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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

17th May

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Day trip to Norfolk

It was a very early start as I wanted to show Glen what Norfolk had to offer. I picked him up from nearby Primrose Hill at 4.10am, this way we could visit more locations. The weather during the day turned out to be mostly overcast with a brisk westerly blowing.

Our first stop at 5.50am was a grassy field near Lakenheath where we saw 2 Stone Curlews and a Woodlark sang beautifully overhead. As time was limited we quickly moved on to nearby the RSPB’s Lakenheath Fen. Here two Golden Orioles sang from trees on the otherside of the reed bed. A pair of Cuckoo chased each other through the trees, drawing my attention to 2 roosting Hobby’s. Other good birds seen  or heard here were 2 Garganey males, 2 Marsh Harrier Bearded Tit, Barn Owl (our second of the day, having narrowly missed one on the A1 near Welyn Garden), Turtle Dove, Grasshopper and Garden Warbler. We were soon on the road again stopping briefly at NWT’s Weeting Reserve. Though it is normally a good place to see Stone Curlews my target was Mistle Thrush and possible Wheatear, both were seen so on we went. The first place we were going to spend a long time at was Titchwell, just before we got there we stopped at Choseley Barns to see Corn Bunting and Yellow Hammer. In general Titchwell was a little quiet, saying that we did however see Short-eared Owl, Little Stint and Grey headed Wagtail plus the usuals. We then had a quick bite to eat before heading east stopping first at Burnham Norton and then last years Montagu’s Harrier site near Burnham Market. Apparently having spoken to a Norfolk birder only 1 male and female have been seen and it looks as if they have gone somewhere else to breed. We did scan the nearby Rape Fields when a call from Dave had us jumping back in the car and heading back to Titchwell. This was done in double quick time and our target a stunning female Red-necked Phalarope was soon being scrutinized in our scopes. It is amazing how small these birds are. Time was moving on so it was back to the car, with Cley our main destination. I did pull over on to the side of the road so that we could look over Holkham fresh marsh. We soon had our target bird in sight a Spoonbill flew in from a nearby pool as did a few Little Egrets. As we watched the marsh a Lesser Whitethroat sang from roadside bushes. We reached the west bank at Cley, where a handful of birders were scanning the nearby marsh, the target here was hopefully Lesser yellowlegs. Listening to the birders as we approached we new that they were watching it and soon so were we. A very elegant little wader and after a few minutes 2 other smart waders popped in to view Wood Sandpipers. The day had already turned out to be a very good day, it was about to get even better. As I looked through my scope a bird flew into view Glen said something, though I am not sure what. the only view I had was rounded greyish wings, white wing bars and very broad white outer-tail feathers. I new immediately what it was, it was the Great Snipe. The bird has been present on the reserve for about a week, though it is normally seen from one of the hides, which we I had decided would be to packed. What a wise decision that turned out to be. We then swapped the west bank for the east bank. The only bird we added here was Greenshank, we also saw our second Short-eared Owl of the day hunting down near Salthouse. As the light was poor, we headed home stopping off to devour a fish and chip take-away in the Brecks. The total number of species recorded was a fairly respectable 121

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Not the greatest picture, the bird was to distant, but it shows what an attractive race of wagtail it was.

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