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Saturday, 8 October 2016

Black-browed Albatross!!!

Dipped!

A VERY frustrating day for several local birders. I had been at Hunstanton Cliffs, when later the news came on the pager of the Black-browed Albatross sailing past the bl**dy cliffs whilst I was there!!! I had parked by the lighthouse garden and had walked along the clifftop path and then east to search the scrub by the beach huts, but only found a couple of Robins. Walked back the same way and looked at the sea, obviously not well enough! Felt rock bottom – I wished I had been anywhere else but Hunstanton when I found that out!

Looked for migrants along Waterworks Road at Old Hunstanton, but nothing of note found. Went to check my Mother was ok, hung some washing out for her and changed the water in all the bird baths in her garden.

Headed east (avoiding the crowds at Titchwell) and walked along the public footpath, just east of Drove Orchards Farm Shop complex. Had some lovely sightings of Redwings and also Robins, Blackbirds, a Song Thrush and Red-legged Partridges. Found a tit flock, but couldn't pick out anything exciting. Walked past the willows west of the path and saw a Stonechat perched on a fence wire on the way to Thornham Bank.

Walked back to my car and saw a large thrush land in a Holm Oak. It was obscured from view, but I waited for it to appear again whilst holding the camera up, to snap my potential White's Thrush!!! Another birder pulled up in a car alongside me – I couldn't see who it was, as I didn't want to take my eye off the prize, but I recognised the voice – it was Trevor Girling. When the thrush decided to put in an appearance, Trevor assured me that it was a Mistle Thrush!!! It seemed considerably larger that it should have been to me, but then I am overdue for an eye test! Trevor spotted a Fieldfare in a tree which was nice to see in the sunshine.

A message on the pager saying the Black-browed Albatross was seen at Scolt Head Island and was heading west towards Titchwell, got the adrenalin racing and we both decided that the quickest place to get to the beach would be the main beach gap at Holme, so off we nipped in our cars! Trevor picked up Andy Brown on route and we headed up the beach from the toilet block/village car park. We stood here scanning the sea for what seemed like forever. Ashley Banwell then rang Trevor to say he had seen the Albatross flying west and distantly from the lighthouse on Hunstanton Cliffs at 4.15-4.20pm!!! We decided to stay put and and scanned the sea until eyes became sore! Steve West also rang to say that he had seen it (can't remember what time this was). It was freezing cold now and we also could see a small crowd of birders on the cliffs, so the three of us decided to relocate to Hunstanton.

I decided to stand away from the crowd and parked further east along the cliff top. A possible sighting further west along the cliffs, made me rush to the car and join the crowd, but nothing solid on this sighting. It was raining now and the light was disappearing fast. Graham Etherington, Dave Appleton and others were here, also Dave Hawkins, Phil, Trevor G. etc. The big question is, where will Albert be in the morning?!

Chasing this big bird, resulted in a poor list for the day, so will write today off and start again in the morning, hopefully with a few good birds in my notebook!

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