Norfolk, Suffolk Tour Day 1

Four days away taking in sites in both counties, with a couple out of the region whilst travelling. So I started at a local site for me, Langsett Res, mainly for Redstart and Flycatchers. Arrived on site at 6am being greeted by Blackbirds, Blackcaps and Chaffinch. At the flycatcher site I only managed Redstart, one singing male. On the dam wall were two Common Sandpipers, in the same area were Siskin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Oystercatchers, and a pair of Little Ringed Plovers.

Bird List ; Blackbird, Blackcap, Black headed Gull, Blue Tit, Canada Goose, Crow, Chiffchaff, Common Sandpipers, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Greylag Goose, Herring Gull, Jackdaw, Lapwing, Little Ringed Plover, Mallard, Mistle Thrush, Oystercatcher, Redstart, Robin, Siskin, Song Thrush, Willow Warbler, Woodpigeon, Wren (27)

Down then into Lincolnshire and to a new site, Willow Tree Fen, hopefully for Cranes, and on arrival at 10am I found it closed. I parked up close by decided to have breakfast and view from the closed gates, no Cranes were seen. Highlights were Buzzard, Cuckoo, Little Egret, Marsh Harrier, and Skylark.

Bird List : Black headed Gull, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Coot, Cuckoo, Goldfinch, Greylag Goose, Jackdaw, Little Egret, Mallard, Marsh Harrier, Pheasant, Reed Bunting, Rook, Shoveler, Skylark, Woodpigeon. (18)

On then to Weeting Heath, arriving here at 12:30pm and being direct tothe East Hide for the target species here, Stone Curlew, easily found this time, they can be difficult at times. Other highlights here were Greater Spotted Woodpecker and Wheatear. No Woodlark or Tree Pipit

Butterfly highlights here were Brimstone, Orange tip, Red Admiral, and Speckled Wood

Bird List : Blackcap, Chaffinch, Goldcrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Lapwing, Lesser Black backed Gull, Oystercatcher, Robin, Rook, Stock Dove, Wheatear, Whitethroat (12)

On then to Lakenheath Fen, main target here were a few Dragonflies but I found none. Out onto the reserve for walk. On one of the pools I found a single Dunlin and a Grey Plover, along with a few Swifts and House Martins overhead. News of Cranes at the bottom end of the reserve had me walking off in that direction, on arrival I got the news that they had flown off even further down the reserve and out of sight, so I watched the Common Terns for a while and it wasn’t long before I heard the Cranes, a couple of minutes later two Common Cranes were in the air. long necks, trailing legs, with grey-black filght pattern on the upper body. When they had gone thru I managed to pick up a few Hobbies in flight, hunting the reedbed nearby with one coming in close to where I was stood. I stopped till about 5:30pm picking up on Cuckoo, Cettis Warbler, Reed Warbler, Little Egret, Marsh Harrier, Stonechat.

Bird List : Avocet, Blackcap, Black headed Gull, Canada Goose, Cetti’s Warbler, Common Tern, Cormorant, Crane, Cuckoo, Dunlin, Gadwall, Great Crested Grebe, Grey Plover, Greylag Goose, Hobby, House Martin, Lapwing, Lesser Black backed Gull, Little Egret, Long tailed Tit, Magpie, Marsh Harrier, Mute Swan, Redshank, Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler, Shelduck, Shoveler, Stonechat, Swift, Tufted Duck, Whitethroat (32)

I then booked into my Bed and Breakfast for my stay at Acer Lodge in the Thetford Area. I spent three nights here and would definitely be back. The breakfast was great and a good choice also. Rooms were clean, shower was fantastic, large TV so you could actually see it, wonderful views out the back, and large garden with bird feeders (regular Great Spotted Woodpeckers on these), and great/friendly hosts. After checking I used one of the local pubs for a meal then moved onto a local heath nature reserve called East Wretham Heath in the vain hope of Owls and Nightjar. No Nightjars were heard or seen and a Barn Owl was seen on exit of the reserve at 9:30pm. Other highlights whilst I was on the heath were Egyptian Goose, Pied Wagtail, Green Woodpecker, Mandarin Duck and Little Grebe, all new for the day.

Bird List : Barn Owl, Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue Tit, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Coot, Cuckoo, Egyptian Goose, Gadwall, Green Woodpecker, Grey Heron, Jackdaw, Lapwing, Lesser Black backed Gull, Little Grebe, Mallard, Mandarin Duck, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Robin, Rook, Shoveler, Stock Dove, Swallow, Tufted Duck, Woodpigeon, Wren

Song Thrush

Langsett Res Area

My first port of call was onto the Broadstones Res Heath, which was on my way to Langsett. In the short space of time I was here managed to see Stonechat, Meadow Pipits and a Common Whitethroat.

