It's been a while. And I guess that does reflect a certain loss of enthusiasm, a change of tack.
Not that I haven't been out. A couple of trips to Hanningfield Res at the tail end of last year were notable for the excellent camaraderie and banter in an almost birdless hide (Goosander, Goldeneye, Grey Wagtail) and it did finally deliver excellent views of a Spotted Sandpiper.
2023 opened up with a leisurely trip to Abberton, and Bewick's Swan, Black Necked Grebe, Scaup, Long-tailed Duck, Great-Northern Diver, Smew, a brief Merlin and a dashing Peregrine. Oh, Abberton, with this list, you are surely spoiling us.
Then a semi-birding trip to a flooded Welney with Friends; a walk round Lady Fen produced three Short-eared Owls briefly, a lovely sparkly Spotted Redshank, great views of Barn Owl, and of course Whoopers and Tree Sparrow.
A visit to Eldernell for the UK's most photographed Long-Eared Owl (is there a better bird?) plus its two mates, a fantastic male Hen Harrier (is there a better bird?) , a Water Rail on the ice, and a couple of Common Crane flying across (is there etc etc). We finished up at Dernford Farm Res for the gull roost, but had chosen a no-show day for the Kumlein's but found a Caspian Gull and two Mediterranean Gulls.
Then a couple of days ago a walk round Old Hall which was excellent for its classic coastal birds but had no particular outstanding birds, then a couple of new sites: Rolls Farm then Goldhanger, both on the Blackwater estuary. We added Slavonian Grebe, Red Breasted Merganser, Common Scoter, and Corn Bunting to the year list with another Peregrine dashing through a flock of Golden Plover.
So its been good, nice and relaxed. Fun
But I am doing less, for a variety of reasons. Norfolk is great for some star birds, but I've done that a few times in recent years, and if I went I'd have done it again. So I'm looking for something a bit different, a new angle to keep things fresh and challenging. Will let you know how that goes.
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