Field Trips in 2017

Monday 2nd January 2017   – Winter Bird Count –  coordinator Lin Pateman

Report by  Lin Pateman


 I am delighted to report that 9 teams took part. The weather was incredibly mixed throughout; we packed the car at home during a heavy squall of hail and sleet with a bright sunrise in the distance! On arrival at the HQ at Great Witchingham to meet our respective teams, everywhere was frozen white and the birds were definitely not getting up yet. However, blue skies and the odd heavy rain shower graced the day.

Our team delighted in, not one, but four treecreepers in the trees down Common Lane whilst searching for the Nuthatch which called and showed itself up after excellent views of a flypast Common Buzzard. It was a pleasure to put a visiting birder on this species as it joined another calling and circling above the fir- trees, he said he had not seen a Buzzard in Norfolk. We shared some quality sightings and not the quantity this year which was really the requirement for the event, so it was not so much a race as a ramble.  The highlights for me, were when Ann put us onto a Kingfisher whizzing along the water at Mill St. Bridge and when we had excellent views of a bathing Grey Wagtail at Guist Bridge. Also it was lovely to meet up with other teams out and about, especially Barry and the boys; sharing news of sightings and discussing where to head off to next; naturally keeping totals secret. Late afternoon saw much cake, tea and chatter shared back at HQ; my thanks again to Peter and Ruth.

My sincere thanks to all those who took part, making this a very successful event to start the WVBS programme for the year.

May I remind everyone to please pass on your completed recording sheets to David Gibbons; these can be returned to you.


TEAM                                                                                                         TOTAL


“Twitching Too”     :  Lucy & Glenn                                                                        79

“Norfolk and Good”:  Ian, Paul & Tony                                                                 74

“Josh’s Jokers”:  Josh, Eric & Eileen                                                                     65

“The Mill Streeters”:  Alwyn, Charles & Fran                                                      64

“Hawkeye”:  Alan & Phil                                                                                          64

“Barry’s Boys”:  Barry, Alan & Ian                                                                         63

“Dead Ringers for Old Crocs”:  Ray & Chris, Richard & Beryl                        62

“The Norwich Girls”:  Sue, Lynda & Liz                                                              60

“Bad Hair Day”:  Jacky, Ann & Lin                                                                      51


 Saturday 28th January 2017  –  Holkham  –  coordinator Alan Fordham

Report by Alan Hughes

 They say that sun shines on the righteous – well, contrary to all the rumours, Wensum Valley Birders must have been quite well behaved in the past! – despite uncertain weather forecasts and some threatening clouds, we had lots of lovely winter sunshine so that, provided we were well wrapped up against a chill wind, we all enjoyed a very comfortable day’s birding in Holkham. We started birding as we waited for the group to assemble in Lady Anne Drive. As well as the expected GREYLAG, PINK-FOOTED AND BRENT GEESE, WIGEON, LAPWING AND REDSHANK, we had good views of a few COMMON SNIPE at quite close range and very confiding. We then moved onto the beach where our prime target was a small flock of shorelark that had been seen in the area over recent days: unfortunately, they proved very elusive, although we enjoyed watching a large flock of LINNET, and a beautiful male STONECHAT, typically perched atop a bush and catching some early morning rays. Sea-watching gave us 2 groups of COMMON SCOTER, each with at least one VELVET SCOTER, and also RED-THROATED DIVER, a lovely pair of RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS and a SLAVONIAN GREBE: the latter was spotted thanks to the efforts of Phil Borley, and then some determined work by the rest of the group to find this bird. There was also a group of TURNSTONE and SANDERLING working along the strandline towards, and apparently unconcerned by our presence.

Having failed to find the shorelark, our leader, Alan, decided to treat us (at no extra charge!) to an SAS-style assault course across the dunes and through the Corsican pines to the tower hide – I am pleased to report that most of us survived. It was “standing room only” in the hide, but we had good views of a large flock of WHITE-FRONTED GEESE. On the way back to the carpark, once again eagle-eyed Phil came up trumps with a TUNDRA BEAN GOOSE in the midst of a flock of PINK-FOOTED GEESE.

We moved onto the Holkham village car park for lunch, where we all enjoyed a real treat – 2 superb cakes handmade by Lin in honour of Phil’s birthday; he chose for us to sing “Happy Birthday” to him rather than for us to give him the bumps, but then he had never heard me sing before!

After lunch we walked through the woods of Holkham Park where we were able to watch a flock of REDWING and a GREAT-SPOTTED WOODPECKER – in the winter sunshine I was reminded of how beautiful many of our common birds really are, as the red nape of the woodpecker positively shone. Our walk continued on to the lake where there were good numbers of wildfowl, and then back alongside the woods, seeing KESTREL, MARSH HARRIER, SPARROWHAWK, and an unusually pale COMMON BUZZARD, flying overhead. BRAMBLING and a MISTLE THRUSH were also seen feeding on the beech mast along with more redwing. It was also a pleasure to see the Holkham FALLOW DEER nearby, including several stags with impressive antlers.

Thanks to Alan for leading a really good day’s birding. Someone mentioned that she could always recognise a WVBS group at a distance by their hearty laughter and this made me realise that not only do I learn a great deal from the other birders in the group, but I also enjoy some really good company, and these 2 things make for a very happy birder – oh, that plus 66  species!

Sunday 16th February – Horsey and Stubbs Mill      

coordinators Lucy Topsom & Glenn Collier

 Report by  Mary Walker

A bright sunny February morning greeted the 21 WVBS members assembled at Horsey Mill, and after a quick roll call we set off along the very muddy tracks and actually “bagged” our target bird COMMON CRANE within two minutes of starting our walk. The year listers amongst us were highly delighted with a two CRANE flypast. The reed beds were rather quiet as it was too early for summer migrants, however the magnificent close views of MARSH HARRIERS offered compensation. SKYLARKS were singing everywhere as a shout went up of “Raptor flying low to the left”. A ring-tail HEN HARRIER. Excellent views were had by all.

The next call was seven deer walking right.”CHINESE WATER DEER” answered several members. “NO” came a shout “RED DEER”. “No way”comes another shout, “FALLOW DEER”. It would appear WVBS members are in need of a Deer Identification Course, as mobile phones were waved in the air searching for a signal to Google “DEER”.

We encountered two OTTERS playing by the dam, and HARES bouncing around in the fields. It was  a surprise to find a couple of RED ADMIRAL butterflies.

After a quick lunch we made our way to Waxham for a little sea watching. The sea was quiet, but several PURPLE SANDPIPERS were picked out trying to hide from us in the sea defence rocks. After careful scanning all of the group had good views along with TURNSTONES and SANDERLINGS. A single RED-THROATED DIVER, and several GANNETS were offshore.

