Birding with Sue

Tuesday March 31
A lovely, warm and sunny spring day after a cloudy start. Sue arrived on time as always (nearly). Our first stop was Choseley Barns, where three Corn Buntings showed well on top of the hedge. Sue was calling for food, she got up very early, so, off to Thornham for coffee and a packet of crisps. A very high tide at it's peak, the creeks were full. Not as good for birds but it looked lovely. I saw what I thought was a preening Tern but, by the time I'd put my scope up, that bird had flown. A pair of Red Breasted Merganser perched, preening, on the marsh edge.
Titchwell looked great too with very high water in the freshwater marsh. We sat to scan and Sue soon found a single preening Sandwich Tern, our first of the year. About 30 Black-tailed Godwits, a handful of Avocets, one drake Pintail, 2 Snipe and a few duck on the freshwater pool. Distantly over the reed bed, looking for a called Hen Harrier, I saw a Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk thermalling upward with Pam calling our attention to a pair of sky dancing Marsh Harriers.
No room to sit on the sea watching platform - nothing to see anyway, just a sprinkling of Sanderling, Turnstones and Gulls.
Another sit and scan on the return journey was rewarded by the sight of a female Hen Harrier - found by Pam - flying around the dead trees in the reedbed.
Holme NOA car park for lunch (Sue calling for food again), the reception for NWT was closed and the information board out of date, no idea what's around. We were hoping for a Hirundine or other migrant.

Pessimistically,I said that we wouldn't walk to Gore Point as there was little chance of seeing a Wheatear and Sue had seen several in Wales anyway. Almost as soon as I'd spoken, Pam said 'What's that bird'. A dunnock I replied. No it wasn't. A beautiful male Wheatear perched on a roadside bush. I wanted to photograph it but it flew across the road onto a distant gate post where it was joined by another male. I still took a photo.......not one I'm proud of!
Making our way homeward along the north coast, with another coffee stop at Burnham Overy Staithe and a quick visit to Gunton Park, we added no more birds. It will be an April Swallow now.

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