29 January 2014

Norfolk: 25th - 28th January

Spent the last few days in Norfolk for some winter birding. Initially booked in October 2012 for January 2013, we had to cancel due to heavy snow and re-book for this January. So 15 months after booking we finally made here, only to have near continuous heavy rain, hail, sleet and strong westerlies.

A break in the weather on the morning of the 27th did allow us to catch up with at least three Parrot Crossbills at Edgefield Woods off the B1149 near Holt - 1 ad. male, 1 1st yr male and a female, feeding on cones on the west side of the clearing, but they kept well inside the canopy in the strong wind and photo opportunities amounted to zip! Up to 23 have been present in the area since 11 November 2013.

Spent the 28th (the only day with periods of half reasonable weather) at NWT Holme Dunes NNR. Unlike flood suffering NWT Cley Marshes, the scrapes at Holme were crammed with birds, including: large numbers of Eurasian Wigeon and Eurasian Teal, smaller numbers of Gadwall and Northern Shoveler, 7 Pink-footed Goose (with thousands noted flying in the far distance), 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Dunlin, 1 Peregrine (sitting on the scrape), 2+ Marsh Harrier and 1 Sparrowhawk. A Stoat and 1 Hare were also noted here. On the beach plenty of Sanderling and Ruddy Turnstone, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Grey Plover were logged, and in the evening a Barn Owl along the entrance track.

Other sightings include: 25th: several hundred Whooper Swans and several Pochard being fed by floodlight at Welney WWT in the evening, and a large flock of Eurasian Golden Plover nearby beside the B1411 to Pymore. 26th: 4 Bewick's Swans with Whoopers along the A1101 towards the A10. 27th: At a very empty NWT Cley Marshes: 1 Barn Owl early morning along the path beside the A149 (and 2 seen from our room in the Cley Windmill over the fresh marsh of the Wiverton Valley in the evening), 2+ Marsh Harrier, 23 Eurasian Wigeon, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, several Brent Goose and Pink-footed Goose over, 23 Eurasian Wigeon, 2 Little Egret, 1 Avocet and several Northern Lapwing. At Holkham, only a couple of Pink-footed Geese were present. A hibernating Small Tortoiseshell in our accommodation at the Cley Windmill was a nice bonus.

Ruddy Turnstone, NWT Holme Dunes, 28 January 2014

A hibernating Small Tortoiseshell in the Cley Windmill, Cley next the sea. Found resting in a precarious place and so
moved to a safer position.

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