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Post Info TOPIC: 4 day norfolk trip


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nice one rezmole. im jealous over the honeys though. visited ryburgh 3 times for several hours and still dipped! where did you watch the monties? i know they"re heavily protected but i couldnt find any info at allconfused.gif

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Great report im sure one day your report will be used by me full of great information.biggrin.gif

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Sounds like you had a great trip. Pitty about the Minsmere photographers, this seems to be on the increase. Surely if it's on a reserve a member of staff could pop round the hides and politely insist that people move on and let everyone have a look? The hides are for everyone after all, not just the ones who get there first.

Glad you enjoyed yourselfs anyway, some great birdsbiggrin.gif

Dean.

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Saw a few Hobbys but no Nightingales. To be honest, we sort of forgot to look. Certainly didn't here anything that sounded like a Nightingale.

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Not bad at all sounds like a pretty fine few days birding. Next time you need to go to Lakenheath first thing smile.gif

You havent mentioned Nightingale or Hobby, did you see these?

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Not bad. Got there about teatime on Sunday and after checking in and dumping our gear at the Travelodge in Long Sutton we went to Dersingham Bog. Highlights were our first Woodcocks and Nightjars. What a great bird the Nightjar is. One was circling us at a distance of about ten feet. Eerie.

Next day begin with a trip to Titchwell. Saw our first Cetti's Warbler - a brief glimpse. Also heard Turtle Dove but couldn't actually find it. A species count of 61 wasn't bad in the 4 hours we spent there. Fantastic views of a Barn Owl at not long after we got there. We heard from an RSPB voluteer that there was a Red-backed Shrike at Cley Marshes, so we went off to find it.

Got to Cley to be told they had had a Shrike, but it was the week before! Got chatting to three blokes from Yorkshire who told us where there was a Red-backed Shrike, just down the road in Blakeney Village, so we followed them and got what was another first for us (our fourth of the week). Was so glad we met the Yorkshiremen - living in Lancashire, you tend to forget that sometimes strangers are nice and helpful!

After the Shrike, we went to a site known to have Montegu's Harrier and had good but distant views of both a male and a female, within minutes of arriving. A fifth new one and time to call it a day.

Day three was set aside for a trip to Minsmere - well you have to, don't you?! Anyway, a wrong turning ended up with us going the Great Yarmouth first, to see the Little Tern colony on the beach (yet another first). Brilliant. Could have stayed watching them for hours, but Minsmere was calling. Minsmere ended up being hard work - we were a bit tired - especially me, after all the driving. Highlight was our first ever sighting of a Cuckoo (only heard them previously, never managed to see one). Most annoying was three guys with massive tripods and enormous camera lenses who hogged the Bittern hide all day making it hard for everyone else to get a seat. I take photos, but some photographers just seem to think they own the place. That, and the three others who seemed to be having a picnic really made me start to dislike Minsmere, despite seeing a total of 68 species.

Day four was going to be a good day with several first on the cards. Started at Weeting for the Stone Curlews. Very distant views but great to see. Also saw a stoat and Green Woodpeckers galore, but no sign of Wood Lark despite being told they'd be easy! Gave up after an hour or so waiting and moved on to Lakenheath RSPB. What an awful place! Couldn't even get a drink. Not even a vending machine!! No Golden Oriole's either - not even any calling. I suppose we should have gone early morning. Never mind. Quick trip and look round Lynford Arboretum for Garden Warblers. Despite being told they were everywhere, we didn't see one. We really must brush up on our bird call recognition! Decided to go back to Weeting and try for Wood Lark again. This time they were easy - four of them feeding ten feet in front of the hide. Also saw a Spotted Flycatcher (not a first, but good to see anyway). Still no sign of a Turtle Dove, a bird which along with Garden Warbler we felt confident would be easy.

Day five saw us make a quick stop off at Great Ryburgh watchpoint for the Honey Buzzard. Only had a ten minute wait before we saw one. Other birders draw our attention to the differences between it and a Common Buzzard which was in the air near to it. After a while a bloke came along who I'm sure I knew from somewhere. Turned out to be the guy who plays Martin Platt in Coronation Street. Quite a crowd was building at this stage, but the Honey Buzzard wasn't showing again, so we moved on.

After this it was back to the great Turtle Dove hunt. Choseley Drying Barns yielded little but Yellowhammers. Titchwell again didn't produce, and the mists had rolled in, so no see-watching. Back to Dersingham Bog, this time a little earlier. Had a walk round and got Tree Pipits (our eleventh new bird). Left it a bit late watching the Nightjars and it was dark when we were leaving. In fact we managed to take a wrong turning and got a bit lost! Quite spooky in the woods with bats flying around our heads.

