Gary had invited me to join him and James to go and see the Northern Harrier, that had finally been pinned down at Thornham long enough to be positively ID'ed. Rising at 5.45 i wondered was it really worth it. A trudged to the station in the snow where i met James, from North Walsham we slowly made our way to Thornham. From the harbour we didn't have to long to wait, once a snow shower had passed the juv. male Northern Harrier showed well before drifting west over Holme. The bird was much darker than i expected above, and below the orange/chestnut hues showed well as the bird banked and turned in surprisingly good light. A food stop at TitchwellRSPB saw us watching a female Brambling among the commoner birds around the feeders, as well as brief views of an over wintering Chiffchaff. Refuelled we headed onto Wells Woods. 2/3 Goldeneye were on the boating lake as we arrived and a exiting birder informed us that the Northern Bullfinch had been showing along with a probable Siberian Chiffchaff and Northern Treecreeper, all would be new sub-species for me. We soon heard the 'trumpet' call of the Northern Bullfinch, but initially could only locate its commoner cousins. A male Northern Bullfinch eventually flew across the path and after a bit of repositioning we got good views. At least 1 female Bullfinch of a much heavier set was also probably of the Northern race. While viewing the Bullfinch at least 1 Mealy Redpoll was feeding in the birch trees above us. A brief look for the Chiffchaff produced nothing and news of a Baikal Teal in Cambridgeshire got us excited before we opted for a drink in the Dun Cow at Salthouse. Sadly there was not alot to report from the pub-birding hotspot but the 6+ Snipe were a new 'pub tick' and a Barn Owl was seen. A quick half at the Bluebell in North Walsham before our train also failed to added more birds to our list.
I recently moved back to North Walsham and needing a new local patch, I soon settled on a few of my old favourite sites, but they were spread around town. All are close to the old railways track beds and my new house sits at the apex of all 5 lines that once radiated out from North Walsham, these form the arteries joining everything up. My 'Birding Alone Old Lines' patch was born, revisiting the old birding sites of youth, via the Old Railway Newtworks.