6-9th October 2017, and the WSRS Autumn Field Meeting found a small group of us back in North Norfolk, based once again at the Burnham Deepdale group hostel.
‘Challenging’ would be a good description – not my housemates (well not all of them) – but the weather conditions were not initially helpful. A quiet evening on the Friday night was followed by a SW wind increasing to near gale force overnight and through Saturday, with driving rain forcing us all indoors. So after several failed trips, Sunday morning saw us all in a convoy heading for a Snettisham Spectacular, from 5am. Recording conditions improved, with the wind dropping, and in the dark we spread ourselves out on the shoreline ready for the show to commence at high tide…
Then the birders arrived, their tripods noisily erected and shutters clicking away with gay abandon. To be fair, almost all appreciated our need to be as quiet as possible and behaved well, but one memorable party took the selfish route, clearly stating that they would stand “where they dxxx well liked”, which happened to be next to some very visible microphones, chatting away normally. I have never seen Peter so angry! Luckily I was far enough away to avoid the noise and the warfare, so managed to record the roar of tens of thousands of knot as a peregrine went after breakfast, then the deafening calls of oystercatchers wheeling over my mics as they headed for the lagoon.
Unfortunately for those who had to leave on Sunday, the following evening and dawn proved to be almost perfect. I headed out onto Brancaster Marsh under a clear starry sky to record distant roosting pinkfeet, then from 5am on the final morning Titchwell RSPB reserve delivered some excellent wader flocks – golden plover, lapwing, godwit, greenshank, curlew, dunlin, and even a couple of rare flight calls from ruff – though I was constantly having to battle with overhead airliners which plague this coast in the early hours.
All in all, another good WSRS field meeting. Even if the weather is terrible, there is still the company of good friends and fellow enthusiasts to be enjoyed. Looking forward to Caerlaverock in December.
Here’s the link to a medley of some of my more successful efforts: