After a lovely lunch with friends near home on Sunday afternoon, Sarah and I grabbed our bags and gear and headed for Norfolk. It was only going to be a short stay with us returning Tuesday afternoon. Unfortunately the only full day we had out Birding/Walking was the Monday and the forecast was not good. And it turned out the way they predicted it and worse. But unperturbed by this we still were going to make a day of it.
Our first stop was in Weybourne for the Rose Coloured Starling present there. On arrival it was plain to see the bird atop a house aerial. But the light was now dull and very grey. It showed a couple of times for Sarah to see her first adult Rosy before it flew off out of sight. We then decided to head off along to Stiffkey and perhaps stop at Weybourne on the return trip.
The low mist and rain engulfed the whole coast, but we departed the Stiffkey campsite car park, heading West. We encountered quite a few birds, the most numerous were Blue Tits, they were all over the place. A handful of Chiffchaffs were seen with this one in full song. A distant Spoonbill was seen being moved on by a couple of Little Egrets.
On a couple of occasions we had to shelter under what little cover there was as the rain became heavier. It was then I picked out a Lesser Whitethroat, it was quite active but I managed to get a few shots in the dismal weather. We encountered 2+ Lesser Whitethroats along with Common Whitethroat,Yellowhammer, and Blackcaps.
We then moved East past the campsite in the search for the Wryneck that was nearer Stiffkey Fen. On arrival at the spot, the bird was found by a birder and everyone caught views of it, mainly in flight and perched in a Hawthorn. It stayed very elusive, being chased off aggressively by a male Chaffinch, and after some time of it not showing we decided to head off to Cley.
The weather was bad when we arrived at Cley, visibility was not good and the rain had gotten harder so we had to sit it out in the car for some time. But I found this relaxing as I watched the Swallows zipping past feeding, and the Meadow Pipits popping up on the fence wires close to the car. As the rain turned to light drizzle we thought what the heck if we get wet and took off along the beach. It actually then started to clear, the skies brightened and it turned very pleasant after what we had had.
3 Marsh harriers started to scour the marshes as things started to dry out. By now the afternoon was getting on and we decided to head back along the coast to Weybourne.
Although the weather seemed to become more grey as we headed along the coast it was still dry and pleasant enough. We saw a couple of birders and asked if the Rosy was still showing to which I viewed through his scope to see the bird tucked away in a Elder bush. Without the scope you could hardly pick it out, so I waited whilst chatting to the visiting birder and also the owner of the house who had found it. The bird, after some time, decided to venture from the depths of the Elder to feed closer to the front, and although obscured by the branches I happily grabbed a few more shots of this lovely bird.
And no sooner had it filled up on half a dozen or so berries it departed to where we had seen it during the morning, and a last glimpse of it atop a conifer and it dropped from sight. By now the light was drawing in fast and we called it a day and headed back to Cromer. But we both said despite the awful weather and getting wet, it was a fantastic day and we saw some lovely birds...bliss.
The next day arrived and it was a stunner, with clear blue skies and a lovely temperature, it was typical as we knew we only had the morning before heading home with a scheduled stop in Norwich on the way. What a contrast to Monday. We headed out to Salthouse Heath for a walk and maybe a sight of a late Grayling butterfly.
There were a few species of butterfly present but no Grayling. We saw Small Tortoiseshell, Small Copper, Small Heath, Speckled Wood and plenty of dragonflies.
This worn Migrant Hawker was one of many seen on the heath. You get some great views from up on the heath too.
We noticed plenty of Common Darters, with quite a few in tandem mating. This one was sunning itself on the old Operations building.
A wreath rests on one of the old pylon bases that was part of the radar tower from the second world war, that sadly was destroyed by a bomber flying into it in bad weather. Here is a link that tells of this disaster: http://www.salthousehistory.co.uk/radar3.html
It was time for Sarah and I to depart and time for a fish and chips lunch whilst sitting on the Cromer seafront. Both of us looking forward to return in October.