Sunday, 28 March 2010

Another day in Norfolk

This weekend, the choice for twitchers seemed to be Alpine Swifts in various places through out the south and east. As Saturday was the only day available, and inspired by the fantastic photos, I thought that the best bet would be to visit the long staying bird in Hunstanton.
First one up on the pager was the bird roosting about twenty miles east, at Cromer, but despite that we carried on to Hunstanton. We arrived to find a few groups of locals and no bird. After about half an hour, some of us decided to head off to the beach huts in Old Hunstanton where several Black Redstarts had been seen the previous evening. Despite a thorough search, none were seen and I was annoyed to hear that the Alpine Swift had made a brief appearance at 0925. We returned and after another half an hour it appeared over the beach huts and flew straight towards the waiting crowd before vanishing beneath the cliff edge and that was the last anyone saw yesterday.
While waiting for the non re appearance, the local Fulmars put on a good show and there was a constant stream of Meadow Pipits, Finches and Wagtails heading west.

With little else available on the coast we decided to go to Titchwell and see what would turn up. A nice surprise on the feeders were two or three Tree Sparrows, the first I'd seen here for a good five years or more. Winter wildfowl was still present in small numbers, with a handful of Wigeon and Pintail. Small flocks of Brent were scanned but no Black Brants were found. Waders were confined to a few Godwits and Ruff starting to come into breeding plumage. The Water Pipit also moulting into breeding plumage was seen on the bank which will become the new Parrinder Hide.
The sea held several large flocks of Scoter still, along with a few Mergansers and a single Eider. Coli's clicking shutter puzzled me for a while until I noticed a Black Headed Gull feeding around my tripod. Too close to focus most of the time but it's slightly more distant companion posed well.

On the way back, the regular Water Rail was watched at very close range, feeding and washing in one of the ditches.

Our last stop at Lyndford Arboretum enabled Colin to get a couple of Hawfinch. Plenty of singing Siskin and Chiffchaff, but no Crossbills or Firecrests. On the way to the new lakes, several Muntjac posed for us. The wind over the lakes was very strong and rather cold. Not much in the way of wildfowl, but a few Sand Martins and my first Swallow of the year was nice to see.

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