North Point, Wells-next-the-Sea
I was up early, even though I felt completely rubbish after very little sleep! I wanted to be out on the coast, somewhere central in readiness for the first pager message going off, just in case the Upland Sandpiper was re-found this morning. I decided North Point, Wells would be a good place to start and quite fancied a Bee-eater sitting on the fence wires early morning – in your dreams Penelope!
I was driving down the track to the pools at North Point at 7.38am and the pager bleeps up with 'Black-winged Stilt at North Point, Wells'!!! How lucky was that?!!! Parked the car on the right hand side on purpose, to set the trend for parking sensibly (worked wonderfully) and a few seconds later I was watching a Black-winged Stilt! It was initially on the left hand pool (North Point), but was harrassed by an Avocet so much, it flew off to the furthest end of the pool opposite, on right hand side (Slade Marsh) and that is where it remained happily feeding all day long. I didn't even get a picture of it on the left hand pool before it flew off over to the other pool, only rubbish flight shots achieved.
It was shockingly cold this morning. Mike Buckland turned up seconds after I did and I heard later on that it was he who saw the Bee-eater at Walsey Hills NOA! Congratulations! More people turned up including Ian, Chris and Paul – lots of banter about my "now going east" message on the pager yesterday!!! Eddie was there, Dawn and Pete B. with Bethany, M. Clements, D. Holman and so on. Dave H. stated that he had the car turned round ready to go and was just waiting for the call (referring to the hopeful re-finding of the Upland Sandpiper!) Sadly this did not happen today. Whilst here I also saw a Greenshank and Med Gull flying over east, amongst all the usual waders here. I can't remember what time I left, but it was so cold, I needed to get warmed up.
I parked along a Warham Track and watched several birds flitting around in the hedges, including Whitethroat, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Robins and Blackbirds. Went to Stiffkey Campsite and parked my car on the wide grass verge under the trees, along the road that descends to the car park – far more peaceful than the extremely busy car park, which was inundated with day trippers and bouncing dogs and children! Here I sat in my car whilst it rained, had lunch and snoozed for a very long time. I was exhausted and completely burnt out. I thought about walking up to the campsite wood, but it was quite windy, so changed my mind and in any case it would probably have too many dogs being walked, for me to contend with.
Parked the car up on the concrete pad at Garden Drove, Warham and walked along the track to the copse at the end. Almost devoid of birds, but did see a couple of Goldfinches and a Blackbird. Got wet in a massive downpour just before I reached my car. I couldn't be bothered to do any big walks so lazily headed back to North Point, Wells.
North Point, Wells-next-the-Sea
Avocet at North Point, Wells-next-the-Sea
Mistle Thrush juv. at North Point, Wells-next-the-Sea
Reed Bunting at North Point, Wells-next-the-Sea
Lapwing chick at North Point, Wells-next-the-Sea
Mute Swan at North Point, Wells-next-the-Sea
As I drove along the track to the car park at North Point, I was shocked to find, that there was nobody else here at all! For about 10 minutes I had the Black-winged Stilt all to myself! I texted news out to RBA at 5.10pm, as there hadn't been any updates on this bird since 11am. Whilst here I showed the BWS to a lady jogger through my scope, who stopped to ask what I was watching – she was over the moon at seeing this bird. A couple who had come here for the first time (with bins only) from Titchwell RSPB looked through my scope at their first BWS – they were very pleased. Whilst standing with them I found a stunning male Yellow Wagtail which I pointed out to them, also found a Snipe, the Greenshank was still here, loads of Black-tailed Godwits dropped in (in two flocks) – first flock count was 70 and then total count later was 112! Also two Barn Owls were seen including one carrying what looked like a vole, Cetti's Warbler singing and Cuckoo calling, Spoonbills x 2, Little Egrets, House Sparrows, Reed Buntings, Whitethroats, Redshanks, Lapwings with chicks, Avocets with chicks, Mallards with chicks, Brent Geese x 2, Black-headed Gulls and also saw a young Mistle Thrush on the grassy track, before anyone else arrived. Also good numbers of hirundines, notably more Swifts than I have seen of late. Only a handful of birders turned up whilst I was there. Lovely evening with a nice selection of birds, especially the Yellow Wagtail. Tooks videos of several birds and then the phone battery died.
Left at a reasonable time (for me) at just after 7pm and arrived back home in daylight for a change. Fell asleep as soon as I got home. End of holiday, work tomorrow!