As I'm sure most of you are aware – well certainly those birders in Norfolk, its been lashing down with rain and strong North Easterly winds, from dawn to dusk and still raining now at 23.00. Ideal conditions to drop in some rare birds, hopefully anyway! So, with the very disappointing news of 'no sign of the Black-headed Bunting...' in finder's Sue Bignell's garden at Cromer, I decided to go and find my own birds. So off I went to one of my favourite places to find migrants, Gun Hill and Burnham Overy Dunes!
I sometimes ask myself what the h*ll am I doing, walking in pouring rain to find birds, but one day, just one day, it might pay off! Parked up in the layby on the A149 and set off down the track, still pouring with rain. There was one birder just returning, who said the wind was blowing so much, he didn't think it was worth walking the Gun Hill side – this was my chance! I didn't see anyone else out there after that.
A Cuckoo erupted from a tree by the first stile. Saw the odd Meadow Pipit, Skylark and Reed Bunting along the top path and also a Marsh Harrier flew west. A few Little Egrets were dotted about on the marshes. When I reached the bushes and scrub at the end of the path it seemed pretty dead. But, when I 'pished' next to the small apple tree, there was at least three birds flicking about in there, but I could not get them out to ID, however hard I tried, so frustrating!
Walking west to Gun Hill, I flushed two different birds in the sueda bushes, but they disappeared just as quickly as they had appeared and I couldn't find them again! A Meadow Pipit was feeding in the large expanse of short turf next to Gun Hill itself. Then the excitement started – in the bushes on the seawards side of Gun Hill, there were several birds flicking about and teasing me. The first one was sitting in a bramble and appeared to have a pale, streaky breast – as soon as I got the bins on it.... it dived in, out of sight – possibly a Spotted Flycatcher, who knows! Several more birds flew out of bushes, landed in others and I couldn't get on
any of them, incredibly frustrating. Very difficult birding conditions, with rain filled binoculars, wind and poor light. Walked back and didn't see anything more until I reached the bottom path on the last stretch back – a bunting landed in a puddle which I managed to see through bins before it flew off over the marsh... no more than a female Reed Bunting!
The path back was even more water logged now than it was on the walk out! Got back to my car at 9.15pm. So many wet clothes and stuff to sort out! The drive home was pretty scary to be honest – I had to slow down considerably, lots of flooding to contend with. Got home just after 10pm.
It should be teaming with birds when the
sun eventually appears! This weather is forecast to continue with rain and NE winds through tomorrow and Thursday with no let up in the rain. Friday will be the day with the sun appearing at 1pm!