A planned trip to north Norfolk with birding pal Steve Carter began at Kings Lynn where an immature Iceland Gull had been present at Fisher Fleet near Cross Bank Road since 1st Dec. After arriving early morning in a nearby turnip field courtesy of my sat-nav a very friendly farmer pointed us in the right direction. Several minutes later we arrived at Fisher Fleet and the rather smelly, fish processing plant. A large gathering of mostly Herring Gull was present near the outflow below the plant eagerly awaiting any fish scraps that may be thrown away. We eventually discovered the Iceland Gull on a muddy bank keeping away from the main gathering of gulls.
We then headed off to Snetisham RSPB reserve where a magnificent immature Pallid Harrier had been present since the 17th Nov. We arrived at 10:20 and made our way to the salt marsh at the far south end of the reserve. On route a day hunting Barn Owl and a single European Spoonbill gave brief views. We met a few people heading in the opposite direction who gave us some good news, the bird had been showing well about half an hour earlier. We scanned the salt marsh and surrounding area for an hour or so picking out a few Western Marsh Harrier and a single Common Buzzard. Just as we were beginning to think the bird would not show suddenly and seemingly from nowhere the Pallid Harrier appeared low over the marsh at close quarters giving fantastic views. I even managed to take a few record shots before the bird disappeared from view as quickly as it had arrived.
Pallid Harrier (immature).
A full list of species observed at the reserve as follows:-
Little Grebe (3), Little Egret, European Spoonbill (1), Pink-footed Goose (1), Greylag Goose (c500), Canada Goose, Egyptian Goose (2), Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Western Marsh Harrier (2), Pallid Harrier, Common Buzzard (1), Common Kestrel, Grey Partridge (4), Common Pheasant, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Golden Plover (c5000), Grey Plover, Northern Lapwing, Dunlin, Eurasian Curlew, Common Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Barn Owl (2), Common Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, European Robin, Common Blackbird, Song Thrush, Long-tailed Tit, Common Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Common Starling, Common Chaffinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Common Reed Bunting.
Our next destination was Titchwell RSPB Reserve where a mid-afternoon visit provided the following species:-
Great Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Greylag Goose, Brent Goose (c300 dark-bellied), Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Goosander (female), Western Marsh Harrier (4), Common Pheasant, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Pied Avocet (1), Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Northern Lapwing, Knot (1), Dunlin, Common Snipe, Bar-tailed Godwit, Common Curlew, Common Redshank, Ruddy Turnstone (1), Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake (2), Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Barn Owl (2), Common Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit (1), Pied Wagtail, European Robin, Common Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler (1), Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Eurasian Jay, Common Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Common Starling, Common Chaffinch, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Linnet, Reed Bunting.
We then made our way towards our lodgings for the night, The George Hotel at Cley Next The Sea noting a single Barn Owl at Burnham Overy. At Holkham we stopped briefly to view a small gathering of Pink-footed Goose grazing on a meadow and amongst them was a single White-fronted Goose. Also present was fourteen Red-legged Partridge and another Barn Owl, the latter our sixth bird of the day.
A glorious sunny but cooler morning began with a pre-breakfast visit to salt house and shoreline at Cley Next The Sea. Just the usual suspects observed although a lovely Red-throated Diver was noted fishing close to the beach. Due to the accelerator pedal breaking on my car we decided to head off home after breakfast. As we were passing Lynford Arboretum near Mundford we decided to stop off for a brief visit. On the feeders the commoner species of tit were observed plus several Marsh Tit. A pair of Brambling put in a very brief appearance below the feeders while on the pond a Little Grebe fished.