On then to Langsett Res, parking in the barns car park. Plenty of action in the car park with numerous Blackbirds, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Collard Doves, Woodpigeons and Blackcaps

Venturing down to the dam wall, Pied Wagtails, Oystercatchers and three Common Sandpipers were seen and in one of the nearby trees a single Treecreeper. I came back up to the car park and wondered along the pathway until I could find a place to over look the reservoir and the nearby moor. Greylag Geese, Great crested Grebe and Black headed Gulls were on the water. Looking out over the moors I manged to pick up a Common Buzzard which had settled in a tree, a Cuckoo was calling and I also managed to find a Red Grouse and Curlew. Behind me a Great Spotted Woodpecker was contact calling and a Coal Tit was seen.

I headed back towards the car park but decided looking over a nearby ploughed field, here I saw Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Pied Wagtail, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush and the surprise of the night a pair of Little Ringed Plovers.

Venturing further a field, friend had joined me at this point, Goldfinch, Linnet, Siskin, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbers but no Pied Flycatchers or Redstarts.

Bird List :- Blackbird, Blackcap, Black headed Gull, Blue Tit, Buzzard, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Collard Dove, Common Sandpiper, Cuckoo, Curlew, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Great Crested Grebe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Grey Heron, Greylag Goose, Lapwing, Linnet, Little Ringed Plover, Magpie, Mallard, Meadow Pipit, Mistle Thrush, Nuthatch, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Red Grouse, Robin, Siskin, Skylark, Song Thrush, Starling, Stock Dove, Stonechat, Treecreeper, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Woodpigeon, Wren. (44)

Pugneys Country Park

Time out at Pugneys Black headed and Herring Gulls were sitting out on the jetty’s , having a look thru them I picked up five Common Terns, new for the year a nice start. Out on the water were Coot, Mute Swan, Lesser Black backed Gulls, I could hear Blackcaps close by in the nearby bushes.

Walked around then to the hide where I picked up Blue Tit, Wren, Chiffchaff, and more Blackcaps. From the hide Cormorants, Shoveler, Gadwall, Mallard, Oystercatchers, Great Crested Grebes

Bird List :- Blackcap, Black headed Gull, Blue Tit, |Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Chiffchaff, Common Tern, Coot, Gadwall, Great Crested Grebe, Herring Gull, Lesser Black backed Gull, Magpie, Mallard, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Shoveler, Stock Dove, Tufted Duck, Wren

Common Tern

Bempton Cliffs

Why Bempton Cliffs, wasn’t to try and see the Black browed Albatross was it? yes it was, the bird had returned, did I see it this time? NO 😢 , he/she had decided to go out to sea the evening before and didn’t return the day I was there, but the day after he/she did, that’s birding (still frustrating). After 8 hours of waiting watching the cliffs, taking photos of the usual residences of Bempton, I gave in.

So the highlights around the cliffs in those 8 hours, Gannet, Fulmar, Kittiwake, Razorbill, Guillemot, Puffin, Herring Gull, Rock Dove, Shag, Cormorant and a first for me a pod of Bottle-nose Dolphins, a group of about 5 made their way slowly north, a Peregrine flew thru.

To break the day up around the nearby by fields a single Wheatear and Ring Ouzel were found. Around the visitor centre were the usual Tree Sparrows, Skylark overhead, a Barn Owl near the old blocks, Meadow Pipits nearby. Towards the end of our vigil on the Albatross news broke of a Great spotted Cuckoo seen coming in off the sea and had landed around the visitor centre. The decision was quickly made to go for the Cuckoo, so making our way rather quickly we arrived at the said point, to the news that it hadn’t been seen for a while, it was never seen again, we were rewarded with a single male Stonechat for our relocation.

That really ended our day at Bempton which resulted once again in the Albatross not been seen by these eyes.

The days Bird List :- Barn Owl, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Cormorant, Fulmar, Gannet, Goldfinch, Great Black backed Gull, Great Tit, Greylag Goose, Guillemot, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Kestrel, Kittiwake, Linnet, Magpie, Meadow Pipit, Moorhen, Peregrine, Pheasant, Puffin, Razorbill, Reed Bunting, Ring Ouzel, Rock Dove, rook, Shag, Skylark, Stonechat, Tree Sparrow, Wheatear, Woodpigen, Wren


Blacktoft Sands

Decided on a quick visit to Blacktoft Sands in the vain hope of seeing the reported Spoonbill there, it had gone when I arrived, looking like another Albie syndrome.

