A Cleethorpes winter speciality

At the second attempt I finally caught up with Lincolnshire's only wintering Purple Sandpiper at the traditional haunt for this species - Cleethorpes. It was looking as though we wouldn't have one this winter after myself and a few other local birders had made numerous fruitless searches within the area, but thankfully this bird was found earlier in the week.
Also had a look for the Red-necked Grebe that had been found yesterday at Cleethorpes Country Park, but there was no sign today, though a 1st-winter Med Gull was present on the lake.

The only known wintering Purple Sandpiper in the whole of Lincolnshire
(click pics for larger images)

Norfolk 06/02/10 - a day of two halves

Made the trip to Norfolk with Alan Daws, Steve Routledge & Dave Wright and was met by clear blue skies (when a dull, grey day had been forecast). First stop was Swanton Morley GP's to twitch the Black-throated Diver but most of the pit was iced over and the star bird had clearly moved on but Goosander and Kingfisher seen. Next stop was Whitlingham Country Park and it's not often you see so many scarce birds in one place - Ring-necked Duck, Great Northern Diver, Red-necked Grebe, Scaup & 2 Smew all on the lake. 2 Goosander, 4 Egyptian Geese also seen & a Marsh Tit heard (Marsh Tit isn't found in the northern half of Lincs so not a species we have much contact with). 4 Egyptian Geese also next to the River Yare as we crossed over on the car ferry. 6 Taiga Bean Geese were seen at Cantley (this and the neighbouring Buckenham Marshes are the only places you can see a wintering flock of Taiga's in England). 85 Eurasian White-fronted Geese were also at Cantley + a Stonechat. Mammal of the day was the Chinese Water Deer that was running around at Cantley. 400+ Pink-footed Geese were nearby. We got to Haddiscoe Marshes within 20mins of a Rough-legged Buzzard being seen and although I saw at least 6 Marsh Harriers, the day went downhill from there as the fog rolled in and never left for the remanider of the day. We had hoped to take in the crane/harrier roost at Stubbs Mill but the fog had stopped any chance of that, as we found visibility was non-existent at nearby Horsey.

Great Northern Diver (check out that stonking bill)

Red-necked Grebe

Egyptian Goose
Local birders were amused at 3 of us taking photos of this species, which is a common sight in Norfolk, but there's only one regular spot in Lincs were you can see Gypo Geese and they're not as confiding as this

I was enjoying typical Norfolk scenery in bright, sunny weather, then the fog arrived...

Windmill in the fog & a frustrated birder

Donna Nook Grey Seals

Just in case anyone is still thinking of coming for the grey seals, I thought I'd mention that all of them are either right out on the tideline or back at sea. The number of pups born on the reserve continued to rise with a total of 1371 born last year, compared to 1,308 (2008) & 1,194 (2007).