Saturday, 11 July 2009


Just got back from a weeks 'holiday' in Norfolk, what a great place it is. While the rest of the Country struggles to provide one decent bird good old reliable Norfolk comes up trumps yet again with Caspo Tern (elastic boundary), WWBTern, Buffy Breast and Temminck's. Staying at the delightful No.2 Red Lion Cottage, Stiffkey (pronounced Stukey) Debs, Mia and I spent a pleasant week roaming the North Norfolk coast in search of birds, beer and dog friendly beaches.

En route down we had the obligatory Red Kite fly over this time on the A14 near Kettering (I'm getting good at these with all the M40 practice). Later on after two hours of searching I eventually got five seconds worth of a male Golden Oriole at Lakenheath, the young having now fledged the nest. To round the day off a quick nip upto the mozzy infested heath at Salthouse produced two calling Nightjars time for a swift pint in The Pale Bovine Liquor Dispensary.

Having already been to Norfolk several times this year I'd already whapped a few of the regular goodies so it was a case of Dyson the rest (or so I thought). The pager had been updating the birding fraternity on every move the Swanton Novers Honey Buzzards were making so a quick in and whap was all that was required.....NOT!!!!!....5 yes 5 visits later plus 3 at nearby Great Ryburgh failed to produce even a Great Orme's view of a possible Honey Buzz....bugger!! The Sunday visit was typical....loads of Common Buzzards and a displaying Goshawk (found by yours truly) plus endless Wood Pigeons but no Honeys. As is Sunday the dudes were out in force and a group from Brummie land had set up camp (deck chairs, folding table, flasks and sandwiches) plus the odd scope pointing in the general direction of the required wood. A rather loud female of the picnicking group claimed most aerial things as a Honey Buzz.

Big strapping Brummie lady..''is that a Honey Buzzard?''

Pleasant helpful Cheshire chap..''no its a Common the wing shapes all wrong''

Spouse domineering big Brummie wench..''thats one surely Richard?''

Becoming annoyed Cheshire chap..''no, its a Wood Pigeon''

Out of her depth Sunday dude (from B'ham)..''theres one now, its got to be a Honey Buzzard''

Incredulous Cheshire chap..''thats a light aircraft''

...yes you guessed I left the scene only for the pager to report 2 Honey Buzzards showing well from Swanton Novers raptor watchpoint exactly when I'd been there. I wonder if the caller had a brummie accent? There must be another watchpoint!!

Monday and Pod (I'm in third person mode) stands on the East Bank, yes he's an East Banker!! points to North Hide scrape where a Buff Breasted Sandpiper has just been found jammy t**t. Entering North Hide Pod sees Cley's premier birder and spouse namely Mr & Mrs S Gauntlet erecting the biggest photo lens thing money can buy. Making a sound like a German machine gunner in a WW2 bunker Mr S rattles off a plethoral of captured images of Buffy for his monthly birding magazine Cley World. Pod whips out his tackle (Mrs S faints) no its his compact digital image gatherer and proceeds to return!
The image that you won't see in Cley World. Its the little brown job next to the Crab Plover.
Later that night a stealth visit to North Hide had me gripping the Wood Sandpiper that was on show plus 15 other species of wader...what a place.
Wednesday and a White-winged Black Tern turned up (ha ha!) at Cley to grace Billy's Wash for the afternoon. No piccies this time but a smart bird to see (check out Surfbirds) a welcome addition to the year list and a Norfolk tick. A chance to celebrate and what better way than with a selection of Norfolk's premier real ales.

All care of that peach of a place 'THE REAL ALE SHOP' on the Fakenham to Wells road, I was like a kid in a sweet shop, 65+ different bottles to choose from so I plummed for the 6 pack selection special...sorted. Didn't add any more year ticks despite searching everywhere for Golden Pheasant and Quail. Did come across yet another new reserve for me (how I've missed this place in all the years gone by heaven knows) namely Sculthorpe Moor. A fabulous place for birds, butterflies, dragaonflies etc and Bank Voles, you should try it some time and its free(ish).



UK YL 226 (FP229)

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