Early morning we drove to the Holme Pierpoint National Watersports Centre near Colwick for finding a long staying first winter Spotted Sandpiper. It too a while figuring out where the bird was located but after all we found it at the White Water Rapids. It was a very confiding bird and often walked toward us when we sat down at the edge of the rapids. It was actively feeling and flew only short distances. On the way back to the carpark we enjoyed very close views of a adult female Long-tailed Duck.
I hoped to spend less time at the watersports centre to have more time in Norfolk where we aimed more life birds for Dani. The Saturday midday traffic didn’t really help but eventually we got to the Holme Dunes Nature Reserve where a Short-eared Owl had been reported. That would have been new to Dani but sadly we couldn’t relocate the bird. To be fair the dunes and the coastal areas were very busy but it was a surprise to find two Snow Buntings at the beach.
Dani’s next target was to see his first Pink-footed Goose and for this we visited the place where I was guided by my dear Facebook friend, Andrew Goodall. The Holkham National Nature Reserve supposed to be a good spot for wintering Pink-footed Geese and the place didn’t disappoint at all. As the weather was nice this popular reserve with the giant sandy dunes was very crowded, but out of the car we immediately found a larger mixed Pink-footed Goose and Brant Goose flock, much for Dani’s happiness. There was a nice bird activity with the first Ruff of the season. Watching Northern Lapwing flocks felt like spring.
eBird list from the fields adjacent to the car park:
Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus) 600
Brant (Branta bernicla) 350
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca) 3
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) 1
Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope) 700
Eurasian Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) 5
Eurasian Marsh-Harrier (Circus aeruginosus) 1
Red Kite (Milvus milvus) 1
Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) 3
Eurasian Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) 5
Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) 2
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) 198
Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) 4
Ruff (Calidris pugnax) 1
Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) 26
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus) 16
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) 34
European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) 3
Common Wood-Pigeon (Columba palumbus) 285
Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) 1
Eurasian Jackdaw (Corvus monedula) 6
Great Tit (Parus major) 1
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) 1
Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 13
White Wagtail (British) (Motacilla alba yarrellii) 1
Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) 1
A plan of an easy evening walk at the Titchwell RSPB Reserve was quickly cancelled when we checked the BirdGuides app for local news and found a report of at least eight Lapland Longspurs east to Weybourne. Two other birdwatchers arrived to the same spot and they were happy when I found 5 Lapland Longspurs. They fed together with beautiful Yellowhammers and Eurasian Skylarks. I couldn’t take good photos of them as lights were already very poor. On the way back to the car 140 European Golden Plovers were flying over the neighbouring fields.
This birding was supported by Viking Optical.