After a very busy day at work, the plan for this evening was to collapse and do nothing, but a Thrush Nightingale appeared on my pager and I just had to go! I didn't feel like driving all the way to Salthouse, but it was too tempting not to!
I am extremely lucky as I don't 'need it' at all – I saw the first Thrush Nightingale for Norfolk with my dear father on the morning of the 14th May 1977! I was 12 years old and I remember that day clearly. We had just walked into the third heligoland trap and started 'pishing' to flush birds to the end of the funnel and a bird was flushed and caught, which at first my father thought was a Nightingale, but then he identified it as a Thrush Nightingale! I remember that after he had rung the bird, he took a lot of pictures with his Canon film camera and there are lots of black and white photos of this bird in his photographic collection. Ringers hold a bird differently nowadays, but father always held a bird in the palm of his hand and photographed with the other! I remember him releasing the bird and it flying straight south from the observatory and into the bushes and was not seen again as far as I can recall.
Anyway, back to this evening – made a few phone calls to Cley Birders, to find out if it was actually the real deal – James McCallum found it, say no more! So off I went to Salthouse – a beautiful sunny evening – a complete contrast to the torrential rain and winds yesterday. Arrived at Beach Road at about 6pm and arrived on site at Gramborough Hill, just in time to see good flight views of the Thrush Nightingale and a second poorer viewing in flight later on – I didn't see it perched at all, extremely elusive was an understatement! Glad I have seen one closer! Good banter on site and it was nice to catch up with some local birders. Other birds seen whilst here: Whitethroat, Meadow Pipits, Linnets, Goldfinches, Stonechat, Little Egret and lots of Sand Martins skimming over. Dave Appleton and I were the last to leave this evening – it was cool walking back to the car. Dave had sadly dipped and got there a few minutes too late – he said it was his bogey bird and had never seen one in Norfolk – not as bad as me never seeing a Storm Petrel or a Leach's Petrel in Norfolk I replied!