Sunday 31 August 2014

Winterton and Nelson's Head Track

Not the day I was hoping for. It began full of promise but ended with a whimper.
I was up at 5am, had the dog walked and had arrived at Winterton for 6.30am. With a little hlep from Nick Watmough, I located the site for the Greenish Warbler, but it had gone. A relatively clear night and a suitable airstream meant there appeared to have been  a clear-out. Greenish would have been a UK tick, I've seen two in Ireland and several in Latvia. This photo of one taken in the back garden of my late mum in law's house is my only ever shot of one.

Greenish Warbler, Jurmula, Latvia - June 2012
Back at Winterton, there were decent numbers of Common Whitethroat, Blackcaps and Phylloscs knocking around, a fly-over Hobby chasing hirundines was highlight of the morning.
I tried for the Wryneck on the north dunes by the totem pole but didn't locate it. It was picked up later in the morning near the fence on the western edge of the north dunes. Had I known this I may have tried for a photo, but the 3G coverage is so utterly hopeless in Norfolk that I could not open the RBA app on my iphone to see what was about. Effectively, once I'm out in the field, I have no way of knowing what else is about unless I text someone with internet access or ask other birders. The network coverage is really appalling and needs to be improved pronto!
With little else around I decided to walk the Nelson's Head track and see if I could manage some better RB Shrike shots. I had two Whinchats and two Wheatears along the track near the metal container, when I arrived at the RB Shrike site there were about fifteen birders already present. The light was harsher and the bird more mobile than last Thursday when I was there. Today, I stuck to the path hoping for it to come into some close by brambles but that never materialised. I did enjoy a great view of it catching and holding a lizard in its bill though. Having been around since last June, the bird does seem to be used to people at this stage, but nonetheless I was disappointed to see both photographers and birders pursuing the bird for a photo into the dunes rather than waiting in the one spot patiently for it to pose. That's not good fieldcraft as far as I'm concerned and even if the bird was not perturbed by this behaviour, I can understand why photographers get a bad press. With all that going on I didn't stay long and made my way back along the Nelson's Head track to the car, stopping briefly to try (unsuccessfully) for some Whinchat shots.
En route home I stopped at Great Yarmouth Cemetery where the migrant clear-out was very evident, not a dickie-bird to be seen.
Easterly winds are forecast from next Tuesday for at least a week, not much rain accompanying them but could still bring a fresh wave of migrants hopefully. We'll see!

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