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Saturday, 7 May 2011

A hot day and still no rain!

Grey Heron, Hunstanton Clifftop Gardens.

Arrived at Hunstanton Lighthouse at 6.30am - overcast skies.

First bird seen was a Whinchat perched on the cliffside bushes dead opposite the lighthouse! Saw my first Swifts of which there were several around the lighthouse. Cuckoo calling, blackbirds, starlings and loads of common whitethroats in the clifftop bushes and on the grassy area. At Hunstanton Sailing Club which looks a brilliant migrant trap with a good selection of bushes, including sycamore, seabuckthorn, tamarisk, hawthorn, bramble, willow etc! I had a Sedge Warbler singing (and seen) which I thought was quite unusual here, along with hedge sparrows, a couple of chiffchaffs, whitethroats, 2 greenfinches, goldfinches and house sparrows. In the large tamarisk at the 'Crazy Golf' which is next the bowling green I saw 2 common whitethroats, my first garden warbler of the year, blackbirds and house sparrows. An unexpected heron errupted from the goldfish/fountain. In the Boston Square Sensory Garden a willow warbler was singing and several mallard ducklings were swimming in the pond.

I spent quite a while driving round recommended streets to look for the Eagle Owl, but no joy. Did find lots of 'ducklings' though!

Common Whitethroat, Hunstanton Clifftop.

Ducklings in the Boston Square Sensory Garden, Hunstanton.

Holme - along the Firs Road, the Nightingale which has been around for a while now was singing beautifully just after 'Sandy Ridge' (house) on the left just before the NWT pay hut at 9.30am. It was so close to me I managed to record it on the iphone! But I could not see it! Parked by the 5-bar gate and had a short snooze! Incredibly hot now, felt thundery. Walked around the NWT Forestry - Turtle dove purring, my first lesser whitethroat, 2 more garden warblers, 2 willow warblers and several common whitethroats. Several butterflies about including a Wall, Small Copper and a Brown Argus. News of a PURPLE HERON seen going towards Holme church, mean't I relocated to Holme Marsh Reserve in hope of a scoop with the camera! At the time when it was seen, I was listening to the Nightingale which is opposite Holme church! Anyway, there wasn't too much action from the 3 hides - a cuckoo was calling the whole time I was there, several lapwings were displaying. From the third hide a little egret landed in the wide ditch in front of me briefly, before being put up by a marsh harrier carrying prey at 1.20pm. Sit in these hides for ages hoping that the purple heron would appear. Photographed a male and female Broad-bodied Chaser in the watery ditch just by the 2nd gate to the hides. Got fed up and went to my parent's house which is very unusual for me, whilst its still daylight! Took pictures of some of mother's many flowers and a moorhen's nest on the edge of their pond!

Male Broad-bodies Chaser, Holme Marsh Reserve NWT.

Female Broad-bodied Chaser, Holme Marsh Reserve NWT.

Wall Butterfly, Holme Marsh Reserve NWT.

Marsh Harrier at Holme Marsh Reserve NWT.

Little Egret, Holme Marsh Reserve NWT.

Flowers in my parent's garden.

Moorhens nest in at the side of my parent's pond.

A rare picture of my mother who hates having her photograph taken!

Titchwell RSPB - was only here briefly. Passing the centre (after 5pm) two members of staff were telling me how a big band of rain is sweeping across tonight and that tomorrow should be good!!! I felt tired and had no incentive to do much. Walked round the Fen Trail to find a spotted flycatcher that had been seen earlier, but no joy. Much cooler now and rain imminent. Only walked along the main bank as far as the first seat (lightweight!) and sat watching swifts skimming over my head. 2 Grey herons flew over - checked these out properly! and the bittern was booming. It started to rain, but it didn't last long.

Flitcham Abbey Farm Hide - someone had left a telescope and tripod in the hide! I left a long contact message in the sightings book in case they came back. I had to take it, as not a good idea to leave it in the hide overnight etc! Phoned RBA to put a message out on the pager. Put a message on Birdforum and as I said in my message in the hide, I will leave it at the Cley Visitor Centre tomorrow for someone to collect if no one emails me by tonight. Obviously who ever's scope it is, will have to give a description before its handed over! Anyway, from the hide I was lucky enough to see one Little Owl sitting on a lower branch of the favoured oak tree before it flew off and I didn't see it again. I also had lovely views of a Kingfisher flying across to the other pond! Also saw a song thrush and the usual egyptian geese, greylag geese, coots, moorhens, mallards etc. Whilst I was in the hide I had news of a fem. CITRINE WAGTAIL that had been found at Cley by Mark Golley - too late for me to get there now though!