Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Turtle Doves, Spoonbills, Garganey and much more on the north coast.

A 7.00am pick-up saw Norman, Brian and me in Bishop's Hide, Cley before eight o'clock. The sky was grey and threatening with a sharp north-easterly howling in from the North Sea: things didn't look promising. A few Avocets prodded around in the mud and a pair of Black-headed Gulls found comfort in a spot of how's yer father!  A flock of Black-tailed Godwits was all we could add to the tally in over an hour, so we decided to head west.

Next stop was Lady Anne's Drive, Holkham, where, following a brisk walk to the Jordan Hide, the day began to look up: a group of three Spoonbills collecting nest material, then a distant Bittern and finally two or three Great White Egrets got the shutters clicking. (I should say that my two month old Pentax K3 decided to go into electronic meltdown at this point - I was lucky to get any photos, given that I couldn't alter any of the parameters!)

We headed back to the car in time to avoid a parking ticket, and continued along the coast to  Titchwell. To be honest, we didn't have any real expectations, but a close fly past by a Mediterranean Gull got things going, while star of the reserve was a dozy - but beautiful - drake Garganey. Another year tick arrived in the shape of a Common Sandpiper.

Following a chat with Sue B, we decided to head home via Choseley (just on the off chance!) A lone birder was already parked, but - like us - he used common sense and stayed in his car. Quite quickly we were rewarded by decent views of a Turtle Dove being chased by a Sparrowhawk, before a second bird posed for us on the electricity cables.

Last additions were a group of three or four Wheatears down the hill from the barns and a Red Kite that drifted across the road. Strange to reflect that Turtle Dove and Common Sandpiper are now quite scarce, whereas Great Egret, Spoonbill and Red Kite are birds one sees most days in Norfolk...
















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