The last day saw us yet again trying for Turtle Dove. First at Choseley again, then at Cley, Salthouse and Titchwell. No sign again, but a reported Temminck's Stint kept our interest. Unfortunately, none of the birders we spoke to could find it. The conclusion was that someone had misidentified something else. There seemed to be a lot of this going on. Herring Gulls were being reported as Kittiwakes and Barnacle Geese were even being logged as Brents!!!

That was it. Knackered. Time to get back to the Travelodge for a good nights sleep to prepare for an early start home. Motoring back along the A149, Sue asked if we could try the Wolverton Triangle for one last attempt to find a Golden Pheasant. We had done the "triangle cruise" several times this holiday, and on our other two previous trips, but never managed to see the bird. Anyway, I agreed despite being tired of driving (an old mini isn't the most comfortable of cars to be driving 1200 miles in six days!)

Well, what did we see crossing the road? No, not a Pheasant but a mole! First time we've seen a mole!. I swerved to miss it, but I'm not sure it made it all the way across - there were a lot of cars behind me. One last trip around the triangle and nothing. Until we were almost on the way out. Suddenly I glanced into a small clearing and saw a male Golden Pheasant. I was just starting to brake when Sue told me to stop. She had seen it too. Unfortunately, as we reversed to get another look, it must have dived into the bushes for cover. At least we'd seen one. Twelve new birds - we were pretty pleased with that. No real big ones this time - seemed a quiet week for rarities (we didn't bother trying to find the Iberian Chiffchaff near Norfolk).

Best bird of the hols? Probably the Red-backed Shrike, but I enjoyed the Little Terns. And the Nightjars flying around - they were just wow!


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How did you get on Rezmole??

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As a resident of Norfolk, in addition to Warfy's suggestions, a few others:

Try Hickling for Cetti's, I had excellent views last year of a family party near the Tower Hide and the Swallowtails are on the wing at the moment and there's Hobby, Bittern and Chinese water Deer to keep an eye out for too.

As already said, Lakenheath is the spot for Orioles but with an evening visit it's an excellent site to see Grasshopper Warbler and Cuckoo and there's a pair of Cranes breeding there this year. Whilst in the brecks, sorry breckland area, Weeting is the only official public site for Stone Curlew though they aren't as reliable as they used to be since Suffolk Wildlife Trust built some new noisy hides which for the first couple of seasons meant the birds moved to other parts of the reserve and weren't always visible from the hide, but think they've returned now, if not, scan across to the field on the opposite side of the road from the car park, it used to be more reliable than the hide! Another site is Foxhole Heath near Elvedon but the owners are trying (but failing) to discourage birders from parking here even though it's a public road. Just about any forest clearing has Woodlark and Tree Pipits and in the evening Nightjars and roding Woodcock are plentiful and keep your ears open for singing Firecrests, Crossbill and Siskin around the forest. It's wrong time of year for reliable Goshawk and Golden Pheasant but you may be lucky.

Heading north, Salthhouse and Kelling Heaths are good for Nightingale, getting harder to see but still quite vocal at the moment, and also Nightjar in the evening there. Turtle Doves are widespread once you tap into the purring call. The watchpoints at Great Ryburgh and Swanton Novers, both near Fakenham are reliable for Honey Buzzards though views can be anything from directly overhead to dots in the heat haze! Be warned there's Common Buzzards at these sites too which are automatically turned into Honeys once desperation sets in after a long wait, so be sure in your own mind rather than listen to the one who shouts loudest!! There's a watchpoint just north of North Creake for Montagu's Harrier with 2 pairs usually around there and there's often Turtle Dove on the wires.

Unfortunately if you want to see Dartford Warblers you'll have to head to Minsmere/Dunwich, they are exceptionally rare breeders in Norfolk, but Minsmere is well worth the visit anyway with Bittern easy at this time of the year as they are feeding young and also Little Tern, Nightingale, Nightjar, Turtle Dove, Hobby, Grasshopper, Garden and Cettis Warbler and Lesser Whitethroats should all be seen (and chance of Otter) and there's up to 3 Purple Herons there at the moment for a touch of the exotic.

Where ever you manage to get to you should have a good trip and see plenty of good birds.

Good Luck,

Neil

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You would have to cover alot of ground to see most of them in a week, Roseate Tern unlikely now as most have passed through already. Little tern - places like Cley and Titchwell should get this species easy enough.

Honey Buzzard - Great Ryburgh Raptor Viewpoint
Lakenheath Fen RSPB - Golden Oriole and Hobby
Weeting Heath - just north of Brandon for Stone Curlew and Woodlark(presume u mean this and not Wood wblr)

Best site in UK for Nightingale is probably Little Paxton GP in Cambs on the way down. Mayday Farm in Thetford Forest should get you Tree Pipit, Woodlark and possible Goshawk. My friend saw a Golden Pheasant here a few days ago briefly but bad time of year for seeing this species.

Nightjar - Kelling Heath or Wolferton Triangle as good as any really.

cettis warbler - walsey hills at Cley.

