After the lengthy drive to Hickling on day 3 we decided to bird fairly local on day 4 and this started with another brief walk at Salthouse Beach. Once again we were battling against strong winds but still no rain however there was still no evidence of the Bunting flock that I spotted earlier in the week.
Ruddy Turnstones feeding at Salthouse.
Next stop was Cley NWT with it's new enviromentally friendly visitor centre where you can enjoy fabulous views across the marshes while sipping a cup of tea and sampling the coffee and walnut cake! That would come later as we headed along the boardwalk, through the reedbed, to the main hide complex overlooking the scrapes and pools.
One of the hides was occupied by a group of photographers with some very impressive equipment and all hoping to catch a decent image of a Green-winged Teal. Unfortunatley most of the Teal were hidden over on the North Scrape and only appeared in the sky when a Marsh Harrier passed over one one of its morning forays. Never mind we contented ourselves with reasonable views of Avocet, Curlew, Dunlin, Gadwall, Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Redshank, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Northern Pintail, Mallard, Shoveller, Teal, Wigeon, Pied Wagtail, Mute Swan, Brent Geese, Egyptian Geese, Canada Geese, Greylag Geese, Pheasant, Moorhen, Coot, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Kestrel, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull and Great Black-backed Gull. We also got a brief look at a Snow Goose before it flew off westwards towards Blakeney.
While my friends where scanning over the reedbed for anything new I watched and got this pic of a Coot drifting through the murky waters in a nearby ditch.
Poor digiscoped view of sleeping Shelducks and below another image of a Little Egret that I took from the same hide exactly a year ago. Scanning the far shingle ridge we also located a single Swallow (this must be one of my latest UK sightings).
After some retail shopping and light refreshments in the new Cley centre we drove along the coast to Holkham Gap with the intention of watching the 'dusk' geese flight but as it was a little early the decision was taken to check out the beach for Shore Larks.
Well the Larks where not located but I did watch a flock of 20 plus Linnets and Goldfinches plus a few Meadow Pipits feeding as I made my way out towards the sand dune overlooking the sea. Scoped views from atop the dune included Red-breasted Mergansers, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Red-throatedDiver plus the usual mix of gulls and waders along the tide-line. We spent far too long searching for the other winter migrant visitors that we missed close views of the evening geese movement, but below is a shot I took of the 000's of shapes as they dropped into the marsh beyond the tree line.
By the time we got back to the cars the Pink-footed Geese were all on the ground.
I will return to this event in a future post....be very patient. FAB.