Raining all day and grey skies here in King's Lynn. I cooked my first meal for ages at lunchtime. I have been far too busy birding to be cooking! I wasn't going out today, but I couldn't stand it any longer. Hardly anything on RBA website for Norfolk, either because there wasn't any good birds to see or because no one could be bothered to go out in the rain and look - more the latter I think! So off I went!
Abbey Farm Hide, Flitcham - 3.45pm
I have not been here for ages - the last time I came, the water levels were seriously low, but today they were considerably higher. A kingfisher flashed past the hide, calling. Other birds seen were: 4 shelduck, song thrush, mistle thrush, 2 lapwings, 2 gadwall, 1 fem. tufted duck, egyptian goose, 1 common buzzard and 1 stock dove. I noticed in the log book that someone had seen a spotted flycatcher in the tree in the carpark yesterday. I didn't see the little owl or the red kite that are being seen daily. As I left, I spotted a red-legged partridge standing on the old stone wall, which made fanstastic pictures from my car as I was about to drive past it!
Gun Hill, Burnham Overy Staithe - 5pm
The sun was now out, hadn't expected that today! Everything looked so beautiful after the rain and there seemed to be lots of birds about. Greenfinch sitting on the bush as I started to walk down the path. Two marsh harriers over the marsh, lesser and common whitethroat in the hawthorn hedge, skylarks singing high in the skies and swifts, swallows and house martins filled the air. Hundreds of juv. starlings and adults feeding along the track in front of me and on the marsh either side of me - they were a joy to watch, especially three youngsters who pestered their parent to feed them and squabbled furiously when food was passed in their direction! A stunning evening and not another birder in sight - its May, come on!
As I climbed the sea bank I spent awhile scanning the large pool on the east side of the bank. I hate carrying my tripod as well as camera gear and rarely do nowadays unless it's essential, but I had bought the scope in my rucksack - I balanced this on a convenient fence post to look at an interesting grebe, which turned out to be a little grebe, along with a mute swan and three cute cygnets, a grey heron, coots, tufted ducks, greylags, cormorant, gadwall, shovelers and redshanks. Supporting cast in the reed beds and hawthorn bushes were reed bunting, 2 bearded tits flying across 'pinging', linnets, goldfinches, wren, 2 grey partridges. I was bombarded by a pair of redshanks who I presume had a nest close by as I continued walking along the seabank. I 'pished' the bushes at the end of the sea bank which only revealed a few linnets. I walked west along the sueda bushes and dunes to Gun Hill. Linnets, linnets and more linnets - in fact in one huge flock there must of been 100+ and there were some very bright ones, some were so red, that I had to check them again! Several meadow pipits also about. Saw 2 cinnabar moths and also a Wall Butterfly on the path. A greenshank was in Burnham Overy harbour along with several ringed plovers. Little Terns were flying over my head with glittery, silver fish in the sunshine - a stunning evening. I sat on the edge of the dunes watching the low bushes, north of Gun Hill and hoped that something magical would appear as I enjoyed my picnic: coffee, cheese and beetroot sandwich and a piece of ginger and pear cake that a friend had recommended from Cley deli - scrummy! As you can see I am not dieting at all at the moment! Little terns were constantly flying over my head with fish - it was a perfect evening.
As I walked back I saw more linnets, but little else. At the large pool east of the sea bank two new birds were added to the list - a Spoonbill 'spooning'!!! also a pair of pochard. Shortly after this the spoonbill took off and flew to Gun Hill, circled round and landed at the end of the sea bank on the west side. The skies over the sea were now black with rain clouds and looked very atmospheric. Time to walk faster! 5 little egrets flew across me going west. 17 egyptian geese were on the east side of the marsh along with lots of greylags. 6 grey partridges plummeted away across the marsh, as I walked along the wide grassy track before the stile. Along the track which leads up to the main road, a hairy caterpillar looped across the path, as did a snail and a slug. I could hear grey partridges calling as I got in the car to go home.
Main highlights in Norfolk today:
Montagu's Harrier, Titchwell
Blue-headed Wagtail, Cley
Red-footed Falcon, Rockland Broad
Great Reed Warbler - no sign (bet its still there though)
PHOTOGRAPHS TO BE ADDED