Rain overnight, but another beautiful Spring day with a good selection of birds seen, including my first Sand Martin this year. I had to go to Hunstanton to get some essentials for parents and then went birding locally, as my parents wanted fish 'n' chips from 'Eric's' at the farm shop complex at Thornham. The fish 'n' chips from here are excellent, the best around, but they are very expensive: £7.00 for cod and chips (just gone up, was £6.50) – aimed at the more upmarket holidaymakers!
Holme Marsh Reserve NWT
I could only walk as far as the first hide as there was a sign up from the NWT saying 'path closed for essential maintenance' for the second and third hides. I hope it doesn't take too long to complete. The track to the parking area definitely needs 'some essential maintainenace'!!! Birds seen: Gadwall x 5, Coot, Moorhen, Tufted Ducks, Mallards, Chiffchaffs were singing and seen, Cetti's Warbler singing, Reed Bunting, Chaffinches, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Marsh Harriers x 5, Common Buzzard, Canada Geese, Greylag Geese, Curlews x 9, Heron, Bullfinches x 2 and my first Sand Martin flew west. Lots of bees around today and a Peacock and Tortoiseshell Butterfly were seen. A Song Thrush was singing in the trees by the kissing gate next to the car park.
I had to wait ages in the fish 'n' chip shop at Thornham – delivered to parents and helped Father with his lunch. I didn't have any as trying to diet again, which is incredibly boring! Spent a while helping them, getting father comfortable in chair, washing up, making hot drinks etc. Mother had heard her first Chiffchaff this morning in the pond opposite the house.
Chiffchaffs in abundance, Robins, smart Brambling on the feeder by the visitor centre. Walked to the East Trail and found 4 Red-crested Pochards (2 male, 2 female) on Patsy's Pool, Marsh Harriers displaying x 4, Cetti's Warbler's singing, Swallows x 3 west, Pied Wagtails x 5, Little Grebes x 2, Mute Swan. Pair of Pochard on the pond in front of Fen Hide. Very smart new boardwalk around the Fen Trail, but wondering if the viewing platforms by the pond are going to be linked to the new boardwalk? Currently you would have to make a very big leap over the mud!
From the main path, good numbers of Avocets, Little Egret, Redshanks, Shelducks, Teal, Mallard, Shovelers, Curlew, Black-headed Gulls, Turnstones, Dunlins, Golden Plovers. On the sea: Red-throated Divers x 2 flying west and a big raft of Common Scoters. On the way back a 'whoosh' flew at break neck speed over my head – a Peregrine, which then headed north scattering birds over the pools as it went at 5pm.
Back in the car park, I moved my car to the coach parking area and sat in the car photographing a Chiffchaff. Whilst using my car as a hide, I also had close views of a pair of Bullfinches feeding in the hawthorn hedge. As I left I managed to get some 'record' shots of a Stoat running alongside the bottom of the hedgeline.
On the concrete pad and in the hedges were Red-legged Partridges x 2, Pheasants x 2, Blackbird, Chaffinches, Yellowhammers, Pied Wagtails, Robin, Long-tailed Tits, Great Tit and Hedge Sparrows. In the fields around were Grey Partridges, lots of Hares and a Marsh Harrier eating prey in a field, which promptly flew off as I drove past. I had been hoping for a Ring Ouzel or Wheatear, as both can been seen at this site, but I think it was a bit too late in the day.
PICTURES TO BE ADDED