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Friday, 31 May 2013

KING’S LYNN: Lagoon plans recommended for approval - Community News - Lynn News

KING’S LYNN: Lagoon plans recommended for approval - Community News - Lynn News

Excellent news for us birders!

A Glorious Evening!

When I went out at lunchtime today it was too hot to sit in the car! At last, summer may have actually arrived. Now I could go out this evening birding, but I know what I am like, I won't come home until its dark, I'll blog late and then go to bed late and won't be able to get up early tomorrow, so I am saving my energy! I really do intend to be out in the dark and birding by first light tomorrow. The good news is I was supposed to be working on Sunday and I have given my shift away to Jane D at work who is covering for me (thanks Jane x). Which means I have a whole weekend of sunshine and birds – fabulous!

Am currently editing photos to add to 25th, 26th and 27th May which I will add this weekend and then I will be up-to-date again for this year. I don't want another year with tons of posts saying 'photos to be added'!!!

Apologies to anyone who has sent photo requests recently and other information requests, they will be answered soon, promise!

Where to go birding tomorrow this is the question, so many choices, Savi's Warbler and Golden Oriole at Lakenheath, East Hills, Blakeney Point goodies, Holme, Titchwell, Burnham Overy, Cley, Kelling..... the list is endless!!! Oh and as a friend said maybe, just maybe 'Bee-eater Take 2' – fingers crossed!!!

Weather for the Weekend – Sun, Sun, Sun!
http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/2652856

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Temminck's Stint, Garganey x 2, Red-crested Pochard x 2, Little Gull x 8, Spoonbill at Titchwell RSPB
Black Redstart at Sheringham
Short-eared Owl, Pied Flycatcher at Holme Reserves
SHORT-TOED LARK at The Marrams (between blue boat and rusty boat), Wrynecks x 3, male Red-backed Shrike, Black Redstart at Blakeney Point
Red-backed Shrike at Burnham Overy Staithe
Red-backed Shrike nr East Bank, Cley (ETM)
Garganey at Buckingham Marshes RSPB

Other News
SAVI'S WARBLER at Lakenheath Fen, RSPB, Suffolk
No news on the RED-FOOTED FALCON at Lakenheath Fen today, as of yet.
GREENISH WARBLER and GOLDEN ORIOLE at Gibraltar Point NNR, Lincolnshire

Eddie Myers has just found a male Red-backed Shrike in the Willow on the west side of the East Bank at Cley at 8.15pm - he scoped it from North Hide!

John Furse has found 5 Spotted Flycatchers today – see HERE

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Garganey x 2, Little Gull, Temminck's Stint, Spoonbill at Titchwell RSPB
Red-backed Shrike + probable Little Bunting at Blakeney Point
Pied Flycatcher at Holme Bird Observatory
Osprey at Dersingham Bog
Red-backed Shrike at Holkham
Spoonbill at Salthouse

Other News
RED-FOOTED FALCON, SAVI'S WARBLER at Lakenheath Fen, RSPB

Eagle Owl

I had an interesting email from someone about the Eagle Owl in King's Lynn who said the following:

"Everyone assumes it must be an escape but it may well be 'wild' as for the last few years escaped/released owls have been breeding in the north of England and it is also known that the young disperse as one which was ringed I believe struck power lines in Shropshire. This could well be a young bird from a previous breeding season, especially as it appears not to carry any rings. It is a super bird and I remember meeting the late Phillip Ware's 'Bubu' up close at Great Witchingham many years ago....."

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

RBA Weekly Round-Up 22nd-28th May

http://www.rarebirdalert.co.uk/v2/Content/weeklyroundup2013no22.aspx

Shots of the Salthouse Bee-eater on here! Makes me want to cry!

Gun Hill and Burnham Overy Dunes!

 Spotted Flycatcher at Gun Hill, Burnham Overy late evening in fog.


Well after receiving texts from M.A.G. about finding a Red-backed Shrike at Cley and then more at Blakeney Point and Wrynecks (lost count of how many good birds he found today!) I realised this was not the night to go shopping in Tescos! I was really tired and could have done with an early night to be honest, but there was no way I was going to miss out on finding some exciting birds. It had been raining most of the day in King's Lynn, whilst I was at work and I hadn't realised actually how foggy it was until I got nearer to the coast. There was not enough time to get to Blakeney Point, well actually there was, but there was no way I was going to Cley and walk BP with so little time to bird, unless of course someone found something mega! So I opted for Gun Hill and Burnham Overy Dunes.

