February 22
We were parked at Letheringsett Ford at 6.45 a.m. having risen at 5.30. There we sat until about 8.00, as did Lee Evans and five other car loads. I saw a dark bird whizz low downstream at about 7.15 but no-one else appeared to do so ! A very unsatisfactory view of the Black-bellied Dipper on a very gloomy morning.
As planned, we then drove to May Day Farm via the A1065 and Brandon. What a day to choose. Hundreds of cars and vans, many topped by bicycles, streamed into the area. A major cycling event. We stopped long enough to see 3+ singing Woodlarks before driving to the back car park for Lynford Paddocks. As soon as we arrived, Pam, following a distant birder's scope direction, spotted 4 Hawfinches on top of a nearby tree which we quickly scoped and admired before they flew off. Many Redwings in the paddock trees and a small flock of Siskin flew through. No point in walking around the Paddocks, so we parked at the Arboretum entrance and walked to the Bridge and pond area, around the small copse and back via the Folly where we saw another handsome male Hawfinch fly in and pose at the top of a lofty tree.
Time for a hot drink at St Helen's picnic area in the hope of seeing Crossbills. No luck there nor at a nearby site - a MOTOR cycle event scheduled there!
Still a damply chilly, overcast day as we drove north to Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve to find a packed car park. We lunched in the car park before walking the trail to the Woodland Hide where, nearby, we had a magnificent male Golden Pheasant fossicking in the undergrowth. On around the entire circuit to Fen Hide (Whitleys on the hide itself), also packed. Marsh, Coal and Blue Tits down on the feeder and an occasional Brambling. So many groups of older people here to-day, intent on filling the boardwalks, very thoughtless.
The warden here is a very pleasant and informative man. He told us that it's the male Barn Owl which has a white belly and is generally paler with a round head. The female's face is longer and the breast chevroned.
Last stops, the icecream van at Salthouse and views of the Snow Bunting flock from the shore car park. The damaged wing Glaucous was not in view.

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