Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Spring arrives

1 April 2017

The Burnhams

First thing this morning there were 2 Marsh Harrier, 3 Buzzard, 2 Red Kite and a singing Chiffchaff over the fields north of Great Walsingham.

After an early start we walked out to Burnham Overy Dunes, on to Gun Hill and up to the edge of Holkham Pines. The first signs of summer were seen and heard; 2 Wheatear, 
2 Chiffchaff, 2 Sedge Warbler and 4 Sandwich Tern offshore. The strangest sighting came in the form of a flock of 9 Magpie coasting west over Gun Hill towards Scott Head. Other birds included a Song Thrush, 6 Stonechat, a superb close immature male Peregrine overhead, a Great White Egret on Holkham freshmarsh and a Bittern, a flock of 8 Black-tailed Godwit flew east, 3 Red Kite hunted over the dunes, 2 Marsh Harrier, a singing Cetti's Warbler and calling Bearded Tit, plus 5 Grey Partridge.

One of the three Red Kites over Burnham Overy Dunes
In the afternoon I started at New Holkham seeing the 1w fem Pallid Harrier, 5 Marsh Harrier, 2 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 15 Buzzard, 5 Red Kite, 2 Grey Partridge and a 
Tawny Owl calling in the sunshine (I've actually heard this on each of my last four daytime visits). The Pallid Harrier flew over the fields and also landed in the short wheat, giving great views of its brown eye and orange collar. It quickly drew the attention of a Hare which ran towards it and flushed it. The harrier seemed surprised and flew low over the Hare which raised onto its rear legs and boxed into the air, trying to scare the harrier. This went on for a couple of minutes, the harrier spooking the Hare and the Hare chasing and boxing at the harrier, before the harrier flew across the field to find a quieter perch - a truly memorable encounter. 

1w female Pallid Harrier - New Holkham

And another Red Kite
I decided to head over to the sea wall at Burnham Norton hoping to see the Pallid Harrier fly in to roost. I waited until 18:30 with no luck on that front, but did see 1 superb adult male Hen Harrier, 6 Marsh Harrier, 2 Buzzard, 3 Red Kite, 2 Med Gull, 3 Swallow, 1 White Wagtail with 12 Pied Wagtail and a Ruff.

Adult male Hen Harrier

White Wagtail
Meadow Pipit

Grey Heron

2 April 2017

A long walk

There were 2 Marsh Harrier and 1 Buzzard over the fields towards Wighton and the Chiffchaff was still singing.

The marshes at Stiffkey
We walked from Wells to Stiffkey and back via the Red Lion. We recorded a total of 17 Chiffchaff and 2 Blackcap along the way. We also heard a Cetti's Warbler at Stiffkey, a 
Swallow flew west, a Red Kite hunted over the marshes near East Hills and a Kestrel.

A flock of 8 Black-wits flew east with 30 feeding on Stiffkey Fen and 20 on Stiffkey pools. A distant Spoonbill was flushed by a micro light at East Hills, where about a thousand Brent Geese fed on the Saltmarsh. A pair of adult Med Gulls flew noisily over on a group of Black-heads.

Little Egret

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