A very nice dog walking family came to see what we were looking at, and asked if it was OK to walk their dog on the beach, they didn’t want to flush anything. How thoughtful.

Next stop was Hickling Broad. We had a very short walk to Bittern Hide where we played” find the Snipe”. What looked like a bird less muddy scrape was actually hiding a lot of COMMON SNIPE. The winning WVBS member found seven.

Time to walk down to Stubbs Mill for the Raptor Roost, passing a lot of activity on the way. Lots of CORMORANTS. 49 counted in three flocks.

The light was fabulous as we stood in the now perishing cold. Raptor after raptor filled the sky, and shot at speed along the tops of the reeds. PEREGRINE, MERLIN, lots of MARSH HARRIERS, SPARROWHAWK, KESTREL, ring-tail HEN HARRIER, and the most beautiful male HEN HARRIER, his silver and black wings glinting in the late afternoon sun. Four WHOOPER SWANS “whooped” overhead. Flocks of FIELDFARES, LINNETS, REDWINGS, GOLDEN PLOVER and STARLINGS swooped about looking for their bed for the night, but the highlight had to be a a pair of “dancing”  CRANES. We ended the day with the same birds as we started with. Magnificent.

Many thanks to Glenn & Lucy for going the extra mile as always and organising a fabulous day out for the club.

The total number of birds seen today was 76.

Species List – courtesy Glenn & Lucy

 Horsey Walk

Goldfinch, magpie, carrion crow, chaffinch, great tit, wren, rook, buzzard, wood pigeon, graylag Goose, cormorant, pied wagtail, dunnock, jackdaw, robin, blue tit, crane, long tailed tit, mallard, skylark, pheasant, teal, lesser black backed gull, lapwing, swan, kingfisher, marsh harrier, great crested grebe, reed bunting, common gull, hen harrier, red wing, bullfinch, snipe, heron, stone chat, feral pigeon,  starling, black headed gull, blackbird, house sparrow, song thrush, collared dove, brent goose, purple sandpiper, oyster catcher, gannet, dunlin, sanderling, curlew, knot, coal tit, red throated diver, turn stone, herring gull, great black backed gull, gadwall, green finch, meadow pipit, kestrel, little egret, canada goose, stock dove.

Stubbs Mill

Shelduck, red legged partridge, Egyptian goose, whooper swan, golden plover, fieldfare, linnet, peregrine, sparrow hawk, goldcrest, jay, yellowhammer, hen harrier, marsh harrier, kestrel, redwing, starling, common crane.

Outdoor Event –Sunday 26th March – Hoe Bird Walk       coordinator David Knight

Report by  Jacquie Fenn

It was a beautiful morning as we set out towards the Hoe Common. Birds were singing the sky was cloudless and there was a feeling that spring had definitely sprung.

A group of 11 WVBS members headed towards the common. Looking over the field on the way we notched up Egyptian Geese, Bullfinches, Linnets and Chiffchaffs by the score. Wherever we were it seemed as though the Robins and Chiffchaffs followed.

On the common David took a moment to explain the conservation work that is on-going. There is a constant battle to keep down the spread of the bracken and it needs constant management. Now an area has been prepared to be fenced to become the grazing area for some NWT ponies. Hopefully they will be able to enhance the habitat by their grazing. It will be interesting to see animals on the common. The gorse was in bloom and Long-tailed Tits were seen in the bushes with beaks full of nesting material. A Great-spotted Woodpecker posed for us right at the top of a tree, apparently soaking up the early morning sun. (The clocks had just changed so really it was just past 7 !!!!!). The section of woodland that we pass through after leaving the common was particularly quiet though we did spot a Treecreeper, some raucous Jays and a small flock of Redwing still finding food in the thick covering of ivy.

Back on the road section of the walk we looked out for Buzzards. Later we managed six circling high above us. There seemed to be a real lack of Yellowhammers which are usually seen along the hedgerows but on the plus side some of the group saw a Kingfisher as it bombed through along the Whitewater just by the railway bridge. The iridescent blue glinted as it shot past and instantly disappeared.

We looked for the spraints of otters below the bridge but the water was running too high for us to see the tell tale signs on the muddy bank. Green Woodpecker was heard but not seen. We looked for a persistent Blackcap which was deep in an ivy covered tree but it refused to reveal itself.

On the lake two Great-crested Grebes were performing their symmetrical dance while the Mute Swans rested on the banks. The Tufted Ducks looked very smart in their black and white plumage and the Moorhens scrabbled around the edges looking for food. Greylags and Canadas grazed around the lake and a few Mallards performed flyovers.

Apart from the Buzzards, two Kestrels were the only other two birds of prey spotted. We saw 45 birds in all and had a very pleasant morning birding.

Our thanks to David Knight for arranging the walk and providing such perfect weather. Thanks to those members from WVBS who ventured to the Whitewater valley to experience the Hoe Bird Walk. We hope you all enjoyed it.

Species List :-  45 no

Chaffinch Crow Blackcap Coal Tit Common Buzzard
Chiffchaff Goldcrest Linnet Redwing Skylark
Gt. Sp.Woodpecker Egyptian Goose Grey Heron Little Egret Red.L.Partridge
Blackbird Song Thrush Jay Mute Swan Kingfisher
Jackdaw Bullfinch Long.T.Tit Kestrel Goldfinch
Woodpigeon Common Gull Rook Canada Goose
Pheasant Stock Dove Mistle Thrush Moorhen
Green Woodpecker Wren Great Tit Greylag Goose
Robin Mallard Blk Headed Gull Tufted Duck
Blue Tit Dunnock Tree Creeper Gt. C.Grebe


Sunday 23rd April – Thorpe Marsh – Morning Walk              

coordinator Mary Walker

Report by Mary Walker

NWT Thorpe Marshes is one of Norfolk’s newest Nature Reserves, established in 2011, and it is the first NWT Urban Reserve. It is a wonderful wetland, close to the busy city of Norwich, a flower rich marshland, criss-crossed with dykes, which are home to 20 species of Dragonflies and Damselflies, including the rare Norfolk Hawker. The 25 hectare reserve is leased from Crown Point Estate and managed by NWTWVBS members met by the footbridge over the railway line, which gives access to the Reserve, and before we could complete a role call, the birds were being ticked. A male MARSH HARRIER gently glided along the tops of the reeds. SEDGE WARBLERS were bellowing out their song, seemingly from every other low branch (see photo).

As we made our way clockwise around the Reserve, sharp ears picked up a distant “cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo”. Bins were lifted, scopes began scanning, and there he was sitting atop a willow tree, Mr CUCKOO, on his first day back at Thorpe. A lovely sight.

Our target bird was GRASSHOPPER WARBLER, so we made our way to where he had been heard the night before, pausing to study the ladder like marks on a small willow tree, overhanging a ditch, of where the WILLOW EMERALD DAMSELFLY lays her eggs, a species only recorded for the first time in Norfolk in 2009.

