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Monday, 21 June 2021

A Record NINE BEE-EATERS at Great Yarmouth!!!


Great Yarmouth

I woke up to news of NINE Bee-eaters at Great Yarmouth!!! Not moved that fast for a long time! I can't remember what time I arrived in the car park at Gapton Retail Park by TK Maxx, but it must have been around 12.35pm. I didn't bring the scope with me, grabbed camera and bins and luckily saw which way birders where heading. So, where I was parked with TK Maxx behind me, I walked up the embankment and walked along a private muddy track, which the owner of this site (Leon Docwra) VERY kindly allowed birders to walk along to view the Bee-eaters, thank you so much. After turning left and then left again, I could see birders viewing the Bee-eaters on the wires in the near distance. As I raised my binoculars, all 9 Bee-eaters flew up from the wires, over the track and away behind some tall trees. I continued along the track to join other birders. A bit later on a message came up from Stuart W., that the Bee-eaters were in a field south of Poundland! This was just a bit further from where I had just walked from! Hurried back to the car park and just behind Poundland, was an embankment were birders were viewing the Bee-eaters through only a small gap in the hedge. Walked around and alongside the main road with Dick F. and a few others and managed to photograph the Bee-eaters sitting on a large bush (see pic below), but the light was rubbish for photography and too distant for my camera, but WOW! Couldn't believe I was watching 9 Bee-eaters, one of the best day's I've had for a very long time! The Bee-eaters flew off and I guessed they had returned to the allotments again. Found a loo, then returned to my car to have a quick half cup of coffee, got the scope/tripod and a sandwich and walked back to the allotments along the private road.

Bee-eaters in the field near Poundland, Great Yarmouth


A few more people here now and so lovely to bump into so many birders, including Peter Allard, Mark and Tracy M., John G., David B., David H. and his wife, LGRE in his shorts, Dick F., Pete C., Justin & Chris L. and lots more. The Bee-eaters were back and putting on a spectacular show! I have only seen Bee-eaters eating bees in the UK, but these were catching all kinds of insects! I watched a large dragonfly being eaten, a Red Admiral Butterfly and of course several bees! Pellets were also coughed up. It was so magical watching these stunning birds! Not close enough for my 300mm lens though, but managed to get some phone-scoped video. The light was rubbish and the skies were grey, but brightened by these rainbow coloured birds! At 3.45pm, all 9 Bee-eaters flew off high SW and we watched them until they were dots in the distance and then disappeared.

Birders watching the Bee-eaters on the wires

Bee-eaters on the wires near the allotments


I started to walk back to my car, when news came out that the Bee-eaters were back in the field south of Poundland and next to MacDonald's! Returned to this spot and initially I stood on the main road with others. I decided to leave the crowd and walk around the corner and up onto the high embankment. This was a very good move! Managed to get the shot (top of this post) fairly close and then walked further along to find the only gap in the hedge and to my astonishment, ALL nine Bee-eaters with perched in a small hawthorn in the middle of the field!!! I couldn't believe it! It was the best view I had all day and there was no one else here but me! I tried to phone Justin L. who was standing with others on the main road, but after two attempts, no reply. Mike E. then realised I was missing (I think) and joined me. Unfortunately I needed to be a bit taller really and the best shots were taken by those who were! Rob Holmes then joined us and he was standing directly behind me – he got some fabulous flight shots, but I wasn't tall enough! Rob and Jill G. then joined us and another couple. Eventually the Bee-eaters decided to fly off.

Perched on a hawthorn in the field near MacDonald's at Great Yarmouth!


We then heard news of a MALE Red-flanked Bluetail of which I have never seen one of anywhere, ever!!! OMG! It was at an undisclosed location in a horse field 'near Blakeney'. I decided, as did several others that by the time we got to Blakeney, someone might have located this 'crippling' (as LGRE described it on Twitter) bird. Returned to my car and set the sat nav for Blakeney. Off I went! The Male Red-flanked Bluetail had been found and photographed by a lady called Jess Tutt and is on Birdguides. I could not believe how incredibly stunning this bird was!!!

I arrived in Blakeney and after phoning Eddie, I ended up in Saxlingham Road in Blakeney with John F., Ian, Pete C. and a few others. After discussion, we decided the horse field by Glandford Ford might be a good place to check, so we all headed there. James Mc. also joined us and Luke N. I searched along a road that runs alongside the horse meadow and we scanned the horse meadow several times. With no further news and fading light, everyone left. The message on the pager said 'near Blakeney', so it could have been anywhere. I would have paid someone to see this bird, I really would. The landowner could make some serious money for themselves or a charity – they may change their minds tomorrow, fingers crossed!

Blakeney this evening

I parked up by the Blakeney Quay and had a coffee, before driving home. Filled up with petrol and arrived home at 10.15pm! What an incredible day!

1 comment:

  1. Penny thanks for sharing the Bee - Eaters pics, i have missed my Holls in Norfolk this Year,