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Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Norfolk Redpoll Success... but Reds failure in Liverpool

Another large catch up as I have recently spent 5 days in Norfolk and another 2 in Liverpool with Angela. We travelled up on Sunday morning (18th) and after meeting the folks in Holme for Sunday roast, we paid a visit to Titchwell Marsh RSPB so I could finally catch up with the long staying 1st Winter Coues' Arctic Redpoll - a lifer for me. The bird showed extremely well with Lesser Redpoll and a few shots were obtained. Timed to perfection as the bird has not been reported since - phew - what a relief!

Coues' Arctic Redpoll at Titchwell RSPB.
Another Arctic Redpoll shot.

As usual there were many birds on the freshmarsh and brackish (now renamed the volunteer) marsh, and several posed for photographs.
Winter plumage Spotted Redshank.

Avocet feeding close to the path.

Black-tailed Godwits - these two birds were seen fighting for c20 minutes.

Other birds noted included: Egyptian Geese, 4 Red-crested Pochards (3 drakes), Chiffchaff, Siskin, Snipe, Ruff, 2 showy Water Rails, 2 Spotted Redshank, Pintail, female Goldeneye and Sanderlings.

We spent Monday (19th) around the Holkham NNR but not before noting a pair of Grey Partridge from the caravan at Heacham South Beach. The marshes between Burnham Norton and Wells-next-the-sea held a Barn Owl, numerous Brent, Pink-footed and White-fronted Geese, Ruff, Avocet, and 2 Muntjac Deer and a Stoat on the mammal front. At Holkham Gap we noted 3 Wheatears (2 males) and 5 Common Scoter plus a Firecrest and several Goldcrests amongst the pines.

On Tuesday (20th) we all headed inland, via a successful Woodlark stop at Roydon Common NWT, towards Fakenham where we got good views of the long staying Great Grey Shrike which was observed catching bees and occasionally singing/calling.
Record Shot of the Great Grey Shrike at Fakenham.

While watching the Shrike, 3 Common Buzzards and 1 Sparrowhawk were noted before the star raptor appeared in the same thermal - a fantastic Red Kite that eventually sailed right over the top of us.
Red Kite overhead.
We moved on to the nearby Hawk & Owl Trust reserve at Sculthorpe Moor where this Water Rail and a few Lesser Repoll were performing for the cameras.
Showy Water Rail.
Water Rail looking back.
Lesser Redpoll at one of the feeders.

Chiffchaff, 2 pairs of Bullfinch, Sparrowhawk, the cracking male Golden Pheasant, Treecreeper, Marsh Harrier and Marsh Tit rounded off another superb visit to this brilliant reserve. A quick stop at Flitcham Abbey Farm finally revealed the resident pair of Little Owls.

My sister joined Angela and myself on Wednesday (21st) for a walk around Hunstanton shops, noting Peregrine and lots of Fulmars during lunch on the clifftop. We moved on to the Sandringham Estate where Nuthatch (calling) and Goldcrest were added to the day list.

On Thursday (22nd) we finished our break in Norfolk at Cley NWT noting 2 Corn Buntings at Choseley drying barns on route. From the North hide we soon spotted the 2 Spoonbills, and I picked out a Pale-bellied Brent Goose in a flying flock of dark-bellied Brents.

And then it was time to head off north west to see our beloved Liverpool FC take on the mighty Wigan Athletic... more on that in the next blog post.

To round off this post.... a beautiful sunset viewed from Heacham South Beach looking out over The Wash towards Lincolnshire - magical.


  1. Nice post Neil, I went to N Norfolk on Monday and viited Titchwell on Thursday as you say missed the Coues' not even a redpoll present. Spot red still there and LRP ,saw GG Shrike on wires Friday 5pm but sun into the camera but a life tick for me. Did manage Spoonbill, wheatear and bearded at Cley Wed.

  2. As Mike says nice post, I love heading to Norfolk, looks like you did very well, we missed the Shrike when we went up.