REED BUNTINGS were about in abundance, sitting very still, seemingly watching the SEDGE WARBLERS do their display flight. Sure enough as we approached Bungalow Lane, the reed bed held two GRASSHOPPER WARBLERS, one either side of the path. We did not manage to see them hidden away in the reeds, but their reeling song, like a bicycle wheel was unmistakeable. Plenty of CETTI’S WARBLERS were about too, their explosive song giving them away, enabling all the group to enjoy excellent views.

Scanning the broad we added 2 OYSTERCATCHERS and 2 COMMON SANDPIPERS amongst the Waterfowl. A GREAT-CRESTED GREBE was sitting on her nest, and 2 LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS dashed along the gravel shore.

Walking alongside the River Yare our next target was COMMON WHITETHROAT, and bingo, there he was singing from the top of a Bramble bush, competing with the single REED WARBLER on the river bank, and the many, many, SEDGE WARBLERS. LINNETS too flitted about, whilst in the woodland we could hear CHIFFCHAFF, WILLOW WARBLER, and BLACKCAP.

Making our way back along the river, I pointed out the conservation area of Whitlingham Country Park, a stones throw across the water, where the previous evening I had been listening to a NIGHTINGALE.

David  Gibbons had been keeping a list, and after a quick tot up, told us we had seen  52 species. Absolutely incredible in the heart of Norwich.

Thorpe Marshes is a lovely spot to visit in the spring. The NWT brochure advises allowing one hour to take it all in. WVBS of course took three and a half hours.

 Blackbird                                   Woodpigeon                         Carrion Crow                         Magpie

Pheasant                                  Chaffinch                               Robin                                    Collared Dove

Jackdaw                                   Mute Swan                            Mallard                                  Marsh Harrier

Chiffchaff                                  Lesser Black-backed Gull                                                   Sedge Warbler

Cetti’s Warbler                          Song Thrush                         Blue Tit                                 Great Tit

Stock Dove                               Moorhen                               Cuckoo                                  Goldfinch

Coot                                          Reed Bunting                        Black-headed Gull               Cormorant

Linnet                                       Tufted Duck                           Willow Warbler                     Grey Heron

Buzzard                                   Green Woodpecker                Wren                                    Blackcap

Dunnock                                  Grasshopper Warbler             Canada Goose                    Long-tailed Tit

Oystercatcher                          Whitethroat                             Gadwall                               Reed Warbler

Swallow                                   Great Crested Grebe              Common Sandpiper

Little Grebe                              Little Ringed Plover               Sparrowhawk                        Greylag Goose

Greenfinch                               Kestrel

compiled by David Gibbons

Saturday 6th May – Pensthorpe –Wild about the Wensum

Report by Ray Gribble and Rosie Dickens

This year was the 11th Wild About Wensum and WVBS are proud to have supported every event.

Wild About Wensum is organised by Pensthorpe Conservation Trust and is aimed at getting children out in the countryside and encountering wildlife. To this end WVBS provide a stand in the marquee where we demonstrate what the Society is about but more importantly on this occasion provide an activity for the young children. This year it was making and colouring paper birds under the wonderful guidance of Rosie Dickens and team who helped hundreds of children. In parallel we provided “Guides in Hides” where again over a hundred children (and many adults) benefited and were enthralled by the birds we showed them through our telescopes – Coots with young in the nest just outside the hide, Oystercatcher on nest, Little Egrets and many more.79 species were recorded by the WVBS team on the day.

Over 2,500 people attended the event with a high proportion being children. This year there seemed to be less Brownie packs but more children with parents or grandparents and despite the early inclement weather many ventured around the reserve. At only £3 a head I’m certain everyone had a great day out at minimum cost.

A big thanks to all who helped – Rosie Dickens, Josh Leeder, David Gibbons, Paul Adams, Richard Norris, Martin Spriggs.

If you are able to assist with next year’s WAW please let any member of the committee know.


Dawn Chorus – Swanton Pits  coordinator  Glenn Collier

Report by David Knight

It was still very dark as the nine members assembled in the visitor’s carpark at Swanton Pits for our annual  Dawn Chorus Walk. A new venue for us this year. Just as we were about to start the walk we heard a Cuckoo. For some of us a first for the year. And that Cuckoo followed us for the entire walk. Wherever we were we could hear him. Most of the time in the distance but once very close where it was seen. Garden Warblers were everywhere. We saw at least ten. We walked in an anti-clockwise direction passing Grebe Lake and Willow Lake  before turning left to Holkham Lake. All the time our list was growing. Cetti’s Warbler, Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Reed Bunting etc.  –and  the odd Garden Warbler. Common Terns were over the lakes together with  the usual geese, ducks and grebes. About halfway round Holkham Lake we picked up the purring call of Turtle Dove and there it was for all to see in a bare tree. We savoured the view for some time. It was now 7 a.m and  the sun came up to warm us all . It was a lovely bright morning but it didn’t last, unfortunately. A few Swifts were seen  towards the Bailey Bridge – again a first for the year for many of us. As we approached  this area the few turned into one of the largest number of Swifts I’ve ever seen . There must have been 50+ in a swirling, darting mass- obviously in a feeding frenzy. We watched Swallows and Sand Martins on the lake and it was now getting chilly when Ray spotted an Artic Tern which passed behind trees and out of view before we could get on to it. Back to the carpark and off for breakfast at the King’s Head, North Elmham. Stopping at Worthing bridge where we added Grey Wagtail, Collared Dove, Mistle Thrush and singing Treecreeper to our list which reached a amazing 68 species when we totalled up over breakfast . The king’s Head did us proud with bacon butties and plenty of tea and coffee. Very welcome and a venue to be recommended.

Many thanks to Lucy and Glenn for a most enjoyable walk.

Bird Sightings recorded by David Gibbons:

Mute Swan Blackbird Greylag Goose Black-Headed Gull
Tufted Duck Great-Crested Grebe Canada Goose Cuckoo
Garden Warbler Carrion Crow Cetti’s Warbler Common Tern
Little Egret Woodpigeon Chaffinch Dunnock
Grey Heron Coot Teal Magpie
Pied Wagtail Buzzard Long-Tailed Tit Reed Bunting
Mallard Cormorant Great Tit Kestrel
Jackdaw Swallow Swift Turtle Dove
Linnet Egyptian Goose Common Gull Lesser Black-Backed Gull
Bullfinch Stock Dove Oystercatcher Sand Martin
Arctic Tern Grey Wagtail Starling House Sparrow
Rook Whitethroat Blackcap Blue Tit
Common Pheasant Treecreeper Chiffchaff Willow Warbler
Tawny Owl Jay Moorhen Kingfisher
Sedge Warbler Green Woodpecker Grey Partridge Wren
Robin Reed Warbler Goldcrest Goldfinch
Great Spotted Woodpecker Song Thrush Little Owl Greenfinch
Collared Dove Mistle Thrush Great Black-Backed Gull

Total: 71 species.


