As Led Zeppelin would say,.... it's been a long time since the rock and roll...., but for me it's been a long time since I added anything to my blog. A summer of gardening took it's toll on the birding, and autumn daylight, or lack of it, and the onset of winter have also combined to reduce my activities.
So first thing this morning I decided to get into work early and go vis Thornham where the Northern Harrier was seen the day before. This bird has been around for a good few weeks with it's true identity unknown and it's been flying around as a "probable Northern Harrier" - I had'nt seen it fly past the shop or my garden ! so decided to make the effort, especially as it was nailed two days ago as a definite Northern Harrier, and there is a head of steam by some to split it from Hen Harrier, so what the hell I thought, haven't twitched anything for years and it's only two miles form the shop.
I left home, and, with it -6 degrees. Slow going as the roads were very slippery. These Grey Partridges at the side of the road looked pretty frozen.
An unpleasant experience - not the drive to the coast, not the -2 degrees on the coast, not the 25mph northerly wind, but part of the assembled crowd. To start I bumped into a couple of very nice local people, some birding and a couple of others wondering what the fuss was aboout. I told them about the Harrier and they seemed genuinely pleased and inrterested. So here I stood (near the crowd) and waited.
Not for long as it happened, as the bird emerged from the reeds and flew around, at distance for a good five minutes. I was at this point stood on my own and not with the crowd. I even managed a couple of snaps, the bird looked as though it was in Lincolnshire it was so far away.
And so I moved a bit and ended up near the Coal Barn with about five other people. Ten minutes later cars were turning up and disgorging rugged up birders. Some were difficult to see as they were "camoflagued up".
Up to now it had been quiet, cold and really quite nice. Then we were treated to the life and times of some bloke who'd just got back from the American Coot in Ireland and.......so it went on. I was reminded of why I don't do this sort of thing, twitching that is, not visiting Ireland. Another five minutes and I'd had enough of his opinions of the previous "Northern" being a better bird than this.... his year list of 330... what sort of pies he liked best etc etc - I left.
Found myself down by the creek and spent the next ten minutes with these chaps....
and a Little Egret - time ticking on so off to work.
Wednesday 17 November
Just leaving for work and heard a bird in the garden, similar to a Robin's call, but more piercing. I knew it wasn't a Robin, knew I'd heard it before, but just couldn't remember what it was. But hang on it was coming from the top of the Silver Birch tree. And there it was a chunky finch....a Hawfinch ...Bloody hell I went nuclear ! Shouted for Sam and Tom, had another look the dashed to the car for my camera. Running back in I managed a brilliant flight shot as I saw it disappear overhead and towards the road. I gave chase but my slippers were taking on too much water, so gave up. I kept smiling all day. A great garden bird.
and here it is, clearly showing it's bulky body shape, massive triangular bill, big head and short tail. Epic !
It wasn't over yet and at Flitcham I found eleven Waxwings in the hedge. At last I wasn't the only person not to have seen one in Norfolk this year.
A couple of trips to West Acre scrape have yielded a Water Rail and Kingfisher, but currently lost the card I took those pictures on. It'll turn up...I hope.