Parking by the campsite and walking along the path in first light, we were aware of the amount of birders present. In all, well in excess of 40 were all around the whirlygig roundabout (gibbet roundabout as it used to be called.) It was also apparent, after a very short while, that the bird was no longer present at the spot it had been for a few days so, after 40 minutes of wasting time, we headed back to the car and off for our next target, grey phalarope at Cley. Over the marshes at Stiffkey plenty of brents, curlews, little egrets but no raptors.
At Cley we parked at the beach and walked to the Eye Pool, where, after a few minutes, the phalarope emerged from the vegetation. Good views of a bird not often seen and a lifer for Gary. The bird showed orange tinges on the neck, giving the overall impression of a 1st year bird. We took far too many photos and then spent time sea watching. Heading west, 6 long tailed duck, 2 grey plovers, and 5 gadwall east + usual assortment of Norfolkian gulls.
By now it was getting on for 10a.m. so off to NWT Visitors' Centre for a coffee and to formulate a plan for the rest of the day.
|Brent geese in the Eye Field|
As we had our coffee a snow bunting was reported from the beach. We decided to check the central hides, too, as a little stint had been reported on Simmonds Scrape, but no sign when we were there. However, good views of a flyby kingfisher and 4 bearded tits, plus golden plovers, a ruff and wildfowl. Then, back to the beach. We wandered east past the old pill box and, along with several wheatear, an immaculate adult male snow bunting in winter plumage. A very confiding individual meant that some pleasing photos could be taken, whilst ensuring that the bird was not disturbed from eating. At about this time the grey phalarope, which had by now attracted a large crowd headed out to sea. Glad we saw it when we did.
|lapwing from the boardwalk|
|Black tailed godwit|
|wheatear on the beach|
Having, once again, taken too many bunting snaps we returned to the car and enjoyed some pork pie and baps prepared by Gary, consisting of what remnants he found lurking at the back of his fridge. Very welcome they were, too.
Next stop, Wells Woods and a search for small migrants. Nothing specific had been reported but with such a large area to cover there was the chance of yellow broweds and/or pallas's warbler. We checked The Dell, drinking pool and walked halfway to Lady Anne's Drive. Good numbers of crests called but it was too windy for them to show and all the birders we met had negative news so we headed back to the car and along to Holkham Pines. We had added to our list with jay, great spotted woodpecker, redwing etc.
I remortgaged the house to pay the car park fee in Lady Anne's Drive and we headed west. Soon we came across birders standing around who told us a pallas's warbler had been seen in amongst a tit flock. After a short while, a flock of coal tits and long tailed tits could be heard so we headed further into the woods. Light was not good and the birds were constantly mobile but we got glimpses of both firecrest and yellow browed. Good birds but, again, after a short wait, we decided that we would rather be seeing birds than standing around in the optimistic hope that the pallas's would show. We both had a party to attend in the evening so we needed to be back home by 6 and it was now 2.30 so off to Holme. En route, near Burnham Overy Staithe we saw a bunch of birders scanning the fields. We stopped and joined them. A great white egret had been seen but was out of sight at that moment. 2 red kites lazed their way towards Holkham Pines, another day lister.
Another coffee in the new, smart cafe before a brief saunter around the pines. Again, tits and goldcrests along with a party of goldfinches. By now it was time to head home so we packed our gear in the boot and drove along the track from the HQ. A blackbird type bird was on the wires near the lane. Our binoculars were in the boot!! I reversed back and Gary leant out of the car to see a bird with white and silvery sheen fly off. We parked and wandered around the car park near the golf course but no further sign of what may have been a ring ouzel. Only thing I got on it was that it was markedly slimmer than most blackbirds, but as often the case, the one that got away. No reports from Holme have indicated a ring ouzel is or was present and there were enough birders about to have noticed it. Shame, as this, along with the phalarope, could have been a lifer for Gary.
|View from Holme Pines|
little grebe, cormorant, little egret,mute swan, pink footed goose, greylag goose, brent goose, shelduck, mallard, gadwall, (10 sp) shoveler, wigeon, teal, tufted duck, long tailed duck, red kite, marsh harrier, kestrel, red legged partridge (heard) pheasant, (20 sp) moorhen, coot, avocet, grey plover, golden plover, lapwing, redshank, black tailed godwit, grey phalarope, ruff, (30 sp) curlew, black headed gull, common gull, herring gull, lesser black backed gull, great black backed gull, kittiwake, wood pigeon, collared dove, kingfisher (40 sp) great spotted woodpecker, skylark, meadow pipit, pied wagtail, wren, dunnock, robin, wheatear, stonechat, redwing (50 sp) mistle thrush, blackbird, cetti's warbler (heard) chiffchaff (heard), yellow browed warbler, goldcrest, firecrest, great tit, coal tit, blue tit (60 sp) long tailed tit, bearded reedling, magpie, jay, jackdaw, rook, carrion crow, starling, house sparrow, chaffinch (70 sp) linnet, goldfinch, greenfinch, snow bunting (74 species)