After the strong easterly winds last week, we decided to go to the North Norfolk coast, during the week there had been quite a few good birds seen comprising of - Dusky & Artic Warblers , a Red Flanked Bluetail, Olive Backed Pipits and a White Rumped Sandpiper, but by Saturday news of these birds had gone! But undeterred we set our alarms and headed east, LETS GO FIND SOMETHING!
We arrived at Cley at 08.30 and headed down to Cley beech as now the winds were coming from the north a spot of sea watching was on the agenda.
Parked up the Clam mobile and walked over to the "Hotel" (This is just four large benches with a roof on, called the hotel as in the Eighties I have slept there a few times!) We set up our scopes and stright away 2 Little Auks flew past! Fantastic ( a tick for Bearded Clam).
We stayed sea watching for about an hour, during this time we had another 3 Little Auks pass, 6 Red Throated Divers, 6 Kittiwakes, 25 + Common Scoter, 2 Long Tailed Duck, 5 Gannet (all Juvs), 50+ Wigeon, 30+ Brent Geese, 7 Teal , and Starlings comming in off the sea exhausted! But no Skuas, but a Year Tick and a Lifer so not a bad start.
Time was now 10am so we headed back to the centre at Cley for some hot chocolate to warm us up and to decide where to go next.
Warmed up we headed down to the Dawkes Hide on the reserve at Cley as during the week there has been a White Rumped Sandpiper, we entered the hide and starting scanning through the Dunlin on the scrape, but no joy! There were also good nimbers of Teal about 150, Gadwall & wigeon and a single Avocet, also 3 Marsh Harriers which are always a joy to see, but no White Rummper.
While in the hide we had heard news of a Barred Warbler at Saltholme so we packed up a headed down the coast.
15 minutes later we arrived at Saltholme, parked up by the duck pond and walked over to a small crowd gathered in front on a house by the side of the road, lifted up our Bins, and there it was- Barred Warbler and a Life Tick for Tom Clam ! It showed well for us, it looked like a 1st Winter bird , only showing faint barring on the undertail coverts, 3rd one for me this year but always nice to see.
Off to Wells now to get fed in our regular cafe, and then off to Holkham to see if we can find some Waxwings or Pallass' Warbler , which had been reported earlier.
We arrived at Holkham at 13.15 parked up on Lady Annes Drive and walked along the woods towards the Joe Jordon Hide, contantly checking the woodland trees for Tit flocks but not a great ammount a few Coal Tits , Chaffinches , Great Spotted Woodpecker, Olly clam then noticed about 8 Blackbirds feeding on the grass to the left of us , started to scan through and picked out a Male Ring Quzel and then a Female, called over the other Clams and viewed for about 20mins , nice year ticks for them.
We serched the woods for about 2 hours but didn't have a lot else appart from , Robins , Gold Crests, a Treecreeper, and Blue, Great , Coal Tits. Then on our way back the pager buzzed saying the White Rumped Sandpiper had returned to Cley, so off we set back to Cley.
Back in the hide now at Cley the light was starting to drop but luckly the bird was on show, WHITE RUMPER UTB! (A tick for Olly Clam ) The bird showed well feeding along the edge of the scrape about 35 yards away, showing well its long primary projection , supercil, and flashing its white rump on occasion.
Juvenile White Rumped Sandpiper.
The light was now going so we packed up and started our way back home, another great day and nice to see the 5th Clam Member again Wham Bam Thankyou Man Clam ( AKA Steve Alcott , the rasberry Ripple) , KEEP ON CLAMMING !
ATB - Olly Clam.