Tuesday, November 22, 2016

More Norfolk early November.

Note - login problems mean this is somewhat overdue, but here it is anyway.

A couple more visits to Norfolk, this time in the excellent company of local birder and outstanding photographer David.

First was Titchwell on 3rd. We got out the car and immediately had a flock of Starlings going through the car park with a high pitched trilling - Waxwings! We had a look around but could not relocate them. Next stop was the feeders and my first Brambling for the winter, a sombre female. then out on the freshmarsh and plenty of Ruff, a few Avocets, and assorted waders and ducks. David picked out a Merlin flying over the marsh and disappearing westwards - first for this year (and a few more) for me. The beach had been productive for some but we saw only standard stuff - Common Scoter, Goldeneye, Merganser, Red-Throated Diver.

Back to the centre and we were tipped off that the Waxwings had gathered round the entrance, so we joined a small crowd and had a fantastic half an hour surrounded by birds voraciously feeding. They ignored us to settle just a few feet away in bushes picking off berries and trilling to each other. Fantastic!

Then Monday 7th and the winds were strong from the North East. We pitched up at Cley beach car park later than ideal due to my family commitments but still in time to see some movement. It was high tide and the waves were pounding the beach. Ducks were moving steadily westwards. Several flocks of Eiders moved west confusing me initially with the contrasting white and black of the drakes. A few hundred must have moved through during the day. We quickly had success with a Little Auk belting west close to the shoreline. I had seen Little Auk briefly once many years before, although in all honestly it might have been a Starling, so it was nice to get a proper view of this enigmatic northern bird whizzing along. There were a few more at different distances during the watch, and we soon had 3 distant Little Gulls and then 2 even more distant Pomarine Skuas going west. One of the watchers was pointing out the pale rump indicated Pom, although to be honest I thought I was doing well just to see them at all.

More ducks went west - Common Scoter, Wigeon, Brent Geese, a male Pintail and a Red-Breasted Merganser. For a moment I thought a horse was swimming through the surf, but it was an enormous bull Grey Seal.

A quick stop at the reserve centre for coffee and lone Waxwing, then Holkham Gap for a flock of Shore Larks. They were flighty but often ended up nearer us than when they took up, and on one occasion flew round our heads calling away. Fantastic views of about 80 birds against a dramatic but darkening autumn sky.

At this point I normally post some distant grainy shots, but no need today. I can just send you to David's blog for some excellent photos of the Waxwing and Shore Larks. A couple of days seeing some fantastic birds with good company - who could want for more.


Jonathan Lethbridge said...

Er, where are all your Waxwing photos?

DorsetDipper said...

Jono you don't want to see my Waxwing photos. You want to see the ones David took. They are here.