Skipping a fair number of days birding locally, my next 'full day birding' was in mid November, when with the usual crew we again headed east, and found ourselves in Cambridgeshire, scouring some rather birdless agricultural fields (admittedly with a large area of set aside adjacent) for the Richards Pipit that had been knocking around. After a good while searching, we decided to head off further east, via Guyhirn where we managed views of a superb flock of 8 Common Crane as they fed in roadside fields. It was just a shame the fog had started to descend and it hindered viewing somewhat!
We continued east, passing into the equally superb birding county that is Norfolk and to Cley Marshes!
Walking the east bank we were soon clocking up the birds, Bearded Tits pinging and showing well in the reedbed, Brent Geese and Marsh Harrier a permanent fixture in the sky, and a loud drawn out wheezy call overhead led us onto a single Twite as it flew over east.
Our main target however (as with many of our recent visits) was the sea and we soon started scanning for Auks and Skuas. Well, we found 5 Auks, however non were particularly small and it was clear that their Arctic cousins just weren't moving today. The swells had its usual and ever-present Red-throated Divers, but things were livened up by a drake Eider flying past and the appearance of 2 adult Little Gull, always a great addition to any day list!
A rather pointless visit to Salthouse followed before we headed back west to Holkham, where following a very long and sandy walk we eventually found a large flock of Common Scoter loafting and feeding offshore. We set about scanning, and soon found multiple Velvet Scoter, including some absolutely stunning drakes. Eventually we setted on a total of 10+ of these stunning seabirds!
With time, among a party of Velvets we picked out our 'yank' target. A drake SURF SCOTER! Nice!
Personally not even a year tick for me having seen 3 off Pensarn earlier in the year however the views off Holkham were significantly closer! That bill and the white patches stood out a mile, however with sea fog arriving, it was good we arrived when we did and not any time after!
|Drake Surf Scoter|
|Surf Scoter among Velvets and a few Commons|
With the light fading, I tried to make a last minute race to the end of the wood to look for the long staying Rough-legged Buzzard, but as we neared the end of the wood the crew decided to turn around and I dipped for the 4th time this year. Maybe one day.