After parking the car up, I couldn't even see Gun Hill through the fog! Potentially I had the chance of finding a really good bird and would have it all to myself, as I didn't see a single birder or non-birder come to that out there, the entire time I was there! I find this hard to believe that I was the only birder here, when this place is one of the hotspots for migrants dropping in! Along the hedgerows there were 2 Mistle Thrushes together in the fog. At the bushes at the end of the sea wall I found a Spotted Flycatcher in the apple tree (birders who come here regularly know which apple tree I mean!) which was a lovely surprise, but I was not able to photograph it. Further along by the brick kiln beyond Gun Hill I found a second Spotted Flycatcher!!! Now this one was more obliging, well just, before it flew off out of sight. The bushes which are usually the best ones, seaward side of Gun Hill held nothing or so I thought. I couldn't believe there was nothing in here and refused to accept this. I tried everything in the book to get a bird out of there, still nothing. I didn't give up and walked right through the small elders and 'pished' loudly and guess what a possible nightingale sp. shot out into another elder bush. I saw this bird a second time, though even briefer than the first – I worked hard to see this bird but it had no intention of giving itself up and I could not re-find it. I sat quietly and waited whilst having a coffee and it was as though there had never been a bird there at all! This was incredibly frustrating. Meanwhile more messages kept coming out of Blakeney Point: Red-backed Shrikes, Wrynecks, Icterine Warbler, Redstart, Black Redstart........

I walked back to the apple tree and found nothing new. Now, being sensible I should have walked back, but I continued on through Burnham Overy Dunes all the way to the Holkham Pines and sadly found nothing else of note. I started walking back from here at 9.15pm and felt really fed-up now. I had had the entire place to myself and I hadn't even found anything good enough to phone out to RBA! Once back on the seawall just after the bushes/apple tree a Spoonbill flew off the small pool and flew west, over me in the fog. Got back to the car at 10.10pm and I was very pleased to find that the car was actually still there! Drove home arriving back at 11pm.

Oh, I also went to look for the Eagle Owl this morning before work, but couldn't find it, but its still there this afternoon someone has reported.

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Red-backed Shrike (MAG), Spoonbill at Cley
Marsh Warbler at Wells Woods
Temminck's Stint, Spoonbill x 2, Little Gull x 6, Little Stint, Garganey x 2, Yellow-legged Gull at Titchwell RSPB
Osprey at Wells
Wryneck x 2, Red-backed Shrikes (male and fem.), Redstart, Black Redstart, Icterine Warbler, 2 Little Gulls at Blakeney Point
Grey headed Wagtail at Salthouse
Med. Gull x 3 at Glandford
Spoonbill at Burnham Overy Staithe (PAC)

What a fabulous list for Blakeney Point – if only I had booked this week off!
 
Other News
RED-FOOTED FALCON, SAVI'S WARBLER at Lakenheath Fen, RSPB
Possible PACIFIC SWIFT, Bawdsey

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

EAGLE OWL in King's Lynn!!!

EAGLE OWL (presumed escape)
in King's Lynn this evening!

News came on the pager when I looked at lunchtime of an "escaped Eagle Owl King's Lynn on William Street". Escaped or not, made no difference to me I wanted to see this bird!

When I finished work I had to go into town first to the bank etc and then walked back to my parked car. I was sitting typing a message via iphone to the Norfolk thread on BF about this owl in response to someone writing 'bet Penny's been and checked it out....' when I felt a car back into me!!! A stupid woman driver had reversed parked her car into the space in front of me nudging my bl**dy car|!!! On inspection I couldn't see a single mark at all and couldn't believe there wasn't, so kept looking. The lady got inpatient at the time I was spending looking, to which I lost it and said 'excuse meeeeeee, you have just backed your car into mine' etc etc. I took her registration number in case I found anything later on.

