November 2017 Tour reports

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Monday 6th November Exclusive Norfolk high tide day tour

We arrived at Snettisham at 630am and out on the Wash, there was already an excellent mixture and it we didn't have to wait too long for the show to begin with waves of birds forming "smoke" swirls in the skies 35000+ Knot, thousands of  Bar-tailed Godwit, plus plenty of Grey Plover, Dunlin, Redshank, c250 Shelduck and 40+ Pintail. The pits themselves were full of Wigeon, several Pintail  plenty of Teal amongst them plus Red-breasted Merganser and Goldeneye. In addition to this a nice surprise were 7 Whooper Swans that were recent arrivals out on the mud flats.

Over the saltmarsh 3 Marsh Harriers were hunting and we were fortunate with other raptors a Merlin, 3 Sparrowhawk and a distant Barn Owl. There was also a nice movement of thrushes with c200 Fieldfare & c100 Redwing moving south. Also Reed Bunting, Skylark and Rock Pipit were all seen as well.

We next headed to Holme, and we walked out to the saltmarsh and eventually located a single Shorelark, more thrushes were moving with c500 Fieldfare & c250 Redwing visibly migrating south. Also an early displaying Marsh Harrier and a hunting Barn Owl.

7th November Day One of three day Norfolk tour.
I returned to Snettisham again for a repeat performance of yesterday with this new group! Snettisham didn't disappoint with two spectacles going on all at once!

Out on The Wash there was 40,000 Knot, 1700 Golden Plover, several thousand Bar-tailed Godwit this was a wonderful spectacle! But we couldn't stop looking skywards as visible migration went overhead in full swing! Over a couple of hours we had c2500 Fieldfare, c500 Redwing, c500 Chaffinch, c1300 Lapwing, c5000 Starling all moving south. There was also a good number of Blackbirds moving, and this became very evident when we arrived at Holme with c200 Blackbird in and around the dunes and firs with a further c50 Blackbirds arriving in off the sea! As we birded at Holme it was evident that something special was going on, as c2000 Lapwing moved overhead migrating south. At Hunstanton Cliffs the observers there recorded an amazing 8000+ Lapwing heading south, an amazing and record breaking count!

We headed at Holme towards Thornham and eventually we had a brief view of yesterdays Shorelark, before it flew back out on to the saltmarsh. We then headed to Thornham harbour and finished the day off in spectacular fashion with 18 Twite, Peregrine, Merlin and Kingfisher!

8h November Day Two of three day Norfolk tour.
We started the day with a search through a nice flock of c2500 Pink-footed Geese near Weybourne, but couldn't locate a Tundra Bean Goose I had seen a few days previously. At Kelling Quags, we enjoyed a nice flock of c100 Linnet, 2 Stock Dove & Grey Partridge. On the pools - 3 Snipe, 16 Dunlin, 19 Curlew, and point blank views of Spotted Redshank. We then had a quick look at the sea, there was a c10 Red-throated Diver passing offshore, more noteworthy were 18 Eider & 4 Red-breasted Merganser and a Short-eared Owl high, in off the sea.
As we headed for Cley we stopped off for a 3 Red Kites spiraling above us in the company of 6 Common Buzzard. We lunched at Cley in the warmth and then headed out to the hides, and after a bit of searching we were soon watching a Grey Phalarope spinning on the pools in front of us! Also here 17 Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit, Teal and Wigeon.
We then headed out on to the shingle and after a short walk we were soon enjoying a nice flock of c40 Snow Bunting, also Stonechat, Meadow Pipit and Starling passage, with some Blackbirds, Song Thrush and Redwing arriving in off the sea.


9th November - Three of three day Norfolk tour.
We started the day at Holkham, highlights here were the first returning, 4 White-fronted Geese, also 2 Great White Egrets, 3 Red Kite, 4 Marsh Harriers, Common Buzzard, Grey Partridge and a good selection of commoner wildfowl.
We then headed to Stiffkey where the 2 Cattle Egrets present for a few weeks were still showing very well. At the fen there was a single Greenshank and c40 Black-tailed Godwit.
We rounded today off with a raptor roost with 3 Marsh Harrier, male Hen Harrier and a Merlin.

13th November - Seawatching Sheringham
I had a good seawatchng session today with NW winds, highlights were birds moving west as follows:-
1127 Common Scoter, 12 Goldeneye, 25 Gannet, 1 Long-tailed Duck 6 Eider, 3 Pintail & a Great Skua.


27th November - 11th December - North India 14 Day Birds & Wildlife tour
An amazing trip yet again with 4 Tiger sightings, 320 species of birds - read the full North India tour report here