Friday, February 24, 2012
Wonderful Wells-next-the-Sea Feb 17 - 24
First location was Salthouse, just east of Cley. We started at the shingle beach where the turnstones and a single knot were almost tripping us up. To hear them calling as they fed was delightful. A flock of snow buntings kept moving around us but were never too far away. As I was trying to photograph them I heard the unique call of Brent geese. Some other birders were also there and asked if we had seen the Arctic Redpoll. We hadn't but their directions were very good and within ten minutes we arrived at the site. There was a medium sized garden with several bird feeders and lots of birds taking advantage of the food on offer. Goldfinches, blackbirds, greenfinches, dunnocks and an occasional house sparrow were only the preliminary to the stars of the show. Scores of lesser redpoll were joined by a few mealy redpoll, but on this visit no sign of the Arctic redpoll.
We had lunch in the visitor centre and then walked all round the reserve. The only addition to our weekly total was a Cetti's warbler trying to perfect his song. This brought my challenge total to 185. Leaving our car at the Hostel we decided to walk towards the sea from Wells harbour. Little grebes, herring gulls, curlews and a single bar tailed godwit were in evidence as we walked towards the RNLI boathouse from where we could see both common and grey seals on the sand bars. We also saw a smallish grebe just off point where the lifeboat shed is. This proved to be a red necked grebe. ( Identification was only possible after two more walks, later in the week out to the RNLI boathouse with a telescope). The sun was just setting so we returned to base for soup, spuds and a shower before sleep.