The Plantation, Blakeney Point
With SE winds, rain, cloud and sun later, I felt it would be an excellent day for Blakeney Point! In fact a much better day then yesterday, when the Hoopoe had delayed me. So off I went to Cley.
Cetti's Warbler singing at Cley Sewage Works and also Long-tailed Tit seen. Stopped at the Cley Deli to buy my favourite Pear & Ginger cake – the ladies in the shop knew what I had come in for! Then off to the Cley Visitor Centre to get a buttered Cheese Scone to take away!
At Walsey Hills NOA I had a brief walk along the bottom path and saw a male Blackcap and heard a Cetti's Warbler. I also bumped into Sophie Barker (NOA warden) who had mist nets up and was ringing birds – she had just caught a Cetti's Warbler.
At Coastguards there were loads of Golden Plover on the 'Eye Field' and the usual Lapwing in the overspill carpark. I was packing my bag up ready for the walk to BP, when who should turn up in the carpark, James McCallum! Bother – he would now find all the goodies. I jokingly told him to 'go away' – he laughed! Mark G. also appeared from having walked from the east and also Steve G. Steve showed us a picture on the back of his camera that he had taken this morning, of a Nightingale that had landed on his lawn!!! There was a Wheatear on the fence post and a Yellow Wagtail flew over. I left Mark and James chatting, while I sped off (well ok, trudged through the shingle) ahead!
Female Reed Bunting.
Male Reed Bunting.
Birds seen on route to 'Halfway House': Ringed Plover, Whimbrel calling (in fact several throughout the day), several Linnets, Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, Swallows, Sandwich Terns, Reed Buntings, Willow Warbler and a Wheatear. I passed a birder walking back, who had seen a Stonechat and a also in 'The Plantation' a male Redstart. At 'Halfway House' I had 2 more Wheatears. I sat on the concrete steps of the house and had a coffee and cake. Several Linnets were feeding on the path that leads down to the jetty. All the wooden seating and the picnic table has gone, I presume washed away in the December storm surge.
Golden Plover at 'The Hood'.
James MacCallum searching for rares by 'Halfway House'.
At 'The Hood' I counted 13 Shelducks and also a single Golden Plover which was nice! I then had a thrush perched on a bramble distantly – it looked like a fieldfare, but I wanted it be something more exciting. Got a record shot. Crept closer and then bumped into James who had caught me up. We sneaked over the dune and could then clearly see, that it was indeed a Fieldfare. The bird then bounded away over the shingle and landed briefly. James had just seen a 'stonking male Redstart' which was very annoying, as I didn't see it – typical! I spent quite a while looking for this, whilst James went off ahead, but no luck at all. I had 2 more Wheatears on the shingle area near 'Long Hills'.
Fieldfare at 'The Hood'.
Fieldfare flying over the shingle ridge.
Male Redstart in 'The Plantation'.
I arrived at 'The Plantation' at 3.15pm and couldn't wait to sit down! The tamarisk buds were just beginning to open into their beautiful pink swathe of colour. I sat down on the western most side and ate my late lunch and coffee. There were several Chiffchaffs, possibly 5 in all and a few Linnets, but no sign of any Redstart. It's amazing how birds can hide in here – you wouldn't think it would be possible, especially when trees and bushes in here are only just coming into leaf. James then joined me later and together we heard what we thought was a Whitethroat but....... James was thinking subalpine....... he looked excited and needless to say I then was too! Our excitement soon died though, when Paul Nicholls (one of the Volunteer Wardens) appeared and informed us that he had seen a Common Whitethroat in here earlier! Paul also said the Redstart was still in here and 'didn't like being watched'! I left the 'men' to chat and I walked round to the front side. I wished I hadn't, as James and Paul then saw the Redstart! That bird was so elusive, it took me ages to see it! Paul left and so did James. I was determined to see this bird and wasn't leaving until I did! Eventually..... I caught a glimpse of it – a stunning male Redstart sitting in the bottom of a tree in the sunshine and also managed to get a picture too! I waited another half an hour to get a better shot, but I was pushing my luck there! A Robin also appeared. The Whitethroat did not show its face at all. As I left, just after 6pm, there was a Chiffchaff in the tamarisk shrub. A Marsh Harrier was gliding around over 'Long Hills'. A Skylark rose high above me in the blue skies.
Pink Thrift in abundance on Blakeney Point.
It was a beautiful evening, in fact the best part of the day. I walked back via 'The Hood' in hope of seeing James's Redstart, but no luck. Lots of Linnets here and also flushed a Sparrowhawk. At 'Halfway House' I sat on the steps and watched a Wheatear and more Linnets and also photographed a very bright male Reed Bunting (see below). Crossed over onto the beach and walked back along the shoreline, singing and talking to myself, anything to pass the time! The tractors were in my viewpoint and never seemed to look bigger. The last bit of the walk to Coastguards seems to take forever! I eventually arrived back at 8pm. It was still light, unusual for me! Sorted my bag out, had a coffee and left at 8.30pm, arriving home at 9.20pm.
Reed Bunting at Halfway House this evening.
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