Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Pull the other one

Day 5. Today was a funny old day, not quite sure how to descibe it but here goes.
First thing this morning a couple of hours seawatch at our usual spot at Winterton. Heavy rain made for poor visibilty although this eventually cleared. Only the usual suspects on the sea but today there were less of them. A walk in the south dunes soon produced; Lesser Whitethroat (2) and a pleasant surprise of Tree Sparrow (3). This was all we could manage in the south dunes. Our plan was to pay a visit to Minsmere next but on returning to our car we bumped into some other birders who said they visited the previous day and the reserve was quiet with bulldozers causing some disturbance. So where to go next? We decided on another seawatch as visibility had improved considerably. We were soon glad we did as we were able to add both Kittiwake and Arctic Skua to our week list. Our plan was then to go to Yarmouth Cemetery and Breydon Water, however, shortly after leaving Winterton news of a White-rumped Sandpiper had us heading for Salthouse. Halfway there news came through that the White-rumped Sandpiper had flown off. We headed for Salthouse anyway. On arrival there were lots of birders but no bird. Lots of Turnstones were all we could manage. So we seawatched from the shingle bank at Salthouse. We saw Red-breasted Merganser (3) here. Not quite sure what to do next we headed for Wells Woods. We were just about to leave Salthouse when a "mega alert" of an Egyptian Vulture over Morston had us heading in that direction. Several sightings soon came through and we ended up on a concrete pad in a field between Stiffkey and Wells. Here we joined a number of other birders, some quite excited and some over excited. A few had already seen the Vulture. A few minutes later we struck lucky when the Egyptian Vulture flew into view. However, soon after this news broke that this bird was not unsurprisingly an escape. It later turned out that it even had bells on! So on to Wells where we spent some time in the woods, again slightly disapointing here with only numerous Goldcrest and Coal Tit. We did manage to add a Nuthatch to our week list. On our walk back to the car more news of the White-rumped Sandpiper. It was now on the North Scrape at Cley. So off to Cley we go. We park in the beach car park and hot foot it towards the hide overlooking the North Scrape. On our way we were told that the bird had flown off again! Now what? Another seawatch perhaps? Soon after we had begun yet another seawatch the White-rumped Sandpiper was seen on Pat's Pool. So back to the car and around to the car park outside the visitor centre. On our way from the car towards the hides overlooking Pat's Pool we were told by a reserve warden that the bird could now be seen in front of Bishop's Hide. So an about turn and off to Bishop's Hide. Bishop's Hide was quite full but we soon connected with the White-rumped sandpiper as it fed along the far edge of an island 50 meters from the hide. We had good views for 10-15 minutes before it disappeared behind a mound on the island. We waited for about half an hour but it did not re-appear. Also noted from this hide; Snipe, Ruff, Golden Plover, Avocet, Yellow-legged Gull, Pintail, Stonechat. Still time to squeeze a little more birding out of the day. We visited Warham Greens where there is a winter Harrier roost. Although a little early in the year we thought we would give it a go. We saw a single Marsh Harrier and a possible male Hen Harrier but it was too distant and the light not good enough for a positive i.d. So this won't be on our week list. We also had really good views of a Barn Owl. Also here 12+ Little Egret. A nice end to a funny old day.
110. Tree Sparrow, Winterton.
111. Arctic Skua, Winterton.
112. Kittiwake, Winterton.
113. Nuthatch, Wells Woods.
114. White-rumped Sandpiper, Cley
115.Yellow-legged Gull, Cley
116. Stonechat, Cley.
Poor quality pics of Tree Sparrow at Winterton below.

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