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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Norfolk Dawn til Dusk ~ 🍁

☀️⛅️13C Tuesday 22nd October 2019 ~ A hastily organised day trip to the Norfolk coast with Alan Boddington, Geoff Hood and Pete Worthy. The easterly winds over the last few days, always welcomed by any birder in the autumn months had unfortunately diminished and we'd returned to the usual westerly airflow by the time we arrived at Cley. Nevertheless, the Norfolk coast is always unpredictable at any time and a delight at this time of year. The weather today was glorious, with mostly clear skies throughout our visit.

Juvenile Gannet  One of a number fishing just offshore
We spent the entire morning at Cley seawatching from around the old shelter and walking along the shingle beach almost as far as Arnold's Marsh in search of migrants. There were plenty of Guillemot on the water and a number of Red-throated Divers, one still in almost full summer plumage and the odd Grey Seal would make an appearance. Occasionally small groups of Eider and Dark-bellied Brent Geese would come through but would pale into insignificance when the huge skeins of Pink-footed Geese passed overhead, one of the iconic sights of Norfolk at this time of year. Passerines were coming in off the sea regularly too but nothing unusual and seemed to be all Skylarks or Meadow Pipits.

Snow Bunting dropped down briefly directly in front 
The highlights while here had to be three Little Auks, a Snow Bunting, which dropped down right in front of us and a Grey Phalarope, the latter only a departing dot as I heard the shout-out a little late! Plus another highlight for me was the amazing sight of Gannets diving, mostly juveniles, which I'd never tire of seeing.
Other offshore observations included: DunlinRinged PloverCommon ScoterGreat Crested GrebeKittiwake and Razorbill.

Next stop was the relatively new North Point Pools at Wells where we enjoyed a leisurely walk and some hedge bashing. Best we could come up with was Blackcap, Goldcrest and Bullfinch along the hedges and on the water of note Egyptian GooseGreat White Egret and Black-tailed Godwit. Three Red Kite overhead, plus four passing Curlew were also noted.

Rock Pipit on the 'Tidal Marsh'
With the day fading away we headed on to RSPB Titchwell for a late Seawatch and to check out the Harrier roost. At the centre, there was a number of Siskin in the alders and a Brambling was heard calling but not seen. On route to the beach, Geoff and Alan visited the Island Hide briefly, where they managed to connect with a reported Water Pipit, while Pete and I headed on to the beach, noting a Rock Pipit on the Tidal Marsh.
Also of note on the Tidal & Fresh Marsh: StonechatRuffGrey Plover, Knot, Snipe, Avocet, and Little Egret,

Sanderling almost scurrying around my feet on RSPB Titchwell beach
There's was nothing new to add from the Seawatch which was particularly quiet but the beach was a hive of activity with Sanderling, Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher and Turnstone.

Bearded Reedling  ~ Taken with high ISO in fading light
On route back, a Merlin darted across the Tidal Marsh before we settled on to one of the benches to watch the sunset and enjoy the wildlife. A couple of Chinese Water Deer were spotted opposite the West Bank Track on the Grazing Marsh and we were delighted when a pair of Bearded Reedlings began feeding almost within touching distance from our bench. They stayed the entire time until almost dark entertaining the passers-by before heading off to roost.

Wonderful sight of 100s of Golden Plover arriving at RSPB Titchwell
Hundreds of Golden Plover arrived onto the 'Freshwater Marsh' looking stunning when caught in the light of the setting sun, yet another highlight, along with a modest Starling murmuration. Just the five Marsh Harriers noted into the roost for us, along with twenty-two Little Egrets and a Pipperstrelle Bat as we departed after a long and enjoyable day.

Thanks To Alan, Geoff (loved the cake) and Pete for their excellent company.

Day-List:

Mute Swan, Pink-footed Goose, Greylag Goose, Brent Goose, Shelduck, Egyptian Goose, Mallard, Gadwall, Shoveler, Wigeon, Teal, Tufted Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, Pheasant, Red-throated Diver, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Gannet, Cormorant, Little Egret, Great Egret, Grey Heron, Red Kite, Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Merlin, Water Rail, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Sanderling, Turnstone, Dunlin, Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Snipe, Grey Phalarope, Ruff, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Kittiwake, Little Auk, Guillemot, Razorbill, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Skylark, Water Pipit, Rock Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Robin, Stonechat, Redwing, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler (h), Chiffchaff (h), Goldcrest, Blackcap, Blue Tit, Great TIt, Long-tailed Tit, Bearded Reedling, Jay, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Brambling (h), Linnet, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Siskin, Bullfinch, Reed Bunting, Snow Bunting