Sunday, 13 October 2013

Pallas's and Dusky Warblers in Norfolk

With strong North Easterlies and rain forecast for most of the morning in Norfolk, we set off at 5am heading for Sheringham. With road closures on the way it was a slower journey than the normal two hours.
Light rain in Essex turned into heavy rain as we approached Norfolk, but nearing Sheringham the rain died down and by the time we were parking the car at 7.15 the rain had almost stopped completely and the strong North Easterlies were now just a gentle breeze.
The hoped for Petrel or Shearwater movement didn't happen and the session only produced single figure Bonxies and Red-throated Divers, plus larger numbers of Gannets, Cormorants, Common Scoters, Brents, Wigeon and Teal.

As the shelter started to empty, the pager announced the presence of a Long-eared Owl at Cley. With the car parked up at Cley beach we headed off across the shingle towards Swarovski hide. The LEO had relocated to the sand ridges on the beach a short distance from the hide by the time we arrived.
After a quick scan of the ridges the LEO is located and showing well. 

Long-eared Owl

While watching the LEO the pager bleeps into action informing us of a Pallas's Warbler present at Barns Drift just off Old Woman's Lane. After arriving at the site there's no sign of the bird. An hour's searching still doesn't produce any sightings of the bird and with time short we decide to head off towards Titchwell.
On route to Titchwell we debate whether to make a stop at Garden Drove. A Rustic Bunting was found here the previous day but with no news of it's presence today we decide to drive on.
Approaching Titchwell news comes through of another Pallas's Warbler, this time at Warham Greens!
A U-turn and ten miles back along the road we park up at Stiffkey and walk the coastal path. Eventually finding the location the Pallas's is quickly found. A stunning little bird and a lifer for myself and dad and a year tick for Brian.

With time not on our side, news breaks of a Dusky Warbler found at West Runton.
This brought back memories of the failed attempt of the Dusky Warbler I had tried for at Walthamstow. Torrential rain and no sign of the bird it was not a good memory.
As we approached the site the rain started to fall, and news on site was not that encouraging. It was starting to feel all to familiar.
Standing alongside the small group of birders presence the bird begins to call, the "Chek Chek" call giving us an area to concentrate on. The bird calls regularly and eventually gives brief views as it heads along the line of bushes and drops into the largest bush closest to the cliff top.
Another lifer added to the trip and the memories of that failed attempt now not quite as painful.
Before leaving the site an added bonus comes when a Great Grey Shrike is spotted perched up in some Willows along the far side of the adjacent field.

With the closure of the A11 the journey home was eventful to say the least. The road diversions were of no help at all and only added to the frustration.
The no show of the predicted early morning North Easterlies and the road closures and delays still didn't take anything away from another cracking days birding in Norfolk.

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