Birders waiting at Thornham Boat house in arctic conditions
for the Northern Harrier to show.
Andy W. stands out from the crowd in his bright orange coat!!!
Well I certainly got up earlier than yesterday!!
Arrived Thornham Coal Barn at 8am and it was seriously arctic conditions. I felt like the Michelin man, I had so many layers on! Everything was sparkling white with frost and snow, but the morning was dull with no sun at all. Around 20 people waited for the Northern Harrier to show. I could see Andy W. and Justin L. standing with other people near the carpark at the far end, so I phoned Andy to say he was standing in the wrong place 'you mean we standing on high ground so we can see everything' he said - 'yep, its best seen from here' I said. Anyway time went on and standing here for even an hour and a quarter was torture. At one point I saw what was probably the harrier for a split second over the field by the houses to the left of The Lifeboat Inn, another quarter of an hour later at 9.15am it showed itself again and was indeed the NORTHERN HARRIER. Shortly after this Andy and Justin had relocated themselves to the Coal Barn! I got some records shots of The Northern Harrier as it glided over the reed bed. It then disappeared from view, so I decided to walk down the road and follow the path through the reed bed to the large copse. On the way I had awesome views of a pair of Bullfinches (not quite long enough for the camera though) and several blackbirds eating sloeberries. I crossed the bridge and walked right and along Green Lane and then left along the track and back along the path around the copse and back to the bridge again. It was now snowing heavily and had to put the camera in the rucksack liner bag. The snow blizzard was so heavy I could hardly see to walk! I didn't see the harrier again. Walked back to the car and the few people that were standing by the barn had not seen the harrier since I had last seen it. I drove to the far field, reached by the 'The Lifeboat' lane and watched the field for a while, but no luck.
Titchwell RSPB - I only stopped here for one thing - FOOD!!! Sat in the Feeding Station and had Jacket Potato, Vege Lasagne and wait for it.... Sticky Toffee Pudding and Custard - all good for the waist line, BUT it did warm me up, in fact it was incredibly difficult to leave - it was lovely and warm in there and it was very enjoyable watching the video screen listening to Golden Orioles calling at Lakenheath etc etc. Loads of birds at the feeders including chaffinches, robins, hedge sparrows, robins, greenfinches, pheasant, blue and great tits and of course woodpigeons trying to balance themselves on the feeders! I eventually dragged myself out of there and walked back to the car. I was just trying to decided whether to go back to attempt to get better pictures of the Harrier or go to Wells to try and see the Northern Bullfinches, but when I checked the RBA website on my phone, there was a Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler at Burnham Norton.
Burnham Norton - no sign of the bird at all on arrival sadly. People searched everywhere to find this bird, but it didn't show again. Bumped into R.M here who initially didn't realise it was me under all my layers! and also John F. who pointed out 5 Whooper Swans going over our heads, south.
Choseley Barns - loads of corn buntings, yellow hammers, greenfinches, robins, hedgesparrows, fieldfares and 2 Mistle Thrushes all from the car window! Tons of pinkfeet flying over aswell.
Thornham - parked the car in Green Lane and walked to the bridge and along the path again for a short distance where I had brief views of the Northern Harrier again as it flew across the reed bed and round the corner of the copse out of view. Had spectacular views of a Barn Owl by the bridge when I walked back which was flying low across the reeds and then landed on a post in front of me briefly!
X-Factor - thank goodness Vagner had gone!!! But I did feel sorry for Katie. Very frustrating though as I will miss the semi-final next week as I'm at another christmas party!
Update - see John's Furse's very amusing picture of me as the Michelin man on the Norfolk thread!!! (see top sentence of this post)