November 5th-7th Norfolk 3 day Tour

Day one 5th November – Cley, Wells-next-the-sea, Stiffkey Greens

We started today with a lively seawatch off Cley Coastguards. Numerous Red-throated Diver, with many close inshore, also Great crested grebes, steady passage of Gannet, and an Easterly arrival of Dark-bellied Brents in small groups moving West, wildfowl was well represented with groups of Wigeon, Teal, Pintail, a Tufted Duck, a Red-breasted Merganser, several Eider, small groups of Common Scoter totalling over 100, also close inshore and passage of Guillemot and Razorbill all moving West. A lone Snow Bunting passed overhead, along with 2-3 Rock Pipit.

Arriving behind us whilst seawatching was 2000+ Pink-footed Geese landing out on Blakeney marsh. Also 200+ Dark-bellied Brents just bhind us in the Eyefield.

We then walked along the East Bank, more wildfowl including nice views of groups of feeding Pintail, Shoveler, Wigeon and Teal. Arnold’s marsh held Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Avocet, Grey Plover, 100 Golden Plover, 100 Dunlin whilst the walk back gave us views of Stonechat and Bearded Tit.

After lunch we headed to Wells Woods, we did try for the Dusky warbler but didn’t have any luck and it had been very elusive. There was though Blackcap, Brambling, Chiff-chaff, Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Siskin and a mixed flock of tits with Long-tailed Tits.

The day rounded off very well, with a a nice perched Merlin,a stunning and close fly-by Barn owl, a ringtail Hen Harrier, 5 Marsh harrier, and around 10,000 Pink-footed Geese heading to their roost.

Day Two 6th November – Cley, Wells-next-the-sea, Stiffkey Greens

We started today at Potter Heigham marshes, highlights from here were a good selection of wildfowl, plus 3+ Marsh Harriers, a nice group of Snipe, 2 Stonechat, Bearded Tits, Kingfisher and 2 Water Pipits. Cetti’s Warbler and Water Rail were vocal but not seen!

We tried several stops for Cranes, but without success and the headed towards North Gap, Eccles. Out on the sea there was a good scattering of Red-throated Diver, Common Scoter a few Gannet. We then headed along the the beach, where 2 different Woodcock were watched flying in off the sea! On the beach it took some time but eventually a super flock of c40 Snow Bunting were located and showed very well, thanks to Drew Lynes who had seen us looking earlier and shouted us over.

© Drew Lynnes Snow Bunting
© Drew Lynnes Snow Buntings

Just a few minutes later we left the Snow Buntings and walked further up the dunes, i had only take a few paces when I noticed a ‘large’ pipit on the edge of the dunes. I quickly got the scope on to it and it looked a perfect candidate for a Richard’s Pipit, it walked a little then flew a short distance out on to the beach, revealing the bouncy flight, long tail and the diagnostic call, it was indeed a Richard’s Pipit. I got everyone on to it and then quickly whistled Drew back who was now 400m back down the beach heading South! Fortunately over the next 1015 minutes it showed well on and off, flying to and from the dunes and on to the beach and Drew got some decent record shots.

A really nice find considering this is a species that has declined a lot in the last decade!

Richard’s Pipit© Drew Lynnes
Richard’s Pipit© Drew Lynnes

We then has a rather late lunch after the excitement and time with the Richard’s Pipit, and we headed to Stubbs Mill for the roost at least 30+ Marsh harriers came in plus a ringtail Hen harrier and the day was neatly rounded off with 3 Cranes arriving just before last light, I thought they may just elude is today!

Day Three 7th November – Snettisham high tide, Hunstanton & Titchwell RSPB

A bright and early start for the High tide spectacular – we arrived at 7am. Around 75,000 Red Knot, and the usual supporting cast plus a Peregrine kept the show rolling along very nicely! The pictures below give you an an idea of the amazing spectacle! Though the amazing sound of all those whirring wings and calling birds….you need to be there!

© Chris Mills 75,000 Red Knot packed together on the high tide!
© Chris Mills 75,000 Red Knot packed together on the high tide!
© Chris Mills Thousands of Red Knot heading out over our heads!

After the masses had departed we were then able to concentrate on working through individual birds and species, Dunlin, Bar-tailed godwit, Grey Plover, Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Sanderling Redshank all along the shoreline.

© Chris Mills also several thousand Dunlin
© Chris Mills Grey Plover
© Chris Mills Ringed Plover

After the early start & amazing spectacle, we headed for a coffee break at Hunstanton, by the cliffs and were able to enjoy Fulmars gliding up and down the cliff top. We then headed to Titchwell where the 1500 Golden Plover were still showing well along with another good selection wildfowl of waders, new additions were a superb roosting group of 3 Spotted Redshank and 4 Greenshank.

We had recorded 111 species over the 3 days.