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Norfolk birding at its best

After a pre-dawn breakfast were ready to face another great day birding in Norfolk. We had only gone a few miles when a Barn Owl floated across the road in front of us! Minutes latter we reached RSPB Titchwell and made our towars the beach just as the sun peeped over the eastern horizon.
redshank dawn titchwell
The lagoons turned orange with the rising sun, going to be a great day....

Reaching the beach we soaked up views of masses of waders all feeding at the tide edge, Bar-tailed Godwits, Sanderling, Knot, Grey Plover and Turnstone. Offshore we picked out three Long tailed Ducks riding the waves. Luckily these lovely birds took flight and flew in and landed much closer allowing wonderful views with the Leica 82mm scope, little stunners! Heading inland we marvelled at the masses of birds on the lagoon, wildfowl covered the water, the mud was alive with waders and sky full of geese!
little egret titchwell
A Little Egret fished the shallows

Marsh Harriers floated over the reedbeds as a Chinese Water Deer grazed on the saltmarsh, huge flocks of Golden Plover swept over, Ruff fed on the islands as a Spotted Redshank strode past them.
pintail titchwell
A young Pintail having a morning wash and brush up

A Scaup was a nice addition to our fast growing year lists and a gang of Eurasian White fronted Geese on the same pool were a nice record here. As we neared the visitor centre a movement in the ditch caught out eye and we looked down to see a Water Rail feeding just below us, what amazing views.
water rail titchwell
The Water Rail fed just yards away

In the picnic area we saw just what we had hoped for, a gang of birders all looking up! A flock of Lesser Redpoll were feeding just above the watchers heads and amongst them a very special bird indeed!
arctic redpoll titchwell 2
Arctic Redpoll at RSPB Titchwell

We enjoyed amazing views of this rare bird as it fed on the Alder tree cones just a few yards above us, though tricky to photogragh as it was always on the move!
arctic redpoll titchwell
Another view of the Arctic Redpoll

We dragged ourselves away from the bird feast at Titchwell and headed south to RSPB Buckenham Marshes in the Norfolk broads. We timed our arrival very well, our target bird a vagrant Lesser white fronted Goose had not been seen for some hours but within minutes of setting up the scopes this small goose was picked out again! The Lesser white front was feeding with a large flock of Taiga Bean Geese on a marshy field that had much dead ground that a small goose can hide in, luckily it stood up nicely for us before walking back down hill out of sight, we punched the air in delight!
lesser white fronted goose buckenham
A distant record shot of Lesser-white fronted Goose

Marsh Harrier, Peregrine and more Eurasian white fronted Geese were all enjoyed here before we were off again in search of another rare bird. A short drive latter we were looking over Ranworth Broad and soon found our target bird
ring necked duck ranworth broad
A female Ring necked Duck shows off in the sunshine

With the great views of this North American rarity enjoyed we headed up to Horsey Mere for a welcome cuppa and very large helpings of yummy cakes, the day just kept getting better! Refueled we took the short drive round to Hickling Broad NWT reserve for the final birding of the day and we knew, given luck, we were in for a real treat. Our luck held, how could it not on such an amazing birding day? We were soon stood on the platform over looking the reedbeds and marshes of Hickling.
common crane hickling watch
Where we were joined by one or two other birders

The evening sky was full of Marsh Harriers, over 80 birds came in to roost in the reeds here! A Hen Harrier floated past, a Merlin shot through, a male Yellowhammer sat up on a small bush. But the best was still to come, Common Cranes! These magnificent birds swept across the marshes uttering their amazing calls, thrilling everyone. What a way to end a truely amazing days birding!
common crane hickling

Still more to come from our Norfolk adventure check back soon....


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