I arrived at North Point Pools, Wells at 5am (you did read that correctly) as my hunch was it would be as good a place as any for a Squacco Heron to drop in. I was completely wrong, but it was beautiful light first thing and I had the entire place to myself for 55 minutes! 13 Spoonbills were the highlight, but other birds seen were: 2 Curlews, 4 Mute Swans, Marsh Harrier, Egyptian Geese x 6, lots of Avocets, a Blackcap singing, House Sparrows in the bushes along the track and a Sedge Warbler, Cormorant on the furthest most eastern pool, Redshanks, Oystercatchers, Lapwings, Black-headed Gulls, Teal, Black-tailed Godwits, Shelducks and a Ringlet butterfly. At 5.55am a lady turned up in the car park with a car full of very loud barking dogs, there seemed to be a least four dogs waiting to be unleashed from their car! I managed to get back to my car and inside before there were released thank goodness, they didn't seem like they were going to be friendly once out of the car – the tone of barking sounded very aggressive.
Parked up at Old Woman's Lane, Cley and at 6.30am I was sitting in Daukes Hide NWT, to search for the Squacco Heron, again no sign here either. The light is not good at this time of the day, but managed to see several Black-tailed Godwits, Little Egrets, Lapwings, Avocets, Teal, Redshanks, Ruff, Shelduck plus 25 young in tow (must have been from several broods/adults!), Swifts, House Martins, Swallows, Greylag Geese, Sedge Warbler, Common Terns x 3. Bumped into Eddie as I was leaving.
Parked up at Coastguards for my fried egg sandwich breakfast and sat in my deckchair in the sunshine, lovely! Suddenly the pager bleeped up with 'Squacco Heron on flood south of A149 at Stiffkey'. I did not hang about, chair bundled in car, ignition on, go! I even beat Steve G – that rarely happens!!! Parked up at Stiffkey Fen and walked along the narrow hedge-lined footpath, through the copse and came out on the bottom most eastern corner at the junction/path that runs south (very overgrown this path) of the Stiffkey Flood and there it was! One stunning beautiful Squacco Heron!!! Refound by "Paul" who had made me day and I thanked him. Wow, what a spectacular bird! Too far for my 300mm lens, but managed to get some video footage.
Walked along the road/verge towards Stiffkey, when the heron flew off west over the marsh, but unbeknown to me a bit later, it had doubled back and returned to its favoured pool where I first saw it. I saw loads of Banded Demoiselles and just as I was photographing one, my camera came up with a message 'card full' NO it wasn't!!! Turned camera off, took card out, put back etc etc and still the same message. Oh dear! Walked back along road to where I first stood and watched the Squacco Heron again with others. Tons and tons of police on motorbikes came streaming past, then loads of support cars hooting horns and loads of cyclists – this was a crazy moment and it flushed the Squacco Heron and even the highland cattle were startled and ran across the marsh – you don't often see them do that! Returned to my car and waited for the Black Stork to cruise overhead, no luck there.
Went to Natural Surroundings at Glandford to discover they had an open weekend, so obviously it was very busy indeed, but got lucky with a shady car parking spot that had become available. Sat in the shade in my chair to have my lunch and fruit salad. Headed down the hill and walked alongside Bayfield lake. It was beautiful here and there wasn't a single person here either! Tons and tons of damselflies skimming over the water, a 4-Spot Chaser was seen and Banded Demoiselles were in good numbers. I had such a lovely time here. I spotted a Kingfisher sitting on a fence in the water distantly and also had fairly close views of a cracking Grey Wagtail sitting on a dead branch in the middle of the lake by the weir! Lilies growing by the water's edge, enhanced the beautiful scene. Quick visit to CleySpy and then headed west.
I returned to North Point Pools at Wells where it was very hot and I didn't stay here long. I couldn't gain enough height to accurately count, but counted a possible 20 Spoonbills on the eastern most pool. Continued west to Titchwell, but change of plan, led me going to Holme first to water plants and change the bird ponds at mother's house and also met up with my sisters here, who had come to the coast for a little trip. The garden is like a jungle now and will need some serious cutting back!
At Titchwell RSPB I managed to see the Lesser Yellowlegs with assistance from 'Graham' and he also found the cracking Black Tern sitting on a scrape. To be honest I was more excited about seeing the Black Tern than the Lesser Yellowlegs. Also 2 Little Gulls were seen along with huge numbers of waders: several Dunlin feeding, Redshanks, Black-tailed Godwits, Ruff, Black-headed Gulls, Avocets, Teal, Med Gulls + chicks, Reed Buntings, Swifts, House Martins, Swallows, Little Egrets. It was 9pm when I left, so I had been birding for 16 hours!!! Arrived home, changed all my bird baths and put hedgehog food out. I feel a little tired now!
PICTURES AND VIDEO TO BE ADDED