The alarm going of at a quarter to four heralded the start of my trip to Norfolk. A time that I haven’t seen for a few weeks. Early starts are an easy habit to get out of. I left the house at a quarter-past aiming to be at my first stop for half-past seven. I had four target birds for the trip and had planned accordingly. First bird was to be the Serin at Downham Market but as it wasn’t reported on Saturday afternoon or Sunday instead headed for Wolferton for Golden Pheasant. Having made good time and after a splash and go fuel stop at Tescos Kings Lynn I arrived at The Triangle at twenty past seven. Initially I parked on the southern side to wait for the light to improve. Then I decided to drive down to the village and back as it was a place I hadn’t visited before. Other than some unseen singing Song Thrushes en-route Blackbird was the first bird on the trip-list. This was closely followed by a Sparrowhawk that flashed across the road in front of me. Returning to the Triangle I parked and settled down to wait for a Golden Pheasant to appear on one of the verges. I had set half-eight as the time to leave but as this approached I decided to give it to a quarter to. A good decision as about ten minutes later a male of the aforementioned species was seen in the rear-view mirror a hundred or so yards back along the road. Alerting some other birders who were parked further along the road I had a good look at the bird as it fed on the verge. It stayed until a passing car sent it back into the undergrowth.
Then it was onto my next site which was Flitcham. This for the longish staying but elusive Pallid Harrier. On my arrival I found that, annoyingly I had missed it by twenty or minutes or so. So the next couple of hours were spent keeping an eye out for the Harrier whilst watching the amazing amount of birds at this wildlife friendly farm. Good sized flocks of various birds were seen including Linnets Chaffinches and Sparrows. Three Grey Partridge skulked in the field margins while a Sparrowhawk made a couple of appearances. http://www.abbeyfarm.co.uk/wildlife.shtml. Certainly a worthwhile place to visit if you are in the area. From here I headed to Choseley Barns an area that a Rough-legged Buzzard has been frequenting. I stopped for a few minutes but to be honest was a little bored with scanning fields so upped sticks and headed for the coast. Thornham was my chosen spot as there were three Shore Larks in the area. Another of my target birds. I had been informed that it was a fair walk to get to the right area so sat and eat a sarnie before heading off along the sea wall. Brent Geese, Merlin, Redshank and Curlew were all seen while I was eating. Soon after I set off a flock of thirty or so Twite were seen as was a Peregrine. Leaving the sea wall for the dunes and then the beach I reached what I hoped was the right area. There was a lot of sand to scan for three small birds but I was fortunate and found them quite quickly managing to get some really good views of what was my second lifer of the day. A check of the waters edge added Sanderling, Dunlin and Barwit to the list.
From here I went back to Choseley to try again for the Buzzard. On arrival I asked some birders if it had been seen. The answer was the obvious yes five minutes ago! Having determined which direction it had gone I got back in the car have a drive round to see if I could catch up with it. Amazingly my luck was in again and I came across it sat in a field quite near to the road. Quickly parking i managed to get a good view of it and a couple of quick pictures before it flew. I was able to watch it in the air for a good few minutes before it drifted off out of sight. A real result.
To finish off the day I drove to Hunstanton, mainly for Fulmars on the cliffs but also to see the beached Sperm Whale. A very sad sight.
Then it was a drive to my B&B in Wells. My evening meal was fish and chips which were eaten on the seafront, not the usual thing to be doing in January.
Purely by coincidence Pete and a couple of his friends John and Peter were also staying in Wells so I walked to the Bowling Green Inn to meet up with them.