Monday, 7 October 2013

Long Weekend in Norfolk

Travelled up to Norfolk early on Friday morning and made Lynford Arboretum my first port of call for the Two Bar Crossbills which have been hanging around there for awhile. I walked around for an hour but no luck in finding them although they were seen later that day. Then it was a drive up to Wells Next the Sea to book into the B & B  and call in one my favourite fish and chip shops Frenchs on the front in Wells and the food tasted as good as ever. It was then straight back out to look for the Red Breasted Flycatcher at Warham Greens which was only a couple of miles up the road.  Found the place to park on the " concrete pad " quite easily and then proceeded to walk down the path towards the sea until I came across the copse where the bird had been seen.  Quite a few birders and photographers were already there, I waited about 10 mins before I got my first glimpse of the bird and then the bird repeatedly showed itself for the next half hour or so.  It never came right out in the open but I managed to get some good perched views through the outer branches.
Next day I decided to go to Titchwell, breakfast not being until 8:15 I didn't get there that early.  A Yellow Browed Warbler had been seen that morning from the boardwalk out to the Fen Hide so I decided to try for that first. I didn't get the bird and I wasn't alone, the bird was heard through out the day but no one managed to get a glimpse of it.  I had some consolation when I walked out to the new screen beyond the Fen Hide with a Jack Snipe actually on the floor, well sleeping on the edge of some reeds. Apparently not long after I left a Moorhen pecked it up the bum and it shot out right in the open.
More consolation following when walking back I stopped by one the small ponds on the Meadow Trail and watched a Water Vole swim across towing a long reed, it's been a few years since I last seen a Water Vole.
I then decided to walk out towards the beach stopping at various points to search the lagoons and reeds.  I hadn't walked that far when two birds flew over me and landed in the reeds in front of me, something else I had not seen for ages 2 Bearded Tits. 
The lagoons held a good selection of waders including Dunlin, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Curlew Sandpiper, Ruff , Greenshank, Common Snipe, Curlew, Whimbrel, Lapwing, Black Tailed Godwit and best of all a Little Stint. All the usual wildfowl suspects were there, most of the geese species with thousands of " Pinkies " flying over.
I was fascinated by the Greenshank who was running through the water with its bill in the water " Skimmer Style " I've never seen this done before it was quite comical.
On the way back I started looking more over onto the marsh on the other side of the bank and noticed some movement a few hundred yards out which turned out to be a Chinese Water Deer. 
It was then back to the centre for a baked potato with tuna mayo washed down with hot chocolate ( sorry Mike they don't serve Spitfire ).
On the drive back to Wells I called in at Choseley Barns hoping for Corn Buntings but only small birds seen were Chaffinch and Pied Wagtails. Not a bad day after dipping the Yellow Browed.
On Sunday I went to Cley first and done a complete circuit around the reserve.  First notable birds were seen has I got out of the car a pair of Marsh Harriers quartering the reed beds.  I walked along the edge of the reserve and then across the East Bank which was quiet apart from 2 Kestrels and a Sparrowhawk being chased off by some crows.  At the far end of the East Bank I struck lucky with 8 Bearded Tits, 6 flying over and again two quite close in the reeds. Walking along the shingle and beach did not produce much, a single Wheatear probably being the highlight.  The walk from Coastguards back to the centre at Cley was even quieter which was probably due to the weather sun with hardly any wind.
I decided then to go back to Titchwell for a few hours, the Yellow Browed had been heard again but not seen so I just had a quick walk along the boardwalk and stopped by the pond and again was rewarded with great views of the Water Vole, first on a overhanging branch and then swimming across the water.  I only walked half way out and went to the new hides.  The only new wader seen were some Avocets.  Things picked up on the walk back where I found two Twite which I think were the first seen there this autumn.
Last call of the day was again Choseley Barns, no Corn Buntings but a year tick in a White Wagtail and a great bird to end the day a ringtail Hen Harrier.
Monday on the drive home I went via Lynford Arboretum where I finished the way I started by dipping the Two Bar Crossbills.
I also gave my new camera a test drive ( photos to follow ) and yes the camera does bounce.

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