Considering that in the last 5 weeks I've been out birding on only three occasions, with an week off work plus Easter I found myself birding almost every other day in April. I will need a couple of posts to get back up to date (I really should get back into the habit of posting weekly!).
9th April - Barton
With no nursery I decided to take Agnes for a walk around Barton, now 3 1/2 she's really starting to enjoy birding and was very proud in pointing out a Buzzard circling overhead. The Broad was more like the North Sea with the wind whipping up some waves, so little was seen. The wind also kept a lot of smaller birds well hidden, however numerous Chiffchaff were calling and my first Willow Warbler and Blackcap of the year were of note.
14th April - Morston
We should have been at an Easter Egg Hunt but as I had mis-read the start time, were ready to go a good hour early. Rather than sit in we headed to Morston, making use of our new National Trust pass we parked in at the Quay and set off to look for the Great Grey Shrike present. As was the case with the GGS in the Brecks I again dipped. Three new year ticks from the short jount however with 2 Spoonbill, Mediterranean Gull and 3 Wheatear. At the Egg Hunt in Matlaske Laura spotted a Red Kite gliding low over the parkland.
15th April - Waxham / Winterton
With the Schools of for Easter James Emerson and I set aside a day to catch up and go birding. We stopped on route at a site that has held migrant Osprey in the past, but today only a pair of Marsh Harrier and common birds. Walking the Dunes at Waxham turned up the two Ring Ouzel (present a few days), a Blackcap and couple of Chiffchaff. With little around and the long staying Hoopoe still at Winterton we decided to head further west.
Pulling in along the Horsey Straight we soon located the lone Tundra Bean Goose that remains with the resident Greylags. Scanning the geese we completely missed the Great White Egret standing in the field only meters away, with the bird taking flight at the first sight of a camera!
Stomping off through the South Dunes at Winterton we nearly reached Hemsby turning back with news the Hoopoe was back near the toilet block. We walked the North Dunes in the area of the Totem Pole with little success, with only Skylark and Meadow Pipit for our efforts. We were about to give up when a fellow birder pointed in a vague direction with the thumbs up. A few dunes later and James flushed the Hoopoe. It seems quite skittish and few low quite a distance between stops. We still managed good views of a lovely bird, with James capturing the below record shot.
16th April - Southrepps / Paston
After repairing some rotten woodwork at home I headed to Southrepps to look for another Great Grey Shrike reported the previous day. A walk north of The Common failed to turn up a GGS however 3 Swallows hawking over Warren Barn were my first for the year. Walking The Common the resident birds are now in full song and some of the areas distinctive flowers are starting to bloom, in this case
Moving onto the patch at Paston, I had a nice male Wheatear by the car and a male Ring Ouzel of the cliff face very close by. As with my last visit Linnet seemed to be perched on every bush. A Lesser Whitethroat was by the turning circle and a Sandwich Tern was heading north out to sea. The Holiday Camp and Paddocks were very quite, although the Sparrowhawk and 2 Kestrel patrolling the cliff probably didn't help.
17th April - Morston / Cley / Felbrigg
With Agnes spending a day with the in-laws I decided to head to Cley and Salthouse in the hope of finding migrants in decent numbers. Greeted by a hazy sea mist lingering over the grazing marshes I drove on to Morston to give the Great Grey Shrike another try. Walking West towards Stiffkey Fen the expected waders were observed including a lone Whimbrel, with a couple of Wheatear and a male Stonechat hardly worth note. I walked just beyond Stiffkey Fen without seeing the GGS (it reappeared in the afternoon) but decided to give the Fen Pool a good scan. While scanning I realised I could hear at least 2 Sedge Warbler singing, new birds for the year, a delightful sound, but one I almost over looked. After locating the Sedge Warbler I continued my scan locating my 3rd year tick of the morning with a Common Sandpiper feeding in the margins. Walking back I watched the Stonechat for a while and flushed a Ring Ouzel from the gorse but still no GGS.
At Cley the haze had started to lift, a quick check of the Eye Field gave up only 2 Wheatear, but no hoped for Wagtails. Scanning the sea seemed pointless with the mist hanging just off shore that said however I sat down for 10 minutes and 2 Velvet Scoter passed close enough to be seen with their distinctive wing bar. Water levels seem very high from the main hides, consequently very few waders were present and after finding the hoped for Little Ringed Plover I headed to the Visitor Centre, to check I hadn't missed anything and have an early lunch. Walking back a Cetti's Warbler unusually sang out in the open giving exceptional views as it belted out its energetic song.
Driving home the sun was warm on my arms, and at the last minute I decided on a stop at Felbrigg. I still hadn't seen a Little Owl this year and this was perfect weather for one to perch up. Parking by the Wood Yard I bumped into a few members of the East Norfolk Bird Club finishing their walk so soon had a grasp on everything that was about. The hoped for Little Owl was soon found with the given directions, a Redwing/Fieldfare flock will probably be my last of the year and a Mistle Thrush was vocal in his presence. Unexpectedly (the bird club hadn't told me) two Ring Ouzel where seen at close quarters on the Warren, with a further also present nearer the sluice along with a Wheatear. On the lake 2 Tufted x Ferruginous Duck held my interest for a while before I saw my first Whitethroat of the year, completing my short loop back to the car.
Tuesday 21st May 2019
2 hours ago