Dedicated to helping people learn more about wild birds, habitats and conservation
Thursday, January 14th, 2010
Half a dozen hardy souls braved freezing weather and snowy roads to meet up on the cliffs at Hunstanton for the traditional New Year trip. Roger Teasdale and Mac Bell even drove through a blizzard such was their dedication to setting their Year List off to a good start.
Gordon and Chris Hamnett (Members Emeritus) joined us sharing their eagle eyes and observations skills with the rest of us.
The sea was relatively calm and rewarded us with good views of a Red Throated Diver, Red Breasted Merganser, over 50 Eider, Common Scoter and one Velvet Scoter which was identified by Roger; however it was flying!
We then headed for Titchwell Reserve (toilets and the cafe being as much an attraction as the birds). The frozen conditions gave us good sitings of two Water Rail and over 65 species were seen on the reserve and the sea. High points were a Red Kite, 2 Common Buzzards, Spotted Redshank, Bearded Tits, a Ring tailed Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Water Pipit and a Black throated Diver, along with a support cast of ducks and waders.
The cold finally drove us back to the centre for more hot chocolate and although we had originally planned to cover more sites, the freezing conditions and the thought of an icy drive back sent us scurrying home in the early afternoon.
Wednesday, January 13th, 2010
The forecast for the 9th March wasn’t good. Wind and heavy showers, just what you need for an outdoor meeting. However the day dawned bright and sunny and after meeting up with Roger Teasdale and Mac Bell we arrived at the car park to find 20 members eager and willing for a day’s bird-watching. We didn’t have to wait long, even before we had unpacked our optics, someone called a Common Buzzard passing low over the car-park.
We stopped at the Tree Sparrow hide before booking in and saw four tree sparrows and two marsh tits together with more common fare.
From the visitors’ centre we looked out over the reserve finding redshank and dunlin in addition to the wildfowl. There were still some Goldeneyes around with at least one displaying male. As the party was quite large we decided to split into two; one going to the hides east of the centre and the others to the hides towards Lax Hill.
I went with the party to Lax Hill. From the hides we had good views of common snipe, lapwings and a male sparrowhawk which came low over the water disturbing the lapwings. Other birds seen included stonechat, curlew and a group of goosander.
When we got back to the centre the other group greeted us with the news that Sue Titman had found a male Ring-necked Duck on one of the lagoons. Our group rushed down their lunch before setting off to see the duck. (Are they really committed birdwatchers?) Fortunately the bird was still there, only about 100 metres out from the hide. It was easy to see all the relevant fielding markings, including the white flash in front of the grey flanks and the distinctive bill pattern. We watched the bird for about half an hour while the digiscopers photographed it. On the return to the centre we stopped at another hide where we watched a pair of distant buzzards.
On meeting up with the other group we compared notes before some of us went to the dam to find the scaup. Fortunately we found them very easily, as they were sheltering at the south end of the dam. This provided an excellent and close view of two male and three female scaup along with a number of tufted duck. At this close range it was easy to see the differences between the females of both species.
The day finished with ‘another’ buzzard flying close overhead. An enjoyable trip with 70 species seen, and good weather into the bargain.