Anyway off I went to look for 'William Street'. I ended up driving down 'Thomas Street' which is the narrowest street EVER and really wished I hadn't! Its a really short street aswell and almost impossible to turn round the other end. DO NOT EVEN THINK OF PARKING IN THIS STREET for the residents sake please. I asked a very helpful little girl called Katy if she knew about the owl, who then excitedly told me all about the 'big owl' with 'HUGE wings'. Another little girl called Chloe then came out and joined in with the conversation about where she had seen the owl. Katy came racing back up the street to say I could go and look at a lady's brilliant pictures that she taken. The lady's photos on her phone were indeed brilliant, much better than anything taken with an SLR I can tell you! The Eagle Owl roosts in a very large Copper Beech Tree (purple leaves) which is next to a Wall in Thomas Street. See street map HERE

Apparently its been in the local papers, RSPCA have been out and quote from someone 'they were not much help'. Baytree Garden Centre have been out and nobody can catch it. Its driving the local dogs crazy apparently according to Katy! I didn't see the owl while I was there.

Drove home and got my camera, went back and parked in Guanock Terrace (just round the corner from 'Thomas Street'). The owl still wasn't in the beech tree in Thomas Street. I walked round to William Street and looked around, whilst Chloe very kindly stood by the Beech Tree and said she would shout if it appeared, bless her.

Anyway, more and more neighbours came and out and we were all having a lovely chat – that owl bought alot of people together this evening and I met some lovely people and also two amusing young lads, one of whom declared there was a second owl that was 'four times bigger than that' – yeah right! I also heard rumours that there were two Eagle Owls in 'The Walks'!!!! Will have to investigate this!

Suddenly Chloe (I think it was) excitedly shouted 'there it is, on the roof'!!! There it was indeed sitting on the gable end of the house next to the beech tree – the house belonging to the lady who had taken the brilliant pictures. This owl was magnificant Annoyingly though much of its head and one eye was osbcured by leaves from the overhanging tree. Whilst we stood here another lady (don't know her name) showed me an incredible picture which I told her to send to the national papers – it was awesome – the Eagle Owl had been flying round that evening and landed in front of her bedroom window and looked in – she has a picture of the owl looking through the bedroom window at her – how cool is that! Some of the children asked a neighbour if we could go into her back garden to get a better view which she kindly agreed to. So we all trundled round to Claire's house and had much better views of the owl, but the light this evening was atrocious with black skies and spots of rain which didn't help photography. Claire said she was excited when the owl first appeared about six weeks ago, but the reality soon set in when she understandably feared for her 'small' cat who she has had to keep in since! Nobody seems to be assisting the people in this street to get the owl removed and actually I'm not sure if they are allowed to. No one has claimed it and they don't know quite what to do. Claire also told me that the owl had been catching and skinning hedgehogs on a regular basis!!!! Can you believe that!!! Poor hedgehogs – we don't have enough of those as it is! Now the question is, this owl is supposedly 'escaped' and it more than probably is, but Claire says she coudn't see any rings etc on the bird (I know captive ones don't always have rings) but what if it isn't, what if it actually is a wild bird? Claire seemed really pleased when I said I would try and find someone to help get the owl taken away to a more suitable residence!

I am emailing the Hawk & Owl Trust tonight for advice, as its not in an ideal situation at all. Its a very built up area and also very small children running around (joke if any of you children are reading this)!!!!! Plus its at risk of getting shot, if it takes a fancy to someone's precious dog or cat!

I would like to thank all the residents and their children for their assistance this evening. It was really lovely to meet you all.



EAGLE OWL on Claire's Roof!

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Osprey at Burnham Overy Staithe
Little Gull x 7, Spoonbill at Titchwell RSPB
Eagle Owl (esc.) in King's Lynn
Osprey at Swanton Morley

Other News
WHITE-THROATED SPARROW at Spalding, Lincolnshire
RED-FOOTED FALCON, SAVI'S WARBLER at Lakenheath Fen RSPB, Suffolk

Monday, 27 May 2013

Blakeney Point and Cley!


 SWALLOW
Coastguards, Cley

I had intended on going to Lakenheath Fen today to see the Savi's Warbler, but decided against it as I was determined to do Blakeney Point today after my plans got changed to do this yesterday. I also decided I wanted to walk at dawn, just for a change!

