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Monday, 26 May 2014

Bank Holiday: Chasing MEGAS After Work!!!

In my 15 minute tea-break at work, I managed to open the RBA website on my phone and was excited to see, that a probable BOOTED EAGLE was been watched in Norfolk!!! I finished work at 2pm, a later time than normal, drove home, showered, changed and was half way through cooking a proper lunch (not done this for ages!) when the pager bleeped up with MEGA SLENDER-BILLED GULL Adult reported at Titchwell RSPB at 3.28pm. My god, which way and what to do!!!? Before this came up, I was going to spend the evening sitting high up on Muckleburgh Hill to wait for the Booted Eagle to sail pass. Slender-billed Gull said 'reported', so carried on cooking my lunch. Next message was 'no sign' at 3.40pm, message after that said 'again at 3.52pm, then 3.58pm and finally at 4.02pm when it then flew east. Even if I had left on the first 3.28pm message, I wouldn't have quite made it, even with my driving record (whoops, must remember a policeman reads my blog!!!).

Believing the gull to hopefully still be there, I left the house anyway and headed for Titchwell via Choseley Barns. At Choseley Barns there were several birders, who had headed west for the gull when the last message had said flown east. Steve and Sue G., John F. and Mark G., Dave Holman and wife and others were looking for quail etc, but not heard whilst I spent a short while with them. No turtle dove whilst I was there either! One Corn Bunting on the concrete pad though.

I continued to Titchwell RSPB. Walking along the main path I bumped into Ashley and Claudia Banwell and their beautiful daughter Alice who has grown up so much since I last saw her – she told me that she will be 5 soon! Ashley pointed out a Kittiwake that was on the pool, left of the main track and was looking quite poorly. There were a good number of people lined up on the bank with scopes, all looking fed-up and I heard different stories from glum faces saying 'I only missed it by 10 minutes' and another..... 'only missed it by 2 minutes' etc! At the end of the line of birders were Andy W. and Justin L., so I stood with them to enjoy the usual banter and verbal abuse!!! They didn't get here in time either – having not seen the last ones in Cley 2000 because of being abroad at the time, they really wanted to see this bird. We found out whilst here that the gull had flow 'high' east when it left, so it didn't look too promising! Lovely selection of birds here though: 6 Spoonbills, 2 Red-crested Pochards flew over, 1 Greenshank on far reedbed pool edge, 2 lovely Little Gulls, Little-ringed Plover, Common Terns, Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits etc. Bumped into James H., Pat and Geoff and also met a couple who read my blog (nice to meet you both). We decided that because of the bird flying off high east, it was more than likely to have moved on, so we walked back to the carpark. The Kittiwake was still there, but looking even more sorry for itself than when I saw it before.

I decided that a good place for the Slender-billed Gull to relocate to would be Cley! So off I went along the coast to join Eddie in Dauke's Hide. Sadly, there was very little on the Cley NWT Pools at all. There is a large gull roost at Burnham Overy – I hope that someone had a look there. Left Dauke's hide and then, alone I searched Arnold's Marsh from the East Bank until 9.30pm. Mute Swans on the 'Serpentine'. Little Egrets, Black-headed Gulls, Shelducks, Avocets and the best bird was a Greenshank. I could see quite a number of gulls on 'Sea Pool', but too far to ID with my scope. Whilst here, the third mega came up for the day!!! 'BLACK-HEADED BUNTING on feeder in garden, Cromer' I couldn't believe that I was only a matter of miles away from this bird and it was in a private garden!!! Tried phoning a couple of people to find out if they knew where exactly, but no joy. Another bird lost today!

Holiday now ended, back at work tomorrow. Better make sure I have the car packed up with birding gear ready, as several birders are saying tomorrow and Wednesday should be good with north easterlies and rain coming our way!

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