Friday, 23 December 2016

One Day Like This a Year Would See Me Right

Well it was dark when I even contemplated throwing the curtains wide this morning, I picked Ben up at 6am and we took ourselves off to the coast for the morning.  Through the gloaming we walked out on to the marsh at Titchwell.  Marsh Harriers were leaving their roost and at one point there were 18 airborne together, most heading Northwards.  Starlings, densely packed emerged from their roost beneath the harriers and as if to prove my point from the last post a Chiff-chaff calling from the willows was joined by a zesty Yellow-browed Warbler in a vocal welcome to the new day.
Heading across the saltmarsh waders were vocal and silhouetted against the silver brine, Spotted Redshank, Grey Plover, Bar and Black-tailed Godwit all Arctic breeders enjoying our mild winter climes.
Today though it was the sea that was to deliver the main event and as the sun broke the cloud line a treat played out on the lulling swell before us.  Across the mid distance rafts of Common Scoter were strung out from North to South, Velvet Scoter were evident in numbers, peppered throughout the flocks and, as our senses became accustomed to the feeding zones of the accumulated seafowl, a closer congregation of Long-tailed Duck became evident and within these Red-breasted Merganser, Goldeneye and the odd Scaup stood out.  This was the extravaganza I had envisaged moons ago when reading about the North Norfolk Coast in winter, until now I assumed a long forgotten memory, but the feeding must be good of here at the moment as at least 60 Oldsquaw and similar numbers of Velvet Scoter delivered great views and an unforgettable melee of seaduck.



After a while the beach filled up a little with birders enjoying the spectacle, the light was lovely and the birds were brilliant.
 Although there were at least 3 Scaup off Titchwell, this one turned up yesterday at Welney
After a couple of hours we moved back towards the marsh.  A look through the birds on the Fresh marsh revealed a Golden Plover enthusiastically moulting into summer finery, a good match to the Black-tailed Godwit at Welney yesterday that had done the same.

It really was a morning that was going to keep delivering and a Yellow-legged Gull posed pristine against a line of Avocet and a Water Pipit strutted out on Thornham Pool.  We went a looking for the Yellow-brow we had heard earlier and found single Redpoll and Brambling and several collybita Chiffchaff and then a pallid, white and buff Chiff that looked every inch a trisitis.  To our chagrin and to be honest a continuing disbelief, we were told that this bird had been recorded and it's call found to be collybita.  We watched the bird for quite some time and although we didn't hear it call felt that if this wasn't a Siberian Chiffchaff then there was no hope in hell of ever identifying them on plumage alone.
Although it wasn't late I was on limited time so we headed inland to look for geese.  A few days before a Red-breasted Goose had briefly joined the Pink-feet at Docking where a Todd's Canada Goose, Bean Geese and White-fronts had also been joining them.  We were definitely in luck as soon as we stopped to look at the first field of geese we were told the Red-breasted Goose had been re-located just down the road.  We twitched.  As it turned out this beautiful harlequin of a goose was also in company of 1,000 Pinks, the potentially wildish Canada, White-fronted Geese and at least a lone Tundra Bean.  It was just a mega morning of winter birding and one I'll remember for many years to come.  I enjoyed and drank in every minute and returned home for lunch, Tea and Medals by 1pm.




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