"For now we are young let us lay in the sun and count every beautiful thing we can see" Neutral Milk Hotel.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Rain, heavy rain, just clouds then brilliant sunshine

I was up early today, eager with anticipation. I wolfed down some toast and tea, donned my trusty birding kit and made for the door. But I hadn't noticed it was raining. I decided to wait a minute or two for it to stop (as it so often does), but it got heavier and heavier. I eventually ventured forth about mid-day, heading up Chalk Pit Lane in a ridiculous and, needless to say, fruitless quest to find some farmland birds. Utter silence reined on the ridge - save for the distant guttural notes of a Pheasant and the distant strains of a singing Mistle Thrush. I did note White Campion, Pineappleweed, Red and White Dead-nettles, Scentless Mayweed, Field Forget-me-not, Petty Spurge and Hairy Bittercress in flower though, but this was scant compensation for the lack of a Corn Bunting.

During a brief visit to Thornham Harbour I spied my first Gannet of the year, an adult heading east way offshore, over a raft of some 2000 Common Scoters which were distant off the harbour mouth. Unable to walk any closer because of the closure of the sea-wall footpath, I made my way round to Broadwater by road. The scoter were still hugely distant. A Barn Owl and male Marsh Harrier hunted the nearby grazing marsh. I met Mark E and his wife and we chatted for half an hour or more, then exchanged notes with Robin and Wendy, who later - and rather disconcertingly - robbed me of a a fly-over woodcock at dusk by quite deliberately engaging me in some distracting blather about cameras or wood pastures or some such. I was determined though and stayed until I could barely see - accompanied into the darkness by Phil who chatted about flood risk management, the prominence of jupiter and its moons, diver movements off the Lincolnshire coast and the merits or otherwise of blogs (and much else besides). Luckily, reward came in the shape of a surprisingly close, fly-by Woodcock. I then whiled away far too much time in the evening trying to identify a scrap of moss I found in the village - it turned out to be the virtually ubiquitous Common Feather Moss - Kindbergia praelonga....my fifth Bryophyte for the patch.  Here's a photo in case you were wondering.............what a day !

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