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Sunday, 3 February 2013

Sunday 3rd February 3 Day Norfolk Winter Tour

Day 3 of 3 East Norfolk

Another day started with yet more lovely views of hunting Barn Owls
in fact by the end of the day one member of the group had seen no less than 12 individuals!!

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.

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