Not quite! 😞
Rained for most of the day, but the sun came out late afternoon. I decided to start my search at the cliff top wood at Stiffkey Campsite – there had been a Red-breasted Flycatcher found here yesterday and I was hoping it might still be here – it wasn't! A Green Woodpecker bounded past me, a Pied Wagtail was on the ploughed field and I saw a Blue Tit and a Robin. Found 4 Spoonbills north of the wood on the saltmarsh and that was it. Light rain and gloomy conditions. Memories came flooding back of a Red-flanked Bluetail that I twitched here after work on Tuesday 23rd October 2012 – crazy night, also in gloomy conditions due to fading light! Ambled back to my car and headed for Wells Woods.
Very poor birding at Wells. Only a handful of Goldcrests amongst the dripping sycamore leaves, Chaffinches, a Jay and nothing else of note. Searched hard in The Dell for the recent Red-breasted Flycatcher and Yellow-browed Warblers, none found – I was glad I had my wellingtons on, as it was very flooded in this area. Headed to the drinking pool and the glade just west of there and sat in the wet grass to wait for something colourful and exciting to appear – best I found was a red toadstool!🤣 Bumped into Chris M. on the walk back, who had seen 2 Yellow-browed Warblers in The Dell, after I had been there, typical! Couldn't go back to look, as ticket was about to run out, ok it had run out!
Where to end my day? After the pager highlighted there was a Lesser Whitethroat, that was a probable 'eastern form' (love these) at Holme, I headed west. Driving along the Firs Road to the NOA car park produced several LBJ's diving in hawthorns and a Kestrel was perched on a bush. I saw and heard more birds this evening at Holme than I did all day, but to be fair, the sun coming out probably helped! Parked up on the NOA car park. With helpful directions from Gary E., I searched for the Lesser Whitethroat and luckily found it flitting around a hawthorn bush (with a Kestrel perched on top) on the west side of the car park, along the path to the NWT hides, so couldn't get any closer for any pictures, as NWT closes at 5pm – exasperating!
A Song Thrush was perched in the hawthorn on the east side of the boardwalk path to the car park hide and a Chiffchaff was flitting around too. I tried to turn the Song Thrush into something rarer, but it remained a Song Thrush! 4 Stonechats were also around the car park and a skein of Pink-footed Geese flew over. Little Grebe, Gadwalls, lots of Coots and Mallards were on the Broadwater. Now for the Blyth's Reed Warbler.......! Just as I left the car park area and walked past the NWT car park, I found a cracking Pied Flycatcher in the small sycamore, on the right hand side of the track, just before the Firs House – lifted my camera up to take a picture and it duly vanished!
Walked along the main bank to the observatory, where I saw several Robins, a Wren and heard a Cetti's Warbler. Bumped into Andy B. and wife, who were also looking for the Blyth's Reed Warbler – no luck with that at all. Tawny Owl called in the pines! Scanned the sycamore tree by the pond in front of observatory, but no Yellow-browed Warblers to be found. So glad to see this tree is getting a bit bigger, from when it had a dramatic trim a few years back! Ambled back to my car in the setting sun and saw a Marsh Harrier over the marsh and returned home.