Decided on going thru the farmland area as an approach to Blacktoft, quickly picking up on a Corn Bunting in doing so, along with Tree Sparrows.

On arrival at Blacktoft the news was the Spoonbill or the Bitterns hadn’t been seen that day, there’s always hope. First hide and Xerox hides were the first where I picked up a few species like Woodpigeon, Black headed Gull, Marsh Harrier and a Buzzard.

Wasn’t long before I moved up tp Marshland hide where I knew the wader action was, Avocets, Black tailed Godwits, Dunlin, Snipe, Redshank and Lapwings were all here. Teal, Wigeon, Gadwall were the main widfowl present.

Last on the list and a long walk was the ousefleet hide where I found Pied Wagtail, Curlew plenty of Teal, Meadow Pipit

No Spoonbill or Bitterns today

Bird List :- Avocet, Black headed Gull, Black tailed Godwit, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Cettis Warbler, Coot, Corn Bunting, Curlew, Dunlin, Gadwall, Grey Heron, Greylag Goose, lapwing, Little Grebe, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh Harrier, Meadow Pipit, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Redshank, Robin, Shoveler, Snipe, Teal, Tree Sparrow, Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Woodpigeon, Wren


Black-necked Grebes

St Aidans RSPB  with up to 11 Black-necked Grebes seen on site, 3 for me today, always a great bird to see with the striking plumage and the gorgeous red eyes, and always at the far side of the reserve. Reed Buntings were a plenty around the site, with many a male calling, the explosive calls of the few Cettis Warbler gave away the location of these birds but are always difficult to get a viewing, I did manage a few glimpses of a couple of birds as they moved around the reeds. Bearded Tits are another favourite of the reed beds and today i did manage,  to see a couple, giving themselves away at first with the distinctive “ping” calls and then seen briefly in flight as they moved from one location of the reed bed to another.

Meadow Pipits were on site in good numbers, giving good views along with the “parachute” display fight, in the same area were a few Skylarks, Redshank and lots of Lapwing. Wildfowl highlights were a pair of Goldeneye along with the usual Gadwall, Mallard, Pochard, Wigeon and Tufted Duck.

Around the far side of the reserve were plenty of Black headed Gull,  Linnets on the gorse bushes, fly over Cormorant and Grey Heron

Back at the start near the visitor was a single Kestrel, hunting the nearby field. On the drag line I found the usual Little Owl, which takes residence here, which give me a nice ending to a wonderful few hours at a top reserve

Bird List :- Bearded Tit, Blackbird, Black headed Gull, Black necked Grebe, Blue Tit, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Cetti’s Warbler, Coot, Cormorant, Dunnock, Gadwall, Goldeneye, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Grey Heron, Herring Gull, Kestrel, Lapwing, Lesser Black backed Gull, Linnet, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Little Owl, Magpie, Mallard, Meadow Pipit, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Pheasant, Pochard, Redshank, Reed Bunting, Robin, Shoveler, Skylark, Stock Dove, teal, Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Woodpigeon (41)

Reed Bunting
Black necked Grebe

A Teal and a Plover

One of the quarries for today was the Baikal Teal at Swinemoor and that was the starting point for today. A new place for me, near Beverley, next to the River Hull, an open landscape and there was a lot of Wildfowl to look thru, and it was windy. With the help of a couple of other birders we managed to locate the Baikal Teal ( a lifer for me), the bird was distant, but good scope views were  obtained. Other birds her were mainly Common Teal, Wigeon with a couple of Dunlin thrown in.

Our next stop was to be down to East Hatton Skitter, south of the river and over the Humber bridge for the White tailed Plover which I’d already seen when it was at Blacktoft Sands back in October 2021. We located the bird tucked in on one of the Marshes and obtained reasonable views. Other bird highlights here was a single Chiffchaff, Redshank, Oystercatchers, Great Crested and Little Grebe, with a fly over Black tailed Godwit.

Out last call of the day was to North Cave Wetlands, so we were back over the river again. At North Cave we decided on moving down towards the Turret Hide, picking up on a view bird species on the way, Ruff, Gadwall, Grey Heron, Greylag Goose, Siskin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Tree Sparrow. At the Turret Hide we were fortunate enough to be told of a Bittern which had been seen in front of the hide, after a what seemed a considerable time we managed to locate it, difficult amongst the reeds, eventually getting good views of this elusive species. Other highlights were Little Egret, Redwing, Red legged Partridge along with a Little Owl near the farm.

