Sunday, 14 December 2014

Goldfinch Roost in Hunstanton

Roosting Goldfinches, Hunstanton
 A metallic chattering call and an undulating gently bouncing flight gave the flock of Goldfinches away as they flew over my head and around Hunstantons' Sensory Garden. In the flat weak light of a December afternoon they looked anything but golden more the same uniform grey of the bare branches of the trees they were dropping into and then out of in this pre-roost gathering.

I tried to make a rough count of how many birds were present and estimated about 50 only for a similar sized flock to fly over a different corner of the Sensory Garden. I paused from my walk for a few minutes to enjoy these birds and tried to grab a few shots with my compact camera. 

Roosting Goldfinches, Hunstanton
As I left I noticed more, presumably different birds in small flocks heading in the direction of the Sensory Garden, so my guess is that there could have been anywhere from 100 to 150+ Goldfinches gathering here on this dull winters afternoon.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Water Pipit and stuff at Titchwell

Little Egret, NW Norfolk
With no 2 son needing a visit with his mum to the out of hours doctor in Fakenham. I took the opportunity to take our 5 year old for a walk at Titchwell Marsh and a visit to the RSPB shop to replenish our supply of mealworms.

With a clear blue sky, it was mild and I felt a little warm in my winter coat. First stop was Island Hide where it soon became apparent that a combination of a low winter sun in our eyes and the distribution of birds on the marsh meant we needed to walk onto Parrinder Hide.

Back on the path we stopped so that no 1 son could look through my scope at the distant flock of Golden Plovers, he managed to do this describing their colour and movement to me. Next was a bit of a wow moment for him as I set the scope up on a close male Teal which he described on looking through he scope as "like it was almost right next to us".

Once settled in Parrinder Hide I let him use my compact camera to snap away at the Teal feeding in front of the hide, whilst doing this he would occasionally stop and announce to the hide in general that their were "so many birds here!" Scanning I quickly picked out Ruff, Redshank, Golden Plover, Snipe and Teal and then the bird I was after a distant Water Pipit feeding along the edge of one of the islands.

It was Time to head back and we stopped briefly to look at and photograph together a Little Egret on the edge of the Brackish Marsh and I got scope views of a male Stonechat perched on top of a Bramble bush on the grazing marsh to the west of the reserve.

Last stop before the car was the shop to buy a jumbo pack of mealworms and then into the car and home just as the sun disappeared behind a bank of grey cloud and the temperature dropped.