Three Common Buzzards were seen on the way to the Brecks with Jason Nichols (14th), before arriving at Cockley Cley.
No sign of any Goshawks at the ‘secret’ site (which the world and his mother know about!) so on to Lynford Arboretum seeing 2 Red Kites en-route at Ickborough.
Bramblings were once again seen at the feeding area, from ‘the gate’, with at least 20 joining the Chaffinches, Marsh and Coal Tits and Nuthatch, which once again were very vocal.
At least 5 Hawfinch were seen feeding on the ground and perched in the trees, but very difficult to pick out when they fly up into a tree!
A stop on the bridge to take a few photos of the birds visiting the area for seed put out by the ‘wildlife photographers’, with some interesting ways of trying to get a photo, which would look ‘natural’, by placing various pieces of tree on the concrete posts and walls. Not quite right!
A Treecreeper was good to see here along with Nuthatch, Dunnock, Robin, Siskin, Reed Bunting and Long-tailed, Marsh, Coal, Great and Blue Tits.
Another stop-off at the ‘gate’ on the return to the car park saw 2 Yellowhammers on the ground with the Bramblings and Chaffinches.
With the sunny weather attracting quite a few people to the various sites in the Brecks, our usual visit to the Little Ouse at Santon Downham was thought best to be avoided! So, we returned to Cockley Cley where we were finally rewarded with a sighting of a Goshawk. A Mistle Thrush and several Linnets and Skylarks singing were of note as was the first Bumblebee queen of the year. Probably a Bombus terrestris but the bumble were on a mission to find a new nest site and didn’t exactly pause for further scrutiny.
Today’s diary entry is dedicated to my friend Benji, who very sadly passed away on this day 3 years ago. He is sorely missed, so much so that I cannot dwell in that memory for too long, still, despite the time period from whence it happened.
L-R Clockwise: Marsh Tit, Treecreeper, Chaffinch, Siskin, Marsh Tit Brambling
Cranes, Barn Owls and a traffic troll at Holkham!
First stop of the day (21st) with Jason Nichols was in the Ashby area, where three groups of Cranes, totalling 14 birds were on fields there.
A drive along the coast saw a couple of Common Buzzards en-route, before reaching Salthouse where on the pond at Walsey Hills 3 Pochard and a Little Grebe were present.
At Cley Coastguards a Great Northern Diver was seen flying west and one-two Red-throated Divers were seen also, along with a few flocks of Brent Geese flying over.
A stop at Morston Harbour found more Brent Geese and Redshank and an Oystercatcher were feeding along the creeks.
On entering Lady Anne’s Drive at Holkham, a Barn Owl was seen perched on a post, albeit some distance away, but another flew out from somewhere much closer and a Muntjac was in front of a Bramble patch. However, our session, after no more than two minutes with the Barn Owls was cut short due to an overzealous jobs-worth in the Holkham Estates employ!
The car park attendant approached the car and asked Jase if he had a parking ticket. Jase replied that we had not got to get a ticket yet, due to spotting the Barn Owls, but the ‘Holkham Gestapo’ was having none of it and stated that: ‘I would prefer you to get a ticket first’; procedure was obviously the written law for this employee and probably instigated by the Holkham Estate!
We decided to drive further down, turn around and go somewhere else, but not before another brief stop to photograph the owls again, whilst the ‘traffic troll’ was investigating someone else’s incapacity to follow a strict procedural regime!
Moving on (literally!) a short distance along the road I spotted a Barn Owl perched on a post, in a place where I had photographed one a few years ago. Luckily, we were able to pull off the road (legitimately!) nearby and carefully photograph the owl, without drawing attention to what we were photographing and leaving the owl exactly where we found in, to continue searching for its lunch. 2 Muntjac were feeding in the distance behind the owl and a little further up another stop found 6 Common Buzzards and 2 Marsh Harriers over the Freshmarsh.
With a detour just up the road (de jour vu!) our attention turned to our own lunch and we travelled back along the coast road (unfortunately finding a Barn Owl road casualty along the A149 at Stiffkey), to Stiffkey Saltmarsh to indulge, whilst keeping a look out for animals at the same time.
Several flocks of Brent Geese were seen and a B.b. hrota (Pale-bellied Brent) was found amongst the Dark-bellied Geese and a Brown Hare made its way across the saltmarsh.