Sunday, 10 January 2010

Grey skies and slush

10 January 2010

No snow overnight as forecast and temperatures reaching the dizzy heights of one degree provided a miserable looking day. The few flurries of snow that did fall this morning were greeted with whoops of delight from Tom shouting "no school tomorrow!" - so I went out. To Saddlebow, King's Lynn,  where there had been reports of a couple of  Smew. Side roads still slippery and it certainly felt colder than a single degree.
Scoping the river from the bridge I saw three Redheads (first winter or adult female Smew) in the distance. Clearly seen here in the middle.

So time for a little creeping about. But not much as the whole flock was very flighty.

and here a good size comparison with accompanying Mallards, Black-headed Gulls and two Goldeneyes

but with a bit of zooming their characteristic shape and white sides to the neck, dark red capped appearance becomes more visible. Great to see these North European Ducks here, they always look as if they are used to very cold weather, just a pity there wasn't an adult male with them. Also present was a single male Goosander.

Back via Pentney Lakes but most of the birds down the far end as the open bit was still iced over. Lots of Wigeon, Teal and a few Cormorants, along with Egyptian Geese trying to walk on ice. Lots of Gulls but a bit distant to try sorting out a Caspian ! (thank God).
On into the village and at last some Fieldfares on the ground.

And just before Spaghetti Bolognese one final check of the ditch to flush the Snipe. The two birds have been feeding in the drainage ditch for the last few days but apart from the first pics they have always been too close, seen me and gone. This time to my surprise we both froze. It was close, in the ditch and looking at me. Very very slowly this time the camera was raised, and then the shutter sounded like a machine gun! Mr Snipe finally nailed.

and I couldn't resist a final look for the Barn Owl in the trees

not a snowball's chance in.............

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