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Sunday 24 May 2015

Icterine Warbler At West Runton And A Cracking Male Red-spotted Bluethroat At Blakeney Point!

Male Red-spotted Bluethroat
Blakeney Point
By the tamarisk bush next to the old laboratory, near the Plantation

I spent the morning editing pictures for a publication, which had to be finished – I worked from 7.30am until 12pm. It was bright and sunny all morning. Whilst editing pictures, an Icterine Warbler bleeped up on the pager, along with a Golden Oriole and then a Red-spotted Bluethroat. I had a very speedy lunch and very speedily made sandwiches and flask. Bundled hair into ponytail and I was off!

West Runton
It was teaming down with rain by the time I got here. Parked my car in a very sneaky spot and walked to the field adjacent to the caravan park. It took a long time to see the Icterine Warbler, but did eventually see it in some willows, moving around quickly. We were then told by Sue B. that it was 'just sitting there' round the other side of the hedge in the children's play area. Within minutes of re-locating to this area, we could see the bird with its back to us and obscured behind a branch. A few minutes later it started to move about and it was just getting good enough to take my first picture, when a lady (presumably staff from the caravan park) walked across towards us and said 'look I'm really sorry, but I need to ask you to move....' 'you can stand the other side of the hedge, but not here.... ' she then said something about 'adults with cameras'..... for goodness sake! As if we were there to photograph children!!! She waited to escort us out of the play area. But the funny thing was that there were no children at all, or adults (apart from us birders) in this area at all, but the other side of the hedge where she said we stand, there were several children playing!!! But this side was terrible light and not good viewing for the bird. I gave up and left without a single smudge on my camera! Still raining.
Meadow Pipit in the Tamarisk Bush.

 Male Red-spotted Bluethroat

Blakeney Point
I set off for Blakeney Point at 4.30pm! The rain had stopped and the sun was shining! I headed straight along the beach, as I did for the recent Moltoni's Subalpine Warbler! Each birder coming back was saying how well the Red-spotted Bluethroat was showing and what a cracking bird it was. Also saw Ajay, Paul and Sarah in their little vehicle, heading for Cley, who told me it was Andy Stoddart who had found the bluethroat. Also passed James MacCallum who said 'it's a cracking bird' and couldn't remember the last one he had seen that was showing that well. This gave me an extra spring in my step! I arrived at the Tamarisk 60 minutes later.

Cracking bird was an understatement – a vivid male with startling blue and red adorned across his chest – feeding on the short turf next to the large pink tamarisk bush and with white campion flowers all around the bush, you couldn't have had a better scene! A Meadow Pipit was also perched in the tamarisk bush. A Chiffchaff was flitting about, a Snipe and a Redshank perched on the chimney pot on the roof of the old laboratory and a Marsh Harrier was also seen. Eddie M. couldn't resist, when I told him how stunning this bluethroat was and an hour later he joined me. Eddie saw a Painted Lady butterfly when I went off to look in the Plantation later on.
Male Red-spotted Bluethroat

Unusually there were no birds in the Plantation itself, not that I could find anyway. I returned to spend the rest of the evening watching and photographing this superb Spring Male Red-spotted Bluethroat until 8.45pm. Eddie and I started walking back, but left one person here, an artist, who had been painting the bird since before I arrived.

The walk back seemed much quicker than usual, probably because I had someone to talk to, thanks Eddie! We arrived back at Coastguards at 10.15pm. Got back to King's Lynn at 11pm. Work tomorrow!

See NT Ranger Paul's video of the Red-spotted Bluethroat on the Blakeney Point Blog HERE.

1 comment:

  1. He's a cracker...
    not exactly camoflage colours!!
    Mind you, nor's a Bee-eater or a Kingfisher...

    Here's one for you...
    a male Monty feeding in field next door this evening...
    hadn't camera or 'scope... just the cheap binos we keep in the car... so couldn't see what it'd got.
    No camera, as mentioned... so it sat and posed for a few minutes, tearing whatever it had got to bits...
    then flew to opposite corner and sat... too far away to even get a scope shot!!
    Why do they do that??
    You could almost hear it sniggering!