short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Dawn till Dusk Birding.....

   Dawn to Dusk.....
So there I was ,at 3am parked up outside Yorkies house after setting off from my house at " silly hours oclock", waiting for him to come out, I could just work out he was there as it was pitch black . He jumped in the van and we were off to meet the others and make our way down to the Brecks!

leaving off.....

  This was of course our annual "big birding day out ", where me,Yorkie ,Steve,phil & Tony head out for first light into the Brecks and finish up at dusk in the North Norfolk coast .This was our 7 th year and previously we had managed to get 135 species so we hoped for as many again but the total is important as its just a bit of fun .
  We arrived at Santon Downham ,( as we do every year )  at 4.15am standing and waiting for what is a birding highlight for me every year.... the Dawn Chorus! 
getting into place..4am

  A Song thrush started to sing with a Robin, Blackbird and Tawny owl calling , it wasn't long before we had Cuckoo, Reed & Sedge warbler , Reed bunting , all 3 corvids on the list . Gt spotted W/Pecker called before a drum and along the river Mandarins & mallards took off in flight . Then Gt Tit,Blue Tit and Long tailed Tit were added with a Wren. A  Pheasent started calling as a Common Buzzard went over against the Inl blue sky which was changing in colour by the minutes.
   What makes this even more special is you are watching the sun rise, darkness given way to light and theres  not a machine or automobile to be heard.  It's just us and nature ....its simply  Magic !

The birds started singing as the sun started to rise....

  By 6 .30 am we were over 50 species and made our way to regular spot nearby . We soon added ,Tree pipit, Meadow Pipit ,Sky lark and Wood lark ,along with Mistle Thrush, Hobby, and a very showy a lesser Whitethroat along with Lesser Black backed Gull& Herring Gull .
  Next stop was Lynford (7.40am)  where we had a quick Coffee and straight on with it . We added Siskin,Goldcrest, Kestrel, Little grebe and a nice family of Common Crossbills . Then as we hoped a Firscrest ( 1 of 2) and a Spotted Flycatcher.


  Next we headed to Weeting Heath (9.55am) where we quickly got on a couple of Stone Curlews. Great views as usual from this place of a Breckland specialty!
   Lakenham Heath was our next stop and immediately we added into the note book :-
 Little Egret, Coot ,Bar Tailed Godwit, Black Headed Gull, Cettis, Redshank and a rather smart Gloosy ibis ....

Glossy Ibis

  As we made our way round a Common tern flew overhead and dropped in and a Marsh harrier hunted over the other side. A Magpie flew across our path & i spotted a pair of Stonechats and a Gt crested Grebe on the water.  Hobby was soon seen along with a few others hawking over the reeds & water . As we walked back I picked out a fling Whimbrel and Grey heron , lapwing and grey lag goose were all seen. Then a bird flew over and dropped onto the waters edge in the distance, which we were unsure off until we could could get closer. Yorkie soon called it... Grey Plover.  A nice bird and not one we were expecting to get here .

We left off at mid day and then made our way up to Flitcham , picking up a Red partridge , House sparrow and Egyptian Goose on route .
 By 1pm we were at Flitcham and eating our lunch while watching a couple of Male Tree Sparrows go back & forth to there nest holes ! We added Common Gull, Oystercatcher, Shelduck, Bullfinch, Canada Goose and Greenfinch and then the bird you can't leave without seeing a Little a Owl !

can you see it ?.... Little Owl in centre of picture

  We left on 96 species and after a quick stop at Hunstaton for Fulmar, little Tern, Feral pigeon & Med Gull we were on 100 species ! 
 Cholsley Barns was disappointing ( weather at this point not great) as we didn't hear/see a Corn bunting , Turtle dove or a Dotteral . We did pick up Grey partridge so we headed to Titchwell at 3.45pm .
 We soon picked up Avocet, Shoveler, Teal, Brent goose and Little Ringed Plover as we made our way up to the beach to seawatch . Yorkie soon picked up a Eider Duck fairly close in. In the shoreline we had Bar Tailed Godwit, Sanderling, Turnstone ,Ringed Plovers and Knot. Across the sea we had a few flocks of Common Scoter with a few Velvet Scoters too . Plenty of Little Terns ( already had) and Sandwich Terns.

Eider Duck

  We started to walk back towards the Hides and I spotted a Marsh harrier  and a Red Kite having a bit of a Scuffle in the air.
   Next we added Ruff, Dunlin and 2x smart Spoonbills. Then everything took up to the sky,this can only mean one thing ... We all looked up and watched as a nice Peregrine Falcon dived down and then across without success . Stunning bird to watch as it had another attempt and then flew off.  As the birds all settled again we picked out a couple of Sand martins of the water & another Hobby.
  We walked to the large screen around the other side and picked up Pochard and Tufted duck ( no red crested pochard ) it was then that we got our Turtle doves ! Just wouldn't be a great day out without these superb looking birds.  Always look immaculate and when singing such a treat to the ears.  As we left a pair of Whinchats were added to the list and off we went to Cley.

Turtle Doves


   On route we stopped off and picked up Curlew and arrived at Cley
     Well nothing to report as it was quiet and nothing we hadn't already seen.  It was getting a bit late so we decided to head to the regular spot for Nightingale.  Will we didn't hear or see one but did enjoy  watching a Barn Owl hunt and cuckoo call from the tree tops. 
  Our day had come to an end & we made our way back to Norwich and chatted about the superb birds we had seen and the moments from the day.
 Thanks to Phil for driving and to all the lads for some great banter along with some great birds found
 Happy Birding