Monday, January 28, 2008

A day's birding in East Norfolk.

Well armed with local info from Tim Allwood (see links for Tims website)
Bob and I came to East Norfolk with our visitors knowledge and pagers at the ready!(yt = year tic)

We had this day planned ages ago - target birds Taiga Bean Geese and Cranes.
Then it was whatever might be around.

After a terrific days raptor watching on Sheppey on Saturday, we were not focused on raptors for once!

On route we saw 3 different Tawny Owls (yt) (M25 nr M1 turn off) and two up the M11.

We were at Wayland Wood before 9.00 (breakfast at the Walkers Cafe in Thetford
we heard Lesser SW, Nuthatch,Treecreeper,Bullfinch and Golden Pheasant at least two in quite different parts of the Wood. On one occasion we heard the call (strangled pheasant described Bob!) and saw something fly across but it was in a hollow so we just got the flurry or flash. Most frustrating not to see the bird when we clearly heard them!
Well no showing birds (it was quite gloomy and vvvcold) until the calling Marsh Tits (yt) were finally seen and then they got showy!
Usual tit flocks, Gioldcrests and other woodland suspects.

But I must admit we left there feeling down! 5 only heards! All required for the year list!

On to Cantley Marshes.A long search across the marshes from the bridleway nr the village....we scored Mistle Thrush (yt!) finally Bob spotted a Bean Goose. There they were Taiga Bean geese to go with our Kent Tundra's! Good top be able to really compare the two having only recently seen the Tundra.

I had spotted that a Ross Goose had been reported with Pink feet nr Acle so a change of plan....divert across...arrived to see another birder parked in layby what a dreadful road.(fast cars no supersonic!)no time to enquire so on to
next lay by we scanned and scanned the geese.....Chinese Water Deer (Lifer for me!) and a very nice young birder arrived (from the other layby) all three of us scanned and scanned/ not helped by text from Pete(Duxon) and Deboo who had seen a Ross (after or before seeing the WCS!) -We discovered we were all heading out to see the Grey Phalarope and decided to leave...
I am wondering now whether the very nice young man may have been Kit Day?Up from Suffolk and his Mother driving him ?

We then drove to Waxham and parked as instructed- good spot Tim.
We were all the time stopping to see if there were any Cranes in any of the recent places...dip!
After an exhilarating walk along the tops of the Dunes (don't fancy taking a buggy there Postcard!) looking out again for Cranes we eventually saw birders around a puddle!
No wonder you got good photo's John! Grey Phal (yt)
We didn't go as close - 3 Camera's were really close to the bird - we looked through the scope what a lovely bird!

Walked back with another birder and we were all on route for Stubbs Mill (if we couldn't see a Crane in a field!) Drove through Se Appalling (thought of you Tim!)and to the Visitor Centre.As I came out the loo, I heard Cranes!
At this point we both said oh no! Would we really dip seeing these?By now we had decided to be on a Bird Race so we could at least count the heard only!!

At the lookout there were lots(people) but we had been warned by the presence of a Coach in the car park!
All we wanted was to see a Crane!

Marsh Harriers, Ringtails, Merlins and a Sprawk - still early (no wind there-great) when a Chinese Water Deer was spotted and CRANES!
6 Cranes(yt) flew from right to left across us (not to roost) beautiful!

Happy we walked back saw two Chinese Water Deer in the area.

Time for the Barnacle Goose....or back to Acle?
It was getting late and we decided to go to seek the Ross. (Lifer for me even if I couldn't count it on BOU!) On route Bob spotted Egyptian Geese (wild) (yt) made a change from our local ones altho' they are self sustaining they all came from Kew !

This was now 6 (yt) same as on Saturday so we began to feel better!
it wasn't the lack of birds we hadn't seen that was frustrating just hearing them and not seeing them! If we hadn't heard them I think we could have lived with that!

We past some birders on that road, stopped and I ran back to see what they were looking case it was our Ross. No the Dark breasted Owl....on we went..
back to our lay bye but that supersonic road had gone ballistic - drivers in our boot....needs a 40 mph speed limit! So we ended up in the Parking lay bye (the other lay byes were actually gate entrances!)

But it was better now as the Pink feet had moved across a field and were didn't help we still couldn't spot the little Ross!
But we saw a Chinese Water Deer...then another and another...until we had seen 12!
Plus a fox eyeing up a Goose dinner but deciding there were too many!
A few Pink feet began flying off can we wait until they fly and perhaps have a last chance? Too dark so we left and guess what? Yes they decided to fly....
fabulous sight but we were on that mega fast road so had to be content with descriptions from the passenger seat - me!
Thousands of Geese in the sky is one of the sights of Norfolk!

We decided that it had been a thoroughly worth while day.

I ended up with a Lifer that I didn't expect all be it a mammal!

Forgot...saw Muntjacs somwhere?
Again thanks Tim for the local info.

142 - 2008 Year List
Eagles Rule!

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