Friday, May 27, 2005

Another “Purple” patch! 22/05/05

Saturday was spent working and doing jobs around the house – and anyway there was nothing to urgent, until a teatime news broke that a Purple Heron had been seen several times in flight at Cley.
Sunday morning and I was up at 0530 and out of the house by 6am, it was nice steady ride and the first slice of luck came as I headed north of Hunworth, a perched Spotted Flycatcher had me slamming the brakes on – fortunately I remembered this time I was clipped in saving another embarrassing fall to the ground! I watched “the first of the year” for a few minutes as it made it’s short flight sorties back and forth. I arrived at Cley a little after 7am, and joined “the circus”, a crowd stood watching and waiting at the Visitors centre – no sign apparently. I decided a walk was in order, and bumped into a mate – Gary Elton down the East Bank, we shared a nice selection of waders on Arnolds Marsh, 100+ Dunlin,
10+ Turnstone, 12+ Sanderling, Bar & Black-Tailed-Godwits but eventually we found the main quarry species – Little Stint a smart adult almost in full breeding plumage. After wondering around for another hour or so, I decided to head back – I then bumped into another mate Eddie Myers and we passed some time scanning from Walsey Hills, accompanied by the nice purring of a Turtle Dove into the bargain.
We headed off for a coffee, apparently there had been no sign of yesterdays Purple Heron. I collected the bike only to be greeted by my 3rd puncture in so many weeks. This delay, some how worked to my advantage, because by the time I reached the Visitors centre and sat down with a coffee, I noticed a bird flying along the horizon, dark against the horizon with neck and tail outstretched I shouted “Crane”!!!, “fool”, it was of course the Purple Heron – brilliant. 3 new NMYL up before 11am!!

I chatted with Eddie and he told me that Arctic Tern was regular in Morston harbour channels once they had young, so as it was low tide I decided to cycle over there and see how far out towards the tern colony on Blakeney I could get. The answer was – with muddy feet a long way, on the way out the birds were all Commons, but once level with the end of Blakeney Point I had superb views down to a few feet as 4-5 Arctic Terns - worked the shallows - I vowed to return sometime with the camera - (that’s 200 up!!! if include Black Brant!?)

Having set off with one species in mind in the morning, I considered it job done for the day and took a nice leisurely ride home………..

200 NMYL and 36 miles more………

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

It's redirection West for Wood Warbler 30/4/05

After a steady start to the day after yesterdays exertions I decided early afternoon to head for Cley/Salthouse area in search of Whinchat and that bloody Short-eared Owl that keeps eluding me. I was 3-4 miles south of Holt, when the pager alerted me to a singing Wood Warbler at Holkham, I navigated, mapless, rather successfully and arrived at Wells.
I had phoned "the back-up crew" Sean & Jacky of the change of plan.
I arrived at Lady Annes, met up with Sean & Jacky and headed for the bird, worryingly it had moved but within a few minutes the distinctive accelerating crescendo of Wood Warbler was heard, and eventually the bird showed very nicely.
Slightly concerning was the presence still of the Snow Goose, although it is still with Pinkies, so it's staying on the list for now!
We then headed off to Burnham Norton, this came up trumps with 3 Whinchat, also good numbers of Wheatears here.

184 NMYL and another 54 miles (126 in 2 days ouch)