The First of the Month Full Day Birding (on the 2nd !)

April 2
Setting off at 6.20 a.m. on a damp, overcast, very misty morning, our hopes for the day were not high. If only the mist/fog/haar would lift and we got some of yesterday's sun.
First stop, Sculthorpe Moor Reserve. The centre doesn't open until 8.00 and the car park was locked but, as Friends of Sculthorpe, we believed we could walk the reserve. The gates were locked and chained. Peering over the top of the gate, a pair of Bullfinches perched in a tree near the feeders and then flew down to feed, followed by two Brambling and a Coal Tit. A Golden Pheasant called from the direction of the first hide and Chiffchaffs sang all around.
Tree Sparrows at the usual site and 35 species on the list by Abbey Farm Hide, Flitcham, for breakfast at 8.00. The male Kingfisher sat beside its nesthole, the female presumably sitting on eggs, one Little Owl was probably keeping vigil too, in its fallen oak hideyhole. The surprise was a Green Sandpiper and a Redshank on the far pool, very few birds anywhere else around. Apart from a female Sparrowhawk which shot through, took something, sat on a branch with it in its talons and stole away.
A beautiful but flighty Barn Owl near West Newton allowed me this one quick shot.

Typical Snettisham Sight

Grey Partridges in the customary area near Flitcham, a quick walk to the John Denver seat and around the cliffs at Dersingham Bog (just Siskin to add), then our last visit to Snettisham RSPB until next winter's permit is due. Another low level high tide was steadily filling, hundreds of Black-tailed Godwits, fewer Bar-Tails, and the usual mix of common waders, ducks and geese. Still some Pinks and Brent around.
The east wind added to the damp chill had made us - me in particular - very cold. The petrol visit to Tesco in Hunstanton turned into a full English breakfast and a goodies splurge in the shop before driving to Holme NOA and then back to Gore Point. Two Wheatears on the short grass just before the point, very little apart from Sanderling on the shore and, a pair of flying Mergansers the only birds on the sea.
We then decided to walk to the Freshwater Pool at Titchwell. The first pool on the left added a surprise pair of Ruddy Ducks to the year list. Has no-one told them that the RSPB is culling them? A Bittern boomed as we crested the rise on the return journey.

Choseley Barns had a reasonably sized, mixed flock of finches in the yard. The photos are not the best but the Corn Buntings and Yellowhammer are just about identifiable.
No more walking in the icy wind for us, just some car stops along the coast. It was still very foggy too. Having scanned the small flock of Brent at Beach Road, Cley - to no avail - we drove to the car park in time to see 3 Sandwich Terns fly over. Lucky.
The ice-cream van had gone - was it ever here to-day....., nothing to add at Salthouse beach, so, Gunton for Great Crested Grebe to end the very murky day. We also added a Nuthatch and, best of all, a Grey Wagtail appeared on the thatched roof of the Saw Mill. The first this year despite several visits to look for them, we thought they'd moved on. Pam had seen one on the river at Santon Downham but, that was in Suffolk, so she was just as delighted.
Having done the chores at home, I settled to complete my list, added up and found that the final day score was 101 species. Astounding. Maybe we should have tried harder......

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