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Tuesday 16 October 2012

Rain, Continued West Winds and still no RARES!

Today started fairly well, but went downhill after that!

Arrived at Titchwell RSPB early morning in the vague hope that I might see the Red-rumped Swallow, that apparently roosted in the reed beds at dusk last night with other swallows. Not knowing where it roosted, didn't help birders looking this morning. It was incredibly windy and the light was diabolical which didn't help either. It was brilliant that someone found this bird last night and I congratulate them and thank them for letting others know, but it would have been extra helpful if they had put roughly where the bird went to roost – it could have been reed beds either side of the main bank or even on the new East Trail.

As soon as I started walking along the main bank a swallow appeared which got me excited, but it wasn't THE bird! Further along the bank I had a fantastic sighting of 50 house martins (in two groups) and another swallow going west over the main path. 5 greenfinches flew over west.  I was quite surprised to see that several people had travelled from other counties to see the Red-rumped Swallow! James H. turned up as he needed it for his Norfolk list and also another man from Essex. I felt sorry for them, coming all this way and not seeing the bird, but that's that way it goes I suppose – twitching can be an expensive and disappointing game! James found a fantastic albino type Golden Plover that stood out like a sore thumb amongst the other Goldies on the fresh marsh. The blustery winds continued for most of the day.

James and others went to look at the sea, but I decided to walk back and have a look round the Fen Trail in hope that there might be a bit of shelter and maybe something exciting to see. I heard a chiffchaff calling in the trees opposite the Fen Trail entrance and saw another swallow on the East Trail. The Red-crested Pochard was in Patsy's Pool along with several coots and a Cetti's Warbler burst into tune near the Fen Hide, but didn't find anything else really of note.

After writing my findings in the sightings book in the visitor centre, I sat in the  in the 'Feeding Station' and enjoyed scrambled eggs on toast, whilst watching a Crane video. It was great being out of the wind!

I then spent two and half hours waiting for a kingfisher to appear in a friend's garden pond – it didn't! 8 more house martins were seen.

Wells - bought fish 'n' chips and then drove to the concrete pad at the West track at Warham and sat and enjoyed my lunch whilst watching the sea lashing on the beach distantly. It was an exceptionally high tide today, not ideal for walking East Hills! The skies looked moody – the afternoon was a mixture of brilliant sunshine, black clouds, rain and a rainbow!

I walked along the track in hope of having better views of the recent yellow-browed warbler. Several blackbirds and redwings scattered as I walked along and I also flushed a kestrel, but little else. In the copse at the end there were only a couple of chaffinches. I walked to the 'Pit' as this is a good place for any migrants that may have dropped in to shelter from the wind. I found several blackbirds in there along with chaffinches, blue and great tits, robins and wrens, but nothing else exciting. 11 Redwings landed momemtarily on an elder before continuing west. On the way back I found a ringtail Hen Harrier flying east past East Hills. Back into the copse of the end of the West track I found the tit flock, but couldn't see the yellow-browed warbler with them! Left and went to Cley.

Cley, Church Lane to have a quick look for M.A.G.'s Firecrest he found this morning – no luck. Went and had a quick look in Walsey Hills, but nothing there of note. Went to Kelling Water Meadows to have a look at the Pectoral Sandpiper as it has been showing well, I have been told and I had not been to see this bird yet. I passed a photographer along the track to the pool who had just photographed it and it was 'showing well in the corner' he told me. NOT when I arrived it wasn't – I just couldn't believe it – it wasn't there!!! My heart sunk – I had been planning to see and photograph this bird in evening sunshine, all day!!! The local barn owl, didn't cheer me up either. Obviously there was no sign of the firecrest reported here either!!! I trudged back to my car in a grump and then realised the light was going so quickly now, that I didn't even have time to go to the NWT hides at Cley. It was almost dark by 6.20pm! I hate the evenings closing in with a passion and even more so when the clocks go back on the 28th October, which then means going to work in the dark/coming home in the dark and that then also means only being able to go birding on a Saturday/sometimes Sunday. Moan over – back to work tomorrow.

The highlight of my mini break was photographing the gannets fishing at Cley – I will post some of these pictures this week, but won't be until at least Thursday, as I am in the hairdressers for a couple of hours straight after work tomorrow!

Looking forward to my last holiday of the year – not long to go, the very last week in October!

Main Highlights in Norfolk – RBA
Ring Ouzel, Lesser Whitethroat at Winterton
Red Kite at Wells
Firecrests x 2 and Red Kite at Holkham
Firecrest and Pectoral Sandpiper at Kelling (showing well for some!)
Firecrest and 7 Yellow-legged Gulls at Cley
Hen Harrier at Brancaster Staithe
Great Skuas x 5 at Hopton on Sea
Red-necked Grebe and Long-tailed Duck at Titchwell RSPB
Scaup at Holme NOA

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