Norfolk month list barely begun...the weather forecast was reasonable for to-day. Not a very early start, we were up early enough yet didn't drive away until 6.50. a.m. on a cold, sunny morning, with no discernible wind.
Decision made to omit Snettisham, not brilliant at this time of year, our first birding stop was our regular site for Grey Wagtails and Spotted Flycatcher. Not immediately obvious, a little patience and searching paid off. A pair of Grey Wags were feeding young at the entrance of a small brook off the main river. Delightful birds, the only photographic opportunity was the male perched briefly on a rather thick overhead wire.
The Spot Fly flew into a tall tree amongst the small group of houses here.
Harpley next for hard won Tree Sparrows. Our habit of viewing Abbey Farm field from 'the gate' paid off. A lone Little Owl was perched low in its nesting tree, totally invisible from the hide as we found out. An elderly man sitting there was keen to see it and soon scuttled off, successfully thank goodness. The other man in the hide was a member of the farm household, spending his regular half an hour checking the birds on view. Pam soon had him answering questions. Most interesting to me was the reply that Kingfishers are not nesting this year. Most disappointing.
Holme welcomed us with a Lesser Whitethroat dashing acress the path, calling. It was now cooler again, the birds not very active nor numerous, the best a Greenshank calling - as it always does - whilst leaving the Broadwater.
When was the last time I walked at Titchwell sweaterless and wearing an open jacket? I even took my jacket off whilst viewing the Freshmarsh. A distantly flying Hobby, Sparrowhawk, a small flock of summer plumaged Bar-tailed Godwits, one black bib and tuckered Grey Plover, two Common Sandpipers, the male Red-crested Pochard and two Little Terns were the highlights of our visit. My jacket was quickly donned as the sun went in and the wind increased.
One o'clock and I hadn't eaten yet, Choseley barns was chosen - luckily - as the picnic spot. Our first Corn Bunting of the year was the reward, I've never had to wait this long before.
Continuing our leisurely, woodland free day, we drove out to Beach Road, Cley, adding Blue-headed Wagtails amongst the cattle, a Stonechat and a Wheatear in the Eye Field and plenty of Sandwich Terns feeding offshore. Doing a quick count-up, I was amazed to see that we were well on into the 90s on the species day list. If only.... we'd started earlier, gone to woodlands, walked to Patsy's Pool at Titchwell, 100 was well within reach. Wader variety was not as good as usual either. Instead, we'd had a thoroughly enjoyable and stress free day, ending on 98 with a lone Teal on Simmonds Scrape at Cley.