Since all the good birds (as far as we know) were at Cley and Blakeney yesterday, I decided it might be a good idea to return and to try and see some of the birds I missed yesterday. It was a cracking day all round and the sun shone like it was a Summer's day.
Parked up at the East Bank car park at Cley to see yesterday's cracking Desert Wheatear, which was still hopfully here today, but not seen since 8am. Seconds after I arrived, Lee Evans turned up – he had just done Blakeney Point at dawn for the Alpine Accentor and had had good views with only a handful of other birders whilst he was there. We walked along the East bank and as we approached the north end, we were trying to decide which group of birders had the Desert Wheatear, as both groups were intently looking through their scopes, both west and east of the East Bank – we decided the west group looked more promising, plus this is where it was seen earlier. On reaching the group of birders, they had seen the Desert Wheatear around 10 minutes ago, but was out of view now – when they described where it was, I wished I had brought my scope with me instead of the camera! It showed again in a few minutes and was perched very distantly in the cut reed area, south of the brackish pool and embankment – the Desert Wheatear was a striking bird even at this distance, but it was a mere dot in the scope, when Lee kindly let me look through his scope, as did another birder too, thank you both. I put the news out to RBA, as there had been no sightings reported since 8am this morning.
I left Lee chatting to local birders and as I started to walk back over the shingle, a couple highlighted that some Snow Buntings had just flown over the shingle next to the sea – after a bit of scanning I could see about 5 Snow Buntings along the shore, roughly opposite were Lee, Mark G and others were standing and it appeared that they were watching them too. A Red-throated Diver was on the sea. I returned along the East Bank and saw 2 Stonechats on the west side and on The Serpentine were the usual Wigeon, Teal, Redshanks etc.
I was going to the Iron Road at Salthouse next, but after seeing the small car park full and cars parked stupidly on the main road, I escaped to West Runton in hope of re-finding the Hoopoe. John Furse had looked earlier this morning and couldn't find it. I found a lovely free parking spot in West Runton, I won't say where! I'm really glad I parked where I did, as it allowed me to look into some beautiful gardens on route and along Water Lane, which leads down to the beach. Several Blackbirds were feeding on apples in a large parking area and also several House Sparrows seen. This entire walk was just so beautiful in the sunshine, which was warm, but not too hot.
Lots of birds in the fields next to Water Lane by the beach, including Jackdaws, Rooks, big flock of Linnets, House Sparrows, Starlings, Pied Wagtails – all whizzing about in all directions, it was a joy to watch! I obviously haven't been here for a while, as a Woolly Mammoth has appeared by the beach shelter! Walked east along the cliff top path and took several pictures of the cliffs and sea. Made my way up to the very large beet field adjacent to a belt of pine trees, where the Hoopoe has been feeding. There are only so many beet leaves you can scan through and sadly no black, white or salmon pink colours revealed themselves! I searched the pine belt thoroughly, the south, north and east and west sides – only birds found were 2 Robins, a Blackbird, a Wren and some House Sparrows. Ambled back along the clifftop, peering over the edge (which I shouldn't have been doing I know) and pished the scrub below, but no LBJ's or Alpine Accentors appeared!
Back at my car, I had lunch and then headed to Holt to pick up four more paintings I have had re-framed (more news on this another time). Returned to Salthouse and managed to get a space in the tiny car park for the Iron Road. The light was disappearing fast now. I managed to see the Long-billed Dowitcher in the pool along with some Black-tailed Godwits, Shelduck and lots of Pied Wagtails, at least 20+ I counted! No sign of the Shorelarks or Jack Snipe, which didn't surprise me at this late hour in the day.
Drove to Beach Road at Salthouse and had a coffee. I was the only car here..... until a campervan turned up for the night! Scanned the marshes in hope of seeing the 2 Short-eared Owls that were seen a short while ago, but no luck with that. Drove home and felt exhausted after two days birding and driving. Glorious weather and some nice birds seen. Rest and jobs day tomorrow after returning to work on Wednesday.
Pictures to be added