Sunday, 13 March 2011

Norfolk Stag Weekend Trip with a spot of wildlife watching

I spent the weekend down in Norfolk on a stag do so took the opportunity to get a bit of birding in along the way. Rich picked me up on Friday morning and we headed south from Yorkshire to the Norfolk Broads going via the North Norfolk Coast route.

The route down resulted in the now typical roadside raptors, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard and as we got to south Linconlshire the occasional Marsh Harrier was noted.

We hit the Holme area first where we came across a flock of geese that included thousands of Pink-footed, a number of Brent and a single Ross's Goose. Unusually the goose flock allowed a fairly close approach which was great. Also noted in the fields surrounding the area were Egyptian, Canada, Greylag and the odd feral goose! Also noted in this area was a range of waders such as Oystercatcher, Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Turnstone, Redshank, Little Egret, Barn Owl, 3 Marsh Harriers etc.

Ross's Goose in amongst Pink-footed and Brent Geese

Me looking through the gulls

We moved on to Titchwell to check out the new hide, its amazing how close you get to the birds now here and they don't really seem too bothered, despite the screaming kids etc! Here we had Spotted Redshank, Ruff, Avocet, Pintail, Teal, Bearded Tit amongst others - we didn't have the time to go far into the reserve as we only had 30 minutes to have a quick look. A mammal highlight was a Chinese Water Deer that was walking across a marsh and proving quite popular with many visitors.

Chinese Water Deer at Titchwell



Spotted Redshank

A final stop on Friday was at Cley, by the time we got here it was just in time to see the sunset, we were hoping to catch a glimpse of the Spoonbill but it had vanished, presumably gone to roost. Here we noted a couple of Barn Owl, lots of Brent Geese, Golden Plover, Ringed Plover etc.

Sunset over Cley

On Saturday morning we spent the day along a river near to where our blushing groom lives, this proved really interesting in beautiful warm weather. We did a spot of walking, boating and fishing taking in some beautiful scenery and interesting wildlife. Highlight was a frustratingly brief view of what was most likely an Otter, unfortunately it dived before we could get bins on it however a detailed look around the area by foot and boat revealed tonnes of otter spraints and other signs. Another Chinese Water Deer was noted too and later in the day a Muntjac almost made it into the pot.

Me inspecting Otter spraint

Close up of the Otter spraint

Several really smart birds were noted, the highlight was a male Goshawk that flew out of a wood, giving exceptional views flushing all the corvids and Wood Pigeons as it went on its way. A drumming Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was heard in an Alder patch and several Kingfisher sightings probably pertained to the same bird as it hunted the river (probably catching more fish than we did!). Other birds noted included Willow Tit, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Siskin, Redpoll sp. etc.

A sunny and warm clearing by the river produced two or three Brimstone, and singles of Small Tortoiseshell and Comma butterflies, my first of each of these species this year.

The evening involved much partying, resulting in much headache this morning!

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