Saturday 17 November 2012

Holkham Pines

I just returned from a family holiday along the North Norfolk coast. The wind had changed back from north easterly to south westerly a few days before we arrived there so the chance of catching much late migratory was reduced. That didn't stop me seizing the moment to go out there and see what I could find. I did quite a bit of sea watching off Holme beach with nice views of a red throated diver, distant views of the hundreds of common scoters there and a fleeting view of some passing eiders. I then spent a bit too long trying to find the 1 or 2 crossbills that had been in the pines there for the previous 2 weeks with no joy (and haven't been reported since). I had some good mammal moments with quite a few muntjac encounters and a weasel with a fresh rabbit kill.
My 2 stand out moments from the holiday though were both in my favourite Norfolk spot - the far western end of Holkham pines where the trees give way to dunes and scrub. It just feels magic!
My first visit there, there was a large and noisy tit and crest flock that was lacking a Pallas warbler but the promise was almost enough. I did see a couple of Goldcrests having a bit of a scrap and the male displayed it's bright orange crest which I'd never seen before and was quite breathtaking. On the 2nd visit (still hoping for a tasty warbler) I was greeted by the drama of five large raptors soaring on the wind being buffeted up from the dunes. There was a male Marsh Harrier, 2 Red Kite and 2 common buzzards (one of which was a pale bird that had me hoping for a rough leg [but sadly wasn't]).