Arrived at Coastguards, Cley at just after 5.30am. Had a nice chat with R.M. who had been looking for the Night Heron. I started walking to Blakeney Point at about 6.15am. It was a stunning morning without a cloud in the sky. It was great to be walking here in early morning light and with no other disturbance from anyone else.  Found a Wheatear, but this was to be the only one that morning. Lots of Avocets on the shingle (seaward side) with the Oystercatchers! Good numbers of Meadows Pipits, Reed Buntings, several Goldfinches, 4 Grey Partridges, Linnets, 7 Carrion Crows flying high west, 2 Ringed Plovers and 3 Hares. A Black-headed Gull and a Swallow were sitting on the old rusty boat (before Halfway House). Quite a few hirundines flying low through west, mostly Swallows. Lots of Oystercatchers and huge numbers of Shelduck, flying in all directions! I worked hard to flush something out, but no luck. Sadly the Warden and staff walked up to 'The Plantation' seconds before I did and flushed a Short-eared Owl from the Sycamore Tree. That would have made a fabulous picture, had I been there first! I sat down to watch The Plantation and saw a Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, 2 Linnets and later on a Sparrowhawk. I had had hardly any sleep last night, so my plan was to sit here and watch for anything dropping in for a good number of hours. I also checked the 'Lupins' and walked to 'Near Point' and found nothing but Linnets and Meadow Pipits. Had lots of little naps in the sunshine by the Plantation, that was probably when a row of Bee-eaters were sitting on the fence wire! I did have two Small Coppers here, but no other butterflies were seen. Basically it was dead, even the Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff had disappeared. The pager said it all, I have never seen so few messages for a May Bank Holiday!!! I walked back mid afternoon and had intended on walking back through the sueda, but it was so incredibly hot, I just couldn't face it and walked straight back along the beach, where at least I could get some wind around my head. I attempted to assist a crab that was sitting on the beach, wrong side with pincers going nine to the dozen and picked it up (carefully) and walked as close to the sea as possible before the next wave came and threw in back in. The wave came back quicker than I judged and got completely soaked. The crab didn't look too good, don't think it made it – oh well I tried. I could see the Tractor and the boats in the hazy rippling heat in the distance and as always it took forever to get closer! Plodded onto the carpark, threw things in car and whizzed up the Visitor Centre for Tea and Scones with Pete S. who had just been at Walsey looking at Wall Browns. It was soooooo nice to sit down.


Marsh Harrier being mobbed by an Avocet and a Swift over Pat's Pool, Cley NWT.

 Reed Bunting watched from Bishop's Hide, Cley NWT.

Avocet Chick's, Pat's Pool, Cley NWT.

Avocet's, Pat's Pool, Cley NWT.

Walked to Bishops Hide and had a wonderful photography session here. A female Reed Bunting was perched on reeds just to the right hand side and a Marsh Harrier was flying in really close harrassing the Avocets. There (Pete counted) were at least 20+ Avocets Chicks around – they looked so vulnerable! Pete went home and I re-parked the car at East Bank carpark where I bumped into John M. and Eddie. I only came here to walk along the bank to get a signal as I had missed a pager message and I wanted to know what it was. The phone signal round Cley, in fact most of Norfolk is absolutely pants! Eddie called out a Med. Gull flying west over the East Bank. Drove through Salthouse and gazed at the wires, just in case something colourful was sitting on them! Parked up at Kelling simply to go and see if the  Water Vole was there again which I saw yesterday – it wasn't.

Walked round Walsey Hills NOA and found the asbo Blackbird again, who again chased me along the bottom path. Walked all round the top, such fantastic views up here, especially with the evening light. Hundreds of Wood Pigeons on the back fields along with lots of Pheasants. 2 Long-tailed Tits, Chiffchaffs, not alot else.
Swallow at Coastguards, Cley.

Coastguards – photographed 2 Swallows sitting on the barbed wire fence from my car window. News of an Osprey came through on the pager, flying west from Northrepps, but I didn't see it and neither did Eddie who was sitting in Dauke's Hide. But he did grip me off with, as he put it when he phoned me later 'the best Otter sighting ever!

I drove home incredibly tired, but thankfully made it back in one piece!

Back to work tomorrow – have I really just had two weeks off!

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Blue-headed Wagtail at Cley
Honey Buzzard at Swanton Novers
Common Cranes x 2 at Buckingham Marshes RSPB
Osprey at Northrepps
Temminck's Stint at Titchwell RSPB

That's got to be one of the poorest May Bank Holiday's EVER, surely?!!!!

Add to this my Short-eared Owl at The Plantation, Blakeney Point

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Cley and the BEE-EATER!


