At the end of January 2016 I was fortunate enough to visit Norfolk in a Trip with Next Generation Birders. This was set out to be an exciting weekend of twitching. I was expecting to see 100+ species of birds.
Friday (29th) was mainly spent travelling. Leaving my home town of Yeovil at 8am, I travelled to London Hammersmith on Berry's Superfast Coach (a double decker too!), caught the tube to Victoria and caught the 12 o'clock National Express Coach to Norwich. I narrowly caught this coach because I was late to the coach due to a combination of delays and a lack of adequate signage between Victoria tube station and coach station. On board the coach I met two great naturalists, also on their way to Norfolk, Caleb and Gideon Knight (http://earlywormbirder.blogspot.co.uk/) (who, if you're wondering are cousins). The journey's birds consisted of kestrels, magpies, starlings, feral pigeons and pheasants (one was road kill). That evening we took the bus to the Best Western Brook Hotel where we would be staying. There we met the great naturalist that is Jonathan Scragg (@scraggybirder on Twitter). That night we visited the bar at the University of East Anglia where we met the rest of the NGB clan. We played pool over pizza and alcoholic beverages (ciders for me seeing as I'm from Somerset).
On Saturday, we went to Flitcham to find the pallid harrier, which we missed, Holkham for the Shore Larks (dipped that but saw twite for the first time), Titchwell where I saw a ringed robin, redshank, lapwing, black headed gull, little grebe, and ringed plover to name a few, Horsey for rough legged buzzard (which we missed), and finally to a hen harrier roost on the north coast. We had cracking views of hen harriers plus a pair of barn owls. On the way to Titchwell we flushed up a woodcock near the road. Roadside birds included crows, partridges (both grey and red legged) and pheasants. That night I watched telly and ordered in a Chinese takeaway to eat in the hotel room.
On Sunday we waited to see how many people weren't hung-over and fit to bird. Then we went about the day's birding, firstly in Great Yarmouth where we saw a humungous Glaucous Gull and a Mediterranean gull (both of which I have never seen before). Then we went to Breydon water to look for Lesser Yellowlegs. We didn't see it but did see a great pair of bearded tits and a lot of ducks, gulls, and waders, including knot, lapwing and some 25,000 teal and a whole island made of 35,000+ widgeon. I have never seen so many widgeon in my life. Finally we tried to go for
the pallid harrier but missed. Hen harrier, Egyptian goose and brambling were spotted however, along with hearing a very loud marsh tit. Sunday evening was spend travelling home on the train from Peterborough to London, tube through London and coach home. On the train home I felt scruffy and underdresses wearing my hiking clothes and boots whereas everyone else was wearing suits and on their laptops.
The total bird count for the weekend was 65 species and 17 new species for my life list.
So yeah, it was a great weekend. maybe even the best weekend in a long, long time.