Friday, 1 January 2016

A cold and dippy start to 2016

It's official 2016 is colder than 2015!

We cleared ice off the windscreen this morning and left for Norfolk with the car reading minus one.
Barn Owl was again the first bird of the year with two birds seen as we drove up the A10.

Our first stop was at Kings Lynn where we planned on adding an early Iceland Gull to the year list but unfortunately the bird hadn't read the script and for the first time in weeks decided not to show up. We bagged what ticks we could including Peregrine as two birds finished a meal on the tower over looking the docks. With time limited we moved on to Wolferton where we dipped Golden Pheasant which is a bird getting harder to connect with at this site now. Our plan now was to finally connect with the long staying Pallid Harrier at Flitcham. A bird we've missed on three visits already but seems to show every day we don't go. Guess was another no show. Still a great place to visit with huge finch flocks containing lot's of Brambling, Tree Sparrow, Bullfinch and Yellowhammer amongst others. Grey Partridge is reliable here along with the usual farm land birds.

At Choseley we connected with two Rough-legged Buzzard before moving on to Thornham where upwards of twenty Twite showed well around the car park and a Greenshank waded along the muddy banks of the harbour. We tried to scope the Shorelarks without making the walk along the sea wall but failed miserably and decided time would be better spent at Titchwell. I managed to pick up a couple of Red-throated Diver and a single juvenile Gannet at sea and we had a decent wader count here too before moving on.

Titchwell delivered Siskin near the car park whilst the feeders behind the centre held Redpoll, Brambling, Coal, Marsh and Long-tailed Tit. The reserve gave up the usual waders etc but the highlight was Meadow, Rock and Water Pipit all from the sea wall over the Thornham side.
From the beach hundreds of Scoter drifted along in the distance but there was little else of note.

We stopped at Holkham and dipped the Great White Egret but did pick up White-fronted Geese here before moving on to Kelling where we tried to pick out the Tundra Bean Geese but with distance and light against us we left in order to get to Stiffkey in time to see the Hen Harrier roost where we had a fantastic male come in and a notable number of Little Egrets heading to their roost site and must have numbered over a hundred birds at a guess.

So 2016 is off and running with a first days count of 92. The chase to beat my best year of 285 is the driving force behind the year list but the truth is it's just an excuse to get out there and see stuff.

A rare post without any images as today was all about the count and the weather was pretty gloomy anyway,

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