Saturday, 7 January 2012

King down near Lynn

Wednesday was a quiet day, I really should have done some more on my assignment (when I think about it) but I spent the day relaxing before the drive to Sheffield and then onto Norfolk for a few days birding. Wednesday didn’t really seem to end with no sleep and the day began early with me picking up Killy Birder at around about 2.15 on the Thursday morning and then driving down to Sheffield. I arrived at the Flat Cap birders house around about 5.00 in the Morning and we hopped cars and were soon on our way to Norfolk. We arrived around 08.30 after stopping for breakfast at McDonalds. Our first port of call was Wolferton Triangle where after a short wait we were rewarded with cracking views of two male Golden Pheasants, I must confess they were more than humorous. Running across the road in a comical fashion too reach cover whenever a car came along the road. After the views we had we knew we were not going to get much better views and so left. We picked up Oliver Simms from Morrison’s in Kings Lynn, he wasn’t living there or anything it was just the place where we were picking him up from. With all of us in attendance we headed for Buckenham Marshes RSPB.

(Golden Pheasant - © Andrew Kinghorn)

(Golden Pheasant - © Andrew Kinghorn)

When we arrived at Buckenham Marshes RSPB it didn’t really look all that windy, that was until I stepped out of the car and onto the marshes. I think this site is a contender for the most windy and windswept place in the UK, maybe just beaten by Cowgreen Reservoir on the Durham/Cumbrian border. Nevertheless in true hard as nails Northern style we pressed on, we sheltered by the hide and started scanning. A disaster of a goose amongst some Barnacle Geese and Canada Geese was all we could manage, then some keen eyes local spotted a single Taiga Bean Goose appear from a ditch like area about 74 miles away (or so it seemed). Soon it became clear the little tinkers were all hiding in the ditches at the back of the reserve and gradually more appeared, they were joined by some more birds that flew in from the direction of Cantly Marshes. Then it happened, after about 30 minutes a flock flew in and I scanned the flock and there it was; Lesser white-fronted Goose. It quickly disappeared from view and I was starting to worry the others present and the rest of the lads I was with weren’t going to see it but it eventually played ball and showed fairly well. Even though it was distant views were respectable at 50 odd times zoom. Allowing us to note the smaller size, large white blaze, short neck, and the fairly unique shape the bird seemed to have (to me anyway). Content with our sighting along with about 80 Taiga Bean Geese we moved on. Our next stop was Hickling Broad where we paid a rather handsome price to get into a nature reserve that I wasn’t overly impressed with, however the roost was a different story! The roost at Stubbs Mill was simply fantastic with no less than 5 Cranes, 2 Hen Harriers, 2 Merlins, 40+ Marsh Harrier, and Kestrel noted. Pretty fantastic and certainly a British birding spectacle that is a must see! Brilliant way to end a brilliant day.

Day 2 started well with Kingfisher but not the hoped for Great Northern Diver, but an escaped Harris Hawk did put in an appearance! Next stop was a location where some Bewick Swans had been reported the previous day but sadly there was no sign, though we did see 10 Whooper Swans, a female Merlin put on an nice appearance as it attempted to catch and kill a small passerine. Next stop was Cley Marshes NWT where again we dug deep and managed to get together some money (took out a mortgage) and headed to the hides to look for the Western Sandpiper, we were not successful at first and it took a while but eventually the bird gave itself up and we enjoyed fairly good views if not a little distant (compared to when I first saw it). From here we headed to Holkham where excellent views were had of a Barn Owl, 2 Ross’s Geese, and 2 Rough-legged Buzzards. Our final stop was Titchwell RSPB where I enjoyed pretty good views of the 1st winter Coues’ Arctic Redpoll amongst the Lessers present, though no sign of any Mealy Redpolls. Finished the day off before the long drive home with good views of a ringtail Hen Harrier flying over our heads. Brilliant! A truly memorable trip, Lesser white-fronted Goose was a lifer for me and I always like to see the Golden Pheasants.

Until next time, Foghorn out!

EDIT: A look at the Titchwell RSPB Redpoll that has caused some debate on the Rare Bird Information page on BirdFourm.
Titchwell RSPB Redpoll

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for safe passage from and to Killingworth Andrew. Cheers.