Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Year in not so north-Norfolk

2006 started in Norfolk for me as usual, but due to recent ill-health Josh remained in the Peterborough area with a Caspian Gull under the belt.

Usually I do the North west Norfolk traditional spots on January 1st scoring a comfortable ton with relative ease, but this year, for a new challenge it was decided that a few Peterborough birders would hit the delights of East Norfolk to see if that could offer us the hallowed century.

Setting off from Deeping, with Roger “the Dodger” Teasdale (or ‘Twitcher Teasdale’ as the wandering birders also know him) joining my Dad, Ray and I, at 6.30am, Mute Swan was the first bird of 2006 as 3 swam down the Welland in streetlight.

Joining the Williams’s at their Norfolk pad near Felbrigg at 8.00am was excellent timing with a wee diversion to Cley, kindly hosted by the Norfolk constabulary, who seemingly put away their cones blocking the main Cromer road as soon as we passed (it did gain us the only Buzzard of the day mind!). Bob and Sue Titman also joined the crew and a pleasant walk round Felbrigg notched up near 50 species with Woodcock, Marsh Tit and Water Rail being the highlights.

After some excellent bacon butties, thanks to kind hospitality of the Williams family, we headed onwards towards Happisburgh for some mid-morning seawatching, but soon turned back on ourselves when we got ‘the call’ from John Furse alerting us that yesterday’s Ross’s Gull was back at Cley!

Thankfully it was still there for us to enjoy, but we could only stop briefly, a traffic jam was forming in the car park and we couldn’t spend all day watching this lifer for all- including Trevor the biggest lister among us!

All though brief, our views were excellent as it crawled down the sea wall towards Eye Pool and then flew towards and landed 40 feet away before being chased off by a Black-headed Gull. Unfortunately the only half decent shots I got were when it landed back on the top of the seawall in the poor light.
Ross’s Gull, Cley Coastguards, Norfolk.
© William Bowell

After a pointless walk to a frozen solid Hickling Broad which only gave us Long-tailed Tit, we finished the day at Stubb’s Mill. It was an awesome end to the day with at least 30 Marsh Harriers coming in, with at least 3 Merlins buzzing about, 3-4 Barn Owls and 2 Hen Harriers, peaking with a superb backing track of Bewick’s Swans until there was only just enough light to count 29 Common Cranes ‘gronking’ in- the last bird of the day making it a respectable 85 species for the day! Absolute magic!

We all finished the day with several bottles of wine and chili and jacket potatoes with some rather scrumptious puddings that even the sternest dietician couldn’t resist! Many thanks to Trev and Jane for their hospitality (as ever!) and to everyone else for their excellent company!

Happy New Year to everyone- from the Wandering Birders!

Posted by Will


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