North Norfolk - there's no better place to spend half-term with the family. You definitely don't go for the weather at this time of year but if you're lucky and get a couple of cold, crisp, sunny days it can be quite magical!
My young boys love exploring the wild beaches on its coast line, Mrs B appreciates the farmers markets and fresh local food on offer and dad enjoys the beer and of course the birds! What better time to visit than the end of autumn and the start of winter with the mass arrival of all those wonderful winter birds.
Apart from over indulging on the great food, beer and cosy log fires (old git) we did manage to visit a few of the usual birding haunts, whilst discovering one or two decent birds along the way...
Wells Wood - Waxwing circling and trilling over the woods, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Coal Tit and good numbers of Goldcrests and Redwing amongst the pines.
Salthouse - I missed the Shore Lark but did see my biggest single flock of Snow Buntings with over a 100 birds flying in off the sea, going west towards Cley. The sea also held Red-throated Diver and Guillemot both hugging the shoreline with close views.
Titchwell - highlights on a miserable day weather wise were three Bramblings on the RSPB feeders (it should be a good year for seeing these birds, with excellent numbers already streaming onto our shores from further north, with every chance of one or two birds showing up in a few lucky gardens as the winter progresses). Big flocks of Pink-footed geese flew over the reserve and up to 100 Golden Plover circled the fresh marsh, and with winter numbers of wildflowl starting to build up particularly impressive were the Northern Pintail. The reed bed held up to three Marsh Harriers, pinging Bearded Tits and a couple of noisy Cettis Warblers.
Holme Dunes/Gore Point - Sanderling in their wonderful white winter plumage ran up and down the tide line, Brent Geese flew along the coast and a flock of 25 Snow Buntings flitted around the salt marsh.
South of Wells/B1105 near Brant Hill - hundred's of Pink-footed Geese were holed-up in a couple of farmers fields.
Cley coastguards - seawatching produced a Little Auk on the sea, Arctic Skua, Red-throated Diver, small flocks of Common and a single Velvet Scoter, Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser and numbers of Gannets, Guillemots and Kittiwakes and also a couple of big flocks of Fieldfares coming straight in off the sea.
We're all counting down the days until we visit again...