A nice sunny Saturday was forecast, and not having been out for nearly a month, we decided to hit Norfolk again. This time we might even get to see the sea.
After a very early start we arrived at Thornham around eight AM. Over the last few weeks, this has been a favoured spot for the Snow Goose that spends it's time with the Pink Feet that winter around here. I was a bit unsure as to wether it was still around, as the last sighting had been a week or so back, and there were no geese on view when we were there. A few Grey Partridge foiled my 500mm lens with a 2x converter. (I have fitted a Katz Eye screen to my D2x and it seems to struggle a bit at f8).
We then spent a few hours at Titchwell. It was difficult getting out of the car park though, as one of the Robins decided to use my scope as a perch and would not go until it had eaten part of my sandwich, eventually sitting on my hand and wolfing the last bit down.
High tide was imminent, and the lagoons and marsh were rather full, so there were few places for gulls and waders to loaf. A now rare Ruddy Duck was nice to see, and Avocet and Godwit numbers were starting to build, but duck and geese numbers seemed to be a bit low. We hung around the dunes for a bit, and several Linnet went over, as did four of the hoped for Twite-another species getting hard to see on the coast.
Sea watching was a bit difficult due to the onshore breeze and swell, but several large (~2000 in total) groups of Common Scoter held a few Velvet. Mergansers, and a couple of Red Throated Diver were the only other things of note.
On the way back we bumped into Ray Tipper who was watching a young Common Seal-it had been present for a couple of days.
The feeders held the usual assortment of finches an tits. The Mealy Redpoll was still around but we did not see it. A Dunnock posed for us though.
Salthouse at noon was cold and windy. However the Snow Bunting flock was very obliging-apart from one family oblivious to them and our shouting who flushed them just as they were approaching our set up cameras. We did manage to get a large number of good images though, and the Turnstone flock were entertaining.
Sherringham has a first winter Glaucous Gull at the moment. I did not know how hard it would be to locate, assuming it was ranging up and down the beach. Actually, it flew over just after I got out of the car, and remained on view continuously from the promenade. To put it mildly, the views were fantastic, especially when it flew past at eye level only a few feet away.
Norwich was a disappointment. One of the few places to host Waxwing this winter, the five birds had been seen earlier in the day but had gone missing by the time we arrived. We decided to head to Haddiscoe Bridge, as did a group from Luton to try for raptors.
When we arrived, we heard that the Rough Legged Buzzard had just been seen, but had drifted north, so we all decided to go to the watchpoint overlooking Chedgrave Marshes. We got a bit lost, and soon realised that the track through the reeds was not a good spot. I did see the Rough Leg hovering and managed to get everyone on it. After a while we decided to explore and soon found the observing mound.
Over the course of the next two hours, until the Sun started to get rather low, we managed to see a minimum of four Short Eared Owls. two Barn Owls, several Marsh Harriers, and a very distant perched Rough Leg. The big surprise though was how many Chinese Water Deer were visible-at least a dozen may have been seen and out in the open, not lurking in the reeds as expected.