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Sunday, 3 July 2016

Hot Birding at Holme!

I arrived at Holme just before 7.30am and parked up by the 5-bar gate along the Firs Road. As I got out of the car, a Turtle Dove flew over my head – a lovely start to the morning! I had hoped the Great Knot would be showing at Gore Point again, but another birder informed me he had not seen it this morning, so I headed west along the back of the bungalows and watched and listened to two wonderful Grasshopper Warblers reeling – however, they refused to move from the depths of the hawthorn bush to be photographed! Later on I saw and heard two Med Gulls fly over my head north at 9.20am. Later, I walked out to Gore Point, but returned soon afterwards, when the Great Knot appeared on my pager at Titchwell RSPB.

I then spent most of the day at Mother's house, filing loads of paperwork for her, to make life a whole lot easier for both her and daughters! We had fish 'n' chips for lunch.

I spent the evening looking for the Great Knot at Gore Point again. A Barn Owl was hunting over The Saltings as I walked along the boardwalk and several Whitethroats were active around the hawthorn bushes. As I started to walk to the beach, a message came up on the pager to say the Great Knot was at Holme, but very frustratingly I completely misread the message – sometimes people get directions at Holme wrong and I read it that it was west of Gore Point as it read 'Beach Road' which some people call the 'Firs Road', but the message was totally correct and was in fact west of the main beach gap by the golf course, as I discovered later on!!! I really don't know how I didn't understand or read that properly, but anyway, I messed up, much to my disappointment later. So, I headed west along the beach from Gore Point and could see Gary H. way ahead of me.

The sea was like a mill pond, with gentle ripples trickling on the sands – the setting sun was spectacular and there was hardly a soul on the beach. A couple of seals were inquisitively watching me as they played in the sea and I saw Little Terns, Oystercatchers and Ringed Plovers. As I headed towards the golf course end of the beach, I realised my mistake – what I should have done, is to drive back along the Firs Road and park by the toilet block/village car park and I would have been here a long time ago. I bumped into a blog reader called Peter, who had seen the Great Knot in the lagoon, west of the beach gap. I headed in that direction, but I was minutes too late. A huge Knot flock were swirling round and had headed towards Old Hunstanton. A birder appeared behind me, who had put out the earlier news and then also two young lads running, barefoot with huge camera in hand – they all overtook me and joined Gary H. in the far distance. I could see a big flock of Oystercatchers and just beyond them a flock of Knot, but decided not to race up there as the light was fading fast and when I watched the other birders standing there, I didn't see any camera action, so guessed it was either distant for them or not on view. The flocks were a long way along the beach, almost at the beginning of the cliffs at Hunstanton.

I headed back past the lagoon and through the main beach gap at the golf course and returned to my car, via the coastal footpath behind the bungalows – there was a chill in the air now. I saw and heard a Grasshopper Warbler again at 9.45pm! I also watched the presumed same Barn Owl hunting over the marsh again. Headed home to King's Lynn.


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