Thursday, 3 June 2010

Day 4-2 ticks in style at cley

Take 2 at trumpeter finch!!
my family were going to spend the day on the trains at sheringham. They offered to drop me off at cley on the way there and after yesterdays failure I had no objections. There was also a report of a red-backed shrike in the area which laso had my eybrows raised. I was dropped off at the same place as yesterday with the scope, camera and bins. As yesterday I asked the first person I saw whether it was still around and as yesterday he replied "oh yes, its still there and showing well". I raced up to the shingle beach where it was, same as yesterday. I got up to where it was and asked somebody where it was "Oh" he said, "they just lost it, some photographer spooked it and now its lost"
I walked up to where the majority of people were looking for it, heading up the beach towards towards salthouse. three of their company were walking at the bottom of the single bank but most were on the top looking over towards salthouse. The one of the guys at the bottom got himself in a tis and raced up to the top of the sea defense and ran off. we all followed. When everyone stopped I heard cries off "there it is" I failed too see it because as I found out the scope had condensed up from the rain at tichwell yesterday. Damn-it.
the bird flew off before I could see it. I speed walked further to front of the bunch of twitchers and eventually made it to the second front with two birdwatchers way out in front. The bird did a loop de-loop and came back around. Here is where I saw it see below picture

It landed right in front of the two birdwatchers ahead of me and I imagine that if I had been on the sea side of the sea defense I might Have seen it but I wasn't. I made sure I was not in anybodies way and crept up to the top of the sea defense. The two birdwatchers at the front could practically stand on it. Then they left and the bird began to come closer. and closer. and closer until it was right in front of me. only eight trumpeter finches have ever occurred in Britain and now here I was closest person to one of them. This was really good because my camera could take photos of the bird from this distance.

as you can see, this was a bright pink adult male. what a corker, just stunning. The bottom picture I took is the bird making sure I see it "oi, over here". Eventually it spotted us and flew off. It was probably about 20 degrees then and I was too hot and exhausted to go and run after it again and so I made my way to the west bank where the red-backed shrike was supposed to be.
I was really happy to have seen the finch. No I was extatic about seeing the finch. and it was even better talking to the other people there waiting for it.
As I walked through the reserve I decided to go the hide on that way. I spotted a bearded tit outside, a bird I had new this holiday yet have seen everyday.
in the hide it was empty. White mist was evapourting of the pool. In front of the hide was a gadwall pair which I manged to take some pctures off. I was not aware that gadwall summered in britian but here at cley and at tichwell too there were plenty of them. In fact, at cley there were more gadwall than mallards.
There was also some shelduck kung-fu outside the hide which I manged to get some photos off

On to the west bank to try and find a shrike. I didnt really know where abouts the shrike was so I waited on the bridge for somebody to come along forme to ask. Luckily the first people that came Were also on their way there so I accompanied them talking about birds and holidays etc etc.
When we got the shrike spot Some body told us that the bird had left 1 hour ago. However I am a professinal at dipping-out so I was hardly surprised. Heres a photo of the crowd That wa there, also waiting for the shrike.
I waited 2 hours in the sun for the shrike, which gave me a great oppertunity to eat my lunch!! eventually most of the orignal people left and some new people came. These peolle were very intersted in my camera so I told tem about the cost etc. Then some serious twitchers came. About 7 of them in an astra. They took one look asked some questions about the bird-where did it go. got quite cross about the fact that nobody had been round to see and then left. then we waited again. In the end I waited about 2 hours for the bird to come. 2 hours stood up in the sun with only a handful of birds including 2 avocets 3 linnets 1 egret 5 mipits and a lapwing. Then one of the birdwatchers spotted the serious twitchers on the other bank waving at us.
One guy offered me a lift to the far side of cley and I took it. When we got there we had about a kilometer to walk to get to the spot where they had found it. We waited about 5 mins and then found where they were pointing. right in front of us, on the fence posts was a small bird which was easily idetifiable as a male red-backed shrike. What a bird. It was much smaller than I expected it to be and much more active. We spent about 1 hour watching it eating bugs. Through the scope I could see it mash up a dung beetle and get mobbed by a sedge warbler and a mipit. eventually it came close neough more me to get a picture.

after that I went back to cley reserve through cley next to sea. As I enetred the car park I spotted a banded demoisel damselfly there, a new tick and tried to take a phto only the card ws full. It flew of by the time the card was ready.
at cley I went to the three hides same as sunday. I went into the middle hide where there was a young boy watching the birds. The only thing worth watching in the hide was a avocet chasing a godwit and a gadwall having a wash in front of the hide. Then the young boy said "please can I have your help". "sure" I replied. He pointed to one of the godwits and said "Please could you tell me if that is an oystercatcher or a sand-dipper" interesting options I must admit but I told him what it was. We were all like that once.

the gadwalls from the hide
I was then picked up by my parents who asked if I had seen it and so I told them. My mum was really not happy when I mentioned the lift from a stranger but hey, it was worth it.

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