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Tuesday, 15 October 2013

East Hills! 'Sibe' Twitch & a 'Pom'!

East Hills

Garden Drove, Warham
Arrived at Garden Drove, Warham at around 8am. The light was dire first thing and all birds were hard to ID! Heard a Yellow-browed Warbler. Robins, Redwings, Blackbirds, Chiffchaffs along the track. Searched in vain for yesterday's Red-flanked Bluetail. A few other people were also looking. My mission was to walk out to East Hills and find my own RFB!

Pallas's Warbler at East Hills – Take Two!

East Hills and 'The Jewel'!
I was excited on the way out, the sun started to appear and everything looked brighter. I saw a Siberian Rubythroat, Siberian Robin and a Red-flanked Bluetail all lined up together in the sycamore glade – waiting for me to arrive...... imagination running riot!!! The walk out was very wet, but managed to stay upright! Lots of Brent Geese out here. I arrived on East Hills just before 10am.

Goldcrests were in the first sycamore tree before I even got to the main sycamore glade, which was a good sign or so I thought. But, it was very different to my last visit here. It certainly wasn't dripping with birds today! I decided to concentrate on the main sycamore glade and for the first time I didn't go to the far end of the hills at all. I didn't have so much time today and needed to leave by 1pm at the very latest with the high tide at 4.20pm and north wind bringing the tide in quicker. There were good numbers of Robins still, Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, Goldcrests, Wrens and a few Blackbirds and Redwings. A Brambling was also heard. I could not find my Pallas's Warbler. I wanted to get to Wells Woods and was just thinking of leaving early, when suddenly a long yellow 'super' appeared amongst the lime green, sunlit sycamore leaves – little bu**er – my Pallas's Warbler was here, after all my searching! It called, teased, tantalised and taunted me for the next TWO HOURS!!! I tried so hard to get a good picture of this magical jewel, but it was impossible! It danced and flitted amongst the leaves like a fairy, so beautiful but equally frustrating! Made my day seeing it again though. I did get some pictures, but they won't win any prizes. Don't think I will ever get one like the picture I took at Burnham Overy Dunes in 2010! It was torture having to leave here, without getting my prize picture. The Pallas's Warbler carried on calling and I could hear it still in the distance as I left East Hills. Didn't see any more new birds out here. I plodded back over the creeks and watery marsh to Garden Drove.
 Chiffchaff at East Hills, Wells.

 Chiffchaff with Aphid at East Hills, Wells.

 Chiffchaff selecting an aphid at East Hills, Wells.

 Chiffchaff selecting an aphid at East Hills, Wells.
(same picture as above, different crop)
 Chiffchaff selecting an aphid at East Hills, Wells.

News came on the pager later this evening of a Ring Ouzel, Mealy Redpoll and 12 Crossbills at East Hills today. I am baffled by this as I know I was the first person out there and as far as I know the only person out there until I left at 1.15pm. I can't imagine anyone going out there after that time!? I am most intrigued by this!*

Update* See HERE – Two birders did go out there! They also got very wet!

Garden Drove, Warham
There were several birders searching for two reported Yellow-browed Warblers. I got lucky and saw one within a few minutes, a really bright one in the tall hawthorn at the end of the track on the left hand side (copse end). It was a fantastic view, but brief and then zipped off, so no picture! I informed the other birders I had seen it and don't think they actually believed me – oh well, bovered, no! I then spent a long time searching that copse thoroughly for any goodies. Its amazing how many birds are actually in there when you spend the time to look! I watched no end of robins feeding in the leaf mould beneath the trees, but no blue tails were seen! Photographed a showy Blackcap in the brambles and Chiffchaffs were flicking about and a few Blackbirds. A Fieldfare was flushed towards me into the copse from other birders walking up and also a couple of Redwings were seen. Bumped into R.M., MAG, and Justin L. here too and we spent time trying to see the second Yellow-browed Warbler half way along the track. Most people did see it I think, but my views were not exactly clear!

Back at the concrete pad and my car, I wrestled with the wellingtons again! With new socks, boots and dry trousers on I left to go on a mini twitch.

 Blackcap feasting on blackberries, Garden Drove, Warham Greens.

 Blackcap feasting on blackberries, Garden Drove, Warham Greens.

Parked up by the pitch 'n' putt and walked through the field to view the Siberian Stonechat who was sitting on a fence post, way out in the distance and was a spec even in the telescope – beautiful bird, but still a spec! I didn't even bother lifting the camera up to take a picture! I now see why there are no photos on the net yet, although I'm sure some will appear now I have written this.

The day and the light was disappearing fast. Earlier a message had come up on the pager about a Leachs's Petrel being seen at Cley and with the winds being NW today, I decided to end the day on a mini seawatch.

Coastguards, Cley
The first thing I did on my arrival in the carpark was take my coat off and put other layers on underneath, it was freezing now! Double gloves were also required. There was one other birder in the shelter. The sea was rocking and it all looked pretty exciting. Big rafts of Common Scoter on the sea, a few Gannets sailing by, 1 Guillemot flew west at half distance, loads of gulls going by, Wigeon and Teal, a Kittiwake (distant but I didn't see this). Suddenly the main action appeared – at 5.40pm three skuas fairly close in, were working their way from the west, two were Arctic Skuas and the third much bigger, bulkier etc was a Pomarine Skua – Wow!!!!! On hindsight, I could have taken a picture, but was enjoying watching them and comparing the size difference of the Pom. to the Arctics. Just needed a Leach's Petrol now to complete the day – I wish!!!

The moon looked extra beautiful this evening and I spent a long time taking arty farty pictures. Sat in my car and had my tea and a coffee and left at 7pm.


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