One of two flying together over Holkham Pines
Parked the car up in the lay by at Burnham Overy and set off on a very long walk to search for rares. The plan was to walk to either Holkham or Wells and then get the coastliner bus back to my car. It was a beautiful, sunny day with South West winds, but very nippy first thing!
Several Robins in the hedges, but nothing else of note. Loads of Brent Geese on the marsh and lots of starling flocks throughout the day. 3 Mute Swans and a Little Grebe on the pool east of the sea wall. 3 Bearded Tits flew across the reeds 'pinging'. In the 'Magic' bushes, as I'm now going to call them (since Stuart W. did!) at the end of the sea wall, there were 3 Reed Buntings in the Apple Tree and a couple of Robins. Met a birder who reads my blog – he smiled and said he done what I had asked and got out there to look for birds, but hadn't found anything of note! Well done to him for trying. We discussed unruly dogs and he told me that 2 labrador's that were soaking wet jumped up at him and the owners were a long way off. I noticed that the "dogs must be a lead" sign has disappeared by the 5-bar gate, so need to find out about that from Andrew B. I spoke to two dog owners about how dogs should be on leads, I gave up after that as loads of groups of people were walking along the sea wall and most (some were on leads and with well-behaved dogs) were off the lead and out of control and a long way from their owners.
At Gun Hill, there were 6 Grey Partridge, 4 Redwings, 2 Greenfinches, 2 Reed Buntings, 1 Blackbird and a huge flock of Goldfinches by the 'Grey Goose' and also a Wren. Walked back through the dunes and headed east past the seawall/good bushes. A couple of Stoats were racing round chasing briefly, which was nice to watch. I searched every gully and patches of bushes that I could and worked hard to find something – found a few Robins and Redwings, but that was it. Lots of Pink-footed Geese flying over. I sat at the end of the dunes by the edge of Holkham Pines to watch – several Redwings in and out of the bushes and also a couple of Blackbirds, a few Robins and an Acro that I COULD not find again! I also saw a slender bird with what seemed like an eye ring and in my wild imagination was a RFB, I waited for it to appear again for over an hour, but nothing! Extremely frustrating to say the least! A massive flock of Redwings went overhead, approx. 100+ all going west! There were several smaller flocks of Redwings throughout the rest of the afternoon, again heading west. Tons of Common Darter Dragonflies in the dunes and also a Honey Bee and a Comma Butterfly.
Started my walk through Holkham Pines. Found a Tit flock with a few Goldcrests, but nothing more exciting. Another Redwing flock of approx. 50+ birds going west. Nothing by the crosstracks/Joe Jordan Hide. Carried on past Washington Hide, still nothing. At 'Salts Hole' there were 3 Little Grebes and then suddenly I spotted a fabulous Red Kite soaring in the sky at 3.25pm – highlighted this to Sue and Paul Bryan who were walking towards me and then a second appeared! Both Red Kites then sailed directly over our heads and looked magestic against the blue skies!!! I then bumped into a birder who said he had four Red Kites from Washington Hide a short while ago! Chatted briefly with two people who read my blog – nice to meet you both. There was a Tit flock near the end of the path, but I didn't see any Yellow-browed Warbler or Firecrest with them (both of which have been seen here today apparently).
Black clouds were rolling in fast and the weather didn't look good at all. It was now 3.50pm. Either I carried onto Wells and take a risk of missing the last bus, or I walk down Lady Ann's Drive and catch the 4.15pm bus back to my car? I decided to catch the bus at Holkham. There were tons of people along Lady Ann's Drive, it was a like a bank holiday – children and dogs criss-crossing the roads, bad driving and some very loud people! It started to lightly spit with rain. I made it in good time for the bus stop and got back to my car in 10 minutes for £1.50, much cheaper than parking here!
Drove to Wells and parked up at the concrete pad and walked along Garden Drove, for one last chance to find something before the light disappeared. 1 Goldcrest, 1 Robin and a Chaffinch was all I managed to find!
Last day tomorrow!
PICTURES TO BE ADDED