Continuing on the theme of trying to avoid popular sites in Norfolk for birding I decided to go to Holkham for a visit today. A GWE had turned up yesterday and though it had dissapeared after half an hour with no further news it remained a possibility despite not really thinking I would see it. The dunes are also great places for migrants so I figured my chances of finding something were pretty good.
And so it turned out. Scanning the hedgerows near the car-park as I arrived I picked up a blackbird with a white crescent on its chest. Ring Ouzel. I couldn't believe it and quickly tried to get my camera out of my bag. However, when I looked again it had gone, and despite half an hour scanning I was unable to relocate it. I was gutted to say the least, my first decent find in my week visit and it goes after five seconds. Still, there were plenty of other good birds in the car park area, including Marsh Harrier and Egyptian Geese.
I decided to walk along to the hides first and then explore the dunes after. I was treated to obscene views of Jay and especially Muntjac Deer, which seemed to be very abundant and tame despite the number of dog walkers.
Just before I reached the main hide I scanned across and to my disbelief picked up the Great White Egret fishing in a ditch. I was so please. Buzzing even. What a striking bird, the best view I have ever had of one and certainly the best photos I have ever managed to get of one. Sadly it was very mobile and after around 10mins it took off and flew to the far side of the freshmarsh well out of view. It did do a massive poo though on the way, which was something of a novelty. I can now add GWE to me species seen pooing list. And on the subject of lists I should mention that Ring Ouzel was my 150th species this year, GWE being the 150th for public transport.
-Great White Egret
Walking on I arrived at the main hide and decided to pop in and have lunch there. Looking over I picked up Pheasant and Grey Partridge in abundance, as well as a smart Peregrine. Then a couple of other birders came in, saying to look out for the resident Spoonbills, they were hoping to see from the hide. It was not long after that we had Spoonbills flying, followed by views of one actually feeding. Not sleeping, actually feeding. Granted it was rather distant but to get views like this is something of a novelty with this species.
After lunch I decided to move on. A hooded crow seemed to have set up at Blakeney having being moving West along the coast all morning. As a result I decided to make a move there. It turned out to be a waste of time as the bird had clearly flown off about two hours before I arrived and nobody had bothered to put news out yet. Anyway, I was at least given some consolation with my first Yellow Wagtail of the year, although it was nothing more than a distant yellow spec.
Following a breif stint there then I moved on and ended up with time to kill in Sheringham on the way back. I wandered down to the seafront to kill time but instead found that there were some seriously tame Turnstones feeding around the area near my feet so spent the time photographing those instead.
Thats the account of my last full day in Norfolk, and I pretty much had the best of it. A real nice way to finish off an excellent week.
Holkham NNR: Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Pied Wagtail, Shelduck, Teal, Lapwing, Marsh Harrier, Starling, Black-headed Gull, Greylag Goose, Egyptian Goose, Meadow Pipit, Shoveler, Redshank, Ring Ouzel, Moorhen, Chaffinch, Jay, Robin, Blue Tit, Tufted Duck, Cormorant, Pheasant, Great-white Egret, Peregrine, Goldcrest, Canada Goose, Avocet, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Grey Partridge, Spoonbill, Common Buzzard, Magpie, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Brent Goose, Red Kite,
Blakeney Freshmarsh: Yellow Wagtail, Rook, Jackdaw, Gadwall, Teal, Mallard, Shelduck, Shoveler, Greylag Goose, Willow Warbler, Robin, Greenfinch, Peregrine, Moorhen, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Mute Swan, Grey Heron, Redshank, Pied Wagtail, Oystercatcher, Marsh Harrier, Egyptian Goose, Black-tailed Godwit, Lapwing, Chaffinch, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Goldfinch, Pheasant,