Norfolk in November

Thursday 10th - Friday 11th November 2016
Shore Larks, Holkham Gap
I spent a brilliant two days birding in Norfolk with Mark, connecting with many excellent birds. We started off on arrival in Nelson's County at Thornham Harbour hoping for Twite. After not finding any, it seemed like a slow start. A Spotted Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed GodwitGrey Plover and Kingfisher in the creek were all good birds. Four Marsh Harriers over the reed-beds and salt marsh and Pink-footed and Dark-bellied Brent Geese were the first of many at various locations.
Thornham Harbour
Spotted Redshank, Thornham Harbour
Grey Plover, Thornham Harbour
Next stop was Holkham Gap where we soon connected with a 60+ flock of Shore Larks feeding on the salt marsh, This was an incredible sight and as if that wasn't enough the flock was supplemented by two Lapland Buntings. A small flock of Snow Buntings seen at long range couldn't be re-located.
Holkham Gap
Shore Larks, Holkham Gap
Shore Lark, Holkham Gap
Shore Lark, Holkham Gap
On the way to finish the day in the Broads we passed through Holt, stopping off to see seven Waxwings feeding on Rowan near the church opposite the High Street / A148 junction. It was great seeing these birds again, and it looks like they are arriving in force. Hopefully we will get some in Gloucestershire.
Waxwing, Holt
We arrived at Hickling Broad car park as the light was fading to walk to the raptor viewpoint at Stubb Mill. Along the footpath we saw a Barn Owl hunting over the marsh and then spotted a Peregrine. Thirty Fieldfares were in the hedgerow, and four Cranes landed in a nearby field. At the mill viewpoint, a further seven Cranes were seen, and at least 20 Marsh Harriers came in to roost.
Stubb Mill
Cranes at Stubb Mill, an atmospheric (i.e. blurry) image

Friday was a cracking day and a stroll from our B & B in Cley next the Sea with clear blue skies gave us some good photo opportunities for capturing the windmill i all its glory; the weather was like this for much of the day. On the beach at Cley along the first stretch of Blakeney Point we found a mobile flock of 30 Snow Buntings. Five Red-throated Divers, 19 Common Scoters, 33 Eiders, a Wigeon and two Gannets were noted offshore. A Stonechat was along a fence-line behind the beach.
Cley Windmill
Turnstone, Cley beach
The start of Blakeney Point at Cley
Our next stop was Burnham Overy to walk out to the dunes. As we approached Gun Hill, the ISABELLINE WHEATEAR landed in front of us and bathed in a puddle for a couple of minutes before flying off over the dunes, It was later relocated on the beach. A single Waxwing flew over as did a flock of 110 Golden Plovers. Four Grey Plover, two Knot, 20 Dunlin and 45 Sanderling were along the tideline. In the fields to the east of the path back to the road we noted 900 Pink-footed Geese, 200 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 200 Starlings, a Marsh Harrier and a Snipe. In the field next to the road as we headed towards Burnham Overy we spotted two Egyptian Geese.

The Isabelline Wheatear:
First view as it dropped down right in front of us
Bathing / drinking in a puddle
We were very lucky to see it so easily
It gave us super views
Then perched up briefly before flying over Gun Hill towards the beach
It was a bit more distant on the beach
Gun Hill, Burnham Overy Dunes
We ended our trip at Titchwell Marsh. A very long list of species included, on the fresh marsh a Jack Snipe, four European White-fronted Geese and seven Avocets. At the beach the highlights were two Velvet Scoters, four Long-tailed Ducks, a Red-breasted Merganser, two Eiders and five Red-throated Divers. On the walk back we paused to scan the marshes as the sun set. A Barn Owl was out hunting and several Marsh Harriers were seen. Two Chinese Water Deer were in the marsh - I have seen them here on the previous two visits. As the sky darkened and the moon shone, it was time to head for home after a very enjoyable two days.
Titchwell beach
Common Sun Star, Titchwell beach
Titchwell Marsh
Resting birds on the fresh marsh, Titchwell
Moon rising over Titchwell Marsh


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