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Saturday, 18 January 2014

A Mandarin, Glossy Ibis & A Sad End!


Started the day visiting my sister Lucy. It was a rain filled morning with gloomy skies. I had a very kind text from a fellow birder, which took me to The Walks in King's Lynn to see a very fine Drake Mandarin Duck sitting on a wall above the river by the bandstand. To be exact it was just below Guannock Gate. The Mandarin was sitting on the wall on the far left hand-side of the picture at the top of this website! It had no rings at all and outshone all the mallards by miles! Lots of people and dogs in the Walks, not one of my favourite places to be honest. In the summer it's heaving with people and more dogs! It would be really nice is there was a no dog ban, but that's never going to happen in the middle of a town! I remember seeing a spotted flycatcher by the church once, many years ago, but don't know if they are still seen or not.
 Mallard in The Walks, King's Lynn.

 Drake Mandarin in The Walks, King's Lynn.

 Visited my parents and delivered papers etc. Father was very fed-up and mother sadly wasn't much better. Mother pointed out an excellent picture of a bittern in yesterday's EDP that had been taken at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB – it was indeed an excellent flight shot. She also said she has been seeing a Chiffchaff fairly regularly in the garden. The sun appeared after lunch and remained quite bright for the rest of the day!

Cruised to Cley in search of the Glossy Ibis. On route I saw a Barn Owl over the marsh at Burnham Overy Mill and also a Marsh Harrier at Stiffkey Flash. Arrived in Cley and as I drove along Glandford Road near The Three Swallows Pub I passed Pete Snook, who kindly said he would 'drive round the block' to look for the Ibis and we would meet up by Wiveton Bridge. Met a lady birder by the bridge also looking for the Ibis. Both she and I were very pleased when Pete appeared to say he had found the Glossy Ibis in a field in Leatherpool Lane at 3.35pm. It was lovely having the bird all to ourselves. It was with a single curlew, but flew off later when disturbed by a big flock of curlew that took off in alarm – it flew high west, as if going towards Blakeney Fresh Marsh.
 Glossy Ibis at Cley.

On hearing that the A149 coast road through Cley and Salthouse was now open, Pete and I both drove to Coastguards. I needed my sea fix desperately. The carpark has been stripped of shingle and two thirds of it now looks the same as pre the storm surge. We soon realised why..... the shingle had been bull-dozed back into massive heaps to allow access for vehicles to get through onto the beach to collect the helicopter wreckage, you could see the tracks going east all along the beach. Took some funky sunset shots on the iphone. Hundreds of Brent Geese on the Eye Field.
 Sunset over the Eye Field at Cley – taken with iphone.

Pete and I walked east as the sun was setting. We had no intention of walking up as far as the crash site, which I thought was much closer to the East Bank than it was and we were a long way off reaching the East Bank. But, suddenly we realised we were standing there. I felt like I was tresspassing, like we shouldn't have been there. It was incredibly sad standing here and my thoughts raced back to that fateful night. The area is fenced off for two years, but I think it should stay fenced permanently out of respect. I still, even now, can't believe that a helicopter has crashed and killed four crew here..... RIP. Cley NWT and the local people have really taken a battering over the last few weeks, let's hope everyone can pull through and things can return to some sort of normality. I really hope that the breaches in the sea wall can be repaired soon, to give this amazing reserve a chance to recover.

The sunset and skies were just awesome this evening at Cley – looking towards the Eye Field.

Anyway, Pete and I turned back and walked back along the shoreline to Coastguards. We sat and had a hot drink and then Pete went home for his tea. I sat in my car drinking coffee, thinking, pondering and dreaming – then left to go home!

Next weekend is my birthday weekend and I have THREE days off – Wahooooo!!! It will more than probably be snowing by the weekend, it generally is on my birthday!

Please note that none of my pictures will be sharp until I get the lens fixed. The IS is not working correctly and this has to be replaced – on order now.

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