Sunday 14th May 2017 – Vine House Farm, Lincolnshire – coordinator Mary Walker

Report by Mary Walker

Vine House Farm is situated in the heart of Deeping Fen in South Lincolnshire. We were greeted by Nicholas Watts, the fourth generation of his family to farm on Deeping Fen. Over coffee and homemade cake courtesy of 12 year old grandson Tim, he told us how the family had adapted their agricultural methods to enable the environment and biodiversity to flourish. After noticing a decline in the number of breeding birds on the farm between 1982 and 1992, Nicholas started to feed birds in the farmyard. He then had an open day for people to witness the resulting spectacle. Many visitors asked him to sell them bird food and the business developed from there.

The farm produces a unique range of foods for wild birds and other wildlife and is the largest grower of bird seed in the UK – 400 acres of sunflowers, red and white millet, canary seed, oil seed rape and wheat. Over the years three spinneys have been planted providing shelter and breeding habitat for a variety of species.
We all climbed onto the tractor trailer, driven by daughter Lucy, for a tour of the 2000 acre farm. Vine House is unlike many traditional farms with its impressive brick bug hotels, 170+ nest boxes for Tree Sparrows, 20 nest boxes for Barn Owls, 8 wind turbines and numerous solar panels. Recycled tractor oil heats the potato drying barn and cultivated paths between two hedgerows provide an ideal habitat for butterflies. Energy from the turbines is fed into the Spalding Grid – each one producing enough energy for 1,000 homes.

The Tree Sparrow nest boxes are cleaned out in September prior to nesting which begins in December. Tim carefully removed a healthy chick from one of the boxes and also showed us two eggs. We were very impressed by his knowledge, dedication and enthusiasm!. A Watts-family made sand bank attracted 60-70 pairs of Sand Martins at the end of March and House Martins are nesting at Vine House Farm this year for the first time! Nicholas informed us that they prefer white houses and a nest site above windows which they possibly mistake for water.
Following our unsuccessful hunt for yellow wagtails we returned to the yard for a BBQ lunch of delicious locally produced sausages, burgers, breads rolls and English wine.
Many thanks to Nicholas and his family for their generous hospitality – oh and for the ‘goodie bag’!

A total of 68 species were listed by eagle-eyed Glen.

Pied Wagtail, Goldcrest, Chaffinch, Starling, Collared Dove, Greenfinch, Blackbird, Blackcap, Jackdaw, Feral Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Robin,
Dunnock, Common Gull, Great Tit, Whitethroat, Wren, Mallard, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Pheasant, Moorhen, Skylark, Black-headed Gull, Goldfinch, Marsh Harrier, Cormorant, House Martin, Stock Dove, Red Kite, Yellow Wagtail, Lapwing, Grey Heron, Kestrel, Mute Swan, Red-legged Partridge, Yellowhammer, Sand Martin, Coot Tufted Duck, Greylag Goose, Oystercatcher, Canada Goose, Red-crested Pochard,
Magpie, Mistle Thrush, Tree Sparrow, Wood Pigeon, Linnet, Blue Tit, Common Buzzard, Reed Bunting, Swallow, Meadow ,Grey Partridge, Great-crested Grebe, Teal, Common Tern, Ringed Plover, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Barn Owl, Corn Bunting, Swift,Greater Black-backed Gull, Redshank, Little Gull, Dunlin, Great-spotted Woodpecker.

Saturday 10th June – Field trip to Cley and Kelling

coordinator Phil Borley

After spending the afternoon at Cley where the reserve as usual lived up to its reputation and produced a crop of good sightings.  Later,Fish and Chips were picked up from Holt and every one assembled at Kelling Heath to enjoy their meal livened by a glass of Pimms kindly supplied by Lin.

Later we were able to obtain good views of Heath favourites such as Turtle Dove perched in the top of its favourite tree and stonechat flitting around over the bushes. As the shadows lengthened and the light faded the first “churr” was heard and soon afterwards a male Nightjar wheeled around in front of us several times followed a little later by fleeting views of a female.

Thanks are due to Phil for organizing another successful trip.

Buzzard, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, House Martin, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Wren, Black-headed Gull, Woodpigeon, Lapwing, Starling, Little Egret, Chaffinch, House Sparrow, Shelduck, Reed Bunting, Mute Swan, Marsh Harrier, Avocet, Mallard, Gadwall, Teal Grey Heron, Redshank, Moorhen, Common Tern, Kestrel, Skylark, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Sandwich Tern, Pochard, Meadow Pipit, Shoveler, Coot,
Cormorant, Little Tern, Reed Warbler, Tufted Duck, Garganey, Sand Martin, Cormorant, Oystercatcher, Herring Gull, Linnet, Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff, Swallow, Yellowhammer, Bullfinch, Turtle Dove, Stock Dove, Magpie, Willow Warbler, Jay, Green Woodpecker, Blackcap, Rook, Pheasant, Stonechat, Nightjar, Greylag Goose, Swift, Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Saturday 24th June – A Ramble in the Valley 

coordinator & reporter David Gibbons

A small group of members arrived at Whitwell Common under a grey sky amid the sounds of Chiffchaffs singing. A Barn Owl was the first bird of note as it flew low over the common. A Nuthatch then perched at the top of a bush to give us excellent views. Long-tailed Tits were in abundance wherever we went and a family of Whitethroats kept us enthralled for several minutes. The sun was showing through by now and a Sedge Warbler with young was seen along with Reed Buntings and Blackcaps. A glimpse of a Buzzard two Treecreepers and a Great Spotted Woodpecker added to our list. Leaving the site we crossed the road to check out local bird feeders and some open fields, the feeders were empty and not much was happening in the fields, BUT on the roof of a members car as we looked back was a Grey Wagtail !
Common Spotted Orchid, Twayblade were lovely to see along with butterflies such as Meadow Brown and Orange Tip.
Chiffchaff, Pheasant, Carrion Crow, Barn Owl, Nuthatch, Long-tailed Tit, Stock Dove, Blue Tit, Goldcrest, Marsh Tit, Wren, Dunnock, Reed Bunting, Whitethroat, Swallow, Swift, Kestrel, Woodpigeon, Blackcap, Robin, Blackbird, Great Tit, Sedge Warbler, Jackdaw, Treecreeper, Chaffinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Grey Wagtail.
Total species for the site : 30 species.
A stop for coffee at the Whitwell & Reepham Station was next. Scones and cake were seen on some members plates, hard work this birdwatching! The sun was well out by now and we had to drag ourselves away BUT on the roof of a vintage railway carriage was a Grey Wagtail ! Don’t they know what habitat they are supposed to be in? Parking on grass verges and others outside a barn we walked around Eades Mill, Grey Heron, Moorhen with young, Skylark, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk in the distance and then a cry went up for a Spotted Flycatcher.
Egyptian Goose, Jackdaw, Black-headed Gull, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Rook, Moorhen, Skylark, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, House Martin,
Sparrowhawk, Linnet, Song Thrush, Spotted Flycatcher, Woodpigeon, Long-tailed Tit, Nuthatch, Jay, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Robin, Pied Wagtail, Swift, Yellowhammer, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Collared Dove.
Total for the area : 29 species. Running total : 47 species.

