I have been to Norfolk on average about once every 3 weeks since Oct 2011, either birding/twitching or with the family. I've been so often that I think my toes are starting to web together! Oh well, at least that will be handy when sea levels rise and half of the county floods! Only joking, I love north Norfolk and in another life would love to live there. One day maybe! Anyway.........
Just 6 days after a cracking start to the 2012 birding calendar; year ticking 90+ species in a day last week, I found myself yet again heading up the A12 to Norfolk on Saturday. This time it was accompanying Shaun,(and Hawky) to try and see returning Lesser White Fronted Goose, a bird we spent a good few hours catching up with in Jan 2011. Shaun dipped out last year so it would be a lifer.
This time it was much easier. We arrived at Buckenham at around 8am, and by 8.30am it was in the bag. The little goose with the big White flash on its forehead was still hanging out with a group of 50ish Tiaga Bean Geese and few Greater Whitefront, viewed from just 100 yards up the path. The blighter didn't make it easy by mostly feeding in a gully providing the odd head and neck scope view, but eventually it walked out for a minute or two providing better views. Tick! Along with a flock of Barnacle Geese and 3 fly by Bewicks it was a great start to the day.
Next we tried for Common Crane around Horsey with no luck so we decided to head out of Norfolk and to Suffolk, stopping on route for the distant Great Northern Diver at Rollesby Broad.
Out first Suffolk stop was Ness Point; a very liable place for Purple Sandpiper in winter and we were not disappointed with 4 providing great views, a couple of hundred yards further than the point. Kittiwakes and Red Throated Diver we also seen at sea. Just up the road we stopped at Lake Lothing for Black Throated Diver; the same location where I life ticked the species on an Essex Birders day trip, what seems like years ago but was in fact just 6 years previous. In very windy conditions eventually saw the bird distantly from the Asda car park.
Waxwings had been widely reported from a number of sites in Suffolk for a few weeks now so off we went to search for them. The nearest location was Reydon, and 30 minutes later we arrived. A group of 16 of these fantastic birds could be heard 50 yards away and were frequently visiting a small berry tree not far from the road. 10 minutes later, they arrived, quickly eating a few berries each before heading back to their look out post.
It is impossible to get bored of Waxwings. There are fantastic and I will always go and see them if I can. In the end we stayed for an hour or so, enjoying the photogenic beauties.
Heading south we decided to have one last stop at Abberton Resevoir. We arrived at the Layer Breton causeway at about 3.30pm. Good numbers of Pintail could be seen but no wild swans and no Smew. With light fading we called it a day and headed home. Another day quality birds; Shaun saw his goose, and we all enjoyed the Waxwings, definitely the birds of the day for me.
Long may this quality of birding continue in 2012!