Monday, 26 April 2010

Paxton and Norfolk.

A nice long day in East Anglia beckoned on Sunday, although there was not much in the way of rare birds, migrants and Summer visitors were poring in. The White Spotted Bluethroat at Welney was tempting, but the crowds and the often poor views was not.
We started off at Little Paxton. Despite the cloud and drizzle, it did not take long to hear our first Nightingale, and we managed to get brief views.

Over the course of the walk, we encountered at least a dozen more, though none were obliging, so here is one I prepared earlier (2008 in fact).
We also heard a few Cuckoos, and saw one or two Common Terns, but unfortunately the weather went downhill and turned to cold rain, so we left and headed to Norfolk.
The usual debate heading up to Hunstanton about turning off to Wolferton was decided by slow traffic ahead, though we rarely if ever have success here.
Moments after turning off the main road this walked out.

Rarely if ever have we had such close encounters with Golden Pheasants. Unfortunately I had to take the image through the windscreen, but I don't mind.
The usual stop off at Chosely Barns was hampered by an old biddy walking her dog while she drove along the narrow lane at 2mph.
Several singing Corn Buntings was nice, and Colin got his first Wheatear. Then the rain that we drove through caught up.
Sat in the car park at Titchwell for a bit listening to the warblers, before we headed off to the Fen Hide (assuming it would be less crowed in the rain). The new excavation pit held a first summer Mediterranean Gull but little else of note. As the rain eased off we left and a few Swifts flew over. We encountered a lot of Bearded Tits in the reeds, our first Reed Warblers and a pair of endangered Ruddy Ducks.
One Reed Warbler was very odd, with a lot of white in its head.

The tide was out, and despite the exposed mud, waders were a bit scarce, just the usual Redshank, Ruff, Black Tail Godwits (icelandic), though a large flock of Turnstone behind the dunes held a lot of Knot, all in winter plumage and many Dunlin, some breeding, some winter.
A decent sized flock of Brents remain, Dark Bellied of course, but a single Pale Bellied was with them
The sea held a huge flock of Scoter, including one male and three female Velvets. Also of note was a Red Necked Grebe in almost full breeding finery. A few Sandwich Terns were also seen. There were three Wheater on the beach, and five White Wagtails.
We ended up at Holme in the paddocks and dunes. A few Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat were all we found, until I heard a Grasshopper Warbler.

It showed quite well.

Nothing else was seen in the paddocks, so we headed off to the dunes. A large flock of Pink Footed Geese remain, and we also saw several Marsh Harriers before encountering a large flock of Wheatear, and eventually a single male Whinchat.


NicoleB said...

Those shots are all gorgeous and lucky encounters.
But that golden pheasant sure as heck totally tops it.

Phil Bishop said...

We drive around Wolferton most times we visit north east Norfolk, so maybe ten to fifteen times every year over the last ten years or so, and in that time we have encountered three males and one female, with one prolonged distant view of a male.
Disturbance is very much a problem at this site, so its very much hit and miss. Some are more fortunate than us.
Nightingales at Paxton are very reliable, and show well, but the one photographed in April 2008 is the best encounter I have ever had. It was showing well last year, but the viewing area is small, and there was already a big crowd so I never got an image.