Thursday, 28 November 2013

Last Weekend

Haven’t been over the Reservoir recently (recurring theme). But last weekend Joy and I decided to have the Friday off work, travel to Norfolk and enjoy an overnight stay in Hunstanton. Up at 6am bit of breakfast a couple of coffee’s, Joy walked the dog and I loaded the car, during the process I had a Woodcock fly over the house, while a Tawny Owl was calling in the distance.

We were on the road for 7.30am – never again! It took us nearly three and a half hour to get there, instead of the usual two hours. We eventually arrived in the Country Park at Holt at just after 11am and were onto a group of four Parrot Crossbills immediately. We watched them for half an hour before they all departed further into the wood.

We then parked at Cley and did a circuit around the reserve. We walked along the east bank seeing a small party of Twite. There was a cold north-easterly wind blowing and sea watching was done in brief stints as we made our way west sheltered by the shingle bank. On the sea we had a Pom Skua, a few Common Scoter and a Black-throated Diver. There were still a few Gannet passing off-shore but any sustained views resulted in brain freeze!

There were a good selection of birds on view most of which were expected, but just before we reached the coast road, I heard a commotion behind me, I turned to see a Long-eared Owl, which I assume had just come in off the sea being mobbed by a couple of Crows, it crossed the road and immediately dived into a thick hedge in the garden of the nearest house (Hillside). I put my scope up and scanned but it was well hidden.

After a bit of lunch we retuned to Holt but the Crossbills weren’t showing, so we dropped in at Holkham were there were thousands of Geese but again it was cold. Next, we dropped in at Stiffkey just as a squall hit, I managed to get a little shelter in the hut, but the wind direction ensured that I still got soaked. Anyway I saw a ringtail Hen Harrier fly past nearly nabbing a Redshank in the process. As dusk approached I parked up on the approach road to Holme NNT reserve climbed the bank and scanned, seeing both Barn Owl and Short-eared Owl just before dark. We then when to the hotel we had booked for the night in Hunstanton which was good and excellent value – £70 b&b!

The next morning after breakfast which was difficult to concentrate on as hundreds of birds were flying past making there way in and out of The Wash we went straight to Titchwell. We had a good morning there with a couple of Water Rail, Red-necked Grebe, Water Pipit, Spotted Redshank, Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier and numerous other birds. I then drove along the coast to Sherringham where I eventually picked up Purple Sandpiper amongst a multitude of Turnstone. We then dropped in at Salthouse were we saw a few Red-throated Divers on the sea but little else.

We returned to Holt where we had much better views of the Parrot Crossbill as they fed in a Larch near the road. The light however was very poor and I struggled to get any photographs. At 2.30pm we decided that we would head home but not before we stopped to look through a flock of Swans near Whittlesea – 120 Whooper, 20 Mute and two Bewick Swan which brought an end to the weekends birding.

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