June 16-18th Norfolk Three day tour

This was a three day tour in Norfolk in mid-June for a U3A group. It proved very successful with some nice surprises and we also managed to see most of the tricky breeding species as well.

Day One – started with a lovely surprise in the from of the breeding Bee-eaters near Trimingham, we had superb vies of up to 5 birds, including these birds perching up on the nearby wires.

Also Hobby, Green Woodpecker, Common Whitethroat whilst watching the Bee-eaters.

Four of the Six Bee-eaters perched on the wires
Bee-eaters at Trimingham we saw 5 birds, but there’s been up to 7 birds present. Click on the image to see a video of one of the birds!

We then headed to Cley and had a walk along the East bank where the stand out birds were definitely great views of Spoonbill, plus young Bearded Tits, plus two really good flight views of Bittern. Also Avocets & Redshank with chicks here plus a nice group of Sandwich tern & Black-tailed Godwits.

During lunch we were treated to Common and Lesser whitethroat in the car parking area! After lunch we visited the central hides, stunning views of Marsh harrier, including the drama of a female Marsh Harrier stealing a wader chick. Great views of Little Ringed Plover, also early passage waders Greenshank, Green Sandpiper and several more Black-tailed Godwits. Amazingly two more flight views of Bittern, including a ♂ Marsh harrier mobbing it when it landed in the reedbed.

A quick look at the sea at the end of the day gave us nice views of a fishing Sandwich, Common & Little tern, plus an adult Mediterranean Gull.

Day Two – Today we headed down to the Brecks, it was forecast to be very hot so we started out very early at 6.30am the first stop gave us nice views of 2 Stone Curlew. We moved quickly on to the forest where I soon managed to locate a singing Woodlark, 2 displaying Tree Pipit, several Yellowhammer, Stonechats & 2-3 Marsh Tits in with roving Tit flocks.

On the way to the next stop we came across a beautiful perched Barn owl at 8am in the morning, presumably out hunting for it’s youngsters.

Barn owl still out hunting at 8 am

Next stop we did a short circular walk and were eventually rewarded with good views of a perched singing Garden warbler, Bullfinch & Treecreeper.

Final stop gave us a singing Firecrest, plus Goldcrest, Nuthatch and another Treecreeper.

It was nearly 1pm and the temperature was heading into the low 30’s we had a coffee and headed back so everyone had an easy afternoon out of the heat that eventually reached 33c!

In the evening we headed out for an early dinner and then off to a local heathland where around 9.45 we were treated to excellent views of both perched and in flight Nightjars! With around 5 Nightjars performing very well. The return journey also gave us a Little Owl sitting in the road!

Day Three – Snettisham The Wash & Holme Dunes

There was a fairly high tide so we headed up to Snettisham and were rewarded with lovely close views of waders feeding along the shoreline, Dunlin, Sanderling, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Turnstone all feeding very close, some sporting nice summer plumage. Also small numbers of also Black-tailed Godwits.

Ringed Plover along the shoreline on the high tide
Stunning brick orange Sanderling in breeding plumage

Though the waders weren’t the only nice things to see…. 3 Turtle Doves on the shingle were a real treat and on the other side of the pits a ♂ Cuckoo was sat atop a tree calling.

Out on the pits there were hundreds of breeding Black-headed Gulls, plus over 60 Mediterranean Gulls, 30+ Common Terns, also Black-tailed Godwits.

Day was rounded off at Holme with 2 Great White Egrets flying past, a few early returning Curlew and plenty more Marsh harrier action and a look through some interesting moths at the Bird Obs.