5 moulting eider were relatively close in as the tide was rising. Few sanderling and a flyover of 150+ golden plover as well as a solitary grey plover past. Terns were regular passers and after a while Gary got on to a black tern towards Brancaster. This was typically dipping for food rather than diving. Shortly after, a dark billed smaller tern headed past, going west. Longer and broader tail whilst also showing dark markings on the primaries, a roseate tern. 2 year listers in 10 minutes and the roseate being a lifer for Gary. Good start. Back on the path a peregrine was seen low over Thornham Marsh as black tailed godwits, little egrets and black headed gulls were noted. Into the parrinder hide where ruff, meadow pipits, pied wags and waders were noted, along with 9 spoonbill. One wader caught my eye, showing black tail, dark legs and a clear white supercillium. On this evidence, a curlew sandpiper, but with a bill like a ruff. Someone in the hide thought reeve, but their tail would be barred and no supercilium, plus lighter, redder legs. Maybe a very short billed curlew sandpiper? We eventually sorted this out to be a white rumped sandpiper, confirmed later from Titchwell. Another lifer for Gary and year lister for me.
Back on the path, a painted lady butterfly posed before our 2nd coffee of the day at the VC.
We then decided to head straight to Winterton dunes where the list of possibles was pretty neat: red backed shrike, wryneck, pied flycatcher, greenish warbler. We arrived at about 2, knowing the shrike was some 2 miles away. We headed for the totem pole where the wryneck had been reported. Plenty of folk standing around on phones and staring into bushes, but no bird, so we thought the shrike would be best and, with luck, we may turn up something good en route. A whinchat was the only bird we saw in the 2 miles. Eventually, our endeavours were rewarded by cracking views of a pristine adult male red backed shrike. 2nd lifer for Gary and the 1st time I had seen an adult male in the UK. Excellent stuff. We then trooped back totem pole, checking the wire fencing as we went. small heath, skipper and red admiral butterflies were noted and one of our last day listers, a yellowhammer. Back at the totem pole the same folk were......... on their phones, staring into wryneckless bushes. A corncrake had been reported so there were plenty of guys out trying to find this. We got directions to the greenish warbler but decided a brief sea watch and can of Tango would suffice as we both had to be back home by 7.15(ish) as I was out for an evening meal with a table reservation at 8.15.
Sea watch gave up a strangely plumaged common gull, with a blue/grey hood, great black backed gull, seal and plenty of cormorants. After several wrong turns through a busy Norwich we were back in East Herts by 7.30 and in time for a good Indian.
Very many thanks to Chris for the perfect directions to the shrike. Very accurate Chris, you just omitted to tell us that the bird would favour the lefthandside of the specific bramble bush! Excellent, very grateful.
|whinchat (only bird in 2 miles of walking!)|
|unsociable red backed shrike. I make no excuses for overloading this entry with photos of this bird, it was superb.|
|taken lying behind long grass.|
|yellowhammer (only bird on 2 mile wander back again, apart from previous whinchat)|
|common gull with blue/grey hood|
|initial view of red backed shrike|