Saturday, 16 May 2015

A week in Norfolk

We have just returned from a really good week of walking and birding in Norfolk. I am glad to get home for a rest!

We were based in Thornham which was an excellent base as Titchwell RSPB and Holme NNT reserves were both walkable. I added nearly 20 species for the year, including Dottrel, Spoonbill, Temminck’s Stint, Little Tern, Little Gull, a variety of waders and a few other bits and pieces.

Little Tern, Titchwell, Norfolk

The highlight, was without doubt the 2nd Citril Finch for the UK. News broke at around 9am whilst Joy and I were cooking breakfast. The news didn’t look promising at first so we didn’t rush. It soon became apparent that the bird was present and fortunately we were amongst the first on the scene. There were around 40 birders sitting around not doing very much. Within 5 minutes a unfamiliar call had me scouring the heavens and the bird flew overhead. It then disappeared in to a sandy depression filled with vegetation. After about 20 minutes it suddenly appeared feeding on the ground and stayed just long enough for us both to get views through my scope.

Turtle Dove, Holme NNT

It then flew again and was relocated on a sandy ridge in a stand of buckthorn. After an hour the number of people starting to increase so we decided to leave the bird and head elsewhere.

During the week we bumped into Steve Cawthray, a phone call from him the next day had us travelling the short distance to Holme NNT were a Wryneck had been reported. We searched for an hour without success and decided to try successfully for Turtle Dove a short distance away. On our return the Wryneck had been relocated, we got flight views but the bird remained stubbornly elusive. With the wind sapping our energy (a feature of the week) we called it a day. We met Steve later in the evening to search for Nightjar (two heard) and saw numerous Woodcock. The next day we met up to search for Stone Curlew, after a couple of clumps of earth had been claimed (I’m not entirely convinced my clump didn’t have an eye!) one bird suddenly appeared. Next we saw a Red Kite and a Little Owl in quick succession.
Stone Curlew, Norfolk

Little Owl, Norfolk

We rarely moving from this stretch of the coast, we ventured as far as Sheringham once. I parked up in the council car park which was empty, I kid you not, there were about 100 spaces and at most six cars in the whole car park. I was amazed to get back and find out I had received a parking ticket, I was furious, I phoned the number give only to be given another number? I phoned them and although I had 15 minutes left on the ticket. It turned out my back wheel was six inches over the white line. Welcome to Sheringham – I don’t think I will go back!!! It turned out to be a costly day, we went for a meal on the evening. I chose the wrong meal and really hated it, three slivers of Pork belly on a bed of cabbage (which I hate) with a few butter beans was not what I regard as value for money for £16!! Coupled with £11 for two drinks put the top hat on the day.

The wind eventually dropped on Thursday leaving a pleasant day but not quite so many birds.

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