September 13th-15th Norfolk Birding Exclusive Tour

Monday – September 13th 2021 – NW Norfolk

We started day one with a visit to Snettisham and The Wash and despite the tide not being a really high tide, we were still treated to a plethora of shorebirds and waders.

As the tide rose, the shorebirds gathered in tighter groups, 40,000 Knot, 1500 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1500 Oystercatcher, 500 Curlew several hundred Dunlin forming the greater mass but with 150 Redshank, 100 Grey Plover, 100+ Sanderling , 50+ Ringed Plover, hundreds of Shelduck all adding to the spectacle. Of course as well as the spectacle there’s plenty of fun in finding the scarcer birds amongst these. It was a lovely morning with light winds, so it was a very pleasant few hours!

Fantastic flock of Bar-tailed Godwits & Red Knot take to the air

Careful searching through the masses, with particular attention to the Dunlin flocks yielded 2 juvenile Little Stints & 1 juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, surprisingly was a lack of Avocets just 3 were noted.

Juvenile Little Stint © Chris Mills
A good flock of Ringed Plover were also close along the shoreline

As well as shorebirds there were good numbers of gulls, Black-headed, Common, Herring and Great black-backed and amongst these we were able to find several Mediterranean Gulls, adults and a first calendar year bird. There was also a nice group of terns, mainly Sandwich Terns, with a few winter plumaged Common Terns and a single late Little Tern.

Also out on The Wash, there was groups of Teal, Mallard and fishing Little Egrets. We then headed to the hide overlooking the freshwater pits, there was a superb flock of c2000 Black-tailed Godwit, with a lot of Redshank at one one edge of the flock. There was good numbers of wildfowl, with c100 Teal, 45 Wigeon, and smaller numbers of Gadwall and Shoveler, plus a single Pintail. Also closer by was a nice roosting group of 7 Spotted Redshank.

It had been a wonderful bird filled morning and we sat in the sunshine and enjoyed our picnic lunch. As we left Snettisham there was a lovely mixed flock of c100 Linnets & Goldfinch resting on the wires over the Ken Hill re-wilding area.

We then headed to Titchwell reserve, as we walked out we heard Bearded Tit but it wasn’t showing! Once at the view over the scrape there was a good selection of waders and wildfowl and we headed to the hide. There was 35+ Ruff, 100+ ‘icelandica’ Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, nice views of Snipe, and a Wood Sandpiper showed very well close by.

We couldn’t locate the Pectoral Sandpiper seen earlier so we decided to head round to the autumn trail. On arrival there was quite a few birders also looking, and they hadn’t seen it. A bit of scanning soon produced 3 juv Little Stint, then a juv Curlew Sandpiper, plus several Dunlin. Then almost like magic I suddenly realised I was staring at the Pectoral Sandpiper, it must’ve flown in I guess, I alerted my group and the other birders and we soon getting great views as it edged closer and closer until it was the closest wader, a real treat!

On the way back we looked for Corn Bunting, though it was a bit of a long shot in mid September, we didn’t score but did manage nice views of a perched juvenile Marsh harrier.

Juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper showing very well © Chris Mills Norfolk Birding

A video of the Pectoral Sandpiper can also be watched here

Tuesday – September 14th 2021North Norfolk

Today the weather was in stark contrast to yesterday! Heavy cloud greeted us at North Point, but at least it was dry for a while! There was a big flock of Grey-lags, several Egyptian Geese, plus two presumably feral Barnacle Geese. Also amongst the geese, were two roosting Spoonbill, and in flight shortly after being disturbed by a Marsh harrier!

A walk into the scrub area yielded Whitethroat and Blackcap but nothing out of the ordinary, we then headed along the seawall there was another Marsh harrier, several Little Egrets, Curlew and commoner shorebirds. The drizzle had now turned into persistent rain and we decided to head back to the minibus, we were slightly damp by the time we got back. We used the next hours of heavy rain to firstly sea-watch from the Cley shelter, from our dry vantage point we were able to enjoy around c100 Common Scoter in small groups moving West, a few Teal, plus several Gannets, a Kittiwake, a feeding flock of Sandwich terns plus 2 lovely summer plumaged Red-throated Divers just offshore.

We then used the continued wet weather to visit Cley Spy to sort out some Optics issues that the group wanted to get sorted and then had an early lunch.

