June 2016 Tour reports
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June 3rd - 11th Outer Hebrides Tour - A fantastic 8 day tour visiting The Uists, Mull and the Ardnamurchan peninsula highlights were Eagles, breeding plumage Divers, Corncrake, Red-necked Phalaropes, skuas, breeding waders, harriers and Short-eared Owls and lots more.... read the full trip report here
Friday 17th June - Nightjar & Owls evening
I picked up the group around 7am and we headed over to Holme. With quite a bit of daylight left and calm conditions we were soon listening to the gentle purring of a Turtle Dove. After a bit of searching we had lovely views of this attractive and scarce summer visitor, it was sat on top of a television aeriel and also gave a couple of nice flight views as it display flighted.
We walked back along the bank and watched a Barn Owl hunting over the grazing marsh.
We then drove to another location and stopped off for a Little Owl, one of the adults was sat sunning and 2 Little Owl chicks were watched huddled together at a nest hole - so lovely to see!
We then headed over to the heathland and were soon listening to several Nightjar churring. We had some nice flight views and eventually we had good scope views of a Nightjar perched. We were constantly treated to overhead views of at least 4+ Woodcock! Just as we were leaving a Tawny Owl was calling but we didn't manage to see this bird.
Saturday 18th June - North Norfolk
We started the day at Titchwell, hoping to see the Great Knot that had arrived a few days before. Sadly, its unpredicability resulted in it's absence today! However, we saw several 1000 Red Knot, 40 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Ruff plus 3 Mediterranean Gulls. Out on the beach - a good selection of shorebirds - Turnstone, Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit. It was a chilly day for mid June, with a stiff westerly wind, no doubt this was partly responsible for the highlight of 14 Manx Shearwater all moving west offshore.
In the afternoon we spent time looking for Montagu's Harrier. I saw a male Montagu's Harrier briefly but it was brief and distant and sadly I couldn't get the others on to it, before it disappeared. We did see a Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel plus another Mediterranean Gull flew over.
Monday 20th June - North Norfolk
Today was not the easiest of days with very heavy showers. I collected the group from Wells and a Hobby went quickly overhead, a nice start prior to the heavier rain. We started at Burnham Overy in a drizzle, on arrival we watched 5 Common Tern and several Little Tern fishing. As we walked along the bank several Sedge and Reed Warblers were singing and showing occasionally. There was Little Grebe, Tufted Duck & Pochard in the dyke and also had quite a few Reed Bunting sat up. Out on the saltmarsh, 30+ Bar-tailed Godwit, 6+ Curlew, 30+ Red Knot, 2 Turnstone and a flock of 20+ Black-tailed Godwit swirled overhead. Out on the freshmarsh 1-2 Marsh harriers were hunting and quite a large group of 35 Egyptian Geese were grazing. The rain then started properly and we headed back to the minibus. The rain had eased slightly when we arrived at Cley, we walk along the East bank and 3 Spoonbills were showing very well, feeding in the pools. Also Teal, Redshank, Lapwing, a pair of Little Ringed Plover. On the pools there was a 40+ Sandwich Tern and there was also a Gannet moving close offshore. The rain dried up for a while and we lunched and then headed out to the hides. We could hear the "pinging" of Bearded Tits and eventually we had nice views of 2 adult and 2 young Bearded Tits. From the hide there was a stunning summer plumage Spotted Redshank, some nice breeding plumage Black-tailed Godwit, as well as many feeding Avocet and three more Spoonbills, plus very close views of Marsh Harrier. As we left the hide, a second Hobby of the day went skimming through! The day finished though as it had started with another heavy shower!!