Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Norfolk Away-Day

❄️☁️⛅️ 8C ~ Wind ⇐ SW@6mph  Tuesday 21st January 2020 ~ My first visit of 2020 to the Norfolk coast in the company of Alan Boddington, John Raven and Geoff Hood from the Brandon Marsh team.

Eastern Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla tschutschensis)
Our first stop had to be a small area of dung heaps about 400m down a track east of the Sedgeford to Ringstead road for the now long staying Eastern Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla tschutschensis). This would be a lifer for John, Geoff and I as Alan had already visited a few weeks earlier and as luck would have it we didn't have to go far this time! The bird was actually feeding on another dung heap right alongside the roadside adjacent to the track and with a few other birders already watching, we were onto it within a few minutes of arriving.

Eastern Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla tschutschensis)
The bird was feeding and occasionally calling along with a couple of Pied Wagtails and a small number of Meadow Pipits. The morning mist hadn't quite cleared and the early frost was still lying so it was dank and dreary during our half-hour stay and we never quite got to see the bird in any great detail, although the yellow still managed to show through.

At least three Rock Pipits around Thornham Harbour
After a brief stop at Hunstanton for Fulmar, we moved on to Thornham Harbour for Twite which didn't actually go according to plan. Despite spending a good 45-minutes here there was no sign, although ten were reported later in the day. There were a few Rock Pipits to keep us entertained, along with Marsh Harrier and a grazing Chinese Water Deer, plus overhead the usual passage of Pink-footed and Brent Geese.

Red-breasted Merganser on the fresh marsh
At RSPB Titchwell the weather had brightened but we were disappointed at the start to find that half of the bird feeders had been removed, apparently due to a Rat problem, so any chance of finding a Brambling had somewhat diminished. The footpath walk along to the beach produced Water Rail, flyby Peregrine and Geoff found a nice group of Bearded Reedling, I counted at least eight but they were quite distant. Some good views of a Red-breasted Merganser close in on the fresh marsh and a short sea-watch produced Great Crested Grebe, Goldeneye and Red-throated Diver. No sign of any Water Pipit from the Parinda Hide but a good selection of waders both along the beach and on the tidal marsh, the best of which was a Spotted Redshank but I'll post a full listing at the end of the post.

It's worth the walk to see the Shore Larks at Holkham
A short stop on route to Holkham for a scan across the freshmarsh for Cattle Egret and Great Egret, both of which were located, along with the addition of a Barn Owl. Then on for Shore Lark and Snow Bunting in the fenced-off area east of the gap from the car park. From the dunes at least 1000 Common Scoter offshore although distant and despite watching for a good while I can't honestly say for sure that I noted any Velvet Scoters among them! With very little flight movement it was impossible to be sure. Along the shoreline at least fifty scurrying Sanderling and back around the parking area a dozen Grey Partridge feeding on the grass, along with our only Red Kite of the day over the reedbeds.

About as good as it got for a photo of the Rough-legged Buzzard
Before heading off for the roost at Warham Greens a stop at the fields just north of Wells Quay for yet another long-staying bird, Rough-legged Buzzard. We viewed the bird (apparently in its regular tree and not doing much) at a distance from a gated area just before the old railway bridge. The roost at Warham Greens was a brilliant end to a great days birding with five Hen Harriers, including two males, three Merlin, Peregrine and several Marsh Harriers.


Mute Swan, Pink-footed Goose, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Brent Goose, Shelduck, Egyptian Goose, Mallard, Gadwall, Pintail, Shoveler, Wigeon, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Common Scoter, Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-legged Partridge, Grey Partridge, Pheasant, Red-throated Diver, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Fulmar, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great Egret, Grey Heron, Red Kite, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Common Buzzard, Rough-legged Buzzard, Kestrel, Peregrine, Merlin, Water Rail, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Sanderling, Turnstone, Dunlin, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Fulmar, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Barn Owl, Skylark, Shore Lark, Rock Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Stonechat, Redwing, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Goldcrest, Wren, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Bearded Reedling, Magpie, Jay, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet, Goldfinch, Siskin, Reed Bunting, Snow Bunting