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Norfolk Jan 22-25

Andrewself January 26, 2010 User blog:Andrewself

A weekend away from Brent Res, my first this year. I don't normally fret about what might turn up when I'm away if I'm going somewhere else where the birding is better. And you can't get much better than Norfolk. On a wet Friday we started at Santon Warren on the promise of 200 Bramblings. We could only manage 5-6 but it'll do and we carried on to Lynford Arboretum. Almost the first birds we saw there were a small flock of Crossbills feeding in the Larches and then a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker - excellent, first one I've seen there. We went down to the Paddock but it was devoid of Hawfinches but a flock of Siskin flew over and we heard Marsh Tit. It was on to Welney next, stopping enroute to see a flock of Bewick's Swans. After lunch and seeing some Tree Sparrows on the feeders we went to the hide but it was really flooded so little to see except for a few Whoopers. We stopped at Denver Sluice for a pair of Goosander and a Barn Owl then went to the roost at Roydon Common. It was almost dark by the time we arrived but we managed a male Hen Harrier and a Woodcock so a pretty good first day despite the rain.

First stop on Day 2 was Hunstanton Cliffs, it was pretty foggy but we got a Fulmar. At Thornham Harbour we added Little Egret and Rock Pipit before spending the rest of the morning at Titchwell. Plenty of birds here including Water Pipit, Spotted Redshank, Cetti's Warbler, Marsh Harriers, a flock of Twite that quickly disappeared and some Avocets. On the sea we saw 100+ Common Scoter, Eider, Red-throated Diver and a Purple Sand on the beach. As it was high tide we called in at Holme and saw about 20 Long-tailed Ducks, a Scaup and 2 Great Northern Divers while there was also 110 Snow Buntings on the beach. We carried on round the coast to Snettisham where we saw the 2 Shorelarks and plenty of waders before finishing up at Roydon again with 2 Hen Harriers and a Short-eared Owl.

Day 3 was Holkham Freshmarsh first thing - plenty of Pinkfeet but no Snow Goose. We did see 2 Common Buzzards, 2 Barn Owls and a Barnacle Goose. Next up was Whitlingham CP near Norwich, saw the Smew & GN Diver but couldn't find the Red-necked Grebe. Then it was on to the roost at Stubb Mill. 2 Cranes were feeding out in the marsh and were present all the time while at least 12 others flew in very late. Raptors were everywhere, mainly Marsh Harriers but also a pair of Hen, a Sparrowhawk and a Merlin which perched up for a long time. More Woodcock flew out late and we ended with a calling Tawny Owl. Then it was over to the Travelodge at Acle and dinner in a local pub.

Day 4 started at Cantley - Barn Owl but no geese so we went to Buckenham and connected with some distant Taiga Bean Geese, White-fronts and a pair of Peregrine that were breakfasting on a Wigeon. Out in the fields there was a Chinese Water Deer, our 3rd deer of the weekend to add to Muntjac & Roe. We went over Reedham Ferry to Waveney Forest then walked out to view the marshes. A couple of birders were already there and just found the Rough-legged Buzzard as we approached. It showede really well and we also had a Short-eared Owl and Hen Harrier. On to Lowestoft and we finished with a Black-throated Diver before driving back to London, a really good & bird-packed weekend.

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