Sunday, 18 January 2015

Cloudy Cley, Sunny Salthouse

We decided to head along the coast last weekend for a circular walk taking in a bit of sea and farmland. We headed from Cley along the shingle ridge to Salthouse, inland across Salthouse Heath and back to the coast road.

It wasn't meant to be a birding walk but we did pick up a few things. Along the East Bank we came across a party of 15+ bearded tits feeding right next to the track. They didn't seem bothered by all the people walking by although I am pretty sure many didn't even see them.
Along what is left of the shingle ridge was a pair of stonechat and a large flock of 70+ goldfinch but the highlight was a flock of 63 snow buntings. They were very approachable and didn't seem bothered by us being there. Most of them were preening and one even looked like it was sleeping! We dropped onto the beach so not to disturb them and headed onto Salthouse.

The walk up through the village and up onto the heath was quiet. Several small groups of pinkies flew over and a couple of mistle thrushes feeding with some horses.

The sun started to come out on the heath showing up the flowering gorse nicely. A bit of pishing pulled out several goldcrests from the scrub but otherwise it was quiet.

Nice weather and a nice walk

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Spring-like Holkham

After all the winds of the last few weeks, it was a relief to see the trees barely moving this morning. I decided to head to Holkham with the plan of doing the park and the grazing marshes.

It already felt like spring was close with lots of early birdsong in the woods. Great tits were very vocal along with a couple of nuthatch by the memorial. By the time I had walked most of the way around the lake the sun had come out producing a lovely soft light.

Good numbers of duck were still on the lake. 65 tufted duck, 47 gadwall, 33 shoveler and 21 pochard. Territorial egyptian geese were very much in evidence and its always bizarre to see them perched high in the trees!! Marsh tit was a nice surprise on the feeders by the gatehouse.

Quick early lunch then off down Lady Ann's Drive. Bumped into Ashley Saunders with his Oriole Adventures group who put me on to where the whitefront flock was hanging out.

At the start of the path along edge of the marshes I bumped into a large tit flock. Loads of long tailed and a good number of goldcrests. Highlight was a firecrest moving through with them. Despite calling over another couple of birders we couldn't relocate it.

I was hoping to see the wintering rough legged buzzard from the Jordan Hide but alas no sign. Several common buzzards and marsh harriers were hunting including a very pale patterned female marsh that I have seen at Titchwell this winter too.
I did locate the flock of whitefronts (21) but they were hard to see feeding amongst the tall vegetation.
To end the afternoon a barn owl flew right in front of the hide and dropped onto a small vole.
By the time I got back to the car the rain was just starting, by the time I got home it was snowing! Perfect timing :-)