I started the day far too late, but I was completely wiped out from everything that had gone on over the last few days. The Broad-billed Sandpiper appeared on the pager again, so I headed off to Snettisham RSPB to see it.
It was a glorious day, but extremely windy. There were a good number of cars in the car park at Snettisham, which was to be expected really. I started the long trek out to Shore Hide, which is the furthest hide on the reserve and take around 45 minutes to reach. As I battled through the winds I could see lots of familiars faces walking back – oh dear this wasn't a good sign and then a message appeared on the pager informing me that the Broad-billed Sandpiper had been flushed (by a Sparrowhawk I was told) and had headed back out to The Wash! That's the second day I had missed out on seeing this bird! I felt really fed-up – early bird catches the worm and I didn't. No one to blame but myself. I carried on regardless and continued my walk to Shore Hide. I have never seen so many Black-tailed Godwits in one place! I estimated at least one and half thousand here – a fabulous sight! Also Common Terns feeding cute fluffy chicks, Cormorants, Knot, Dunlin, Oystercatchers, Egyptian Geese and young, Greylag Geese, and also a Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and several Linnets around. I spent around an hour here enjoying the scenery and mass of birds, before heading back to my car.
I sat in my deckchair enjoying my salad lunch and fruit and was promptly joined by two white ducks, who presumed I would have some bread. I threw a small piece of my potato for them and they turned their beaks up and left it! What a waste! Fussy ducks! When they realised there was nothing else on offer, they waddled back to the pond in disgust.
I drove directly to Holt Country Park from here to look for the recent Valensina form of Silver-washed Fritillary – this form is only found in the female and is a wonderful array of browns and blues/greens. I really, really wanted to see one of these. I paid my £1.50 to park and bumped into Dawn B. and her daughter Bethany – together we headed off to try and find these butterflies. I was joined by John F., Eddie Myers, Jill and Rob W. and also saw a few other people looking for them. I have never seen so many Silver-washed Fritillaries, there must have been at least 20 along the sunny rides! White Admirals, Ringlets, Commas, Red Admiral, Tortoishells, Gatekeepers also joined the party. Someone found a very torn 'Valensina' – only half its wings were there, poor thing! Later on Rob W. found one, but by the time we all got there it had disappeared. I then returned alone to an area we had all previously been watching and at last found one!!! Took a few photos in case it disappeared and then called John F. who alerted the others to join me. It didn't hang about for long though and disappeared into the tree tops. I got some half decent pictures, but it never opened its wings fully for that perfect shot! Amazing colours and so glad I found one. Young Bethany was having a fab time taking pictures of us all, as well as butterflies – hope she took my best side! Later on I thought I found a second one, but realised this was simply a pale female Silver-washed Fritillary. I left and headed for Cley.
I spent the rest of the evening in Daukes's Hide, Cley NWT. There was a wonderful selection of birds out here including: 11 Little Ringed Plovers, 6 Little Gulls, Yellow-legged Gull, Black-headed Gulls, 9 Spoonbills, Garganey, Little Stint, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Greenshank, Barn Owl, Marsh Harrier, Little Egret, 2 Grey Herons, Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits, Shelducks, Sandwich Terns, several Ruff and Mute Swans.
PICTURES TO BE ADDED