Next stop a diversion to Great Witchingham Church after nothing was seen on a local manure heap, we think it was too dry to attract any birds. Walking along all these narrow lanes was super, not a tractor in sight at any time!! A very pretty little hamlet and we were rewarded with a superb sighting of a Spotted Flycatcher all members got excellent views from all sides.
Song Thrush, Blackbird, Swift, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, House Sparrow, Spotted Flycatcher, Chaffinch, Robin, Pied Wagtail, Blue Tit, Magpie.
Total for the area : 12 species. Running total : 49 species.

Alderford Common was our next stop, a car park at last. Lunch was taken in the common around one of the two benches provided. Here we were surrounded by the songs of Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs, packing up one sharp sighted member called out Red Kite!
In the woods things were very quiet at this time of the day and our attention went to some local pond life with Damselfly, Broad-bodied Chaser and Large Red Damselfly, Water Boatmen, Pond Skaters and Comma butterflies.
Leaving the wooded area we came across the second bench, a pond with bushes at the back so we sat, some on the bench, some on the grass and a committee member who chose an ants nest!! “No names no pack drill” as they say and in Rugby Union language “What happens on tour stays on tour” For 20 minutes or so we sat and watched as the birds came to us to bathe and drink.
A female Blackcap, two male Bullfinches a female Bullfinch, a Marsh Tit, Chiffchaffs, Long-tailed Tits, Robins, adult and juvenile Blue Tits and Great Tits. Using the bush at the back of the pond for protection before dropping to the water they gave us an amazing display, we could have stayed longer. They were all in prime plumage giving superb views.
Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Kestrel, Swift, Black-headed Gull, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Goldfinch, Linnet, Red Kite, Blue Tit, Buzzard, Magpie,
Blackbird, Great Tit, Robin, Bullfinch, Long-tailed Tit, Marsh Tit, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Song Thrush.
Total for the site : 21 species. Running total : 53 species.

Lenwade along the Marriotts Way by the Wensum was our next stop,
Immediately two Grey Wagtails on the pub sign and two Buzzards overhead, our first Mallard and now some water birds, Moorhens with young, Coots, Greylag and Canada Geese, Great Crested Grebe, again with young. A close up of a female Blackcap and a solitary Oystercatcher. Crossing the road to look over the Mill a Little Egret and two more Grey Wagtails. We also got close-up views of male and female Banded Demoiselles.
Thirsty work, we’ve been out all day! Some local ale and the fermented juice of the apple seemed appropriate at this time making our last stop the Beer Garden overlooking the fishing lake, and to finish how about some Common Terns a low flying Red Kite overhead and a Kingfisher across the lake!

House Sparrow, Buzzard, Woodpigeon, Little Egret, Swift, Oystercatcher, Grey Wagtail, Blackbird, Robin, Grey Heron, Mallard, Great Tit, Mute Swan, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Long-tailed Tit, Great Crested Grebe, Coot, Blackcap, Jay, Black-headed Gull, Egyptian Goose, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Greylag Goose, Carrion Crow, Moorhen, Canada Goose, Kingfisher, Red Kite, Common Tern.
Total for the site : 30 species. Running total : 62 species.

Saturday 1st July – A Field Trip to Upton Fen – Leader Dr Pam Taylor, British Dragonfly Society

Coordinator Phil Borley

Reporter Alan Hughes

I love it when you are introduced to a beautiful Norfolk site, such as NWT Upton Marsh Reserve, and think “Yes, this is definitely somewhere I would like to visit again”. Add to this, a whole “new” Taxa, the Odanata (i.e. Dragonflies and Damselflies) that you have never given more than a fleeting consideration to in the past. Plus the patient and gentle guidance of a real expert in the subject: Pam Taylor, County Dragonfly Recorder and leading light in the British Dragonfly Society was the perfect teacher. All this, and a glorious sunny July morning in the good company of the WVBS – ah, Naturalist Heaven!
Pam lead us on a stroll around this reserve which is rated as one of the top 10 sites for Odanata in the UK. Along the way she caught many specimens and with the confident handling that comes from years of experience (I was amazed that such tiny and apparently fragile creatures could be held for close examination and then released unharmed!), she pointed out the sometimes subtle features that identified each of the species and subspecies; for example, the male Azure Damselfly has a beer glass “tattooed” on its thorax, whereas the Variable Damselfly has a wine goblet – now those are my kind of creatures! In addition, there are the differences between the genders of each species, the variations due to age and maturity, as well as the regional and individual differences. We quickly realised that the subject was a mind-boggling one, but fortunately we were in very capable hands, and Pam made for a very informative and enjoyable morning whilst proving to be a mine of facts on her subject.
Along the way we were also treated to some great birds (e.g. Hobby, Marsh Harrier), lots of butterflies including at least 4 Swallowtail butterflies (magnificent!) and some lovely wildflowers (e.g. Marsh Helleborine, Ragged Robin, Common Spotted and Marsh Orchids). The 3 hour walk went far too quickly, and in no time we were back in the carpark for some well-earned refreshments.
I am really grateful to Pam Taylor for giving up her morning to lead and teach us all so effectively, and also to Phil Borley who organised such a good trip, ably assisting in identifying many species, and he even laid on great weather for us – well done, Phil!

