Tuesday, 1 January 2013

New years day birding in Norfolk

The new year started with an early start and a drive down to Norfolk.
A quick stop off on route at Wolferton for Golden Pheasant, but there's no sign of any birds this time. 

Driving through Cambridge along the A11, the first Barn Owl of the new year is spotted sitting on a fence post. 
Short daylight hours mean we need to make every minute count. Titchwell is the first point of call, and before we realise it, it's already midday.
Sixty plus species later and with Red-crested Pochard, Water Pipit, Eider, Long-tailed Duck and Spotted Redshank among the birds seen the year list is off to a good start.
Brancaster Staithe is on route so another quick stop off, four more species are seen here. Grey and Ringed Plover along with Dunlin and Knot.

Brancaster Staithe

At Cley, the Richardson's Canada Goose is picked out among the other Canadian Geese and then the Sacred Ibis is spotted in a nearby field.

Sacred Ibis

Another quick stop this time at Stiffkey, and it's not long before we are watching two ringtail Hen Harriers. A male Kestrel close by and then a Sparrowhawk makes it a nice hat-trick of raptors added.
Holkham proves impossible to get near with the amount of traffic. So we pull over and scan the roadside fields. There's plenty of Pink-footed Geese on show and lesser numbers of Greylags in the same fields. 
With daylight hours rapidly falling we head over to Buckenham Marshes. On arrival, the only geese viewable are the large flock of Barnacle Geese. 
So it's back to the car and a quick drive round to Cantley. Scanning the fields from the gate, the Bean Geese (Taiga) are located in the far right-hand corner and then a flock of White-fronted Geese call noisily as they fly overhead.
The light has almost gone by now, so it's back to Buckenham for the incredible spectacle of the crow roost.
A fantastic sight and sound of tens of thousands of Rooks and Jackdaws going to roost.
A great ending to the first birding day of the new year.

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