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Monday, 22 May 2017

Potter Heigham Marshes at last!

Just after 4pm on Saturday 20th May, I decided to take a look at Potter Heigham marshes. I took the track immediately after (north) of Potter Heigham Bridge which was just about drivable but the first part of the track was a little hairy and the way I went back (kindly advised by Rob & Andrew) taking a track north half way along the straight bit and coming out past the farm and at Potter Heigham Church was a much better route. Everyone who had kindly advised me where to go had been correct and I had wrongly assumed the scrapes were west instead of east of Potter Heigham bridge. I parked the car at the end and took the 20 minute walk wandering around in a circular route. This was a really impressive area of habitat and we hope Carlton marshes extra scrapes will be like this and host a similar spectacular amount of birds too. 3 big scrape areas were seen and by a spit, it was obvious that the fine Caspian Tern was stated albeit a sleep. A big tern dwarfing even the BH Gulls, it promptly work up sporting its big carrot orange bill which it defending itself from birds flying low overhead. 3 fine Spoonbills stood at the back and I was just about to look at them when the heavens opened and I had to take refuge under some bushes just by the path. There were breeding 4 Lapwings here and 1 or two young Lapwing chicks were seen. I met Jeremy G by a group of people and as we walked to check out the first Scrape, a Painted Lady butterfly flew and perched in a hedge opposite which was it preferred resting place as it kept returning here. Jeremy also spotted a fine distant Kingfisher perched on top of a metal post which I saw through his scope. Also here was a rather drab looking male Garganey swimming at the back, Plus on the first pool around 8 Ringed Plovers and summer plumaged Dunlin. I also heard the calling "chuff-iff-iff" of a Wood Sandpiper but sadly not seen. Walking back to the original scrape, a resplendent male Ruff in all his finery in black and chestnut fancy ornate plumage dressed like a Tudor begarbed noble, stood by the edge of the spit by the Caspian Tern and 2 Reeves stood near him. Immediately a Barn Owl flew past really close along the dyke but alas too quick for the camera. It was later seen flying out of bushes as I retraced my steps on the path back. As I drove back I saw Jeremy G watching a flash in the field north of the track, I heard the 7 note call of a Whimbrel but alas also not seen. A really impressive area but access is a little difficult and parking strictly limited too.

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