PIED WAGTAIL
Glandford Ford


Writing this post a day late is not ideal as I can't remember too much, apart from the fact that I missed out on seeing my favourite bird! Yep a Bee-eater!

Phoned my mother on route (hands free) who told me I was wasting my team walking Blakeney Point and that I ought to be searching round the back lanes for a Rosefinch – 'there will be one today' she said. Moments after we finished our conversation news bleeped through on the pager of a Male Common Rosefinch at Weybourne, singing at 8am!!! Her predictions are nearly always right to the day!

I had a quick look in Walsey Hills first just in case it held any Rosefinches (last one I saw was in here). Whizzed up to Weybourne where I passed J. Furse who looked glum and informed me that he and several other people had searched and found nothing.

Went to Kelling Water Meadows to look for it there (Pete S. joined me part way along). The only good thing here was a wonderful Water Vole in the drain at the beginning of the track. It disappeared too quickly for photos though.
 Goldfinch at Kelling Water Meadows.

Had a social meet up and lunch with others at the Cley NWT Visitor Centre and then we had to leave fairly sharply to view a Pectoral Sandpiper, which had been spotted on the Serpentine off East Bank. We found nothing when we got there and then Pete discovered the text message he received about this bird had come through a whole day late!!!! The message was for yesterday! Oh well, there was a nice Wood Sandpiper here, which I photographed and also a Wall Butterfly.

 Wood Sandpiper on 'The Serpentine', East Bank, Cley.
 
This should not have been flying low over Cley NWT!!!

At Walsey Hills NOA, two Common Buzzards came soaring over west which I managed to photograph. Another Wall Brown was found by the round bales on the top path. John F. left to go to Salthouse and Pete left to go home.

 Common Buzzards over Walsey Hills NOA.

 Wall Butterfly, Walsey Hills NOA.


I went to Coastguards and packed up my bag and was going for a mad walk out to Blakeney Point. As I slammed the boot shut the pager bleeped up with "Norfolk, BEE-EATER, Salthouse north of A149 3.55-4pm then flew west". Nooooooooo!!!!!!! The message came out at 4.09pm. I was in a state of panic, phoned a friend to see if they had any more info. Scanned the wires along Beach Road. Got in car and drove through Cley - big mistake that was, the traffic was heaving! Carried on anyway and looked at all the wires and swifts on route. At 'The House on the Hill' my heart started pounding as I thought I had the B.E. on a wire and after pulling the car into someone's drive, it turned out to be a chaffinch – how can a bl**dy chaffinch look like a bee-eater I ask you! – imagination etc and I wanted it to be a Bee-eater! I drove as far as Morston and then back to Cley and to the Sewage works where the last one was. I am not the only person to have done this either. My dreams of seeing this bird had evaporated and I felt massive low and fed-up. So frustrating when you are a minute away from one of the most spectacular, heart lifting birds you could see on a sunny day. Had a text from Stuart W. who had driven through Salthouse at that time included the word boll*cks which summed it up perfectly – I was saying the same thing and more! John F. said he would have just been leaving Gramborough when it was there, Pete had driven past it and also Pete H. was at Walsey. So many other people too were no more than a couple of minutes away. So sad it didn't stay with the swifts, just that little bit longer and that would have not only made my day, but my holiday. I mean who wants to see a Savi's Warbler when you can see a Bee-eater! Blakeney Point was now scrapped. I went to Glandford Ford and photographed a Pied Wagtail and Grey Wagtail and then left to sit on the East Bank to sulk! It got worse when a message then came through for Night Heron flying west over Kelling Heath. I guessed right when I said someone who had missed the bee-eater had gone up to Kelling to view all the wires etc and then got lucky for the Night Heron – congratulations to Pete H. who strolled along the East Bank later and told me! 2 Common Sandpipers were seen here, but no sign of the Wood Sandpiper this evening. Lots of Shelducks, Redshanks and few Bearded Tits. Compared to a Bee-eater though it was all cr*p. I was inconsolable.

Day was messed up all round, so thought I might as well continue and wasted time looking for the Night Heron at dusk. Got home seriously late. Not a good day at all.

 
Grey Wagtail, Glandford Ford.
 
 
Mallard duckling, dabbling at Glandford Ford.

