Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Friday, 26 June 2009

North Norfolk 22nd June - 26th June 2009

Robin - Titchwell

Chaffinch - Titchwell

Marsh Harrier - Titchwell

Black Tailed Godwit - Titchwell

Distant Spoonbills - Cley

Snow Bunting - Cley

Oystercatcher - Cley

Mallard - Sculthorpe Moor

Snow Bunting - Cley (Above Arnolds Marsh)

Snow Bunting - Cley (Above Arnolds Marsh)

(More pictures on website)

Three full days in North Norfolk, very warm sunny days, a "brisk" coastal "breeze", but a very quiet period in the birding calendar. Still, amassed 112 bird species including one lifer and many year ticks, so can't be bad! However, everything seemed so distant and with the heat haze very few good pictures were taken.
Places visited:
NOA Hempton Marsh
Flitcham Abbey Bird Hide
RSPB Lakenheath Fen
NWT Weeting Heath
Hawk & Owl Trust Sculthorpe Moor
NWT Cley Marshes
Wells Harbour
Salthouse Heath
RSPB Titchwell Marsh
NWT & NOA Holme Dunes
and of course - the fantastic north Norfolk Coastal roads & fields.

June 22nd

Packed Abigail off on the coach to Butlins, Minehead with the year 8's, hitched up the caravan and off to a small campsite at Little Snoring (or a great deal of, according to Heather!) near Fakenham. A fairly mundane journey, the highlight being the Red Kites (3) between Oundle and Peterborough. Once pitched, we soon realised that Sculthorpe Moor was closed on Monday's, so drove around to the small NOA Hempton Marsh Reserve. Apart from a few common woodland species - zilch! Ahh well, on to Flitcham and Abbey Farm bird hide. A wonderful place to chill out for an hour or two. As we entered, a couple about to leave uttered the words "nothing about"! And so it appeared. However, perseverence and patience was about to pay off with the arrival of Turtle Dove, then a pair of Kingfisher and finally the resident Little Owl appeared in the roots of the "dead tree" which is actually alive! And so to bed.................

June 23rd

An early start, heading to Lakenheath RSPB Reserve and then on to Weeting Heath. Arrived at Lakenheath at 0700 and followed the river bank to the furthest point of the reserve. En-route we picked up Grasshopper Warbler and were entertained by two Barn Owl's hunting in the fields on the Norfolk side of the reserve. A hot, sticky walk had us arrive at the Bittern watchpoint (furthest point ? two miles). As we sat, listening to Bittern booming, a Bittern flew across the reserve and into the reeds in front of us. Bearded Tit's pinged nearby before displaying in the reed tops. With Hobby overhead, we walked to the Golden Oriole watchpoint, standing scanning the Black Poplars for this elusive bird. The enchanting flute like call was soon heard and the nest located, but the young had fledged. After about twenty minutes, the male and female were located, feeding two young but too distant for any pictures. Fantastic. A few enthusiastic calls from watching birders often misidentified a pair of Mistle Thrushes as Golden Oriole! The walk back to the visitor centre was very warm and the local insects chose my exposed legs to feast upon, the itches being almost debilitating!

On then to Weeting Heath, arriving early afternoon and facing a worsening heat haze. Weeting is not having a good season with no Woodlark and only two Stone Curlew. After about an hour one Stone Curlew appeared over the ridge, distant and in the heat haze. This was to be our best view. The other "secret" sites yielded none.

Arriving back in the Fakenham area earlier than expected, we paid a late afternoon visit to Sculthorpe Moor Reserve. Apart from the now well fledged Marsh Harriers (Springwatch stars!) only the usual woodland suspects greeted us.

June 24th

Off to Cley today arriving at the NWT visitor centre carpark at 0800 for a walk along the East Bank to the north hide. Usual suspects along the way, but a stiff breeze failed to put off the Bearded Tits. At Arnolds Marsh, Heather decided to walk on to the north hide, while I went in search of the unseasonal male Snow Bunting. This bird was showing well on the coast path, but flew inland much to the annoyance of arriving birders, and was not located again until late afternoon. On the sea, Gannets passed by with a super male Eider heading towards the Eye. Arnolds Marsh produced Avocet, Redshank, Greenshank and Dunlin with several Marsh Harriers. All the usual suspects were also making themselves known. My arrival at the north hide coincided with four Spoonbill that were getting rather annoyed with the low flying military aircraft. Large numbers of Black Tailed Godwit and lesser numbers of Bar Tailed Godwit interestingly provided a mixture of plumages. The water levels are very high at the moment and smaller waders almost non-existant.

