Thursday, 1 November 2012

Norfolk

Up to Norfolk for the first day's birding for Wader Quest, if you want to know what waders we saw, see the WQ site, this blog is reserved for the other species we saw.

All day the sky remained sullen and grey and photography was hardly possible. The ISO Elis had to use was so high the pics were not too exciting. In the car park at Titchwell first thing we heard a great Spotted Woodpecker call, but we never saw it.
Little Grebes
There wasn't much about on Titchwell reserve, the water levels were quite high. We heard a Cetti's calling in the reeds as we set out, came across a pair of Little Grebes and a few skeins of Dark-bellied Brent Geese flew over.
Dark-bellied Brent Geese

The fun really started when we hit the beach, after we'd scoured the waders we paid more attention to the sea. The first bird we found was a Common Scoter, followed swiftly by some Great-crested Grebes and a Red-necked Grebe and then a Velvet Scoter. A bit further along we came across a female Goldeneye and a fly past Red-breasted Merganser plus a single Razorbill loafing on the sea.
Birders gathering on Titchwell beach, but not for waders.
Back at the new Parrinder hide there were a few Wigeon about, more Dark-bellied Brents and a good number of lovely Pintail. I really like these ducks, they are so elegant.

On the way back to a cup of tea and a cheese scone we had the now obligatory Little Egret, a distant Marsh Harrier and another heard only; Bearded Tit. We did manage to upgrade the earlier heard Cetti's to seen though.

We followed the visit to Titchwell with one to Cley where we went and saw one of the two White-rumped Sandpipers, but the bonus bird was along the coast a bit at Salthouse, where we went to look for the Shore Lark that had been seen there.
The sun did come out for the briefest of moments, but only served to
highlight the glowering skies behind!
When we arrived it was getting very cold, we were told by a couple of disgruntled birders that the bird had been booted by two other birders earlier and they had been waiting an hour for it to come back. As it was unpleasant in the freshening wind, and Elis had returned to the car to fetch me a scarf (bless her!), I decided to abandon the search and head for home.
Mr Grumpy dreaming of tropical beaches
As I walked towards her, Elis pointed to something in flight, sadly I couldn't see it. I returned to the car and as we were leaving Elis happened to mention that the bird she had pointed out was like a Skylark but with a yellow head! She then admitted that she didn't know what a Shore Lark looked like. I stopped the car and returned to the car park.

The other two birders were preparing to leave but asked why I had returned, I told them of Elis' sighting and then set off to look with renewed enthusiasm, they however cowered from the wind in their car.

After a bit of fruitless searching a movement caught my eye and as I slammed my bins on the bird in flight it landed and sat bolt upright. Facing me was a stunning Shore Lark. I called Elis over and waved to the other birders, suddenly about 6 people appeared from cars, lazy buggers, and everyone enjoyed the Shore lark, even if it was a little distant.
There is a Shore Lark there in the middle... honest!

After this we returned home.

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