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Red-backed Shrike at Winterton
Temminck's Stint, Wood Sandpiper, Spoonbills x 3 at Cley
Spoonbill x 2, Short-eared Owl, Little Gull at Titchwell RSPB
Little Gull at Breydon Water
COMMON ROSEFINCH at Weybourne
Temminck's Stint at Burnham Norton
BEE-EATER Salthouse from 3.55-4pm for 5 minutes only before continuing west
NIGHT HERON flew west over Kelling Heath at 5.17pm
Red-backed Shrike at Overstrand
Snow Bunting at Winterton
Little Gull at Stiffkey
Honey Buzzard, Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl at Holme
Osprey at Hilgay

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Burnham Overy Dunes and Gun Hill

 Gun Hill, Burnham Overy Dunes.

 Cow at Burnham Overy.

 Me behind the gate in the eye!

Skylark singing high in the blue skies.

It won't take you long to read my excursion today! Got up really late as exhausted. Pity really with a glorious sunny day, but there we go.

Went to Gun Hill to find something exciting. It started well with a beautiful Turtle Dove flying just over my head, going west. A few Linnets, Meadow Pipits on route and a single Chiffchaff in the bushes at the end of the sea bank was all I could find. Apart from Wood Pigeons, 2 Grey Partridges and a Magpie, Gun Hill was devoid of birds. Soul destroying. Couldn't find anything to photograph either. I got so bored I was taking pictures of cows! Also there wasn't a single bird on the large pool east of the sea bank, which is very unusual. I did have a couple of Little Egrets fly west, a Marsh Harrier distantly and a couple of Whitethroats in the hedge just by the main road. Took a half decent picture of a Yellowhammer singing in a hedge as the sun was setting. It was a beautiful sunset which cast golden shimmers of light across a wheat field.

 Yellowhammer singing its heart out, Burnham Overy.








SUNSET
Burnham Overy

Norfolk Bird News!

Main Highlights – RBA
Ruddy Shelduck at Salthouse
Wood Sandpiper at Cley
Wood Warbler at East Wretham Heath NWT
Spoonbills x 2, Curlew Sandpipers x 2, Temminck's Stints x 2, Little Stint, Red-crested Pochard, Little Gulls x 2 at Titchwell RSPB
Honey Buzzard at Holkam
Spoonbill at Wells and Stiffkey
Red-backed Shrike at Overstrand
Black Redstart at Winterton

Other News
2 Spotted Flycatchers on Meadow Trail at Titchwell RSPB, Norfolk.
RED-FOOTED FALCON and SAVI'S WARBLER at Lakenheath Fen RSPB, Suffolk
ROLLER at Broxhead Common, Hampshire

Friday, 24 May 2013

BLAKENEY POINT and 'The Albatross'!


 Me at Half Way House, Blakeney Point this evening.
Very High Tide – as you can see!

It was more of a social day down the 'Point' today, I saw more birders than birds – well almost!!! Rain, sun, wind, cold, more rain and little in return for all the hard work. A handful of wheatears were the highlight and was gripped off with a Snow Goose!


I had good views of the Red-backed Shrike sitting in a bramble bush by the windmill at Cley this morning. Thank you to the two birders who kindly let me look through their scopes and also had to lower them for me too! It was raining, no surprise there – at least the forecast was correct!

Parked up at Coastguards and had a coffee before my potentially, exciting walk to Blakeney Point. There had to be something today, surely? I was slightly worried when I realised that James Mcallum's  car was not in the carpark – so where was he? East Hills or was I just one step ahead of him?! I set off for the 'Point' in the rain and it all started well. Within minutes of walking I flushed 2 Grey Partridges, 2 Wood Pigeons, several Meadow Pipits, Reed Buntings and a Wheatear. I don't normally see much until I get to Half Way House, so this was surely a good sign? I had another Wheatear, a Curlew and 5 Linnets. The noise of the wind mean't that I wouldn't be able to hear calls or texts on my phone, so I checked it every once in a while. I noticed I had a text from MAG which said 'ALBATROSS off Coastguards now! Turn around and you are guaranteed to see it. Heading slowly west' – WHAT!!!!! I raced across the shingle in a mad panic to view the sea and as I was running I was thinking why didn't he phone me rather then text with info like that!!! I phoned him and soon realised he was talking about a bl**dy boat called 'Albatross' - Ha bl**dy Ha Mr Golley! He was laughing his head off as I was cursing him. Ok, I fell for that hook line and sinker!!!! I will remember this – revenge will be sweet! Maybe a call about a Little Green Bee-eater flying over Cley Church one evening – hmmm..... we'll see.