A brief spell of retail therapy at Wells for Heather also provided a Yellow Legged Gull in the harbour, but little else. A fish & chip supper on the harbour wall went down very well and provided sustenance for a spell at dusk on Salthouse Heath. The evening was cool and windy so not ideal for our target bird - Nightjar. As darkness fell, a distant Tawny Owl was calling, but so far, no Nightjar. Then about 2215, they started churring and calling, but sadly no sightings. Should have gone to Kelling??!!

June 25th

Started the day with retail therapy in Fakenham and stocking up with lunch from a bunnery. Destination was Titchwell but stopped off at a "secret" raptor site. Several Marsh Harrier were soon seen but little else. Then, over a distant ridge, closing in, and flying within feet was our target bird, a male Montagu's Harrier, a lifer for me. No other birders were present to share the sighting but a return visit late afternoon, saw about a dozen birders, but alas no Montagu's.

Titchwell was quite quiet, birderwise when we arrived, but towards lunchtime, the masses were arriving! All the usual suspects, but highlights for me were Spotted Redshank, Ruff and Reeve in varying plumages, Little Tern, Little Gull, a large number of Knot on the beach, Eider and female Red Crested Pochard and young, Black Tailed and Bar Tailed Godwit.

A late afternoon walk through the double reserves at Holme Dunes (NOA & NWT) produced nothing new with the exception of a Ruddy Duck. Realised that I had left my NOA hide key in the caravan so unable to utilise these, and it made a visit to Redwell Marsh pointless. Back to the campsite, but en-route, driving down a country lane, produced a Kingfisher, just above the hedgerows!
Looked really out of place!
June 26th
And so to return home in time to meet the coach returning from Butlin's. I am always sad to leave Norfolk..................................................................................
Still, Red Kites near Oundle sweetened the bitter pill. I shall return, soon.


Great Crested Grebe; Dabchick; Gannet; Cormorant; Bittern; Little Egret; Spoonbill; Heron; Mute Swan; Canada Goose; Egyptian Goose; Grey Lag Goose; Shelduck; Wigeon: Mallard; Gadwall; Shoveler; Teal; Pochard; Red Crested Pochard; Ruddy Duck; Tufted Duck; Eider; Red Kite; Marsh Harrier; Montagu's Harrier; Sparrowhawk; Buzzard; Hobby; Kestrel; Pheasant; Red Legged Partridge; Water Rail; Coot; Moorhen; Stone Curlew; Avocet; Oystercatcher; Ringed Plover; Dunlin; Knot; Redshank; Greenshank; Spotted Redshank; Ruff & Reeve; Bar Tailed Godwit; Black Tailed Godwit; Lapwing; Curlew; Black Headed Gull; Little Gull; Yellow Legged Gull; Herring Gull; GBB Gull; LBB Gull: Common Tern; Sandwich Tern; Little Tern; Stock Dove; Wood Pigeon; Collared Dove; Turtle Dove; Cuckoo; Tawny Owl (H); Barn Owl; Little Owl; Swift; Nightjar (H); Kingfisher; Green Woodpecker; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Skylark; Swallow; House Martin; Meadow Pipit; Pied Wagtail; Dunnock; Wren; Robin; Blackbird; Song Thrush; Mistle Thrush; Grasshopper Warbler; Sedge Warbler; Cettis Warbler; Reed Warbler; Chiffchaff; Willow Warbler; Common Whitethroat; Blackcap; Garden Warbler; Bearded Tit; Long Tailed Tit; Cola Tit; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Starling; Golden Oriole; Jay; Magpie; Jackdaw; Carrion Crow; Rook; House Sparrow; Chaffinch; Greenfinch; Goldfinch; Bullfinch; Linnet; Yellowhammer; Reed Bunting; Snow Bunting.


Max Silverman said...

Kevin you swine.I am so jealous of the Snow Bunting shots made worse by the fact I was very close to the spot but the strong wind forced me to retreat.
You certainly had a much better trip than me the previous week.

Kevin Groocock said...

Good excuse to go back though, Max! (If you need an excuse). If I had not got the Snow Bunting, I would have very little to show for my efforts as everything was so distant or in heat haze.