This is it, our final day. The last day everyone pretty much does their own thing before heading home and this trip was no exception. For the purposes of this trip report I shall take you through what we did but I will mention that Sue and Bob went to Salthouse again and then to Cley and Holkham Fresh Marsh; Dick, Dot, Martin and Carol spent the afternoon walking out to see the seals on Blakeney Point; and Shaun, Alan and Maureen did almost the same as us with the exception that they went to Pensthorpe. Hopefully I’ve got that right…
Anyway on with our day. We had a later start than the previous few days, what with paying bills and packing cars, so we headed in to Sherringham and parked by the promenade. We had one bird to tick off our list and down on the groynes in amongst the rocks and seaweed was one lone Purple Sandpiper kept company by a few Turnstones. We spent a short while watching the bird before moving on.
We then drove to Burnham Overy to look, yet again, for the Rough-legged Buzzard. We made a quick pit-stop in Wells-next-the-Sea for provisions and I can report that Sue did visit the Pheasant Hotel, which by all accounts is still very much under construction but is going to be really nice when they have finished. Our man who organised our move over to the Links Hotel wasn’t there unfortunately so Sue was not able to meet him in person. I digress again… We got to Burnham Overy and the bird had still not been seen since a few days ago. Not good. We hung around for a bit and picked up a Red Kite and at least 8 Common Buzzards circling at once, a Peregrine Falcon (which made an aerial assault on a flock of Starlings moments before we arrived) was also perched up distantly in a tree.
Discussing what to do next we decided to go to Sculthorpe Moor, a “Hawk and Owl Trust” reserve that used to get Golden Pheasants. Shaun, Alan and Maureen had also set off in that direction about 30 minutes before us having not seen the Buzzard either. A text message from Shaun said not to bother with Sculthorpe but we went any way.
Sculthorpe now charges an entrance fee of 3 quid, presumably to cover the cost of the enormous amounts of bird food they must get through. We paid up and went in. I can now safely say I know where all the Bramblings are! There must’ve been hundreds if not thousands of them. They were around every feeding station and at some it was like a swarm descending. Sculthorpe is a lovely reserve it’s just such a shame it’s so far away. I must mention that in the visitor centre they had three little cages with hay bedding in them and tucked in inside were Harvest Mice, I think the volunteer warden said they were all females. They are absolutely exquisite little creatures!
The Bramblings aside there were Greenfinches, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Bullfinches, Siskins, Lesser Redpolls, Reed Buntings, Marsh Tits, Long-tailed Tits, Coal, Blue and Great Tits. Walking out to the furthest hide we saw Mute Swan, Moorhen and another Buzzard. Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Nuthatch and Great Spotted Woodpecker were also in the thicker woodland areas.
We were running a little late and back to the car we decided we’d try and get to Lynford Arboretum before it got dark. It was on the way home any way so we gave it a shot. En route another text message from Shaun saying they were at Lynford and there was nothing to see, no sign of the Hawfinches. Well we got there around 4pm and the light wasn’t too bad so we quickly walked out to the area known as the paddock. Indeed it was very quiet, hardly a bird around if you ignore the odd Mallard or Crow. We’d passed several bird watching groups on our walk down all on their way back, it didn’t bode well. There was just one guy left who was fairly confident there was still time for them to come it. So we waited.
At around 4:30pm, the light was really starting to go, watching the tops of the far pine/fir trees four birds flew in. Yes you guessed it – all Hawfinches! Only two hung around for ‘scope views and in awkward light it wasn’t easy but we saw them. Satisfied we walked back and on the way back picked up Song Thrush and Wren. Back at the car whilst having a cake and a drink I could hear a bird calling, it was only a contact call but oh-so-familiar. Walking up the lane to get a closer listen and possibly a view I was sure it was what I was thinking. We never saw it properly and it stopped calling shortly after but it was definitely a Firecrest. Also calling were Goldcrests and a single hoot from a Tawny Owl.
We left at around 5:30pm and pointed the car in the direction of home. The end.