The final weekend of August brought classic conditions for drift migrants from Scandinavia. You could say I was unlucky not to connect with any of the Booted, Icterines and Greenish Warblers that arrived but good numbers of scarce migrants all along the north Norfolk coast made for a great jaunt down Blakeney Point with Nick. Between Gramborough Hill and Halfway house on Blakeney Point we had three Wrynecks. All along the shingle there Redstarts, Garden Warblers, Pied Flys, Whinchats and Yellow Wagtails.
When we reached the Plantation there were several Pied Flycatchers and Garden Warblers feeding amongst the willows and this slightly moulted male Common Redstart gave me the best photo opportunity I have had of the species so far.
|Male Common Redstart, Blakeney Point, Norfolk - August 2013|
Some birds hung around for a while, with this Wryneck at Strumpshaw fen a week later being a rare inland record.
|Wryneck, Strumpshaw fen, Norfolk - August 2013|
Of course I've heard and seen singing Nightingales before in Mallorca but to have one so close to home in the city of Norwich was special. Whitlingham Country Park is only a ten minute drive from where we live. When spring finally arrived James Emerson reported a singing bird from Whitlingham. I got directions and managed to see and hear the bird one evening after work. It remained in song for at least a week after I saw it first, but I only had the briefest glimpse of it. Given that in Ireland they are at best a scarce migrant, this was a bit special. Sadly, the recently published BTO Atlas shows that the species has declined as a breeding bird in the UK by 52% in the period between 1995-2010, so there's no guarantee that this will even be an annual observation for me at Whitlingham.
|Nightingale, Whitlingham CP, Norfolk - April 2013|
Both rare birds in Ireland, seen only previously by me in Namibia and Latvia respectively. I tried and dipped on a Great Grey Shrike at Wrentham in Suffolk but succeeded in the bitter cold and sleet on Good Friday at Egmere, Norfolk. Sadly the best pictures I took were lost as my memory card played up, but at least I had one record shot.
|Great Grey Shrike, Egmere, Norfolk - March 2013|
|Lesser Grey Shrike, Leiston, Suffolk, September 2013|