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Saturday, 30 April 2016

Dawn 'til Dusk!

It just about killed me to get up so early, but I did and it paid off! I was out at dawn and arrived at the bowling green at Hunstanton for a quick scan – lots of House Sparrows chirping away, with Greenfinches and Hedge Sparrows by the pitch 'n' putt bushes, adjacent to the bowling green. Fulmars were soaring over the cliff top in the beautiful blue skies. No bank holiday tourists had arrived yet, all was serene! Just remembered..... on the way to Hunstanton I saw four Fallow Deer standing on the edge of a belt of trees on the right handside of the A149, just before the Castle Rising turn off.

Arrived at the village car park at Holme before 6am and used my car as a hide to watch the bushes and willows surrounding the seated area, opposite the toilet block. A Cuckoo was calling from the golf course. It was alive with birds and there wasn't anyone else here – I had even beaten the dog walkers – well impressed! Willow Warblers singing, Chiffchaffs, male and female Blackcaps, Hedge Sparrows, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Chaffinches, Greenfinches, Wren, Robins, Whitethroats and lots of hirundines hurtling over west. Suddenly a cracking male Redstart appeared in the willows! It posed perfectly and I got some very pleasing shots – happy me! It flicked about feeding contentedly – had this fabulous little bird all to myself... until, Mr Robin decided enough was enough on his patch and like a bullet, launched itself aggresively at my Redstart and duly flushed it, not to be seen again!

I drove along the Firs Road and parked on the verge just past the pay hut – a Marsh Harrier flew across the road and over the Saltings. I walked back along the coastal footpath that runs behind the bungalows. Didn't really see that much hear, but got very excited when I heard the beautiful and magical purring of a Turtle Dove (at 7.10am), but sadly didn't see it! Several Wood pigeons and a couple of Collared Doves were seen along with a Bullfinch and several Whitethroats. Walked back through the village car park, where I was earlier, but no further sign of the Redstart. Noisy, yelping dogs had now arrived for their walk and this completey ruined the ambiance. The biggest surprise of the morning was 2 Little Egrets I found, preening in their roosting spot, which was a tall hedge in someone's garden – the house that sits back quite a way off the road, next to Beach House, opposite the entrance to The Firs road. Lots of Starlings, Jackdaws and House Sparrows around this area too.

I walked back along the Firs Road, but diverted to the river path from Redwell Marsh Hide, which brings you out to the 'standing caravan' as it was called, but its been up-marketed to a posh wooden chalet. Had lovely views of a least 3 Sedge Warblers here, singing away in the small area of reeds alongside the path. Also 2 Mistle Thrushes gathering food in the paddocks and a Cetti's Warbler singing. Increase in hirundines numbers flying over west. I spent a long time photographing a Willow Warbler opposite 'Sandy Ridge'.

At 8.30am I had to leave, as the rest of the day was taken up with continued sorting of care issues. Nipped into my parents briefly and then met my sister Vivien at a care home in Hunstanton for a second opinion. I had short-listed three care homes for Vivien to view – the second two were in Heacham. This took most of the morning up! Vivien then left to go to parents and pick Lucy up on route. I then had to head back to King's Lynn to do some important errands and sorting stuff for Mother. King's Lynn town centre is the last place I wanted to be, but it had to be done – it was packed out with familys trudging round the town with their children.

Arrived back at my parents at around 3.30pm. Family meetings and discussions commenced! I left around 7.45pm (ish). Stopped at Hunstanton to photograph the stunning sunset over the cliffs. The pager bleeped up with 'Wryneck showing well' in a garden in Heacham at 5pm – message came through at 8.20pm. Such a pity the message didn't come up earlier, but I decided to twitch it anyway. Arrived in semi-dusk, but no sign. The person that had put the news out, came out to tell me where it was exactly and how they had watched it for 20 minutes, feeding on the grass, but it had disappeared. Drove wearily home – survived the day on almost no sleep! Far too exhausted to think about getting pictures off the camera! Sorry!


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