I was beginning to feel a bit pathetic really, moaning about my back and migraine etc so decided it was time to get back to some serious pursuing . A couple of birds that I really like but have rarely seen have flown into Norfolk over the past couple of days. We should have gone out yesterday but it was just too hot for comfort, the trouble is the forecast for today was very similar. The decision was made, we would go out to try and see the two of them but we would go early before the day heated up too much.
So at 5.30 am the alarm sounded and I leapt from my bed, (well any way I got up ) closely followed by Ian. Now if you know Ian you will probably know he is a man that doesn’t start any day unless it is by eating a bowl of cornflakes, Kellog’s cornflakes, 365 days a year, 366 this year! So a quick breakfast, no time for a cuppa and we were out at 6 am, I hoped the odd owl might still be around but no luck with that, we did however see enough Pigeons to feed a small nation for a month!
First bird on our hit list was a Wryneck, a bird I have only ever seen once before, several years ago now. We drove to Weybourne, walked to where it had been seen as recently as last evening and waited and waited. Now I have heard it said of birds, ” Clear night , clear off!” I so hoped this little chap hadn’t cleared off but it seemed it may have done so we left somewhat disappointed but knowing we wouldn’t be so very far off if it was sighted. It seemed like a dip to start the day, not good.
However our time there wasn’t wasted. We watched a beautiful display by an Arctic skua, as it ambushed gulls in the air to try to steal the fish they had caught. It had a good deal of success and really was a good spectacle and also a year tick. Next came the arrival from over the sea of what I thought was a very large moth with feathered antennae, but it wasn’t a moth, it was a Cock chaffer! It flew around having reached land at last but here comes the sad part, it never got the chance to touch down! A crow flew in and snapped it up, the thought of making such a journey only to end up as a crow’s snack seemed a sorry affair.
Next we were treated to two new butterflies, one elusive the other sat and posed a while. We had a Small heath and also (as seen here) a clouded yellow, both came in off the sea.
Next stop, West Runton to try for a Red-backed shrike, it had been seen last evening but the good news was it had also been seen this morning, I was optimistic. A Red-backed shrike was the bird that really got me into birding, when I was out with Peter and we watched one sitting on a shrub, flying off, catching a bug and then back again. It carried on like this for ages and I was delighted, thanks to the RBS and Peter I was hooked!
First though the walk back to the car where we saw this Gatekeeper butterfly feeding close by to a hoverfly.
Next treat was a seal swimming close to the shore line
Car parked at West Runton and the shortest walk imaginable and we were where the bird had been seen. We were in luck, just a few minutes later we saw it, hooray! It flew and landed at some distance away, soon though it flew again and landed much closer.
If it looks like these shots were taken through a dirty window or through a dirty lens, look again. They are little bugs, or as the RBS likes to call them; dinner!
What a little beauty and the memories of my first real birding day with Peter came flooding back. On that day we saw other good things just like today. A little bonus was a visit from a Whinchat, sitting along from the shrike.
Whilst there we heard that the Wryneck had been seen again, an easy decision was made…back to Weybourne. Not long and we were again walking down the beach but feeling fairly hopeful although we had heard it was elusive. We arrived and once again waited but this time we were rewarded! Distant but clear view of the Wryneck, brilliant that doubled the number I have seen now and was our third year tick for the day.
Whilst there we also saw a pair of Pied flycatchers which I am fairly sure are the first I have seen in Norfolk. My favourite, the Wheatear was also present, this had been well worth the early start.
We popped to Janice and Chris’ for a coffee and were invited to stay for lunch, well it would have been rude to refuse wouldn’t it?! It was very welcome especially after our rather early and hurried start to the day, thank you both very much.
We didn’t exactly rush off but took our time chatting before going for a stroll in Holt Country Park looking for more butterflies, We weren’t in the best part of the park and only found this Speckled Wood but as we were both feeling weary we decided to head for home.
So after a brief stop for provisions, (got to make sure a fella has enough milk in for his flakes tomorrow) we headed home very satisfied with our three bird and two butterfly ticks a good day and well worth the early alarm call.
Note to self…check I didn’t put the alarm on to repeat tomorrow!