Tuesday 26 January 2016

Bowthorpe and Colney GP

I'm having a quiet time birding-wise this month, nothing really new as far as Januarys go. This time a very busy project in work and lots of other busy projects at home with our new house.
I would love to have been able to travel with Nick and Yoav to Holland but instead had to settle for Yoav's superb photos on his excellent blog - see rubythroat twitch.
I had intended to go for the Serin at Downham Market but a combination of negative news and limited time meant I stayed local instead. I checked Bowthorpe for the Great White Egret on Sunday afternoon but there was no sign. If it wasn't there, I rather fancied it may have headed up river towards Colney Gravel Pits. I still have my birdwatching permit, so I spent an hour or so punting around there but there was no sign of it.
However, a single female type Goosander was compensation at least. I had heard that a pair of Goosanders were there but I just had this singleton. It was extremely wary so I could only manage this heavily cropped shot as it fished from the far bank of one of the gravel pits.

Female Goosander, Colney GP, Norwich

Saturday 2 January 2016

Twites and Larks in North Norfolk

The weather was so grim this morning I almost didn't bother to go birding. But like many, I'll be back at work on Monday and I'll be sorry then I didn't use every available opportunity to get outside.
I decided to try for the Choseley Barns Rough-legged Buzzards, but by the time I got up there they had disappeared into a pine plantation as the sheets of misty rain descended (how could you blame them). I waited for around thirty minutes but they failed to emerge and so for the sake of seeing some birds I decided to head for the Thornham Harbour Shorelarks. Time was pushing on by now, the light was poor (and getting poorer) and they were likely to be popular birds - I hadn't high expectations for any photos.
I parked up at Thornham Harbour and got some helpful directions from several other birders returning along the sea wall. It was going to take around twenty five minutes to reach the spot so I stopped to watch the small Twite flock before setting off.

Twite, Thornham Harbour, Norfolk
Eventually I reached the place at the mouth of the harbour, the three birds were feeding along the side of small shingle ridge. They were a little distant for photos and I was careful not to disturb them for the sake of the birds and other birders. I sat about fifty feet back hoping that as they fed, they might come closer.  They did come a little nearer but not that much, these ones were tricky - I've had better luck with Shorelarks previously (see Covehithe's Shorelark Trio and Third time lucky with GY Shorelarks).
We're past the shortest day of the year but by 3pm the light was gone and the birds weren't getting any closer. I gathered up my stuff and started back to the car. So no RL Buzzards but Twite and Shorelarks more than make up for that plus on the way back, a Peregrine dashing along the beach, three Barn Owls and four Marsh Harriers certainly brightened up the return leg.

Shorelarks, Thornham Harbour, Norfolk - 2nd January 2016