Coordinator and Leader: Steve Chapman
Reporter: David Laurie
Species list: David Gibbons
Originally scheduled for the 27th November, storm Arwen caused our trip to Holkham to be postponed for two weeks. Thankfully, the conditions this time were far better and after a frosty start the day was one of light cloud and a mild southerly wind.
Seven of us gathered at the Holkham Village car park where we were greeted by
Mistle Thrush and the first of the day's many Buzzards. Setting out down Lady Anne's drive we met with four others and enjoyed good views of wildfowl and waders. Greylag Geese, Pink-footed Geese, Wigeon and Teal were there in abundance along with Redshank, Black- tailed Godwit, Ruff, Lapwing, Curlew, Snipe and a flock of Golden Plover passing overhead.
From the drive we took the track to Washington Hide and though small birds were
very scarce in the woods the marshes were full of life including two Great White Egrets and an unusually pale Buzzard.
Then it was on to the Jordan Hide in search of White-fronted Geese. These proved elusive on this occasion but we did see more wildfowl, Kestrel, Red Kite, Marsh Harrier and a swiftly passing Sparrowhawk.
On the track through the woods to the shore there was a Goldcrest and on reaching the dunes we paused for a sea watch that gave us Red-throated Diver, good views of Red- breasted Mergansers and scuttling, silvery Sanderling at the water's edge.
Returning along the shore a fine Short-eared Owl passed over the trees to the
marshes and soon after a flock of 30 Snow Buntings appeared.
Back at the Lookout Café for lunch (Steve's recommendation of the sausage rolls - meat or vegan, was appreciated) we found the day's sole Brent Goose.
After refreshment, four of us continued east in search of Shore Larks. They tend to inhabit a roped off area behind the dunes but despite a diligent search we failed to find any.
Continuing round to the dunes the additional elevation finally enabled us to find three, thanks to helpful directions from a couple who has seen them earlier. Without their assistance I think we would have missed them altogether as they were a good way off and were keeping to the ground as they fed amongst the vegetation.
The dunes made a suitable spot for a productive second sea watch. In addition to
more Red-breasted Mergansers there was a Kittiwake circling a fishing ship, Guillemot, Great Crested Grebe, a female Eider, a Long-tailed Duck and a flying group of half a dozen Scoter with clear white wing patches - Velvets! A group of gulls and Sanderling on the shore also held a single Knot, boosting the day's total to an impressive 74 species.
Our thanks to Steve Chapman for leading this excellent outing and to David Gibbons for the species list.
Pheasant, Brent Goose, Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Mute Swan, Egyptian Goose, Shelduck, Shoveler, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Teal, Eider, Velvet Scoter Common Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Moorhen, Coot, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Oystercatcher Lapwing, Golden Plover, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Turnstone, Knot,
Ruff, Sanderling, Snipe, Redshank, Kittiwake, Black-headed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Guillemot, Red-throated Diver, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Great White Egret, Little Egret, Sparrowhawk, Marsh Harrier, Red Kite, Buzzard, Short-eared Owl, Kestrel, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Skylark, Shore Lark, Goldcrest, Wren, Starling, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Robin, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Goldfinch, Snow Bunting, Reed Bunting.