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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Hot Birding at Holme!

Wheatear in the horse paddocks, Firs Road, Holme

Yesterday, something unexpected happened at work which mean't another colleague and myself did not finish work until 6.45pm. So this mean't I could finish much earlier today than I normally would!

With a beautiful sunny day, there was only one thing to do – go birding! I haven't been to Holme Reserves for a while, so decided to spend the entire afternoon and evening searching for migrants.

Along Beach Road I stopped by the first horse paddock and saw loads of Wood Pigeons, a couple of Pied Wagtails and 2 Curlews feeding.
Shelduck at Redwell Marsh Hide NOA.

Avocet at Redwell Marsh Hide NOA.

Mallard Duckling looking cute at Redwell Marsh Hide NOA.
Moorhen strutting about at Redwell Marsh Hide NOA.

Redwell Marsh Hide, NOA
I spent about an hour in the hide – it was so beautiful to sit here peacefully with no interruptions. Birds seen: Heron, Marsh Harrier, 3 Little Grebes, Mallards and cute, golden ducklings, Shovelers, 2 Shelducks, 2 Avocets panning, several Black-headed Gulls, Teal, Coot and Moorhens.

Along the Firs Road in the horse paddocks I had a wonderful surprise of 7 Wheatears (mostly males) soaking up the sunshine and looking so beautiful.
Wheatears in the Horse Paddocks, Firs Road, Holme.

Hare – ready to run, in the Horse Paddocks, Firs Road, Holme.

Wader Pools, NWT
I parked on the NOA carpark at around 4pm and walked to the NWT wader pools. 3 Ruff, several Black-tailed Godwits, lots of Avocets and Black-headed Gulls, more Wood Pigeons, Shovelers, Teal, Tufted Ducks, Mallards, Oystercatchers, Greylag Geese, Curlews and 2 Red-legged Partridges were seen.
Holme beach from the NWT entrance.

Holme Bird Observatory, NOA
Back at the NOA carpark I chatted with another birder briefly (nice to meet you Colin) and then walked directly across to the dunes. The tide was high and it looked like a summer's day. It was fairly chilly, but a perfect temperature for walking. There wasn't a soul on the beach, which is rare nowadays! No birds seen on the sea and only 3 black-headed gulls on the shoreline. I walked along the path through the pines and up the steps to the observatory. It looked so beautiful here, the gorse was out in full flower, bees were 'buzzing' around the wallflowers and the irises were emerging in the pond. I sat on the seat on the viewing platform and reminisced about the 'good ol' days'! Father had made a rope swing for my sisters and I – this was suspended from a large pine branch, right where this viewing platform is now – it was obscured from view and no one else knew it was there – it was our secret! Or so we thought.....! Anyway back to birds, 3 Linnets landed in a tree briefly. A Chiffchaff was calling in the bottom willows and 3 Avocets, 1 Little Grebe and 3 Tufted Duck were on the Broadwater. I sat in RAR's hide on the main bank for a short while – a Peregrine zipped past at a great speed (heading towards the Firs House), which was lucky! Back at the carpark I had a coffee and then drove back along the Firs Road where I counted 9 Wheatears in the horse paddocks!!!
Holme Bird Observatory NOA.

Taken from the viewing platform, overlooking the Broad Water.

Hide 8 (as it was known) overlooking Broad Water, Holme NOA.

The Forestry, NWT
I parked up by the 5-bar gate and walked along the boarded, coastal footpath to the Forestry (as it's known) in hope of finding more wheatears. The short-turfed area in the forestry is a favoured area for wheatears, but I was surprised, when I couldn't find a single bird there! I walked back along the Firs Road to my car, passing the 9 Wheatears again.

Holme Marsh Reserve NWT
From the first hide I could hear a Cettis's Warbler singing and a Chiffchaff. On the pool was a Swan and some Mallards and that was it. From the second hide I watched 2 Marsh Harriers, a Muntjac Deer in the reeds and a Swallow graced the skies as the sun was setting. Met an elderly birder who hadn't been to Norfolk for 25 years and he was saying how much things had changed, especially when he visited Titchwell RSPB yesterday. It was sad to see that for some reason unbeknown to me, that all of the ivy has been stripped off the old stone wall opposite the small carparking area. This is such a pity, especially for the robins that always nested there! Why do people see the necessity to tidy everything – makes me cross. An old stone wall should be rambling with ivy and plants – my mind is now rambling and I am now thinking about the classic book and film 'The Secret Garden'.

Ended the day visiting my parents. My mother bumped into a birder (Don) in Hunstanton today (who she knows) who had seen a drake Garganey at a coastal pool at Heacham. Don't know the exact location, but my guess would be that it was the small pool west of the green scout hut – maybe!

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