Norfolk Day One of Four – 13th April 2021

A great start to the day when on arrival a Woodlark was singing and showing very well on the heathland, the nearby hedgerow also had a nice pair of Bullfinch. As we wandered around the heath at least 3 more Woodlark were heard and seen & at least 6 Stonechat were present. There was 6+ singing Chiff-chaff, plus a single Willow Warbler. We then had a bit of a wander and a wait until I heard a male Dartford Warbler singing, after a few more minutes it appeared and perched conveniently in the top of a gorse bush before disappearing again.

Dartford Warbler taken by Chris Wardell

As we wandered back a single Redpoll flew over and the warmth had encouraged several Buzzards in to the air and a Red Kite.

As we headed to the coast news broke of 6 Cranes moving West, amazingly a few minutes later young Chris’s sharp eyes picked the 6 Cranes up and we quickly ground to halt and got out the minibus, grabbing quick views. They were rapidly moving West along the coastline in active flight. We jumped back in the minibus and headed to Walsey Hills hoping to catch them again, clearly they were moving with haste as they pretty much beat us to Walsey and were beyond us when we got up there!

We had a cuppa and relaxed in the sun, with Cetti’s and Water Rail audible below us, plus the warden was able to show the group a nice male Greenfinch. Common Pochard, Little grebe & Gadwall were all nice on Snipes Marsh. Scanning across the marsh produced several Little Egrets plus a Great Egret & several Marsh Harriers, including a couple of stunning males.

We then headed down the East bank there was still a good selection of wildfowl, with plenty of Shoveler, and a few wintering Teal & Wigeon still present. Few groups of Shelduck, several Lapwing with at least 2 sitting on nests. As we headed further along it was great to watch a Spoonbill soaring into view and dropping.

We walked on to Arnold’s Marsh and had a nice group of waders with c50 Dunlin, 62 Avocet, 2 Curlew, 4-5 Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, 7-8 Ringed Plover, single Turnstone and 4 Red Knot dropped in whilst watching.

We then headed on towards the main reserve, 2-3 Sedge Warbler were singing, then 3 Spoonbill flew past us, we also had great views of Marsh harrier. Also 3 Sand martin and a Swallow moved West.

Up at the shore we quickly picked up 4 Common Scoter flying West and a single Sandwich Tern, save these, the sea was quiet. However, a migrant Whimbrel called and moved through West, always a great Spring migrant to hear and see! We then walked to North Scrape, Linnet, Meadow Pipit & Skylarks en-route, three and the last of the Dark-bellied Brents circled and flew back West. Out on the scrape there was at least 6 Ruff, 4 Dunlin & 65 Black-tailed Godwit, a group of roosting Great Black-backed Gulls and a scattering of wildfowl.

Dark-bellied Brents taken by Chris Wardell