Met up with Eddie at the concrete pad at Warham to walk East Hills at 8.10am. Walking along Garden Drove, produced no birds at all, not a good sign! In fact it didn't feel like there was anything much doing. I did question if we should be walking out there at all – it just didn't feel 'rare'.
We decided to go for it anyway. It was a beautiful day, but cloud loomed on and off in the early afternoon which gave us a glimmer of hope of something rare dropping in. We spent all day there until 3pm with very poor results, well for October with east winds it most certainly was!
Rock Pipit and Marsh Harrier on the way out. There was one other birder out here before us and when we caught up with him later (Richard) - he hadn't seen much more than us. Managed to get over the quick sand, always gets the adrenalin going! I have not been out to East Hills since my bad experience last year and to be honest it has put me off going out there alone. Also, some of the creeks you have to jump before the large quicksand creek have become wider, making it difficult for someone short to get across – I was lucky I didn't fall! Please note, for those of you that have not been out here, DO NOT attempt this without being shown the way out or without knowing when to walk out, as tides govern when you go out/return.
At the edge of the dunes, we saw a Reed Bunting on a bramble. There were a few bumble bees around today. The highlight of the day was a fabulous Common Lizard which Eddie found – it appeared on a moss covered log in the sycamore glade, but quickly disappeared inside the log. Also this log was covered in some fascinating ice-green fungi which were miniscule and the best way to describe the shapes of them was like little bowls on sticks!!! Don't know what they were, but they looked beautiful. In fact there was a wonderful array of fungi and toadstools on East Hills.
In the sycamore glade were 2 Chiffchaffs, 1 Blue Tit, 1 Great Tit and a handful of Goldcrests. Further along towards the tall pines and brambles at the furthest end, were a dozen (approx) thrushes including Blackbirds and Song Thrushes. A Brambling called and we saw 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers – one following the other! We worked hard to find birds and covered every part of East Hills. We returned to the sycamore glade three times in hope that something exciting might have dropped in. By mid-afternoon the Goldcrest numbers had increased and there was probably at least 20+ out there by the time we left. Eddie and I split up at the end and arranged to meet at the large pine before heading back. Eddie walked the dune side and I walked through the sycamores and pines. Eddie phoned me to say he had watched a Goldcrest fly in low off the sea, looking tired, but it made it!
Disappointingly we trudged back over the sands, creeks and mud at 3pm arriving back at the copse at the end of Garden Drove at 4pm. We sat on the fallen tree trunk to rest, have a coffee and watch for any birds in the copse – there wasn't any. Walking back along Garden Drove, didn't produce a single bird! Eddie went east to Cley. I went west to Wells.
Parked my car at the far end of East Quay by the fishing sheds and walked along the sea bank and then south along the path through the field to the allotments and spent a good while walking round these to look for birds. I only found a Robin and a Wren.
Continued along the coast road to Holme and visited my parents. Went to Hunstanton to do a mini shop for a few items Mother had forgotton to order for the weekly 'on-line' shop. We tried to look up my ice-green fungi I had found, in some ID books my parents had, but we couldn't find them! Father looked tired and fed-up and although calm, he seemed to be confused – some of the things he was talking about didn't make much sense today. On the way home I saw a Barn owl sitting on a post alongside the A149 at Heacham.
Update: Lizzie Bruce (Warden, RSPB Lodge Nature Reserve) on Twitter suggested my 'ice-green fungi' might be a cladonia type lichen. I googled this and came up with Pixie Cups!!! Looks like them, so thanks Lizzie.
PICTURES TO BE ADDED