Wednesday, 1 January 2020

A new birding year and decade begins in Norfolk

Another birding year begins with a day in Norfolk. We had a few targets in mind as we set off this morning. Our first target was the Alaskan Yellow Wagtail at Sedgeford. It had been feeding among the dung heaps along the farm track on previous days. Shortly after first light, the Wagtail was located. It remained distant and with a big day ahead we decided to move on and if time allowed we would return at the end of the day.

Alaskan Yellow Wagtail

As we drove through Docking we spotted two Red Kites resting on the grass, then suddenly they took to the air and a ringtail Hen Harrier flew low across the same field. It crossed the road and headed into the next field before it was lost to view. At Burnham, we found three Cattle Egrets a small group of White-fronted Geese and a couple of Grey partridge. At Wells, we were hoping the Rough-legged Buzzard was still in the area. Thankfully it was still present, perched in a small bush between two small huts.

Rough-legged Buzzard

Lady Anne's Drive at Holkham was our next destination, the parking area was packed and the fun run across the road at  Holkham Park only added to the congestion. We made our way along the boardwalk and out onto the beach quickly adding Shorelark and Snow Bunting to the days total. A short sea watch from Holkham Gap added a Velvet Scoter among the Massive rafts of Common Scoter. A Long-tailed Duck and a single Red-throated Diver were also found. 

Snow Bunting

 Common and Velvet Scoter

On route to Titchwell, we stopped at Choseley and located the two Tundra Bean Geese among the large numbers of Pink-footed Geese. Titchwell produced several additions to the year list including Spotted Redshank, Knot, Ringed Plover, Water rail, Red-breasted Merganser, and a Slavonian Grebe. With the light fading, we stopped briefly at Thornham and found a small flock of Twite before ending the day at Hunstanton cliffs, where we added several Fulmars below the cliffs.

A satisfying start to a new birding year.

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