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Sunday, November 20, 2011

20th November

I popped up to Norfolk this weekend to see my wife's mother in Stalham. I was hoping for a dry weekend, which I got, however I wasn’t expecting to wake up to fog on Saturday morning. It was patchy, with clear slots, this persuaded to push on to the North Norfolk Coast at Salthouse. The closer I got the clearer the skies became and although the sun hadn’t quite risen above a piece of wispy cloud but soon would. The coast was then bathed in glorious sunshine, the temperature though was only 6 degrees but a few layers would keep the chill out. Time was short as I had to be back to buy lunch and then go for an afternoon walk. My target at Salthouse beach car park was to be Snow Bunting, but they haven’t started feeding them yet and the flock of around 60 birds were very mobile. The sea was relatively quiet, but Red throated Divers were flying by and some were very close inshore, as was a female Common Scoter. Two Whooper Swans flew in off the sea and a few Skylarks had also made the journey across the sea. The conditions were calm but a slight headwind may have been the reason that three birds having gotten within 400 metres of the coast turned around and looked to land on the sea before turning around and coming a shore. I spent an enjoyable time here with only 4 other birders stopping briefly before heading off. I also had a distant Slavonian Grebe looking splendid in it’s winter plumage, a very contrasting bird, compared to the similar Black-necked Grebe that tends to look dirty in comparison.

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Red throated Diver 

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Common Scoter (female)

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Snow Bunting

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Redshank

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Shorelark on private grounds and a bit distant

During the afternoon my wife and I had a pleasant walk over Winterton Dunes, a very unique habitat. We didn’t see many birds the I was hoping to see Short-eared Owl.

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This morning I looked out of the bedroom window and the visibility was poor with dense fog. I ventured out at around 8.00am but the fog was everywhere. It wasn’t until 9.50am that it began to brighten up and the sun broke through. As time was short I popped down to Waxham and the coast road. The fog was still on the coast but 200 metres inland there were patches of bright sunshine. Driving down to the coast I spotted three geese on there own, this arose suspicion in my mind and turning around and pulling of the road I sneaked up the side of a farm building. Though distant the birds turned out to be Tundra Bean Geese, a nice little find. From here I continued along the road towards the sound of distant Pink footed Geese. We had seen them yesterday but I didn’t stop. I pulled up by the entrance to a farm track, one I have always felt tempted to wander down. The geese were some way off and numbered at least 2000. It was hard to scan through them as there were bodies and necks everywhere. The farmer then pulled up behind me and I thought he was going to ask me to move. I was okay he was going to get some bales of straw and warned me that the birds were going to be spooked. That’s alright I told him I can get some flight shots. The birds did take off and checking through them wasn’t easy but I picked out White-fronted and Barnacle Geese. When the birds returned to the ground I picked out a couple of Greenland White-fronted Geese.

Check through the photos to see what you can find. 

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Tundra Bean Geese

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The farmer puts the geese to flight

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2 comments:

glen said...

Wonderful!! Fantastic photos and a great read very enjoyable...Spot the goose will keep me going for a while.

glen said...

A very sad post...But this is not the end.... This is a wonderful site and very useful for us inner London birders with little time... Well done Tony... Thank you.