With rain forecast almost everywhere this morning, we decided to take our chances and head for Norfolk and hopefully bag dad a lifer in the form of the recently reported Pallid Harrier.
On route we stop off along the A1065 to watch a couple of hunting Barn Owls. One disappears across the road and heads for thicker cover, while the other bird perches on roadside signs before resuming it's search for prey. A third Barn owl is seen shortly before we reach our original destination of New Holkham.
Arriving shortly after first light we join a small group of birders already present. The bird had already been seen, but had been lost to view. Scanning the surrounding fields Brian spots the Harrier quartering the bottom field allowing some superb views. We stayed for a couple of hours with the Harrier spending most of this time hunting between the surrounding fields and hedge lines, At one point a Red Kite arrived on the scene and began mobbing it! After the Red Kite had lost interest in the Pallid Harrier it resumed quartering the bottom field and is then joined by a Merlin.
|Pallid Harrier (B Anderson)|
After the bird had disappeared from view, we left and went in search of the Shore Larks at Holkham. Expecting a long walk out towards the beach, we got lucky when seven Shore Larks were found feeding among the dunes in the bay. As we headed back towards the boardwalk two Cranes appeared over the top of the Pine trees, adding another welcome year tick.
A very brief stop off at Brancaster Staithe adding Bar-tailed Godwit to the year list before we moved on to Choseley in search of Grey Partridge. We found plenty of Red-legged Partridge at several spots along the road towards Choseley drying barns, and finally located two Greys at the edge of one of the fields.
Before heading for home we made a stop at Cockley Cley for a Great Grey Shrike. We Parked up by the Firebreak 109 sign and took the main track hoping we had picked the right path. Luckily as we reached the open area Brian picked out the Shrike low in a bush.
On the return trip to the car, we picked up a Lesser Redpoll among a flock of Goldfinch in a roadside tree, and while scanning the surrounding trees the Shrike appeared in a tree on the opposite side of the road.