After three days of almost non-stop rain and perpetual gloom when it felt like the sun never rose or set it was pleasing to wake up to a frosty crisp morning once again. Ice flowers and creepers crept across the car windows as I made my way round to pick up Antony for his appointment at the fracture clinic.
Unfortunately I picked him up so early that we had to go birding first at Oulton Broad to look for the trio of Divers. As we reached the Swan gathering spot a big dog Otter broke the surface and sinuously made its way towards the boats. We followed him round but he was determined to keep going. What a wondrous sight so close to home. One of the park keepers said that he would kill it if he could as it takes ‘his’ fish. Tongues were bit…
The Red-throated Diver was gleaming off towards the dead end and several Little Grebes were dotted about as we crossed back over the road to view Mutford Lock. There were no Divers under the bridges so we followed the path that I took on Saturday but saw nothing all the way up to the old bridge over the railway where we could see several more Little Grebes and two Great Crested Grebes. Redshanks and Turnstones were on the edges and a single Skylark flew over as we retraced our steps.
The Black-throated Diver was soon found snorkelling exactly where I saw it last time although the view was somewhat better with some sunshine to make it shine but we could not find the Great Northern. Back at the road bridge we saw the former even better along with a couple of Kingfishers.
With time creeping on we headed north and I threw Antony out at the hospital lights and continued on up to Breydon Water, opting to try the southern shore accessed from the Rugby club. The tide was fully out and great splodges of avian bodies dotted the glistening mud. There were thousands of Wigeon and Teal with flocks of Curlew and Black-tailed Godwits amongst them while the Golden Plover remained separate and shimmered like a puddle of amber mercury.
|Wigeon, Teal, Curlew and Godwits|
The whole vista leant itself to similes and adjectives. Groups of Pintail fed isolated from the other wildfowl and while most waders roosted up, the Dunlin, Knot, Ringed and Grey Plovers that I saw were all scurrying, scything or stop-run-stopping as they actively fed.
A ridiculously low flying small plane set everything up as it flew down the middle of the estuary. I am sure that there must be a low fly limit over such an important bird rich area?
Antony’s appointment did not take as long as expected and I was soon heading back to collect him before yet another attempt to see the Purple Sandpipers at Ness Point. Having failed six times so far this I was not optimistic but within a few minutes two appeared with the Turnstones on the main jetty and we had some great views as they probed like sewing machines at the invisible life in the tiny trapped pools of water. As usual, unlike the Turnstones, they were completely unphased by the waves and stayed put while their cousins decided that something from the Bird’s Eye scrap bins was an easier option.
A subsequent search around the base of Gulliver for Black Redstart was successful with a cracking adult male around the parked cars, shivering that fiery tail while several, undoubtedly wintering Robins were dotted around the flower beds and out buildings. Pied Wagtails scurried on clockwork legs along the prom and two Meadow Pipits were having a bath in the puddles at the base of the mighty Gulliver.
|First time I have seen a Robin on a Whimbrel|
Time for lunch after a most successful hospital visit…