|Stanton Downham 5am|
At 3.58am we all standing outside the car & all in utter surprise as we heard a churring Nightjar !A super bird to have on the list .We were now buzzin and as a Tawny Owl begun to call we decided to head to the area where the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker s are seen ready for sunrise. As we made our way there we picked the start of the Dawn chorus ( man I love this part of the day) picking up Song Thrush & Blackbird (seen as well as saw later on in the day ). We were standing in the usual spot waiting for the Lessers when I looked up and started to scan the trees as the sun was rising & noticed a pair of roosting Mandarin Ducks above our heads.In fact there was 2x pairs in this area .
Then as we listen to a Cuckoo and Pheasent calling we heard a Little Owl call.Yorkie soon picked it up and we picked up Tawny owl. Now the sun was rising and Great Tit ,Blue Tit and a Cuckoo was seen and a drumming was heard. It was a Greater Spotted though & not the Lesser we wanted. We actually watched a pair of Greater Spotted Woodpeckers above as before we actually heard and then saw 2 x Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, (12) followed by a "Get in there my son "! We made a bit of time to enjoy watching them go about feeding before we started the walk back along the river.As we did we picked up all the common woodland birds along with these birds of note- ChiffChaff , Willow Warbler, Nuthatch, Whitethroat & Stock Dove . As we walked we got nice flying Kingfisher(always a great bird to get),Coller Dove ,Dunnock and Shovler duck flying. Then Phil spotted a Barn Owl(35) perched which now gave us a unexpected 3 owls and we approached the Bridge we got a nice Grey Wagtail up river and a Long Tailed Tit flock on the trees. Our first Hirundine of the day was a Swallow as a Garden Warbler and Blackcap were added to the note book. A Otter was seen fishing in the river as a Swift flew over head followed by a Treecreeper picked up by Yorkie and too a nice Marsh Tit(43) .
We got back in the car & drove up to St.Helens where we got views of Garden Warbler, Grey Lag Goose,Pied Wagtail and Crow.We set off with 46 species in the note book quickly added Gold crest, Skylark ,Yellowhammer, views of Willow Warbler and then the 2 target birds from this spot....Wood lark and Tree Pipit ,both in glorious song.Then a flying Green Woodpecker was added along with a bonus bird with a nice pair of Stonechats( no. 53) and then a Lesser Blacked Backed Gull as we headed back on the road towards Lynford.
Time was 7.35am as we left the car and made our way to the folly area .We picked up Magpie, Siskin, Coal Tit, Spotted Flycatcher and listened out for Firecrest.It took a while but a few brief views were had of at least 2 x Firecrests. (59). We quickly scanned the lake and picked up Canada Goose, Coot, Great Crested Grebe ,Gadwall and Cormorant . A Bird of Prey high overhead got me excited before i soon realised it was only a Common Buzzard. We left Lynford on 65 species and headed to Weeting Heath with the clock showing 8.45am.
We soon were all sitting the Hide watching a Stone Curlew among a few Lapwings and some corvids. Sparrowhawk,Jay and Mistle Thrush (70) were also added as we took a snack and coffee before heading to Lakenheath.
At 9.30 am I was now fully enjoying the glorious sun shine (best day of the week by far) as I changed into my shorts. I should add we picked up House Martin, Rook and House Sparrow on route before here.
At the visitor Centre reedbed we picked up a Reed Bunting(previously heard) 7 we were soon standing on the bank watching a Sedge Warbler & Reed warbler singing and a Grey Heron flyover. Then a contender for bird of the day appeared, a Black Tern (in fact 3 in total). This bird I only went and got Monday at Whitlingham in Norwich but wasn't thinking of seeing these again so soon .A common Tern , Marsh Harrier , Shelduck, Reed Warbler and a Eygptian Geese put us on 81 species as we walked up to get the Hobbies.
We arrived at mid day exactly & we checked the hide to pick up Oystercatcher and Tufted Duck but nothing more (Little owl was resting a foot of the tree as usual) so we headed out to the fields. We picked up Tree Sparrow quickly and a Black Headed Gull (90).
We arrived at 1.15pm and headed straight to the cliffs to pick up Fulmar& Feral pigeon (92)and was back in the car on route.
We pulled up & was soon listening to the calls of Yellowhammer and a Corn Bunting .We tracked the Corn Bunting down on the ground before it took off to only land on the wires and sung(great bird) but best was yet to come as we scanned the ground again spotted 2x Turtle Doves......that's what I'm talking about! Superb bird to get any day of the year but on the day list it went along with Grey Partridge, Wheatear & Yellow Wagtail. Then a quick drive to get the Dotterels .We saw a total of 8 Dotterels and was another really good bird onto the list as we set off to Titchwell.
We arrived at 2.15pm with 98 species in the note pad and headed straight for the first hide.On route we picked up a Bearded Tit flying across the Reeds, a Pochard and a Red Crested Pochard. At the hide its self we had Avocet, Little Ringed Plover ,Little Stint, Dunlin, Common Gull, Redshank,Teal,Little Tern, Common Sandpiper & a smart White Wagtail. Then a target bird in a another smart bird a drake Garganey no.112 of the day!
|Little Ringed Plover|
We carried on and picked up a Brent goose, Linnet ,Grey Plover and Meadow pipit into the Parrinder Hide,picking up a cracking Temminicks Stint putting us on 117. We made our way to the beach and begun to check the shoreline & Sea:- Sanderling, Turnstone, Whimbrel ,Curlew, Common Scooter& a Ringed Plover. As we made our way back I picked up my favourite British bird...the male Bullfinch, pukka! Now I was a happy chappy. We left Titchwell 124 birds (one species off our previous best).
On route we stopped off to pick up a few smart Med Gulls and a Bar Tailed Godwits before arriving at Cley at 6.45pm.
Tony suggested parking up at Walsey Hills to view across at Arnolds Marsh for the Spoonbills which had been reported there.This was a good call as we picked up 2 x Spoonbills quickly along with a Little Grebe on the pond behind us.
We parked up at the main carpark & made our way to the first Hide, picking up Sand Martin overhead as we entered. We picked up a LittleGull, Ruff &Greenshank .
In fact a days birding bookend by a churring Nightjar & a singing Nightingale, is some way to do it!
We ended the day at 8.45pm after nearly 18 Hours of birdwatching and saw a a total of 135 birds (3 of which were only heard) .
I would like to say thanks to Steve for planning the day ,Phil for driving, Tony for he's tight time keeping ( and Duck noise impression at the bank at Lakenheath) and Yorkie for he's keen ,sharp eyes . The banter was superb throughout the day and the company was as important as the birds we saw I think.
We all got to see the birds & helped each other with sighting the bird or IDing of a bird.
Cant wait for next years & with the bar set high now, i think next year target is 140 + !
Steve "route planner", Phil "the driver", me "enthusiastic", Tony "time keeper", Yorkie "Ornithologist".