Saturday, 8 November 2014

Surf's Up and a Desert Storm

With a rare Saturday off work I picked up the Jims and we worked our way up the A11 arriving in North Norfolk for about 8am. First stop was Lady Anne's Drive at Holkham where we walked along the boardwalk and across the beach to the waters edge. (A very long, boggy walk) We found a small group of Common Scoter and several divers plus a single Red-necked Grebe, Gannets dived and an Arctic Skua came through. Sanderling marched along the tide line and a single Grey Phalarope flew along quite close in. Both Razorbill and Guillemot were in the bay then I found a second raft of Scoter to the far west of the bay. This raft held both Velvet and the main target of the day a stunning drake Surf Scoter which gave me my 350th Lifer so the long walk was well worth it.

Desert Wheatear Suffolk

Desert Wheatear Norfolk
We left happy having bagged the lifer and then searched the pines for the reported Pallas's warbler but despite hearing a very likely bird we couldn't be 100% sure it was the target and it certainly was going to show itself. Freshmarsh held a massive group of Pink-footed Geese and the noise they made was amazing. Hunting over the marsh were Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Red Kite, Marsh Harrier, Common and Rough-legged Buzzard. We moved on to Burnham Overy were we quickly found Common Buzzard before I located a pair of Rough-legged  Buzzard hunting over the distant dunes. One bird moved off but the other hunted for 30 minutes or more giving terrific scope views as it showed off both it's back and underwing for us.

Desert Wheatear in Links Road car park Suffolk
Desert Wheatear in a desert storm at Gorleston on sea. Norfolk
Desert Wheatear

Rough-legged Buzzard at Burnham Overy's there honest!

Last point of call was Gorleston near Yarmouth were after parking up at the pier we walked south and quickly spotted a small group of birders on the beach. On arrival it was clear they had the bird in their sites and as we got nearer we were delighted to find the bird showing like all Desert Wheatears seem to do as it sat in a drainage pipe but kept coming out to grab a meal often running out to within inches of the birders before dashing back to the sea wall. The wind was really blowing and kicked up a real sand storm which took the edge off the experience a little as we left covered in sand although the Wheatear must have felt at home. On the way home we made a very quick stop at Links Road car park Lowestoft where we enjoyed even more ridiculous views of another Desert Wheatear. Messages had been put out saying view from a reasonable distance so we walked along the sea wall passing the three birders with the bird and set up about twenty feet behind them. To our amazement the bird flew along the wall and sat so close I had to back away to be able to focus with my 400mm fixed length lens. These birds have absolutely no fear of man.

Life list now 350

Year list now 264

1 comment:

  1. more fantastic pictures....... what a camera