Tuesday, 19 January 2010

A Fantastic Day in the NW

Had an absolutely brilliant day in the NW today, managing to see all of my target species and a number of other hoped for sightings.

I started about 8am at Wolferton, where the two gaudy 'obscurus' male Golden Pheasants were quite quickly on the southern side of the triangle. Still enjoyable to see and, as noted previously, they show no sign on hybridisation 'other than'(??) their black throats.

Onto Snettisham, where I decided to take to bike down, the mist and fog continued to roll through, creating difficulty with visibility. A huge waft of wings later turned out to be thousands of Bar-tailed Godwits (with tens of thousands of Pink-footed Geese behind them!) with Knot and other waders mixed in for good measure. C 20 Snow Bunting continually bounced up and down the beach, although the two Shorelark took a little more time to pin down (thank you Chris!) Another flight of waders included to 'choo-choo' of a Greenshank, but it wasn't seen. Returning to the dank hide proved productive, with misted views of the Purple Sandpiper on the spit (plenty of Goldeneye, but little else of note). A male Merlin grabbed a snack, before disappearing off onto the saltmarsh.

This tideline corpse was identified as an ex-Little Auk! Does it count as a find?!?

A remarkable time was had at Gore Point, Holme. The fog cleared as I got out of the car and walked up the board walk. A scan towards Thornham proved fruitful as 2 Marsh Harriers provided to foreground to distant views of the Red Kite. As I approached a seemingly devoid sea the mist rolled in again, although Sanderling were acknowledged. Whilst waiting, the distinctive 'tchew' then rasp of a Lapland Bunting was heard overhead. Fortunately, the mist soon cleared and eventually sea duck were found: Eider, Merganser,  a (strangely) lone Common Scoter and then the resplendent sight of two drake Long-tailed Duck, wonderful. Another scan produced a diver - expecting it to be Red-throated, the contrast between upperparts and white, clear throat, dagger like bill held straight and distinct flank patch proved it was Black-throated. I couldn't believe it when, walking back, another scan of the grazing marsh produced a prolonged flight view of a Bittern ghosting west.

A stop at Thornham Harbor produced much better views of the Kite, although still distant and I was unable to track it down closer. A single Spotted Redshank was also present, along with the below ' littoralis' Rock Pipit.

On arriving at Titchwell I was lucky enough to run into Paul, who was able to pass on that a Mealy Redpoll had been seen. It didn't take long to find the smart, clean bird among Goldfinch (a second bird was probably present). The two Water Pipit were active on the (few) islands on the Freshmarsh and the flighty Twite were seen distantly on the Brackish. A trip up to Choseley produced a couple of Corn Bunting and a single Tree Sparrow. A final flourish came with a ring-tail Hen harrier winging its way, possibly to roost at Titchwell.

Norfolk Bird Info to:
E-mail: ruralchill@live.co.uk
Mobile: 07749779149

Norfolk 364 BOU, 376 UK400, Year 139, Route 76, Sp 59, SM 47, SF 32

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