February 2022

25th-27th. A long weekend in Norfolk. We were based in the lovely village of Thornham, and saw several greenfinches there.

Thornham

Thornham Harbour.

Thornham Harbour

Thornham Harbour

27th. Our last morning was spent around Holme-next-the-sea and we walked towards the NOA Observatory and back. We saw more snow buntings - this time a flock of 15.

Snow buntings

The shell-covered sand is wonderful.

Holme

The offshore wind turbines look alien to me.

Turbines

Turbines

I much preferred the view towards the wind vane, with flocks of geese and wigeon swirling around and calling.

Holme

Holme

26th. We started at Titchwell RSPB, where I saw avocets, bar-tailed godwits, knot, siskin and 2 brambling. A red-breasted merganser and a harbour porpoise were offshore.

Avocet

Brambling

Brambling

We moved on to Snettisham RSPB for high tide, but the tideline was still distant. I guess the spectacular wader flocks are only really a spectacle at spring tides. The area was a bit austere.

We saw a little stint, knot, a barn owl in daylight, and best of all, a flock of about 32 snow buntings. that were quite confiding when they were feeding on the strandline near the yacht club.

Snow buntings

Snow buntings

Snow buntings

Snow bunting

Snow bunting

Snow buntings

Snow buntings

Snow buntings

We stopped at Holme-next-the-sea on the way back, watching skeins of pink-footed geese flying over.

Pink-footed geese

I then walked towards Choseley, and saw a yellowhammer.

Towards Choseley

Two red-legged partridges ran alongside the A149 through Thornham.

Red-legged partridge

Red-legged partridge

On the Choseley Road I saw brown hares, Reeves's muntjac and my first Chinese water deer.

Brown hare

Muntjac

Muntjac

Chinese water deer

Chinese water deer

Great sunset at Thornham.

Thornham

On 25th we started at Cley.

Cley

Cley

We caught up with the red-breasted goose, feeding with dark-bellied brent geese on Bull Marsh. It was calling frequently, and occasionally surprisingly difficult to pick out among the brents. At least one pale-bellied brent goose among the bark-bellieds.

Red-breasted goose

Red-breasted goose

The Iceland gull flew along the coast. We walked along Beach Road, east along the beach and cut back via the East Bank. After soup at the visitor centre, we arrived at Holkham. There were 4 shore larks in the fenced off area, and a group of sanderlings on the marsh. When I last visited 17 years ago there were about 30, with about 120 snow buntings. I wonder how much of the decline is due to events on the breeding grounds, and how much because of disturbance?

Shore larks

Kurt found a buck muntjac skull.

Muntjac skull

We walked to the Joe Jordan hide, and saw 8 spoonbills, 2 Egyptian geese and many pink-footed and white-fronted geese. At least 3 brambling were in the woodland. We had good views on a Reeves's muntjac in the wooded area.

Reeves's muntjac

Spoonbills

I saw a single grey and several red-legged partridge in field on the way back to our base in Thornham.

Better, though still not great views of the Baikal teal at Greylake. Glossy ibis at Catcott Lows.

Baikal teal

Glossy ibis

11th. Two male blackcaps in the garden.

Forest of Dean. At least 4 goshawks from New Fancy viewpoint, including 3 in the air together. About 6 crossbills and lots of siskin and a bullfinch too. Mandarins and marsh tit at Cannop ponds.

Mandarins

Mandarin

Marsh tit

Marsh tit

There were 5 goosander on the lower pond. A pair mated - the female swam towards and close to the male tight against the the water surface with her tail raised. They copulated with the male holding the female's crest in his saw bill.

Goosander

Goosander

Goosander

Goosander

A brambling at Parkend.

Brambling

7th. Adult ring-billed gull in close at Lelant Saltings. Photo taken by holding my iPhone to the telescope eyepiece below (I forgot my camera batteries and phonescoping adapter!) Adult and third-winter Caspian gulls too. Common and bottlenose dolphins still in St Ives Bay - 2 bottlenose dolphins were seen playing with surfers!

Ring-billed gull

3rd. Three woodcock over the A30 near Indian Queens at dusk.

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