Sunday, February 23, 2014

West of Wells - Holkham, Sculthorpe and Titchwell

It is easy to get to Holkham from Wells by foot. The tide was coming in so a check of the beach was a priority. There had not been any reports of either snow buntings nor shore larks so scanning the sea seemed to be the best option. It was quiet most of the time there but I did see a single diver fairly close in. The dark half collar and almost black head demonstrated it to be a Great Northern Diver. It only stayed for about five minutes so I headed back inland to view the fields immediately south of the trees. Hundreds of wigeon, lapwing, a few pinkfeet, more teal, a few Egyptian geese and in a nearby pool a pair of goldeneyes. I was also able to observe the long staying Rough-legged Buzzard.
A trip to Sculthorpe Moor Nature reserve has also become a must for me. Two years ago I was able to photograph a Golden Pheasant there. Sadly this bird is no longer present. There were several marsh tits, nuthatch, long tailed tits, a very obliging water rail, a red kite and I don't think I have seen so many bramblings. The woodland also contained siskins, lesser redpolls and a drumming great spotted woodpecker

Titchwell is not too far from here either. Throughout the week I was able to see the damage that the tidal surge had left from December. At Titchwell the damage to the dunes was very evident. A brisk walk to the shore for a short time of sea watching revealed great crested grebes, thousands of common scoters, more dunlin, sanderling, turnstone, oystercatchers, curlews and a spotted redshank on the way there. Returning to the hides a very close grey plover gave excellent views, while on the fresh water its cousins, the golden plover were less obliging. I had good sightings of avocets, pintail, snipe, little egret, more Brent geese, and an elusive Mediterranean Gull. There was a woodcock sitting close to the entrance path in the small area of woodland. It was a brilliant demonstration of this bird's camouflage application. Even though we knew the location, we still had problems seeing it.

The journey home was brightened by an appearance of a barn owl sitting quietly on a fence post.

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