A diary of my birding activity covering highlights and photos from my birding adventures. Mainly Norfolk (UK), occasionally beyond. I might mention the odd thing that isn't avian, but for moth and other insect news check out my mothing diary.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Burnham, Holkham and Wells

I headed up to Burnham Overy on 29th March in the hope of finding some early spring migrants, aiming to reach the dunes by dawn.  I wasn't far off, though it was light enough to see a couple of Mediterranean Gulls as I walked out.  My first Sedge Warbler of the year was heard singing too.

There was a fairly moderate passage of birds moving through, if perhaps a little less than I hoped for.  My counts are very incomplete as although I stood at Gun Hill (possibly the best place to view vis mig from) I started birding the dunes while things were still going through. Anyway, I recorded 22 Pied Wagtails, 225 Meadow Pipits, 207 Goldfinches, 121 Linnets west along with 11 Carrion Crows, single Magpie and Skylark, 3 Redpolls and a Snow Bunting (not entirely sure if that was moving through or flying around).  Interestingly just one Chaffinch moving through whereas some folks in east Norfolk recorded big numbers of Chaffinches.  The first two hirundines were both Swallows steaming west but these were followed by 17 Sand Martins.  Many of the latter were seen as I was wandering around and I'm sure I must have missed a load more.

At sea 9 Eider flew east and another 4 Eider swam east (first seen off Gun Hill they eventually made it into Holkham Bay).  5 Sandwich Terns were seen (4 probably migrating west, 1 flying east probably a local bird).  Also 4 Red-breasted Mergansers remaining, a Red-throated Diver past and a pair of Great Crested Grebes on the sea.

I must have seen at least 6 Red Kites in all, the first 3 of which moved very slowly west through the dunes eventually disappearing over Gun Hill, and followed by 3 more hanging around the east end.

Red Kite, Burnham Overy, 30th March

A Wheatear was west of Gun Hill and I suspect 2-3 Song Thrushes and a Blackbird in the dunes were also migrants.  3 Stonechats may not have been as the species seems to be pretty much resident here now.  As I passed back past the boardwalk a Tree Sparrow dropped in - always nice to see on passage.

Tree Sparrow, Burnham Overy, 30th March

A couple of single Spoonbills flew over and later one (perhaps one of the same) was feeding near the staithe.  A Peregrine also flew over and a pair of Pintail were present.

The following day I checked Burnham Norton first.  A summer plumaged Water Pipit was a good start but apart from a pair of Mediterranean Gulls there wasn't much to shout about.  I was checking for unusual Teals carefully so a bit galling that a Green-winged Teal turned up there a day or two later.

Holkham Park produced the usual woodland birds like Nuthatches, Treecreeper and Green Woodpecker and a Grey Wagtail flew down the lake.  There were 24 Barnacle Geese there and a couple of broods of goslings among the Egyptian Geese.  A single Red Kite flew over.

A quick look down Lady Anne's Drive produced a surprise Black Redstart on the fence posts adjacent to the drive.

Black Redstart, Holkham, 31st March

I wandered down the track at Wells from which a small section of Quarles Marsh is viewable.  Lots of birds on there but I couldn't find anything unusual - hate to think what might be lurking in the bits you can't access or view.  At least 12 Pintail there and another Red Kite over.  Another 3 Red Kites between here and Fakenham on the way home.

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