Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Norfolk coast - Tuesday 13th

Its been a while. Sometime last century if memory serves. With some free time, some easterly winds and good birds on the coast it was time for a return visit.

First up was Holkham Pines, arriving just after 8am. A superb list yesterday, and again today. A veritable mini Siberia. However, anyone familiar with the scale of the place will know that getting to grips with the birds is not straightforward. Goldcrests were absolutely everywhere, but try as I might I could find nothing amongst them. There were Redwings overhead, some calling Brambling and one perched conveniently at the top of a tree, some calling chiffs plus one Chiffchaff seen, and some Coal tits.

I joined the ranks of birders in the middle of a bush waiting for the Red Flanked Bluetail, and after a quarter hour it duly performed. Red flanks, overall brown, eye ring, and very Robin/chat like in behaviour, it did the bare minimum and cleared off.

Fifty yards further on at the end of the pines was a small gathering. "Hear that? that's the Dusky Warbler". Well I did hear that, but simply cannot comment on what it was due to lack of experience, but this sounds quite like what I heard. Apparently it showed on and off, but not being the most patient person I pressed on to miss more birds elsewhere. Supporting birds of Marsh Harrier and Pink Footed Goose were not even commented on as people were busy looking for Ring Ouzels and Richards Pipits that had been reported.

Onwards in the afternoon to Titchwell. Again, decades since I last came here, for a summer plumage Ross's Gull. It was seen briefly at the back of a flock, candyfloss pink, before dropping over a bund. "We'll get better views over the other side " but it kept on going and was never seen again.

Today was not quite so exciting. I spent some time on the beach hoping for passing seabirds and failing dismally. There were Brent Geese, Grey Plovers, Curlews, Oyks, and a Black Headed Gull that would not go away. The photo below is taken without any magnification at all from a distance of three feet. I understand the bird follows individuals for food. I'm at a loss to understand why one gull has persisted doing this for years and no others have copied it. Perhaps next time I go I will turn round and find a small flock standing behind me.

At the Parinder hide there were a few Black-tailed Godwits, 6 Ruff, 3 Avocet, a Curlew Sandpiper going into winter plumage - a first for me in this plumage - about 100 Golden Plover and a smattering of Dunlin and Ringed Plover.

A final shot of the beach. That's a smudge on the lens, not a strange meteorological phenomenon.

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