Saturday, 27 December 2014

A morning with Shorelarks at Covehithe

Christmas eve and an early morning visit to Covehithe in Suffolk hoping to find the Shorelarks still present.
Arriving at first light we took the footpath to the beach, noting a pair of Goldeneye on the pools.
A short walk along the beach and the three Shorelarks were quickly found feeding along the water's edge.

Light conditions were poor, but there were signs that the sunshine wasn't far away. Eventually the stiff winds pushed the clouds away and some sunshine shone through.

On the walk back to the car, another scan of the pools produced a newly arrived and smart looking redhead Smew.

From here we headed for North Warren in search of Bean Geese.
A quick scan of the surrounding fields produced a nice flock of Barnacle Geese, then another scan further along the road got us onto a group of 15 Bean Geese.
Good scope views were had, and two ticks added to the year list.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

North Norfolk Birding

We started the day at Wolferton hoping to pick up a sighting of Golden Pheasant, but during the time spent here, only Muntjac Deer ventured out towards the roadside.
A stop at Titchwell was next on the day's visit. The car park was alive with feeding Chaffinch, but there were no Bramblings among them today.
A confiding Robin came to feed from Brian's hand, as it did on one of last year's visits.
While myself and dad headed for Parrinder Hide in search of a needed year tick in the form of Water Pipit, Brian headed for the beach with his camera.
It was disappointing to see the water levels much higher here than we had expected, with many on the islands submerged in water.
Fresh Marsh was pretty quiet, birds noted from here were Teal, Wigeon, Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Snipe and Avocet. We failed to pick out any Water Pipits from here.
The Brackish Marsh was a similar story, Very quiet with only Redshank and Grey Plover of any note.
Brian returned from the beach, where he had enjoyed views of Grey Plover, Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwits, Sanderlings, Knot and brief views of three Twite.

A stop off at Lady Anne's Drive gave close up views of Pink-footed and Brent Geese along with three Grey partridge that were feeding close to the fence.

Grey Partridge

Pink-footed Goose

We had just enough time  left to head over to Cantley Marshes, where we found plenty of geese present, but in the fast fading light failed to positively pick out any Bean Geese.
Even without picking out the Bean geese the spectacle of the huge corvid flocks coming in to roost was well worth the visit on it's own.

Great Grey Shrike, Chilham Kent

It took a while, but today we decided the time was right to take a look at the Great Grey Shrike that had been present at Chilham in Kent for a few weeks.
Before heading for Chilham we headed for Elmley and just after the gates were opened at 8am took a drive along the entrance track ending at the car park.
Curlew numbers were impressive with a flock of over 300 feeding to the left of the track. Among the flock were several Ruff.
Lapwings were again present in large numbers, which were more evident when two hunting Buzzards appeared low and put the flock up.
Four Marsh Harriers were seen hunting together and Kestrel, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks were seen along the track. A small raptor sitting on a roadside post, turned out to be another Kestrel instead of the hoped for Merlin we had been searching for.
A Pheasant sitting out in the sun gave a good photo opportunity to good to miss.

Approaching the end of the entrance track on the return journey a Stonechat perched up near the track side for a photo.

From Elmley it was another twenty miles across Kent to Chilham. After parking up in  the lay by off Branch Road the Shrike was quickly located perched up in the field on the opposite side of the road to the car.
It set about hunting prey along the edges of the small stream, and would fly back and forth using each tree along the stream.
The overhead cables were also often used, and from time to time it would fly across the road at the far end only to reappear a short time later.