Saturday, 18 March 2017

North Norfolk 10th & 11th March 2017


A run up to Norfolk started with disappointment at Cockley Cley as the Great Grey Shrike failed to put in an appearance until well after we had given up looking and moved on as our time was restricted as we had to be elsewhere before midday. We did have a singing Wood Lark though, and there was a movement of Finches and Thrushes, with Brambling and Fieldfare over. The Pallid Harrier did not appear to be putting in an appearance at New Holkham so we quickly moved on.

It was early afternoon before we'd taken care of non birding related matters and we arrived at Holkham. Initially we walked up to the hide over the fresh marsh, which still held quite a few Pink-foot and White-fronted Geese. A Cetti's was singing out in the middle of the marsh, with the usual Marsh Harriers over the marsh, with Red Kite and Buzzard over Holkham Park. Great White Egret and Spoonbill were back with two of the former and a single of the latter seen, which was colour ringed, alas with one of the colours not being readily identifiable. A walk along the beach into the middle of the bay, as often is the case in March found the sea relatively quiet with just a few Common Scoter and Red-breasted Mergansers present, finishing off late afternoon a small group of ten Shore Larks that were still present at the eastern end of the bay.

Mixed Goose flock

White-fronted Geese

Holkham Bay and Dunes



Having spent the night at Caley Hall, Old Hunstanton, we first of all dropped into Holme. Again the sea was fairly quiet with just three Eider, six Red-breasted Mergansers and 13 Long-tailed Duck present. Passerine movement was limited, although four Stonechat were present suggesting some movement of this species and a few Pink-footed Goose went over the marsh.

A quick look at Thornham failed to produce any Twite, and a visit to Thornham Deli just reiterated just how Norfolk has changed with a small jar of honey costing £11 and a loaf of fancy bread £2.50. 

Curlew at Thornham

We then finished off with a visit to Titchwell which produced the usual nice mix of waders, with a couple of Ruff present, but we did not come across the Little Ringed Plover that was present earlier in the day. The resident population of Red-crested Pochards seems to be growing with six males and two females seen. The sea again was still fairly quiet with only seven Red-breasted Mergansers, two nice groups of Long-tailed Ducks, totalling 22, mostly splendid males and a group of Scoters, that contained (mostly) a number of Velvet Scoters, which were slightly too far out in a slightly misty haze to be sure of their identity except when flapping their wings showing the white panel in the wing. 

Red-crested Pochard, male & female

Common Gull on Titchwell beach, one of quite a few which
were present moving north.

Male Northern Shoveler

Male Eurasian Teal