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Sunday 17 October 2010

Third Red-flanked Bluetail this week!!!!!!!!

Red-flanked Bluetail


Found by Dick Newell

I was soooo lucky to get this shot!
Taken at 6.05pm with Canon 7D and 300mm f4 lens. f4, 5/1, ISO 3200

when almost everyone had gone, it posed briefly for me!
3 more shots below, although this was the sharpest,
which considering the light I was very pleased about!

An AWESOME last day to my holiday!!!!!!!!

Cley Coastguards

Arrived at 7.30am and it was pouring with rain and very cold. When I saw Eddie's car there in the carpark, but no Eddie seawatching, I just knew nothing much was happening on the sea! Spoke to the only birder watching the sea and he had had very little. Could see some common scoter but it all looked lifeless so got back in car. Now lashing down with rain, took picture of a complete rainbow! Still raining, decided to have a snooze, well there's no point in getting unnecessarily wet is there! I sat in the car with my gloves on and I was STILL cold! When the rain stopped I relocated to Walsey Hills.

Sunrise from Cley Coastguards.

Cley Coasthguards at 8.10am.

Walsey Hills NOA

Apart from the usual tits, chaffinches, hedge sparrows etc at bird feeders I only saw a few chiffchaffs and goldcrests in here. No sign of any bramblings today. Chatted to two lovely people who were manning the centre now at weekends - Sundays only at the moment. I told them how I remember climbing down the steps of the hatch into the building before the front of building was dug away and exposed.

Sarbury Hill

Nothing here apart from redwings and blackbirds. Walked from where my car was parked out across the marsh to the shingle bank/beach. Very annoyed as it came up on the RBA website that a Little Auk had been seen off Coastguards - my own fault I should have stuck it out, well I didn't even really try really did I! Then the Grey Phalarope decided to fly east from Salthouse where it had been found earlier - I bet thats gone to Kelling I thought to myself. Feeling really fed up and despondent now, also due to the fact, this was the last day of my holiday. Did have good close views of a little egret (see pic) and a barn owl (see pic) sitting on a post and a grey heron (see pic) though. Message on RBA website: 'Grey Phalarope, Kelling Meadows...'!!!

Little Egret flying over Arnold's Marsh, Cley.

Barn Owl enjoying the sunshine, Cley.

Grey Heron eyeing up his mid morning snack.

Kelling Water Meadows

Had early lunch by the car and then went to Kelling Water Meadows to look at the Grey Phalarope and joined up with Pete Snook and Graham - we all took some tiny distant shots and then I suggested we go to Muckleborough to find our own 'bluetail'.

Grey Phalarope, Kelling Water Meadows.

My very good friends Pete Snook and Graham Reffin.

Muckleborough Hill

We didn't find a 'bluetail' of course BUT Pete heard and then we saw a Yellow-browed Warbler at 2pm - well done Pete! It was about 100 yards along the right hand path from the gate by the main road, on the right hand side - there is a big dead, white coloured tree, behind this is a sloeberry bush and behind this a huge sycamore tree, it was feeding in the lower part of the tree. Graham was especially pleased as this was his third new 'year tick' today - 'Mr Graham' as we affectionately call him is a serious lister! Year lists, county lists, garden lists, telly lists etc etc bless him!!! (He'll kill me for saying this on here, but I might get away with it, hopefully!) As we were leaving 3 birders came to look at the YBW and I pointed them in the right direction (they did re-find it, I found out later, when I saw them at Holme).

Walsey Hills

Decided to have a second look in Walsey Hills with Pete and Graham, when a familiar car with the Acro King (alias Mr John Furse) in, shouted across urgently "Red-flanked Bluetail, Holme!!!!!!!!!" OMG!!!!!!!!

Bye Pete, bye Graham........... Pete and Graham are much more sensible than me and stayed at Walsey - both having seen an RFB before, but I wanted a 4th one! (my first one being the Thorpeness one a few years back).

First for Holme


(my third this week and fourth in all!)

The traffic was absolutely horrendous. For ages I followed 3 cars in front, the front one was crawling along doing 30mph in a 60mph all the bl**dy way, I lost patience and overtook all 3 at Warham!!! The same thing happened again later, ANOTHER 3 cars in front with the front one again crawling along, overtook another 3 cars on the straight bit of road at Titchwell, for goodness sake!!!!!! Crawled along the bumpy Firs road to park to see the bird. At the pay hut an INCREDIBLY annoying person was arguing with Robert W. about paying!!!!!! Its quite simple, if you are an NWT or NOA member you don't have to pay, if you're not YOU DO!!! How bl**dy selfish to hold up loads of others cars and birders quibbling about paying!!! Anyway parked up by the 5-bar gate and walked along with Irene Boston to The NWT Forestry. Loads of people there already and it took me ages before I could see the bird - it was very elusive (saw it around 5.10pm). One of its favourite places I heard, was perched up on some lichen coloured dead trees - I was behind loads of people, some with big hats (take them off!) and I couldn't see even a gap to look through hardly. Eddie M. and Mark G. were there too and Mark picked up Four Shorelark flying over us! Anyway I got crafty later, when the bird flew off to its other favourite bush, everyone left the other favoured spot, so I got myself in there right at the front, tripod and camera set up, I felt happier! - I waited and waited. It did return to somewhere in the bushes in front of me and I felt quite smug sitting there now in front of everyone else instead of at the back! BUT it didn't show, well ok it did briefly for a split nanno of a second on the grass, only spotted by about 2 people and none of the photographers including myself got on it, HOW frustrating! I desperately wanted that bird on my camera. A First for Holme aswell! Anyway, time went on and the bird tormented us all by flying back and forth every now and then but NOT once did it perch up on the lichen covered dead trees which is what my camera was set up for. Light started to go, getting colder and eventually everyone left except for two other ladies and myself. We walked no more than a couple of feet forward from where I had been sitting all that time and I could not believe my luck, out it came to investigate us and perched on a stem right in front of us - camera clicked away on F4 and I got my shot!!!!!! Well one good one (ish) and a few others. It won't win any prizes but I don't think anyone else got any shots, so as Connor said this evening, I may be the only person to get the First for Holme Bluetail (if its gone in the morning). Although I am sure Gary H. and the finder etc has some pictures, I would be surprised if they didn't. Although I phoned RBA to say I was still watching it at 6.05pm and it had probably gone to roost - in fact it hadn't - I continued to watch it flicking about amongst the dead trees until around 6.20pm along with two other birders who had returned for another look! I just couldn't believe my luck that I had actually got a picture - flew round to my parents and showed them the picture - father said 'where's the blue tail' - I explained that I was lucky to get the bird at all, never mind the blue tail!

One of the best holiday's I have had, and all in Norfolk! - clocked up just under 800 miles this week.

Thank you to Dick Newell, VERY, VERY much for making the last day of my holiday very special indeed!

Red-flanked Bluetail



  1. Wow, Penny,
    Fabulous shots of a fabulous bird. You've had a holiday to remember.
    Am I jealous? Too right I am.

  2. Lovely photos Penny. I really enjoy reading all your posts.

  3. Yes Penny, great pictures.... I think I'll give up photography now. And 800 miles in a knackered car, blimey!