Got up very early and was birding along the clifftop at Hunstanton by 6.45am. It was a beautiful, sunny morning. The bushes by the pitch 'n' putt next to the bowling green, held House Sparrows, Whitethroats, Hedge Sparrows, Goldfinches and a Pied Wagtail and Woodpigeons were on the bowling green itself.
Along the Firs Road to Holme Reserves, I found a Ruff on the pool just south of the road. Lots of Whitethroats and Chiffchaffs around, Cetti's Warbler singing and Hirundines were plenty. I photographed 4 cute baby Lapwing Chicks in the paddocks and also a dozing hare enjoying the warmth of the early morning sun. Parked the car on the NOA carpark and walked back west through the dunes. Walking along the boardwalk I saw 3 Marsh Harriers over Holme Marsh. Nothing in the NWT Forestry apart from Whitethroats and Wood Pigeons – there were less birds in here than there was last night!
In the paddocks at the back of the bungalows, behind the NWT payhut, I found last night's (presumably) 2 Turtle Doves purring away and saw one in a tree briefly. A bigger surprise was watching Tree Sparrows land in the top of a hawthorn briefly, before heading off west – I counted eight – couldn't get the camera on them quick enough though! A pair of Reed Bunting were seen and lots of Whitethroats around. Met several new blog readers whilst here and we stood listening to the Turtle Dove purring for ages, but no one could see it – they were very pleased when I found it sitting high up in a tree – it was shortly joined by a second bird, so this brought smiles to everyone's faces. News of a third Turtle Dove singing in the NWT Forestry, led me to return and I listened to my third Turtle Dove this morning! There were some Linnets in the new large sandy area and also 1 Wheatear. Also several Wheatears in the horse paddocks along the road with the Lapwings and chicks. Walked back to my car, dumped the scope and went to the Firs NWT to chat with Kelvin about other birds around – he had a good general list.
Headed to the observatory and Sophie was ringing birds, but not the numbers she had expected. I was very upset to see the large sycamore tree by the pond in front of the observatory had been cut down to a tall stump. This iconic tree attracted some good birds, especially in the autumn eg Pallas's Warbler, Yellow-browed Warblers, Spotted Flys, Pied Flys etc. The tree had become too big and not manageable at that size I was told, another new one has been planted close by, but by the time the new one is as big as the one that was cut down, I will be 10 foot under! This tree was planted by old Assistant Warden Vernon Eve's father, Ray – at the same time of the planting of a second one which is on the edge of the NWT carpark and is still there. The only other large sycamore on the NOA reserve has also been trimmed down considerably and this is just off the main bank leading to the obs. I know they grow back to a certain degree, but I don't understand why they have to be cut down at all – its a reserve after all, not a town centre! Walked back to my car and left. Bumped into Ray R. and Phil H. by the pool where I had seen the Ruff this morning – there were now 4 Ruff! We all chatted for quite a while and put the world to rights! We discussed a new wooden slatted building which has been erected along the Firs Road by singer David Gray – its situated just after Redwell Marsh Hide. To us it looks like a very modern bird hide. We decided it must be a hide? It needs a pond in front though! Will be interesting to see what develops here! We also discussed the wooden chalet up for sale for a vast sum of money (formerly known in the birding world as the 'static caravan' and where the Collared Flycatcher was found in 2011). Sadly lots of the trees on this site have been cut down.
Visited parents briefly to make sure they were both behaving themselves and then went to Titchwell RSPB for my lunch. A very good bird had been seen very briefly this morning, by a birder sitting outside the visitor centre at 11am – a Wood Warbler!!! It was searched for by Titchwell staff but sadly wasn't seen again. The rain started to fall, so I sat inside the 'Feeding Station' for my lunch.
I walked very slowly round the Fen Trail as I heard through somene else yesterday, that a Spotted Flycatcher had been seen recently. I found Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, Chaffinches, Hedge Sparrows, Wren, Blue and Great Tits. The rain continued for the rest of the afternoon and evening. I walked up to Patsy's Pool where I counted 10 Red-crested Pochards, 1 Pochard, Greylags with fluffy, plump babies and the usual Mallards, Teal, Little Grebe etc. A Tawny Owl called from the wood.
I sat in Island Hide for a long time and saw a good selection of birds here. Titchwell has far more birds on the pools than Cley does at the moment. Lots of Avocets, Redshanks, Black-headed Gulls, Coots, Moorhens, Greylags, Shelducks, Tufted Ducks, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Gadwall, 4 Little Ringed Plovers, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 very smart Dunlin, 3 Common Terns (sitting on island) and hundreds of hirundines skimming low over the water and these numbers increased as the afternoon progressed. Sedge Warblers singing in the reedbeds. I walked back round the Fen Trail on the way back and then returned to my car – I was the last person to leave!
Parked my car up along the Ringstead road in Thornham and went to view the playing field in hope of finding a hoopoe (there was one here last year on the 21st April). The usual Wood pigeons, 2 Red-legged Partridges and 1 Pied Wagtail were feeding, as the light started to fade. Heard a Green Woodpecker calling in the grounds of Thornham Hall. Went home and promptly fell asleep.
PHOTOGRAPHS TO BE ADDED