The Species List
Reporter Tim Stowe


Brown Hawker – common
Emperor – several
Southern Hawker -1
Blue Tailed Damselfly – common
Common Blue Damselfly – common
Black Tailed Skimmer – several
Common Darter – several
Ruddy Darter – at least 2
Norfolk Hawker – common
Four Spotted Chaser – common in the ditches
Azure Damselfly – several
Common Emerald Damselfly – several in the ditches
Variable Damselfly


Swallowtail – 4
Meadow Brown – common
Ringlet – very common
Speckled Wood – several
Large White – several
Small White – common
Green-veined White – several
Comma – at least 3
Large Skipper – at least 3
Small Tortoiseshell – common
Red Admiral – several
Gatekeeper – 1
Brimstone – 1


Pheasant – heard
Sparrowhawk – 1
Buzzard -3
Red Kite -1
Marsh Harrier – 1 male
Hobby – 2
Kestrel – 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull – several flying over
Woodpigeon – common
Collared Dove – common
Swift – several
Wren – heard
Swallow – several
Sedge Warbler – 1 seen, several heard
Reed Warbler – heard
Whitethroat – heard
Chiffchaff – several heard, 1 seen carrying food
Blackcap – heard
Goldcrest – heard
Coal Tit – heard
Blue Tit – heard
Jackdaw – several
Jay – 2
Carrion Crow – several
Goldfinch – flying over


Silver Y
Six Spot Burnet


Chinese Water Deer – 2


Sunday 30th July – Field Trip to RSPB Minsmere –  Leader: Ray Gribble

Reporters: Lucy Topsom and Glen Collier

An enthusiastic group of members met at RSPB Minsmere early on Sunday morning. Whilst waiting for all to arrive we spent time looking from the car park. Here we racked up a good list, including Turtle Dove purring, a family of Spotted Flycatchers, singing Blackcap and Treecreeper, and close views of a Hobby. This was a good omen for the rest of the day. As we walked to North Hide we passed some
Sand Martins and Swallows flying around their usual nesting area. In North Hide we had Common Sandpiper, Reed Warbler, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Skylark singing. We made our way along the North Bank and we had nice views of Sedge Warbler and Reed Bunting.

We made our way along the beach to East Hide in search of the Roseate Tern which had been seen recently. Unfortunately we were not in luck this time, even with the A Team scrutinising the scrapes. However, we did find a total of approximately 54 Little Gulls on the scrapes: Wow, this really was special! We moved on to the public viewing point where we had our lunch. As true birders whilst chomping, we still kept an eye out for the Roseate Tern. A prospective new member who had joined us made the call “Black Tern”. Wow, we couldn’t believe our eyes as it gave us a flyby. It circled for a minute and landed and we were able to get our scopes on it. We had good views for a few minutes and then all the flocks went up and we then had difficulty locating it again. We had seen a very special tern, but not the one we were expecting.

My special bird highlights were, Black Tern, Turtle Doves purring, Spotted Flycatchers and a Yellow Wagtail. Minsmere did not disappoint.

The full list for the day included:-

Wood pigeon, Chaffinch, Pied wagtail, Linnet, Coal tit, Greenfinch, Great tit, Blackbird, Black cap, Wren, Blue tit, Goldfinch, Spotted flycatchers, Green woodpecker, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Turtle dove, Treecreeper, Hobby, Black headed gull, Feral pigeon, Jackdaw, Robin, Swallow, Little Egret, Rook, Moorhen, Mallard, Sandmartin, Starling, Avocet, Barnacle goose, Canada goose, Common tern, Lapwing, Great spotted woodpecker, Magpie, Dunnock,, Common sandpiper, Shelduck, Blacktailed godwit, Dunlin, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Coot, Gadwall, Little gull, Reedwarbler, Greylag goose, Redlegged partridge, Lesser black backed gull, Skylark, Heron, Teal, Great black backed gull, Reed bunting, Common buzzard, Sedge warbler, Cormerants, Spotted redshanks, Ruff, Ringed plover, Wood sandpiper, Green sandpiper, Little stint, Sanderling, Little ringed plover, Yellow wagtail, Marsh harrier, Meadow pipit, Bearded tit, Common scoter, Herring gull, Kestrel, Arctic tern, Stonechat, Black tern, Mediterranean gull, Whitethroat, Turnstone, Kittiwake, Tufted duck, Little grebe, Great crested grebe, Curlew, Longtailed tit, Housemartin, Greenshank, Bittern, Stockdove, Whimbrel .


Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Red Admira,l Peacock, Common Blue,, Small Copper, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell.


Migrant Hawker, Brown Hawker, Common Darter.

This was a total of 91 birds – not bad for a day in Suffolk! Apologies for any birds missed off. Many thanks to Ray for organising and leading such a splendid day’s birding.


Saturday 26th August – Field Trip to RSPB Snettisham – Leader: Martin Spriggs

Reporter: Martin Spriggs

After a week of good weather and an upbeat weekend forecast, I was looking forward to a Snettisham with golden harvest fields, green marshes and sun sparkle on an incoming 10.00 hrs. seven-metre-high tide. So, there I was at 07.30 in the RSPB carpark awaiting the arrival of the hardy twelve who were at that moment scurrying along the country lanes. Golden harvest – well stubble, sun – no, completely overcast, sparkle on the water – no, a slight but persistent drizzle – oh well it’s, nice to dream! In they all came, and were duly ticked off on the list. Phil offered to write the list for the day, after being rather pointedly asked. Thanks, Phil. Slight panic ensued about ten minutes before we set off as clouds of waders could be seen in the distance over the Wash. Oh we`ll be too late came the cry! Off we went, some already wearing light waterproofs . Other groups and individuals had arrived to view the waders and had strode off already towards the sea. These included a German film crew making a TV film for screening later, on, I believe, ”British Hobbies”. Fronted by a young lady apparently “on tour” riding a sit up and beg bicycle and accompanied by a small terrier dog!

Very little was seen on the lagoons apart from many Greylag Geese. Arriving at the Wash edge, the film crew were already filming the view of thousands of waders out on the mudflats, we may be in the background shots! The massed assemblage of waders marched stoically away from the advancing tide. The birds kept species groups together. The first columns were a mix of Godwits, Knot and Redshank. Next out came the black line of the Oystercatchers then further out the Grey Plovers, Curlews and Gulls, On the creek edges were Sanderling, Dunlin and Ringed Plover. Some of the Godwit, Dunlin and Grey Plovers still sported vestiges of their summer plumage. Relentlessly, the tide at a good walking pace, ate up the mud banks and the masses of birds marched ever more packed towards the marsh bordering the Lynn Channel. We followed to keep abreast of the movement. In the background on a post in the marsh sat a Peregrine completely ignoring all the dinners in front. Finally, the entire collection took wing leaving the Shelducks dotted about the tide edge, the noise of the beating wings carried over the mud and water to all watching. Then came the spectacular display as groups formed huge flocks and twisted, soared, dived and swerved around. Innumerable patens were formed and traced in the sky. Slowly they settled out on the far marsh but only for a short time before being up and away again and slowly fading into the distance towards the Lincolnshire coast.
Into the hide the now augmented WVBS went (two more members had come on spec. and caught the group up). Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper Greenshank seen along with Cormorants. And top, a Kingfisher sitting for some time atop a tall perch at the side of the main pool. We finally moved off after seeing Whitethroat in a blackberry bush. Back to the cars for coffee!!

