|Posted by birdbeards2010 on February 19, 2012 at 11:30 AM|
An early start on Thursday morning saw the BirdBeards back out on the run together and hot on the heels of some more fine Norfolk birds. Le Hatt has become rather fond of Breydon Water, a place that I find unrepentingly bleak and depressing, so it was to there that we headed first off. Despite the bitter wind and still Cold War-style surrounds, it was to be a decision we did not live to regret.
Straight up we were onto lots of birds, catching the tide nicely low. Dunlin and a pair of neat Shelduck were added to my list and then Le Hatt put me onto a distant, hunting Barn Owl. A group of Brent Geese had us desperately trying to get an out of the water peek at the belly of one pale-looking individual, but these geese were too kenn on swimming and so we couldn't make a definite call for Le Hatt. Lots of Black Tailed Godwit and Redshank were making the most of the tidal larder and a few Avocet were scattered about the mud. The wind really was cutting through and it took the distraction of an exciting looking raptor to take our attention off our discomfort. Sitting on the far bank it was large and very interestingly marked, with a pale face, throat and shoulder. I think we both wanted it to be a Rough Leg MoFo, but, having regurgitated something nasty, it took flight and proved to be a mere female Marsh Harrier. Still a nice bird, but our hopes were dashed like those of a man discovering the identity of a ladyboy.
I was keen to get out of the place and head off to Haddiscoe, but we decided to take a stroll along the bank in the hope of finding something a bit tasty. Just 50 yards along the track and up popped 5 small passerines. I called them and they landed and proved to be exactly what we were after - Twite. Only my second Norfolk sighting and a fricking good bird for the list. High 10s. I even mangaged this shite shot of one of them as the scuttled around with another splendid number - a Rock Pipit. Get the frig in, BirdBeards!
A Reed Bunting chiruuping from atop a reed, funnily enough, boosted the list even more and then it was back to the warmth of the car and off in search of rare raptors at a new spot for us, Haddiscoe Marshes/Island.
We crossed the second bridge, parked up and made our way along the path to what we had read was a punishing and bleak habitat. I found it to be bleakly beautiful, the huge skies and rolling reed beds a treu picture of broadland splendour. But enough with the poetic shit already. I picked up 3 Stock Doves fluttering around, a bird I have a fondness of, despite it being a pigeon. Our raptor hopes were boosted by a hunting Kestrel and then we got typically over-excited by a morphing perched Cormorant which we had down as both a Peregrine and a Short Eared Owl initially.
Le Hatt thought we were in the wrong place and so we crossed back over the bridge, re-parked and explored the other side - I believe it is the Haddiscoe Island. Now, there are regularly tens of dozens of SEOs reported daily from here. All I can say is that they are bloody good at hiding!
The next thing of interest was further evidence that cottaging is rife at Norfolk's top birding hotspots. Voila.
All (except the underpants!) was not lost, however. The sky was full of Skylarks, more than I've ever seen at this time of year, and then the keen eye of the BirdBeard was hot onto a beautiful pair of darkly marked Stonechat. Lovely. Hares bounded around and then Le Hatt said, 'Listen, it's one of those...' he'd forgotten their name, but the ping was accompanied by a long flight view of a male Bearded Tit - a highly appropriate end to a top notch BirdBeards morning out on the run. T to the I to the D to the Y.