Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Another 2-day tour with Stuart http://www.birdtour.co.uk/ started off in very different conditions to the last one. The day started with thick fog but that quickly cleared, unfortunatly that was due to the heavy rain that arrived soon after we got to Titchwell! A sit in the minibus while the heaviest passed over and then off. First bird of the morning was the calling yellow-browed warbler but it didn't show due the heavy rain again! Fen Hide produced 3 very wet looking marsh harriers but not a great deal else. We split the group and I headed off to Parrinder Hide. The fresh marsh was again covered in birds with 1000 golden plover, 5 snipe and loads of wildfowl. A call from Stuart alerted us of a male hen harrier over the saltmarsh but unfortunatly we missed it. The sea was good with at least 60 red breasted merganser, 10 eider, 20 goldeneye and a fly-over snow bunting which could be seen in the low mist! Water rails on the tidal pool and by the visitor centre completed a damp but productive morning.
An increasingly murky afternoon started well. Just as we got out of the minibus at Thornham harbour I picked up the male hen harrier flying over the saltmarsh towards us. It showed really well and the whole group had now seen it. Almost straight away I picked up 2 short eared owls in together over the seawall behind us. Although the light was now very poor and it had started to drizzle, we had good views of the two birds hunting over the rough grassland.
Final stop was the Thornham harrier roost but despite the conditions we did see the hen harrier again.
Hopefully the weather tomorrow for Holkham will be better!!

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