Having been away for the last week, mainly on Islay, Scotland and having read the blog & had received various messages, I was quite keen to get back to Holme/home patch!
Unfortunately a week on a Scottish island without wifi means a lot of emails and messages to catch up with, so I faithfully hammered away at all of this on Monday, resisting the temptation to head straight out! This appeared to work to my advantage!
This morning I arrived at Thornham harbour around 8.10, the first 15 minutes were windy and quiet! But having just heard Twite up in Scotland, my ears were well 'tuned" in! The "zwinging" call alerted me to 5 Twite, as they sailed past me, I thought they were going to drop in but instead they banked and headed right out on to the salt marsh of Ragged marsh.
A few moments later another sound overhead, a short "bugle" had me swiftly turning round and looking upwards, a line of "wild" Swans, 15 in fact. Fortunately my pod and scope were already up so I was able to swing straight on to them, my thoughts were already Bewicks, and my instincts were right 15 Bewick's Swan, they continued steadily in a North-easterly direction and very soon they were distant and gone, brilliant! There was a lot of Pipit action going on as well, with c20 Meadow Pipit, plus c12 Rock Pipit clearly more than 10 days ago, these and Skylarks were sent skyward as a female Merlin arrived hunting skilfully and swiftly at low level. Typical the Merlin abruptly landed and I was able to get nice scope views of her, she set off twice after prey and returned to perch up twice more, great to see Merlins like this as the usual encounter is so brief.
Offshore c500 Common Scoter were still present, I scanned through these, 4 Red-breasted Merganser flew east, then 2 smart adult Gannet flew east, another year bird for myself! The saltings held 58 Grey Plover, plus Shelduck and Brents.
Happy with my haul, I headed around to Holme reserve, I stopped off at the south end of the entrance track and after a short while 2 Tree Sparrow, eventually materialised, one showing very well sat atop the hedge. I then headed up to Gore Point with Philip, the sea was fairly quiet, save c15 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Eider, 1 Red-throated Diver flying north. Of interest to both of us was 9 Greylag Geese apparently flying in off the sea, a cause for conversation - wild birds, maybe?? Undoubtedly wild and lovely to watch were 44 Snow Bunting just feeding on the saltings below us and two of the wintering Greenshank again on Lavendar marsh. Also Ringed Plover display flighting over the area.
A call from Gary Elton alerted me to Avocets fresh in the area during the last 2 days, Gary had 15, but I managed 9 Avocet on the NWT pools. There was also 2 Snipe, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, c130 Golden Plover, c250 Lapwing, c200 Wigeon, c100 Curlew Teal, Shoveler all on the grazing marsh pools, that have proven so attractive this winter. The Marsh Harriers were much in evidence, 6 birds in the skies at one point. A great mornings birding!!