February 12
Set out on white, icy roads as far as North Walsham, then the gritters' work became evident. We were due to meet A and B (Aileen and Bridget) at Snettisham RSPB car park at 9.30 but were there by 9.15 as we met little traffic. Over a hundred Curlew fed in the nearby field and an optimistic Skylark ascended into the patchy blue sky. Bridget and Aileen de-camped into our car and we set off for the drive down to the reserve.

Spotted a Barn Owl perched on a post, I couldn't resist trying to photograph it. Most of the waders and wildfowl we expected showed on the receding high tide, too cold to walk so Hunstanton Cliffs next for an enormous flock of Common Scoter, about 1,000, where we identified at least five Velvet Scoters when they co-operatively flew for us. That makes ID easier! Fen Hide at Titchwell did not produce the Bittern wanted by A and B, nor Choseley the Corn Bunting. We did manage, at last, to see a Woodcock from Titchwell car park. A watching birder gave me very good directions to where it was sleeping, well hidden behind a mossy log.Lunch at Brancaster Staithe, the highlight 30 Twite feeding on the mud banks across the channel. The pager brought news of a Cattle Egret following the plough near Barningham Hall outside Matlaske. The light was very poor by now and the nominated area difficult to pinpoint. After doing a square tour of Matlaske, a sole birder scoping across the fields put us on to the Egret, hunched amongst the legs of a few cattle. It soon moved into the open, if distant, and became very flighty, flying back to the far edge of the ploughed field beside us and then off again. We called it a day, made our goodbyes and drove home.

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