So my parents decided to go to Norfolk for a week and I of course was not going to decline tagging along. Having travelled down overnight I set off for the first day by heading to the usual Cley Marshes followed by Blakeney for the long staying Lapland Buntings.
First port of call were the hides at Cley where I picked up some wader species for my yearlist, namely Avocet, Ruff and Green Sandpiper. I also had nice views of Marsh Harrier which was also a yeartick. Species all familiar to the site but ones which I had not seen overwinter, so was pleased to see again.
The reason I did not start my day at Blakeney was simply because of the weather being awful, but as it began to clear late morning I decided to just take the hit and go. After all, the birds had reduced from around 8 being present a week ago to only 2 the last I heard. Along the walk through Cley-next-the-sea and Blakeney Freshmarsh I picked up my first Swallow of the year. They were quite abundant already this far south but none had really appeared up north so this was quite exciting.
Blakeney freshmarsh was a fairly standard affair, fields with pools, but I did pick up my first Brent Geese of the year, which initially only looked to be a few individuals until something spooked them, or the tide moved them and the sky was suddenly full of Brent Geese. Quite a site really, a really smart bird to look at.
The highlight of the walk along the marshes though has to be the really nice White Wagtail that was knocking about. A real stunner, and although they turned out to be fairly abundant during the day, there is something special about this European visitors.
And so I arrived at the location where the Lapland Buntings were meant to be. I picked one up, a female, distantly almost immediately but it soon vanished into the undergrowth and I could not find it again for around half an hour.
I made a move past the gate where most people have been watching them from, and began to walk down the track to relocate it. I was able to, but it now seemed that only this female remained. I tried to get some photos but the bird was quite skittish. After a while I returned to my scope and tripod set up at the gate and scoped out the marsh whilst decided when to give the bunting another try. But I need not have worried, for whilst I was scoping the bird flew onto the fence next to me, before coming down and feeding around my feet. I only wish the light had been a bit better because the view I got was otherwise unparalleled. It was really something. It was so close I could have reached out and touched it. What a real treat.
After that I was obviously buzzing. The bird flew off into the marsh and I decided to take my leave. I headed back to Cley and walked along the beach side where I was treated to nice views of a few smashing Wheatear. Willow Warbler was another spring migrant of which was my first of the year. I also yearticked Sandwich Tern flying up the coast, something of an expected yeartick but still a much welcome one. A really nice bird to see. I also year-ticked Sand Martin and a few other waders; Grey Plover and Knot.
So an excellent start to the week, with a host of yearticks and other awesome species, and of course the Lapland Bunting being the real highlight, even if there was only the one bird left.
Cley Marshes NWT: Avocet, Wren, Pied Wagtail, Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall, Egyptian Goose, Greylag Goose, Meadow Pipit, Marsh Harrier, Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Mute Swan, Shoveler, Dunlin, Ruff, Redshank, Reed Bunting, Shelduck, Black-tailed Godwit, Common Snipe, Black-headed Gull, Little Egret, Green Sandpiper, Lapwing, Woodpigeon, Herring Gull, Ringed Plover, Pochard, Carrion Crow, Rook, Starling, Collard Dove, Pheasant, Jackdaw, Swallow, Willow Warbler, Greenfinch, Sandwich Tern, Brent Goose, Sand Martin, Wheatear, Kestrel, Grey Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Knot,
Blakeney Freshmarsh: Wheatear, Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Mallard, Black-headed Gull, Skylark, Jackdaw, Meadow Pipit, Oystercatcher, Linnet, Redshank, Canada Goose, Avocet, Gadwall, Teal, Cormorant, Curlew, Shelduck, Shoveler, Moorhen, Black-tailed Godwit, Little Egret, Swallow, White Wagtail, Brent Goose, Marsh Harrier, Lapland Bunting, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Red Kite, Rook, Pheasant,