Friday 17 February 2012

Old haunts

Trips to Norfolk are a rarity today compared to when I lived in Kent, so a full day in the county was a good opportunity to revisit some old haunts. At Holkham, I was unable to locate a Rough-legged Buzzard or the wintering Shorelark, but did catch up with some distant Eurasian White-fronted and Egyptian Geese, as well as a Muntjac Deer.
Muntjac Deer - often seen in the Norfolk dusk, less often in broad daylight
Titchwell RSPB reserve was unusually quiet, and while the Coues's Arctic Redpoll present yesterday was absent today, a pair of Velvet Scoter were reasonably close offshore.
1st winter drake Velvet Scoter (centre bird) with female Velvet (right) and female Goldeneye (left) - click to enlarge
A melee of gulls on the beach at Holkham merited closer inspection, if only to find out what they were feeding on. It turned out to be a large number of washed up starfish and raozor clams - the local waders also joined in the feeding frenzy.

Melee of gulls on Holkham Beach

The gulls were attracted by a rich concentration of starfish and razor clams
There is always something worth seeing at Choseley drying barns. Unless it's 2004, you're me, and you're looking for a Pine Bunting. Two weekends running. Today it was a decent flock of Corn Bunting and Yellowhammer, plus a few mad March hares who had gone loco a month too early.

Corn Bunting, Choseley
Yellowhammer pair, Choseley
Hare, Choseley
Back at Holkham for dusk, dipping on the Rough-legged again, news broke of a Common Yellowthroat in Gwent. I should have guessed that if I wanted another 'mega' to turn up off south of Birmingham I would have to head north of it. This presented something of a dilemma: cut short the Norfolk trip, or hope it sticks around. The thought of missing the excellent breakfast at Cobblers B&B in Wells persuaded me to check the weekend forecast, wait on news and make the decision on a full stomach...
Huge numbers of Pink-footed Geese at Holkham today

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