After lunch the heavy rain continued but with slightly lighter spells, so I headed us out to the central hides at Cley, at least once in place we were out of the rain. More waders and wildfowl, lots to look at and we added Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, plus c20 Golden Plover dropped in.

Green Sandpiper © Chris Mills Norfolk Birding

Wednesday – September 15th 2021South Norfolk, The Brecks

We headed to the Brecks today, the skies had cleared and as we reached the first area the clouds were parting and the sun was shining! After a couple of stops and scanning I soon found the Stone Curlew, now gathering into pre-migration flocks, always lovely to see! At least c25 Stone Curlew were in view, though there may have been others out of view. Also Egyptian Goose, c25 Lapwing, Red-legged Partridge, Yellowhammer noted in the area.

Stone Curlew © Chris Mills Norfolk Birding

We headed a short drive to a vantage point looking over the nearby forest edge, I was hoping that after a wet day yesterday, there may just be a chance of Goshawks up. It was an inspired decision as on arrival a single 1cy Goshawk was soaring over the woodland and was soon joined by another young Goshawk, they then gave us a lovely show for several minutes as they interacted and even talon grappled at one point. Just to round it off a Sparrowhawk appeared and ‘buzzed’ the Goshawk, this allowed the considerable size difference to be fully appreciated, the Sparrowhawk looking tiny as it bravely tried to drive the Goshawk off! Also here 5+ Common Buzzards in the air, plus a Mistle Thrush.

We then headed to a forestry clearing I had been visiting in the spring and early summer. The woodland was quieter than on previous visits but Treecreeper, 2 Nuthatches, a vocal Marsh tit, a nice flock of 15+ Long-tailed Tit, a Chiffchaff, a calling Great spotted Woodpecker.

Once on the clearing there was a nice group of Stonechat, which have had at least 2 broods, a group of around 8-9 birds! Also Yellowhammer perched on the wires. I heard Woodlark call a couple of times, but it took a bit of walking before we had them in flight, a group of 4 Woodlark and then in another area a group of 3 more came up off the ground.

We had lunch at Lynford and then did a circuit of the area, it was fairly quiet as to be expected at this time fo the year and the afternoon, but we still managed 2 Firecrest, at last decent views of Marsh Tit! Siskin flew over and there was a nice Grey Wagtail feeding at a puddle, also more Long-tailed Tits, plus Nuthatch and 2-3 Treecreeper.

A lovely 3 days with 107 species recorded.

