24th January Day One of three – Norfolk Winter Birding tour

 We started in the Sedgeford area, and were lucky to find the Eastern Yellow Wagtail still present and showing close just alongside the verge of the lane. It was with 2 Pied Wagtails and a few Meadow Pipits, apparently the EYW not seen again that day after we saw it fly East! Also a Red Kite and skeins of Pink-footed Geese overhead.

We next stopped off in Ringstead for a nice flock of  c30 Fieldfare & 15 Redwing. Further on from here we stopped off near Courtyard Farm, and were soon enjoying at least 12 Corn Buntings, though mobile they eventually perched up in the hedgerow, also several stunning male Yellowhammer, lots of Skylarks and Linnets and a few Goldfinch.

It was then on to Thornham harbour, where luckily the 10 Twite were showing very well in the harbour, also point blank views of Rock Pipit, at least twelve around the harbour. Plenty of Redshank, plus 30+ Grey Plover out on the mudflats. We walked on towards Holme grazing marsh, where there was a superb mix of birds – 2000 Pink-footed Geese, 200 Dark-bellied Brents, 300 Golden Plover, 800 Lapwing, Ruff, Dunlin, 3 Marsh Harrier, Wigeon, Teal and Shoveler.

© Rock Pipit – Saad Towheed
© Twite – Saad Towheed

We next headed to Burnham Overy and eventually got to grips with 3 Tundra Bean Geese, in amongst 1000 Pink-feet, though much more tricky today, especially in the flat grey light! Also another Red Kite nearby and 2+ Marsh Harriers.

© Pink-footed Goose – Saad Towheed

We then headed out on to the Holkham, the freshmarsh was again alive with wildfowl, plus a scattering of waders. Teal and Wigeon – thousands across the wet areas and some lovely tame birds close by the road. Nearby also a nice covey of 11 Grey Partridge

© Grey Partridge – Saad Towheed

We were soon out on the saltmarsh and enjoying 54 Snow Buntings, 150 Linnet but no sign of the Shorelarks. Out on the sea there was c5000 Common Scoter, 2 Great Crested Grebe and Red-breasted Merganser and at least 10 Velvet Scoter…probably more.

Last off at the raptor roost, it was quite slow on a windless evening, just 1 ringtail Hen harrier, 3 Marsh harrier, Buzzard, 1 very brief Merlin, but the thousands of Geese against an orange sunset heading off to roost and a hunting Barn owl and 2 Little Owls made for a good end to the day.