Friday, 1 January 2010

New Years Day Birding

Water Rail, North Norfolk

After a sickly Christmas I managed to get a full day in the field today. Worked the coast from Hunstanton to Holkham and back. A coincidence that this was New Years Day and so if I wish the beginnings of a new year list [something I didn't bother with last year]. Good to be out and about auditing what birds are about in the neighbourhood and something I enjoyed all the more now that fatherhood has restricted the time I can spend in the field.

First birds of the year were fly over Black Headed Gulls as I got into my car in Hunstanton followed by Fulmars riding the updraft along the cliff top. Almost the first bird at Holme Marsh was a Water Rail, followed by a hunting Barn Owl. A slow drive along some back roads added Yellowhammer, Corn Bunting and Reed Bunting. Then to Titchwell via a quiet Brancaster Staithe harbour. Titchwell was just getting busy as I arrived and looking great in the bright New Years Day sunshine. A Red Kite quartering the dunes over Thornham Point was a unexpected treat as was an adult Little Gull. Less surprising but equally wonderful was a male Bullfinch.

After Titchwell I headed for Holkham and Lady Anne's Drive. This was absolutely bombed with people, the busiest I've ever seen it. I thought I'd get away from the crowds on the saltmarsh, but all that happened was that I had their dogs for company and was unable to find any Shorelarks. Still the grazing marsh was productive with tens of thousands of Pink Feet present and a single Snow Goose.

To get away from the crowds I decided to end the day at Burnham Norton, here I added a single ringtail Hen Harrier to the day list along with another three or four Barn Owls.

The day wasn't quite over yet as I drove back via the road that cuts through Courtyard Farm I flushed two Woodcock from the roadside species number 83 for the day.

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