On arrival we were welcomed by a dull, gloomy and overcast day along with a hoard of confident robins!
After fighting our way through the robins we arrived at the visitor’s centre where a brief glance for the mealy redpoll drew a blank. From here we walked straight to the sea and instantly noticed a huge raft of common scoter through the mist numbering in the several hundreds:
Also on the sea we saw a few Velvet scoter and Eider.
The beach had the normal suspects but there was no way I was getting cold and wet in the surf, like I usually do, to photograph on such a dull day.
Another little flurry or excitement came from a weasel bouncing through the grass near the path – great stuff!!
We also picked up a Bittern flying in from the distance,
When back at the visitor’s centre we made a beeline for the bacon sarnie dispenser and whilst munching I noticed a flock of goldfinches in the alders above our heads. On first glance the mealy redpoll revealed itself in the flock, a lovely classic grey individual.
From here we drove to Salthouse to photograph the snow bunting and any waders that were hanging around.
Although the light was grim we made the most of it by spending a few hours playing around with 2 female snow bunts and a confiding dunlin (where were the 80 bunts reported a few days ago??). Just before we left a big flock of snow bunts came flying over heads and joined the meagre two that had kept us company for so long.
We couldn’t leave now!! So continued shooting for a further 20mins in the rubbish light – good fun……..
We then headed to Whitlingham CP in hope of catching up with the Red-Necked Grebe, GNDiver, Scaup, Ring-necked duck and Smew.
We didn’t spend long there but connected with the Grebe and Diver. They were both rather close and I can see how the long focal lengthed people have managed such fantastic photographs – a return visit on a nice day might be in order. Here are my average shots of the grebe and records of the diver:
After this we went to the Stubbs Mill watch point hoping from some cranes. It soon became apparent that we had left it too late as several had already been past. Good numbers of Marsh harrier a few hen harriers and a Harris hawk were nice to see though.
My photo of the day was almost this shot of the dunlin with Ed in action behind.............but the star photo has to be this lovely depiction of Ed’s failed attempts at wide angle photography using a wireless remote….
It was a good day out and some great birds, thanks Ben for driving!