Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Normal for Norfolk

Time for a birding interlude. I was over in north Norfolk on Monday and Tuesday, and as any birder knows, time spent there is never wasted.

For a landlubber like me, it offers the opportunity to see all sorts of species of wader and wildfowl that rarely, if ever, pass through my Midland patch. But it struck me, this time, that what really makes it special is the sheer number of birds, close at hand. That makes for some truly staggering spectacles, such as the Snettisham wader roost, but it also means that you see a much wider variety of behaviour than you might normally.

A couple of examples. The Curlew above was at Brancaster Staithe, and was the only one I could find around the harbour in the rain. It seemed to have found a rich source of fairly good-sized crabs, but each time it pulled one from the mud, it attracted the attention of two Herring Gulls nearby. It made a point of hurrying away with its catch, either down one of the little half-concealed channels, of between two boats, to eat it, before returning. I'm not sure how keen the gulls would be to take on a Curlew anyway, but it was clearly taking no chances.

Second was a small group of Oystercatchers swimming on a little lagoon. I've never seen even one swim before (although I think most waders are willing to do so to cross little channels, etc), but in this case they did so for some time. Both my memory cards were full at that stage, so you'll have to make do with this Turnstone, taken earlier, which was behaving in typical fashion, feeding very close to my feet.

Finally, here's two bad pics of a ringtail Hen Harrier which came in off the sea not long before dark on Monday - the distinctive white rump is visible on the first pic.

1 comment:

Caroline Gill said...

Yes, Norfolk never disappoints (though I may be biased as it was my home county for many years). We saw our first Spoonbills there and always enjoy seeing the airborne geese at migration times.