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Friday, 1 February 2013

Friday 1st february - 3 Day Winter Birding Tour

Day One - NW Norfolk

A really lovely day with beautiful, big blue Norfolk skies, accompanying a great selection of 83 species!

The day started with 2 Barn owl encounters as we passed along the lanes heading for NW Norfolk. We arrived just in time to witness a really good showing of shorebirds, in excess of 50,000 shorebirds hit the skies.
The mass bulk of the flock being of course Red Knot, but also massive flock of 7000+ Bar-tailed Godwit probably  & the usual supporting cast of 1000+ Golden Plover, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Turnstone, Sanderling etc. Also several nice skeins of Pink-footed Geese past overhead.

We had probably seen around 25% of the masses until a marauding Peregrine went skittling through them all, sending everything into orbit & the smoke clouds of shorebirds hit the skies, superb!

From the hides, there was plenty of Lapwing, wildfowl & several superb male Goldeneye, head throwing at the females. 

We left Snettisham & were now able to study more of the waders at close quarters as they fanned out on the mud to feed. As we headed back another Barn Owl was seen from the road.

At Holme we wandered out on to the dunes & soon found a lovely flock of c50 Snow Bunting, which obligingly after a few flights landed close by & walked straight towards us, affording great views plus more shorebirds to study & a flyby Guillemot, being hotly pursued by a Great-black backed Gull.

Lunch was taken with Marsh harrier, Buzzard, Pochard masses of Wigeon & Tufted Duck on view. The mid to late afternoon was equally successful with 3 hunting Barn Owl, 1 Short-eared Owl, 5+ Marsh harrier & a Bittern plus a supporting cast of c200 Brent Geese, c120 Curlew & several Fieldfare & Redwing. 

The day almost finished with a flyover Woodcock, but was usurped by a calling Tawny Owl at the accommodation!!

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