Autumn Migration- Twitcher Diaries #6

So, having returned from a very successful & fun Birdfair 2016, I formulated a plan to twitch some much-needed migrants for my year list, namely Wryneck, Red-backed Shrike & Whinchat. A plan was formulated over lunch yesterday to tour the Norfolk coast, starting at Weybourne & ending at Cley.

Part 1- The Wryneck- Weybourne

We left the house at 3pm, arriving at Weybourne for 3:30. Having taken the 3/4 mile walk out, we came to an area of pines with scattered bushes & scrub in front. After 45 minutes yielding us a Whinchat, a male Redstart, a Swift & several Wheatear, the Wryneck finally made a brief but welcome appearance, welcomed especially since they have been known to hide in bushes for hours on end (indeed, it wasn’t seen again until 6:45 that evening). Pleased with our good start, we made our way to West Runton.

Part 2- The Shrike- West Runton

We arrived at the beach car park and walked up to the fence from where birders were viewing the shrike. It wasn’t showing at that point but there were two Wheatears, two Whinchats & a Swift on show.

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One of two Whinchats present yesterday afternoon

Then the Red-backed Shrike appeared on top of the hedge in the field. A very scaly individual, it was believed to be a first winter, but still a nice record (and only my fourth in this country).

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A record shot of the Red-backed Shrike

Having successfully seen that, we then moved off to the other side of the beach car park towards the local playing field in search of our third target…

Part 3- The Flycatcher- West Runton

We arrived in the field and made a beeline for the trees in the SW corner. Indeed, there was a Spotted Flycatcher already flying around catching insects. We soon also revealed the presence of eight Willow Warblers, a scarce breeder (but commoner migrant) in Norfolk. Finally though, after waiting for half an hour (and me somehow sustaining a wasp sting on the arm!!) the Pied Flycatcher made an appearance. Previous birds I’ve seen were normally quite elusive, keeping to the bushes and only showing occasionally. This bird, however, kept returning to the same perch, even showing on the ground at times. I carefully crept up, and snapped some photographs in the evening light.

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The Pied Flycatcher on its favourite perch
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Pied Flycatcher on the deck

We then headed for home via Cley for some Curlew Sandpiper action, concluding a lovely afternoon out on the coast.

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