Thursday, 31 December 2015

End of year trip

I usually try to get in a days birding between Christmas and New Year.
This year it was Norfolk as it's always good and there were a few obvious omissions in my year list.

Although the weather was unseasonably warm and bright, near gale force winds put the mockers on most of my days plans as the birds were keeping their heads down. In fact I dipped nearly all the birds I was hoping for.

 Starting off at Fishers Fleet in Kings Lynn the regular Iceland Gull was a no show - I think the nearby shellfish factory may have been closed for the holiday.

 A stop at Hunstanton Cliffs produced several Fulmars - my first for the year and a quite high fly past Red-throated Diver.

 At Thornham Harbour  I think I managed to locate the wintering Twite flock but the strong wind kept them low in the grass and I never did get a definitive view.

News then came through that the crazy Red-rumped Swallow that had been hanging around Holkham for the past fortnight had been sighted so I headed there. Unfortunately that didn't show again.

I decided to park on Lady Anne's Drive and talk a walk down to the sand dunes where I finally had a bit of success, a flock of around 30 very flighty Snow Buntings were found. Another flock of either Linnets or Twite were on the salt flats but again they kept their heads down. I suspect they were Linnets anyway.
 From the Drive there were hundreds of Brent and Pinkfooted Geese some of which were actually quite close.

                                                      Brents
 
Pinkfeet
 
 
                                                                                                                                                                                             I then decided I would try to see the 4 Tundra Bean Geese that were in a Sugar Beet field with some Pinkfeet up the road at Kelling. Well I managed to find the field but the Goose flock was enormous and a long way off so it was a needle in a haystack job and I soon gave up.
 
I decided to spend the rest of the day at Cley which was great but of my target birds Water Pipit, Bearded Tit and Lapland Bunting, none were stupid enough to poke their head above the parapet in such averse conditions. The sea was almost devoid of birds so no chance of a stray Skua or even Eider.
 
My best bird of the day was a smart Black Brant that was in the Brent flock close to Beach Road.
Black Brant
 
While I was at Cley the Kelling Pinkfoots dropped onto the grazing marsh along with the Tundra Beans but unfortunately before I could across to the hides they all departed off to roost.
 
An enjoyable day but very much a case of   'lets see what you could have won !'
 

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