Seaduck extravaganza and more, North Norfolk Coast, 18 December 2016

I'd been wanting to get up for a full day birding on the coast for a while and today I had the opportunity to do just that.

The high tide at Titchwell was at about 09.00 so I headed there first. A 30 minute stop on the way to scan a big flock of Pink-footed Geese just south of Choseley Barns revealed only 1 Tundra Bean Goose and 1 White-fronted Goose lurking in their midst and not the hoped for Todd's Canada Goose. I gave the same flock another 20 minutes of my time after leaving Titchwell but still had no luck.

Titchwell itself was fabulous. I've never seen the sea so full of seaduck, it was a real spectacle. The totals were c3000 Common Scoter, c30 Velvet Scoter, 2 Scaup (1w drake and female), c15 Red-breasted Merganser, an amazing c70 Long-tailed Duck including several stunning males, c12 Goldeneye, c15 Eider, 1 Great Northern Diver, 2 Red-throated Diver, 1 Guillemot, 1 Slavonian Grebe and c25 Great Crested Grebe!

Around the reserve lagoons were 3 Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 16 Grey Plover and 12 Avocet plus Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Black-tailed Godwits, Bar-tailed Godwits, Curlew and huge numbers of Lapwing and Golden Plover. I then picked up an adult Yellow-legged Gull on the freshwater lagoon and a Cetti's Warbler gave a brief burst of song. On the pool on the west side of the main path was a sitting Kingfisher and a nice Water Pipit before a Water Rail showed nice and closely in the pathside ditch towards the carpark.

Yellow-legged Gull, Titchwell

I reluctantly tore myself away and headed for Holkham. Refusing to pay the crazy carpark fees on Lady Anne's Drive I parked in the village carpark and walked out onto the beach from there. Well, I needed the exercise too! Walking east from the ene of the boardwalk it didn't take me too long to find the flock of c30 Shorelark but they were flighty and kept being disturbed by hooray henry dogwalkers. There was a big flock of Linnets, c6 Skylarks and bizzarely a covey of 7 Grey Partridges on the saltings too. I headed through the gap in the dunes to the sea finding a lovely Black-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Common Scoter and c50 Red-breasted Mergansers before walking back. On the way back a flock of Brent Geese had settled on the saltings. In the flock was a lovely Black Brant and while I was scoping that c12 Twite flew in too. I couldn't put a foot wrong! An absolutely huge flock of c3000 Lapwings and c1000 Golden Plover were put up off the freshmarsh on the walk back.

I finished the day at the Warham Greens roost where things were a bit slow. A couple of ringtail Hen Harrier sightings early doors then nothing much until the last glimmer of light when 2 ringtails and a mega male Hen Harrier appeared out of the gloom. Other than that a Barn Owl and c40 Little Egrets were about the only other things worth a mention.               

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