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Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Norfolk May Day weekend

Norfolk May Day weekend.

I arrived in Norfolk mid afternoon on the Friday, to be precise I called in at Titchwell. It was a very high spring tide with much of the saltmarsh underwater. The freshwater lagoon is still to high and unattractive to waders. I didn't see anything out of the ordinary apart from several pairs of Mediterranean Gulls that were commuting between the gull colony and a field that was being ploughed a mile or so away. I then trekked over to our house in the broads and a weekend of DIY. The only birding I did on the Saturday was an early morning (6.00am) stroll along Weavers Way to see the Savi's Warbler, on route I passed to reeling Grasshopper Warblers and not much else. The water at Rush Hill was also high, the only waders present were 2 Avocets, 1 Greenshank and a couple of Redshanks. The rest of the day was spent either painting or filling holes in the floor with self leveling cement. The Sunday the winds finally turned from a northerly to a more favourable south easterly a very strong southeasterly. I thought I would try Winterton North Dunes.
  I was the first car in the car park and thankfully I had enough layers on because it was pretty nippy. If any passerines had been blown in, they were sheltering deep in cover, the only passerine that I saw was a Yellow Hammer and he was singing from the middle of a bush. I had hoped to see a Woodlark that has been present for over a week but he was keeping quiet, Skylarks on the other hand seemed to be loving the conditions and were in full voice. It was while standing on top of a high dune that the start of what I feel was an exceptional day for waders moving across the east Norfolk or maybe from even further a field began. This first flock consisting of Bar-tailed Godwits came flying at great speed from the north-west hugging the contours of the dunes and headed off along the landward side of the dunes. I thought that was odd, when in the distance but not on a line that meant they had just come of the North Sea came another flock. At first I wasn't sure what these were, they were banking and arching as if they were low over the sea, which they weren't. I then ID'd Grey Plover, Bar-tailed Godwits and a couple of Dunlin. I only stayed here for an hour just to enjoy the spectacle. Other waders in amongst the mainly Barwits and Grey Plovers were Knot, Ruff and Turnstone. Heading in the same direction but in one's and two's were Whimbrel. I then drove up to Sea Palling, hoping to see Ring Ouzel's feeding in a grassy car park. While on my way there I witnessed 4 other flocks of waders flying rapidly across the arable fields having also come from the NW. The car park at Sea Palling failed to produce anything other than a flock of Linnets and a squadron of Grey Plovers. In the 2 hours that I was out I estimate that I had seen over 400 waders, it may not sound a lot but I wasn't looking hard for these birds, it could have been a much broader movement. 
  I then returned home and the DIY, while in the garden I added 2 new species to that list Pied Wagtail on the Lawn and Cuckoo in a nearby tree. Three hours of so called graft and I am need of some relaxation, so I headed for a Martham Broad and 6 Black Terns, these were part of an inland movement of this species and Arctic Terns. I was driving along the A149 and about to turn off towards Martham when out of the corner of my eye I picked up a 5 smallish waders coming low across an bare arable field I slowed a bit but as I had cars behind me was unable to stop. I couldn't believe my eye's these 5 waders were Dotterel. I turned off and stopped just up the road where there was a huge recently harrowed field, I gave it a good grilling but was unable to find them. I continued on to Martham Broad but was told by a couple of birders just after walking away from the car that the terns had gone. I then chose to go and stand in the shelter of the dunes and seawatch for a bit, I hadn't been there long when a flock of 7 Black Terns headed south, they were to distant to photograph and were hugging the troughs of the waves. Before I left I had this site I had seen very little else but did get 4 Arctic Terns and 4 Fulmars. 
  The next day I awoke to rain so decided to do some more work around the house and head back to London around lunchtime.

Below are a few of the more interesting photos taken while there.

 Mediterranean Gull

 Black-tailed Godwit


 Meadow Pipit

 Sedge Warbler

 Savi's Warbler 

 Bar-tailed Godwits

 Ruff and Grey Plover/Black-bellied Plover

 Do you recognise the 3rd sp of wader?


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