We knew the best day weather wise was going to be Saturday, so we got up while it was still dark and drove 1.5 hours to our first birding spot at Cantley Marshes. It was bitterly cold and icy and the photo below shows us watching a mixed flock of Taiga Bean, Pink-footed and Greater White-fronted Geese.One of our main reasons for birding in this area of Norfolk (The Norfolk Broads) was to look for the small population of Common Cranes. This is the only place in Britain where they breed. As you can see, we were quite some distance away from the birds, but had fantastic scope views of them feeding.Here is a heavily cropped photo of them where you can just about make out what they are! (-:In the same general area we came across a flock of Pink-footed Geese feeding in a ploughed field with some Lapwing and Golden Plover and a few Black-headed Gulls. Unfortunately (for the Geese) I managed to flush them getting out of the car. This did give me the opportunity to take some flight shots!If you click on the photo below to enlarge, then you can just see the Lapwing on the ground and some Golden Plover in flight below the geese against the dunes.As they started to settled down again, they did that lovely wiffling action of dangling their legs and bowing their wings to zig zag down out of the sky.Our next stop was in North Walsham at a supermarket car park to look at 3 Waxwings that had been feeding on berries there. The light was awful and with no way to get in a position with the best light behind me, this is the best shot I could get. They occasionally come to Britain from the taiga forests of northern Europe to winter with us. They have a lovely distinctive trilling call.Around lunchtime, we made our way back to the north coast to bird along the coast for the rest of the day. Our stop at Cley gave me some opportunities to photograph some geese closer to. This Brent goose was one of two or three that were feeding near to the East Bank at Cley Nature Reserve.This Lapwing just didn't seem to want to turn around for me and this was the best shot I could get before he wandered further away.The Greylag was more of a poser! (-:
We walked along the East Bank at Cley to get to the sea where this unfortunate 1st winter Glaucous Gull was resting on the beach.It definitely had something wrong with its wing, but seemed to be feeding OK and apparently could still fly, though we didn't see it do so while we were there.We get Ruddy Turnstones on our shores during the winter and this one was living up to its name on this stony beach.I'll tell more about the latter half of this great day of birding in my next post.