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Friday, 18 January 2013

Thursday 16th January - Exclusive Day 2 for 2 persons in NW Norfolk

Again with icy roads & plenty of snow, we headed to nearby coastal locations, the temperature again down to -8 overnight & not exceeding freezing throughout the day.

We stopped off in one of the harbour areas & from the relative warmth of the minibus were able to watch a nice selection of birds. At least c30+ Turnstone flew straight in, eager to be fed & close by on the shoreline there was Ringed Plover, Redshank, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit & Curlew - all pretty close up, enabling excellent views. Also close by were some nice groups of Brent Geese, we noted the very low percentage of juveniles suggesting a poor breeding season for these birds back in the arctic.

We walked out on to one of the saltmarsh estuary areas & as the tide dropped we had a lovely selection of shorebirds, c40 Golden Plover, c15 Snipe, c100 Lapwing, c60 Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Turnstone, Grey Plover & Oystercatcher. Other birds of note were a very confiding & wonderful views of a male Bearded Tit, a Goosander flying over west was probably the most unusual species, plus
2 Barn Owls hunting, clearly hungry & trying hard in the snow covering to find food. Other raptors were 2 Buzzard, 6+ Marsh harrier, Sparrowhawk & 2 Kestrel all out hunting. 

A flock of c50 Skylark, plus a group of Pink-footed geese, Curlew & Lapwing seemed to have found a small area to feed in & 2 Barnacle Geese were also with the Pink-feet.

The saltmarsh pools held good numbers of Teal & Wigeon, these constantly flushed by Marsh harriers looking for any weaker birds.

We lunched in the warmth of the "feeding area" at Titchwell & watched 1-2 Brambling amongst the commoner visitors to the feeders. Out on the reserve - a good mix of birds, despite the freshmarsh being frozen solid! 2 Spotted Redshank, 1 Greenshank, c12 Black-tailed Godwit (noticeably scarce at present), 5 Pintail, c200 Wigeon, c150 Teal. 

Towards the beach the RSPB had laid seed down & this was a magnetic for many hungry passerines, 100+ Skylark, c40 Linnet plus one superb Lapland Bunting.

We finished off the day with a look on the sea which was high on numbers, but low on diversity! Two "black slicks" on the water truned out to be huge rafts of Scoter - at least c7000 Common Scoter! Also on the sea in excess of c70 Goldeneye, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 1-2 Eider, c20 Tufted Duck & Great crested Grebe.

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