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Sunday, 24 January 2016

Flitcham, Kelling, Sheringham, Weybourne, Salthouse & Holme!

I wasn't able to go birding on Saturday, which made if all the more frustrating today, when neither the Serin at Downham Market or the Grey Phalarope at Cley were showing! The weather was pretty dire today with light rain and dull skies, whereas yesterday had been a beautiful sunny day.

I headed east and stopped off to cruise around Flitcham for another look at the Pallid Harrier, but no joy there. However, I had lovely views of a big flock of finches, which included a good number of Bramblings. There were quite alot of people around, hoping for a glimpse of the harrier. The verges have become very churned up along the road towards the polytunnels and the road was extremely muddy. Please note that the track that runs up hill past the polytunnels (where I walked recently) is private – this was pointed out to me via a very nice email I had a few days ago, from the Manager of Abbey Farm.

Next stop was Kelling were I parked up to walk to the water meadows in search of the Grey Phalarope – I was hoping it may have relocated to the pool. As I got out of the car, John F. was driving past and then joined me to walk the water meadows. The track was the muddiest I have ever seen it and wasn't really suitable for walking boots – wellies would have been far more appropriate! An ivy clad tree had fallen across the track and another looked very precarious! Lots of Wigeon and Teal on the pool, a Shelduck, Egyptian Geese and a few Curlew were on the marsh. We walked as far as the second corner by the gate, when I spotted a diver on the flooded area west of the track – on closer inspection it turned out to be a Red-throated Diver! We managed to get some distant pictures – the chest of the bird was oiled, poor thing. It didn't stay very long and flew off west when a dog walker flushed it. Back at the car, John headed west and I went into the tea rooms at Kelling to buy a piece of coffee and walnut cake.

I headed east to Sheringham to look for the reported Black Redstart on the Esplanade. I walked towards the boating lake and spent ages trying to find this bird – found a Hedge Sparrow, Robin, Blackbird, House Sparrows and lots of Black-headed Gulls on the boating lake, but no sign of the Black Redstart. I walked behind the flats and around other roads peering into gardens and roofs, but found nothing. I gave up and headed east along the promenade to the 'Funky Mackerel Cafe' to look for Purple Sandpipers, but sadly there were far too many dogs, people, children etc – bounding and climbing over the rocks, so I only managed to see a few Turnstones and gulls.

On the way back, John kindly phoned me to say he was watching the Black Redstart! I speedily walked back and joined John by the Burlington Hotel, which is opposite the children's playground. The Black Redstart was high up on the roof! Cracking little bird, so pleased to have seen this. Only obtained rubbish photos though, as too far away and the light was poor. John left to go home. The Black Redstart spent most of its time on the roof of a house – a lady came out of the house and asked what I was watching – she was delighted to look through my binoculars for a closer look at the bird. I also had a lovely surprise, when a stunning Grey Wagtail landed on the tiled roof! A couple of birders who were just leaving Sheringham, joined me after seeing my pager message I had put out and were delighted at seeing both the Black Redstart and the Grey Wagtail! Just proves that putting out messages promptly, helps your fellow birders.

I stopped off at Weybourne and parked the car next to the waterworks in Beach Road and sat with the window open to watch the finches feeding by the gate. I only got to see a Blackbird and a couple of Chaffinches, when another car pulled up next to me and someone got out of the car, which flushed everything! I left and headed to Beach Road at Salthouse, where I sat and had a hot chocolate with my coffee & walnut cake, whilst watching the beautiful pink sunset. Pete S. phoned me to say he had seen a Hen Harrier west of Beach Road, Cley. A skein of Pink-footed Geese flew west overhead.

I cruised west and arrived at Holme early evening to join my parents, sister Vivien and her partner Ray. Vivien and Mother gave me birthday cards and presents for my birthday next week. Vivien has at last has got rid of her ancient, dodgy mobile phone and bought a new Samsung Galaxy phone, which means I can now text her pictures. I found this phone far more complex to use, compared with my iphone. Father was very quiet and looked sleepy. Vivien and I helped him to eat his tea. Before I headed home, I watched the last in the series of 'Walking the Himalayas' on Channel 4, which has been one of the most exciting documentaries I have watched for a long time.


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