Summer Birding #3- It’s Triple Twitch Time!! (Twitcher Diaries #4-5)

31st July 2016, who’d have thought what would happen…

Twitches 1 & 2- The Cattle Egret Duo

Whilst having a highly competitive game of table tennis against myself, a rap on the window from my father alerted me to the news that two Cattle Egrets had turned up at Cley amongst, you guessed it, a herd of cattle. Cley being my patch, and my year list having dried up completely, I immediately dashed for my kit and we soon hit the road.

We arrived at Cley to find two local birders present, but nobody else. Unfortunately, there was also no sign of the egrets. Soon, however, a decent chunk of the Norfolk birding community turned up, and this soon yielded the birds, which had crept into a ditch in the field. Unlike a bird in Lancashire, neither of these birds showed any yellow, and both were suitably elusive.

Having been there about 45 minutes, we upped sticks and went to Pat’s Pool for an hour where a close Common Sandpiper, a Reed Warbler feeding young & a very distant Curlew Sandpiper.

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A fairly leisurely start, I came home for lunch & to write this blog post. But then, at 3:15 pm, my day took a heart-wrenching turn…

Twitch 3The Swamphen Shenanigan

At 2:05pm, a report came out from Minsmere of an escaped Purple Gallinule on the reserve, but by 3:15, it had been established that the bird was unringed & a bird had been seen in Brittany no more than two weeks ago (though it transpired that it was still there, it showed that swamphens were dispersing out of southern France). It was also behaving in similar ways to birds in their breeding grounds (ie skirting in & out of the reeds. I had seen them do this on Mallorca in 2015). So, my dad having finished up at roughly 6pm, we set off for Minsmere.

Having arrived, we raced out to South Hide 3/4 mile away, where I unexpectedly met Sam Viles (fellow young birder extraordinaire), and found the swamphen tucked away in some reeds. Having snapped a few (distant, poor light, autofocus driving me crazy) photographs, we left and headed home. The bird was seen to fly off just after 9pm, and was seen again this morning.

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A quick post today, but still exciting!

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