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Tuesday, 30 October 2012

EAST HILLS EXPEDITION!!!

A foggy start to the day, but the fog soon cleared and the rest of the day developed into blue skies and glorious sunshine.

EAST HILLS
Parked up on the concrete pad along the West Track at Warham and walked along the track. Lots of blackbirds, redwings and robins feeding amongst the autumn leaves, all along the track. On the way out to East Hills I saw lots of brent geese, several little egrets, curlew and redshank. It was not the easiest of walks out there today, the footpaths were immeresed by water most of the way out, but fortunately I didn't fall at all this time! The creeks had more water in than usual too. It really was like a summer's day, the sun felt warm and there were good numbers of meadow pipits and skylarks flying over. As I reached the dune ridge I could see a marsh harrier and a hen harrier over the pines. At the sycamore glade there were two chiffchaffs, several goldcrests, a couple of wrens, two chaffinches and a few robins. Two sparrowhawks were seen flying west. At least 50+ Blackbirds out here and approx 20 Redwings and a few fieldfare were heard 'chacking'. As I came out of the sycamore glade my heart was racing when I spotted a male Peregrine sitting in a tall pine tree - wow this bird was stunning. I pointed the camera to where I thought the bird was sitting and for some annoying reason I couldn't locate the bird with my lens - after the third attempt, I had been rumbled - this beautiful bird had seen me, took off and left me with no picture at all on the camera. It would have made an awesome picture – so annoyed with myself. Anyway, three carrion crows flew over east and several blackbirds were flying overhead towards Wells. There were lots of fascinating fungi and toodstools out here, a bumblebee and a peacock butterfly. I turned round sharply when I heard a Great Spotted Woodpecker calling – the bird was bounding over the salt marsh and landed into the sycamore tree, not from where I was standing. Got some half decent pictures of the woodpecker which I was quite pleased with. I sat on the fishing box for my lunch and then slowly walked back. On the most northerly edge of the dunes I flushed a Woodcock which made both the bird and me jump! Back in the sycamore glade the goldcrests had increased in numbers, but nothing else of note was seen. Packed the camera away and proceeded to cross the beach, big creek and watery paths and smaller creeks back to base. Makes it sound like an expedition – well it is out here! You have to know the way, be very careful with the tides, be very careful where you tread and pray you don't have fog on the way back! More meadow pipits and skylarks on the way back, along with little egrets flying across the blue skies – it didn't feel like late October at all. Back at the north end of the West Track there was a tit flock, but nothing exciting with them. Several blackbirds and redwings were in the copse by the end of the track. Back at the car I battled to get the wellingtons off, changed socks and put my walking boots back on. My feet always ache badly after walking East Hills – wearing wellingtons for several miles, doesn't do your feet much good – it felt so lovely to get my walking boots back on for the rest of the afternoon.

Holkham Pines
I parked at the top of Lady Anne's Drive and a very nice person gave me their all day ticket as they were leaving – lucky me! Although I wasn't lucky with the Pallas's Warbler – I dipped again! Two jays were having a wash 'n' brush up by a puddle in the middle of the path as I walked along. I had wonderful views of a very bright male bullfinch by the pond near Joe Jordan's Hide. Several people were standing around in hope of seeing the Pallas's including John F. who had already seen and photographed it! There were a thousand plus starlings gathering to roost on a large hawthorn, opposite Washington hide in the evening – I love starlings I find them such fascinating birds - the different colour variations, their behaviour and their calls. At the Salt hole there were two little grebes and the most glorious magenta pink sunset, silhouetting over the ripples of the pond. Several redwings were seen searching for food amongst fallen leaves under the Holm Oaks and a Muntjac ran across the path.

PICTURES TO BE ADDED

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
Good numbers  of Waxwings throughout Norfolk today.

GREAT WHITE EGRET over Salthouse
Pallas's Warbler remains at Holkham
Shorelark at Salthouse
Richard's Pipit at West Runton
Peregrine at East Hills
Little Auks at Holme and Titchwell
 

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