Sunday, 10 October 2010

Norfolk: Thornham, Brancaster and rain

Friday 1st Oct:

With rain and gales forecast, Friday was a day for making the most of anything that came our way. I met up with Ann and Steve at Thornham Harbour and we scratched around looking for birds to photo. Ann managed to locate a little egret fishing in one of the channels, and again managed to creep up close enough to get some good shots with her 300mm lens, whereas Steve seemed more content to wander around in case any buntings were about.

I spotted a wheatear posing on old, weathered posts which despite the gloom looked lovely, and a bit of patience and luck gave me some decent shots. Love these birds as they're such good posers.

Back to Brancaster after a brief visit to Titchwell which proved that birds are as reluctant to be out in miserable conditions as we are, and with the weather closing in and Steve & Ann needing to pack up ready to leave on Saturday, they left me to watch the waders and wait for the rain to roll in.

As is typical with birds, with the poor light on offer, the waders decided to come in closer, and I got some rather grey shots of godwits, curlew, knots, redshanks and dunlins. A pair of curlew also decided to have a bit of a scrap on the mud which provided some amusement.

Hoping the weather would be better down at Cley, I tried my luck there, but the winds and rain were there too, and I abandoned hope for shots in favour of another cosy evening in the Lifeboat, again with a giggling Ann and a despairing Steve. He has a habit of setting himself up for mickey-taking at times!

On the way back to the B&B, I had a great experience. Along the walls of Holkham Hall were several owls. The three barn owls I saw, all flew off when I slowed down for a look, though I was surprised to even see them given that it was lashing it down with rain, and blowing a gale. One of the owls looked a bit different though, and I was delighted to see it was a tawny. I managed to park up near it, and in the glow from my headlights, I could see it pretty well. Without a small lens though (Steve was borrowing my 100-400mm after his 500mm broke) I had no chance of a photo, and besides, I doubt it would have been any good without a proper flash.

In the end I took a couple of snaps with my phone, but it was too dark and wet for anything worth posting. But what a gorgeous bird. Huge dark eyes and fabulous markings. A real treat to see, though it eventually showed me what it thought, by pooping down the wall and flying off into the woods behind.

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