I sat and had a sandwich on the South side of Half Way House – it was very sheltered here and wonderfully warm. Got a voicemail text and when I listened, it was Connor who said 'Hello Miss Clarke, I've heard rumours that you are currently striding up Blakeney Point.........' well I wouldn't say 'striding' more like plodding. You only 'stride' up Blakeney Point when you are 18 and I'm way, way past that! Anyway Connor went on to say he was with Ben Lewis and they had seen s*d all and hoped that all the birds would be following up with me – yep so do I! So Connor and Ben were an hour ahead of me and half an hour behind me was that familiar head of red hair – James McCallum along with Ashley McElwee and Mark Golley. I rang Connor to see if he had anything since his message and he told me that the Plantation was birdless the first time they looked in, but now had a Whinchat there.

I worked hard to find something and did lots of sueda bashing. It's very difficult to flush birds alone on BP, it really helps if you are with others, but I wasn't so had to make the best of it. At 'The Plantation' it was lovely to catch up with Connor and Ben, but sadly the Whinchat had flown off east '5 minutes ago' Connor told me. Also Kieren and Leyla (probably spelt this wrong?) were also seconds behind me in arriving at the Plantation. No other birds were seen in the Plantation whilst we sat here. 5 Whimbrel flew west. Later Connor then declared he was going to walk back at 4pm and I teased him about leaving early. But I wish I had now too!

I stuck it out and stayed and sat to watch for any birds drop into the Plantation. Mark Golley phoned to say they had a Snow Goose flying fast and going west from 'Long Hills'. I raced up the dunes to the highest point whilst phoning Connor at the same time and scanned the sea from west to east several times, but no luck. Went back and sat down and continued to watch. The heavens opened and the rain was torrential. This is excellent news with east winds IF it drops birds in! Well I did have one tiny bit of excitement – a bird with a white rump shot through the sycamore and landed on the pine tree but it was on a branch that was out of my view. My heart started racing, OMG this is it! The bird then flew down into the sandy gully and my heart sank when I could see that it was clearly a male Wheatear!!!! Bother! Sitting here in the rain and now feeling seriously cold, I felt really fed-up and asked myself what the hell I was doing here! James, Ashley and Mark then turned up and James spotted a bird diving into the cover but we couldn't find it at all. We then walked to the lupins and the heavens opened again. Whilst the others tried to shelter by the shed, I nipped into the loos here to rummage through my rucksack for my emergency silk, thermal jacket to put on underneath my coat as I was seriously cold now. Wrapped my scarf round my head underneath my jacket hood and set off again. I decided to stay behind at the Plantation, whilst the others went on ahead of me, as I needed a coffee and food before walking back. I said I would catch them up, but of course I never did. The rain had now stopped momentarily. I saw the Wheatear again on the fence, but nothing else here at all. Oh, just remembered, James told me he saw a Hawfinch fly over Kelling Water Meadows this morning!

I set off back to Coastguards and saw another couple of Wheatears and also a few LBJ's who melted into sueda and just magically disappeared – so incredibly frustrating, but typical of birding on BP! The light, dramatic skies and sun setting was strikingly beautiful this evening and the very high tide which had flooded the marshes added to the magical beauty before me. I was taking a picture of Half Way House and decided it would be more interesting to add someone to it and it took several self portrait shots to get the house where I wanted it with me! Had fun trying to achieve this! Flushed another Wheatear and also a couple of Grey Partridges, but apart from more Meadow Pipits and a couple of Reed Buntings, nothing else was seen at all. Got back to Coastguards at 8.30pm.

Parked up by the Windmill and looked to see if the Red-backed Shrike was still there – no sign. I then parked at the East Bank carpark and had a coffee with ginger & pear cake (scrumptious) and then walked to 'The Serpentine' to see the Pectoral Sandpiper which of course also wasn't there! The full moon over Walsey Hills looked extra clear and bright this evening.

Drove home listening to Calvin Harris's 18 Months – I love this album!

Hoping very much there will be something good this weekend – PLEASE!