And, finally, from perfect blue to flaming red. A stunning sunset over Norwich mid-week. Sometimes winter really works.
A Peregrine winged past, and the beach was full of razor clams and numerous whelks etc - the legacy of last weekend's storms.
The shoreline held the usual waders. I was looking forward to photographing a flock of Bar-tailed Godwits, but some numpty with no sense of fieldcraft (or respect for the birds) got too close and flushed them. In contrast, I hunkered down on the tideline, getting a full-frontal soaking, but minimising distraction to my quarry. This worked for some Turnstones.
Perfect blue. Not just the name of a fine song by The Wedding Present, my favourite band. But also an apposite description of the sea at RSPB Titchwell, in north-west Norfolk, yesterday. A sumptuous winter's day: sun, calm sea, no wind, brilliant visibility. Accompanied by Jez Bird and Dave Andrews, I scanned seaduck and papped waders. The former were magnificent, unprecedented - albeit distant. Well over a thousand Common Scoter, at a guess, were sprinkled with an outstanding minimum of 154 Long-tailed Ducks (I wonder what the county record is) and 82 Velvet Scoter, as well as a smattering of Goldeneyes, Red-crested Pochard(!), Shoveler and Red-breasted Merganser. Here are 71 of the Oldsquaws in a single picture.
Red-throated Divers were everywhere - 30 at least - and we also located at least two (possibly three) Black-throated Divers, a Slavonian Grebe and a Red-necked Grebe. As Black-throat is a county rarity, here are record shots of the two individuals (one a tweet by Dave).
And that was that. A wonderful Titchwell day. Earlier in the week, I had a stroll at High Ash Farm, south of Norwich. I was looking for Yellowhammers (and, by extension, Asian buntings). I found only four, but the finches were contrastingly brilliant. At least 300 Brambling, or 400 if a second flock of 100 1km from the first was different. And 1,000++ Linnet. Brilliant farmland birding - a true treat.
It worked less well, however, with a group of Sanderlings. I waited fully 30 minutes for them to approach within photographable range, only for a pair of numpties to wander up and flush them. They then had the temerity to ask me what was so interesting to photograph that I was prostrate and damp... My answer was curt. This is the best image I got.