|Tundra Bean Goose (Holkham)
My first stop was Holkham and another shot at the reported Shore Larks, something that myself and a few of the Brandon team had failed to pick up on a few weeks early. As I drove up St Anne's Lane towards the car park the usual congregation of Pink-footed Geese were on site and by the time I entered the pine wood on route to the sea shore, I'd recorded several Grey Partridge, plus Marsh Harrier and Peregrine. At least 2 Goldcrest in the pines before I emerged on to the salt flats and it was immediately apparent that the birding was going to be extremely difficult in a very strong north-westerly.
Battling my way across the flats towards the beach area I recorded many Skylark, mingled in with the odd Meadow Pipit, but alas, another blow out on the Shore Larks. A brief sea-watch produced Red-breasted Merganser and Razorbill, the beach held Sanderling, Redshank and Oystercatcher, but to be honest I was glad to get back to the comfort of the car having even battled to keep the tripod upright!
|**Greenland White fronted
A little further on and a stop at Burnham Overy for a shot at the Lapland Buntings, which from my observations today are mingled in with a large flock of Linnet, Meadow Pipit and Skylark. I'm not sure that the bird-guides report of at least 64 is that accurate. Myself and several other birders did manage to pick out at least 8 birds but it's extremely hard work and when the birds return to the stubble field they completely disappear from view! The local Rough-legged Buzzard, often seen from this vantage point, and indeed seen earlier, still remained absent from my list. Other birds of note during my 60 minute observation were 4 Grey Partridge, 2 Yellowhammer and a solitary day hunting Barn Owl.
My intention from here was to move on to Titchwell but having been given a few tip offs from birders I'd met earlier I decided to back track to Holkham, where a Tundra Bean Goose was now showing well. The guys also told me of a remarkable situation further up the coast at Kelling, where apparently 2 Coues Arctic Redpoll were showing in someones garden!
|Snow Buntings at Salthouse
What greeted me at Kelling was surreal to say the least, a group of birders, with the owners permission, staring from the road at his garden feeders, where apparently 2 Arctic and several Mealy are regular visitors, sadly not during my brief stay!
With light fading a stop off at Salthouse and the company of at least 15 or so Snow Buntings and an excellent Latte from the white van man, pure bliss!
**Greenland Image taken by Tony Collins just prior to my arrival