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Saturday, 13 May 2017

South Winds Bring Migrants!

Titchwell RSPB

A rather frustrating day, but all ended well at the finish! Started off in Hunstanton to pick up some of mother's usual selection of bird seed, from a shop opposite the library – a notice on the door read "Closed until 27th May".

Arrived at Holme to find that Vivien had unexpectedly arrived to visit mother. All three of us (after much persuasion) went birding at Titchwell RSPB. I dipped on the Wood Warbler several times – not a happy bunny at all and got rather bored of people telling me it was 'showing well' and was 'flycatching' and more later on of it was 'showing for a good while' and 'it was showing well 5 minutes ago' – you get the picture!😞 I particularly love Wood Warblers and don't like dipping them!

We ambled around the Meadow Trail, where we bumped into warden Paul Eele and also young birders Jake and Drew! We had lovely views of a Spotted Flycatcher in the Alders (a favourite spot) by the pond – there were two, but we only saw one whilst here. It felt like Spring had properly arrived, there seemed to be a real buzz in the air of birds arriving. Cuckoo's were calling, Cetti's Warblers, Sedge Warblers singing and also heard a Turtle Dove purring. Hirundines were gracing the skies in the lovely warm weather – what a change from the bitter north winds we have had! Peacock and Red Admirals were also seen. Lovely views of cute juv. Long-tailed Tits with parents, just before the Fen Hide.

Walked to Patsy's Pool, which my mother enjoyed last time we came here and sat on the seat enjoying the views. Mother declared that if she had sandwiches and a flask, she could sit there all day – it was so nice to hear her enjoying herself. There were a good number of Gadwall here, along with Little Grebes, Pochard etc and a Marsh Harrier flew over the reedbeds. Cuckoos calling again and Swallows were skimming over the pool. It felt like summer, it was almost too hot!

Mother purchased a selection of bird seed from the shop and then we returned to the car park to look for the Wood Warbler again – it seemed that everyone had seen it but me! No sign or sound from the lemon yellow delight. News of a Grey-headed Wagtail at Holme Marsh Reserve NWT had me scurrying away. Vivien took mother home and I headed off to see the wagtail.
Blue-headed Wagtail at Holme Marsh NWT

Parked the car up on the road in the Holme village and walked to the reserve. Bumped into Geoff and Pat, who have seen the Grey-headed Wagtail '5 minutes ago', but distantly amongst the cows. I arrive at the third hide to find no one else in there, which was a surprise! I scan the marsh and cows and see absolutely nothing, not a wagtail of any description! I scanned back and forth in disbelief that not a single wagtail was showing. I walked back to the second hide to see if any are on the muddy edges, but nothing at all. Two birders from a group join me and then we all return to the last hide, which is now full to the max of birders. We spend ages looking and after a couple of very brief moments, we eventually get a glimpse of the Grey-headed Wagtail, but not long enough to get a photo and in any case it was far too distant for my lens. The bird then heads towards the second hide, which I return to and have brief views again, but it heads back to the third hide! I return again to the third and last hide where everyone has departed. The cows make their way towards me and then walk over to the right hand side. I feel excited about seeing this wagtail much closer, but I didn't see it at all. But, I did have good views of a single Blue-headed Wagtail, which I got several pictures of – none are sharp, as still too distant. Any offers to buy me a bigger lens, will be very much appreciated!😉 Bumped into Mark Bradbury and then Eddie M. as I walked back along the path (they saw the Grey-headed Wagtail briefly too, Eddie told me later in the evening).

I returned to Titchwell RSPB, to have a final search for the Wood Warbler. The light on the large sycamore tree in the car park has disappeared and my hopes of seeing this bird are fading fast. Suddenly at just after 8pm I hear a wonderful little trill – a moment later another trill and there it is!!! At last! High up in the sycamore flitting around the lime green leaves, is the stunning Wood Warbler – I smile and sigh with relief! Managed to get a few shots, but nothing spectacular. A male Blackcap appears in a hawthorn bush and a Turtle Dove starts purring close by – magic!

Inspired by seeing the Wood Warbler, I walk around the Meadow Trail, but don't see anything else of note. The Spotted Flycatchers had retired for the night and the air was getting chilly. I walked along the main path for a short while, watching lots of hirundines skimming overhead. A beautiful sunset ends the day.
Sunset at Titchwell RSPB

I head up to Choseley Barns to look for Dotterel, but found nothing but lots of hares. I see the local farmer has cordoned off the pull in area at the bottom of the hill, where people have always parked to view the Dotterel! The same farmer (presumably) who ripped out the lovely hedge, that the Corn Buntings used to perch in by the concrete pad – as many birders were, I was shocked to see this hedge ripped out at the time. Why would he dislike birders that much, I really don't understand it at all. It was now 9.15pm, time to go home!

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