26.02.2023 - Field Trip : Burgh Castle and Breydon Water, Filby and Ormsby Little Broads, and St Benet's Abbey
Leader: Sue Gale
Reporter: Jacquie Fenn
Species List: Mary Walker
Eighteen members of the club met up at the Burgh Castle car park on a clear but definitely chilly morning. Before the walk started, we noted lots of small birds in the hedges and trees around the car park. Greenfinches, Goldfinches and Buzzards were seen surpassed by the surprise fleeting view of a Woodcock as it flew over the nearby housetops. We took this to
be a good omen for the rest of the walk.
We headed off towards Breydon Water passing the impressive remains of the walls making up part of the Roman fort and port. At our first opportunity, we stopped at a viewing point to look over the water. The tide was at a perfect point for us to see waders and duck. There were large numbers of Black-tailed Godwits feeding in the shallow waters along with lines of Avocets, Shelduck, Wigeon and Teal. Marsh Harriers flew low over the marshes on the opposite bank where Greylags were feeding in the fields. In the distance we did spot several swans but they were too far away for positive identification.
We descended the slopes towards the water but it was decided to double back along the boardwalk hoping to catch sight of some Bearded Tits in the reed bed. They could be heard from time to time but stayed deliberately out of view as they so often do. As we had seen so many birds from the first viewing point, we headed for the Asda car park for a comfort stop and a lunch break.
After our refuelling we walked along the Yare estuary and stood under the road bridge to look out over the water. It was a truly colourful spot with the spray-painted graffiti to brighten our view and the rumble of the cars overhead. Who says that birders don't know how to choose the most scenic spots? There were large numbers of birds feeding in the bay including Black-tailed Godwits, Curlew, Wigeon and some Pintails. A Water Pipit was seen as well as a lone Ringed Plover. Just as we were about to leave Sophie spotted the head of a Peregrine poking out above the boards of a platform only to see its partner nearby.
We headed off towards Filby Broad hoping to catch up with Ferruginous Duck and Goldeneye that had been recently seen there. As there were two boats with fishermen in the birds tended to be pushed into the corners of the broad. We did however see good numbers of Goldeneye along with Great Crested Grebe and some of the group saw a Kingfisher flying fast away from us. We crossed the road to investigate Ormsby Little Broad.
Here we were sitting on a viewing platform in the full force of a steadily colder breeze but we were duly rewarded by seeing two Sparrowhawks flying over the tree tops, a Great White Egret skulking in the reed margins and finally to cap it all, just to the right of the platform a Bittern took off and flew majestically to the opposite bank to disappear instantly
into the reeds.
A few people decided to go to St Benet's Abbey for the chance of some owls. We walked up to the impressive wooden cross situated on the site of the High Altar of the Abbey, made from Sandringham oak, and presented by H.M. Elizabeth II. We waited in the lee of the ancient wall looking over the distant fields where we spotted Bean Geese, [probably Taiga], Whooper Swans and a scattering of Chinese Water Deer. A lovely male Hen Harrier was spotted flying over farm buildings briefly. Unfortunately, no owls were seen there but a Barn Owl was spotted flying parallel to the road on our way home just minutes away.
Thank you to Sue Gale for leading the group. We enjoyed our day.
Lesser Black-Backed Gull
Greater Black-backed Gull
Great Crested Grebe
Great White Egret
Seen by a few members who made a stop at St Benets Abbey on the way home
Taiga? Bean Goose
Mammals Seen : Numerous Chinese Water Deer, Muntjac
Please feel free to read through our reports from our monthly outdoor meetings.