March 4th 2019 – Norfolk Exclusive guided birding day

A really nice exclusive day based around Stiffkey, Wells-next-the Sea & Holkham NNR area. Shorelarks, raptors, geese, egrets and Spoonbills!

I collected Jane & Pauline from Cley and we headed towards Holkham. Stopping off initially at Stiffkey fen area, where a pair of Marsh harriers, plus 2 other individuals delighted as they flew by at close quarters, calling and soaring on the brisk breeze. A Common Buzzard joined them and a Barn Owl appeared flying past us and into the woodland.

We next stopped off at the east end of Holkham NNR, as there were several other Marsh Harriers in the air and almost immediately a nice cruising Peregrine came into view, the bird was in hunting mode and came towards us and then overhead at quite a lick!

Marsh Harriers were constantly up and enjoying the strong breeze today.
Common Buzzard

We pulled up at a good vantage point further along the road and from here c160 Russian White-fronted Geese were visible, plus at least 4 Spoonbills and 2 Great White Egrets. Overhead there was more Marsh Harrier activity also joined by 2 Red Kites.

We then headed to Lady Anne’s and there was a nice selection of Wigeon, Teal, Curlew, Redshank, Brent Geese and Lapwing from the parking area. Out on the salt-marsh we were pleased to find the Shorelarks faithful to the area they have been using most of the winter. They gave nice views and eventually came pretty close, at least 20 Shorelark were present but were very difficult to count as they crept through the vegetation feeding. Nearby there was also quite a few Scandinavian Rock Pipits giving good views too!

Shorelarks at least 20 in the long vegetation showed very well today.
Scandinavian Rock Pipits

We next headed over to one of the hides to try and get a little closer to some of the birds we had seen earlier and were fortunate as a full suite were visible from the hide! Small numbers of Russian White-fronted Geese, 3 Spoonbills and 3 Great White Egrets all providing excellent scope views.

We had a nice if slightly late lunch in the Wells deli. Then headed to look at a nice flock of c1000 Dark-bellied Brent Geese in the channel, we had a lovely fly-by as they headed out to graze on the nearby fields. Out in the channel there was a nice group of 6 Red-breasted Merganser.

Great fly-by – 1000 Dark-bellied Brents

The day was nicely rounded off at Stiffkey with a very close fly by Barn owl, a second Peregrine and a ringtail Hen Harrier.