Sunday, 25 September 2011

A Norfolk trip.

On Tuesday morning I decided to go to Norfolk and luckily I was able to book up a few days at one of my favourite hotels.Although the forecast was for bright weather the strong westerly wind that has been blowing in Norfolk for a while now was forecast to continue and even I know this reduces the chances of seeing some decent migrants.However on the plus side I knew that quite a few of my friends would be in Norfolk that week.


Set out early in the morning and arrived at Thornham harbour car park not long after 9.00AM.It was deserted except for two other cars that had just arrived and you can image my surprise when Steve Seal and Anne got out of one car and Di Stone got out the other.What are the odds of that happening.

After a quick chat a quick look round the harbour creeks revealed nothing except some very distant waders I headed off to Titchwell.Visits to the Fen hide,the Island hide and than the new Parrinder hide were a great disappointment with no birds being any where near the hides.Birders with powerful scopes could see some Little Stints and Curlew Sandpipers but they were a long way off.OH Dear!!!! To make matters worse the wind was very strong.

I cheered up a bit when I spotted a Whinchat from the main pathway.

I then headed for the beach and was pleased to find this handsome Wheatear on the derelict building rubble.

Went further down the beach to try for some shots of some Sandwich Terns that were being very noisy calling out.

Out on the sea there was a distant Arctic Skua flying low over the water.Not a great shot but the first one I've ever taken.

I was very pleased to spot a Red-throated Diver in Summer plumage not that far out but when I tried to get a shot it dived and I never saw it again.Also far out to sea were several juvenile Gannets.I tried to get some shots but they were too far out for me to get decent ones.Here are my best.

I then had a bite of lunch and headed towards my hotel but first had a walk round Morsten harbour.This in the past has been a good place for me but it was very poor today with all the creeks empty of birds.A tough day so I was pleased to head to the hotel mid afternoon.


As I was staying in Kelling I decided that I would spend Thursday in the nearby Cley area.I parked up at the end of the East bank and headed to the Bishops hide and when I entered I was surprised to find it empty.The reason was soon apparent there were cows all over the scrape and there were hardly any birds to see.Bugger Bugger !!!!

I then headed along the East bank.I quickly met up with Kevin Grocock and he said words that would be repeated a lot on this trip "It's dead there's nothing about".After a chat I headed along the bank to the beach not confident of seeing anything let alone taking any pics.there were quite a few Bearded Tits darting about but the very strong wind was keeping them low down.Did manage one poorish shot but pleased to use the camera.

After finding nothing at all on the shingle beach I then had a bit of luck when I spotted an Arctic Skua chasing a Tern and was chuffed to bits at getting some decent shots much better than yesterday's effort.

I then went to Wallesly Hill NR just across the road from the end of the East Bank.I climbed up the steps and joined another birder there on the platform but in the next hour all we saw were 2 Chaffinches and a Dunnock.Hells teeth this is not good.

Went to the centre for some lunch reminding myself that this is a very expensive place to eat having been caught out badly here in the spring.There were only a couple of people in the queue to be served in front of me but it took the two waitresses an age to serve them.I later found out that they were both zombies out on day release into the community.

I then spent most of the afternoon wandering around Salthouse beach area including climbing Gramborough Hill but besides some Meadow Pipits and a few Linnets the place was dead.OH dear!!!


Kevin Grocock and I wishing to change our luck planned to meet up at 9.00AM in the car park at Wells Woods.Paid the exorbitant car park fee for a couple of hours and headed off with Kevin to check out the woods.It was a lovely sunny morning and the wind had died down a lot but that's where the good news ended because after a 90 minute walk round we saw nothing at all.The place was dead.Oh Dear!!!!

We decided to give up but when we got back to the car park things got even worse for me when I had a £50 parking penalty stuck on my windscreen.Bugger Bugger !!!! The car park ticket had fallen off the shelf and onto the floor.I went to sort out the parking attendant and give him a piece of my mind (well actually I apologised and pleaded with him to let me off and he did).

Kevin then went to Holkham and I headed to Cley coastguards.After a bit of lunch I had a walk to the Eye field were I found several Wheatears but nothing else.Birders told me not to walk to the North hide as it was dead (that word again).I then made a shrewd move as I walked across to the beach,sat down on a lump of concrete and did some sea watching.

Not long after I had sat down I noticed some waders on the shoreline about 30 metres away so using my superb fieldcraft skills I shuffled slowly towards them and got pretty close to find two Golden Plovers and a Turnstone.What cracking looking birds Golden Plovers are when you get close.

A few metres to the right along the shoreline these chaps suddenly flew in.

Waiting patiently these four Bar-tailed Godwits slowly came close enough for me to get some shots.

I then walked westwards from the car park to try for the two Whinchats seen there in the morning.I had to be careful not to wander too far from the car park as the route was all shingle and on shingle I have a maximum range of about 600 metres.If I go any further I cannot get back without aid as my legs stop working.

I'd gone a fair way when I found both of them sitting on a wire.

I then got carried away trying to get some shots but the damn so and so's kept moving further away everytime I got close.I suddenly noticed I was a long way from the car park and was in trouble getting back.They must have known about my problem and were trying to finish me off.the cunning devils!!! I set off back and was very relieved to make it back to the car park some time later.This is the only shot I got of them after all that trouble.

On the walk back I did have the pleasure of seeing a Sparrowhawk whizzing over the shingle.


Before I set off home I spent the morning at Titchwell.I had hoped that I would have more luck with the camera from the hides but sadly this was not the case and yet again there was nothing to be seen anywhere near the hides.

Had better luck on the main path when I found some Bearded Tits.

A little bit further along the main path I greatly impressed a couple of birders when I pointed out the spot I'd seen the Whinchat on Wednesday when it flew in from nowhere to land in the same spot.

On the beach the tide was a long way out and the mussel beds were exposed which attracted loads of Waders.It was a great site but hard to get close enough for decent shots.

I was surprised to see this Kestrel racing along the beach.

After lunch in the cafe I headed home.An enjoyable trip with very nice weather except for the wind but no rarities and not many decent shots.


Kevin Groocock said...

Nice account, Max. You did much better than I did. Couldn't get onto a Bearded Tit all week! (nor Whinchat, Wheatear, Turnstone or Golden Plover!). Seen but too far away. Just going through my images and will post later.

Max Silverman said...

Cheers Kevin.I hope you've got some decent shots but it was a hard week to find anything to point the camera at.

Pete Walkden said...

Great set of shots Max, especially the golden plover and whinchats (one of which I saw myself at Titchwell).

Shame our trips didn't coincide though - or was that deliberate?



Max Silverman said...

No way Pete because if I went out birding with you I'd have a great chance of seeing an Owl as they seem to follow you around!!!!