Posts Tagged ‘Holkham


A Christmas present

It’s been a period of distant raptors in Norfolk. After the Pallid Harrier showed for Tania and I we came across the White tailed Eagle that’s been haunting the Holkham area. It didn’t take us long to find the juvenile bird sat in trees to the North of Bones Drift.

Viewable from the coast road it sat majestically in a dead tree. Unperturbed at passing Marsh Harriers that were in mobbing mode it stood its ground as you would expect of a predator at the top of the food chain.

Seeing an Eagle whether it be in Scandinavia, Scotland or on the Norfolk coast, even if it is a reintroduced Isle of Wight bird, is always a treat. A nice Christmas present.

Merry Christmas to one and all.


Just not Black and White?

There’s a goose at Holkham among the Brents. Some say it’s flanks aren’t chalky enough for Black Brant. It must be a hybrid. Some say the chinstrap doesn’t meet in the middle Others say the mantle isn’t black enough. I’ve even heard it said the black belly is not extensive enough. Looks good to me. Well within the range of variations I’ve seen in Canada.


The morning after

On the 1st of January we braved the crowds and ventured over to Holkham Hall. It took quite a while to make our way through the melee of people but make it we did.

A couple of Great White Egrets and the reported Black-necked Grebe were without the best birds but a Red Kite and a Marsh Harrier also put in an appearance.

Black-necked Grebes are one of those birds that are difficult to photograph. If the light is wrong and the exposure is not quite right they look like a waterborne devil. Sometimes they can take on the appearance of the hound of the Baskervilles’ or appear if they have bright red LED’s for eyes. The dull light on the 1st was ideal and the Grebe, perhaps the most difficult of the grebes to see well in Norfolk, was showing ideally.



Laying Fallow

We watched the Fallow Deer the other week. Between the rutting this fawn was having a good old drink from his mum.



Darting about in the bushes

We went to see the somewhat elusive Dartford Warbler occupying the dune bushes at Holkham last week; and had more success than some others!


On Fire

The grey misty dank days of late autumn are lit up by the finding of the odd Firecrest. This one was in the Holm Oaks at Holkham Hall. What a delight to see. They have to be my favourite British Bird.


From “nowhere”

We were waiting by the lake in Holkham Park on the north Norfolk coast the other day; waiting expectantly for a returning Osprey. Ospreys don’t commonly hang around in the county so you do have to have a little luck to see one and this individual had been present a couple of days so was a good bet. When we arrived we were told it had just caught a fish and flown off south so the possibility of seeing a large fish eating bird of prey return with a rotund stomach to fish again was somewhat remote. But we stuck it out and gave it a try.

The Jackdaws in the distance seemed to be playing up a little which raised my hopes. Alex my competent young guest was the first to see a Red Kite and then a Marsh Harrier flying through. I naturally assumed they were the reason for all the corvid consternation. However when I looked behind us I was delighted to see the Osprey had returned. A young female she was quite inexperienced and we saw her attempt to strike fish three or four times without success before resting in a nearby tree. We were all appreciative of the excellent views and the length of time she allowed us to watch her.



Fudge Duck

I was trying hard to remember if I’d seen one previously in Norfolk. Ferruginous Duck … a scarce visitor.

Ferruginous Duck


Crazy Swallow

Cley, Blakeney, Titchwell, Thornham, Brancaster, Wells and Holkham. The Red-rumped Swallow that chose the North Norfolk Coast for its winter break was certainly getting around quite a bit. No doubt brought to the UK by the strong southerly winds and mild temperatures that have sent a plume of warmth into the Arctic circle of late. The temperature in Greenland should now be -30⁰C over Christmas it hit 1⁰C. Crazy weather; crazy Swallow.

Red rumped Swallow 1



All is not always as it seems

Regularly each winter we get a Black Brant among the Brent Geese here in North Norfolk. Black Brants are a dark and moody Canadian race of the Brent Goose. They are a quite smart in comparison to the plentiful Brents.

When we heard of two Brants among a small flock of geese at Holkham on Wednesday it seemed too good to be true. It didn’t take us long to spot the contenders. Large white flank patches, broad neck collars meeting under the throat and a black belly extending far back towards the vent. The mantle however on both birds was far too pale; it should have been much darker. Both birds were hybrids; always a possibility with these beautiful geese. Still great to see.

Black Brant x Brent Goose Hybrid

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May 2023


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