My wife Lori and I decided to spend a couple of days in Norfolk just before Christmas. We stayed at the Cromer Country Club but made a trip up the coast to visit Titchwell Marsh RSPB reserve. En-route to Titchwell we noticed a big flock of geese get up and settle again at Holkham. Here we got great looks at hundreds of Pink-footed Geese. A little further up the road we pulled over again. Here there were more Pink-footed Geese, Greylag Geese, 2 tundra Bean Geese and 12 White-fronted Geese. Titchwell as usual produced lots of birds-56 species including: Marsh Harrier, Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, Avocet, Sanderling, Black-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Ruff, Curlew, Goldeneye and Water Rail.
The following day we took a walk from our accommodation along the coastal path to Overstrand. The birding was a little dull but the views and scenery were beautiful. A good time to reflect the past year. I totaled 199 species for year including 18 lifers. The highlight for 2014 other than some new birds was showing my old Canadian pals Mike Force (seabird biologist) and Chris Charlesworth (lead bird guide for Avocet Tours) the wonders of our British avifauna!
Had a great day in Norfolk with my good friend Jono Dudley yesterday. We hit the road at 06:00am putting us near our destination (Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve) around 09:30. However, we made a quick pit-stop at Thornham Harbour where there were 65 Twite.
Though it was freezing cold the weather was perfect; with beautiful winter sun making everything look incredible. We bumped into a few other birders who too were looking for the Twite. It didn’t take long to spot the first group of about ten birds; perched on top of some grass near the water. They were highly mobile which kept us on our toes but we managed to get some good views.
Wind, distance and frantic feeding habits of this species made photography very challenging. I didn’t manage to get anything worth posting but Jono, however, did get some good record shots which is amazing under the conditions. Twite was a lifer me, so our day got off to a great start! Next we stopped at Titchwell Marsh RSPB where we spent a few hours birding the reserve. We tallied up 50 species, with good looks at most, though the high tide had put many species at distance.
There was a good selection of waders to sort through including Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Avocet, Redshank, Ruff, Curlew, Snipe, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Grey Plover, Turnstone, Dunlin, Sanderling and Oystercatcher. Next we headed to Wells-on-Sea to chase a Red-necked Grebe reported in the harbour. En-route we spotted a gathering of twitchers at the side of the road – stopped and got a distant look at Rough-legged Buzzard. The grebe at Wells was a no-show so we hit the road back to Woking! Good day, great company and a lifter in the bag – TWITE!
I had a great weekend and wonderful start to the year (15th – 17th January 2016) in Norfolk staying in Cley by the Sea. The Starting point was at Hickling Broad where I arrived at 16:00. With daylight slipping away I picked up the pace to get out to Stubbs Mill to check the raptor roost site. All of my efforts to get here on time paid off with Common Crane, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Barn Owl and Short-eared Owl all present.
Saturday I mainly birded between Cley and Blakeney. Here I totalled 60 species most noteworthy being Snow Bunting, Twite, Water Rail, Kingfisher and Pink-footed Goose.
Sunday was somewhat hectic as I tried to connect with some key target birds. It started off well with 2 British ticks – Red-necked Grebe at Cley Marshes and Lapland Bunting at Blakeney.
My luck, at least on the rarity side ran out then. Rough-legged Buzzard was a no-show at Chosely drying barns, 3 missing Shore Lark at Holkham was my reward after a ridiculous hike and the Pallid Harrier at Flitcham decided to go MIA during my vigil. However, Titchwell was great as always with 14 shorebirds my first Siskin of the year and a cracking look at a Brambling.
95 species for the weekend
2 British ticks and 48 year birds