Sunday, 19 December 2010

Bohemian Rhapsody

I hadn't managed to get to Woburn to see the Waxwings previously but the thought of seeing several hundred was just too much to resist today. And what a sight it was - trees, aerials, wires, in fact anything 'perchable', was covered with them.

They were very mobile, with large groups breaking off and flying along the street and back again. At one point they all suddenly took off together and it was soon clear why, when a Sparrowhawk flew up across the gardens with a Waxwing in its talons. Even though I know birds of prey struggle to survive in this weather too, I couldn't help but feel a bit sad about that.

Trees traced white with frost and multi-coloured Bohemian Waxwings... what a combination.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Winter sun

Spent a lovely day birding in North Norfolk on Saturday with the bright sunshine bringing out the best in the birds we saw - first of which was this Water Rail, eating an eel just off the path at Titchwell...

There were plenty of birds on the Freshwater Marsh, but more than anything it was Pipit territory – Meadow Pipits were everywhere (one flock held twenty birds or more); also a Rock Pipit and three Water Pipits in front of the new [yet to open] hide.
Down at the beach the light was particularly good, so much so that even the less colourful birds seemed to glow...

Grey Plover
Every now and then the Plover would stop and look in my direction, and what an inscrutable expression that bird had!

[Click on the photo once or twice to see it better.]
The cutest bird of the day was, without doubt, this little podge...
We later made our way to Cley, stopping along the road near Burnham Overy to look for a Rough-legged Buzzard that had been in the area for some time. No luck with that, but we did see a pair of Barn Owls and a beautiful ring-tail Harrier with unusual plumage – a dark back and rusty tan underneath (later reported as a juvenile Hen Harrier). 
Cley held the promise of some Shore Larks, which were in the company of a flock of Snow Buntings. On reaching the North Hide area we found the flock quite easily, but unfortunately they were being chased around by a chap with a camera - and the Larks were nowhere to be seen. Thankfully the ‘photographer’ eventually gave up and wandered off, and within minutes the Snow Buntings returned to the shingle, followed closely by four Shore Larks.