The Whitlingham Bird Report 2020 is available now (click here)

For previous years (2012-2019) see the links on the Whitlingham Bird List page.

NORTH NORFOLK: Birds, churches & a new moth

19th February 2020

It seems an age away, but back in mid-February I went back to North Walsham to meet up with Adam and head to north Norfolk for a day of birding. We stopped at Bayfield Lake, where several Red Kites and a minimum of six Buzzards were soaring over the woods. Various common waterbirds were around the lake, along with several White-fronted Geese.

We both have a liking for churches, so we decided to call in at Wiveton Church for an unlikely moth twitch. A Lichen Button (Acleris literana) had been seen overwintering on the outside of the church a couple of months earlier by Rob Yaxley. Despite not being particularly uncommon they are very well camouflaged on lichen-covered surfaces and I'd not see one before - we might well have still not seen one if it hadn't been for a kind local who guessed what we were looking for and pointed out where it was hiding. Inside the church I noticed a dedication to Daniel Riviere (son of BB Riviere, who wrote early books about the birds of Norfolk) and an interesting panel including a winged lion.

Next stop was on the outskirts of Wells, where the wintering Rough-legged Buzzard showed distantly. We hoped we might encounter a Raven at Holkham, but first walked out into the bay for a look on the sea. There was a huge raft of Common Scoter and several Red-breasted Mergansers, whilst Sanderling on the beach was new for the year. Walking back around the roped-off area we got good views of a flock of Snow Buntings and five Shorelarks. A slow drive around the nearby area failed to find the Raven, but we saw some Brown Hares and Stock Doves.

On the way back we called in at Barningham Winter Church, a ruined church situated on a private estate. We initially tried to reach it via a public footpath, but the signs through the farmyard weren't very clear, so in the end we used the driveway. We saw some Teal on a flooded area near the estate lake and got close views of a Buzzard, but not too much else.

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