1Greylag Goose25Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
2Barnacle Goose2North Point/Warham Freshmarsh14-Sep-21
3Mute Swan5North Point/Warham Freshmarsh14-Sep-21
4Egyptian Goose9Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
5Common Shelduck100Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
6Northern Shoveler10Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
7Gadwall6Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
8Eurasian Wigeon40Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
9Mallard5Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
10Eurasian/Green-winged Teal100Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
11Common Pochard4Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
12Tufted Duck2Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
13Common Scoter100Cley & Salthouse Marshes NWT NR–Cley Coastguards14-Sep-21
14Common Pheasant1Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
15Red-legged Partridge1Didlington, Breckland Forest, Thetford 15-Sep-21
16Rock Dove1Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
17Stock Dove1Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
18Common Woodpigeon1Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
19Collared Dove3Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
20Common Moorhen2Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
21Stone-curlew25Cockley Cley–Pig Fields15-Sep-21
22Pied Avocet3Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
23Eurasian Oystercatcher1500Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
24Grey Plover100Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
25European Golden Plover1Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
26Northern Lapwing40Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
27Common Ringed Plover40Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
28Whimbrel1Cley & Salthouse Marshes NWT NR–Dauke’s Hide14-Sep-21
29Eurasian Curlew500Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
30Bar-tailed Godwit1500Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
31Black-tailed Godwit2000Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
32Ruddy Turnstone5Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
33Red Knot40000Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
34Ruff30Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
35Curlew Sandpiper1Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
36Sanderling100Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
37Dunlin400Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
38Little Stint2Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
39Pectoral Sandpiper1Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
40Common Snipe6Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
41Green Sandpiper3Cley & Salthouse Marshes NWT NR–Dauke’s Hide14-Sep-21
42Spotted Redshank7Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
43Common Greenshank1Cley & Salthouse Marshes NWT NR–Dauke’s Hide14-Sep-21
44Wood Sandpiper1Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
45Common Redshank150Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
46Common Guillemot5Cley & Salthouse Marshes NWT NR–Cley Coastguards14-Sep-21
47Black-legged Kittiwake1Cley & Salthouse Marshes NWT NR–Cley Coastguards14-Sep-21
48Black-headed Gull1Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
49Mediterranean Gull5Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
50Common Gull4Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
51Herring Gull4Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
52Lesser Black-backed Gull2Cley & Salthouse Marshes NWT NR–Dauke’s Hide14-Sep-21
53Great Black-backed Gull3Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
54Little Tern1Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
55Common Tern6Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
56Sandwich Tern20Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
57Red-throated Diver5Cley & Salthouse Marshes NWT NR–Cley Coastguards14-Sep-21
58Northern Gannet5Cley & Salthouse Marshes NWT NR–Cley Coastguards14-Sep-21
59Great Cormorant10Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
60Grey Heron1North Point/Warham Freshmarsh14-Sep-21
61Great White Egret1Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
62Little Egret5Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
63Eurasian Spoonbill2North Point/Warham Freshmarsh14-Sep-21
64Western Marsh Harrier1Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
65Eurasian Sparrowhawk1Cockley Cley Raptor Watchpoint15-Sep-21
66Northern Goshawk2Cockley Cley Raptor Watchpoint15-Sep-21
67Red Kite1Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
68Common Buzzard1Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
69Great Spotted Woodpecker1Didlington, Breckland Forest, Thetford 15-Sep-21
70Common Kestrel2Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
71Eurasian Hobby1Cley & Salthouse Marshes NWT NR–Cley Coastguards14-Sep-21
72Eurasian Jay2Didlington, Breckland Forest, Thetford 15-Sep-21
73Common Magpie2Didlington, Breckland Forest, Thetford 15-Sep-21
74Eurasian Jackdaw10Didlington, Breckland Forest, Thetford 15-Sep-21
75Rook4Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
76Carrion Crow2Didlington, Breckland Forest, Thetford 15-Sep-21
77Coal Tit5Didlington, Breckland Forest, Thetford 15-Sep-21
78Marsh Tit2Didlington, Breckland Forest, Thetford 15-Sep-21
79Eurasian Blue Tit1North Point/Warham Freshmarsh14-Sep-21
80Great Tit2Didlington, Breckland Forest, Thetford 15-Sep-21
81Woodlark7Didlington, Breckland Forest, Thetford 15-Sep-21
82Eurasian Skylark1North Point/Warham Freshmarsh14-Sep-21
83Bearded Tit1Cley & Salthouse Marshes NWT NR–Dauke’s Hide14-Sep-21
84Eurasian Reed Warbler1Cley & Salthouse Marshes NWT NR–Dauke’s Hide14-Sep-21
85Barn Swallow5Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
86Common House Martin20North Point/Warham Freshmarsh14-Sep-21
87Common Chiffchaff1Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
88Long-tailed Tit12Didlington, Breckland Forest, Thetford 15-Sep-21
89Eurasian Blackcap1North Point/Warham Freshmarsh14-Sep-21
90Common Whitethroat1North Point/Warham Freshmarsh14-Sep-21
91Goldcrest4Didlington, Breckland Forest, Thetford 15-Sep-21
92Common Firecrest2Lynford Arboretum15-Sep-21
93Eurasian Nuthatch2Didlington, Breckland Forest, Thetford 15-Sep-21
94Eurasian Treecreeper1Didlington, Breckland Forest, Thetford 15-Sep-21
95Eurasian Wren1Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
96Common Starling20Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
97Mistle Thrush1Didlington, Breckland Forest, Thetford 15-Sep-21
98Song Thrush1North Point/Warham Freshmarsh14-Sep-21
99Eurasian Blackbird1Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
100European Robin1Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
101European Stonechat8Didlington, Breckland Forest, Thetford 15-Sep-21
102Dunnock1Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
103House Sparrow2North Point/Warham Freshmarsh14-Sep-21
104Grey Wagtail1Lynford Arboretum15-Sep-21
105Pied Wagtail/White Wagtail3Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
106Meadow Pipit1Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
107Common Chaffinch1Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
108Eurasian Bullfinch2Didlington, Breckland Forest, Thetford 15-Sep-21
109European Greenfinch1Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
110Common Linnet30Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
111European Goldfinch10Snettisham RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
112Eurasian Siskin1Lynford Arboretum15-Sep-21
113Yellowhammer1Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21
114Common Reed Bunting2Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve13-Sep-21