Sunday, 5 September 2010

North Norfolk Coast

With the intention of catching up with a few autumn migrants and hoping to add to Pauls mammal list we headed off to North Norfolk.
First stop was Cley where we met fellow Bucks birders Mike and Rose.
A bit of seawatching showed lots of Gannets and good numbers of Arctic Skuas harrassing the Sarnie Terns. Paul was in heaven when a Harbour Purpoise surfaced twice really close in, just yards from a bloke swimming in the sea - and he didn't even notice ! Then a Grey Seal bobbed about a little further along.
We had heard there was a Hooded Crow in the area and this was found in the Eye Field with not too much difficulty. This was an English first for us.
The North Scrape was packed full of waders, mainly Dunlin, but with a smattering of other species including, Black-tailed Godwits, Ruff, Lapwings, Ruff, Avocets, a Green Sandpiper, a Wood Sandpiper, a Golden Plover and 2 Little Stints. Again I missed out on Curlew Sandpipers as there were supposedly 10 present, but we couldn't find them.
A close encounter with a couple of Weasels was great , as Paul 'squeaked' at them and they kept popping up their heads out of the long grass to try and find out what it was.

A report of Lapland Buntings had us nipping down the road to Salthouse, but unfortunately despite there being lots of birders around these weren't located.
Lots of Wheatears were in the Dunes and while looking at one sat on a post it suddenly crouched down and froze. Looking around a Merlin shot across the Marsh, before disappearing.
Then an unexpected close encounter with an Arctic Skua that was sat on the saltmarsh. It was presumed that it was unwell, but when photographers predictably tried to get too close, it was up and away.

Barred Warbler was one of the birds we were hoping to see, so when news of one seen near Stiffkey campsite, we had to go.
 We gave it a while,but as time was limited we left without any sign. Other birders had been there some time without any luck either.
 A Whinchat and several Whitethroats were our only reward.

 Next it was on to Holme Dunes where there had also been a Barred Warbler the day before.
Walking through the scrub, lots of Wheatears were in evidence. We eventually reached an area where a group of birders were watching a juvenile Red-backed shrike. Amongst these was 'Man of Holme' Ray Roche and we spent a couple of hours with him just watching and waiting.
 Again no Barred Warbler, but two Peregrines that flew low overhead, Whinchat, Whitethroats, Yellow Wagtail, Garden Warblers, more Wheatears, a Spotted Flycatcher and a very smart Pied Flycatcher.
 A quick look on the beach only resulted in 4 Sanderling and a few Sandwich Terns.

 We then decided to take a look at Redwell Marsh, to see the Red-necked Phalarope that had been around for a few days.
 A lovely bird, but we did feel a bit grieved to pay £3 when that was the only bird on the water. Think it's been bit of a money spinner for them. Are you sure it's not tied down. Only kidding Jed.

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