Saturday, 2 January 2016

New year's day birding in Norfolk

The new year started with a visit to King's Lynn searching for the juvenile Iceland Gull. In the semi darkness we were the first to arrive, but there was no sign of the bird, as daylight arrived so did many other birders. An hour or so later there was still no sign, A pair of Peregrine up on the nearby tower was a nice find before we moved on to Wolferton. After a couple of circuits of the triangle there was no sign and with time short we headed for Flitcham hoping to finally connect with the Pallid Harrier.
Having already dipped this bird on three separate occasions last year, the first day of 2016 was no different! Although the Pallid didn't show, the farmland fields were productive for year ticks. Tree Sparrow, Brambling, Yellowhammer, Red-legged and Grey Partridge all seen here.

Stopping at Choseley we quickly connected with one and then both Rough-legged Buzzards hunting along the top hedge line. A scan from Thornham car park unsurprisingly failed to locate the Shorelarks on the beach. Twite proved much easier to see as a flock of 20+ birds fed close by and a Greenshank was a nice find. 

Titchwell would deliver several good species during a brief visit. The feeders around the centre were being visited by Brambling, Marsh, Coal and Long-tailed Tits and a single Lesser Redpoll and a small flock of Siskin were feeding in the tree tops. The dried up pools on the Thornham side of the reserve added three species of pipit, with Water, Rock and Meadow all seen. A short sea watch only added Common Scoter, which poured through in huge numbers.

A stop at Holkham failed to find the Great White Egret reported from here but it did add White-fronted Goose, with a sizable flock feeding  in fields in front of the pines.
With light fading fast we headed for Stiffkey and connected with a superb male Hen Harrier hunting the salt marsh. 

I ended the day on 84 species.

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