Sunday, 22 February 2015

Beach litter

My old pal Matt Jones and I used to go to North Norfolk from Kent occasionally in the winter for the excellent birding. The Holkham Gap was always a good place to start for a mixed flock of Snow Bunting, Twite and Shorelark that used to winter there. Those days appear to be gone so you have to be prepared to work a bit harder to find these species on the beaches of East Anglia these days. Spending last week in the region gave me a chance to try though. Snow Bunting and Twite were simple enough, though there was quite a distance between them, but we failed to find Shorelark despite slogging up and down the vast shingle beaches of Shingle Street - I always wondered why it was called that - one windy afternoon. But two out of three, as the song says, ain't bad.
Snow Bunting, Pakefield, Suffolk (#105)

Snow Bunting, Pakefield, Suffolk - 2 of a flock of 11 birds
The flock included some colour-ringed birds - having had a quick look online it seems they may have been ringed locally, but I'll be trying to find out more
A few days after these photos were taken we left Suffolk and headed up to North Norfolk. Among other places we stopped at Thornham Harbour where a flock of Twite often spends the winter. From past experience I thought they would be difficult to get close to but this year they seemed to be quite happy feeding next to the approach road. I stationed myself low down by an apparently favoured spot, and between the unwanted attentions of passing dog walkers, vehicles and clumsy birders approaching too close too quickly, all of which had the inevitable result of flushing the flock, I managed a series of reasonable photos in low light.
Twite, Thornham Harbour (#106)
A mobile and vocal flock of about 50 birds - note the pink rump on the bird bottom right
A subtly beautiful bird - I particularly like the buffy face and chin
No Shorelark unfortunately but a Skylark was with the Twite flock at Thornham (#99)
The flock would feed quietly on the ground and give a burst of wheezy calls on taking flight

The Coal Barn is a much photographed building in Thornham Harbour, and when disturbed the Twite flock will often alight on it - again, note the pink rump on this bird
I went all the way to the Outer Hebrides a couple of years ago with Twite being one of my main targets - I did see some but not as well or for as long as this so this was a real treat. I couldn't persuade the family to get out of the car to appreciate these LBJs but they were happy for me to wallow in the mud on my own for an hour, so everyone was a winner there really. Next post should bring up number 100 for the photo year list so come back soon to see which species gets the honour.

No comments:

Post a Comment