Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Norfolk - Snettisham RSPB - A Twitch Too Far!

I am not an ardent twitcher by any means but there are species that are on my hotlist. The Ross’s Gull was one and over the weekend another appeared in the form of a Snowy Owl! I was unable to travel to Norfolk on Saturday due to my commitments to Sutton Utd. The bird had flown off from the Thornham area that evening and I did not expect any further news on it.

Saturday around mid-night I heard an Oystercatcher calling as it flew parallel to West Sutton Railway Station. This caused some amusement with my girlie who exclaimed “Do you know all the calls of the birds?!” We had been to the new Empire cinema in Sutton to see Red Sparrow which incidentally is worth seeing. I wondered if this bird would stop off at the Farm or would be picked up on Pete’s observatory sound equipment.

I took my regular trip to the Farm Sunday morning noting a Redshank and Dunlin amongst the regular species on the lakes. Early afternoon news broke of the Snowy Owl at Snettisham RSPB which had me calculating travel and potential arrival times.

It appeared from news that the bird had roosted at Snettisham therefore I decided to go the next morning at insane o clock missing the Monday morning clog at the Dartford Crossing. The journey was straight forward and I arrived just after dawn. I learnt that the bird had in fact had flown off the previous evening. Official news of this development followed!
Based on previous activity there was a chance that the bird would be re located around the coast so I took a wander around Snettisham to see if the birds had returned and to feast on the masses of geese and shorebirds that were using the beach and fields.
A couple of Short Eared Owl was on display in the area where the Snowy Owl had been resting.

A flock of Avocet was noted in flight along with numerous Oystercatcher, Redshank, Ringed Plover and Curlew on the beach.
Flocks of Brent Goose were almost continually on the move in the area. A few Pink-footed Goose, Barnacle Goose, and Greylags were in the fields. This was an amazing sight and reminded me of my trip to Branta Birding lodge, Durankulak, Bulgaria last year where geese Red-Breasted and Whitefronts filled the skies in their search for suitable feeding areas.

My time was limited in Norfolk so I decided to have a quick wander around Wolferton Triangle for the last remaining Golden Pheasant before I returned to the smoke and a comparative concrete jungle!