Thursday, November 24, 2016

Norfolk Dawn till Dusk!

On a whim I decided to head off to the Norfolk coast on Wednesday! The weather looked good after recent storms and judging by recent reports the sea watching, one of my favourite birding pass times, was throwing up some excellent results.

Stonechat ~ Always one posing for a photo at Salthouse!
I began at Salthouse and arrived after a three hour drive at the Beach Road car park (or whats left of it after the 2013 flood) shortly after sunrise. Despite passing through some serious fog on route I was amazed to find an almost clear sky and good visibility! Early dog walkers were out in force, mostly controlled but I was aggrieved to see a Spaniel bounding across the marsh flushing everything in sight, it's idiotic owner blowing frantically on her dog whistle, the dog paying absolutely no notice! I won't publish my comments!

Snow Bunting ~ always brightens the day when these are around!
Notwithstanding my first thought was to check offshore and here at least four Red-throated Divers were found, impossible to miss almost glowing in the low sunlight. Good numbers of Gannet, both adult and juvenile passing through during my initial scans and a single Guillemot and Great Crested Grebe on the water. I walked west across the shingle towards whats known as 'Little Eye' and caught site of at least thirty or so Snow Bunting feeding on the shingle. On the fences close by Linnet, Meadow PipitReed Bunting and a pair of Stonechat, plus over towards the edge of the pools an excellent count of five Shore Larks, a great start to the day.

After a brew up I drove a little further around the A149 towards Cley, parking up at Walsey Hills NR. Crossing over I walked the East Bank passing Serpentine and Arnold's Marsh before another scan offshore. The walk down to the beach produced at least twenty or so Bearded Tit along the reed bed, the marsh and pools holding a selection of wildfowl and waders. The sea once again produced, with at least another half dozen Red-throated Divers passing through and more Gannets.

A stop for lunch at Cley beach car park in glorious sunshine and yet another sea watch. Here Red-throated Diver once again, they seemed constant today but two additions to the day list. Firstly a Velvet Scoter, which flew through with a group of Common Scoter and then a single Little Auk, which settled on the sea for a short period before heading off.

Pink-footed Geese
My final destination was RSPB Titchwell but I stopped for a look at the Pink-footed Geese at Holkham. Plenty to search through, but sadly nothing unusual among the flocks, although while scanning three Grey Partridge were a nice addition.

I spent the rest of the day enjoying Titchwell and managed to catch the high tide just before 14:30hrs. Before heading straight down to the beach a scan of the fresh marsh for Water Pipit was successful, but the bird was way to the back of the dry pool. A Greenshank was also a late bonus! The sea as hoped for offered rich pickings and an enjoyable 90 minutes with: (4) Velvet Scoter, (5) Long-tailed Duck, plus single Red-necked Grebe and Great Northern Diver plus various counts of Red-breasted Merganser, Common Scoter, Great Crested Grebe and Goldeneye, plus a fly by Little Gull.

An excellent day out ended with the Harrier roost and despite not connecting with any Hen Harriers, the sheer amount of Marsh Harriers coming in was a sight to behold!!

Species Seen:

Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Brent Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Greylag Goose, Shelduck, Mallard, Gadwall, Pintail, Shoveler, Wigeon, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Common Scoter, Velvet Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Pheasant, Red-legged Partridge, Grey Partridge, Red-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Little Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Gannet, Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Peregrine, Water Rail, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Sanderling, Turnstone, Dunlin, Redshank, Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Snipe, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Little Gull, Little Auk, Guillemot, Wood Pigeon, Kingfisher, Skylark, Shore Lark, Water Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Robin, Stonechat, Blackbird, Redwing, Fieldfare, Goldcrest, Wren, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Bearded Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Reed Bunting, Snow Bunting