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Friday, 15 August 2014


Pat's Pool, from Teal Hide, Cley NWT
Taken with iphone 5s, Kowa TSN-IP5 Photo Adapter and Nikon ED50 Scope with 13-40 Zoom.

What an AWESOME Day! Enormous thanks to Mark Golley and James McCallum!!!

I was shattered this morning to say the least, even before the day began! After sitting in Teal Hide at Cley NWT last night until 9pm and not getting home until after 10pm, blogging etc I ended up with a very late night. With North West Winds and showers, there was a good possibility of a spot of sea-watching this morning, so for me, it was either Cley or Sheringham.

Cley Coastguards
I forced myself to get up at 6.30am and had left by 7.30am arriving at Coastguards, Cley by 8.30am. Kieran Nixon, Richard M., James McCallum, Trevor Davis and a few others were already sea-watching, as I pulled up next to the shelter. I hadn't missed anything major thank goodness – a few Arctic Skuas, Fulmars, and a Bonxie were the main highlights that had flown through before I arrived. Set up my scope and started scanning. It was really cold with the NW wind. The clouds rolled over and there was a brief shower, but this soon passed. I had forgot to bring my sea-watching step, so had to stand on the right hand side of the others, in order to be able to see and this was the coldest, most exposed spot! I had to put gloves on in the end! A Grey Seal appeared just below the shingle and started posing – a serious poser he was too, waving his flippers at the holidaymakers, who had gathered into a mini crowd and oooohed and ahhhhed and took lots of pictures – this did not help us birders trying to scan the sea at all!!! A lady approached us all and I heard her say to her young son 'don't walk in front of the photographers, they are trying to photograph the seal'........ no... that's NOT what we were all doing!!! Anyway, back to birds. Mark G. then turns up and its not long before he finds a 1s SABINE'S GULL at 1' o clock, heading east at 9.45am!!! Wow, ok it was three quarters distance, but it was clear to see in the now brilliant sunshine – bird of the day, had to be surely, I was so pleased!!! It was great to be here – I have a rubbish scope for sea-watching, but I suppose its better than no scope at all. If Swarovski would like to me to review one of their lastest and most expensive scopes on my blog, I would be more than happy to oblige, obviously I would need to keep the scope to make sure it was still working ok!!! There was a steady flow of birds including: good numbers of Gannets, Fulmars, Common Scoters, at least 9 Arctic Skuas, 3 Manx Shearwaters (1 west and 2 east.), several flocks of Oystercatchers, a single Curlew west, 25+ Cormorants, 12 Teal west, 2 Sanderling and a cracking juv. Med Gull flying west at 11am, close over the shingle (ran to get my camera for this, but wasn't quick enough). At 11.07am James picked up on a Yellow Wagtail calling, which we then watched bounding over the Eye field west across Beach road towards Blakeney Point. The sea-watching tailed off and everyone left at around 12pm and I stayed until 12.30pm.

Sat on the shingle having my lunch and then had a wonderful snooze in my car for much longer than I had intended! It was now really hot, but still a bit chilly by the sea. I re-located to the Cley NWT Visitor Centre and wrote sightings in the book etc and then relocated to Walsey Hills NOA.
Dragonfly at Walsey Hills NOA.

Walsey Hills NOA
Several Speckled Woods here, a Red Admiral and a Peacock. No sign of any Lizards and certainly no Adders – can't remember the last time I saw one here, which is very sad – they used to bask on the steps! There were a few birds of note, a female Blackcap, a couple of Chiffchaffs and a family of Blue Tits on the feeders.
Gramborough Hill, Salthouse.

Migrant Hawker (female) at Gramborough Hill.

Whinchat at Gramborough Hill.

Gramborough Hill, Salthouse
Lots of cars parked along Beach Road, but managed to get in a space. It was a beautiful walk up to Gramborough Hill. A Black-headed Gull was bathing in the pool next to the shingle ridge and a Little Egret flew over. Suddenly I spotted a bird on the fence wire and was very pleased to find a female Whinchat at 4.55pm! It was not a poser though (unlike the seal earlier) and I only managed to get record shots. Photographed a beautiful female Migrant Hawker Dragonfly which had settled on one of the bushes next to the buddhelia. No other birds seen here, apart from Sand Martins by the sandy cliff edge. The sea looked fabulous from the hill – several Sandwich Terns flying west.

My youngest sister Vivien with her new car.

The Leas, Sheringham
Met up with little sister Vivien at Sheringham, who is staying in East Norfolk for a few days holiday. Admired her shiny new KIA car, but the boot was miniature and only holds about three bags of shopping, no good for birders/photographers! We walked to the newly refurbished Tidal Wave Cafe, which is just west of the concrete sea-watching shelter. This cafe and a large part of the promonade in front of the shelter was destroyed in the December storm surge – see picture here (you can see the cafe in far right of picture). The cafe does a fantastic selection of good basic food: full breakfast, burgers (and veggi), egg, sausage, chips, jacket potoatoes etc etc. We sat outside and had a coffee – it was really nice spending some time with Vivien – we rarely get together nowadays. Sat in the sea-watching shelter for a short while with Ian Prentice who reported that he had seen a few Arctic Skuas, Fulmars, but nothing spectacular. 3 Fulmars flew east as we sat here. Vivien went back to her B&B and I headed for Cley.

The above pictures were taken as screen shots from the main video (at top of this post) and then cropped in photoshop.

Franklin's Gull – in the left hand third of the shot.
Taken with Canon 7D and 300f4mm lens, which proves this set up is a waste of time at that distance and time! Phone-scoping is the way forward in these conditions!

Teal Hide, Cley NWT
On route I stopped at the fish 'n' chip van at Salthouse for a bag of chips. Parked the car on the triangle at the bottom of Old Woman's Lane and enjoyed my chips! I felt really tired and nearly went home, but knew that could be a big mistake, so at about 7.45pm I made my way to the NWT hides.

Eddie and a couple of others were in Dauke's Hide, but most of the gulls were visible on Pat's Pool from Teal hide. Richard M. and James McCallum were in Teal Hide. I sat next to James. The light was pretty poor now. There were loads of gulls on the pool, more than last night and more continually dropping in to roost. James said 'we had a good chance and the gulls were coming in early....' I didn't think for one minute we would see this Franklin's Gull. Suddenly James said clearly, but calmly 'Franklin's Gull flying in.... landed in front of the spit in front of Bishop's Hide!!! This was at 8.23pm. I could hardly believe the words!!! I got onto this stunning little gull in seconds, it was really easy to pick out amongst the Black-headed Gulls – slightly smaller, very dark mantle, my god, I couldn't believe it. I then told James that I loved him (he laughed). I quickly went into action a few seconds later – phoned RBA, then Eddie next door in Dauke's, then Pete S., who I discovered was already in Dauke's! and then Andy W. who had just left work in Holt and promptly left! I then set up my phone-scoping kit and started videoing at 8.31pm. Andy turned up puffing and panting in his suit and tie and looked in my scope to view the bird and was very happy indeed! Mike Sidwell also turned up in time and a few other birders luckily. I put the other two messages out to RBA and this mega gull was watched up until 8.58pm, just! Darkness fell and we all wandered back to our cars. I was very pleased with my video, considering time, light, distance etc.


  1. Lovely account of a fun filled day, nice work