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Saturday, 24 May 2014


The Plantation, Blakeney Point

It was raining as I left the house and continued to do so. I was first on the carpark at Coastguards, Cley this morning, I can't remember what time it was now, it seems so long ago, but it was early. Sat in the car for a bit, deciding if I was 'man enough' to walk in the rain to search for rares. NWT Warden Bernard Bishop pulled up the carpark and we chatted briefly. Julian B. also turned up and we had a catch up – Julian felt there would definitely be birds around today and asked me not find anything good until he was free later at 5pm!!! Something really funny then happened – a police car pulled up in the carpark (unusual for here) and the window wound down and a policeman started talking to me, like he knew me!!!! I was really taken back!!! My first thoughts were... what have I done!!! He did know me, well kind of, he follows my blog, oh dear!!! I said, I must make sure I don't mention my driving or overtaking etc anymore......he laughed. He told Julian and I that he had seen the White Cockateil (seen at BP recently) at Walsey Hills sitting in a pine tree – can't remember what day he saw this though.

The rain suddenly eased off, time to go! Packed my serious, waterproof rucksack up and off I went. Started raining again, as I had expected, looking at the forecast yesterday, which was rain, rain and more rain! As soon as my boots crunched into the shingle, Reed Buntings and Meadow Pipits scattered – this was a very good sign indeed. Don't normally get much at all before 'Halfway House'. Rain now heavier and the skies were black. Managed to 'tweet' to Twitter for the first time on the iphone. The Reed Bunting and Meadow Pipit theme continued to Halfway House and I also had one Chiffchaff. A few Linnets in the mix along with a few Hedgesparrows. There was a family staying in the house and they were sawing drift wood for the fire. I worked hard today to find something and covered every bit of the 'Point' that I could. A massive thunderstorm with sheet lightening then started – I love thunderstorms normally, when I'm indoors, but its pretty scary being out in one! I was being pelted with rain so hard, I thought for a moment it was hail! As the lightening flashed, I was thinking about the fact that I don't have a will!!!

When the storm finished, the sun came out, magic! That would bring the birds out surely? I got my new iphone out of pocket (see yesterday's post) to take a picture... I was shocked when it wouldn't allow me to take a picture as I 'hadn't got enough storage and I needed to go to settings to manage this'. I don't want to ruin this post with me moaning about the phone again, but it was quite unbelievable what happened today, this is my second new phone for goodness sake! I phoned vodafone and they told me how to re-set the network settings, turn the phone off for 10 minutes, back on again and it would be fine. Did this and it worked and I could take pictures again, BUT I then couldn't open the internet at all and got messages saying I needed to check my internet connection. Phoned vodafone again, they got me change something in cellular data, turn phone off, back on. Didn't work. Phoned again, different instructions, still didn't work. Gave up. Oh and later on I couldn't take any more pictures again (with same message) – my god what a nightmare with this phone business, I could scream, I really could! The last lady I spoke to said she would ring me later to see if was all working again.

Back to birds! Nothing else of note. Walked round 'The Hood' and 'Long Hills' and again nothing of note, just more Meadow Pipits and a few Grey Partridges. A Marsh Harrier flew over the Lifeboat House. At 'The Plantation' things were a bit more exciting – a lovely Spotted Flycatcher appeared! A very mobile one and one that did not want to be photographed – my first picture was a dark smudge on a branch! There was also a second Spotted Flycatcher in there later. A Chiffchaff was flicking about and there were Meadows Pipits and Linnets, but nothing else in there. Sat on the concrete next to the 'Lupins' (next to Lifeboat House) and watched another Spotted Flycatcher, along with Linnets and Meadow Pipits.

Walked to 'Near Point' and searched hard for a Bluethroat or something, but only found a single Wheatear. Chatted to Ajay and other volunteers briefly. Ajay said he had not seen yesterday's Red-backed Shrike this morning. Walked back to the Plantation and found James M. and Ashely who had also seen very little on route. Very disappointing not to find more migrants after the slog in the rain out here, oh well, that's the way it goes I suppose. Sat by the plantation again and watched the Spotted Flycatchers flicking about in the middle of the scrub. It was wonderfully warm now and after having my lunch, I decided a snooze was in order! As I cat napped a voice said 'hello'....... it was Paul the warden – we chatted and even he said, that something would be found here today. Paul left and then James and Ashley appeared again – we sat and gazed into the Plantation again. They both left just before me. I managed to get some half decent shots of a Spotted Flycatcher in the big Tamarisk shrub just before I left at 5.30pm.
Spotted Flycatcher, Blakeney Point.

Chiffchaff in 'The Plantation'

Walked back through the single and sueda, hoping to find something on the way back. 2 Gannets flew east along the sea at 6pm. Nothing else of note at all. Legs starting to ache and it had started raining again! After passing Half Way House, I had had enough, after reaching the end of the roped off area for nesting, I made a bee-line for the hard sand of the beach and walked back to Coastguards. Every time I looked up (as is usual) the boats on the shingle, never looked any bigger! That last 1/4 of a mile always takes forever! Eventually plodded over the shingle at 7.30pm. So many wet clothes to sort. Collapsed in the car with coffee and a cheese roll. Vodafone lady phones me up, to ask if everything is working now? 'No' I reply. She sounded very very nervous when she said I think your handset might be faulty!!!!!!! Long and short of it, I am going into the Vodafone shop in Lynn tomorrow afternoon after work. I will remain cool this time and just plonk phone on the counter and explain that I can't use the camera or the internet when I am out and see what they say or do about that! The tehnical team at Vodafone couldn't solve it.

A hard day's searching today and was hoping for a good smattering of migrants. Mike Sidwell had bird of the day with his find of a Red-backed Shrike at Burnham Overy Dunes. I really hope nothing too exciting is found when I am work tomorrow morning!


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