Friday, 18 December 2015

Norfolk, A hit & miss birding trip

We headed for Norfolk this morning hoping to bag a couple of end of year ticks. 
Having tried and failed to add Golden Pheasant to the list on several occasions while on route to Norfolk sites this year, we decided to give it another try at first light. After an  hour's wait we heard a single male calling, but despite the apparent close proximity to us the bird failed to show itself. 

An unproductive visit to Snettisham was next up. Unproductive in so far as there was no sign of the Pallid Harrier. It was to be reported later in the day at Flitcham!
The spectacle of thousands of Geese flying over our heads shortly after leaving the car park, and then thousands of Golden Plover, Lapwings and Knot flying over the mudflats was an impressive sight.

Keen to make the most of the daylight hours, we headed off to Choseley in the hope of connecting with the Rough-legged Buzzards that had been frequenting the area. 
As luck would have it we got straight onto first one Rough-legged Buzzard and then a second bird appeared! The first bird showed well as it hunted the surrounding fields, occasionally dropping to the ground before continuing it's search for food. The nearby hedge line produced double figures of Red-legged partridge and at least five Hares.
With Brian needing Red-necked Grebe for the year list, Brancaster Staithe was next on the agenda. No sooner had we pulled up the Grebe popped up between two moored boats. 

Red-necked Grebe

Titchwell was pretty quiet, but still produced a Brambling on the feeders outside the reserve centre along with a pair of flyover Bewick Swans as we walked towards the beach.The sea only produced double figures of Red-breasted Mergansers of any note while we were there.With the water levels on the reserve very high there was very few waders to be seen. I heard late last night that the water was being drained to make it much more inviting for waders. 

Cley had been hosting a Grey Phalarope for the past couple of days, so that was the next destination. Upon arrival we were told it had flown several times and that it landed on the pool in front of us!
Unfortunately after an extensive search with the scope there was no sign of the bird. Brian decided to head off along the track and search the pools there. The moved paid off when he re-located the bird busily feeding along the waters edge. It didn't seem to be able to settle in any area for long and would rarely feed in the typical circling motion. It preferred to feed among the wet grass at the waters edge.

Grey Phalarope
Before heading for home we had a quick search for the Iceland Gull at King's Lynn, But with the light fading fast we had very little time to search for the bird and failed to locate it.

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