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Monday 4 May 2015

Bank Holiday Monday – Cley & Salthouse!

The late Richard Richardson's birthday would have been today – this date always stays in my mind and Mother had said earlier that a Wryneck always turns up on Richard's birthday and one did as well!

I spent rather a lazy day at Cley and Salthouse. No megas, no rarities, but a nice selection of birds on what must have been the hottest day of the year so far!  Met several new blog readers – nice to meet you all and the most touching story was when a birder told me that his father-in-law, who had recently passed away, enjoyed reading my blog so much, in his last remaining days – almost bought a tear to my eye.

I arrived in Cley just after 8am and started off at the Deli – parked up in the carpark where there was loads of bird action: several House Sparrows chattering away in the apple tree along with a Goldcrest stealthily catching flies amongst the ivy leaves and also 2 Blackbirds and several Goldfinches in the willows! Good start to the day. Purchased some naughty food from the shop, just in case I needed to bomb down Blakeney Point later, excuses, excuses!

Parked up on Beach Road and Julian B. arrived here a few moments after me. Walked along the footpath to view the same field and cows as last night. 6 Yellow Wagtails, 1 Blue-headed Wagtail and 1 Pied Wagtail with the cows, but no sign of last night's Grey-headed Wagtail, much to the disappointment of those birders who couldn't get here last night. A big cycle race was obviously going on and we all got really fed-up with cyclists commenting as they flew past "they must be watching the cows" along with sneering chuckles. I knew Eddie would blow at some point, encouraged by me as well I must admit! After about the fifth comment, Eddi swung round and said in a really loud voice (even for Eddie) "Are you cycling?". Did they really believe we were watching cows through our binoculars – how stupid can you get!!!

Cley Visitor Centre – had a cheese scone! Watched 7 Swifts going west (my first ones this year) from the VC. Parked up at Walsey Hills NOA and had fabulous views of a Common Sandpiper on Snipe's Marsh which flew across, landed and then flew off again calling at 11am. A local birder had counted 200+ Swifts flying through west from first light this morning and Holme NWT Warden Gary H. had also had 200+ going west past Hunstanton Cliffs early this morning.

Walsey Hills NOA held a very vocal Male Blackcap, Whitethroat, Wren, Blackbirds x 2 and a Speckled Wood Butterfly. A lost dog decided it would go for a crap, bang in the middle of the path, so after the owner had called her dog back round the corner, I followed to catch them up, which actually was the car park where she was just about to drive off – I caught her just in time and informed her politely what had happened and she returned to clear up the mess. If the dog had been in control in the first place this wouldn't have happened.

Iron Road, Salthouse – walked along here with Eddie M., as far as the shingle bank. On route we saw 2 White Wagtails, 1 Pied Wagtail, 2 Wheatears, Meadow Pipits, 1 Yellow Wagtail with the cows and a Male Peregrine heading west at 1.15pm. Sitting on the shingle we watched Sandwich Terns heading west and a stunning Brimstone Butterfly.

Beach Road, Salthouse to look for the reported Wood Sandpipers, but no sign. Eddie went off to the top of the road to get his coffee fix and I had my lunch, sitting in my deckchair in the sunshine! Too hot for me today – shouldn't complain though, it was a stunning day. I left and then parked up by Salthouse church and had a walk round the churchyard, where I found a beautiful patch of cowslips – I then followed a fabulous little footpath that leads down into Salthouse village and this is where I found a pristine Speckled Wood butterfly. This path looks potentially brilliant for migrants and overlooks lots of gardens and lawns all the way along. I returned to my car having seen no migrants whatsoever!

I went off to the Cley VC to use the posh new loos and met two more blog readers who were doing a bird race. Parked up at Old Woman's Lane to search for more Yellow Wagtails – the cows had been moved to the field east of the boardwalk that leads out to the NWT hides, but there were no wagtails with them now.

Went to Coastguards and on route along Beach Road, I bumped into and had a chat with John F. and Dave H and we discussed the swift (see yesterday's post) and the lack of 'rares'. At Coastguards I watched Linnets by the Eye puddle, but no wagtails seen. There were a couple of Wheatears along with Meadow Pipits, Swallows and several Sandwich Terns flew overhead. Saw my first Little Terns this Spring – 5 of them flew over the car park. I had a brief snooze in the car and a late lunch. No exciting news from Blakeney Point or anywhere in Norfolk today, apart from a Wryneck at Santon Warren, there was nothing to get the heart racing. The Wood Warbler reported at Salthouse House was not seen or heard by any other birders after the first pager message.

I returned to Walsey Hills for a look round, but found nothing new. Went back to Salthouse to see if the Wood Sandpipers had returned, but no sign. Gave up and decided to be sensible for once and returned home in daylight – unusual for me! With tomorrow's weather forecast, I may stay in to do some jobs – maybe!


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