The 'Eye Puddle', Eye Field, Cley NWT.
Considering I've had the entire weekend free, I've not been birding much at all, which is dreadful really, especially being as its April! However, I did have some quality birding this afternoon, with some new Spring birds and fabulous sunny weather!
I spent yesterday with my family at Holme, including both my sisters. I also helped my sister Lucy to choose a lovely vase of Spring flowers, to be delivered on the day from Interflora, to a very dear older friend of Lucy's, who has been extremely ill of late. Lucy's friend has been very supportive of her throughout the tough times in her life and has been very kind, spending time with her, lunches etc. Lucy was very upset over how ill she has been and wanted to show her support. The flowers arrived early evening and Lucy received a lovely thank you text from her friend later on. After we ordered the flowers, I took Lucy to Holme via Ringstead where we stopped at the shop and bought some lovely cards to send to Lucy's friend.
At our parent's house, Father looked very pleased, when he realised all of his daughters were there and he looked pretty well. But..... later on he was not a happy bunny at all – all too much for him I think, plus he can't stand lots of noise and people. No wonder Mother is finding it difficult to put him into a residential home – she's right, he would hate it. Its really, really difficult at the moment for all of us. We tried to persuade Mother to go out with Vivien for a short while, whilst I kept an eye on Father, just to get her out of the house, but she refused point blank and said she was too tired. Vivien left early evening and Lucy and I left shortly afterwards. We stopped to buy some chips in Hunstanton and drove to the promenade, where we watched the Fulmars soaring round the cliffs as we enjoyed our chips. It was wickedly cold!
It was a glorious day, but still cold with the NW winds. My hip and lower back are still annoyingly painful from my recent accident at work and this is made worse by driving. I used cruise control on the Skoda for the first time today and this helped reduce the pain considerably! On route to Cley I saw a Common Buzzard overhead at Bayfield Lake.
I parked the car close to the wire fence along Beach Road at Cley, yards behind Steve G! The Blue-headed Wagtail feeding around the Eye puddle was magical to watch in the sunshine, silhouetted in the blue water. Also saw 2 Pied Wagtails, lots of Wheatears, Linnets, Redshank, Oystercatchers x 2, Shovelers x 2, Marsh Harrier. There were several local birders standing on the path above the road, enjoying the Blue-headed Wagtail.
Blue-headed Wagtail at The 'Eye Puddle', Eye Field, Cley NWT.
Wheatear at The 'Eye Puddle', Eye Field, Cley NWT.
Walsey Hills NOA produced a singing Willow Warbler, male Blackcap, Cetti's Warbler, several Chiffchaffs, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Chaffinches and Robin. A pair of Pochard and Little Grebe were on Snipe's Marsh and a Peregrine flew south overhead (shouted out to me by John F. from the other side of the marsh!). Lots of bees around, but didn't see any butterflies. A Heron flew over as I stood talking to Eddie M., who I haven't seen in ages. The white flowers of the blackthorn and yellow gorse looked so beautiful in the sunshine.
I returned to the Eye Field and had much closer views of the Blue-headed Wagtail, but still too far for my 300mm lens, but did manage to get some good record shots. Eddie was standing on the bank with others and phoned me to point out a Peregrine distantly in the white clouds.
Stopped at Beach Road, Salthouse briefly and saw lots of Wheatears east of the road and also bumped into and chatted with Rob and Jill Wilson who had seen 4 Short-eared Owls here.
I spent the evening at Kelling Water Meadows. It was colder now, but the light was still good and the sunset this evening was stupendous. Saw my first House Martin this Spring, just above me as I parked the car. A Barn Owl flew over the fields along the track. Just before the pool I heard my first Whitethroat of the Spring, in the hedge along the path. There was a wonderful frenzy of hirundines skimming over the pool: Sand Martins and Swallows – lots of them! A pair of Egyptian Geese were feeding around the pool with cute babies, waddling through the long grass. A pair of Teal and Gadwall were in the water. Two Stonechats in the brambles, lots of Rooks feeding amongst the sheep on the hill, but I couldn't spot any Ring Ouzels – there had to be one there somewhere! I also saw a Wren, Chaffinches, Goldfinches and Heron. It was too late in the day to see any wagtails.
I stopped at Beach Road, Salthouse again and saw a Heron and 2 Pied Wagtails. At Cley Sluice I stopped briefly and listened to my first Sedge Warbler singing and a Cetti's Warbler burst into song. A Barn Owl flew over my head and across the reedbed, just as I left to go home.
I have heard some very sad news from several people this weekend. Sending my condolences, best wishes and support to you all – you know who you are x x x.
PICTURES TO BE ADDED