I've just come back from a couple of days spent on the north Norfolk coast, one of my favourite places to go birding. I went with a couple of friends and we set off a 4.30am to beat the traffic and to make the most of the day for birding. It took 4.5 hours to get there from Bristol in the west country. Our first stop was a place called Wells next the sea. Here is a view of the harbour area. We spent several hours in Wells woods an area of pine and some deciduous woods looking for rare migrants which would be taking shelter from the NE winds. Here we found three of the most charasmatic of small passerines that grace our shores. One is the Firecrest which breeds in small numbers in this country and the other two are vagrants to Great Britain. The Yellow-browed Warbler which is a visitor from the Siberian taiga and the bird pictured below which is a Pallas's Warbler from Asia. The pale yellow rump and central crown stripe are good identification marks for this wonderful energetic warbler.
Another wood that we went to in order to look for birds on migration was Holkham woods. Again this is an area of Pine with Birch and Beech and Oak. The wind was more fierce on this day and we had occasional rain. It was quieter in these woods, but we did see some visible migration in the form of 100 or so Blackbirds which must have just come in off the North Sea. We also saw some Bohemian Waxwings in flight. These are winter visitors to Great Britain from northern Scandanavia and Russia that very often make the eastern side of the British Isles. Occasionally there is an irruption year and we will see them even in the west country.
The only bird I managed to capture on camera at Holkham woods was this confiding Goldcrest. At the end of a long walk along the belt of pines that line the north Norfolk coast at Holkam we spent some time in the dunes. This is a great place to get birds just come in off the sea. Unfortunately for us, it was very quiet the day we were there. Our last stop of the two day trip was to the well know RSPB reserve at Titchwell. This is a fantastic reserve, specially in winter when fresh and salt water lagoons are teeming with waders (shorebirds to my american friends). Most of those waders were too far away for good photography that day, but I did manage to get this shot of Redshank a common wader to this country. My next post will be about our time spent at another wonderful place along the coast, Cley next the sea.