Tuesday May 29th
Knowing that our evening meal would be cooked by friends, it seemed like a good day to do our north coast birding run.
It was a very slow start on an overcast, 'dampness in the air' morning. I didn't feel like singing either....after a 5 a.m. wake-up. I had two target birds to-day and we saw neither of them. Our usually reliable Spotted Flycatcher site was a no show as was Turtle Dove all day.
Abbey Farm was worthwhile though. The recent rains started the springs flowing again and we saw a Kingfisher nest changeover. The departing bird - too distant to see mandible colour in order to ID male/female - bathed repeatedly, splashing into the water and then preening, from a low partially submerged branch. Lovely.
A Little Owl showed in the nesting tree and then appeared 20 metres away on a nearby fence post. Not for long, it was bombed by a pair of Mistle Thrushes.
A Buzzard cruised the far meadow before landing, Grey Partridges, wandered through. We only saw three Red-legged partridges to-day and at least ten Grey. It's often the other way round.
Holme NOA was eventful...We discovered that we had a flat tyre. We can't complain about the AA service, it only delayed us an hour but meant that the rest of the day's activity was curtailed.
It did mean that we wandered over to the NWT centre for an ice-cream and were told of an adult male Red-backed Shrike present in the forest area. My lack of pager alerts (to be fixed to-morrow, Thursday) had kept me ignorant. On the way back, I spotted the bird from the car, perched on a bramble. We stopped (forbidden!) and I took a few distant pics. This is the best of them - the rest were even worse. My auto focusing system can't seem to cope with distant images with closer foliage in front. My own focusing is even worse!!
A long time since we saw an adult male in summer plumage in the UK, they're usually juveniles.
The verge-side Marsh Orchids along the track were coming into full bloom, this one taken from the car.
We decided a to walk as far as the freshwater pool at Titchwell. We were asked to identify a singing bird - Male Reed Bunting - by a keen woman birder from Jo'burg. Her accompanying relative was interested but not well informed. She was particularly keen to see waders in summer plumage and Bearded Reedlings. I was able to show her both plus at least ten Little Gulls, one of them an adult. The Beardies were very obliging, a superb male posed at the top of a reed stem, she thought the black bellied Dunlin were great too.
Baby Robins are irresistible, this one was in the Fisherman's car park....
Good views of two Wood Sandpipers on a roadside pool west of Beach Road in Salthouse completed the day very satisfactorily. We were able to add a few Norfolk birds to our mainly Scottish month list.