Many commoner migrants had landed along the east coast this week. In Norfolk, the landing places are Blakeney Point, Winterton North and South Dunes, Wells Woods and Yarmouth Cemetery. None of these are favourites of ours. I like Winterton South Dunes but parking is almost impossible.Cley looked like a good start.
Walsey Hills was the first port of call. As usual, many frustrating sightings of birds flitting into and out of sight in the thick vegetation and trees. Chiffchaffs fly-catching, making vertical ascents out of the Hawthorn were the most attainable. Reaching the end of the path, a Garden Warbler sang from the right, two Pied Flycatchers, Willow Warbler, Blackcaps and more Chiffchaffs fed in the thick sunlit ivy, its mass of flowers buzzing with insects. Lovely.
The East Bank's Wryneck had left overnight, time for Cley Centre where we found Steve and Dot with Steve's mum. After a chat and refreshments, we drove to Blakeney Harbour where a Red-backed Shrike had been seen 'in the bushes by the pond'. We parked near the entrance to Friary Hills and scanned the hedge - until a man we've known since he was a teenager, greeted us, leaning on an open window. He was after the Shrike too. Another approaching birder said that he'd seen it - near a 'pond' out along the bank towards the seashore.
Off we walked, along the rough track being used by the machinery re-shaping the defences after the storm surge.
One really does not expect to find bi-lingual, Welsh/ English signs in Norfolk.
Near the machinery, a hedge leading towards the raised bank held the 1st winter Red-backed Shrike. It was seldom still, using the length of the hedge to hunt, apparently unconcerned about the people walking nearby. Despite the distance, after carrying my camera all that way, I took some 'record shots'. One was sharp enough to enlarge.
The trudge back crossed a still, reed-lined dyke along which a male Common Skimmer darted, hovered and dived. I've never attempted flying shots before.........a challenge.
After visiting Natural Surroundings to clear the way (subs) for Tuesday's moth trapping, (No-one told us that one had to become a member to attend - until Greg did at Cley last Thursday. Embarrassing. I apologised and Andrew was very gracious and grateful for our donation. Good that that's sorted.) news came through that the Western Bonelli's had re-appeared at Kelling after several hours' absence. We called in on the off-chance that it was showing, finding a crowd of about 40 birders staring hopefully at a conifer at the back of the school. No way could we stand for any length of time and the chairs had been removed from the boot (to make room for transporting the mower for repair). It would be a Norfolk tick too. Steve S tweeted that he waited nearly 3 hours. Fingers crossed that it stays.