Sunday, 1 January 2012

New Years Day - Breakfast At Tiffany's

I did say on Friday that I'd get round to showing you the breakfast table, and here it is!

However you can expect anyone to go out Twitching on a half empty stomach (especially one this size) I don't know, but with 9 items on the plate, and that's after fruit, cereal, coffee, toast etc. I had hoped to try the alternative of locally smoked Kippers or the smoked Haddock and poached eggs, but being so unused to the type shown I've succumbed to that each day so far. So, when you hear the price, which will be between you and Alison, I expect to find I've totally 'shot myself in the foot' and see NO VACANCIES!

Anyway, on to today and the afore mentioned prediction that Pink-footed Goose would be the first species on the 2012 Year List? What little sleep I had reminded of me of childhood on Christmas Eve such was the sense of excitement kip was of little importance, especially at 04:00 when a Tawny Owl started hooting from a neighbours garden. I was on the road 30 minutes later!

A slow drive to the Wolferton Triangle near Sandringham took a full hour but just about the right ETA to lay in wait for Golden Pheasant. With Tawny Owl in the bag, next up were Pink-footed Goose, Blackbird, Robin, Wood Pigeon, Siskin, Chaffinch, Song Thrush and Coal Tit before what were thought to be 2 of the target birds started 'calling'. Crossbill, Greenfinch, Goldcrest, Marsh, Blue & Great Tits followed in quick succession and as I pulled away at 09:00 a Herring Gull passed overhead.

On the way to Titchwell Black-headed Gull, Collared Dove, Starling, House Sparrow, Lapwing, Magpie and Carrion Crow joined the list, with Moorhen, Redwing, Common Pheasant and

Long-tailed Tit were seen before leaving the car park.

There then followed a fairly lengthy list, which is attached, for those of you interested. Lesser Redpoll, Goldfinch, Mealy Redpoll, but there had been no sign that far of the Arctic Redpoll. I considered a good strategy would be to leave others to re-locate it while adding to my own list with

Brent Goose, Marsh Harrier, Meadow Pipit, Wigeon, Golden Plover, Mallard, Mute Swan, Teal, Spotted Redshank, Shoveler, Little Egret, Wren, Common Snipe, Cormorant, Ruff, Canada Goose, Pintail, Shelduck, Redshank, Feral Pigeon, Curlew, Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, Little Grebe, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Goldeneye, Sanderling, Bar-tailed Godwit, Knot, Guillemot, Grey Plover, Goosannder, Pochard, Mandarin, Gadwall, Great Scaup, Grey Heron and at long last Coot.

By the time I got back to the car park the Little Fella From Up North had been re-located, but had disappeared again just 10 minutes earlier. The 20 minute wait was of course well worth it as one kind man (of several during the day) gave me a look through his telescope.

Coues' Arctic Redpoll

The plan now was to stick to the North Norfolk Coast and head east, stopping at the various sites I had sussed out over the past 4 days. Both first and second stop initially looked like they were going to be disappointing but one of the 2 Rough-legged Buzzards did hove into view, but only briefly, but the were no White-fronted Geese with the Greylags of the previous days. On the verge of giving up more Geese were seen, distantly, in an adjoining field and again with some optical help picked up the

White-fronted Geese in company with 23 Barnacle Geese - TICK! In addition a chattering Mistle Thrush flew from the pines within the walls of Holkham Park, while Common Gull, Common Buzzard and Jackdaw were seen before reaching Cley. There, the news was also what I didn't want to hear but nonetheless headed for the hides, finding a bunch of Bearded Tits on the way, to find that the disappearing

Western Sandpiper was in fact back again. Pied Wagtail, Dunlin and Common Kestrel were also recorded there, but better than that there was news of another scarce bird, or should I say 8, just a few miles down the road at Weybourne. There I hooked up with another very pleasant gentleman who was on the same mission, and soon about a dozen Skylark flushed from a field in company with 2 of the reported 8 Lapland Buntings. Superstition doesn't allow me to tot-up the list whilst 'on the wing', but I make that a total of 86 which, considering unfamiliar territory, was very pleasing indeed.

Finally, we have to make an appeal!

Does Anybody Know This Man?
Very many certainly do know Tony Smith long time birder, Tour Guide and member of the Portland Bird Observatory to name but a few. He asked me particularly to wish Martin Cade and John Lucas the Very Best for 2012, but his Greetings also included et al who know him.

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