Birds List:- Baikal Teal, Bittern, Blackbird, Black headed Gull, Black tailed Godwit, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Cettis Warbler, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Common Gull, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Gadwall, Goldfinch, Great Crested Grebe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Greylag Goose, Herring Gull, Jackdaw, Kestrel, Lapwing, Linnet, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Little Owl, Long tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh Harrier, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Pochard, Red legged Partridge, Redshank, Redwing, Reed Bunting, Robin, Rook, Ruff, Shelduck, Shoveler, Siskin, Skylark, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stock Dove, Teal, Tree Sparrow, Tufted Duck, Water Rail, White tailed Plover, Wigeon, Woodpigeon, Yellowhammer (67)

Cromwell Bottom

Thought I’d have another visit out to Cromwell Bottom along with camera and hopefully get a few shots of the hoped for bird Long tailed Tit. Arriving on site at about 12:30pm, after work, to a few overcast sky, forecast for today was sunshine and showers. I headed out to the bird feeding area and not surprisingly there was nobody else there, so I settled in, just as the rain started thankfully it didn’t last long. I managed to get a few shots of Dunnock, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Robin and Nuthatch.

I decided on a walk around to stretch my legs a bit and maybe come back to the viewing area, I headed off towards the reported flock of approx 100 Siskins only to find none, so I headed off towards the viewing platform. Looking over to the ski area I picked up on Black headed and Common Gulls along with a pair off Goldeneye, approx seven Grey Herons and a few Cormorants thrown in.

I headed off back to the bird feeding area to find my bird of the day, I wasn’t to be disappointed when a small flock of Long tailed Tits came into the feeders and stopped a while enabling me to get some photos of these small birds. Other birds of note around the feeders were Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Stock Dove, Coal Tit, Reed Bunting.

Headed back to the car park and up the pathway from the feeders I inadvertently flushed a Green Woodpecker which was on the ground, only getting quick brief views. A pair of Pheasant seen near the bridge on exit and on the canal were the usual Mallard and Mute Swan.

Bird List: Blackbird, Black headed Gull, Blue Tit, Crow, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Common Gull, Dunnock, Goldeneye, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Green Woodpecker, Grey Heron, Jay, Long tailed Tit, Mallard, Mute Swan, Nuthatch, Pheasant, Reed Bunting, Robin, Siskin, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon (25)

Long tailed Tit
Long tailed Tit

Cromwell Bottom

Back out to Cromwell Bottom Nature Reserve near Brighouse once again this time with camera in hand. Made a bee-line for the feeders near the bridge picking up a flock of mixed finches Siskin and Goldfinch in the alder trees and a single Mistle Thrush singing high up on the pylon as. I finally settled in to the feeding area, which was a little bit busy, adding a few species to the day list Dunnock, Robin, Bullfinch, Nuthatch, Magpie, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Jay, Stock Dove and Woodpigeon, a good start and a few pictures in the camera. After about an hour I decided on stretching the old legs a bit and headed off towards the viewing platform, here I could over look the reserve and view the gravel pit area. At the viewing platform I saw mostly Black headed Gulls and Common Gulls no duck species today.

I had another quick 30 mins at the feeders taking a few more photos before heading back towards the car park, a slow walk, looking thru the alder trees as I went. I managed to pick up a few more species namely a single Goldcrest and a flock of Long tailed Tits. I also manged to locate a single drake Gosander on the nearby canal.

Bird List : Blackbird, Black headed Gull, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Crow, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Common Gull, Dunnock, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Goosander, Great, Jay, Long tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Mistle Thrush, Nuthatch, Reed Bunting, Robin, Siskin, Stock dove, Woodpigeon (25)

Great Tit

Cromwell Bottom

Back out to Cromwell Bottom for a brief visit with dog in tow, surprisingly on arrival the car park was virtually empty, Friday at 14:15.

Straight around towards the feeders where i managed to see a male Reed Bunting, Chaffinch, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Jay. Onward we went towards the viewing platform where I managed to pick up on a small bird flock moving thru which included Nuthatch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long tailed Tit, Treecreeper.

Out on the adjacent gravel pits were numerous gulls mainly Black headed along with a few common and Herring and alone Grey Heron, a little bit nearer on the canal were Mallards, Mute Swan and Goosanders (2 males and 1 female), and a Cormorant went over.

Back at the feeders I added Dunnock and Blackbird

Bird List : Blackbird, Black headed Gull, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Crow, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Common Gull, Cormorant, Dunnock, Goosander, Great Tit, Grey Heron, Herring Gull, Jay, Long tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Mute Swan, Nuthatch, Reed Bunting, Treecreeper (22)