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Saturday 25 September 2010


Seawatching at Sheringham 7.40am until 1.30pm

Overslept (again!) Arrived Sheringham 7.40am instead of the intended 5.15am!!! Managed to sit on my camp stool in front/to side of Justin. It was freezing cold and the waves were rolling!

Too tired after sorting all flycatcher pictures out to list everything, but basically there were TONS of Red throated Divers, Bonxies and Gannets. Small numbers of Little Gulls, Arctic Skuas, a few Arctic Terns, 2 Barnacle Geese at 9.10am going east, 4 Brent Geese (see picture below), Auk sp.'s, Guillemot, Common Scooters, Wigeon, Eiders, Dunlins, Sandwich Terns, a single Manx Shearwater at 1.03pm.

We were waiting for the "Holme" Sabines to glide past, when at 1.30pm news came through of a possible Alder/Willow Flycatcher on Blakeney Point. I have never seen those shelters empty so quickly!!!!! I struggled up the steps with my stuff (thanks Dave H. for helping me) and whizzed along the coast road (well I tried - someone who obviously wasn't a birder crawled along in front of me all the way to Cley).

View from my shelter at The Leas, Sheringham.

Seawatching in the shelters at Sheringham along with Andy Wilkinson and Justin Lansdell who always provide first class banter throughout!

4 Brent Geese at The Leas, Sheringham.


The Plantation, Blakeney Point

Got the last of the few places left on Coastguards carpark.

The walk up the point was the most horrendous conditions - the worst I have experienced - it was torrential, driving rain and a head wind just to add to the hellish walk - I found it difficult to put one foot in front of the other the wind was so strong! I would normally peak over the shingle to see where I was in relation to half way house, but I decided that would be a bad idea for fear of knowing how much further I had to go, so just kept focused on the distant specks of other birders!

Andy and Justin had left the Sheringham earlier to go to football - Andy was cursing when I rang him, as when news came through he had been just about to leave for football! Connor was on his way too and Pete S. and Eddie M. were way ahead of me and had the seen the bird long before I got there. Got to The Plantation and first saw the Alder/Willow Flycatcher at 3.10pm - an awesome bird! People were saying that it was a possible Yellow bellied Flycatcher which if so, it would have been the first for the Western Palearctic!!! I watched the bird on and off, but less so at dusk until approx 6.15pm. Connor and Billy and both Andy W. and Justin L. all got to see the bird. Lee Evans arrived and after seeing the bird, collapsed with relief and dived under his coat for shelter. The weather was absolutely dreadful and it constantly rained heavily on/off but there were a few spells of brighter weather when I was initially arrived which enabled me to get the following shots. Don't know how to describe really, how awesome it was seeing that bird!!!!!!!!!! Didn't expect that today with north west winds!!! There was around 100 birders there at most, although I am sure that will increase in the morning!

Left the plantation at around 6.30pm - just past the Tamarisk a birder dressed in suit and tie with a youngster appeared - he must have been freezing! The walk back was shattering, but slightly more relaxing! It was one of the most atmospheric walks back ever, the foam from the pounding waves (now high tide) covered the sands and it looked like the beach was covered in snow! Part of the way back I walked along with Ashley Banwell and another man and a Purple Sandpiper literally walked across us on the shingle at 7.20pm! Got back to the carpark at 8.05pm and I felt completely burnt out! There were still loads of cars in the carpark - several people would be walking back in complete blackness. Got home late.

Looking through my Peterson Guide and my photos - the flycatcher didn't have enough yellowish underparts to be "yellow bellied", but which of the others it is - I'll leave that to the experts! It did look yellowish in the field though!


All pictures only slightly sharpened - no colour adjustments etc - took 220 pictures!

Also see Julian Bhalerao's pictures on

Birders watching the Alder/Willow Flycatcher in 'The Plantation.

Lee Evans collapses with relief after ticking the bird and shelters from the driving rain!

Happy Birders!

Birders watching the Alder/Willow Flycatcher in 'The Plantation.

HUGE THANKS to James McCallum and Paul Nichols
for finding the bird - Congratulations!

Also see very interesting ID information for various flycatchers


  1. Really amazing and splendid pictures! And right accross the North Sea!
    Congratulations, whatever it is.
    Arnold Meijer, Katwijk, Netherkands.

  2. Congratulations for qualifying for an entry on BUBO CamLit!