May 2017 Tour reports
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May 6th - 13th Scottish Highlands Tour - A fantastic one week tour, with Golden Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Ptarmigan, Dotterel, Crested Tit, breeding plumage Slavonian Grebe, Black-throated Diver......and lots more read the full trip report here.
May 19 - 21st Spring 3 day Group Tour
Friday May 19th. Day one - Holme, Titchwell and Choselely
We started the day at Holme The weather was poor and the winter cast of birds to start the day rather matched the weather! Pink-footed Geese, Brent Geese, Wigeon Teal and c30 Bar-tailed Godwit, plus more unseasonal birds with Eider on the sea. The weather then improved and over the next hour we had good views of most of the regular more spring associated species - Sedge & Reed Warbler, Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiff-chaff & Willow Warbler. A bit more searching also provided good views eventually of Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler and brief views of Grasshopper Warbler. As we walked through the scrub a Cuckoo was calling and eventually gave good flight views. Out on the grazing marsh we had more good birds with Ruff, Whimbrel and several Grey Partridge. The pools near the track held Gadwall, Pochard and Tufted Duck to a backdrop of several Marsh Harrier.
We then headed to Titchwell where we were greeted with the gentle purring of a Turtle Dove and we also had great views of this attractive, declining species. A Bullfinch showed briefly. Out on the main marsh at Titchwell a nice selection of waders and waterbirds including 4+ Little Ringed Plover, 4 Little Tern, Dunlin, 60+ Avocet, Redshank and Oystercatcher. More great views of Marsh Harrier.
We then headed towards Choseley, after quite a lot of searching we eventually located 3 Dotterel, a nice bright female providing good views. Nearby we also had close views of Yellowhammer and a single Corn Bunting singing.
We then headed on towards Holme.
Saturday May 20th. Day Two of three - Brecks South Norfolk & Lakenheath
We started the day off with good views of typical brecks species - a lovely pair of Woodlark, 3 singing and displaying Tree Pipit, & Cuckoo. Then just a short drive and we were able to watch 2 Stone Curlew, these birds were scoped from the safety of the road. Nearby we also had good views of Grey Partridge, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Shelduck, 10+ Buzzard, a male Goshawk, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel. Moving into the forest, we heard at least singing Firecrest and a singing male Firecrest, eventually provided stunning views to a few feet. A pair of Little Grebe were feeding young, then a Green Woodpecker was heard and flew overhead. Next we searched another patch of woodland - good views of Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Long-tailed Tit, a displaying Siskin, Blackcap, Willow warbler, Chiff-chaff, Mistle & Song Thrush. As we left the area a beautifully smart Grey Wagtail was feeding on the cut grass, showing very well from the minibus.
We then headed to a forestry clearing where we had great views of 3 Tree Pipit, 3 Woodlark, 5 Yellowhammer, numerous Whitethroat and a family of Stonechat.
We lunched at cafe then headed to Lakenheath RSPB reserve. Firstly, we looked on Hockwold fenalso here were Great Crested Grebe, Shoveler and Common Terns.
We next headed up to the fen viewpoints and were soon watching a male Cuckoo sitting out on the edge of some poplars, showing quite well. A Grasshopper Warbler reeled and then provided point blank views! Many Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat and Reed Warbler were noted singing. A Water Rail was heard calling and several Marsh Harrier flew overhead, with a nice food pass witnessed. We reached the far viewpoint and had an excellent hours birding!! At least 5 Hobby, 3 Bittern were booming, the real highlight was yet to come as two different Bitterns flew past nice and close.
On the walk back we stopped off for a male Bearded Tit that came into view - such great birds!!
Sunday May 21st Day Three of three - North Norfolk & Potter Heigham
We started the day by heading to a site for Montagu's Harrier, we had nice views of Barn Owl as we arrived, plus Grey Partridge. There was several Yellowhammer and Whitethroat singing and we made our way towards a suitable viewing area. After about 45 minutes we very lucky as a male Montagu's Harrier arrived and undertook a food pass to the female Montagu's Harrier affording everyone great views.
