I spent the day with Chris and Neville on the east coast of Norfolk visiting sites between Hunstanton and Wareham enjoying some basic winter birding despite the occasional heavy rain showers reducing our time in the field.
The day started with an extended breakfast while we waited for the overnight deluge which plagued our journey to lighten and with little wind visibility was not great when we checked the sea off the cliffs of Hunstanton but managed 300 Common Scoter, 10 Goldeneye, 5 Red-breasted Merganser, 200 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 3 Great-northern Diver, Red-throated Diver, 30+ Fulmar and a number of coastal waders.
Fulmar by Steve Seal
Our first day flying Barn Owl was just outside the town which was the beginning of a series of sightings due to heavy overnight rain reducing there feeding opportunities.
Barn Owl by Steve Seal
The Titchwell RSPB reserve had a stunning almost touchable Woodcock near the car park, 2 Water Rail, elusive Water Pipit, 2 immature Marsh Harrier, 30 Avocet, Egyptian Goose, over wintering Spotted Redshank, Little Egret and 2 Barn Owl while the sea held a massive flock of 1100 Common Scoter but too distant see if there were any Velvet Scoters amongst them and a probable Black-necked Grebe which was also distant so hampered identification.
Avocet by Steve Seal
Egyptian Goose by Steve Seal
Spotted Redshank by Steve Seal
Two more Barn Owls were near Burnham Overy Staithe as we drove past and once we parked up at Holkham Woods to visit Holkham Gap 5 Barn Owls were on view from the car park with another hunting the sand dunes on the edge of the wood. Unfortunately the gap was too busy with grockles and kodak fiddlers so the small flock of Shore Lark that had been present all week on the salt marsh had disappeared despite extensive searching but we saw 3 Marsh Harrier, 30 Skylark 40 Goldfinch, 50 Linnet and 4 Rock Pipit while another Woodcock flew over our heads as we approached the wood. More rain curtailed our visit so we had a brew in Wells-next-the-Sea before searching the local Football Clubs ground where among the many Dark-bellied Brent Geese we found 3 Pale-bellied forms.
Dark-bellied Brent Goose by Steve Seal
Up the road by Wells Wood we had adult and first winter male and 2 female Scaup on the boating lake.
Greater Scaup by Steve Seal
Our final destination was overlooking Wareham Salt Marsh where enjoyed a Barn Owl, female Merlin perched, 15+ Little Egret and 2 ringtail and one male Hen Harrier. The male looking resplendent in the gloom but alas the rain came in hard so we called it a day and headed off home with more Barn Owls seen