Sunday, 5 March 2017

Pallid Harrier at New Holkham

The weather forecast was predicting rain for most of the day but with yesterdays reports of Pallid Harrier in New Holkham I was compelled to take the old fella up the A11 in search of his first Pallid Harrier and the bird he had made his main target for 2017.

Pallid Harrier at New Holkham
Pallid Harrier
We arrived at first light and drove down to the parked cars at Blunt's Corner just off the B1105,
Several birders were already set up and one had seen the Harrier but it was now lost to view but within a few minutes I spotted the bird coming over the fields before it dropped to the ground and wrestled with a catch. Over the next couple of hours the bird would fly over the fields and disappear to our right before coming back into view in front of us. Three Red Kites and three Merlin were also seen with both species interacting with the Harrier at some point.

We moved on to search Holkham Bay for the wintering Shore Larks finding seven birds feeding not far from the end of the boardwalk and we also picked up a year tick when two Cranes circled over the pines before drifting off to the west,

Cranes over Holkham Pines
At Brancaster we picked a few Bar-tailed Godwits out and the drying barns gave up a couple of Grey Partridge for another late year tick. On the way home we stopped at Cockley Cley finding fire point 109 and walking down the track where we found the wintering Great-Grey Shrike along with a Lesser Redpoll to bring the year list to 161.
The Shrike Followed us all the way back to the main road before turning and working its way back into the woods.

Great-Grey Shrike at Cockley Cley
Took a bit of finding!
Barn Owl at the races

A really terrific days birding picking up some good birds along the way and making the best of the days weather.

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