Muckleburgh Hill, Weybourne
I only had three hours sleep and forced myself to get up early, felt wrecked and looked wrecked. I wanted to see the Olive-backed Pipit at Muckleburgh Hill badly. I've seen one before, but they are just stunning birds to see, never tire of seeing them! Here is the last one I photographed at Stiffkey. Still blowing North Easterly and very strong winds today.
There wasn't any news on the OBP before I left the house, but I went anyway as I felt sure it was still there. When I reached Holt, news came on the pager that it was still there, fabulous! Parked up in Weynor Gardens and crossed the road to walk to Muckleburgh Hill. For anyone going at the weekend, firstly I was told this afternoon that the police have coned off one side of the road because of silly parking today as local vehicles could not get through, also the police will be monitoring this in the morning, so be warned! Directions: After crossing the road, go through the gate and take the right hand path that climbs up the hill. This path then bends left, keep following this path until it opens out and then bears right, but do not bear right, instead veer off left up the bracken covered hill to view the top, which consists of short and dead bracken, grassy bits and heather and this is surrounded by high dense bracken. There is a an oak tree and a rowan tree in the middle (ish). The OBP feeds all around the rowan tree and is very camouflaged, creeps around, but shows well when it does – good luck and enjoy. I spent a long time enjoying and photographed this cracking bird.
Muckleburgh Hill, Weybourne
What to do now? I had food with me, but I really fancied something hot and a proper sit down, so I had a fabulous lunch in the Kelling Tea Rooms which is dead opposite the track to Kelling Water Meadows. I can strongly recommend having lunch here. I simply had vegetable soup and crusty brown bread and butter. I have been very good with not eating crap this week, so did have a treat with a piece of their scrumptious coffee & walnut cake which I took away!
Next stop I decided was Gramborough Hill at Salthouse. Parked the car up and had my piece of cake and a coffee. I nearly fell asleep at this point, but shook myself and got out of the car. It was FREEZING here and the wind was almost gale force. I walked up to Gramborough Hill and skulked around the bushes looking for a Siberian Rubythroat, but it was obviously hunkered down well!!! I could hardly stand upright on the top of the hill, seaward side and huge waves were crashing on the shingle.
I was just about to leave and blitz Walsey Hills, when the pager bleeped up with RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL at the drinking pool, Wells!!! I was going there after Walsey anyway. Obviously gave Walsey Hills a miss and zoomed up to Wells in the green machine! Another £3.00 in the ticket machine! For a bluetail though, it was worth it. Walked as fast as I could to the drinking pool, to find an already large number of birders trying to view the bird in the large drinking pool area. You will never guess who found this.... Ashley Saunders, who has already found a Blyth's Reed Warbler this week, he's on a good run!!! Follow that man! Ashley's account and video of his RFB is HERE. I had good but brief views of the Red-flanked Bluetail, but not long enough to get a picture. Well I did take a couple of pics, but they are smudges on the camera! Most birders went off and followed the bird in whatever direction it went to, but J.F. another birder and myself stayed put. This paid off as the bird returned, still not able to get a picture though. We didn't see it anymore once dusk had set in. Will it be there tomorrow I wonder? Good chance I would have thought.
Drove home and started getting things ready for the morning, so I get to bed at a more reasonable hour. Its going to be a crazy weekend and I can't wait! Got tons of photos of the awesome Olive-backed Pipit at Muckleburgh Hill today, but after three hours sleep last night, I won't be sorting through hundreds of pictures tonight. Up in the dark tomorrow to join thousands of other birders travelling to and local birders for what's going to be an incredible weekend in Norfolk. I can't remember the last time we had a run of North Easterlies like this in October! An incredible week, but still no mega, got to be on the cards for the weekend, surely!!! Hope my holiday ends in a mega! I desperately wish I had booked another week off! With Ashley Saunders finding a Blyth's Reed Warbler and tonight's Red-flanked Bluetail at Wells, we are hoping for a third bird please, before Monday though!
MORE PHOTOGRAPHS TO BE ADDED