A Red Kite and 2 Barn Owls were in the same area and seconds later the huge grey cloud that was looming suddenly deposited an incredible amount of hail leaving the roads looking like there had been a major snowstorm. It was very localised and half a mile away the thick white covering on the roads finished abruptly and colleagues just down the road at Bircham hadn't seen any hail at all.
On 3rd March I was working from home when I saw a duck flying straight towards me. That might not sound remarkable, but in the 18 months I've been living here I have only once seen a duck before. That was flying towards me on a similar flight path but I didn't have my bins to hand. Bizarrely it looked like a Ruddy Shelduck, but in near-silhoutte and with no bins I didn't consider that rather unlikely identification sufficiently certain to record it as such. This time I had one of those déjà vu moments as I got exactly the same impression as I saw it flying towards me along the same flight path. But this time I had my bins to hand and was able to confirm that it was indeed a Ruddy Shelduck!
Next day I was driving through Burnham Norton in my lunch break, around 1.00 pm I think and in bright sunshine, when a small Bat flew across the road and disappeared behind the house. First time I've ever seen a bat flying in the middle of the day in broad daylight. It seemed to fly out from the top of a tree, though it may have simply come from behind it; a bird (Blackbird I think) had just flown into the top of the tree so I wonder if it might have accidentally disturbed the bat?
On Monday I popped in to Brancaster Staithe during my lunch break. The Red-necked Grebe was still there, along with a Goldeneye.
Goldeneye, Brancaster Staithe, 7th March
Red-necked Grebe, Brancaster Staithe, 7th March
rainbow, Brancaster Staithe, 7th March
Next day I paused at Flitcham where a Little Owl remains in the roots of the oak tree in front of the hide, visible from the road.
Heavy rain all morning on Wednesday hadn't relented by lunchtime when I headed over to Holkham. The weather meant fewer people and in turn that meant more birds showing by Lady Anne's Drive including lots of Ruff, Snipe and loads of other common birds. Nearby a pair of Egyptian Geese were like chalk and cheese - one looked wetter than a drowned rat while the other looked in fine condition.
Egyptian Geese, Holkham, 9th March
Yesterday I headed up to Burnham Overy early in the hope of finding one or two early spring migrants. Rather fancied finding a Great Spotted Cuckoo in the dunes. Good dreaming, but back in the real world I couldn't even find a Chiffchaff. I did see 2 Peregrines including one that put on a fantastic show stooping at a flock of Starlings. Other raptors included Red Kite and Sparrowhawk.
Lots of waders on the freshmarsh with the tide being high including at least 150 Black-tailed Godwits. Surprisingly few geese though - took me a while to see any Pink-feet though eventually a flock of 40 flew west and another smaller flock appeared later on. The Brents were in the channel later on when the tide had gone down. Among them was the Black Brant x Dark-bellied Brent Goose hybrid. I say 'the', but I'm not convinced it's the same bird I've seen each time I've seen one over the last 2-3 winters. Maybe, but sometimes it looks a much better contender for pure Black Brant than other times. Today it looked extremely similar to a Black Brant, but the neck collar was very thin at the front.
A Red-breasted Merganser flew past but apart from 3 Great Crested Grebes there wasn't much on the sea. A Goldeneye was on the reedy pool. The only passerine of any note was a Stonechat.
Dunnock, Burnham Overy, 12th March
In the afternoon I headed to the local patch - more on that later...