I decided after yesterday's stressful day of crowds, traffic and stress that Blakeney Point would be a wonderful place to escape from everything and everyone! This was my first walk here this year and it was a spectacular day! Just before I left home I noticed that someone had found 7 Ring Ouzels at 'The Hangs' at Cley, so I decided to start here, before walking the 'Point'.
Walsey Hills NOA and 'The Hangs'
Parked the car at Walsey Hills. A beautiful sunny day, but dramatic dark clouds were looming! Cettis's Warbler singing as soon as I got out of the car. I walked along the bottom path and along the field edge up to 'The Hangs'. Lots of insects buzzing around the blackthorn blossom along the path, including honey and bumble bees. I spotted birders before I saw Ring Ouzels! At the end of the path, there is a furrowed field on your left with a grass strip running down along the hedge and there they were, 5 stunning male Ring Ouzels (phoned through to RBA) at 10.45am – beautiful to see, but sadly much too far away to be photographed. I found a Wheatear in the field which was an added bonus. Eddie sent me a text to say he had heard a Sedge Warbler this morning. Nothing else much seen on route back to the car. Went to the 'NWT Visitor centre' and had another cheese scone – oh dear! Pat told me someone had had a House Martin this morning in Cley. Parked the car at Coastguards and packed up my BP rucksack!
Blakeney Point – 12pm-5.15pm
The sun was still shining and skies were blue – it was a beautiful, tranquil day and there was no one walking in front or behind me as I trudged along the shingle to 'Halfway House'. My first Swallows of the year twisted and turned past me, low over the seuda bushes – 3 of them going west at 12.30pm. A nice male Wheatear appeared and this was one of many on my walk. Several meadow pipits, male and female reed buntings and a few hedgesparrows and flocks of linnets. Tons of pristine white Sandwich Terns flying west to 'Far Point' – I just love their calls – a real feeling of long, hot summer days. Found a dead juv. gannet on route. 1 Kestrel flew past. 11 Swallows were seen in all on my walk, all going west. At 'Halfway House' I could see 5 Wheatears all sitting on the roof of the house!!! They all looked so chilled, sunning themselves on the roof! I sat at the new picnic table outside the house to have my lunch. A particularly beautiful male Wheatear decided he wanted to be famous and almost ran towards me to have his picture taken – very obliging! 14 Wheatears were seen throughout the walk. Other birds seen in this area were 9 curlew, 7 brent geese and a marsh harrier. As I sat having my lunch I could see what I presumed was a peregrine sitting on the shingle, distantly – it remained sitting there for the next half an hour. I left 'Halfway House' and as I approached the supposed peregrine (still very distant) it turned out to be a Merlin, although I confess I did not realise this until my distant, fuzzy pictures were ID'd in the evening by Eddie and Andy! When I took the pictures and looked at the camera at the time, I was pretty sure it was just a kestrel – wrong twice!!! Back to birding school Penelope! Note: Simeon and Joseph saw this/a merlin on BP yesterday, see their account here. I continued walking to the 'Plantation'. At the Tamarisk by the building I had two Chiffchaffs together at 3pm, but they skulked low in the bush and didn't wish to be photographed. In the 'Plantation' I saw absolutely nothing. I sat on the log by the shed and watched the 'Lupin' area – lots of linnets and meadow pipits here. It was really hot now – a real sun trap! A wheatear appeared from round the corner of the shed and landed inches from me! Shortly after this I spotted 4 Wheatears lined up on the one of the shed roofs!
I decided to be sensible and left the 'Plantation' at 4pm and walked back along the beach to Coastguards. A continuous stream of sandwich terns flying west on route and a common seal was also seen. The skies looked pretty scary now – large, ominous black clouds loomed over my head. I expected to get drenched. A rainbow formed over the sea and it appeared to be pouring with rain inland. I was very, very lucky. I managed to get back to the car without a spot of rain falling! Got back to the carpark at 5.15pm. I collapsed in the car and had a coffee.
Daukes' Hide – NWT – 6pm-8.20pm
It was nice to sit down in the hide! Andy J. and Eddie also here (Eddie had seen 4 Ring Ouzels at 'The Hangs' this evening). 3 Sand Martins going west past 'North Hide' - my first this year and another 3 later on and also 4 Swallows. A Short-eared Owl flew over the reed bed at 6.30pm and also a barn owl a bit later. 4 Spoonbills were seen, 2 right in front of the hide! 2 Little ringed Plovers landed briefly on 'Simmond's Scrape'. Other birds seen were: black-tailed godwits and also 2 bar-tailed godwits, several ruff, 6 pochard, shovelers, teal, shelducks, greylags, pintails, lots of avocets, redshanks, black-headed gulls, herring gulls, 5 marsh harriers, 7 little egrets, Cettis's Warbler singing, a snipe, 2 knot, a mute swan and a squealing water rail as I walked back along the boardwalk at 8.20pm! Left at 8.30pm and arrived home at 9.30pm! Back to work tomorrow.
Main birds of note seen in Norfolk today (RBA):
Lots of Ring Ouzels, a Cuckoo at Heacham, Sedge Warbler at Cley (heard by ETM), Hoopoe remains at Waxham, Osprey and Swift seen at Titchwell RSPB, Osprey at Alysham, Hooded Crow at Trimingham.
PICTURES TO BE ADDED