Thursday, 17 December 2015

Quick Norfolk Tick trip

So with the year almost over we headed up to Norfolk this morning in the hope of adding a few year ticks which we've thus far failed to find this year. First stop was yet another try for Golden Pheasant at Wolferton. Sadly we didn't see any in an hours wait but did all connect with a calling male which despite being very close still didn't reveal itself.

Next stop was Snettisham RSPB where reports had dried up yesterday of the Pallid Harrier but with the old man needing it for a tick we headed off down the very muddy track for a couple of miles to the far end where we watched hundreds of Geese, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Knot and Shelduck come and go. A Marsh Harrier hunted along with a Sprawk.

We then stopped at Choseley drying barns where we quickly found one then another Rough-legged Buzzard. The birds showed really well in the valley below the barns along with several Hares and Red-legged Partridge. At Brancaster Staithe we connected with the wintering Red-necked Grebe. The harbour also held a pair of Red-breasted Merganser, Dunlin, Turnstone, Oystercatcher and Redshank along with the usual Gulls.

Record shot of the Red-necked Grebe at Brancaster Staithe
At Titchwell we stopped to feed the car park Robin before walking to the sea and back. Lot's of Red-breasted Mergansers and a couple of Grebes floated by but otherwise the sea was very quiet. The reserve water levels are really high and as such wader numbers are also low. A pair of Bewick Swans, single Brambling and a Chinese Water Deer the highlights of a dull visit.

Record shot of the Grey Phalarope at Cley
A quick 18 mile drive halted briefly to check out a ringtail Harrier and we were standing on the Eastbank at Cley looking for the reported Grey Phalarope that had decided to go missing just as we arrived. While the small crowd scanned the fields I walked along to the far end where I found the little treasure and quickly got the other birders on it.
This was a real little gem very active and unlike most Phalaropes it waded along the waters edge feeding rather than spinning in deeper waters. Can't believe that's my first Grey of the year but it completed the trio of Red-necked and Wilson's so was a very welcome tick which takes the year list to a respectable 272.

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