Greater Yellowlegs, Titchfield Haven – 14th June 2015
What an unbelievable weekend this has been for rarity hunting. The lure of an Eastern Black-eared Wheatear in the New Forest was too much to resist, particularly with the attraction of a supporting cast of Hudsonian Whimbrel and the long-staying Greater Yellowlegs. In the event, unfortunately, the Wheatear didn’t hang around but the other two did – the former giving acceptable views, the latter exceeding expectations. By early afternoon we were back on home ground and trudging up Blakeney Point in pursuit of two rare warblers. The Paddyfield Warbler had arrived last Thursday but, due to a string of prior commitments, we’d been prevented from going for it – despite it being a ‘first’ for the Cley square and only the fourth Norfolk record. The Blyth’s Reed Warbler, pretty much annual in Norfolk nowadays but something of a ‘bogey bird’ for me, turned up on Saturday evening. Both birds proved to be rather tricky, particularly as the weather began to deteriorate with strong northwesterly winds and increasingly persistent drizzle. Naturally we concentrated on the Paddyfield Warbler but it took well over an hour and a half before we managed acceptable flight and fleeting perched views. Things were brought to an abrupt halt with the news that an adult Laughing Gull (only a handful of Norfolk records) had been seen flying west over Halfway House – just a few hundred yards down the Point. A mad dash up onto the shingle bank delivered the goods as the bird hurtled by! On our somewhat jubilant walk back towards the car park a small crowd was showing intense interest in a patch of suaeda near to Halfway House. It turned out that the Blyth’s Reed Warbler had just been relocated – showing occasionally in flight. Eventually we did see it on the ground and were able to absorb it’s relevant id features. Outcome of our birding adventures – four UK ‘Lifers’, three Norfolk ‘ticks’ and a fun time had by all! The only slight disappointment was that, apart from the ‘Legs’, the birds proved pretty nearly un-photographable – it was one of those occasions when seeing the birds was challenging enough.
Record shot of the Hudsonian Whimbrel – which did give one brief flight view
The adult Laughing Gull as it hurtled west past The Hood
Another shot of the long-time omission from my British List – Greater ‘legs’