Monday 9th May fresh ESE Sunny and warm 21C
Very early morning starts at Titchwell with a nuclear bomb-like sunrise; one where a small area of sky apears glowing red just before the bright orb peeks above the horizon.
Bitterns boom and birds can be added by song and call to the day list. I head off for Holme. Arriving at the golf course west of the NWT nature reserve, turtle doves are purring and give glimpses from dense cover. 239.
The wind has freshened and the branches bend in the breeze. I take the coastal path around the outside of the Holme reserve and find a very tiny small blue butterfly and a toad sits on the path rather prone. Other butterflies sheltering include small coppers and wall. Both common and lesser whitethroats are singing here too and a common toad sits on the path reluctant to move.
On the far side of Holme's reserves, I find a grasshopper warbler that goes from one clump of thick vegetation to the next and so on, giving brief glimpses.
The tide is very high and covers part of the car park at Thornham as well as covering all of the saltmarsh there.
From here I decide to meander along North Norfolk's country lanes and hope for news of a rarity, or at least a year tick to come through. Dreams of finding one myself filter through and indeed almost happen as I come across a small flooded area of a winter wheat field. This time though I have already seen the bird I find but this one is so much closer and in such a strange spot. A wood sandpiper stands next to the puddle.
Cycling along towards Burnham Norton an even better bird has me leap off the bike and shout with delight; a male Montagu's harrier flies by and is gone in a minute or two. Superb new bird for the year, Montagu's harrier was one I was nervous about missing and here was one in front of me. Snatched photographs are poor but what the hell, they show the bird and the excitement.
Elated I continue along and take an inland route to Wells-next-the-Sea instead of following the coastal road. This takes me behind the extensive wooded grounds of Holkham Hall. It is great to have singing birds in hedgerows that grow tall and thick beside every road. Common whitethroats outnumber lesser whitethroats but both are in good numbers. Both of these outnumber yellowhammers.
On reaching Wells, I book into the Wells Youth Hostel. At £10 a night I can't complain and I am soon asleep. Truth be told I have been very ill for the last three weeks with probably a cold first off. This affected my asthma and filled my sinuses with painful rubbish. Today has been the first day without the feverish, sweaty feeling. The first day I feel I have this thing beat. Mind you my cycling gloves show that it has been a bit tough.
So the year list now stands at 240, 19 birds ahead of this time last year. Birds seen on this date and the day before last year included the citril finch and Moltoni's warbler.
30.23 miles 1006 feet up elevation 978 feet elevation down