Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Sunday in Norfolk

Having not been out for about a month, Colin was getting cabin fever, and with a hint of the beginning of an easterly airflow we decided to go to the Norfolk coast. Nothing on the pagers so we headed up to Titchwell. A bit of mist on the way up never materialised into any atmospheric sun rise landscapes.
Took the usual route and drove through Ringstead and the back roads to Chosely Barns. Having had a good Redwing movement at Amwell I was expecting some thrushes at least, but it was very quiet. The barns held a small flock of Greenfinches and a family of Pied Wagtails. A few Chaffinch as well but no buntings, geese or plovers.
We arrived at Titchwell and made our way to the sea-a fairly low high tide was due within the hour. A Short Eared Owl was watched taking on a Marsh Harrier over the Thornham block house. One of the Thornham Marsh pools was good-Redshank, Greenshank and Spotted Redshank in one scope view. A few Bearded Tits pinging in the reed beds and we were lucky to see two Water Rails having a fight. The sea was quiet despite a weak on shore breeze. Lots of Gannets as usual, and a few Common Scoter and two Eiders close in. On the horizon several flocks of Common Scoter, numbering perhaps 250 in total flew around, but there were no Velvets among them. Had a thought that maybe the off shore wind farm might be one of the reasons for the lack of Scoters here last winter.
Made our way back and stopped off at the Parrinder Hide for a while. Spent a bit of time looking at a female Pintail in among the Teal. Some Snipe were around too, but no-one could find any Jacks. A big flock of Golden Plover kept going up-we never saw any raptors though.

 Tried a few landscape shots with the 35mm lens and a polariser but lack of a focal point meant they didn't do much. However the plants were a bit better with this lens.

We went back to the car, had a bit of lunch and returned to the new trails expecting to see Scaup and Red Crested Pochard on the pool but neither seemed to be present. News of an Olive Backed Pipit at Burnham Overy was a bit more interesting.
The lack of cars and people at Burnham seemed a bit odd as we made our way out on the sea wall. A few Meadow Pipits, one flock of about a dozen redwing, several Starling flocks and a few Geese were all encountered by the time we got to Gun Hill. Met up with Julian Bahlero who told us the bad news. Apparently the Pipit was seen by a single observer late morning in the dunes with a flock of Meadow Pipits. Only the head was seen, but it was apparently heard.  Not the normal habitat, and they don/t normally associate with Meadows either. Had a search and saw one or two Meadows with an olive tint, which is pretty normal at this time of year-maybe the guy saw one of these? Did get a year tick out of it though-a Richard's Pipit flew over, presumably the bird reported in the morning at nearby Scolt Head.
Nice to get out, and saw a good selection of birds, and got some decent images. Of course on Monday the easterlies brought a flood of birds. Apparently birders were wading through flocks of thrushes on the way out to Gun Hill. Not much in the way of rares though, apart from a Bluetail at Stiffkey.

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