Awoke to a beautiful spring day. Jen and Marj were with us for the weekend and all set for a birding day. Marj's knee replacement in early Feb meant that they had done very little birding this year so, the request was for quantity rather than quality. Pam called the first Chiffchaff of the year singing in the wood at the bottom of our garden, a good start. Between Roughton and Felbrigg, a Rough-legged Buzzard, our first of the year, flew overhead showing all the salient ID features. A later start than usual for us got us to Sculthorpe mid morning where we decided to do the loop trail first. On entering the first hide, a stupendous male Golden Pheasant strutted across the clearing, positively giving off sparks in the sunshine. Two Willow Tits - a year tick for us - flew across the path on the way to Whitley Hide,landing in full view . The hide was scattered with a group of amateur photographers, taking up a great deal of space and reluctant to move, we had to sit amongst them. Three Bramblings and two Reed Buntings came down to feed and a Water Rail appeared below the feeding table. More singing Chiffchaffs, must have been a mass arrival in yesterday's SE wind.
Arriving at Abbey Farm via the back road, no sign of Little Owls but a pair of Kingfishers in view from the hide, one (probably the female!) digging out the nesthole whilst the other perched nearby. Two Grey Partridges near the pheasant feeders delighted us all on the Sandringham road out of Flitcham, a good tick for M and J.
A late lunch at Snettisham RSPB gave good scope views of the massed waders at high tide - a very low one to-day. My sciatica and concern for Marj's knee meant that we did no more walking after this, just car birded back along the north coast. Hunstanton was choc a bloc with cars and a motor bike rally, no room to park along the clifftop but a Fulmar showed itself briefly as we drove by. Many Yellowhammers at Choseley but no Corn Buntings to-day. A thoroughly enjoyable and reasonably productive day, ending with a list of 80 species seen.