Sunday 15 May 2016

A Day of Rain and A Day with a Shrike

Tuesday 10th May fresh ESE Heavy rain

It is raining lightly as I cycle towards Cley but by the time I reach the famous Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve it is bucketing down. With newspaper and laptop I relax in Daulkes hide and watch the wader antics. I fall asleep after lunch.

The rain doesn't stop until evening yet I am not tempted to walk Blakeney Point. I will leave that until the morning.

Wednesday 11th May fresh ESE Sunny intervals, 16C

A dilemma presents itself this morning. Do I walk and bird Blakeney Point , that tpioca pudding shingle walk of hell, or wait for news and bird Cley?
Everything about the weather says that there should be birds on the point yet I tarry (procrastinate?) and start the day list with common waders.
Red-backed shrike at Burnham Overy dunes, just beyond the west end of Holkham Pines!
I peddle as fast as I can and get there.

12:45 red-backed shrike UTB, bird number 241 and I watch it for the next hour or so mostly by myself. The shrike keeps disappearing into bramble and hawthorn and occasionally turns up some distance from its last location. The best views though re when I am sat on a small sand dune, tucked in from the cool breeze, and the bird hunts from a nearby barbed wire fence.
Throughout the hour view I meet four other birders, one of whom, Paul supports Aston Villa. We cry together whilst watching the shrike. 

I remember a scene from the comedic birdwatching film The Big Year with the Steve Martin's character being likened to a shrike. Randy Lerner, the current Aston Villa chairman and owner is a similar beast. In fact this analogy would be an insult to a shrike. I recommend any birder watching the film. I don't recommend supporting the Villa!
I search the dunes but cannot find any other birds of note amongst them and the pines. Mediterranean gulls are out over the marsh and a pair of stonechats along the marsh edge.
I head off for Titchwell, little gull reported there again and this is fast becoming a bogey bird. Seen in the morning, they have moved on by the afternoon.
Reaching Titchwell the little gull has moved on. I spend the afternoon walking around the reserve and meet Martin from Topshill nature reserve where I had been early April. Paul Fisher joins us and it is fabulous to spend time with such great people.

The evening I spend sitting in the Parrinder hide watching as curlew come into roost. Highlight birds amongst the day list of sixty nine include two teminck's stints and also a little stint, a whimbrel, bittern booming and a fly over spoonbill heading east.

The year list is 241, exactly twenty ahead of this time last year.

19.04 miles 440 feet up elevation 430 feet down elevation

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