Friday, June 03, 2005

Norfolk, 30/5 - 2/6

A good few days in Norfolk were spent this week, with the wandering birders generally based around Cley (after its recent run of scarcities and rarities). To sum the few days up, the word "quality" would have to be used, rather than "quantity".

We drove down late in the evening of the 30th, stopping for Nightjar, which was a year tick for Josh. Bill Oddie-style hankie waving and clapping really did the business for excellent views. Dudey!

The next morning we began at Titchwell, which was generally dead apart from good numbers of Swifts, 11 Little Gulls and a drake Garganey in quite poor plumage. A thrashing of our 'little spot at Thornham' produced little of interest.

Little Egret, Norfolk, Thornham, 31.5.05 © Will Bowell

Spending the afternoon at Cley produced some good birds, but no year ticks were to be had. Birds included the Collared Prat, Temminck's Stint, and a smart Spoonbill flying by. However, in six hours, there was no sign of the Purple Heron.

Cley at sunset © Will Bowell

Another lie-in on June 1st turned out to probably have been a good idea. On our way to Cley (we were going to walk Blakeney Point), we had a phone call while we were in Stiffkey to say a White Stork was circling over the reserve. Josh's Mum put her foot down and we were away. Thankfully, the idea to pull up onto the hill at Morston proved to be a good one, and we got superb views of the White Stork as it flew low west just to the south of the village. A good start to the day!

Blakeney Point was rather quiet, with just a Wheatear and a few Arctic Terns noted. We walked back in the pouring rain hardly looking beyond our feet. If only we had looked further...

Back in the car on the way to Wells, we had a phone call to say a Short-toed Lark was on the Point, around a mile west of the Coastguards. Bugger! It must have come down in the rain...
We grabbed a quick bite to eat and raced back to Coastguards and set off along the point. Around the wrecked boat at the Marrams, Will flushed a pale bird which he immediately recognised as the Short-toed Lark. We then obtained good flight views as it flew around the sueda bushes, and it called twice. Josh then located it feeding with a Skylark on the deck, and we obtained superb views. It was just a shame it was raining and the light was shocking!

Short-toed Lark, Norfolk, Blakeney Point © Josh Jones

So 2 year ticks, including a lifer - you can't grumble at that... and the coasthopper journey back to Thornham comes highly recommended!

On 2/6 we did very little aside pootling around Titchwell. All the usuals were noted.

Blackbird, Norfolk, Titchwell © Josh Jones

All in all, another excellent few days. Surely this run will come to an end soon....?!


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