I started a week off work with an early morning walk on Thursday. Waving Laura off, I set off to walk a regular loop out towards Antingham Pond and back again. It was rather overcast with low cloud and everything seemed subdued, although I did hear a singing Chiffchaff nearby as I left. A Kingfisher whizzing down Lyngate Road as if it were a river, was probably the highlight, but it was just nice to do this walk again as I haven't for a few months. The rest of the day was devoted to jobs around the house.
Friday dad and I headed for the coast in the hope of some migrants. We plumped for Kelling, it seemed as good a place as any and I was hoping the Western Bonelli's may have still been there. Parking by the school we spent a short while looking for the Bonelli's but it was soon evident it had moved on. Walking down the track to the water meadows there were good numbers of Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler, giving us hope for the day ahead. The track also held a good-size flock of Chaffinch and mixed Tits. A single Bullfinch also flew over before I found a skulking warbler, luckily we didn't have to wait to long to see the bird, a Lesser Whitethroat. According to a 'local' the pools have been almost dry and only recently started to fill again, there was enough water though to attract 2 Dunlin, c20 Teal and a similar number of Pied Wagtail. At the beach I decided on a little impromptu sea watch as with binoculars I could see a few Gannet passing through. In 20 minutes we has 30+ Gannet, a handful of Sandwich Tern, 2 Guillemot and a Razorbill. The short turf by the Radar station had a single Wheatear hopping about and on the fence a female Whitchat frustrated me, moving along a post at a time as soon as I focused my camera! A recently ploughed field held good sized flocks of both Skylark and Meadow Pipit, possibly passing through? We soon found ourselves back at the car with few genuine migrants encountered, but nibbling on a few snacks before heading off a Honey Buzzard flew through quite low going east.
A quick walk around Kelling Heath in the vein hope a few of its Heathland specialities remain, proved fruitless with a group of 8 Buzzard the only thing worth reporting, unless your keen on Wren and Woodpigeon. We thought about stopping off at near Sheringham or West Runton, but with little being reported headed home. Checking the days sightings in the evening I learnt of a Wryneck at Beeston!
Before my 8pm physio app the evening still held enough light for a brisk stroll around the Spa Common area. Bird wise unsurprisingly it was rather quiet, but along the roadside I did see quite a bit of fungi and an area of digging that looks quite good for badgers.
Saturday Laura and I spent the day out and about doing various things, which included a brief visit to the cliffs at Paston. A lone Whinchat on the wires by the paddocks and 2 Wigeon on the sea were the total sum of migrants seen. But a ticking bird deep in thick brambles and unwilling to move was obviously something very rare.
WHITLINGHAM: January wildfowl count
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