Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Wind & Wuthering - Genesis

We start the post with a couple of amendments, knowing that the more observant among you will have noticed that despite claiming to have seen 108 species thus far only 107 were mentioned in the narrative.

The humble Tufted Duck, seen when recording Ringed-necked Duck at Ranworth Broad, was written on the 'day list' but overlooked during transposition, while

Fieldfare and

Rook where seen soon after leaving the coastal fringe for more wooded areas, never even made it into the notebook. There are those of course who will be sure I'm 'stringing' (telling lies) these, but only those who know me that well.

The correct figure @ at the end of yesterday was 110.

As for today? Much like the rest of the country we experienced high winds and torrential overnight rain, with the latter petering out at daybreak so allowing some field-work. Unfortunately at Stiffkey, the narrowest section of the North Norfolk Coast Road and the gateway to the west, was close for most of the morning due to a fallen tree so did stifle proceedings slightly.

First port of call was again

if for no other reason it is a nice walk along the bund. Lucky I did, as there smack in the middle of the path was a Water Pipit* (* = addition to Year List) but with the camera inside the waterproof bag there was no chance of a shot.

A scan across the wetlands found a couple of Ringed Plover* a small flock of Linnets*and a calling Reed Bunting*. A short drive to visit the Cley Hides gave me what may well be my last look at the Western Sandpiper, but apart from other usual fare it was ever onward. Part of today's plan was to search some on the minor roads and fields, and just across the road was Old Woman's Lane which looked a likely candidate for investigation.

Only the second field gate along and a couple of Game Birds could be seen in the mud and rain water, with a quick look through the bins showing them to be

a cock Pheasant in company with 2 Red-legged Partridge*. Why they were not in cover I don't know but it was my gain!

In days gone by the Choseley Barns, just a mile or 2 south of Titchwell, would have offered up guaranteed Yellow Hammer, Tree Sparrow, Reed and Corn Bunting but now the whole area is given over to intensive Sugar Beet production and all to be seen there was

a beautiful 'full arch' Rainbow and

& Redwing.

The rain was still lashing down and the wind not moderating a knot, so time for desperate measures which I'll murmur in low tones. I went 'sea watching'. My least favourite of the 'birding' pursuits, but returning to the Dave Foot Soup Kitchen of a few days ago it was an enjoyable couple of hours in the company of a few local twitchers, and bagged in the process Common Scoter*, Red-throated Diver*, Gannet* and Razorbill*, their 'scope being a great help.

By noon the sun was out and the rain stopped, albeit temporarily, so headed once again for Wells next the Sea from where there were now reports of 3 Red-necked Grebes but none that I saw. All there was this

Common Seal. A look along the way for a Short-eared Owl was without result and even the Rough-legged Buzzards were keeping a low profile, so decided to end the day at Titchwell. There, I arrived just in time to see a Sparrowhawk* take what I believe to have been a Greenfinch from a feeder while the sea came up with a blank.

At the main hide (aka monstrosity) a pristine Yellow-legged Gull* had been loitering for most of the day and as I sat to study it

a Lesser Black-backed Gull landed close by. 2 Year Ticks in quick succession,

but I'm wondering if this is one of the Scandinavian race? I await my learned friends opinion.

Others to come into camera range include these Pintail,

a Marsh Harrier,

Grey Plover

plus a Sanderling.

video
This short clip may give some idea as to the severity of the weather at Cley early morning.

The Year (January) List now stands at 122