After a week of pretty poor weather and a complete soaking on Thursday. Fridays forecast looked much better and true enough it turned out to be one of those bright crisp February days. Ideal for wrapping up and heading out to the coast. We’ve seen that along the coast towards Holkham there were a number of reports of good views of some of our Hawks and Owls. As one of this years targets was to get some images of a Barn Owl, with the light so good we took the opportunity of heading out that way.
Cutting cross-country from the Kings Lynn area we dropped down to the coast from Docking via Barrow Common. Where we sighted four Buzzards soaring along the skyline obviously making the most of the clear air as well.
We then headed for Holkham and the Lady Anne’s Drive car park. The heavy rain the day before had produced numerous pools close to the parking area. All of which were attracting large numbers of Oyster Catchers, Redshank and Lapwing.
As it was the first visit there since the children were youngsters we weren’t sure which direction to walk. Having decided to take the path to the Jordan’s hide we were quickly rewarded with close views of Goldcrest, Longtailed Tits, Tree Creepers and a Sparrow Hawk on the hunt. At Salts Hole we came across a group of Chinese Water Deer together with a Little Grebe and a flock of Wigeon.
We returned to the car park after watching the Marsh Harriers over the marsh from the hide and a fleeting view of two Buzzards from the track.As they had very light undersides they could have possibly been the Rough-legged that had been seen recently. Finally back at the car we got good views of curlew in the field.
Lunch and on to Burnham Overy
From the car park, after a cup of coffee at the Victoria, where it was warm enough to sit outside in the sun. A sure sign that spring is just around the corner we travelled to where we have often seen cars parked up. It was obviously a good spot to look out over the marsh at Burnham Overy towards the dunes.
Walking down from the road towards the sea wall we had a view of a Barn Owl flying towards Holkham. Although the path was suffering from yesterday’s rain we worked our way towards the sea wall. On the way we had a great view of a male Kestrel sitting in a bush followed by a view of his mate hovering near the edge of the track. They were making use of the steady wind that had developed and provided an opportunity for some shots of the bird on the wing.
In the fields behind the wall were large flocks of Golden Plover, Brent Geese and Curlew. Further out towards the dunes we had some excellent views of two Rough legged buzzards. Together with a pale Common Buzzard that seems to a permanent resident of the area, sitting on a fence post. After walking in the dunes with the hope of getting some shots of the Buzzards on the wing we returned to the path but not before watching one of the Rough-legged sitting on the ground possible on a kill. Plus a sighting of a Peregrine Falcon as it whipped past us. Having left the wall there was a second opportunity to get some shots of the Kestrel.
Finally back along the path, we were rewarded with excellent views of Marsh Harriers and a Barn Owl hunting in the field. Having taken some shots of it on the wing we spent an interesting few minutes watching it whilst it had a stand off with a hare.
Talking to some of the other birders it seems that Barn Owls can be seen regularly in this area. So a return visit is on the cards to get some closer shots. So one of this years photo targets has been met. Unfortunately no Short Eared Owls this time, but if the weather and light are right we will be back soon. As a bonus on the way back towards Holme and some well deserved food at the White Horse, we saw another Barn Owl very close to the mill and more people with cameras at the ready for that perfect shot.