Sunday 14 July 2013

Ticking over nicely

Following my unsuccessful but pleasant jaunt last weekend to Kelling Heath for Dartford Warbler, I headed out of Norfolk and south to Dunwich Heath in Suffolk where I was told I would have a far better chance of seeing some. This time I wasn't to be disappointed and I enjoyed good views of these marvelous little birds including several singing males within a short distance of the National Trust car park.
This time though I didn't get any photos worth mentioning, I reckon a good sunny day in spring might be the best chance to photograph a male singing atop some yellow gorse. Nonetheless I was very pleased to finally see this fine little Sylvia. Its been one of those birds that I wanted to see for some time. In Ireland, as I said in my previous post, they are rare, only handful of records and none in time that I have been birding. In 2011, we went to a spot called Arta in Mallorca, where they are said to breed but saw none there. As far as England is concerned, I always associated them with the heaths of Devon and Dorset so I was pleased to see that there were a few spots in Norfolk and Suffolk where they breed. Having already got Tristram's and Balearic Warbler on my life list it was time to see Dartfords for once and for all.
Sunday afternoon Nick and I headed up to Cley hoping for some signs of wader passage. Its threatening but not really happening just yet. Having said that though it wasn't all quiet. The beauty of being newly arrived in the UK is that I can amuse myself adding ticks to my British list. Its like ten years ago, every weekend I'd go birding I'd add two or three ticks to my Irish list, great fun. Today I added four to my British list.
First up was Spoonbill, this distance group of six birds sat in the sun preening and resting opposite the East Bank.

Spoonbills, Cley Marshes NWT - Cley, Norfolk - 14th July 2013
Not much else around that area so we headed back to the main car park and from there walked to the three hides in front of the Whitwell and Simmond's scrapes and Pat's Pool (could be somewhere in Tacumshin!).
At first the usual stuff, Avocets, Lapwing, Shelducks and Marsh Harriers. But in time birds starting popping up. First of all a Common Sandpiper, a British tick! Then, and Nick deserves the credit here, an adult Yellow-legged Gull resting out on mud. Tick number three.

Yellow-legged Gull, Cley Marshes NWT - 14th July 2013
Not long after I picked up a single Greenshank - tick number four. That sounds odd, but I don't think they are as common over here in England as they are in Ireland. If it was the other way around and I had moved from England to Ireland I'd have ticked them long ago.
And still there was more. Plenty of Ruff, Black-tailed Godwits (no limosa though), Little Ringed Plover, three Spotted Redshank (moulting into their pale non-breeding livery but still an elegant wader all the same), Common and Sandwich Terns and a smart adult Med Gull.

Avocet , Cley Marshes NWT- 14th July 2013

Ruff, Cley NWT - 14th July 2013

Spotted Redshank, Cley NWT - 14th July 2013
Great birds but a little bit too distant for anything other than these cropped record shots.

At 6pm we wrapped up and headed for home. Right now I'm celebrating surpassing 150 on my British list with a cool bottle of lager......its like the good old days once again :-)

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