18th March – Mid and North Norfolk
We started the day at Bintree Mill where there had been up to 6 drake Garganey the previous day & at least three still present the evening before, sadly they had departed overnight. However it was a beautiful bright sunny morning & undeterred we saw a lovely array of birds. The flood held Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler & Little Grebe, a Kingfisher flashed by several times and a stunning Grey Wagtail showed very nicely by the Mill. A super male Yellowhammer was sat nearby belting out his distinctive song. Overhead a male and female Marsh Harrier passed overhead, plus several flocks of migrant Redwing and there’s was lots of birdsong including a couple of newly arrived Chiff-chaffs.
We next headed to a nearby big woodland area with a vantage point for scanning. Conditions were ideal and it wasn’t long before the Buzzards were up soaring, soon joined by a Sparrowhawk, then 2 Red Kites & eventually the first distant Goshawk. But after several distant sightings of the Goshawk a young male appeared much closer and gave great scope views, as it gained height and dropped back amazingly it was joined by two others, another male and a female, 3 Goshawks in the air together!
We now headed to the coast and walked out at Burnham Overy seawall, lots to sea, with plenty more wildfowl including additions of Tufted Duck, Pochard, Great Crested Grebe and a Red-breasted Merganser in the channel. Plenty of waders too with Bar & Black-tailed Godwits, plus 30 Curlew, 30 Avocet, Dunlin, Redshank and also lots more Marsh harrier activity. We had at least 3 Spoonbill’s plus 2 Great White Egrets. There was a lovely flock of 800 Golden Plover as well taking to the skies
We then had lunch at Holkham, with nice views of 2 pairs of Grey Partridge. We headed after lunch to where a Ring Ouzel had been seen earlier but there was no sight, several Mistle Theush, Stonechat & 60 Curlew.
We headed out on to the beach and it fortunately I found the 4 Shorelark still in the cordon area, stunning in the bright sunlight. Out on the sea there was a raft of Common Scoter but the heat haze hampered any chance of finding Velvets.
On the way back through the woodland we had Long tailed tits and lovely views of at least three Treecreeper. We rounded off with good views of c700 Pink-footed Geese plus 10 Snipe in stunning light.
89 species recorded on the first day.
19th March – The Brecks
We headed to the Brecks today, we started with a walk along the river, where a couple of days previously I had been able to show clients a pair of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker’s. However this morning they were only seen briefly by others at around 630am. Still we had lots of Siskin, some Brambling, a few Lesser Redpoll, Marsh Tit, Nuthatch & Green Woodpecker and great views of a Woodlark. Also along the river a pair of Mandarin, and a fine male Grey Wagtail! Also notable was several flocks of migrating Redwing, 4-5 flocks of 20-30 Redwing all heading NE.
We then headed to another area of the forest, there was a large mixed finch flock, mainly Siskin, some Goldfinch, a few Brambling and after quite a bit of searching I heard a Crossbill, it went quiet but then a little while later it was singing, but it was now pretty windy and despite searching the treetops I couldn’t locate it. We headed off to Lynford and had a late lunch.
After lunch we soon found a Firecrest, which was singing weakly but after some time it appeared and we all had reasonable views. Nearby we also had a singing Marsh Tit, plus Treecreeper.
We then looked at a feed area and were treated to some superb Brambling and several Yellowhammers. There was another Firecrest singing nearby and close views of another Marsh Tit. I set about finding the roosting Tawny Owl, it was relatively easy today sitting out slightly away from the trunk, so good scope views.