Back from Australia
Pam and I were in Queensland - with a week on Bruny Island, Tasmania, from Dec 2 - Jan 15 09/10. We missed all the snow , the month of December and half of January. Time for some serious 2010 birding.
Sunday January 17
Must see the Taiga Beans before they depart, any time now. Watching from our usual spot in School Road, Cantley, we could see a Grey Heron and nothing else. Would we be disappointed for the first time? Five minutes later, a small flock of 30 Bean Geese flew in, landing in front of us, orange legs and feet down seen through my scope. Great. One White-front showed its head above the tall vegetation.
The sight of a deeply car lined road out to Winterton persuaded us to reverse and drive to Somerton. No sea watching to-day. The other side of the village three large flying birds became our first Cranes of the year. They landed out of sight east of Horsey Mill but one of them kept flying towards the Mere. One Marsh Harrier and a short and distant view of a Buzzard sp (was it a Roughie), no Golden Plovers.....
As we drew in to the lay-by near Ludham Bridge, swans started to fly off. A few Bewicks remained and we managed two Whoopers amongst the departing flock. A pasture outside Catfield held a flock of Fieldfare and a few Redwing.
Monday January 18
We're sleeping badly. Jetlag? We delayed setting off until 7 a.m on a very dark and murky morning. We didn't see a single bird for the first hour, not even a Blackbird scurrying off the verge, visibility was poor. Abbey farm Hide for breakfast, we wouldn't have been able to see if 20 Owls were sitting in THE oak tree! Resigned to the day, a single circuit of the Wolferton Triangle where we saw two Coal Tits on the ground before driving to Snettisham beach RSPB via the chalet park. All the usual waders - apart from Golden Plover - and ducks here, including several Pintail. Best was three seperate views of a female Merlin flying low across the mudflats and a small flock of Snow Buntings.
Visibility had improved greatly by late morning, good enough to add Fulmar, Eider and a flock of Common Scoter off Hunstanton Cliffs (we had second breakfast at Tesco!).
A flock of Fieldfare of varying plumage, gorged on the Sea Buckthorn berries at the entrance to the NOA car park at Holme.
We added Shovellers on roadside pools.
Thornham beach added what was to be the only Little Egret of the day.
Brancaster Staithe car park to eat lunch hoping for a Turnstone and Ringed Plover; success. Careful scanning produced a sleeping Red-breasted Merganser on the distant shore.
Still no Mute Swan so drove the coast road to Holkham, stopping at the church entrance where a large white blob amongst the thousands of Pink-feet in front of Washington Hide was the Greater Snow Goose. Excellent. Might as well drive Beach Road Wells. Hundreds of Brent Geese on the putting course, one good adult Black Brant amongst them. Yes, we saw two Mute Swans at Cley.......
As my printer/ PC USB ports are not working, we still haven't got our 2010 year lists printed. Adding up the day's total that evening, it came to a surprising 82. What can be seen from a car by two unwell jetlagged oldies.