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Sunday, 3 April 2011

Blakeney, Cley and an Eagle chase!!!!!

A beautiful sunny day with south west winds.

Friary Hills, Blakeney - arrived here 9.30ish.

Several chiffchaffs and Cetti's Warbler singing. Usual lapwings, mute swans, wigeon, woodpigeons, canada geese, tufted duck, coots, moorhens. The marshes were alive with birds. I sat on one of the seats on the hill enjoying the wonderful views on this glorious day. The blackthorn is now out and was buzzing with flies and bees. Lots of daffodils scattered over the hillside and the yellow gorse set the spring scene. Several jackdaws about, a marsh harrier, long tailed tits, great tits collecting moss, blue tits, wren, greenfinches, goldfinches, a singing blackcap, goldcrest, chaffinches, a robin and starlings. I could see Robin A. walking ahead in the distance.

I had intended to do Blakeney Point today, but didn't get round to it!!!

Tufted Duck at the pond by Friary Hills entrance gate.

Walsey Hills NOA

A blackcap was seen and heard, along with chiffchaffs and also a Cetti's Warbler. Bumped into John F. at the end of the bottom path who kindly showed me one of several 'Bee Flies'. Also further along the path was a 'Tawny Mining Bee' which was very difficult to photograph - in fact all I achieved was a distant, out of focus shot with the 300mm lens! I was attempting to photograph a bumble bee on a dandelion flower when a Peacock butterfly flew in and barged the bee off the flower and settled for a few seconds, enough for a quick picture - the bee was not impressed and 'buzzed' off very loudly! A Comma were also seen.

Bee about to be flushed by the Peacock Butterfly!

Peacock Butterfly enjoying 'Bee's' Dandelion.

Speedwell, Walsey Hills NOA.

Tawney Mining Bee amongst the Alexander
closest I could get, before it flew off!

Bee Fly - Walsey Hills NOA.

Cley Coastguards - Arrived here to walk Blakeney Point, but changed my mind because of the time and decided that a less strenuous option would be to have a nap in the car instead! Several pied wagtails around the Eye Pool and Meadow Pipits sitting around on posts.

Pete S. phoned me to say a White tailed Eagle had been seen at Titchwell at 2.54!!!!!!!!!!!! Bother, bother, bother!!! Oh well, if it continues along the coast I am sure it will come up on the pager and also that it would take a long time before it reaches this end of the coast....... how wrong I was!!! It only took 55 minutes to get from Brancaster to West Runton! Had it gone inland - or gone along the coast unnoticed?

All these sightings of the White-tailed Eagle are from RBA apart from the Holme sighting from Robert W. on Birdforum.

Flew east over Little Cawthorpe, Lincolnshire early afternoon

Titchwell at 2.54pm
Holme 2.55pm
Titchwell at 2.56pm being mobbed by a Red Kite
Brancaster 3pm
West Runton 3.55pm
Overstrand 4.09pm
Trimingham 4.14pm
East Ruston 4.49pm
Stalham 4.53pm
Martham 5.08pm
Winterton 5.25pm
Ormesby St Margaret 6.05pm
Filby at dusk

Anyway, I joined Pete at 'The Hangs' to look for ring ouzels, thinking there would be loads of spare time before/if the eagle reached this end of the coast. Whilst we were there it came up on Pete's pager that it had reached West Runton, than a bit later at Trimingham. The pager then bleeped up at 4.02pm with Bee-eater flew west over Blakeney at 9.35am (+ Sedge Warbler). Pete said he never heard me swear that much before!!!! Well I mean.... a Bee-eater for gods sake - my favourite bird and someone had left it ALL day before telling anyone! Yes I know it more then probably flew straight through and didn't stop to pose on a wire in the sunshine, BUT it would have wonderful to have known about it at the time, especially being as I was IN Blakeney at that time!!!!!

Anyway back to the Eagle - I persuaded Pete to join me and said that he would regret it if he didn't go! So off we went in my car to Trimingham and made a pact that if there was no more news by the time we got there, we would have a look in the cliff top wood and then turn back. On arrival at Trimingham the eagle had gone too far and inland, can't remember where it was at this point, but we decided not to chase it any more!!! I have seen one in Norfolk before, but it would have been nice to see another! I wish now on hindsight that I had gone straight to Muckleborough Hill from Coastguards when the Eagle first came up at Titchwell and I may have been in with a chance!

• Sean's account of the eagle here and PICTURES/account of the Eagle here and also a man who climbed his house to see the eagle here!!!

Trimmingham Cliff top wood - nothing here but meadow pipits. As I turned the car round to go back to Cley I was telling Pete about the brilliant migrant trap behind the scout hut along a track/road opposite the church at Trimingham and guess what - when I got home I looked on the RBA website to see someone had a Ring Ouzel there this evening!

Daukes' Hide, Cley - now bad light and imminent rain. On the way to the hide I saw 2 Swallows. 28 pied wagtails on the mud, 2 med gulls flew over Pat's Pool, 1 little ringed plover, usual avocets, shelduck, wigeon etc. Not long after sitting in the hide it started to rain heavily. Several birders had been in the hide and left minutes after I arrived, just missed out on wonderful views of a Water Vole swimming from the reed bed opposite, right towards me and directly under the hide window in the rain!!! I didn't have time to set up the camera or check settings so bit of a naff picture really. 7 Marsh Harrier were also seen. Three more birders now joined me in the hide and we watched a sparrowhawk bolt past us so close, it almost skimmed the hide windows! Left Cley at 7.30pm to go back home.

Water Vole swimming across to Daukes' Hide, Cley NWT.

Apart from dipping a White-tailed Eagle and missing out on the chance of seeing a Bee-eater I suppose it wasn't too bad a day!!!!

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