Sunday and Monday were two days that don't come along that often. Two 'life' birds were present in north Norfolk and both were twitched successfully by myself and Lisa and two friends.
One was in the shape of a female Black-headed Bunting, a bird normally found in south-east Europe, but this bird had been present since the following Wednesday and was still showing well on Sunday morning. Lisa and I made the trip that afternoon, a gloriously sunny day. We arrived at West Runton in good time and found the deserted pig farm that was the birds favoured site. The bird had not been seen since 11 o'clock, it was about 2.30 ish, great, I thought. However, it was warm and sunny, so not much of a bind waiting. The bird duly appeared on top of hedge approximately 300m away, the heat haze was horrible, leading to no photographic oppurtunity, but the birds features were noted and then it flew. It re-appeared very briefly in a nearby elder for all of 2 seconds and then flew again, high and across the road towards the back of some houses. We counted our blessings that we had only been there for about half an hour and seen the target. We left and paid a visit to Cromer for some fish and chips and an ice-cream, I know how to treat a lady, don't I?!
Monday dawned and with it drizzle in the air. I checked Birdguides at lunchtime and saw that a Spectacled Warbler had been reported in Burnham Overy, north Norfolk, a 3* mega rarity that has only been seen in this country 7 times before and is normally found in southern Europe or northern Africa. I was straight on the phone to my friend Chris Orders to see what time he was finishing work and if he wanted to go. The answer was an affirmitive and at 5.30 we were on the road being driven by another friend, Will Bowell. The journey was made in record time, I won't say how quickly for fear of any law enforcement people reading this, but suffice to say that we pulled up at the harbour of Burnham Overy with the smell of burning rubber in our nostrils and the sight of steaming brakes in our eyes. We then started the long walk to the site of Gun Hill, a distance of 2 miles. The twitch was well established at this point and with approximately 50 other birders we eventually got our first glimpses of a male Spectacled Warbler in song. Nice!
The two photos above were taken by Chris with his digiscoping gear, the bird was too far away for my camera, so I savoured the brief views that I had of this very rare bird. It showed a few more times and did come closer at one point, but was always on the move and impossible for me to photograph. We left, very pleased with ourselves and made a slightly more sedate journey back to Peterborough.
|The harbour at Burnham Overy on the walk back|
|Sunset over the salt marshes|
A successful couple of days birding, when will they be repeated I wonder?! Thanks to Will for driving on Monday, I only hope his tyres have recovered.