With a break in the rain forecast and the news that ST had booked a hotel for us on Friday night in Norfolk, we were looking forward to be able to get off to an early start. We arrived in Sedgeford to catch up with the long staying Alaskan Yellow Wagtail to add it to our 2020 “late to the party” list alongside the Black-throated Thrush at Whipsnade Zoo. We parked up next to the dung heap that it seems to so regularly frequent and despite only a couple of Pied Wagtails initially, within a couple of minutes it obligingly appeared. This was much appreciated as by now the chilly westerlies were picking up, making viewing through bins and taking pictures difficult.
Apart from a handful of Grey Partridge in the surrounding stubble fields a short, scratchy flight call alerted us to a Common Snipe passing overhead. Happy to be out of the cold we decided to take a drive over to Cley and Salthouse to catch up with the solitary waxwing. We soon located it in trees in the gardens of the houses surrounding St. Nicholas Church It called a few times before flying down into a hawthorn hedge about 20 feet in front of us. The wind made it challenging to get pictures to say the least, but you can’t feel too hard done by with such close views of such a beautiful and striking bird. When it retreated to the tree tops again and with the cold kicking in we retreated to Cley for a spot of lunch.
The afternoon winds continued to grow stronger bringing more cloud cover with them. With light fading, we decided to stop near Holkham for a quick scan of the fresh marsh, which yielded good numbers of Brent Geese, white fronts, Wigeon and Ruff but no sign of the Black Brant which had been seen several times in the preceding days.
A final stop at Thornham Harbour before heading home paid dividends when we managed to eventually pin down the flock of Twite. The wind was brutal by now and they (understandably) didn’t stay in the open for very long so I was pleased to be able to hold the camera steady long enough to get a couple of record shots of them. The North Norfolk coast never seems to disappoint and despite having been battered by the cold winds all day, it was no exception.