St George's Day in East Norfolk, 23 April 2017

A day birding with the boys which turned out rather well despite the general paucity of migrants around. We began early at Rush Hills, Hickling where we got some really good scope views of the singing Savi's Warbler within just a few minutes of arrival. This was our main target for the day because none of us had seen one well for years. A pity my photos are so poor! Into the bargain there were 2 Spoonbills, Whimbrel and the lingering drake Pintail on the scrape plus a Common Tern, singing Willow, Sedge and Cetti's Warblers and a reeling Grasshopper Warbler. A Bearded Tit also 'pinged' in the reeds but didn't show.

Savi's Warbler

Marsh Harrier

After a stop at Poppylands for refreshment we made our way to Happisburgh next and walked north from Cart Gap. Pretty soon we reached the large tilled field by the lighthouse and found 3, then 7 more = 10 Shorelarks. A few Ringed Plovers and Stock Doves were in the field too with c15 Sand Martins whizzing about near their cliff colony. On the walk back a nice male Wheatear, Common Whitethroat and 2 Whimbrel (going south) were added. On the drive back through Ingham/Stalham we stopped at a roadside nature reserve where we found c25 Early Purple Orchids and 4 (presumed garden escapee) Snakeshead Fritillaries.



Potter Heigham Marshes was next on out agenda, a site that is now accessible, even by car! And it is very impressive indeed with a huge potential for getting some rares in the future. Our visit started with a lovely summer-plumaged Great White Egret, c3 Little Egrets and then 4 Spoonbills dropped in and out of sight at the back (we later got some great views and photos!). Then 4 Garganey (3 drakes), and 5 Wigeon on the next pool followed by a circling Common Crane and 2 Common Buzzards over Heigham Holmes. The visit was completed with a late female Goldeneye, Common Sandpiper (1st for the year) and singing Reed Warbler.

Great White Egret


After a Turtle Dove dip and a quick look in at 'our' 4 Little Ringed Plovers we parted company at Jus's and I headed round the southern bypass to Longwater where the 16 Waxwings showed beautifully in cotoneasters and a eucalyptus tree to round off a rather splendid day.


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