Good time to visit these sites now, good luckbiggrin.gif


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if you can get a copy of "best birdwatching sites in norfolk" by neil glenn (buckingham press) you wont go far wrong. it describes the best places and times for your target species and how likely you are to see them. i know it feels better to find your own birds but when time is limited in a new area i like a bit of help and this book is spot on! my favourite place was dersingham bog (5 miles north of kings lynn off the a149). i arrived a couple of hours before dusk and had a mooch round the huge, boggy heath to find roe deer, displaying tree pipits, green woodpecker, woodlark and red legged partridge. as dusk approached i headed for the boardwalk as advised as woodcock started roding all around making thier weird grunting and squeeking noises. it was like a switch was flicked at 9.15 when churring started all around and a nightjar flew towards me, low and calling. the inquisitive bird hovered in front of my face and then circled my head three times before landing on overhead wires to join the churring. this was while it was still light and without a soul in sight! tawney owls were calling from the woods but i couldnt find the long eareds. dont forget your insect repellant though cause the midges are relentless! next to dersingham is woferton triangle. this is your best bet for golden pheasant and i had one early morning feeding on the road-side verge, as well as garden warbler, muntjac and tawney owl. titchwell and great ryburgh are a must, and into suffolk for weeting, minsmere and lakenheath fen. cuckoos are everywhere and if you know the songs of lesser whitethroat, grasshopper and garden warblers it shouldnt take long to find them. its also worth phoning bird line east anglia while youre there for any rarities nearby. let us know how yous get on and i hope you have better luck than me the honeys and monties! wink.gif

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These are our twenty target birds. Sure we'll get a few of them.

Cuckoo
Garden Warbler (seem to be having trouble with these!)
Lesser Whitethroat
Woodcock
Little Tern
Roseate Tern
Turtle Dove
Nightjar (we have torches!)
Tree Pipit
Nightingale
Cetti's Warbler (heard loads but never seen one)
Grasshopper Warbler (again, heard but never seen)
Dartford Warbler
Wood Warbler (Weeting?)
Golden Pheasant (tried for these before without success)
Honey Buzzard
Montegue's Harrier
Goshawk
Stone Curlew
Golden Oriole


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Are you after anything specific RezM??

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Good report. I'll be using some of the info in there next week - we are going to Norfolk from Sunday (3 June) to Saturday. Been a couple of times before but never in summer - so should be able to see a few birds we've never seen before.

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GREAT TRIP MEVAN ONE DAY IN MY DREAMSidea.gif

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day1 - snettisham= singing turtle dove (lifer) and lesser whitethroat / egyptian geese / sum. plum. bar t. godwit / red l. partridge / sandwich and comm. terns / stock doves / marsh harrier / green woodpecker / nesting b. h. gulls, oystercatchers, avocets and med. gulls / also hares and a dead seal on beach. dersingham bog= displaying tree pipit / green woodpecker / wood larks / hooting tawny owl / r.l.partridge / roding woodcock / displaying nightjar (lifer) in my face / also hornet and roebuck barking at me. day 2 - wolferton= t.owl / gard.warb. / golden pheasant (lifer) / grey partridge / also fawn muntjac. titchwell= cettis / turtle / 5 little gull / booming bittern / marsh harrier / nesting avocets, herr.gull, comm.terns and oysters / also southern marsh orchids. great ryburgh= corn bunt. / yllwhmmr / hobbies. blakeney point= l.terns / oyster eggs / marsh harr. / also g.seals. salthouse heath= singing nightingale / displaying nightjars / also fox. day 3 - dawn chorus included nightingale / lakenheath= cukoos everywhere / grn.wdpckrs / drake garganey / grasshopper warb. / perched sprw.hawk / singing g.oriole(lifer) perched infront of me. weeting heath= grey partridge / tree pipit / sp.flycatcher / pair stone curlew feeding 2 young. minsmere= n.gale / cettis / marsh harrs / bearded tits / cuckoo / booming and flying bitterns / g.wdpckrs / hobbies / s.martins / l.terns / barnacle geese / avocet chicks / med.gull nests / fam.of marsh tits(lifer) / purple heron(lifer) / turtle / also bats in bittern hide roof. day 4 - stubb mill= 4cranes(lifers) in flight / cettis / r.l.part. / marsh harr. / yllwhmmr / also 3sika deer and a chinese water deer. g.ryburgh= hobby / les.wht.thrt / osprey / also hare. cley= green and spotted s.pipers / booming bittern / marsh harr. / cettis / r.shank chicks / temminks stint (lifer). titchwell= spoonbill (lifer) / tundra ringed plover / l.gulls / little stint / bar t. gods. barn owls everywhere. salthouse heath= n.gale / t.owl / roding woodcock / 3 displaying n.jars clapping above my head. missed honey buzzards (by hours) and saw no monties (lack of information) but enjoyed every minute and 9 lifers!aww.gif

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