Today was a perfect day to go sea-watching – a perfect day to try and see my first (yes you are reading correctly) Leach's Petrel!!! But, because of far bigger stuff going on than birding I was unable to go sea-watching. What a fabulous haul of birds in Norfolk today for those that were out on the coast!
In between the big stuff going on, I visited my father at Heacham along with my two sisters. Father looked really well, in fact he looked the best we have seen him in a long time, which was good. Just before I visited him I had a mini birding session along the track at Fenway. This track was where a Wryneck was reported on 15th September, but it didn't appear to be there today. I wished I had walked along this track before, as it was potentially a brilliant place for birds – it runs alongside Heacham Sewage works and at the end of the main track was a small weir which cascaded down into a ditch. There were several LBJ's flitting around in the very high hedges, but couldn't ID any of them as they dived into deep cover and would not reveal themselves.
Injured Kestrel at Fenway, Heacham
When I returned to my car, a man standing next to a land rover asked for my assistance to ID an injured bird – a young Kestrel was sitting on the ground and was not able to fly and also had blood stained feathers above its beak and the top part of the beak was missing! It was desperately sad to see – I could not work out how this had happened. I tried to google and phone East Winch RSPCA in vain and was cut off twice. Phoned Holme Dunes NWT for advice (thanks G.H.) – long story short, the man managed to capture the kestrel and held it with one hand. The man (who ran the Fox & Hounds pub at Heacham) asked a friend to come out with a box and we placed the kestrel quietly inside and it was taken back to the pub. Another friend of the man's very kindly took the Kestrel to East Winch (thanks for the phone call to let me know this). I'm pretty sure this poor bird will have to be euthanized – it would be cruel not to – its not going to be able to feed. The only thing that could have happened is that something snapped at its beak, maybe a dog? But then that doesn't make sense, as how would a dog have caught a Kestrel anyway, unless it had been injured by other means first – will never know.
After the visit to Father we went on to visit Mother with an Indian take-away. I parked my car on the cliff top at Hunstanton and ran to the cliff edge with my bins to have a 1 minute scan. Rough sea and very high tide, perfect sea-watching conditions but I didn't see a single bird go by in that 1 minute. I couldn't stay any longer – the shortest sea-watch in history!!!
I emailed the RSPCA at East Winch to ask about the outcome of the Kestrel and they kindly replied:
"Thank you for your email.
The kestrel brought to us was examined by our Vet and he decided that it needed to be put to sleep. I know this is not the outcome you wanted but thank you for bringing it in......"