Only a few miles from my house is the location for the Richardson's Canada Goose which was found by local birder Steve West, so off I went to see it. It was a dismal, gloomy, rainy, cold day. North Wootton Marshes are not the most exciting place to be, which is why I hardly ever visit them – the gloomy weather set the scene. I parked up carefully, alongside the River Babingley (big drop into river next to car) along Marsh Road with a few other cars. I could see half a dozen birders standing by a farm building distantly, including LGRE and hundreds of geese even more distantly. It was raining and cold and I was just about to get out of the car, when three of the birders started walking back along the field. I decided to be really lazy and cheeky and wait until the birders got back to their car and ask if they had seen the goose. As they approached me I could see Pete Dolton, who told me he been standing there for four hours (sadly for him) with no sightings of the Richardson's Canada Goose. Shortly after this, the remaining few birders also started walking back along the track. I know I should have gone to look anyway, but that goose didn't inspire me to walk along a muddy field in the rain and in anycase, if Pete Dolton and LGRE couldn't find it, then there was no point in me going to look!!!
I left the marshes and tried to see if I could get closer to the geese from a different angle, but I couldn't and ended up at Lynn Docks where I bumped into Steve West! Saw the Peregrine on the top of the building. Lots of the usual turnstones, teal, mallard, herring gulls etc etc here. A Merlin flew high over the road as I was leaving.
Drove along the old Castle Rising road, which is now a farm track with no vehicular access (smiley face) to look for geese. The marshes adjacent to the track are a good place to find geese (sometimes). Only found a few greylags though. Other birds seen were: a few long-tailed tits, robin, linnets, barn owl, red-legged partridges. I left to go to Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve.
Along the A148, just after the Houghton Hall sign (on the left) I had awesome views of a Red Kite right over my car! I was driving at quite a speed, so it was difficult to keep tabs on the bird but shortly after I saw it, I could see there was a road turning off towards Harpley, so spun down here in search of the Red Kite. I saw the bird again along this road and it appeared to drop down near a phone mast and that was the last I saw of it! I had lovely views of three mistle thrushes together in a field in Harpley, when I was looking for the kite.
Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve
As I pulled up in the carpark I could see a small bird flitting about in the brambles – to my surprise it was a goldcrest, but it wasn't playing ball for a photo. I sat in the car watching the goldcrest whilst having my exciting lunch (not), which was a quorn and tomato sandwich and a cup of coffee. It was really cold now and I had to put every layer on, including my seriously warm hat.
The gloomy day continued, but the rain had stopped. I had a colourful array of birds here to brighten up the afternoon, including bullfinches, chaffinches, great tits, coal tits, blue tits, marsh tits, long-tailed tits, chaffinches, greenfinches, hedgesparrows, blackbirds and loads and I mean loads of bramblings! All of these birds were seen on and around the first bird feeders by the wooden shed/building before I even got onto the main reserve! I walked straight to the "Paul Johnson" hide in hope of seeing a bittern – saw 5 mute swans, 3 Common Buzzards circling above the tree line and three reed buntings feeding on grain in front of the hide. Walked back and saw bramblings and all the tits at another feeder on route to the "Whitley Hide" and also a Common Buzzard just over my head. From this hide I saw a huge amount of bramblings along with all the tit family, chaffinches and greenfinches. The bird table was a frenzy of birds! A Water Rail was below the bird table along with loads more bramblings and chaffinches below. I took a video of the action on the bird table (see below). Got back to the car by 4pm (just) when the reserve closes, had a quick cup of coffee and went home.
Dumped my gear in the house and whizzed straight round to my sister Lucy's house, who's birthday it is today. Vivien was there too and we all had a jam and cream scone! That scone cost me 8 pro-points (weightwatchers)! Just to give you an idea of how much that is – I have an allowance of 26 pro-points a day and 49 extra a week. Makes you think doesn't it! Or maybe not, I hear some of you say. I had already given Lucy her presents, but also bought her a bunch of flowers this evening, which brought a smile to her face.
Back at my house later on, I watched a DVD that Vivien had bought me for christmas "The Tourist" starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie which was an absolutely brilliant film. But then any film would be brilliant with Johnny Depp starring in it!