I started the day with the completion of the end of week 2 of Couch To 5k. Saw a few birds on my running route this morning, including several Blackbirds in a field, a Willow Warbler, Blackcap and a LBJ!
I spent the rest of the day at Holme again and enjoyed more views of the Red-breasted Flycatcher – however, I didn't dedicate any serious time photographing this bird today. Had a jacket potato lunch, sitting outside the cafe at Holme NWT and went to say hello to Sophie at the observatory, but she wasn't there – had a brief chat with Steve Newman and then searched the pines by the beach, but didn't find anything of note.
Headed west to the Forestry to search for birds. I skulked around the entire area and found 1 male Stonechat, some Linnets, Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap. A few Swifts were gracing the skies and a Marsh Harrier was over the marshes. I watched a lovely female Redstart, pointed out to me by Fiona (NWT staff), which was feeding in the long sandy gully, adjacent to the coastal footpath. Apparently there were two Redstarts by the paddock next to the path to the NWT hides this morning too. I walked back along the road and had brief views of a Lesser Whitethroat. A cracking Ruff was in the pools/marsh on the corner of the road. At the paddocks I saw at least 3 Wheatears and another Stonechat, but no sign of any Redstarts or Whinchat whilst there.
I spent the rest of the afternoon watching the Red-breasted Flycatcher, which had become more elusive and was missing for a good period of time. Lots of banter and laughter when Andy W. and Justin L arrived, along with Jack G. and Drew L. Everyone got to see the RBFly before they left. It was seriously chilly this evening – I was shivering it was that cold!
I left and went to the village car park to watch for any migrants in the scrub – a favourite little spot of mine and was horrified to discover a massive pile of dumped rubbish – consisting of garden rubbish, old bits of hardboard, chip board, material things etc – what a mess! It was pushed and shoved into the base of a large willow, which is a particularly good tree to watch birds in – couldn't see the tree any more! This part of the village has been ruined over the last year – with the cutting down of the huge willow on the edge of the road near the toilet block and the hacking of the huge hedge next to the car parking spaces, I really don't know what is going on!!! This hedge is now visually a line of dead sticks – they might as well have taken it out completely, it looks a very sad sight indeed. Also this very tall hedge (that was) provided alot of shade to cars parked here – they will be roasting hot now in the summer months.
I went to search for the Wryneck in Holme village and missed it by 10 minutes or so, when apparently it was seen in a gravel driveway next to the road!!! Spent a while looking for it, but failed miserably. I drove along Beach Road and backed my car into a pull-in next to a horse field to scan the field (another favoured spot of mine). As I got out of the car, I could see some cycles by the hedge – I was thinking that children had left them there and gone for a walk, but they had been dumped!!! Four cycles dumped by the hedge along with big canvas chair. What is going on in this village?!!!
I returned to the stubble field between Ringstead and Thornham, to find in better light, that it was actually an asparagus field! There was no sign of any Hoopoe, but there were a huge number of birds here! At least 50+ Pied Wagtails were feeding in the field, along with a surprise of three Wheatears, Goldfinches, Grey and Red-legged Partridges and a couple of Blackbirds! It was very interesting indeed, as the surrounding fields were devoid of birds.
Two things that have made me pretty angry – a wonderful hedge, which was at least 12 foot high, if not more and has been there for many many years (obviously good for birds) has been hacked to pieces and looks a complete mess – just past the toilet block and now there is a wonderful view (not) of the fence/barrier to the golf course.
I was also horrified to discover today, a mammoth pile of rubbish dumped into the willow scrub in the village car park – right where I normally sit in the car and watch birds feeding, such as whitethroats etc – who has dumped this? Who and when will it be removed? I hope very much its not going to remain there!
Andy Brown feels the same:
Also see Andy's post re his sighting of a GREAT HORNED OWL on 27th April, presumably escaped, but was it?!!!: