Saturday, April 05, 2014

Norfolk Saturday

Spent the entire day around NWT Cley Marshes, Norfolk and then on to Salthouse for a look around Grambourgh Hill. This was our first visit since the devastating winter floods and I have to say that the reports I've read regarding the damage were not exaggerated. Flattened shingle, altered reed beds and whole areas of water taking on different shapes and sizes.

♂Marsh Harrier over Cley marshes today.
As with RSPB Titchwell yesterday we were greeted to some excellent aerobatics from the local Marsh Harrier population, scattering everything as they displayed. Continuing along the east bank past Arnold's Marsh and out towards the sea-shore was relatively quiet apart from the usual waders, but it was a good opportunity to take stock and see first hand the areas of flattened reed bed.

Sandwich Terns moving through in three's and fours.
The shingle along the shoreline is now completely flat as you walk towards the beach car park but it still offers good views and we managed to settle for a half hours sea watch. Sandwich Terns were constantly moving through in three's and fours and a couple of Common Tern also passed us by. The sea was extremely quiet with only a single Cormorant to entertain us while tackling a rather large fish.

Black-tailed Godwit 
At the beach car park a couple of Wheatear were on the wet marsh but there was no sign of this mornings reported Black Redstart. The inner marsh held the usual excellent numbers of Avocet and some nice flocks of Black-tailed Godwit were to be found, some already showing signs of summer plumage. The walk back to the centre produced our one and only Swallow of the day.

Finally, before heading back to the hotel a coffee at Salthouse from 'the man in a van', who unfortunately has to park along the road now with the original car park under many tons of shingle! Gramborough Hill was awash with Meadow Pipit and where the edge of the hill has collapsed below, a few dozen Sand Martin were investigating. The mystery of the day was a short glimpse of a distant Pipit Sp. which I felt could well have been a Richards Pipit, strangely enough a report on birdguides a little later has a probable at Gramborough Hill. Some great views as I post of a Marsh Harrier from the hotel window out across the marsh, but sadly no Barn Owl as yet.