Part of the admiring crowd, watching Norfolk’s first ever Great Knot
Why is it that most of the decent birds in Norfolk recently have turned up on a Monday, when it’s my ‘duty day’ at Cley NWT? Well it happened again yesterday – I logged on to Birdguides first thing, to be greeted by the news of a ‘mega’ Great Knot at Breydon! Throughout the day news of it’s confirmation, disappearance, reappearance, and further disappearance distracted me from what was actually a pretty good mid-summer day on the reserve. We were just on our way home when a text came through to say that the bird was back – albeit a mile and a half’s yomp up the estuary, so we decided to try for it. We parked up and speed-walked to where the crowds were visible in the distant evening sunshine. On the way we were told that the bird had flown across the estuary to the Norfolk side (yippee!) but, as a consequence, was now rather distant. They weren’t joking! Careful study of the Great Dot revealed most of the distinguishing features of this adult summer first for Norfolk, and GB tick. The bird flew several times, but never nearer, when it showed its distinctive elongated profile, white under-wing with black primary tips and white upper tail patch.
Digiscoped photo of the bird, taken through a Kowa 30x with 2x optical zoom! – it’s the small bird, facing right, directly under the tallest gatepost!
And now a couple of horrendously magnified images, showing the general structural and plumage detail – dark breast band, blotchy back, white belly and elongated ‘rear end’
Anyway, more import than it being a fantastic bird, a first for Norfolk and a British ‘tick’, is the fact that it’s a ‘grip-back’ on my old birding buddy Neil, who saw the first Great Dot on Teeside in 1996. Those birders present yesterday, who had also seen that bird, all agreed that the Norfolk bird gave far better views…. !!
Poscript: Here’s a picture of Great Knot, taken in Thailand, November 2012