Onwards to Holme Dunes Reserve. Well that took a little time –Bank Holiday weekend and traffic solid on the coast road, however everyone arrived and found a car space. By now the sun had broken through and the heat rose steadily – English weather! Lunch first, birds next. Views over the pools gave Kestrel and Marsh Harrier and waders such as Snipe but not the Great White Egret or Little Stint that had been seen the day before. Leaving the hides a Lesser Whitethroat gave good views for some time in a Hawthorn bush albeit regularly disappearing behind branches. A short walk on the dunes brought no real views apart from lots of folks on the beach. A couple of Scoter were reported way-out on the sea. Abandoning Holme, we travelled round to Thornham Harbour and were rewarded as four Spoonbills flew in and then proceeded to amuse by jumping down into the hidden creeks, vanishing completely and then popping up onto the marsh further along. In the main creek Redshank and Ringed Plover were seen and a good group of Common Gulls mixed with Black-headed Gulls loafed on a sunny marsh bank. As it was now 17.00 I left the remaining members and headed home. A most successful day.

Species List: Phil Borley
RSPB Snettisham N.R.
house martin/ swallow/ linnet/ Egyptian goose/ starling /goldfinch/ robin/ greylag/ moorhen/ Med. Gull/ little egret/ turnstone/ dunlin/ shelduck/ knot/ lapwing/ wood pigeon/ mallard/ black headed gull/ stock dove/ greenfinch/ dunnock/ Canada goose/ pied wagtail/ redshank/ oystercatcher/ ringed plover/ sanderling/ bartailed godwit/ cormorant/ coot/ greenshank/ herring gull/ lesser black backed gull/ peregrine/ grey plover/ avocet/ kingfisher/ common sandpiper/ whitethroat/ meadow pipit/ sparrowhawk/ kestrel/ curlew/ sandwich tern/ marsh harrier/ great blach backed gull/ arctic tern/ spotted redshank/ little tern/ blue tit/ long tailed tit/ gadwall/ swift.
Holme NWT Reserve
kestrel/ magpie/ jackdaw/ collared dove/ house sparrow/ blackbird/ lesser whitethroat/ carrion crow/ great tit/ chaffinch/ pheasant/ feral pigeon/ teal/ ruff/ grey heron/ black-tailed godwit/ snipe/ little grebe/ wren/red-legged partridge/ green sandpiper/ chiffchaff/ common scoter/ great crested grebe/ common gull.
Thornham harbour:

A total of 82 species for the day.


23rd September Field trip to Burham Overy Dunes and RSPB Titchwell Reserve

Leader: Sue Gale

Reporter: Sue Gale

When we planned a visit to Burnham Overy Dunes at the end of September we knew there might be difficulty parking if a rare bird had been found, but we didn’t suspect that we might arrive at the end of a week of bad behaviour and controversy. Luckily things had calmed down a bit by the Saturday morning we arrived, and there remained only a small number of birders hoping to see the Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler. (These included our own Lin, who had been there since 6.30!) Although some of us might have liked to see it, we elected not to hang around in hope, mainly because we knew this bird was likely to be hard to find. Good choice, as the bird was not seen at all that day.
Instead we walked along the sea wall, where we slowly collected a list of birds, mostly those we expected to see such as Redshank, Curlew, Moorhen. A House Martin flew over, but the highlight was a family of Bearded Tits that repeatedly called, and rose high above the reedbed delighting us all. On reaching the boardwalk we elected to look first at the sea, while the tide was still high and everything on the shore would not have retreated out of sight. Not that it profited us much. We did see some Brent Geese in the distance and Gannets and Sandwich Terns out to sea. There was a selection of waders on the shoreline, including a group of Grey Plover, some of which were still showing their more glamorous summer plumage.
We turned left and walked along the dunes towards Gun Hill, looking for migrants, but it was hard going and we found very few birds among the scrub and grassy flats of the dunes. Dunnocks and Meadow Pipits were the best we could do for some time. Some of us were lucky enough to see two Grey Partridge before we finally turned back towards the boardwalk and then we did finally encounter a single Wheatear. At last an incoming migrant! We were lucky to have good weather for the day, and it was a pleasant stroll in lovely surroundings, but there was a distinct lack of the sort of birds we had hoped for. In fact that is still the case well into October, as the winds continue from the Southwest.
After a late lunch back at the cars, some of us went on to RSPB Titchwell, ever a reliable site for increasing your count for the day. It didn’t let us down, and we had the pleasure of watching a beautiful Hobby hunting in the near distance. To our surprise Ray also found a late Reed Warbler, and there were Pochard, Shoveler and Gadwall on the water. We collected our first Blackbird and Chaffinch of the day close to the feeders and then called it a day. The final count of species seen was a very respectable 77, so it would be unreasonable to be disappointed.

Species list: Phil Borley

Little Egret Moorhen Golden Plover Collared Dove Herring Gull Bearded Tit Stonechat Lapwing Egyptian Goose Spoonbill Sparrowhawk Coal Tit Cormorant Pink-footed Goose Greylag Goose Great Tit Black-headed Gull Coot Skylark Chaffinch Starling Linnet Dunnock Blackbird Robin Snipe Red Kite Chiffchaff House Sparrow Mute Swan Jackdaw Magpie Woodpigeon Lesser Black-backed Gull Stock Dove Carrion Crow Blue Tit Kestrel Little Grebe Gadwall Buzzard Oystercatcher Sandwich Tern Shoveler Jay Marsh Harrier Common Gull Pochard Swallow Great Black-backed Gull Grey Partridge Hobby House Martin Turnstone Sanderling Tufted Duck Mallard Ringed Plover Dunlin Reed Warbler Redshank Goldfinch Bar-tailed Godwit Long-tailed Tit Wren Grey Plover Rock Pipit Pheasant Curlew Cetti’s Warbler Gannet Meadow Pipit Ruff Wheatear Reed Bunting Brent Goose Pied Wagtail.


29th October

Field trip to Surlingham Church Marshes and Buckenham Marshes
 Leader/coordinator: Phil BorleyReporter: Lin Pateman

This was a “snipey” sort of wet day. In the car park at Surlingham Church we had good views of Song Thrushes feeding in the yew tree. Six of us set off to the Church Marsh and quickly found the path flooded due to a high spring tide and strong NW winds overnight. This was quite shocking as it was dry the week before and we had not seen the water this high up since the surge of 2013. We took the reverse route as far as the track to the Surlingham Ferry P.H. only to find the route flooded and water still flowing in over the boardwalks. Even the road to the pub was flooded above welly height and we saw deer and a fox escaping from the rising water. On the return we had good views of at least 5 snipe flying out of and around the marsh, probably due to the practice session at the gun club! The short walk was halted and four continued to Strumpshaw which had the same tidal flooding of the paths. However, we were very lucky to be able to walk round to Fen Hide and observe very close views of a smart little Jack Snipe.
Further on at Buckenham Marsh, we enjoyed good scope views of a variety of geese and a late staying lone Avocet. See bird list attached.
Thanks to Seamus for providing the list and to Phil for leading, regardless of the best sea-watching conditions on the North Norfolk coats to date!

