Monday, 26 January 2009

A day of birding in Norfolk - Part 1

Five of us crammed into my car on Friday afternoon and drove for 4-5 hours to the north coast of the county of Norfolk which is on the east coast of Britain. This is one of the best birding areas in England with extensive salt marshes and bird reserves dotted along the coast.
We knew the best day weather wise was going to be Saturday, so we got up while it was still dark and drove 1.5 hours to our first birding spot at Cantley Marshes. It was bitterly cold and icy and the photo below shows us watching a mixed flock of Taiga Bean, Pink-footed and Greater White-fronted Geese.One of our main reasons for birding in this area of Norfolk (The Norfolk Broads) was to look for the small population of Common Cranes. This is the only place in Britain where they breed. As you can see, we were quite some distance away from the birds, but had fantastic scope views of them feeding.Here is a heavily cropped photo of them where you can just about make out what they are! (-:In the same general area we came across a flock of Pink-footed Geese feeding in a ploughed field with some Lapwing and Golden Plover and a few Black-headed Gulls. Unfortunately (for the Geese) I managed to flush them getting out of the car. This did give me the opportunity to take some flight shots!If you click on the photo below to enlarge, then you can just see the Lapwing on the ground and some Golden Plover in flight below the geese against the dunes.As they started to settled down again, they did that lovely wiffling action of dangling their legs and bowing their wings to zig zag down out of the sky.Our next stop was in North Walsham at a supermarket car park to look at 3 Waxwings that had been feeding on berries there. The light was awful and with no way to get in a position with the best light behind me, this is the best shot I could get. They occasionally come to Britain from the taiga forests of northern Europe to winter with us. They have a lovely distinctive trilling call.Around lunchtime, we made our way back to the north coast to bird along the coast for the rest of the day. Our stop at Cley gave me some opportunities to photograph some geese closer to. This Brent goose was one of two or three that were feeding near to the East Bank at Cley Nature Reserve.This Lapwing just didn't seem to want to turn around for me and this was the best shot I could get before he wandered further away.The Greylag was more of a poser! (-:
We walked along the East Bank at Cley to get to the sea where this unfortunate 1st winter Glaucous Gull was resting on the beach.It definitely had something wrong with its wing, but seemed to be feeding OK and apparently could still fly, though we didn't see it do so while we were there.We get Ruddy Turnstones on our shores during the winter and this one was living up to its name on this stony beach.I'll tell more about the latter half of this great day of birding in my next post.


The Early Birder said...

A trip to Norfolk, my favorite area although I don't know Cantley Marshes yet! You obviously had a great time Jenny & I look fwd to reading part 2. Frank

Shellmo said...

I really like that greylag! And you are such a trooper braving the cold and driving long distances to bird! It just looks so lovely in your corner of the world!

Eve said...

This was so well worth the trip Jenny! I love all the pictures and the birds are just great. I love the sad gull shot sitting on the beach the most...well that and the Greylag...
Can't wait for more!

Steve B said...

What a fun trip. Are your waxwings just "waxwings" or do they have another name? I enjoy seeing your trips.

Anonymous said...

You had the best of the current weather Jen.
I have seen the odd couple of Cranes at Welney.
I guess they must float across to there for an away day.

Quiet Paths said...

Another outing! Excellent. You are truly helping me deal with my cabin fever this year, Jenny. Wonderful, colorful post with so many birds!

Mary said...

You had a terrific day! What a great selection for one day out. That Greylag is beautiful! Hadn't heard of a Pink-footed...will have to look that one up. I like the lapwing, too. Glad you saw some waxwings...aren't they super?

Jenny said...

Hi Early birder, thanks for dropping in on my blog. Cantley Marshes is close to Cantley beet factory near to Hickling Broad if that helps. We just watched the goose flock from the factory area.

Hi Shelley, yes he certainly liked his photo being taken! (-: I haven't done much in the way of overnight birding trips for over a year due to ill health so it's nice to start getting back into it!

Hi Evie, even tho that Gull had a dodgy wing it did seem to be coping and eating (bread) OK. Hope the wing mends.

Hi Steve, They were Bohemian Waxwings, sorry, cos we only get one here I usually just call them waxwings. Glad you enjoyed the trip, more to come tonight hopefully.

Hi Roy, they're stunning birds arn't they! It would be great if they managed to increase a bit more though! The weather for the forseeable looks pretty bad! Shame!

Hi Christine, glad to be of help. (-:
The next post will have more of the atmosphere of birding rather than actual close up birds, hope it still helps the cabin fever!

Hi Mary, yes I LOVE Waxwings and the noise they make too. As you know from experience, geese flocks and the noise they make is pretty special too. (-:

Celeste said...

Looks like a great, if somewhat chilly day. Lapwings remind me of my childhood, they were so much more common then.