I arrived at Holme before first light and set off along the dunes up to the area where I thought, opposite Gore Point, the Pallas's Warbler had been showing the day before. There was plenty of bird movement with Dunnocks,Redwing,Starlings galore and up till then the best being a female Blackcap. Searching around I met up with a couple of birders who the day before had connected with the Pallas's and sure enough I was in the right place. It was then just a matter of being patient and waiting, and the 3 of us were rewarded after some time with good views of this stunning little waif. Even if not frame filling images I was happy to record this beauty, the first time for me to photograph too. And with now more birders turning up the bird became more elusive and eventually moved to a nearby area where it was seen a few times flitting around the tree canopy but a lot more elusive than earlier. At least with the thought of this Asian Babe' in my head the realisation of back to work tomorrow was put on the back burners for a while.
Sarah and I took a stroll through Potton Woods, close to where we live. I specifically went to look for some nice leaves to photograph. With the weather a tad dull I decided to collect the leaf litter and photograph them at home. We were not to be disappointed either, the array of colours and patterning when viewed in the hand are stunning to say the least on most. Regardless of whether the leaf was decaying,diseased or torn they were all a picture in their own right. I used a black back drop to bring out the colours more and for them to look different than just laid down and snapped.
I arrived mid-morning at the Lodge to look for the 6 Woodlark frequenting there. On arrival at the hill fort I was shown the birds by some birders already in place. They were to show reasonably well although most of the time along the distant ridge, they would at times stop and sun themselves before giving their position up again as they moved. They then flew to the new heath and were unviewable unless seen in flight. Whilst waiting for the return of the Woodlarks the nearby pines held Siskins and Lesser Redpoll. News on the pager of a Osprey at Brogborough had me stating to another birder how nice it would be to have that fly over! Unbelievably a short time later as I was scanning for the Woodlarks on my own, I turned around and surprisingly stared at a Osprey circling complete with fish in talons, it circled just the once they moved away. I only saw the Woodlarks once more in flight landing on the new heath but the Osprey certainly made my day.
After an early start to Minsmere for first light with my dad, the day was to end in disappointment. I had refrained from joining the melee at Warham Greens for the "RTR", and should of known my luck would be the same with both the Shirke and Bluetail moving on as well. We watched the highlight of the trip, a Short eared owl flew in off the sea(2 Reported) and flew a couple of circuits before downing in the vegetation. Oh shit, maybe something great before I return to work later this month.
I took Sarah for a walk along the dam end at Grafham Water hoping to get some pipit images. The weather was dull but we were graced with good numbers of Meadow Pipits. Although quite flighty due to squabbling a lot of the time, I was able to grab some nice images. Across from the dam Sarah picked out 2 pure white Pheasants amongst a few almost black ones, they really stood out in the field.
After getting back from Grafham I decided to go to one of my local spots where I had seen a lone Wheatear the day before. On arrival the the lone Wheatear was still present albeit further out in the crop field. It soon moved closer mind you and after a patient wait (something that some prats seem unable to do these days) I was able to work alongside this lovely bird for some time. It seemed content on posing for me and would alter its head position from side to side as if at a fashion shoot....what a marvelous model.
A 3:15am start to go and pick up my dad and then head off to Boyton Marshes in Suffolk for first light. On arrival the village hall car park was already getting busy, so with gear ready we headed off to hopefully await the sight of the Sandhill Crane. With plenty of birders scanning the adjacent fields especially the maize field where apparently it had roosted the night before. After a time the shout went up and there flying in from the east, not where we were looking, was the Sandhill Crane still present to everyones delight. It landed in a crop field a few hundred yards away and so viewing was from the scope and not the camera yet.
It continued to actively feed at this distance, always seemingly wary with regular pausing to scan the area. After a while it moved further towards the sea wall and continued feeding there, a few birders started to move along the track leading to the wall and so my dad and I ventured along too. It was then to give closer views and close enough for me to grab some record images of this great rarity, the views through the scope at this time were very good and it continued to show for some time before flying low south out of view. With a few birders still arriving they headed off to relocate it and the happy masses headed back to the cars. A few of us on the way back stopped to look for the Willow Emerald Damselflies, a recently added species to the British Isles. We all got good views of 2 of the WED's and so adding another new tick for the day.