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Saturday, 25 March 2017

Red-flanked Bluetail at Titchwell RSPB!

Meadow Trail, Titchwell RSPB
Rubbish picture, but I was very lucky to get that even!

The last three days have been pretty rough. The realisation that my father is now finally gone and I won't ever be able to chat with him again is very difficult to come to terms with, more than I thought it would be. I really miss him, this is the longest I have not seen him – I know he's in a more peaceful place and that time heals, but that doesn't make me feel any better right now.

Nature is a great healer and I knew that I needed to get outside today. So today I planned to birding, but frustratingly I didn't sleep a wink last night – I tossed and turned until the early hours. My plan of getting up early failed miserably.

I eventually left the house and stopped at the Co-op in Dersingham to send a parcel off, collected some more copies of DVD's from Jim Thomson at Heacham and then headed Hunstanton to get something important photocopied. After parking my car in the high street, I witnessed two people park their car in a really tight space and shunt the car in front – they didn't even check the car they had hit! They walked off up the high street. I took their car reg, model etc and put my name and telephone number as a witness underneath the window wipers of the car they hit. I decided to wait in the end, as this car had a dog in it, so presumed the driver wouldn't be too long. The driver came back and didn't even notice my big white piece of paper! I stopped him to explain what I had witnessed and surprisingly he didn't seem too fussed and muttered 'thanks'. Wished I hadn't bothered now!

Stopped at the Ringstead shop to buy some thank you cards for people that helped at the funeral and wake. Whilst in the shop I discovered they had a Gardman Verdegris Effect Plastic Bird Bath for £10 in the back of their antiques rooms!

Sat by 'Greenway' at the top of the Ringstead Hill to eat my lunch. The view of the coast from here is so beautiful, the sea, the fields, sheep grazing, Holme church spire. It was so hot, I had to open the car door and I could hear a Skylark singing – my mind was immediately transported back to The Lark Ascending at the funeral on Monday. It was so peaceful and beautiful, I didn't want to leave. Although it was a lovely sunny day, the east wind was chilly. East winds that bring birds, but maybe a little too early for anything too exciting to land on our shores yet?

Headed to Holme to visit my mother. She was dozing in the chair and was in a very low mood. Besides grieving for father, there are all kinds of other things going on right now, just to add to the stress. I cheered mother up a little with the bird bath I had just bought – it looked lovely just outside her dining room window. She has bird baths dotted round the garden, but not a raised one. I placed a large stone in the middle and a branch across for a perch and decided it was so nice I wanted one too. Mother didn't want to go birding with me, so I left the house and headed up the Ringstead hill to purchase another bird bath – I was then going on to Titchwell RSPB.

Red-flanked Bluetail – First for Titchwell RSPB!
I didn't get to the shop at Ringstead. I stopped to look at the pager (which I had left in the car whilst at mother's) and could not believe my eyes when I read on the pager 'RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL' on Meadow Trail at Titchwell RSPB! Scorched the green machine around and headed for Titchwell! I have seen RFB's before obviously, but never one this early in the Spring and this was a first for Titchwell! Bluetails are such stunning, delightful little birds and birders will travel miles to see one. I stopped at mother's again to see if she wanted to go, but she said she couldn't face 'all those people'. I felt the same, but a Red-flanked Bluetail would surely be enough to lift my spirits!

Bumped into Peter Allard here, Geoff and Pat, Eddie and more! There was not that many people when I first arrived, which was about 25 minutes after the pager went off, but it was the most elusive bluetail I had come across in a while. Trevor Girling was standing next to me and saw it drop down from a willow – I saw the same bird, but didn't see it anywhere near enough to count it – I needed to see it properly. Birders continued to arrive and the bird tantalised everyone until dusk. It took me simply ages to see it properly and it seemed as though most people had had several views, before I finally got to see this little gem to ID it myself and this was thanks to a nice man who got me on it quickly. I even managed to get a record shot, obscured by a branch and not sharp, but good enough for the blog! It was constantly feeding, constantly on the move and frustratingly elusive, but I saw it, photographed it and yes it did lift my spirits just a little! Thank goodness for birds!

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