Today I got up at stupid o’clock and went on a daytrip to Norfolk with the SBSG. A great day it was too – the drive there was productive in itself, with 25 species seen before we got off the bus, including year ticks for me in the form of rook, grey partridge, lesser black-backed gull, herring gull, pink-footed goose and best of all two barn owls en route.
The first stop was Holkham, where some of the first birds seen in the fields by the car park included a large flock of brent geese – a lifer for me – and vast numbers of pink-feet. Other birds around included wigeon, teal, curlew, lapwing, common gull and stonechat, with skylark and linnet among the birds on the beach. Best of all for me were around half a dozen red-breasted merganser out to see, a bit of a bogey I was glad to mop up at last.
Then it was on to Titchwell, where the birds around included avocet, both godwits, sanderling, turnstone, grey plover (another one that’s slipped through the net up to now…), oystercatcher, snipe, goldeneye, pintail, marsh harrier and kingfisher. I missed a couple though – I missed the snow buntings by being in the wrong place when they were showing, a pipit that may or may not have been the water pipit that has been sighted there recently didn’t show for long enough for us to find out, and while most others in the party got cracking views of the bearded tits, I had to be content with two brief views as a couple flashed into the reeds.
It was a fantastic day all round, though, and I really should spend more time in that part of the country because it’s very good indeed.
On the way back I got one more lifer in the shape of two Egyptian geese in a field, and the third barn owl of the day. Cracking stuff!
I got a whopping 71 species today – the full list (year ticks in bold):
Robin, blackbird, feral pigeon, magpie, carrion crow, rook, black-headed gull, woodpigeon, barn owl, jackdaw, starling, grey heron, pheasant, mallard, jay, mute swan, great black-backed gull, grey partridge, moorhen, collared dove, pochard, herring gull, lapwing, pink-footed goose, house sparrow, brent goose, chaffinch, oystercatcher, greylag, wigeon, common gull, teal, stonechat, skylark, linnet, redshank, red-breasted merganser, meadow pipit, pied wagtail, curlew, goldfinch, dunnock, kestrel, greenfinch, great tit, blue tit, long-tailed tit, coot, little grebe, pintail, snipe, kingfisher, shoveler, shelduck, sanderling, ruff, golden plover, reed bunting, avocet, goldeneye, dunlin, cormorant, black-tailed godwit, bar-tailed godwit, turnstone, grey plover, gadwall, marsh harrier, bearded tit, wren, Egyptian goose.