Norfolk Catch Up

Mandarin, male, River Little Ouse, Santon Downham
Spring in Norfolk has arrived, albeit slowly. There seem to be few real rarities now that Titchwell's Red-flanked Bluetail and New Holkham's juvenile Pallid Harrier have been added to the MIA list. Migrants numbers are growing slowly...Yellow Wagtail, Sedge Warblers, Swallows, Sandwich Terns and Hobby, to name a few, have all made an appearance in recent days.

Pallid Harrier, juv. female, New Holkham

Blackcap, male, Titchwell
Raptor migration has been very visible along the coast on warm days. Good numbers of Red Kite including a flock(?) of 23 over Scolt Head Island. Migrant Common Buzzards have also arrived in similar numbers. A few Merlin and Peregrine have also been noted. Common Cranes too. The local Marsh Harriers have been nest building and they have also been doing some impressive displaying over various reed beds.

Female Marsh Harrier, Burnham Overy Staithe. The two distant blurred blobs on the upper photograph are Red Kites moving along the dunes

Marsh Harrier, male, Burnham Norton
Some of Titchwell's less visible species have been showing quite well recently. Red-crested Pochards have been quite active, as have the Bearded Tits and Cetti's Warbler, especially with the warmer weather. Mediterranean Gull numbers are growing with 6 pairs taking territory on the Fresh Marsh. Finally, Bittern, normally but rarely seen flying over the reeds has been showing well in the new Reed Bed cut.
Cetti's Warblers, Titchwell, very vocal and visible at the moment.

Red-crested Pochards, Titchwell

Bearded Tits, Titchwell
Mediterranean Gull, Brancaster Staithe
Water Rail, Titchwell
A few trips to the Brecks have produced some good birds such as Golden Pheasants, Stone Curlew, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and Hawfinch. This hotbed of Goshawk activity never disappoints. At Lynford Arboretum, aside from the Hawfinches, it was good to see the newly fledged family of Common Crossbills and the various Tits and Finches.

Goshawk, immature female, The Brecks

Goshawk, adult male, The Brecks

Male Common Crossbill, Lynford

Great Spotted Woodpecker (+ Great Tit), Lynford

Eurasian Treecreeper, Lynford
At nearby Santon Downham the much visited Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers still play a great game of Hide & Seek. Reptiles were much in evidence with Common Lizard, Grass Snake, Adder and Slow Worm all being seen. Along the river there are several pairs of Mandarin - wear your sunglasses! Nuthatches were seen attending a nest in the Poplars and Long-tailed Tits doing the same in the Forestry Commission car park. A seemingly constant stream of Siskin, Lesser Redpoll and Brambling passed overhead. Finally a pair of displaying Firecrests were found in a small line of road side conifers.
A gravid female Common Lizard, Santon Downham

Mandarin pair, Santon Downham

Nuthatch removing a faecal sac, Santon Downham.
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