Monday, 14 September 2009

Glossy Ibis and Sea Watching

Yesterday looked very promising for the North Sea coast as a small frontal system had given a northerly airflow after a period of easterlies. With Red Breasted Flycatcher and Greenish Warbler in Lincolnshire, and an Icterine Warbler in Norfolk, the omens looked good.
We started in the Ouse Washes at Sutton Gault looking for a flock of Glossy Ibis that had been present-part of twenty five that had arrived a week or two back. Unfortunately there was only a single bird on the wash and it flew off shortly after we arrived. We did hear about another pit to the east, but directions and access seemed a bit vague. Following another group, and a tramp through playing fields and an old disused wartime airfield found us looking into a deep pit where the six Ibis were feeding. After about ten minutes they flew off back to the wash-apparently they had been doing this all the time.
Pleased to have seen all six (I had only seen three previously in twenty years) we headed off to Titchwell to see what we could find. Thanks to work on the new sea wall, the reserve was rather empty though a small flock of waders held two Little Stints. The sea turned out to be the place to be. Over a period of ninety minutes we clocked up fifty to a hundred Manx Shearwater, Four Balearic and one Sooty Shearwater, one juvenile Sabines Gull along with a lot of Kittiwake, many terns, several Great and one Arctic Skua and an untold number of Gannets. Unfortunately we did not see any petrels or Pomarine Skuas which were reported from nearby Holme.
With our gear and hair liberally sprinkled with sand, we decided to visit Holme and see what could be found in the bushes. The answer turned out to be nothing-either the wind was keeping migrants down or there weren't any.

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