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EARLY WINTER IN NORTH NORFOLK
Saturday 22nd November 2014

Our birding day got off to a good start with two RED KITES flying over fields as we neared Wells-next-the-Sea and with the weather looking reasonable we started off at Burnham Overy Staithe.

As we wandered down the hedgerow, we found large numbers of BLACKBIRDS plus FIELDFARE, REDWING and SONG THRUSH whilst SKYLARKS flew overhead. Reaching an open area, we scanned the fields and marsh where we found a good number of species. Up to 10 GREY PARTRIDGE showed well and with a break in the gloomy weather, raptors were very much in evidence with a female MERLIN perched on a fencepost and around 4 COMMON BUZZARDS, KESTRELS, 3 MARSH HARRIERS, another RED KITE and juvenile ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD which was seen in flight and on fence-posts.

PINK-FOOTED GEESE were seen in good numbers and whilst scanning through these we located two BARNACLE GEESE. EGYPTIAN, BRENT and CANADA GEESE were also present plus large numbers of GOLDEN PLOVER that were constantly flushed by the raptors.

A quick look at the mudflats yielded GREY PLOVER, BLACK-TAILED GODWIT, DUNLIN, REDSHANK and SHELDUCK before we started to retrace our steps back to the road.

We tucked into lunch at Lady Anne’s Drive where a couple of MARSH HARRIERS flew over the fields and after setting off towards Holkham Gap we saw an adult BEWICK’S SWAN flying overhead.

Taking the the long walk out to the sea we located a small group of COMMON SCOTER feeding offshore. Whilst scanning the area we watched five COMMON EIDER fly east plus out in the bay were RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, GANNET, RED-THROATED DIVER and a lone SLAVONIAN GREBE.

Walking westwards we came across more scoter and with diligent searching, found the long-staying drake SURF SCOTER asleep. Eventually it woke up and was seen alongside five VELVET SCOTER and 30 COMMON SCOTER!

Delighted by this we headed back and spent some time in Washington Hide which was rather quiet except for large numbers of PINK-FOOTED GEESE coming into roost. A search for Barn Owl proved fruitless but we certainly enjoyed a good day with some really great birds!