A Couple of Days in Norfolk

After spending a day at visiting my Great Aunt in Suffolk I headed on up to the North Norfolk Coast for a couple of days birding. On the way I saw a sign for Lynford Arboretum and decided to pop in for a quick look. It was fairly late in the day so I wasn’t expecting to see much. Birdwise I was right with just a few Long-tailed Tits and a Wren seen but of interest was a troop of thirty-nine Shaggy Inkcap Mushrooms. It was interesting to see them in their various stages of growth. Previously I have only seen them in smaller numbers.

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From here I drove to Cley arriving at a little past eight in the evening ready for a full day of birding on Wednesday. First light saw me at the beach car park scanning the sea. It was pretty quiet with just a few Gannets moving through.

There were also quite a number of Geese flying overhead which I assumed were Pink-footed. The first of many Marsh harriers was seen over Cley reserve.I then moved onto Walsey Hills NR where there were just a few species seen. Little Grebe, Chaffinch, Dunnock etc. Next was a stroll along the East Bank with many birds being seen. To the east there were Black-tailed Godwits, Redshank, Teal and Shelduck on the Lagoons and on the reserve itself Herons, Little Egrets, Curlews and more Godwits and Redshank. At least four more Marsh harriers were about and I had a brief sighting of five or six Bearded Tits. I then moved onto the main reserve and spent a pleasant couple of hours in the hides. Due to the position of the sun Bishop’s hide was the best with Avocet, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwits, Dunlin and Golden Plover in good numbers. Best here was a Little Stint. A single Pintail was noted and a Wheatear flew onto the bank in front of the hide. A Water Rail ran along the ditch in front but I was watching the Wheatear and missed it. Just along by the main Hide complex I heard and then saw another small group of Bearded Tits and even managed a couple of pictures.

From here I went to a new site for me, Warham Greens. On the marshes there were dozens of Little Egrets and Curlews, and singles of Spoonbill and Peregrine. Unfortunately because of the South Westerly winds there was not much chance of any migrants turning up. From here I headed to Wells where I parked in the town and walked along the beach road to Wells Wood. Lots of waders seen on the way including Turnstone and Ringed Plover. A large flock of Brent Geese flew in and landed on the sandbanks. Well over a thousand birds I think. As elsewhere the woods were quiet with just a few Goldcrest and Tits around along with a cpouple of Jays and Green and Great-spotted Woodpecker. Back in the town I sat on the harbour wall and ate Fish and Chips before heading off toIMG_6320 (1280x852) Titchwell for the night. On the way a sighting of Barn Owl gave me a total of seventy-three species for the day. First light on Thursday morning found me on the reserve at Titchwell. Unfortunately there is a lot of work going on here repairing the storm damage from last winter. Still plenty of birds around with the highlights being two each of Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint. From here I went to another new site for me, Gun Hill near to Burnham Overy. Walking along the green lane to the sea wall there were a few birds in the hedgerows, all common stuff as expected. Reaching the marshes I scanned the small shallow lake where I found a Black-necked Grebe along with a little Grebe.  Also here were a few Snipe, Black-tailed Godwits and Redshank. Scanning the surrounding area I added Whinchat and Reed Bunting. Hearing geese calling I  scanned the sky and found several Skeins flying in. In all at least a thousand Pink-footed flew in, an impressive sight. Also a couple of Spoonbills flew onto the lake and Marsh Harrier and Buzzard were also about. On the dunes were a few Reed Buntings, House Sparrows and Tit with more Gannets passing along the Coast. After eating my lunch I headed back inland where I added Sparrowhawk and a Red-throated Diver to my list. A final scan of the lake found a Coot and a Water Rail.

I arrived back at the car at about half-two and decided to start heading for home. I had one more stop planned, Sculthorpe Moor near Fakenham where a Purple Heron had been around for a few days. On reaching the reserve I was informed that the bird was showing well at the far end of the boardwalk. After a fast walk of around half-a-mile a small group of birders which included Lee Evans had their scopes trained on some trees. A quick scan with the binoculars soon found the Heron in the trees and I spent three or four minutes watching it before it flew down into the reedbed below. Due to the time I decided to head straight back to the car but certainly a place to be revisited in the future. With a final tally for the two days of eighty-eight species including nine year ticks, one of which, the Purple Heron, was a UK lifer it was a successful and enjoyable trip.



2 responses to “A Couple of Days in Norfolk

  1. Richard Willams

    Thank you Malcolm for a particularly lovely and evocative piece. I may have written before that North Norfolk is one of my favourite parts of the world and I try to get up there once a year, partly for the birds but partly for my parents’ ashes were scattered on the River Glaven at one particular spot. Overy Staithe itself is stunning, particularly the walk out to the shoreline. Having a couple of days up there quietly birding sounds idyllic! Where did you stay at Cley? When I go with my brother we stay at the Three Swallows.

    • It was really nice and it was nice being on my own as I could do exactly what I wanted. As for where did I stay. The answer is I slept in the car. Much easier for an early start and cheap as well.

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