The Last Day Of Our Norfolk House Party And It Was A Bit Lonely 23 October 2020

Holkham Park

We began our last day of the Norfolk House Party at Holkham Park.

We have been running our wonderful Norfolk House Parties since 2011 and each year we enjoy wonderful birds and great food with six guests in an amazing location on the north coast. Sadly in 2020 we had to limit the number of guests to four to comply with the “rule of six” but decided to continue with the trip. Then at the last minute two of the four guests fell fowl of a local lockdown and were unable to join us! So now we had a House Party for two, luckily Barry and Wendy were very happy to come along even though it would be rather different to previous experiences, and they have only missed one since 2011.

Very glad to report that the 2020 Norfolk House Party was a huge success with over 140 species of bird enjoyed and included some wonderful rarities; please look back through previous blogs to see just what we saw. On the final day Barry and Wendy needed to get back home pretty early so set off just after breakfast leaving just the two of us for the final morning! So, what would we do? Go and look at birds of course just as we would have had we still had guests to share them with.

A very short drive took us to Holkham Park where we parked near the “big house” and walked over to the large lake. A Ring-necked Duck had been reported here the previous day and we were keen to see this rare visitor from North America. A few other birders were stood near the lake scanning but we wanted to relocate the bird ourselves so chose a spot away from the others and scanned the mixed flock of Tufted Duck and Pochard. At first most of the duck were asleep making it tricky to pick out the rarity. But then they all woke up and bingo there was the drake Ring-necked Duck on the far side of the lake amongst Tufted Ducks. Great views in the morning sunshine through the Leica telescopes but too far away for a good photo sadly. We waved to other birders to let them know the bird was showing and soon had thumbs up in return. A great bird for our last morning of the House Party even if just the two of us to enjoy it!

Can you spot the drake Ring-necked Duck amongst the Tufted Ducks - sorry poor photo.

We had a delicious lunch at the Thornham Deli – always a must visit place on all our Norfolk tours – and toasted a wonderful House Party with cups of tea. So officially the tour was over, lunch being the last meal of the tour with folks usually heading home after the meal. But we were not heading home as we were starting a new tour the following afternoon.

So more time for birding for us and we headed over to Holme NOA reserve on the north-west coast of Norfolk, not far from Thornham. The wind had really picked up and was near gale force so we were not hopeful of seeing a lot and there had been no reports of the Red-flanked Bluetail or Dusky Warbler that day, so we assumed they had gone. There is a hide near the car park at Holme NOA so we sought shelter from the gale in there and enjoyed close views of Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall and Little Grebes on the pool. In the field beyond the pool were a large flock of Greylag Geese and it is always worth checking through these flocks in case anything else is amongst the Greylags. A few moments of scanning and a few Pink-footed Geese were picked out and then “hang on an orange beak!” Wow! A Tundra Bean Goose was amongst the Greylags to a pretty rare bird and wonderful to find. As we watched we realised the Tundra Bean Goose was not a single bird but a flock of nine! This was really exciting and we shared the news with Gary at the NOA bird observatory and then on Rare Bird Alert – the bird information service – and it wasn’t long before Gary arrived to see these scarce birds.

So all in all a brilliant day and lots to look forward too on the next tour, check back soon for more Bird Blogs, thank you!

Come and join us for a “Tour for Two” – very small group just two guests with two guides, tailor made itinerary, low risk in these COVID-19 times and of course lots of birds and an excellent chance of enjoying them all. Do drop us a line and we can make all the arrangements be it a day trip, two days, three day or as long a tour as you wish. Our recent Tours for Two have visited the Highlands of Scotland, North Wales and the Yorkshire coast and we are planning many more! Let us know where you would like to go and we can put together a proposal perfect for you.

We are so lucky to have so many species and habitats within easy reach here in North Wales we would love you to join us for one of our Best of North Wales Birdwatching Trips days out. We expect to enjoy a lot of birds during these relaxed pace tours and we can tailor make the day to suit you.

We would love you to join us on our Birdwatching Trips in the future just drop us a line to arrange a custom tour and please see our tours pages for set departure trips. If you have any questions at all please fire away here….

We look forward to enjoying wonderful birds in beautiful places with you soon!

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