Species list: Seamus O’Dowd

Avocet –  Buckenham Marshes
Barnacle Goose – Buckenham Marshes
Black Swan –  Strumpshaw Fen
Blackbird – Surlingham Church Marsh
Black-headed Gull – Surlingham Church Marsh
Blue Tit – Surlingham Church Marsh, Strumpshaw Fen
Buzzard Surlingham Church Marsh, Strumpshaw Fen
Canada Goose – Buckenham Marshes
Carrion Crow – Surlingham Church Marsh
Chaffinch – Surlingham Church Marsh
Coal Tit – Strumpshaw Fen
Collared-Dove – Surlingham Church Marsh
Common Snipe – Surlingham Church Marsh, Strumpshaw Fen,  Buckenham Marshes
Coot – Strumpshaw Fen
Cormorant – Buckenham Marshes
Dunnock – Buckenham Marshes
Feral Pigeon – Buckenham Marshes
Gadwall – Surlingham Church Marsh
Great Black-backed Gull – Surlingham Church Marsh
Great Crested Grebe – Buckenham Marshes
Great Tit – Surlingham Church Marsh, Strumpshaw Fen
Greater White-fronted Goose – Buckenham Marshes
Greenfinch – Surlingham Church Marsh
Grey Heron – Surlingham Church Marsh, Buckenham Marshes
Greylag Goose – Buckenham Marshes
Jack Snipe – Strumpshaw Fen
Jackdaw – Surlingham Church Marsh
Jay – Surlingham Church Marsh, Strumpshaw Fen
Kestrel – Surlingham Church Marsh, Buckenham Marshes
Lapwing – Surlingham Church Marsh
Lesser Black-backed Gull – Surlingham Church Marsh
Little Egret – Buckenham Marshes
Long-tailed Tit – Surlingham Church Marsh, Buckenham Marshes
Magpie – Surlingham Church Marsh
Mallard – Surlingham Church Marsh, Strumpshaw Fen, Buckenham Marshes
Marsh Tit – Strumpshaw Fen
Marsh-Harrier – Strumpshaw Fen

Mistle Thrush – Surlingham Church Marsh
Moorhen – Strumpshaw Fen
Mute Swan – Surlingham Church Marsh, Strumpshaw Fen, Buckenham Marshes
Pheasant – Buckenham Marshes
Pied Wagtail – Surlingham Church Marsh, Buckenham Marshes
Pink-footed Goose – Buckenham Marshes
Red-legged Partridge – Buckenham Marshes
Redwing – Surlingham Church Marsh
Robin – Surlingham Church Marsh, Buckenham Marshes
Rook – Buckenham Marshes
Shoveler – Strumpshaw Fen
Song Thrush – Surlingham Church Marsh
Starling – Surlingham Church Marsh, Buckenham Marshes
Stock Dove – Surlingham Church Marsh
Stonechat – Surlingham Church Marsh
Teal – Surlingham Church Marsh, Buckenham Marshes
Wigeon – Buckenham Marshes
Wood Pigeon – Surlingham Church Marsh

25th November  Field trip to Cley, Blakeney and Stiffkey  
Leaders/coordinators: Glen Collier and Lucy Topsom
Reporters: Jaquie Fenn and Lucy Topsom

The group met at Cley Village Hall car park at 9am. Despite the heavy frost we all managed to de-ice and arrive on time. Five cars went to Blakeney to enable us to have transport back to Cley at the end of the walk.
The forecast was for a dry morning with cloud and possible rain by 11am. so we made a prompt start and headed towards Cley Village. We had already had Pink Feet flying over our heads in the car park along with a Fieldfare and Song Thrush to start our day well.
It certainly was a brisk cold day but the air was clear and bracing! Walking parallel to the road we had distant views of Marsh Harriers and Grey Herons. All along the path towards the sea we heard the Bearded Tits, though they proved more difficult to see. Meadow Pipits battled the breeze and Skylarks kept low. Not surprisingly they seemed not too keen to sing aloft! Large flocks of Linnets lifted off the ground and the Stonechat was a bonus.
In the far distance a Gannet soared and a sighting of a possible Red Throated Diver was called out. Interesting to note that we now find it normal to direct others by the number of the turbines!
In the many small pools in the salt marsh we saw Teal, Little Grebe and Redshank. The odd flash of white signified the Egrets and we had great views of three Mute Swans flying head on towards us as the beating of their wings grew ever louder. Black-tailed Godwits, Spotted Redshank and Wigeon were all feeding nearer to the sea wall.
Looking back over the salt marsh inland there were large flocks of Brent Geese, harbouring one Pale Bellied which needed searching for. The directions were a bit Monty Pythonish; ‘Find the Rook the furthest to the left, go two geese back and four to the right, Oh it’s just moved, etc. etc.’ I think everyone got it in the end.
Nearing Blakeney the mudflats provided shelter for large flocks of Oystercatchers, Lapwings, Dunlin and a few Ringed Plover. In one creek six Red-breasted Mergansers seemed to be displaying to each other and a lone male Pintail (one of the designer birds) was seen. One Grey Plover sheltered against the bank as Knots and Bar-tailed Godwits fed.
We were lucky to end our morning still dry and definitely full of fresh air!
As it became cooler after lunch we headed to Cley beach to search for snow buntings. We struck lucky with a flock of around 70 plus feeding on the shingle and scrub.

From Cley we went to Stiffkey marshes for the afternoon\evening roost.  Here we had a female hen harrier which gave us prolonged views.  We also had merlin, yellow hammers calling nearby and just before dusk the peregrine gave us a spectacular show chasing starlings.  No doubt he got his evening meal.

Our thanks to Glen and Lucy for leading the walk and it was lovely to get home to a nice warm fire!

 Species List

 Green woodpecker
Long Tailed Tit
Carrion Crow
Black headed gull
Wood pigeon
Collared Dove
Stock dove
Field fare
Pink Footed Geese
Blue Tit
Song Thrush
Great Tit
Meadow pipet
Brent Goose
Water Rail
Marsh Harrier
Herring Gull
Reed Bunting
Pied Wagtail
Moor hen
Grey Lag Goose
Bearded Tit
Stone Chat
Great Black Backed Gull
Canada Goose
Lesser Black Backed Gull
Little Egret
Black Tailed Godwit
Spotted Redshank
Common Buzzard
Pale Bellied Brent Goose
Grey Plover
Red Breasted Merganser
Oyster catcher
Ringed Plover
Bar Tailed Godwit
Golden Eye
Coal Tit
Egyptian Goose
Golden Plover
Common Gull
Red Throated Diver
Snow Bunting
Cattle Egret
Hen Harrier
Yellow hammer
Red legged Partridge




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