A little bit of bunting

This afternoon I spent a couple of hours at Holkham beach. Heading for the area that is roped off to protect nesting birds in summer and the visiting shorelarks and snow buntings in winter I was hoping to see either or both of these species – both of which I last saw much earlier in the year. I passed a grazing flock of Brent geese, but today there was no sign of the red-breasted goose.

However I was in luck with the shorelarks: Quite quickly I managed to spot a group of 8 or 9. They potter about in the low scrub, foraging. Despite having lovely yellow facial markings they’re easy to miss in the vegetation. A handful come here to Holkham each winter, despite the disturbance from humans, and it’s always nice to see them.

I then headed for the sea to see what was around, and I literally bumped into a snow bunting! I’ve had a similar experience before – a single bird, probably just arrived after a long sea journey, tired out and unwilling to fly unless it has to. Having seen it I stayed fairly still and the bird just ignored me – being far more interested in trying to find food along the tide line. So I managed to get some great photos!

A female snow bunting (above and below)

I then turned my attention to the sea where there were about 200 common scoter, a lone seal, and a great northern diver quite close in to the shore.

Brenda writes: “Today I took advantage of the fact that we had no guests in our caravan to have a retreat day there, including a walk from Pinewoods to the Lookout at Lady Anne’s Drive. This is such a lovely walk with the pines on one side and flood-meadows on the other. For a while I kept pace with a flock of long-tailed tits flitting from tree to tree and watched the sun set at the Lookout before returning as dusk fell.”

No new species for November 14th:

Birds = 227
Moths = 256
Wildflowers = 290