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Saturday, 16 November 2013

PARROT CROSSBILL & A Surprise Bird!

Arrived at Holt Country Park to find the carpark almost full. Lots of birders waiting and hoping to catch a glimpse of the Parrot Crossbills seen here in the week. Lots of familiar faces here including Julian B., Andy S., Paul W., Jim S., Andy W. etc etc. Walked off to the pond area with Andy W. to search. Phone call from Julian B. to say he had a Parrot Crossbill sitting in a pine almost above his head, along with Jim S.!!! We flew back to the carpark and drove just down the road to the clearing opposite the Edgfield sign (where the Roller was). The Parrot Crossbill along with approx 15 Crossbills had flown over to the single tall tree stump in the middle of the clearing and were difficult to ID from where we were standing, but we did finally see the female Parrot Crossbill amongst them! The flock then moved to the distant pine trees and then magically flew to the pines just to our left where we and lots of other birders had spectacular views of one female Parrot Crossbill – a new bird for me, so exciting! There was no mistaking this bird with its bulky beak and neck – stood out from the crowd so to speak! There was much discussion over a male Crossbill which was obscured from view most of the time. Whilst here, there were also 2 Red Kites. The light was absolutely dire for photography with dull grey, lifeless skies. Drove back to Holt Country Park to have a coffee. A message came up on the pager to say that there were 12 Parrot Crossbills at the clearing, at the time we had been there. We certainly did not see 12! Not saying that somebody didn't see 12, but there certainly wasn't 12 when we and lots of others were there at that time.

Cley Visitor Centre for late lunch with Andy W. and the usual fun banter with Pat. Our lunch was interrupted by news of a Red-breasted Flycatcher at Coastguards – really?! I didn't quite believe it to be honest, but Andy and I finished our sandwich toasties pretty quick, just in case. We then quickly got up to make a sharp exit. As I was about to walk past the reception desk a man was showing a picture on the back of his camera to the lady that works there – she kindly called me over to look at the picture – OMG, there on the back of the camera WAS a Red-breasted Flycatcher!!!! I flew down those stairs and ran to the car. Andy got a lift with me and I scorched up to Beach Road. I stopped by a row of birders standing by the Cattle Pen, as this is where I had heard it was earlier, but they were looking for geese when we asked. Flew up to Coastguards to find several people had been looking and had not re-found the RB Fly. Mark G. Richard M., Andy St. and several others looking – nothing! The finder of the bird appeared amongst us and said he had first seen it on the shingle by the pill box looking exhausted, then on the low fence wire where he photographed it (picture HERE). The Red-breasted Flycatcher then made its way west, where he and his wife saw it again on the fence wires in the carpark!!! (mortified) It then flew south over the Eye Field. I walked east over the West Bank along the shingle for a short distance (towards BP) just in case, but found nothing. Mark G. phoned me (he was standing on the West Bank) to point out that a stonking male Hen Harrier was flying west not far from where I was standing – fantastic, but brief views only of this lovely bird, but it melted away when I lifted the camera!

Walked to Daukes Hide with Andy W., Pete S., Steve West etc just in case the RBFly had re-located there, but nothing. Went back to the car and was told all the gulls had left the NWT hides and headed for North Scrape. Went back to Coastguards and ended the day walking to North Hide with Andy W. to look at gulls, but light failing rapidly at 4pm and didn't see anything exciting apart from two Pintail.

PICTURES TO BE ADDED

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