Today i caught the train to Berney Arms, one of the most isolated station in Britain,being 3.5 miles from the nearest road. From the station its a short walk to the edge of Breydon Water, from here you can walk to Great Yarmouth about 6 miles along the north wall, its isolation makes for a very quiet walk (today i encountered just 1 person on the whole route). Before i got off the train though i had seen what i thought was a Rough-legged Buzzard on a post from the train, but now i'm aware of a very pale Common Buzzard in the area, which sadly it probably was.
Getting off the train i soon heard and located Sedge Warbler, Reed Bunting, Bearded Tit, Curlew, Skylark and Chiffchaff. Walking towards the Wind pump 12 Whimbrel flew over my head (a group of almost 50 was seen later) and 2 Marsh Harrier were close by. My first rather tired looking Swallow was on the wires and a Grasshopper Warbler was reeling but could not be seen. A Cuckoo was calling and was found just east of the Berney Arms Pub, along with 2 Whitethroat and slightly further along the wall a Lesser Whitethroat. For the next 40 minutes or so heavy drizzle was frustrating but was brightened by 3 Yellow Wagtail . By the Breydon Pump House, 5 Swallow and a House Martin flew around the sluice and a lonely Wheatear watched me from its perch on a footpath marker post.
Since my last walk along this route two pools have been dug and these held lots of Shelduck (one group of 58 and one of 72) as well as Avocet and lingering Wigeon. My attention was soon distracted by two White Stork that flew in and then came closer and closer. If these birds are excepted as wild they will be a 'lifer' and my first of the spring. I watched the Stork for 15 minutes or so before the flew off north. I then scanned the pools for 'migrant' waders without success until i stumbled upon a Gargany. Part of the North Wall is closed for flood defense work so i detoured via the back of the Vauxhall Holiday Park. My first Reed Warbler of the year was in a reedy dyke and 2 additional Yellow Wagtail were flitting about. Peacock, Comma and Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies had started to emerge as the sun finally broke through.
I next walked through both the old and new cemeteries in Yarmouth, but with lots of the old scrub removed i only managed to find a single Blackcap. On North Denes i found a female Wheatear and on the beach numerous Ringed Plover and singles of Greenshank and Grey Plover. 2 Sandwich Tern headed north before i headed into town to meet Gary for lunch.
Back on the train home i got one final surprise for the day. Not far from the old Pontiac Roadhouse a Glossy Ibis was flushed into the air by the train from a flooded pool, it flew away from the line before characteristically gliding down into the marsh again.
WHITLINGHAM: January wildfowl count
12 hours ago