We headed over to the Yare Valley & were soon enjoying a mass of wildfowl, thousands of Wigeon, plus Shoveler, Teal, Shelduck & geese. The Wigeon providing wonderful close up views. After a bit of searching I soon had a small group of 22 Taiga Bean Geese lined up, although a little distant, the long dark necks, heavy long bills, & orange legs could all be seen through the scopes. The fields were littered with small groups of Lapwing, plus a few Golden Plover & overhead Marsh Harrier & Buzzard passed by.
As we were contemplating walking out along one fo the footpaths to search for further geese, a skein appeared on the horizon, as they dropped I could see they were our quarry - Eurasian White-fronted Geese, around c50 of them. They landed & everyone was able to enjoy scope views as they settled down to feeding.
We then headed north towards the Broads & were soon searching along some minor lanes for wild swans. It didn't take too long to find them; a good flock of around 220 birds were evident at some range. The first small group of 7 consisted of 2 ad, 4 juv Whooper Swan & 1 ad Bewicks Swan. These were nice & close & we were able to study them carefully from the minibus without disturbing them. Further over in the next field, the main flock was present, again viewed easily from the minibus & with no disturbance, we were able to really enjoy the beautiful sights & sounds of 200 Bewick's & 18 Whooper Swan as several birds dropped in to join the main flock.
I then took the group to a quiet lane for our lunch break, with a nice vista across on of the large inaccessible areas of Hickling broad, several Marsh harrier, plus another Barn Owl were noted. Dinner was suddenly & abruptly interrupted as 2 Cranes flew across. A successful lunch!
In the early afternoon we spent some time looking offshore at the sea, we had plenty of Red-throated Diver, with many flying past & several sat on the sea. A Shag was sat on one of the groins, & several Gannet passed by, we were fortunate to pick up 2 Purple Sandpiper flying by, which sadly landed well out of range.
We finished the day at a raptor roost, & were rewarded even before reaching the watchpoint as 2 Cranes were found in one of the fields just off the roadside! The roost itself surpassed expectations with an excellent number of birds, around 1000 Pink-feet were heading off to roost & a few thousand Starling also passed by - a brilliant end to a great 3 days. Raptors were excellent - c50 Marsh Harrier, 2 ad male & 2 r/t Hen Harrier, 2 Merlin (one perched & flying over the perched bird), 2-3 barn owl & 8 Cranes, including a party of four showing well on the ground.
Total species was around 112 for the 3 days.