Norfolk, Winter 2016.

25th January 2016
We have just returned from a week on the North Norfolk coast, just had to get away from this horrible spell of weather. The whole week was dry and fairly sunny but cold with daytime temperatures staying between two and four celcius. In order to spend any amount of time outside many layers were necessary, espscially near the sea. However, it was infinitely more preferable to the constant rain and gloom we left behind. We stayed in the little cottage we have been using for the last twenty five years, it is so convenient for all the birding on the Norfolk coast. The nearest coast is just a ten minute walk away and there are also some nice places to eat in the village. Although there is a modern central heating system in the cottage I lit a log fire in the evenings which is very comforting after a cold day outside and there is just something about a nice roaring fire. One thing about Norfolk is that it is never birdless and there is always something to see unlike back home in Wales.
We didn't chase around after birds, those days I'm glad to say are gone! We just went for some nice walks and visited the old haunts along the coast. One night we ate out in a pub called the Gin Trap in the nearby village of Ringstead, we have passed this pub countless times over the years but had never gone inside. We should have tried it before because the top notch food and friendly efficient service was superb, we can highly recommend it.
Our bird total was quite modest but the Highlights were; Pallid Harrier, Rough legged Buzzard and Grey Phalarope.
There were two birds that I particularly wanted to see, Tree Sparrow which is very uncommon in the Brecon Beacons and if possible the very elusive Twite, the latter having been a real bogey bird of ours over the years with very few sightings indeed.
In addition it is always a bonus if I can get to photograph a Barn Owl, no visit to Norfolk is complete without a few 'Barny' shots!!
I managed to photograph Tree Sparrow in a place called Flitcham Abbey Farm and this is a place that is well worth a visit just to see the efforts the management have put in to sustain birdlife. Wintering crops and seed barrels are located all arouind the farm and you can hear birds everywhere you go. It's not difficult to achieve, all that's required is the will to do it, and lessons could be learned from this farm.
There had been a wintering flock of Twite in one of the harbours close to our accommodation but although they were seen daily feeding on Sea Lavender seed heads they were always extremely mobile and flighty. In an effort to see them I went to this harbour every evening for an hour for the whole week in an attempt to pin them down and I was very relieved to finally photograph a flock of twenty five birds. These lovely little birds are on the 'Red List' and that is a real shame, I do hope they can recover their numbers soon.
We saw some Barn Owls at our usual locations, however, one day we were driving along and came across an Owl sitting on a post near a rough pasture. It took off as we slowed down to view it but we could see the potential for a photograph immediately. The following day we returned and were tucked into a hedge hopefully waiting for it to hunt, we had some reasonable views as it quartered the pasture and I'm pleased to say I managed a few half decent photographs.
All in all it was a very enjoyable week away and it helps to break up the gloomy weather back home.
Please see Latest Images Norfolk 2016.