Thursday, 10 January 2008

Cley, Salthouse and Holkham

News broke on Sunday at about midday, and before i had even heard it was there, Dan had offered me a lift. We left early Monday morning, and surprisingly managed to make it at first light. This was Dan and mine's first solo twitching effort, we wondered whether we would carry on our 100% success rate. Although people said it didn't show until half 10, we waited a while but eventually decided the pub was the best option.

A cracking full english breakfast and when we had finished, the carnage begun! It put in its first appearance, a bundle gathered, swearing, shouting, even when the bird had gone again. We missed it. The 2nd opportunity i had made my way to the front of the crowd and got some fairly good views after a further 20 minutes wait. Much to the dislike of some birders, and shot away with my camera, shooting aimlessly in the direction of the bird. Out of 80 photos over its 20 seconds showing, only two were any good.

The only two half decent shots i got of the Sparrow in one of its very brief appearances, however the message the previous night was surprisingly accurate concerning timings. (c) Ashley Howe

We stuck around another hour, allowing Dan to get a couple of views, with the card game, and we were both so pissed off with the crowds we couldnt wait to get away!

Fair play to 'Franko' for making the effort to allow everyone the chance to see the bird, although the card game was abit bazaar, through all the mayhem and once it had calmed down slightly, his plan seemed to work quite well...i just hope he got round to seeing the bird himself.

The traffic warden doing his job, the big camera for ITV Anglia to the right of the photo soon left after mad men told him to piss off, and poor 'Franko' (further right, who i sort of felt sorry for) was trying his best to organise things, and i dont think had actually seen it yet.

We left to Salthouse where we didn't have to leave the car to see two Lapland Buntings feeding together and a group of 30+ Snow Bunting feeding on the shingle. Once we got crippling views it was time to move on.

2 Lapland Buntings at the car park, where we didn't even have to leave the car to see. (c) Ashley Howe

Cley reserve, where we pinned down three Water Pipits behind the old visitor centre which was another nice welcome to the year. Egyptian Geese were feeding on the reserve, near the East Bank, and viewing from the Cetnre revealed Avocets on the pools.

By this time it was mid afternoon and was beginning to get darker. We did a small seawatch with nothing to show from it at Holkham. Though 50+ Snow Buntings were in the Gap. Waiting for the Geese roost in the Washington Hide, allowed us to score quicker than expected with a Ross's Goose coming into roost. A great bonus, to what ended up as another fine day.

On the way home, along the A1065, there was a bad crash, road closure, flashing lights everywhere, which resorted in us being re-directed having no idea where we was, it was fortunate that we soon realised that Lee Evan & Co. were infront who we followed back to the main stretch. So thanks for that even though you didn't intentionally know. And thanks again to Dan!!

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