Sunday, 31 January 2016

Burgh Castle and Strumpshaw Fen

Burgh Castle offered a good chance of boosting the historical sites list, and with the Lesser Yellowlegs still being seen anywhere around Breydon Water I decided to give it a go Saturday lunchtime. By the time I arrived close to midday, the tide was already high leaving little to no mud exposed. I wasn't far off though, for the recently mud-less Waders were in the air, huge flocks of Black-tailed Godwits and Lapwings were circling. Redshank, Curlew and Ruff joined them, before alighting on the flooded fields to the north of the river confluence. Watching as I was from within the ruined fortifications, Marsh Harriers passed by at head height, offering superb views. Bearded Tit pinged from the reedbeds, a pleasing addition to my new list. I did take a short walk along the shore, but eventually the gusts of wind got the better of me and I retreated to the carpark.

On the way home I called in at St. Olaves Priory. The nearby priory restaurant was a giveaway in terms of location, but upon parking up I had to hop over a fence to actually get to the ruins, only to be confronted with a public footpath which would have led me straight to it. The shots below tell the story really, the refectory was impressive but the ruins themselves quite small but nonetheless worth a wander round. Little bird activity here, although Great Tit was new for the list.

I made an early start at Rockland this morning and wished I hadn't, it was dire. I then took a phonecall from Ben Lewis who informed me that the Siberian Chiffchaff had reappeared along the river bank, so Debs and I tied in a short visit with a shopping trip. We did hear the bird calling, but it was never seen in the almost constant drizzle. A Water Pipit over was of note.

It was thanks to Martin Garner's excellent Challenge Series that I was able to understand (having forgotten!) what to look for in a Tristis. A true inspiration, and a loss to the birding world. RIP Martin.

 View from Burgh Castle across to the Berney Arms Windmill
 Inside the Priory ruins at St. Olaves
Door to the impressive refectory, above. 

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