With a thick coating of snow, ice everywhere and minus temperatures, driving very far would have been madness. Luckily, Gary laughs in the face of madness, so we just went a bit slower than normal. We had a few targets for Gary's yearlist, with the first being Blackborough End Tip for Iceland Gull. On the way we stopped off at Flitcham, missing the access road the first time as it blended in with the rest of the snow covered bank. A heart-warming scene along the hedge, where a rat was up on its hind legs getting seed from a Pheasant feeder, whilst a Field Mouse sat alongside, eating the leftovers. No sign of the Little Owl, but we did see Grey Partridge, Curlew and Tree Sparrow. The Tree Sparrows were welcome vindication for Gary, who had been hearing them for ages, possibly echoing around in his head. 4+ Bullfinches and a Yellowhammer were also made to look even better against the pale backdrop.
It was my first trip to Blackborough, and I won't be putting it on a list of favourite holiday destinations. The cold weather minimised the smell, but the sheer volume of gulls was rather overwhelming. We saw a 2nd winter Med Gull, but no sign of any Caspian or the Iceland Gulls. On the way back to the car a Green Woodpecker flew from tree to tree out of site of Cath & Claire, and a Buzzard did a fly past. The second part of our gull double-header was to look for the Glauc at Titchwell, so we headed north. We turned off towards Wolferton on the off chance, and I spotted a stunning male Golden Pheasant just in from the roadside. Regardless of their introduced status, they still look great, and much nicer than the juvenile male I saw last year.
We called in at Thornham, where the Red Kite was out of sight, though no doubt still around. This was my first North Norfolk site of the year, so almost everything was a year tick, Golden Plover, Ringed Plover, Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit and Black-tailed Godwit etc. We arrived at Titchwell to be greeted by a Robin. Knowing how hard it must be for small birds, I offered it part of my jaffa cake. It flew over, looked at me, then flew straight over my shoulder, ignoring my offering. Haughty little bugger. Cath continued to live up to her "Queen of the Water Rails" status by finding another two by the main path. The Island hide was pants, but we did see Pintail and the juvenile Glaucous Gull, woohoo. We didn't spend much time at the beach as the wind was ridiculously strong, but there were Sanderling on the beach and Eider on the sea.
Sunday was mine & Cath's anniversary, so no birding. I did manage two decent birds on the bird table, Long-tailed Tit and Pied Wagtail, the latter has been for mealworms for the past three days. I also caught the last 10 minutes of Bill Bailey's Birdwatching Bonanza on Sky. What a load of bollocks that looks. Serious question, what is the target audience of that programme? I was going to make a suggestion, but I won't in case anyone who reads this loves it, I don't want to upset either of my readers. I will give a complete show a look, just in case I saw a duff bit, but if you saw it, do comment and let me know what you thought.