Saturday, 5 January 2008

Norfolk Day 1 - Richards Pipit!

I'd been promising myself a winter weekend in North Norfolk and with a good weather forecast for the weekend plus a few good birds around, this had to be the one! I knew that Friday would be dodgy however and it was - really gloomy overcast conditions but I set off nevertheless in search of bird No. 1 - Richard's Pipit, which would be a lifer for me.

Terrington marsh (3 1/2 hours later) is a flat featureless wilderness and it was a half mile slog along the sea defences, which go on for ever, to the 'last seen' site where another eight birders were gathered. No sign.... It had been seen that day but not for a while....

Another half hour of inactivity elapsed (reminding me of that immortal panto line - 11 o'clock and still no Dick!) so we all started to spread out. Eventually it surfaced on the sea wall bank - amazingly about 50m from where it was last seen!! We inched nearer and everyone got reasonable views. I even got some record shots amid the tussocks. A nicely marked bird and what an amazing long tail!! A pattern of habit emerged, every now and then the bird would fly up and land on the footpath giving great scope views. As we tried to approach it would then scuttle into the grass, reappearing a short distance away before eventually flying up yet again....












It was one o'clock before I got back to the car - next stop bird no 2, Great-grey Shrike at Roydon common. This was only 20 mins away and I bumped into a local birder who pointed me to the usual haunts - no sign.....


To cut a long story short, another 30 mins later I was on my back to the car when I saw a group of other birders intently peering into their scopes. Worth a final look - yes, turn again? It was, Shrike seen but very distant and here's an atmospheric mood shot of the occasion.










Everything else now would be a bonus and I knew Thornham harbour would be my only chance of a wader or two before it was dark. This is a 'straight out of the car' site and in a minute or two had Curlew, Redshank, Barwit, Grey Plover plus a other few bits. I was walking along the sea wall path with another 'local' birder when a call overhead alerted him to Twite!! A small flock settled down momentarily, time enough to confirm at least one on the deck before they were off and not to be seen again.

Then, down came the rain, B&B was the next port of call. A couple of pints and a gammon steak down the 'local' was followed by a big keep/delete session. Thoughts now turning to Snow and Lapland Buntings, zzzzzzzzzzzz......

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