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Thursday, 11 June 2015

Mega Twitch! Paddyfield Warbler – Blakeney Point!

Walking back from Blakeney Point

Found by James MacCallum & Kevin Shepherd – 4th for Norfolk!

Previous Records:
• 1w ringed at Snettisham Coastal Park, 15 October 2009.
• Found By James MacCallum at Lodge Marsh, Wells, 23 September 1996.
Found by Kevin Shepherd, 1w ringed at Sheringham, 24 September 1993.
I left work and was on my way into town to get a new battery for my nurse's watch. I tend to leave my pager at home as it misses loads of messages at work, so look at the RBA website on my phone at lunchtime. The traffic as I left work was rubbish, as usual and I was crawling along in first gear. I had no text messages about any mega birds, which I usually do if there are any, so wasn't too worried. With traffic at a compete standstill I suddenly found out about a Paddyfield Warbler at Long Hills, Blakeney Point!!! Changed direction, zoomed home. Opened door, grabbed birding gear and slung in boot of car. Realised that there was no time to mess about changing clothes if I wanted to see a new bird, so went in work trousers etc. Grabbed water, bananas and flew straight out. Stopped at Hillington to by a crappy cheese and onion pie, which I ate on route.

Arrived at Coastugards, Cley at just after 6pm. Trudged along shingle in the sunshine and Neil Bostock caught up with me and we carried on the walk together to Long Hills. Richard M., Julian B. and a couple of others were walking back, having seen the Paddyfield Warbler. I reached Long Hills by 6.55pm.

The National Trust wardens had roped off the area of sueda were the bird was and also to protect any nesting birds, which was pretty sensible all round really. Basically the bird didn't really show at all, but did when three NT staff (only), gently walked into the sueda at 7pm and 8pm only, which allowed good flight views for the small crowd of approx 30 people including Ian P., Connor R, Keiran, Kane, David N., Ian and 2 friends (can't remember their names), Steve G. etc etc. No one crossed the blue roped off area. It was very frustrating to only see the bird in flight, but that's all we were going to get this evening. I did see it fly several times, but frustrating not to see it perched up anywhere. I got the most hilarious flight picture of the bird that you could possibly imagine! We then heard news that James McCallum and Kevin Shepherd had found a Greenish Warbler on Yankee Ridge! Is there any end to their rarity finds! As if finding a Paddyfield Warbler wasn't enough!!! Connor, Kane and Keiran went off to see the Greenish Warbler, but returned to us later having not seen the bird.

Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a fairly large and very dark/black bird come up from the sueda and then dive down again. I saw this only briefly, as did one other birder. My first thought was starling, size wise, but this didn't seem right. The other birder was quite taken back aswell and said 'what was that!?' He thought it was a bit smaller than a starling. We didn't take our eyes off that spot which was on the inside of the blue roped off area, so obviously couldn't go in. I walked back through the sueda to highlight this to Ajay, Paul and Sarah (NT wardens) who very kindly walked through the sueda in an attempt to find this bird, but nothing! I was soooooo frustrated as this felt like something mega. I couldn't believe it had just disappeared! And no, it wasn't a blackbird before you ask! Someone suggested and mused about cow bird or a black lark – who knows! I will be spitting pips is this is found tomorrow while I'm at work! But actually I hope it is found, whatever it is, as this is going to play on my mind forever now! I continued to stand there in hope that the 'black' bird resurfaced, but no joy.

I was the last to leave, no change there! It was freezing cold walking back and I wished I had bought warmer clothes to wear. Got back to Coastguards at around 10.25pm, arriving back in King's Lynn at 11.20pm. Massive thanks to Paul, Ajay and Sarah for organsing and helping everyone to see this mega bird and for helping me search for my mystery bird!

Goodness knows what else is out there, wish I had tomorrow off work!

Gary White amazingly managed to get a video of the Paddyfield Warbler!

1 comment:

  1. Shooof!... you are getting some real mega-spots in Norfolk at the moment, Penny...
    I've just looked on BWPi and that little warbler has really travelled...
    even if it did come from the small colonies on the West side of the Black Sea...
    and I really hated the shingle at Blakeney...
    I suffer from duck's-disease...
    short legs, long body...
    and that makes walking on such surfaces really tiring...
    so "trudging" really sums it up!!
    You wrote that with feeling!
    Keep well,
    And I hope the L.B(lack).J turns out to be something good too!