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Wednesday, 1 January 2014

New Year's Day Bird Race!

 Dawn – Sandringham.

King's Lynn Wolverton Sandringham Snettisham RSPB 
Hunstanton Old Hunstanton • Ringstead • Choseley
Titchwell RSPB • Choseley • Holme

Team: Penny Clarke
Weather: Atrocious!

First bird heard was Robin singing in the garden at 6.15am and then when I left home saw Blackbird, Starling, Hedgesparrow. Heron flying over the A149 just before Wolverton. Wolverton Triangle, no sign of Golden Pheasant!

Sandringham bird table was a massive disappointment, but did see Collared Dove, Woodpigeon, Black-headed Gull, Jackdaw and Rook here and heard Nuthatch!

Then onto Snettisham RSPB to tick the Black-necked Grebe – ha ha, not! A lovely watery, muddy, cold walk to find that the Black-necked Grebe was not on show for NYD! But did tick off a Mistlethrush on a wire (Beach Road) and No. 12 to No. 36 (see list). It was wickedly cold here! The Fieldfares and Redwings were seen in the hedge next to the telegraph wire, where I saw the mistle thrush on the way down, good scoop!

Along a road that veers off from Beach Road at Snettisham I found a fantastic field with lots of leaf mould litter, a watery ditch and a few mature trees. In one oak tree I had all the tit family and couldn't believe my luck when a Marsh Tit appeared aswell! I didn't manage to get long-tailed tit though.

Tip off from a local birder (thanks!) gave me a flock of brambling in Hunstanton and also No. 41-No.48.

At Hunstanton Cliffs I saw No. 49 to No. 67. An excellent selection of birds found here and also Mark Bradbury pointed out the Shag distantly to me, sitting on a post at the eastern most end of the cliffs. I didn't see the reported snow buntings here, but that sighting was early on and there were now tons of dog walkers around.

Old Hunstanton Church by the duck pond gave me a Sparrowhawk swooping through. Along Waterworks Road I saw a Gadwall in the pond at the end of the road. I was hoping for grey wag or kingfisher here, but no luck.

Had a massive flock of Linnets between Ringstead and Choseley. Pager bleeped up with Taiga Bean Goose and Barnacle Goose betweeen Docking and Choseley, so off I went to search for these. Found a massive flock of Pink-footed Geese, probably a few thousand, but even with lots of searching (and with other birders) we couldn't find either of these! No corn buntings or yellowhammers were found at Choseley.

At Titchwell RSPB I ticked off Greenfinch on the feeders and Water Rail in the usual ditch. Tufted Duck and Teal were on Patsy's Pool and a Jay appeared by the farm gate near the pool. The rest: No. 75 to No. 82 were seen from Island Hide and along the main path. The weather was dire now, howling wind and rain were battering me! On the sea I had Common Scoter, Velvet Scoter, Goldeneye and a Red-throated Diver west. I could hardly walk because of the wind on the way back. Ticked 3 Little Grebes on the way back in the first pool. Back at the Fen Trail I got lucky and flushed a Woodcock from the undergrowth. Although there were a few Marsh Harriers here, I did not see Hen Harrier or Barn Owl, which was disappointing.

Went off searching for Owls. Drove back up the Choseley Road and had a Little Owl flying in front of the car and then veered off in the field east of me!!! I drove everywhere trying to find a Barn Owl or/and Tawny Owl, but just couldn't find either. I even went down the Firs Road at Holme to a really good spot for Tawny, but nothing! Went home and fell asleep!

I didn't expect to beat last year's 101 count with the atrocious weather we had today, but was quite pleased when I added up my total, not too bad at all really.
 
89 birds seen – listed in the order I saw them:

  1. Robin
  2. Blackbird
  3. Starling
  4. Hedgesparrow
  5. Heron
  6. Collared Dove
  7. Woodpigeon
  8. Black-headed Gull
  9. Jackdaw
  10. Rook
  11. Nuthatch
  12. Mistlethrush
  13. Pheasant
  14. Red-legged Partridge
  15. Pink-footed Goose
  16. Magpie
  17. Herring Gull
  18. Moorhen
  19. Greylag Goose
  20. Egyptian Goose
  21. Canada Goose
  22. Goldfinches
  23. Mallard
  24. Mute Swan
  25. Pochard
  26. Knot
  27. Wigeon
  28. Curlew
  29. Coot
  30. Marsh Harrier
  31. Shelduck
  32. Lapwing
  33. Fieldfare
  34. Redwing
  35. Chaffinch
  36. Common Buzzard
  37. Blue Tit
  38. Great Tit
  39. Coal Tit
  40. Marsh Tit
  41. Pied Wagtail
  42. Grey Partridge
  43. Carrion Crow
  44. Brambling
  45. Great Black-backed Gull
  46. Kestrel
  47. House Sparrow
  48. Common Gull
  49. Turnstone
  50. Rock Dove
  51. Fulmar
  52. Oystercatcher
  53. Bar-tailed Godwit
  54. Black-tailed Godwit
  55. Eider
  56. Great Crested Grebe
  57. Redshank
  58. Grey Plover
  59. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  60. Cormorant
  61. Shag
  62. Red-breasted Merganser
  63. Red-necked Grebe
  64. Slavonian Grebe
  65. Dunlin
  66. Sanderling
  67. Brent Goose
  68. Sparrowhawk
  69. Gadwall
  70. Linnet
  71. Greenfinch
  72. Tufted Duck
  73. Teal
  74. Jay
  75. Little Egret
  76. Shoveler
  77. Water Rail
  78. Golden Plover
  79. Avocet
  80. Snipe
  81. Ruff
  82. Pintail
  83. Goldeneye
  84. Velvet Scoter
  85. Common Scoter
  86. Red-throated Diver
  87. Little Grebe
  88. Woodcock
  89. Little Owl

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