There were no lifers on offer for me, but there was one for Dave. Lapland buntings are apparently his real bogey bird, having missed them multiple times over the years. In fact, he thinks they don't really exist. A party of up to 8 have overwintering at Blakeney so that was that, decision made.
Dave came round to me about 6 and by 8.40 we were parking up in a rather dank and dreary Blakeney car park. On the upside, as soon as I checked my phone RBA showed 6 were already showing by the seawall.
After a quick coffee and a pork pie (balanced breakfast!) we strode off into the misty drizzle. Quite quickly we met 6 birders coming in the opposite direction who confirmed the presence and location. We then had one of those awkward moments. Another birder stopped us and didn't just again confirm what we were after but seemed determined for a chat. I could feel Dave itching to get away but we were a bit too British and polite so we listened to his stories of barn owls and twite before bidding him a brusque farewell.
We could see one birder still there and a small group of birds feeding on seeds on the ground. Someone had nicely been baiting them in with a bit of grain! Immediately we made out a female lapland bunting in the group! Handshakes all round and the pressure was off.
Slightly guiltily we slunk up to the gate where the birds were feeding and settled down.
There was no need to worry though. There were at least 6 lapland buntings together with reed buntings and skylarks coming to the food put down.
Lap buntings are similar to our commoner reed bunting in size and shape and the females can be tricky to tell apart but the males here, in almost full breeding plumage were very smart.
We stayed for about 45 minutes as the crowds started to gather before moving on to see what else we could find.
Eventually we ended up at Titchwell, which is pretty much compulsory for a birding trip. This is closer to Hunstanton on the coast and is one of the RSPB's premier bird reserves. As such it is also very busy!
It too was pretty quiet on the bird front. Most of the usual suspects were there but not in great numbers.
You can tell them apart in flight by their tail patterns (barred or solid black) or when on the ground by the bill shape. The black-tails have a larger, straighter bill whereas the bar-taileds have a smaller bill with a slight up curve at the end.
Other highlights were the tiny dunlin whisking around on the salt marsh
Grey plovers were also present in quite large numbers.