Norfolk Birding Exclusive Day – 21st April 2021

Today I met a couple at Burnham Norton and we then headed off to Burnham Overy and out to the West end of Holkham Pines, there was a lovely mixture of birds, some late wintering species and some summer migrants.

A notable group of 25 Mediterranean Gulls were gathered just off the seawall, all in their spruce breeding plumage, this was in contrast to the wintering flock of 100 Dark-bellied Brent Geese still present! Still present were small groups of Wigeon and Teal, the majority of these will soon be gone! There was also good number so fo Shoveler, plus a few Pochard, the latter a scarce breeder in the freshwater dykes. We were soon admiring a superb male Marsh Harrier, several others were wheeling around and also the now regular sight of 2-3 Red Kite.

As we walked out 2 Chiff-chaff were singing, and a newly arrived Sedge warbler was braving the chilly North-east wind, singing strongly from the top of the channel. The tide was fairly low and we were soon taking a lovely mixture of migrant shorebirds, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Curlew and Ringed Plover were all present in small numbers along the channel, also breeding, noisy Redshank and Oystercatchers vied for attention. As we turned the corner the shallow muddy area held a lovely group of mixed Bar & Black-tailed Godwit offering the chance to compare their summer plumages.

The reeds and dykes also held Little Grebe, Tufted Duck and the Reed Bunting, Meadow Pipits, Linnets and Goldfinches were all noted as we continued our walk out.

Once in the dunes, the first of 3-4 Northern Wheatears flicked into view, these stunning and amazing migrants always lift the spirits. We eventually reached the West end of Holkham firs and from a vantage point we scanned the mazing vast wetland that has now been created at Holkham. After some searching we found the Common Crane, it had been present for a few days but amazingly for a such a big bird it could be elusive and disappear in the tall vegetation. Whilst scanning from here we also noted Little, Great White Egret and Spoonbill.

The walk back proved eventful as we turned back on to the seawall a stunning male Common Redstart flashed and perched briefly in front of us, before disappearing into the brambles…a nice surprise!

We had lunch looking out over the harbour and then headed to Holkham park for some woodland birding. A nice mixture of commoner birds with Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Blackcap, Long-tailed Tits, Goldcrest, Jay all giving excellent views. We concentrated on some calls and bird song as Alison wanted to do practice these and then had a nice walk along the lake where we took in more Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Pochard & Little Grebe plus Buzzard and Red Kite overhead.