Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Norfolk Day 2 (Sunday)

Black-tailed Godwit @ Titchwell
Day two of my Norfolk weekend and after a Full-English at the hotel in Hunstanton to set me up for the day I decided to make my way back along the A149 towards Salthouse. My first stop was the Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve at Holme Dunes.

If anything, the wind today had actually increased in strength and as I joined the perimeter path overlooking the sea shore it was apparent that once again the birding would be difficult. Dodging the early morning showers I managed a great selection of shore birds including Spotted Redshank, Sanderling, Knot, Ruff, Grey Plover, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Redshank and both Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwit. I continued North and a scan of the fields produced both ♂♀Marsh Harrier, the usual selection of Geese which included a single Ross's, probably the same one recently seen at Holkham, plus Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Short-eared Owl were also recorded. A sea-watch gave up Goldeneye, Red-Necked Grebe and passing low over the beach, 3 Snow Bunting.

Snow Bunting @ Salthouse
A visit to RSPB Titchwell next for a better look at the Coues Arctic Redpoll, and after achieving some much improved views of this long stayer a walk to the seafront. This proved to be harder than it sounded and I was battered and bruised from the unrelenting gale by the time I reached the sea. Having said that it was completely worth it recording 2 Long-tailed Duck and Great-northern Diver. The usual shore birds were on offer and deciding not to visit the busy hides I'd further added Water Rail, Bittern, Little Egret, and a brave Marsh Harrier mastering the wind.

Another stop at Burnham Overy where the Laplands were showing occasionally and this time a walk down to the shore, which was hard work in the ever present gale. The surrounding fields held around 250 Golden Plover, 500+ Wigeon and endless counts of Curlew, plus Yellowhammer, Brent, Pink-footed, European White-fronted and Egyptian Geese.

Rough-legged Buzzard
I continued working my way along the A149, deciding to stay local and not venturing further afield for such gems as Great Grey Shrike at Fakenham, or Waxwings in Norwich. I paused for an hour at Holkham Freshwater sheltering behind some large Hawthorn, picking up Marsh Harrier and finally getting yesterdays bogey bird Rough-legged Buzzard, as one finally drifted by!

Stiffkey and Wells were next, no sign of the reported Glaucous Gull, but I did manage the Black Brant on the playing fields at Wells. I continued on for a second look for the Arctic Redpolls at Kelling, in a street aptly named 'The Street'. I must say that this is not my kind of birding and after finally being able to get a sniff of a view in-between the photographers and birders I came away with both Mealy and Arctic ticks!!

Another stop at Salthouse for coffee on route back to the hotel and I ended my weekend at Burnham Overy once more, in the hope of Owls in the fading light. I was rewarded with 2 Barn Owls which drifted across the fields, a pleasant end to the trip!

*I've uploaded a few of my images of the weekend to my Flickr Site!