Summers Day in December.29/12/2015

Posted: January 3, 2016 in Bird Watching, Birding, Twitching, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

A juvenile Pallid Harrier had been found near Flitcham in Norfolk in early December. What with bad weather, work etc in the way, a trip to see it was not possible until the Christmas break. We planned to go on the 27th, the day after the floods in Rochdale, but coupled with the heavy rain forecast for Norfolk, we cancelled. The bird was not seen on that day, so, a wise choice. Tuesday 29th dawned and four A Team members left Newhey with a promise of good weather and a number of species being lifers for a couple of us. A 5 o`clock departure meant we got to Norfolk by 8-25am in Steve K`s car. We entered the packed hide just as a Barn Owl and then a Woodcock flew by, then minutes later the Pallid Harrier was seen about 200 yards away eating the remains of a pigeon! A lifer for 2 of our crew, we had good views of the bird out of the hide and along the road as it hunted a large field. The weather at this point was truly good, with a blue sky and temperatures well into the teens, very unseasonal. We watched the bird for about 30 minutes on and off and decided to head along the coast to see other species. In the Choseley Barns area the hoped for Rough legged Buzzard was not seen. After watching another Barn Owl in a roadside field, news that a Rough legged Buzzard had been located at Choseley, we made our way back and were rewarded with distant, but good clinching views, were there 2 birds in the sky at once as we arrived? No news was forthcoming regarding a Red rumped Swallow in the Holkham area, so we pushed on towards Cley, where a Black Brant was in with a flock of Brent Geese. The goose was soon located, which resulted in another lifer for a team member. We admired the bird for 30 minutes or so, but could not find any other of the rarer goose species at Cley. We were well entertained by around 3 Marsh Harriers that kept putting up all the smaller birds on the marsh. We called in at Holkham on the off chance that the Red rumped Swallow had been found but alas it was not (The bird returned the day after though). A Bittern was a nice find as it flew around and again 2 Marsh Harriers lifting all the birds up in the bright sunshine. A call in at Holme Dunes to see the Shore Larks was our next stop. We were told that the birds were a mile walk away and we gave up as time and daylight were against us. We had all really enjoyed the day and headed for home around 3-30pm. The amount of birds of prey and large numbers of Pink footed Geese were really impressive. An accident on the bypass near to Sleaford, meant a half an hour`s diversion through the town centre, not ideal, but we enjoyed all the pubs and quaint buildings in this never before visited town. We reached Newhey by 7-30pm, a long but memorable day. Well done to Steve K for all his efforts behind the wheel.
Dave O.

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