30th December 2010: Norfolk Ramblings.

Posted: January 19, 2011 in Bird Watching
Tags: , , , ,

Alarm set for a 5:30am blast-off too Brancaster, West Norfolk, hoping to see the ‘Putative’ American Northern Harrier. similar to our own Hen Harrier.
The journey was hampered by fog over the Penines, and the A1 being shut from Ferrybridge. The diversion took us to Doncaster following one Wagon after another. Then on too the M18 towards Rotherham??
On through Worksop where we finnally got back on our original track to Kings Lynn. Still dark, Still foggy.
At 9:30 we stopped of at the ‘Triangle’. Parking up on the South side of the ‘Triangle’ for a bit of breakfast we listened to the birds waking up. A slow dive clock-wise, on the north-side of the triangle, Their they was. Not one but two stunning Male Golden Pheasants pecking at the verge. We parked at a distance, not disturbing the birds. No need, because a few seconds later a van drove by, the birds didn’t even flinch. Cue driver move closer. We got alongside both Pheasants as they slowly disolved into the undergrowth. Memorable or what? I say. Note here – We have enjoyed a few ‘Appreciation/Study Views’ of birds whenever Bob doesn’t have his camera ready. Thanks Bob. We all agreed that that was the best ever views of Golden Pheasant we have ever had. We hadn’t noticed that the fog had gone.Armed with first-class information from Ozzies network of contacts, we arrive at Brancaster beach, a favourite roost for the ‘Harrier’. Three other birders here. No sign.
Taking the time to noted some birds here. – Pink Footed Geese – in huge skiens, constantly flew above us. Dark Bellied Brent Geese in small groups. Others included Little Egret, Ruff, Wigeon, and Grey Plovers.
About 11 am, we got restless, and let RBA know the Harrier has not been seen. A few minutes after ‘Reuters’ letting all know that Brancaster is not the place to see the Harrier here, Somebody informes RBA that the Harrier was seen well 9:30am at Thornham. Off we set, 90 minutes late. In the car park a dozen birders scan the marshes towards Titchwell without success. A little fog here, but not too much. A while here, we clock nothing much but a Female Marsh Harrier, we opt to check out an area between Thornham and Titchwell. This is another favoured area for the Harrier we had hoped to see.
The area looked a good vantage point. A small group of Brents kept our interest, while we waited. Back to the car for some Scran and decision time. We agree to return back to Brancaster again. At Brancaster and no birders about, a quick re-think of the Harrier turning up here, and we are off back to Thornham Marsh again.
About 1:58pm we pull up to the car-park just as all the birders start to walk towards us. Winding down the window, and a polite ‘Whats going on?”, we are told the Harrier is showing behind us. We park the car carefully, and then explode from the car in a dignified manner of course. (yeah right). Bins lock on to the Harrier . Scopes up as the bird flies towards us. Yes!
Description: A ring-tailed Harrier, The tail pattern is much different than our European version. No clear cut white band on the tail side. The band extended down the tails edges in an ‘n’ fashion, difusing with the barring of the tail pattern. The body of the bird was Red-ish. We had some knowledge that the harrier may have an injured leg that droops, as did this bird. We saw the bird for ages at various distances. Hand shakes all around. While discussing the Harriers features Etc. A single Egyptain Goose flies overhead. That’s three year ticks for me today (215), Ozzy (235)
Check out this site. http://birds-britishbirder.blogspot.com/

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