March 2017 Tour reports
10th March 2017 Day one of three day Norfolk Tour
Another great day down in South Norfolk, visiting the forest and brecklands areas. Highlights as well as many commoner species were female Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Mandarin, Grey 4-5 Goshawks dispaying, 3 Red Kites, 3 displaying Sparrowhawks multiple Red Kites, Great Grey Shrike, 2 Woodlark, & 14 Hawfinch. There was lots of thrushes around in the fields, several hundred Fieldfare & smaller numbers of Redwing. The forest was full of Siskin and Brambling, plus a sprinkling of Lesser Redpoll, great views of birds coming down to drink.
11th March 2017 Day two of three day Norfolk Tour
We started again down in the north area of the forest. The first clearing held 4 Woodlark, they were singing and showing very well. We also saw the same Great Grey Shrike, this morning it showed very well providing excellent closer views. We saw Marsh Tit, Treecreeper, Nuthatch and many more Brambling, Redpoll and Siskin but couldn't find Willow Tit. We then headed up to the coast where we had an excellent afternoon at Holkham. We viewed the main marsh and had excellent views of Marsh Harrier, Red Kite, 4 Spoonbill, Great White Egret, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Ruff and surprisingly late were c300 White-fronted Geese. Out on the beach we were fortunate to immedately locate the 30 Shorelark and we slowly got closer and got lovely views. We were just thinking of heading back when I looked upwards as a sillouette against the skies caught my eye, a fantastic sight of a Crane migrating overhead moving east!! A great end to the day.
12th March 2017 Day three of three day Norfolk Tour
We started the day at Holme and had excellent views of 5+ displaying Marsh Harriers, they were great to watch as they spiralled out fo the sky and then swept back upwards! There was a good selection of shorebirds on the beach and 30+ Pink-footed Geese were still present. We also enjoyed listening to a Bittern booming away.
At Titchwell we had nice views of Bearded Tit and Water Rail, Brambling and Redpoll. Out on the sea c30 Long-tailed Duck, 12 Velvet Scoter, 200+ Common Scoter, 6 Red-breasted Merganser and 3 Goldeneye. Two Water Pipits were also present on Thornham pool, whilst a few Rock Pipits were also seen around the saltmarsh.
28th March 2017 Day one of three day Norfolk Tour
A great first day down in the Brecks, we started with fantastic views of a singing male Firecrest, also lots of stunning Brambling. There was also a lovely pair of Mandarin ducks on the Little Ouse. The woodland was absolutely alive with Siskin, Brambling and Nuthatch, all very vocal. Also along the river we had good views of Grey Wagtail, and a few Redpoll. Though today there was no sign of the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.
Next we had really superb views of 2 Hawfinch feeding on the ground at about 20m distance. A short walk produced good views of a Treecreeper, but brief views of a male Crossbill. We lunched whilst at a watchpoint for raptors and were treated firstly to great views of Red Kite and Buzzard. We didn't have to wait too long before 2-3 Goshawks put in appearances, a male providing very good scope views. We rounded the day off very nicely with good views of singing Woodlarks perched and in flight, plus good views of Great Grey Shrike and Yellowhammer.
29th March 2017 Day two of three day Norfolk Tour
A good second day of the tour up on the coast, with a nice scattering of migrants. Overhead we enjoyed a pre-breakfast visible migrant session with Meadow Pipits, Siskin, Linnet and Swallow passing overhead. After breakfast we visited Holme, where we enjoyed fine views of the Marsh Harriers. Up at the Observatory at Holme, the group were able to enjoy watching a Chiff-chaff being processed, ringed and released. We then head fine views of a perched female Merlin. Plus a few Sand Martin and 1-2 Swallow moved through. Out on the sea we had scope views of several Eider and Red-breasted Merganser and a single Long-tailed Duck. There was also a nice mix of birds, Brent Goose, Sanderling, Turnstone, Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover and Oystercatcher along the shoreline.
30th March 2017 Day three of three day Norfolk Tour
An early start and we headed off for the high tide spectacular at Snettisham. The light was excellent and we marvelled at 15,000 Knot, several 1000 Bar-tailed Godwit, plus lots of Grey Plover, Curlew and Oystercatcher. Also smaller numbers of Turnstone, Sanderling, Redshank out on the mud. From the hides, there was a mass of Knot & Oystercatcher beautifully packed together. Also a nice group of breeding plumaged Black-tailed Godwit. The breeding Mediterranean Gulls were vocal and we had fine views of pair that alighted on an island in front of the hide. There was again a steady passage of migrants with Meadow Pipits, Goldfinch, Sand Martin & Swallow all passing by.
Next stop Titchwell. Out on the sea c30 Long-tailed Duck, 6 Velvet Scoter, 1000+ Common Scoter. A Water Pipit was still present on Thornham pool and out on the scrape there was plenty of Teal, a few Wigeon and 2 Ruff and Little Ringed Plover. One of the deeper pools also held 4 Red-crested Pochard. The day finished brilliantly with a return visit to Holme, where we caught up with a male Ring Ouzel and had even closer views of the female Merlin.
A great 3 days with 117 species recorded.
25th February - 4th March 2017 ISLAY, SCOTLAND
A fantastic 7 day tour of Islay. We had an amazing weeks birding with 30+ Golden Eagle sightings, 10+ White-tailed Eagles, Merlin, Hen Harrier, Twite, thousands of Barnacle & Greenland White-fronted Geese, Twite and Lapland Bunting - to read the full trip report here.