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Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Return to Benacre in days of yore, i.e. lots of great winter birds to see!

On Saturday 6th December I headed to Benacre Broad. Parking at Covehithe I walked down to the Broad and could see a guy scoping something from the northern end from the beach as I walked over I noticed the excellent Great Northern Diver that was swimming in the middle of the broad and swimming north, it dived frequently and we were lucky that it came reasonably close by the buoy, only problem was the autofocus wasn't working very well so I had to switch to manual. The bird then spent a little time by the buoy before swimming south and going back to the middle of the Broad again. As we were watching it, I noticed 2 female Goldeneye at the back and often just behind the Diver was a female Common Scoter. That Scoter was then joined by another 2 Scoters, making a fine total of a trio of female Common Scoters. Walking along the stubble field just south of the Broad, I heard a Snow Bunting's trilling call but failed to see any birds. Seeing danny P, he had just seen them on the cliff edge and they had flown south. I walked along the cliffs to Covehithe Broad and immediately spotted the fine redhead Smew that was swimming south along the northern end giving reasonable scope views as she swam. Further along in the dunes, I encountered Chris D who was photographing the 3 Shore Larks feeding along the Broad edge. They were reasonably confiding and Chris discreetly left, and kindly left the birds for me to photograph. There was really good light but I was slightly hampered because the autofocus was playing up again and I had to rely on manual focusing again, which was difficult considering the birds spent 95% of their time feeding usually behind a ridge of sand and then behind fronds of small grasses on the beach and were continually on the move constantly feeding. I continued to watch and attempted to photograph them in this way or the next half an hour, all other walkers along the beach, including most dog walkers discretely passed along the seaward side of the beach, until inevitably after 30 minutes a dog flushed them and they flew a short way to the northern broad edge where they again began feeding. After a further 10 minutes, I left them and put a returning Danny P onto them too. I could see he was standing in the Dunes and photographing them on the Broad edge where I had originally seen them with Chris.

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