Having to work lots over Christmas does eventually have some benefits, with some time owed and favourable section of the rota, last Friday i started a spell of 6 days off. The weather didn't really want to play ball though, so Friday was spent relaxing in the house and finally putting the box of Xmas decs out of the way!
Saturday was forecast overcast, but i woke up to drizzle, optimistic it would clear Laura and i headed to Barton Broad for a bit of a walk-about. The rain did ease, however the wind didn't. Barton Broad was very choppy so i could only scan through the closest duck flock. Lots of Tufted Duck and 15+ Goldeneye but little else worth reporting. The Olive Branch Tea Rooms in Tunstead however was much more successful and satisfying. On the way home we briefly stopped behind KFC on Dereham Road in Norwich catching up with the c40 Waxwings, but also c25 Redwing in a neighbouring tree. Sunday was again wet, so food shopping was all i ventured out of the house to do.
Monday was the best dad of the week, and with Dad's Birthday being last week we headed up to Holkham for a day out and a pub lunch. Approaching Antingham 6 Waxwing flew from the hedge, a good start to the day. We then stopped at Fakenham to look for the Great Grey Shrike, it hadn't been seen for an hour, so we decided not to hang about to long (it reappeared in the afternoon). Before parking down the drive at Holkham we first scanned the Marshes from near the church. From here we could see White-fronted Geese, Barnacle Geese, Brent Geese, a lone Tundra Bean Goose and a few Pink-feet Geese with most away feeding. The only bird we could see if we walked the beach was the Shore Lark, but having seen most other things decided to move along the coast. Stopping at the Gun Hill track eventually we picked out a Rough-legged Buzzard moving inland. Next to the track however the stubble was alive with birds, initially i though it was just a large group of Skylark and Meadow Pipit, but on a second inspection 50+ Lapland Bunting made up the bulk of the group. We next decided to drive some of the back-roads around the Burnham Market area before lunch. We found a large Golden Plover flock, and a couple of groups of Grey Partridge before finding a large mixed finch flock easily numbering 300+ feeding on set-a-side. The group was mainly Chaffinch and Linnet, but close inspection also revealed, Tree Sparrow, Yellowhammer, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Brambling. In the same field a Green Woodpecker also flew along the hedge. After lunch we visited Sparham Pools, via Guist and Bintree, where the only birds of note were a Barn Owl and single Fieldfare. The regular wintering Goosander were soon located at Sparham and a male Bullfinch perched up close by. Walking the pools we found little until returning to the Car Park a Great Spotted Woodpecker was in a silver birch, and down by the road bridge we found the resident Grey Wagtail. Tuesday was again wet so i walk into the city to visit the bank and opticians. While wandering however i did find a Grey Wagtail near Fye Bridge, which flew upstream.
Whoopers and Bewick's at St Benet's Abbey.
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