Garden Drove, Warham
I bashed all three alarm clocks on 'sleep mode' several times. It was a real job to get up this morning after working eleven hours yesterday, but dragged myself out of bed eventually! It was a glorious sunny day, which most people would be very happy with, but I wanted cloud and rain to drop some 'rares' in – oh well, we can't have everything! I had planned to have a massive day of walking East Hills and Blakeney Point – the second did not materialise!
I headed for Warham – on route, news of a Red-breasted Flycatcher at Garden Drove appeared on the pager which was lucky, well I thought so anyway! I arrived at the concrete pad along Garden Drove fairly early, but can't remember exactly what time it was now. As I prepared for my walk to East Hills, a bait digger was telling me that it definately would not be raining until at least Thursday – that's no good to me as I'm back at work on Wednesday! Anyway, with wellies on, stick for jumping creeks, camera gear and snacks packed, I was ready for my expedition. Along the track there were a few people looking in vain for the Red-breasted Fly – I didn't see it either, so no luck with that one – mind you I didn't look that hard, as I was eager to head out for 'the hills'.
The track out there was quite dry, so very little slippery mud to contend with today! A Greenshank was on the marsh on the way out. After dealing with the big creek, I relaxed and enjoyed walking across the sands to the dune ridge in the sunshine. As soon as I reached the trees a Song Thrush came into view and another and another! Two Redstarts were on the edge of the pines, but would not allow me to get near enough for a photo at all. In a small sycamore in the large clearing, there were 4 Willow Warblers together! This was a good sign as I hadn't even reached the main sycamore glade yet! There were loads of Song Thrushes, I estimated at the finish, at least 100+ Song Thrushes out here! In the main sycamore glade I had 2 Goldcrests, 2 Chiffchaffs, several Robins and more Song Thrushes. What only could have been a male Red-breasted Flycatcher, zipped past me through the sycamores and landed behind a bramble. My heart was pounding – ok, which way should I walk to clinch it, I had to find it – I just could not believe that I couldn't find it! It was soooooo annoying. I tried every trick in the book to get that bird out. I then decided to sit high up in the marram grass where you can view most of the sycamores and wait. I waited and waited and nothing was seen. I don't know where the hell that bird disappeared to, but I couldn't find it. I walked round again in disbelief, but it had vanished.
I continued to the west end and continued seeing Song Thrushes exploding out of bushes, a Kestrel was seen and 2 Sparrowhawks. In Wells Harbour there were approximately 500+ Brent Geese feeding and a massive count of 135 Ringed Plovers, opposite of where I was standing!!! I searched the sycamore glade again on my return and couldn't find anything in here now, apart from a couple of Robins and more Song Thrushes. The time was ticking away and I was pushing things to the extreme now, with the incoming tide. I had to walk back immediately, or stay out until well after high tide which was just after 4pm. I couldn't risk staying here that long, in case something else turned up elsewhere, so I left at 12. 45pm.
Garden Drove, Warham
Back at 'Garden Drove' I had excellent views of the Red-breasted Flycatcher, in the hedge west of the end of the main track and even managed to get a few half decent pictures! I was boiling hot now in my wellingtons and couldn't wait to get them off! I phoned RBA to say the RBF was still there at 2.14pm – no one else had bothered to put any news out about this bird for over three hours!!! Come on people!!! There was a tit flock along the track, but no YBW with them or anything else exciting. Back at the car, the wellies came off, what a relief! Loads of cars pulling up now to see the Red-breasted Fly. A couple I know arrived in the carpark, spotted me and said 'Ahhhh..... Penny, she'll know where it is' – I replied 'seen it, photographed it and now going' with a smile!!!
Cley Coastguards – arrived here to walk Blakeney Point. I also met up with Andy W. in the carpark who had a half day's holiday. We chatted about birds, life and all kinds of stuff, whilst eating Ginger & Pear cake from Cley Deli! Yum, yum! The time disappeared and it was suddenly 4pm. This was the time I started walking out to BP on Saturday – hmmm....... I just didn't fancy walking back in the dark again, so decided not to bother in the end.
Andy and I went to Walsey Hills to search for birds, but nothing in here at all, apart from a Chiffchaff calling and a Blue Tit. We also bumped into Andy J. who we had a chat with and then we all left. Both Andy's departed and I then went to Gramborough Hill at Salthouse. Nothing in the bushes at all – dead! I walked back along the shingle ridge with the wind in my hair and the waves crashing on the shingle and the sun setting – beautiful. Half way down the shingle ridge I spotted a single Wheatear. Back at the carpark I counted 23 Pied Wagtails flitting about and then a bit later they all flew south over the marsh.
Had a coffee and a sandwich at Glandford Ford. Fed the very friendly, appreciative Mallards and drove home.
Stopped in the supermarket in King's Lynn to stock up and also bought Dizzie Rascal's new album, out today called 'The Fifth' – really looking forward to listening to this tomorrow, on route when I am birding.
MORE PICTURES TO BE ADDED