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Sunday, 11 October 2015

October Kicks Off With Red-flanked Bluetail, Isabelline Shrike, Radde's & Dusky Warbler & More!

Norfolk exploded today with hundreds of migrants pouring in, including Redwings, Goldcrests, Robins, Richard's Pipits, Ring Ouzels etc with the top draw birds being Red-flanked Bluetail, Isabelline Shrike, Dusky Warbler, Radde's Warbler, Pallas's Warbler and Siberian Chiffchaff.

After East Hills yesterday I decided to wake up naturally, without setting the alarm. I still hadn't recovered from work this week. When the pager kicked off with Red-flanked Bluetail, I knew I should have had that lie in yesterday and not today! Also, as I expected a good bird was found at East Hills after Eddie and I found nothing out there yesterday! I would like to thank the finders of the Dusky Warbler, for putting the news out so promptly, allowing others to go and see this before the tide came in. News does not always come out from there quite so quickly!

I went to Stiffkey Campsite Wood to look for my own Red-flanked Bluetail, other birders also had the same idea! There was an obvious fall of birds and the wood was riddled with hundreds of Goldcrests and also several tit flocks including Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits. Redwings were also flying through. At the far end I saw one Brambling. I stood on the field side of the end of the wood and stood here a good while, just watching birds dropping in. Two thrushes flew in and landed high up in the canopy of an oak – I could see where one of them landed and it was obscured by oak leaves – an eye stripe appeared and I got excited, but it turned out to be a Redwing, still nice to see though. Eddie phoned me to say 'did I see the Nightjar message on the pager?' – no, but then I had missed several pager messages today – in fact I missed five messages in sequence and had to phone RBA to see what I had missed. Anyway, Eddie had phoned to say he had watched a Nightjar come in off the sea at West Runton, along with his friend Simon Roberts! I also got a very kind call from LGRE to say 'did I know about the Isabelline Shrike at Beeston Common'? No I didn't, seconds after that call, it bleeped up on the pager. I ran back through the wood and let other birders know on route.

The traffic on route to Sheringham was diabolical to say the least. Firstly, I was following a car that was doing 30 something in a 60mph – I eventually overtook them. By the railway bridge on the outskirts of Sheringham, everything came to a standstill with a queue of traffic in front – I was doing no more than 10mph! There must have been an accident I decided, but no, it was a carriage and four horses – for god's sake!!! Parked up at in the layby at Beeston Common. Didn't bother with the scope (wished I had later), grabbed SLR and bins and speed walked along the path, past the pond to view a fabulous ISABELLINE SHRIKE!!! Tons of dog crap here rather spoilt things a little. A good number of birders enjoying this fabulous bird. Too far away for my 300mm lens to get any good shots though. I regretted not bringing the phone-scoping kit/scope.

I left and went to Denmark House at Weybourne, in hope that the Red-flanked Bluetail might reappear. Sat in my car and had a very late lunch and watched the scrub. Saw a female Blackcap and a Goldcrest. Chatted with Ashley and Claudia Banwell and had fun chatting to their sweet little daughter who said 'I love your green car' 'I'm going to have a green car when I grow up' she smiled.

I returned to Beeston Common with the scope to take a phone-scope video, but the light was dire and every time I was about to start the video the Isabelline Shrike flew off. A Barn Owl was showing very nicely. Another birder (Mark) and I watched the shrike fly off into the big hedgeline at dusk, presumably to roost. It seemed to take forever to get home tonight. Looking forward to tomorrow!


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