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WHITLINGHAM: After the day of the owls

14th October 2011

I don't often let myself get too bothered by missing a particular bird, but I couldn't help wishing I'd been at Titchwell the previous day to see the mass influx of Short-eared Owls. Surely a once in a lifetime moment for those present. With my inland patching hat on, it struck me that if ever I was going to see a Short-eared Owl locally it would be now. This was further brought home when I found out that one had got as far down the river as Strumpshaw (c6 miles away). Even without the SEOs there was an influx of Great Grey Shrikes and Yellow-browed Warblers, so more than enough to keep the interest up.

I headed down to Whitlingham after work, arriving around 5. After scanning the meadows and the scrub around the Little Broad (Adam had a Brambling here earlier in the week, a scarce bird at the C.P.) I went for a quick scan of the Great Broad. Gulls were pouring onto the broad for a pre-roost bathe, the 250+ Lesser-black backs on the water were only a fraction of the birds passing through. At the east end of the broad 213 Greylag Geese was an unusually high count. Today though the waterfowl were secondary. I had identified Whitlingham Marsh and the sewage works as being the most likely spots, so I headed past the woods (quickly scanning Thorpe Marsh on my way). Of course I didn't see any owls, and no shrikes were perched on the fence, but it was worth a shout. As I walked back along Whitlingham Lane in the vanishing light I wondered what fun and games were going on at the North Norfolk Coast.

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