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Thursday, 13 June 2013

Hot Birding at Cley!

Walsey Hills NOA – which I re-located this morning

Now, the 13th is not a lucky day for me, (today would have been my wedding anniversary), father had his stroke last year on the 13th and so on..... BUT today was a pretty good day for the 13th!

Parked up in the East Bank carpark and went to look for the Marsh Warbler that was found yesterday. Last night it was seen in the first hawthorn on the right hand side of the path west of the carpark. No luck with that today! There was no news on the pager this morning about this bird either.

Carried on walking to Bishop's Hide NWT. Over the pools there were hundreds and hundreds of swifts in the air!!! It really was a spectacle! I tried to search amongst them for something different! I met a really nice couple (photographers) who were here on holiday from Durham – together with others we watched (and photographed) a Marsh Harrier stealthily gliding high in the sky and then descending quickly onto an unsuspecting Avocet chick! The marsh harrier was heavily mobbed by every Avocet in the area, along with other birds. It was a dramatic scene and when I look back at my photos this evening, it almost brings tears to my eyes seeing the chick grabbed by the leg and the alarm on the other chick's faces!!! I know its nature and all that, but.....!!! I was told by a local birder that I had just missed seeing a Little Stint in front of the hide when I first walked in there! I counted at least 35 Avocet Chicks, but there were probably alot more than that, or maybe there wasn't! I sat in this hide for at least a couple of hours if not more. Walked back to the carpark.

Within seconds of walking along the bottom path at Walsey Hills I heard the Marsh Warbler singing just after the entrance gate to NOA in the bracken, almost touching distance away. I could see the bracken moving, it was so close, but I couldn't see the bird! I was the only person here and I was very pleased at re-finding this bird – it made my day! I was cursing about the 6ft+ bracken towering above me, when the Marsh Warbler appeared on a long dead stem in a perfect pose and it would have been the perfect shot! I tried to stand on tiptoe to clear the high bracken, but it was no good, I was gutted when I realised that special photo was taken from me! The memory of this will be etched in my mind permanently! The bird then shot into the thick bracken again. Later on it appeared to fly towards the end of the scrub by the carpark and that is exactly where it was – I could see it skulking just inches above the blue Walsey Hills sign and very luckily managed to get an out of focus record shot! I had no vodafone signal (which is normal here) and when I looked at my 'Orange' phone there was no battery left! Walked up the top of Walsey Hills (plucking my new coat on route!) to get a signal and phoned out the news to RBA. This bird tantilised me and others for the rest of the day! It sang on and off all afternoon, flying through the bracken and giving you the tiniest glimpse, but not once did it pose for a photo. Cetti's Warbler, male Blackcap, Chiffchaff, 2 Bullfinches, Long-tailed tits, Greenfinch, Goldfinches, Wren, Dunnocks and Chaffinches seen here also.

Walked along the East Bank and saw both the Pectoral Sandpipers, 2 Spotted Redshanks, lots of Black-tailed Godwits, several Sandwich Terns, Avocets, Shelducks with young etc. Also lots of Swifts around. Looked for the White-spotted Bluethroat in vain.

Went back to the Marsh Warbler and it continued to tease for the rest of the day. Whilst standing with Sue and Paul – the whole sky turned seriously black and we realised we needed to dive for cover quickly. I knew I wouldn't make it to my car in the East bank carpark. Paul ran to his car and Sue and I ran up the steps and I unlocked the NOA hide to shelter in – we made it just in time before the torrential rain came down!!! Sue and I were musing how fabulous it would be to see the Pacific Swift from this hide whilst we sheltered – that would have been a story!

Apart from going back to my car for my tea, I spent the rest of the evening in sunshine, hoping to see and photograph the Marsh Warbler again. Andy J., Eddie, Steve G. and another birder also there. I gave up at 9pm!!!


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