After dropping off shopping and papers off at my parent's house I arrived at Hunstanton Lighthouse at approx 7.45am. The Alpine Swift could not be located in the skies around the cliffs, but did have my first Swallow of the year. I decided to amble along the chalet/buckthorn area towards Holme to relocate the black redstarts seen yesterday. On route I passed a couple of birders who had already 'done' the chalets and found nothing. Grey horrible skies still, no sun. Big movements of chaffinches, greenfinches, goldfinches, linnets and meadow pipits, but sorry didn't count them! No sign of the black redstarts or any wheatears either, which surprised me, especially as I almost reached Holme main beach gap - this area along here is almost guaranteed a wheatear. A barn owl was seen and a reed bunting sitting on buckthorn and a few goldfinches sitting about, but not alot else.
Made my way back up the cliffs - talk about perfect timing - as I reached the lighthouse area, two birders were standing to my right - the second I stopped next to them, one of them picked up the Alpine Swift above the roof tops (9.30am) - it made its way over the narrow belt of pines and I last saw it over the A149 by the very sharp corner in the road in Old Hunstanton. The skies were still dull and the views were no where near as good at the Holme one I had and photographed in 2008, BUT I shouldn't grumble as several birders dipped out, as they had been in the chalet area looking for black redstarts. I stayed on the cliffs chatting to a couple of birders about the old days, as you do and the skies brightened up - blue skies and sunshine! so I stayed longer in hope the swift would return for my camera, but alas it didn't and my blackcurrent jam roll beckoned! Walked back to car and enjoyed jam roll and coffee.
Old Hunstanton Church Yard - Beautiful weather now - the churchyard looked lovely with lots of primroses and daffodils out and birds zipping about all over the place. I have seen grey wagtails here before on the church roof, but not today. 3 Pied wagtails on the church roof. Several blackbirds and at least 3 Chiffchaffs flitting about fly catching. Long tailed tits collected nesting material, great and blue tits in the hawthorn hedge. 2 Jays by 'Park House'. Note: Old Hunstanton Park which is owned by the Le Strange Arms Estate is adjacent to the church and can be visited by the public on Thursday's only if anyone is interested - I have seen some good birds in there in the past including Spotted Flycatchers, pied flys and Common Buzzards, nuthatches etc.
Holme Reserves - Parked on the right just before the Firs road entrance and had a sandwich and 40 winks. 'Rocked' down the Firs road in the car - the pot holes are almost as bad as they were when I was a teenager!!! In fact it felt like I was on the The Good Shepherd!!! Parked half way down by the 5-bar gate and walked to the NWT Forestry. The flat area to right of board walk had a good number of meadow pipits feeding, along with a lovely female Wheatear. A Swallow flew through and there were several goldfinches in the elders. Continued through the Forestry area hoping to see a Ring Ouzel maybe but no luck, BUT as I almost reached the last track an owl appeared from what appeared to be the sea side of the dunes - a beautiful Short eared Owl!!!!! 1.30pm, which I photographed as well!!! The SEO veered off right as if going towards the Firs Road - on further investigation it had completely vanished and no one else saw it but me (smug face!) Walked back to car and watched the wheatear again on route and drove down to the NOA carpark.
Walked up to the bird observatory - real sun trap here - felt like summer, lovely. Had a chat with Jed and Sophie who hadn't really had very much today. New seat on the main bank in memory of Ian Burrows. Scrub clearance being going on and another pond adjoining the existing one in front of obs. Walked across to the beach where it was now high tide, but no birds of note. Two young ladies in bikinis who were swimming/sunbathing on beach obviously thought it was summer - they must have been freezing! Made my way back along the beach and through the pines, passing the back of the NWT entrance track and over the dunes towards the NOA carpark. The narrow path which follows the buckthorn area opp. the carpark has a small area cut out/set back - I stood here and squeaked my Audobon birdcall and after a few seconds a stunning male Firecrest appeared, flitting about amongst the lime green branches in the sunshine!!!!!!! 3.44pm. Annoyingly though I was not able to photograph it - I sat for ages in hope it would come out again, but it retreated further into the buckthorn. A couple of red legged partridge emerged from the road side by the carpark.
Drove back down the road and stopped by the pay hut to stand on the Hunn Bridge to watch 4 Chiffchaffs flitting about.
Redwell Marsh Reserve - 2 Water Voles following each other across the river (left side of bridge to hide). From the hide: loads of noisy Black headed gulls pairing up, a Ruddy Duck ducking and diving, shoveler, tufted ducks, two Little Grebes, mallards, Shelducks and Canada Geese and Greylags on the far bank.
4 Pied Wagtails in the one of the last piece of grass/garden at end of Firs Road.
Hunstanton Cliffs again 6.10pm - No sign of the Alpine Swift, but a beautiful sunset.
Fish 'n' chip shop - Hunstanton - collected chips for parents and I - mother cooking fried eggs..... Drove to Holme and after the twisty bend (just before the crossroads) just after the "Holme" sign with a 30 underneath was a lovely policeman with a speedgun (b*stard - sorry but I want to add a whole string of nasty swear words here!!!!!) who 'got me' with his speed gun - how dare he!!! AND in MY village - I am fuming - ok, ok I know I was obviously doing more than 30 as I went over the hill, but I am always doing 30 by the time I get to the crossroads where the 'flashing 30' is - how bl**dy frustrating!!!!! Crap end to the day.