the cliffs.
The horrible road out to Holme has been surfaced and graded during the past week. Hard to believe.  If one hadn't experienced the previous surface, the complaints would still have come thick and fast. We have frog and toad spawn in our garden pond, none to be seen in the natterjack pools. Not from the road anyway.
After flying views of one Corn Bunting at Choseley and 300+ Golden Plover in the Doitterel field, it was Brancaster Staithe for lunch. The tide was still well in. What I believe to be a Yellow-legged Herring Gull took off as I raised my camera.

I've consulted several books and I'm still not 100% sure, despite seeing yellow legs, confirmed by Pam, when it was standing !! 
Still plenty of Brent Geese about, time to practice flight shots - very average.

A surprise male Red-breasted Mergeansr, resplendent in summer garb, appeared from nowhere, disappearing just as fast.

Turning into orange, Black-tailed Godwits probed the mud on the receding tideline.  Why can't they ever be in the right place for the sun at this place. I've taken more naff photographs here than anywhere else - there's a long list.

Bar-tailed Godwit
I had a thorough search through the large flock of Brent geese on Beach Road Cley. No Black Brant here. The last one was seen off the Serpentine. As we passed that area, there were still a few Brent there but.... nowhere to park. 
Refreshed by a hot drink from Julian at Salthouse, we drove straight home, we'd seen the Felbrigg Little Owl on Friday after my - requested by me -  mammogram at Cromer hospital. One has to be asked for after reaching 70 years old.

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