As Cley was fairly quiet so we headed over to the new pools at Potter Heigham. These pools have been excellent this spring and again we had a good number of birds. We had a nice walk around over the next few hours, we started off with good views 2 Bearded Tits showing very well. The first pools had a good selection of wildfowl, including 4 Garganey plus Teal. On the pools further along good numbers of Lapwing, Redshank, Avocet all breeding with young. Amongst these scanning we also picked out a nice male 2 Mediterranean Gulls, Ruff, Grey Plover, a Wood Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover there was a nice group of 7Spoonbill, finally we located the breeding Black-winged Stilts.
Tour total 130 species over 3 days.
May 24th Spring 3 day Group Tour
Wednesday May 24th. Day one - Potter Heigham & Winterton
We started the tour with a return to the Potter Heigham pools and again we had a good number of birds. We had a nice walk around over the next few hours, we started off with good views 2 Bearded Tits showing very well. The first pools had a good selection of wildfowl, including a Garganey plus Teal. On the pools further along good numbers of Lapwing, Redshank, Avocet all breeding with young. Amongst these scanning we also picked out a nice male 2 Mediterranean Gulls, Ruff a Wood Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, 24 Ringed Plover there was a nice group of 14 Spoonbill, finally we located the breeding Black-winged Stilts. As we walked back we had Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Kestrel and a real nice surprise 7 Cranes soaring overhead. As we walked back we had Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Kestrel and a real nice surprise 7 Cranes soaring overhead.
We finished the day off with a walk along the dunes at Winterton. A flock of c120 Common Scoter flew north, there was a small number of Little Terns in the fenced off areas, plus Gannet and Sandwich tern offshore
Thursday May 25th Day Two of three - North Norfolk
The day started very well with 3 singing Corn Bunting en-route to Holme. At Holme we were treated to 3 Turtle Doves very showy as well. Also showing quite well and vocal were 2 Cuckoo, also Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler a pair of Stonechats were present. On the pools Lapwing, Redshank, Shelduck but no sign of the Ruff.
We had good views of a Lesser Whitethroat just near the Titchwell entrance, before reaching the reserve. We lunched, though and then headed out to the main reserve. A god mixture of birds out on the scrapes, 2 male Red-crested Pochard, 3 Little Ringed Plover and a nice large roosting flock of shorebirds, c200 Black-tailed Godwit, c20 Bar-tailed Godwit, c20 Red Knot, and Dunlin. Amongst the Black-headed Gulls, plenty of Avocets and at least 5+ Mediterranean Gulls.
We then had a fish and chip supper before heading out for the evening session. We had failed in a couple of hours visit in the mornig to look for the Montagu's Harriers, so we headed in this direction with fish suppers! We were happily interrupted! The male Montagu's Harrier arriving with food and we watched as the birds swapped the food item!
The final evening session was very successful with 2 Little Owl nice views of a hunting Barn Owl. We then managed good perched and flight views of 6+ Nightjar, at least 6 churring, plus 4+ Woodcock, Stonechat and a reeling Grasshopper Warbler.
Friday May 26th Day Three of three - North Norfolk
We started the day in the forest, we had nice views of a singing Firecrest. Nearby 2 pairs of Little Grebe, one pair were feeding young, Next we searched another patch of woodland - good views of Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Long-tailed Tit,Siskin, Blackcap, Willow warbler, Chiff-chaff & Song Thrush. More searching and eventually we located a Spotted Flycatcher.
We then headed to a forestry clearing where we had great views of 3 Tree Pipit, 3 Woodlark and 5 Yellowhammer
We lunched at cafe then headed to Lakenheath RSPB reserve. We headed up to the fen viewpoints and were soon watching stunning views of several Hobby. Then a perched Cuckoo showed well. Many Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat several Marsh Harrier flew overhead, with a food passes witnessed. We had good views of 2 Bittern in flight and the day was rounded off very well with nice views of the singing Marsh Warbler, present for the last few days.
Another good 3 day tour with 129 species.