13th – 17th Norfolk Birding Winter Tour- Day Three of Five. An Epic day out East

We set out for East Norfolk and the Broads today.

We headed to an area of ploughed maize fields, presumably some spillage had occurred as the fields were holding a group of Cranes. Sure enough, a quick careful look revealed initially 4 Cranes feeding close by, plus another 2 Cranes in the field behind. We had nice scope views, then headed off to the Broads.

© Chris Mills Norfolk Birding – Cranes 8 in the morning, 17 there later in the afternoon

Martham was pretty quiet, but Little Ormesby had Pochard, Goldeneye and the Long-tailed Duck was present.
We then headed towards Ludham, and soon had a lovely herd of 90+ ‘wild swans’ in front of us. At least 52 Bewicks and 40 odd Whooper Swans, were a wonderful sight.

© Chris Mills Norfolk Birding Whooper & Bewick Swans, just over 90 in total today

Just up the road a Barn Owl had been hunting so we drive up for a closer look, there was 2 Barn Owls and they were both sat up on posts posing beautifully!
We enjoyed watching these got some pics.

© Shirley Bain Norfolk Birding group – One of the ten Barn Owls we saw today!

We stopped off at Potter Heigham, nice coffee and cake, warmed through then and then headed off to Sea Palling.
At Sea Palling on arrival, 3 dark waders passed us and landed on the rocks, result, 5 Purple Sandpipers feeding just along the shoreline. Out on the sea we picked up a nice close inshore group of 5 Common Scoter, then several Red-throated Diver, 2 Guillemots and a Fulmar sped past.

© Chris Mills Norfolk Birding – One of the 5 Purple Sandpipers

We stopped and punched along the Horsey straight, there was several thousand Pink-footed Geese, Barnacle Goose, plethora of Lapwing, a few Golden Plover and a nice surprise 2 Green Sandpipers. There were several hunting Marsh Harriers, and an all too quick Merlin that only I saw!
We stopped off at a field that had been holding Bean Geese but they weren’t around.
We then headed on towards Acle again, stopping off to admire a mass of Geese! There was several hundred Pink- feet, but 300+ White-fronted Geese and 20+ Barnacle Geese were spectacular. Another 4 Barn Owls were hunting along the roadside fields here.

© Chris Mills Norfolk Birding – Pink-footed Geese dropping in

We rounded the day off with a quick drive to Halvergate marshes. We racked up another 4 Barn Owls, bringing the day total to double figures and just as the light was fading we also found the Cattle Egret!
A pretty epic day out East!