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Saturday, 17 March 2012

Spring is here!!!

Hunstanton Cliffs to Holme Reserves

I hardly slept last night because of my cold and when I did wake up, I felt awful. I caught the 9.10am Coastliner bus and arrived in Hunstanton at 9.38am. As I got off the bus a very familiar face stood in the queue to get on the bus to go to Holme - my father!

On route to the cliffs I walked through the Millennium gardens - the only birds seen here were mallards in the pond. It rained most of the day and the sun only attempted to shine briefly twice. From the cliffs I counted at least 400+ Brent Geese feeding along the shoreline and rock pools at low tide - it was a spectacular sight! Also at least 50+ turnstones and loads of other waders including oystercatchers, redshanks and black-headed gulls in summer plumage. At the lighthouse a pair of blackbirds were tugging worms from the wet soil and the house sparrows were chattering away in the bushes on the cliff top, along with a couple of hedge sparrows.

I walked past the Le Strange Arms Hotel at Old Hunstanton where to my horror they have cut down loads of bushes which lined the coastal footpath - why does everything have to be cut down and made to look like a boring, sterile town garden! I continued my walk in the rain through the beach huts - shortly after the last hut, I was rewarded with stunning views of my first spring Wheatear sitting on the wire fence along with a robin at 11.15am - it flew off seaward side and I didn't see it again. Further along the path at Holme main beach gap I was lucky to see two more Wheatears together on the wire fence at 11.35am!!!

The Saltings opposite the 5-bar gate, half way down the Firs Road produced a few meadow pipits and skylarks and on the pools 7 avocets, 2 shelduck and a single little egret. 20+ curlew on the fields by Holme church. The NWT Forestry produced nothing at all, apart from 2 grey herons flying over west. As I left the forestry area, along the long path just before the double block houses I had a wonderful surprise of a Chiffchaff flitting about in the large Sallow and also close by a pair of Stonechats and 3 hedgesparrows.

Dell Hide, Holme Bird Observatory - 3 goldfinches, 2 blue tits, 1 great tit, female blackbird and a moorhen. Chatted with Sophie (warden) and scanning over the marshes Sophie picked up a Tundra Bean Goose amongst the pinkfeets. 2 Marsh Harriers were also seen. Leaving H.B.O I bumped into Connor, Billy and Ray - have not seen them for ages - they had seen a Chiffchaff on the reserve. Went to chat with Gary H. at the Firs House briefly before returning through the NWT Forestry, hoping there might be some wheatears here, but none were seen. I had another Chiffchaff (not the same one) in a bush just before the 5-bar gate and my mother also had one at Holme Marsh Reserve late afternoon, so that's at least 4 chiffchaffs around in Holme at the moment. I walked across NOA Redwell Marsh from the NWT payhut and watched loads of toads swimming in the long dyke that runs parallel to the footpath leading to the River Hun. Walked to my parent's house, but didn't go in as did not want to pass my cold on to anyone. Father sat on a chair by the front door and I sat outside by the gate, so we could chat! I felt so ill, I caught the 4.18pm bus back home and dozed on the sofa all evening.

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