Monday, 27 February 2017

Barn Owl, Grey Partridge & Hares etc near Snettisham, Norfolk 24/2/17

A fairly early start along  the coast road back towards Kings Lyn for our journey back to Somerset. Storm Doris had gone through though it was still a little blustery. Along the road we suddenly glimpsed a Barn Owl. So lucky that there was a pull in, we grabbed our cameras and binoculars and found the owl on a fairly nearby post. I guess it was out hunting now because of storm Doris the day before. Just couldn't believe our luck as we haven't seen a Barn Owl in ages.  We stood and watched the owl for a good 10 minutes before continuing our journey.
We decided to pay a quick visit to RSPB Snettisham. As we travelled the road leading to the reserve we spotted some Hares in a field. There was a convenient gate we could park next to and wow we were so glad we stopped. Not only for at least 6 Hares running around a field full of Snowdrops but our first ever sighting of Grey Partridge and good numbers to. There were also Red Partridge, Pheasants and a Green Woodpecker as well. We spent at least an hour watching the antics of the Hares and birds - what a field, a 'magic field'.
We reached the reserve and along the way had a great view of some more Grey Partridges in a field along the way. We didn't realise the male was so striking. Close to the reserve carpark in the fields were Greylag and Egyptian Geese. No time now to stop and explore the Snettisham reserve as we have to journey home but not before stopping at the 'magic field' one more time! 
In summary... Norfolk is an amazing place - we will definitely return.

    Stunning Barn Owl


    On the look out


    So beautiful in flight



                    So 'ghost' like in flight

                    So privileged to see this beautiful owl

   Grey Partridge - another lifer


                    Crash landing! 

   Handsome fellow

                    Brown Hare 


   The Hare looks massive as it runs across the field


                   Hare and Snowdrops 


    The dreamer!


                   Wash time



   Egyptian Goose


Cley Marshes, Norfolk 22/2/17 Avocets & Pink Feet

Rain for part of the morning delayed our usual early start. However the rain was quick to clear through leaving a blustery cloudy day and we arrived at the Cley Marshes visitor centre for opening time at 10am. A very impressive centre with plenty of information, a shop and a cafe which overlooks the marshes. You have to buy permits to visit the hides so we paid our £4.50 each and ventured off to the hides. The 3 thatched hides are very close together but each has a different view over field and lagoons. From the hides we saw Avocets, Dunlin, Brent Geese and over the reeds a Marsh Harrier hunted low.
As there wasn't too much to see from the hides we decided to walk around the reserve and hopefully see some birds out to sea. As we passed a Hare ran off across the fields. On we walked to the high walkway to overlook the marsh and lagoons but could only find Redshanks, LIttle Egret and Wigeon.  Must of been the blustery conditions keeping the birds hidden.  We walked the shingle beach carefully looking for Snow buntings but none were found. We did however see Stonechats and Skylarks. Out to sea despite lots of scanning only a few gulls were seen but spotting a seal did brighten things up.  All of a sudden we heard the calling of geese and a look to the skies revealed at least a 1000 Pink footed Geese, wow what a beautiful amazing sight and sound.  They landed a few fields beyond and despite careful scanning from the Cley side we couldn't find them. There were however large numbers of Brent Geese in the fields.
For us Cley was a little disappointing for the lack of birds, perhaps it was just one of those days!
After lunch at Cley we decided to try and find the Pink feet in the fields.  We drove a short distance to Blakeney, parked up at the quay and walked the path which lead towards the fields and sea.  The area is fantastic low lying fields and salt marsh and very picturesque.   Again we found plenty of Redshanks, Curlew, Teal, Shelduck,Curlew and a few Pintail. Eventually we came to a field which a large number of Brent Geese and on closer inspection I could see that we had also found our Pink footed Geese. Hundreds of geese in one field plus some Wigeon, a great view through our binoculars but even better through the scope. We had the best view ever of the wonderful Pink footed Geese. Brilliant!
Highlight of the day ....... Finding the Pink feet, magic! 

   Avocets seen from the hide


                  So very graceful 

                    A few Stonechats seen along the beach area

   Just one seal seen out at sea - not one bird! 

                   Looking at you looking at me!

    Common Seal aka 'Sammy'

                Great to hear the song of the Skylarks as they flew over the fields

   A huge jaw dropping flock of Pink footed Geese - Wow!!


                   Cley Windmill

   In summary ... Norfolk

                   Little Egret

   Marsh Harrier - seen quite often over Cley

    Brent geese - Dark bellied I believe



   Pink footed and Brent Geese


   Looking to the sky - Pink footed Geese



   Brent Geese 



   This Curlew seemed agitated for some reason and kept calling in flight.