Wednesday 9 February 2011

Visiting the Grandchildren in Norfolk

What a thoughtful thing my daughter and her husband did to move to Downham Market in Norfolk where we can go and visit the grandchildren every 8 weeks or so,  and everyone being realistic and kind, allow me to indulge in a couple of days of birdwatching.   So after arriving saturday and spending the rest of that day and sunday enjoying the family I planned to go birding monday and tuesday.  Monday wasn't a good forecast and it was right.  Another day like most of this month but I did manage to spend the day going to Mayday Farm then on to Santon Downham and from there to Lynford Arboretum,  beautiful places, terrible weather.   Strong blustery wind, overcast skies, but no rain.  No birds either, well, not as many as there should be there this time of the year.   Saw and heard some Crossbills,  quite a few Siskins,  saw a male Bullfinch that had been drinking in the Ouse, and some Redwing.  A few Goldcrests showed well at the arboretum.   That was about all. No Hawfinches.    Now, tuesday was a completely different cup of tea. It was spring like with wall to wall blue skies and, no wind.  This time I was off to Salthouse and Cley which is just over an hour from D Market.   Having nearly collided with a hare on the way I arrived at Salthouse beach carpark at 8.30am.   What a magnificent coast line this is, well everywhere is great when the sun shines.  Being one of the first to park there I had the whole area to myself, a couple of other guys rolled up and we spent a little while watching the Snowbuntings flitting here and there.   There was plenty going on, Hundreds and hundreds of Geese going over with some coming down nearby.  Some waders were dotted about and a few Shorelarks flew past.  After a while because of the sun the carpark eventually became full with birders all over the place, much to the annoyance of a few professional bird photographers.  I eventually moved on to Cley where I was told some Shorelarks were feeding along the inside of the shingle bank.  I soon picked them up at the said place and watched them for an hour before moving along the beach.   The scrapes had a number of the common waders feeding in them,  Blackwits, Dunlin, curlew, Lapwing and plenty of Golden Plover giving a flying display every now and again.   There was one immature Spoonbill in the last scrape which I had to see, (what a long walk) lucky i'm super fit?   Other sightings,  a common Buzzard, and so I was told although I didn't look for them,  about 60 Red-throated Divers had flown past.  A most pleasant day.