Sunday, 28 October 2012

Too Little

Saturday 27th October 2012
A days birding with Brendan, Dave and Paul. A decision on where to go had to be taken. So an early team meeting at 05:30 in the Harvester car park was arranged. The meeting didn't take too long as we all agreed the good birds were at Portland. So we set sail for...................North Norfolk!
First stop was Cley where Dave and Paul headed for the reserve in search of White-rumped Sandpiper. Brendan and myself joined a mass of other birders for a seawatch. Unfortunately for us the wind was gale force and the sea the roughest I have seen it in Norfolk. This made for difficult and uncomfortable viewing as there was no space in the shelter. We braved the weather for 30 to 40 minutes and did manage to note; Gannet, Kittiwake, Manx Sheawater, Guillemot, Great Skua. Little Auks were being called but neither of us could get on them. News of a confiding Little Auk at nearby Salthouse called for another team meeting. As Dave and Paul were on the reserve this had to be done by the way of a "conference call". Dave and Paul had not connected with the White-rumped Sandpiper so we picked them up from the reserve and headed off to Salthouse. Here we enjoyed the company of a Little Auk showing well down to a distance of 0 (zero) feet. Whilst at Salthouse news of the White-rumped Sandpiper  at Cley had us heading back to the reserve. On the walk from the car park we saw a Peregrine maruading through the reserve putting everything up. This did not bode well for our chances of seeing the White-rumped Sandpiper. We entered the hide and everything had settled back down. However, there were very few waders just a Ringed Plover and a couple of Dunlin. Then the Peregine was back! Everything lifted again except for a few Shelduck. The Peregrine had several goes at one of the Shelduck but was unsuccessful. Everything settled down again and we noted 3 Kittiwake amongst the Black-headed Gulls and 3 Bearded Tit dropped into the reedbed to the left of the hide. Now only one small wader was on the reserve, a Ringed Plover. After about 40 minute's the White-rumped Sandpiper emerged from amongst the Teal roosting on the far bank of the pool in front of the hide. From Cley we headed off to Burnham Overy. Little Bunting our target bird here. On our walk along the sea wall we noted lots of Fieldfare and Redwing in the adjacent fields. Also here we noted a nice male Ring Ouzel. We arrived at the sluice where we soon connected with the Little Bunting as it fed on the track below the sea wall.
As the wind was still blowing strongly and it had started to rain we decided to seek shelter in Wells Woods. Quite a productive visit to the woods with the following of note; Woodcock, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Redwing, Brambling, Lesser Redpoll, Goldcrest, Treecreeper, Nuthatch. Also here we encoutered another birder who seemed to be completely fluent in gibberish (very strange!). On the boating lake next to the car park 8 Little Grebe.
Off to Titchwell next hoping to connect with Grey Phalarope. We arrived at Titchwell and unpacked our optics from the boot of my car when a message came on the pagers that the Arctic Redpoll at Holkham was in fact "Hornemann's". So optics back in the car! I drove to Holkham Pines like someone who is employed by Royal Mail as a collection's driver. On arrival at the pay and display car park we power walked along the track, boardwalk and dunes to where about a dozen birders had gathered. Here we enjoyed great views of the Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll as it fed voraciously in amonst the Marram Grass in the dunes. On the journey from the car park to the bird I took a fall in the dunes. Now I know some of my readers may find this amusing but smearing your coat, trousers and optics in green moss slime is not funny. I did call out to Dave and Brendan for help but they pretended not to hear. Now I know a thing or two about health and safety and the lack of signage such as "DANGER" "would all middle aged birders trying to walk at high speed please note that these dunes can become very slippery when wet. This can cause serious injury to your pride and may leave you open to ridicule". So NNR please act as this could (hopefully) happen to somebody else. On our more leisurely walk back to the car we noted a single Swallow.
In an attempt to squeeze one last bird out of the day we headed for a nearby village whose name escapes me in the hope of seeing Waxwings, however, as expected no joy here.
[note to myself, for future postings forget the wordy nonsense and just list what you've seen]
My pics of usual quality below; first two Little Auk at Salthouse, next two Little Bunting at Burnham Overy, last two Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll at Holkham Pines Dunes.

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