After breakfast on Friday morning I headed down the A149 again but this time I headed for Holkham Pines.A few Autumns ago I had one of my best birding days ever there getting 3 life ticks in two hours comprising a Great Grey Shrike, a Lesser Grey Shrike and a Subalpine Warbler.This was July however so there was not going to much about.
My excellent mood was somewhat dashed even though it was a fine morning when I had to cough up £4.50 for "up to 4 hours" car parking.I had hoped this included lunch but no.
It was very pleasant walking in the woods in the smashing weather but I was seeing very little on the birding front.Mind you it was a nice surprise to find a bush with loads of young Long-tailed Tits in it.
Saw nothing at all from the Washington hide but from the Joe Jordan hide there were 12 Spoonbills,4 Marsh Harriers and numerous Little Egrets on show but the trouble was they were so far away they might have been over the border in Suffolk.
I then decided to check out the dunes and soon found a Butterfly I'd not seen before.I think it's a Dark Green Fritillary but I'm not certain.
Half way along the dunes I settled down for a bit of lunch.Like a top birder I was still scanning round but what I spotted was not a rare bird but a nude man staring at me from about 50m away.I immediately went into panic mode grabbed my stuff and raced away along the pathway.Mind you if it had been a nude young lady I might well have gone into voyeur mode.
As I neared the Holkham gap I spotted about 40 horsemen exercising their horses in the sea.Intrigued I had to find what was going on because there were a lot of people watching.I asked one of the riders and it turned out it they were the Household Cavalry giving their horses a holiday.
Just after lunch I headed inland a little to a spot I'd been told a pair of Montague Harriers were nesting.It was not too far away from where I'd seen them in previous years (North Creake) and I soon found the set aside field.As soon as I got out the car I saw a large grey raptor flying just above the undergrowth.Was it the Male ???? I grabbed the bins just as it flew over the hedgeline and away.I waited an hour and it never returned.I didn't get a good view so it was more likely to have been a male Marsh Harrier.
I then headed back down the A149 and called in to Morston Quay and parked up but only after negotiating the worst set of speed humps in England.It was very pleasant walking round and checking the creeks but as expected there was nothing about.A Skylark who was clearly upset at the woeful time I was having with the camera put on a private display for me.Got my best Skylark shots.
After the evening meal I couldn't resist going down to Cley again and standing on the path by the Bishops hide and have another go at the Marsh Harriers.This time there was an added attraction because at the far side of the pond there at least 6 juvenile Bearded Tits showing.Too far for decent shots with my lens but great to watch.
The Marsh Harriers were again very active but if anything were staying further away than yesterday with one exception when one very briefly came a bit closer.