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Saturday, 19 July 2014

Waiting for a Bridled Tern at Winterton!

Birders waiting and hoping for a Bridled Tern to Appear!

I don't think many people would have slept properly last night in this heat, I certainly didn't and was also woken up by thunder and lightening early morning. I got up at a fairly decent time, but ended up wasting the morning.... well I say wasting, that sounds inappropriate really – I was reading all the tragic stories about the passengers on flight MH17, it was heart breaking and made me feel so sad.

I started off at Cleyspy at Glandford and kindly ask Phil and Andrew to repair my tripod head, which was loose and I couldn't quite work out why (I had already tightened the screw). I don't know what they did, but its all fine now, so thanks.

Cley Fete
I stopped here for one purpose only – to go to the produce stall to buy a jar of marmelade! There were tons of people here, but I was very unimpressed with the stalls this year to be honest. The main event seemed to be a dog fancy dress (yep, you did read that right!) – My arrival was badly timed, when the winning pooch (which seemed to have wings attached to it) was being paraded up and down with lots of applauding – here is the picture and TV Presenter Anneka Rice was the judge (Anneka follows me on Twitter!). The brass band of course was good and there was an ice-cream stall, but the bric-a-brac stall was a load of old rubbish! I walked into the church to look at the bird books on offer – there were only a handful, took me all of two seconds to browse through! The cream teas on offer in the church and the art were of course excellent. The heat was incredible and I just couldn't bear it.

Coastguards, Cley
At least I will get some coolness and breeze here I thought, as I drove along Beach Road to the carpark. How wrong was I! It was just as hot as it was inland! I spent about 10 minutes chatting to another birder and then left.

I arrived at Pinewalk Road to find the white buddleia, where yesterday's Scarce Tortoiseshell Butterfly had been seen. I didn't take long to find it, as two birders were standing looking at it! It had not been seen today, but I met the finder of yesterday's sighting, who is Mike Gough and he told me he watched it for just over 5 minutes, early afternoon only. His pictures are HERE. There was a good selection of other butterflies including Red Admiral, Peacock, Painted Ladies, Comma and Small Tortoishell. Whilst standing here, news came on the pager about an 'Unconfirmed sighting of a BRIDLED TERN that roosted with terns at Winterton yesterday evening!!! Now..... my plans had been to go back to Cley and spend the evening in the hides, but this changed things completely, or did it? Would it be crazy to drive for an hour to Winterton, when the chances of seeing a Bridled Tern were practically nil? I thought about this and imagined how I would feel if I was in Cley or worse still, back in King's Lynn when up on the pager came 'Mega, Bridled Tern at Winterton'....... I couldn't risk it, I had to go!
Surely this should have a red asterisk next to it!!! Rather than just 'passing along coast'!

Birders waiting for a mega to appear!

I arrived at the cafe carpark at 6.45pm. The carpark I found out, closes and is locked at 7.30pm – no good to me! So I re-located to the village carpark, where I had to wait for a bit to get a space. Walked back up the road and bumped into Barry Jarvis on route, so walked to the beach with him. We chatted with an RSPB Volunteer at the information hut to try and find out about yesterday's Bridled Tern sighting. A lady volunteer had seen the tern 'late yesterday afternoon' and spent the entire evening looking through books and came to the conclusion that it could only have been a Bridled Tern. The sighting was then entered in the book in the information hut this morning (I believe). It was chalked up on the blackboard outside the hut (see picture). Barry and I then joined a few other birders and we stood watching Little and Common Terns on the shore line. There was much discussion about the sighting, as expected for a potentially mega bird. It was a beautiful evening and cooler here (thank goodness). More birders turned up in dribs and drabs and by the finish there was about 26 people here. Birds seen besides the terns were a Ringed Plover, Sanderling, at least 6 Whimbrel, several Gannets, several Common Scoters, a Med. Gull which flew close along the beach. Bird of the evening was a Hobby chasing a Little Tern, which Barry spotted a long way out before it came in closer at 9pm. Several people here including Dave H., Justin L., R. Martin, Tim A. and others I knew by face, but couldn't remember their names, sorry! Most of us left by 9.05pm, leaving three people standing on the beach.

The RSPB Information Hut, Winterton.

Sunset over Winterton Dunes.

It was going to be a long drive home! I arrived back in King's Lynn at 11.20pm!

It was frustrating to see a message on the pager at 23.04 saying 'Scarce Tortoiseshell Butterfly Holme' – now I know RBA don't know, otherwise they would have said. But wherever this information came from, could at least said if it was in a private garden or not. I presume it was not on any of the reserves as there would be no need to suppress a butterfly on a nature reserve which many of us pay membership for to support/visit. It would be nice to know what time it was seen too and for how long – does anyone know please?

Sunday Update: Robert Smith replied to my question for information on FB: "At c2pm yesterday a large orange butterfly was seen briefly in flight in the NOA car park\path to the nwt hides. The finder ran to alert others but it could not be relocated. As far as I'm aware it was only ever a possible."


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