Sunday, 15 January 2012

A day of Twitching in Norfolk

Sometimes it's refreshing just to have a break from the norm. So yesterday was a day out in Norfolk, with hopefully a couple of lifers to be gained.

After just under four hours in the car, the first stop was in the Yare Valley at Buckenham Marshes, to look for the Lesser White-fronted Goose. As time passed, gradually taking the riverbank path towards Cantley, a decent bird list was building up. Including White-fronted Geese, 4 Whooper Swans, Peregrine, ringtail Hen Harrier, 5 or 6 calling Cetti's Warblers and some of the tamest Wigeon you'll ever encounter.

While walking towards Cantley a skein of geese flew past back towards Buckenham, and as it turned out this contained the Lesser White-fronted Goose. A brisk walk back indeed did reveal the Lesser White-fronted Goose with around 50 Taiga Bean Geese. Hurrah, first lifer of the day.

The bird was distant, zooming the scope right in you could faintly see the ring around the eye. Quite a stubby-shaped bill, no obivous barring on the belly like a White-front would have.

That wild goose chase took up most of the morning. So getting back to the car, round the Norwich ring road and through Holt, to Cley.

During the morning the Western Sandpiper had been on Arnold's Marsh, so that was the place to go to when parked up.

Getting to the end of the east bank, the Western Sand was showing well and quite close. Hurrah, lifer number 2!

I'm relieved it was on Arnold's Marsh and could be easily viewable from the east bank, rather being cramped up in the one of the hides. The more usual waders were on Arnold's Marsh such as Dunlin, Ringed and Grey Plovers, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit. Also a nice group of Bearded Tits in the reeds and 4 Marsh Harriers overhead, performing a bit of a display.

With this little twitching mission accomplished, the day finished with a look around Titchwell.

The Arctic Redpoll was feeding in the alders along the path to the freshmarsh, with the other Redpolls and Goldfinches. Also stacks of duck and waders on the freshmarsh, particularly impressive numbers of Ruff, Golden Plover and Pintail. One final surprise before the drive home was this Water Rail feeding in the ditch by the path.

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